The concepts “perspective“, “music“, “flavor“, “home” and “God” do not need to be explained for most of us as we see or experience them multiple times in our daily lives. It’s not rocket science, but how would you describe these concepts to someone that has never felt them or has no reference points that can guide them to understanding the concept. Look at these cases below and have some time to think before continuing to read:
- meeting a blind person since birth, and he asks you to describe what “perspective” is in “art”.
- coming accross someone born deaf, and you are asked to define “music“
- chatting with an anosmic person and she wants you to tell her all about “flavor“
- being abducted by nomad aliens, who do not have the notion of “home“. How would you persuade them to take you home?
- you are a preacher and you somehow time travel to the stone age and meet a bunch of cavemen… Tell them about “God” and preferrably convince them.
Perspective – About two decades ago, we teenagers did not have mobile phones. We were “social” but lacked “media”, so we frequently gathered face-to-face and had these brain teasers as challenges. The first one was “How to describe perspective to a person born blind”. The best way, we agreed upon was to use another sense other than seeing to describe it. As the most developed sense in blindness is “hearing“, we decided to use that to explain the concept.
The Method: Switch on the TV, pick a channel with a weak signal (preferrably one with white noise), volume up, guide the blind person towards the TV, ask them how loud they can hear, take a few steps and repeat the process, go to another room (a distant one) together and ask about the loudness of the sound again, tell them that the closer an object is, the bigger it seems… Just like the “white noise” of the TV set. The closer they are to the sound source, the bigger the object is…
Music – Explaining the concept of music to a deaf person is no different. But, here, we picked another sense (touch) to explain the concept since vision would not work.
The Method: Switch on a music set that is connected to huge amps, tell the deaf person to touch the amp with both hands, play a song with a repeating melody in high volume, sit back and relax as the vibrations will do the trick…
Flavor – Anosmic people cannot smell nor taste flavors, so this one is going to be tricky as this time it’s two senses that are useless. I think it’s best to use “touch” one more time.
The Method: Prepare a table of various food with different flavors, seat the anosmic person, tell them to close their eyes, feed them with one hand, touch them with the other hand in different ways (a gentle caress, patting the head softly, a back rub or a slight slap on the cheek) for each flavor and ask them how it feels. For sweet flavors, do the pleasent touches, for bitter or sour ones, do the not-so-pleasent strokes… For leek, punch them 🙂
The last two concepts; “Home” and “God” are challenges for you to tackle. Think about them for some time, then leave a comment on this post. I’ll reply every comment!
Thanks for reading…
Honestly, I wouldn’t bother reading a blog entry with a crappy title such as
“The benefits of hugging”.
It does sound lame but in our current world where we are constantly pushing people away, hiding behind an even lamer concept called “invasion of personal space”, it is to the point and such entries should be read. Especially if the author is a professional hugger.
I’m a hugger by nature and I actually think everyone is. Why do you think we have lengthy arms? To pick fruit from tall trees? Pandas can do that with their chubby limbs. Long arms are for hugging.
And the concept “invasion of personal space” is all wrong anyway. The word “invasion” suggests that the action is done by brute force. Hugging is never an act of violence. It’s combining souls, confronting, sharing and extreme bliss…
Now get up and hug someone.
We all love reading…. At least the ones who have found their way to this humble blog, do! As avid readers; we have read plain text and (like this first paragraph) let our imaginations run wild to visualize what the author had been trying to convey. That was when writing was a true art, which depended heavily on the author’s magic of using the right words in the right sequence. The key to some popular writers’ success was also due to their inclusion of the five senses into their writing; sight, smell, sound, touch and taste in comparison to using a two dimensional method of describing only sight. Look at the crappily written sample statements below and decide which one you favor:
- John opened the microwave door and took out the overcooked pizza. (Sight only)
- John opened the microwave door upon hearing the feeble bing, and a gush of hot air greeted his face. The burnt smell of the dark wheel inside made him regret setting the timer to 30 minutes instead of just 10. (Sight, sound and smell included – We also sense that it’s either John’s first time with the microwave or that he’s an idiot).
Anyway, with the emergence of graphic novels, writers had less worries about descriptions and plots became more engaging. Using pictures made the reader’s job easier.
The image above (from the fumetti “Mister No” by Bonelli Comics) clearly outlines how the character feels although there is no text involved.
Now, you see what a mere image does to the story. Imagine adding all the senses to it. How would your reading experience be? Perhaps, books can have a list of items and maybe a soundtrack CD for readers to gather up before starting reading. Let’s say; whenever a character in the book bites into a decaying apple, the reader does, too. Feeling the rotten taste and the horrid feel it leaves in the mouth and fully experiencing the character’s feelings! That would be priceless.
Before I finish, try rereading this post as described below:
I would recommend….
- Listening to the song “Not to touch the Earth” by the Doors.
- Making your environment really hot by either over-wearing thick clothes or turning up the heat on the AC.
- You may also want to pour yourself an icy drink.
- Then, wipe the accumulated sweat off your forehead with a smelly handkerchief
….while you’re reading this post. The points above summarize how I felt while I was writing this piece. Come on! I’m inviting you to invade my mind!