Do we dream less as we get older?

The origins of the imperative, "know thyself", are lost in the sands of time, but the age-old examination of human consciousness continues here.

Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:46 pm

Maia wrote:I would know immediately where the table is. I click my tongue and I can judge where objects are in a room, and the size of the room too. I can also tell if a wall I'm near is made of brick, or something else that deflects sound differently. Personally I prefer wood, it's much nicer. Softer somehow, and more natural. I don't have to touch it to know what it is. Stone is good for monumental purposes, rather than a place to live. I don't like metal structures at all, though. I also get claustrophobic, and hate being in cars, for example.


Here, of course, everything is turned around. You have this capability which creates a reality in your head that most who are not blind would find very difficult to understand. But, as with all people, blind and sighted, there is the complex interaction of factors in the lives we live that predispose us to like certain things. And, with regard to most of these personal prejudices, there does not appear to be a way for us to pin down whether we ought to prefer bricks or stone or metal or glass.

I have to admit to having mixed feelings about the blind community and the extent to which it's something I'm happy to be a part of. Since leaving school I have increasingly distanced myself from it. The controversies and arguments keep going round and round, without any resolution, but each time getting more political. I do, however, miss playing sports, which we did at school.


That's the part that is always tricky. And in almost all communities. There are those things that, in being part of the community, come to fulfil you. But whenever you have people interacting in a community there are going to be differences of opinions about any number of things. Do something this way, or that way? Sometimes compromises can be reached, sometimes not.

So, someone can be pulled and tugged into and away from the community. Stay or go? It's almost always a very personal thing that you may or may not be able to communicate to another. Like trying to understand what pulls and tugs on those in, say, an Amish community.

It's just that those who have had little or no interaction with the blind or the Amish [either in or out of a community] may find it hard to grasp why some things become controversial.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:32 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:I would know immediately where the table is. I click my tongue and I can judge where objects are in a room, and the size of the room too. I can also tell if a wall I'm near is made of brick, or something else that deflects sound differently. Personally I prefer wood, it's much nicer. Softer somehow, and more natural. I don't have to touch it to know what it is. Stone is good for monumental purposes, rather than a place to live. I don't like metal structures at all, though. I also get claustrophobic, and hate being in cars, for example.


Here, of course, everything is turned around. You have this capability which creates a reality in your head that most who are not blind would find very difficult to understand. But, as with all people, blind and sighted, there is the complex interaction of factors in the lives we live that predispose us to like certain things. And, with regard to most of these personal prejudices, there does not appear to be a way for us to pin down whether we ought to prefer bricks or stone or metal or glass.

I have to admit to having mixed feelings about the blind community and the extent to which it's something I'm happy to be a part of. Since leaving school I have increasingly distanced myself from it. The controversies and arguments keep going round and round, without any resolution, but each time getting more political. I do, however, miss playing sports, which we did at school.


That's the part that is always tricky. And in almost all communities. There are those things that, in being part of the community, come to fulfil you. But whenever you have people interacting in a community there are going to be differences of opinions about any number of things. Do something this way, or that way? Sometimes compromises can be reached, sometimes not.

So, someone can be pulled and tugged into and away from the community. Stay or go? It's almost always a very personal thing that you may or may not be able to communicate to another. Like trying to understand what pulls and tugs on those in, say, an Amish community.

It's just that those who have had little or no interaction with the blind or the Amish [either in or out of a community] may find it hard to grasp why some things become controversial.


It's all a question of taste, of course, for everyone. I like wooden structures because I very much like being in the woods, in nature, among the trees. This is also why I like camping. Tents can be pretty small, but I don't get claustrophobic in them as they are not solid. If it were practical to do so, I would live outdoors all the time, where I feel most free. As it is, I still make the effort to go camping whenever I can.

As for the blind community, I have a particular disagreement with the RNIB, the UK's main organisation for blind people, especially with a new set of policies they adopted a few years ago, and have had nothing at all to do with them for a long time. They perform valuable services, and help many people, but have become far too politicised, in my opinion. Perhaps they felt they had no choice, but it can all get very tedious.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 11, 2021 6:57 pm

Maia wrote:
It's all a question of taste, of course, for everyone. I like wooden structures because I very much like being in the woods, in nature, among the trees. This is also why I like camping. Tents can be pretty small, but I don't get claustrophobic in them as they are not solid. If it were practical to do so, I would live outdoors all the time, where I feel most free. As it is, I still make the effort to go camping whenever I can.


Yes, this is true for both the blind and the sighted. So, it would really come down to a blind person and a sighted person going camping together. They share the same experience but one can embody it visually and one cannot. And here the communication would seem to derive more from the extent to which they knew each other. If someone who was sighted met someone who is blind and they went camping, everything would seem to revolve around figuring out a way to share the experience, to communicate what they experience from two different frames of mind. The times when that doesn't matter and the times when, depending on the people as individuals, it might matter. The closer they become the less that part about being blind or sighted matters.

This and the attitude that the sighted person has acquired about those who are blind. All the complexities intertwined in a relationship in which being blind might become a factor. What is the right attitude to take? How ought one who is not blind to think and feel about someone who is? For me, with very little experience being around blind people, I suspect I would be concerned about saying or doing the wrong thing.

Maia wrote:As for the blind community, I have a particular disagreement with the RNIB, the UK's main organisation for blind people, especially with a new set of policies they adopted a few years ago, and have had nothing at all to do with them for a long time. They perform valuable services, and help many people, but have become far too politicised, in my opinion. Perhaps they felt they had no choice, but it can all get very tedious.


Would you be willing to explain in more detail what that disagreement revolved around? What new set of policies? Why did you choose to back away from this organization?

With politics, that can revolve around either personal relationships in a group or social relationships among groups. It can also pertain to who has the power to reward or punish certain behaviors. Specifically, what those behaviors are and who is able to actually enforce certain rules regarding them.

Or do you mean something else here?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:49 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:
It's all a question of taste, of course, for everyone. I like wooden structures because I very much like being in the woods, in nature, among the trees. This is also why I like camping. Tents can be pretty small, but I don't get claustrophobic in them as they are not solid. If it were practical to do so, I would live outdoors all the time, where I feel most free. As it is, I still make the effort to go camping whenever I can.


Yes, this is true for both the blind and the sighted. So, it would really come down to a blind person and a sighted person going camping together. They share the same experience but one can embody it visually and one cannot. And here the communication would seem to derive more from the extent to which they knew each other. If someone who was sighted met someone who is blind and they went camping, everything would seem to revolve around figuring out a way to share the experience, to communicate what they experience from two different frames of mind. The times when that doesn't matter and the times when, depending on the people as individuals, it might matter. The closer they become the less that part about being blind or sighted matters.

This and the attitude that the sighted person has acquired about those who are blind. All the complexities intertwined in a relationship in which being blind might become a factor. What is the right attitude to take? How ought one who is not blind to think and feel about someone who is? For me, with very little experience being around blind people, I suspect I would be concerned about saying or doing the wrong thing.

Maia wrote:As for the blind community, I have a particular disagreement with the RNIB, the UK's main organisation for blind people, especially with a new set of policies they adopted a few years ago, and have had nothing at all to do with them for a long time. They perform valuable services, and help many people, but have become far too politicised, in my opinion. Perhaps they felt they had no choice, but it can all get very tedious.


Would you be willing to explain in more detail what that disagreement revolved around? What new set of policies? Why did you choose to back away from this organization?

With politics, that can revolve around either personal relationships in a group or social relationships among groups. It can also pertain to who has the power to reward or punish certain behaviors. Specifically, what those behaviors are and who is able to actually enforce certain rules regarding them.

Or do you mean something else here?


I tend to go camping on my own, without either a blind or sighted person with me. My experiences are therefore mine alone, and I much prefer it that way. I doubt if I could really communicate them to anyone. We used to go camping in groups at school, which is how I first got into it, and on those occasions, while all the girls were blind, of course, most of the teachers weren't (though a few were, to varying degrees). To me, it is very much the feeling of being one with nature, and of independence.

It sounds like you would be quite nervous around blind people, but you really shouldn't worry about saying or doing the wrong thing. Whatever you said or did, it wouldn't be as bad as the nervousness itself, and I assure you we've heard it all before. So the attitude to take is simply to forget about them being blind.

The RNIB used to run a number of centres around the country, where people could come in and get help with all sorts of things, such as filling out forms. But a few years ago they decided to turn these offices into call centres. No longer would members of the public be allowed in, and all advice would be given out by phone. I assume that's still the case now, but have had nothing to do with them for three years.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:32 pm

Maia wrote:
I tend to go camping on my own, without either a blind or sighted person with me. My experiences are therefore mine alone, and I much prefer it that way. I doubt if I could really communicate them to anyone. We used to go camping in groups at school, which is how I first got into it, and on those occasions, while all the girls were blind, of course, most of the teachers weren't (though a few were, to varying degrees). To me, it is very much the feeling of being one with nature, and of independence.


Yes, and any number of sighted people will experience that same sense of interacting with nature on a more intimate and intuitive level. But there is still the natural curiosity of those who are blind wondering what it must be like to see nature and those who are sighted wondering what it must be like to experience nature blind. Both are able to feel at one with nature and that's the important thing. But what might pop into the heads of some who are not blind is trying to imagine the experience of camping alone while blind. Wondering about chance situations, uncertain situations, in which being blind might be, well, scary.

Maia wrote:It sounds like you would be quite nervous around blind people, but you really shouldn't worry about saying or doing the wrong thing. Whatever you said or did, it wouldn't be as bad as the nervousness itself, and I assure you we've heard it all before. So the attitude to take is simply to forget about them being blind.


Well, I will either befriend someone who is blind and come to know this experience first hand or I won't.

Maia wrote:The RNIB used to run a number of centres around the country, where people could come in and get help with all sorts of things, such as filling out forms. But a few years ago they decided to turn these offices into call centres. No longer would members of the public be allowed in, and all advice would be given out by phone. I assume that's still the case now, but have had nothing to do with them for three years.


Sighted people have their own horror stories in regard to call centers. Especially the "automated" systems where you are never able to actually talk to a human being.

Most of us -- blind or sighted -- will have mixed feelings about organizations like the RNIB. Some will swear by them, others swear at them. It all comes down to what works for you and what doesn't.

But that's just part of the human condition. We all try to live our lives from day to day with the least amount of trials and tribulations.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:47 am

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:
I tend to go camping on my own, without either a blind or sighted person with me. My experiences are therefore mine alone, and I much prefer it that way. I doubt if I could really communicate them to anyone. We used to go camping in groups at school, which is how I first got into it, and on those occasions, while all the girls were blind, of course, most of the teachers weren't (though a few were, to varying degrees). To me, it is very much the feeling of being one with nature, and of independence.


Yes, and any number of sighted people will experience that same sense of interacting with nature on a more intimate and intuitive level. But there is still the natural curiosity of those who are blind wondering what it must be like to see nature and those who are sighted wondering what it must be like to experience nature blind. Both are able to feel at one with nature and that's the important thing. But what might pop into the heads of some who are not blind is trying to imagine the experience of camping alone while blind. Wondering about chance situations, uncertain situations, in which being blind might be, well, scary.

Maia wrote:It sounds like you would be quite nervous around blind people, but you really shouldn't worry about saying or doing the wrong thing. Whatever you said or did, it wouldn't be as bad as the nervousness itself, and I assure you we've heard it all before. So the attitude to take is simply to forget about them being blind.


Well, I will either befriend someone who is blind and come to know this experience first hand or I won't.

Maia wrote:The RNIB used to run a number of centres around the country, where people could come in and get help with all sorts of things, such as filling out forms. But a few years ago they decided to turn these offices into call centres. No longer would members of the public be allowed in, and all advice would be given out by phone. I assume that's still the case now, but have had nothing to do with them for three years.


Sighted people have their own horror stories in regard to call centers. Especially the "automated" systems where you are never able to actually talk to a human being.

Most of us -- blind or sighted -- will have mixed feelings about organizations like the RNIB. Some will swear by them, others swear at them. It all comes down to what works for you and what doesn't.

But that's just part of the human condition. We all try to live our lives from day to day with the least amount of trials and tribulations.


I do have a very profound curiosity about what it's like to see nature, or indeed anything at all, and have tried to understand it my whole life. This is why these sorts of discussions are endlessly fascinating. My own experience of nature is very much a case of completely immersing myself in it. The feel of the grass, smell of the trees, sounds of the forest, and all the other things, overloading my senses and evoking deep emotional states. I can lose myself in it, sometimes for hours on end.

The places I like going are fairly remote. The mountains of North Wales, for example, though there are also more local places. It's not scary at all, and no one I've ever met while hiking has ever been anything but really friendly and helpful. Sometimes overly helpful, actually, but I always make a point of being friendly in return, because they always mean well. In pre-lockdown days I would get the train up to the North Welsh coast and then spend a few days heading inland, and I'm looking forward to doing that again soon.

The RNIB still provide useful services, and I don't want to knock them too much. But I'm perfectly happy having nothing to do with them. I went to one of their conferences in 2016 and they had a whole load of speakers going on and on about their new plans for the future. It was all very annoying.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:23 pm

Maia wrote:I do have a very profound curiosity about what it's like to see nature, or indeed anything at all, and have tried to understand it my whole life. This is why these sorts of discussions are endlessly fascinating. My own experience of nature is very much a case of completely immersing myself in it. The feel of the grass, smell of the trees, sounds of the forest, and all the other things, overloading my senses and evoking deep emotional states. I can lose myself in it, sometimes for hours on end.


Here we can try to imagine the experiences of someone who was once sighted and who felt as you do about nature. But then she loses her sight and has to experience nature more intently through her other senses. Or someone who is sighted but attempts to capture the experience of nature without the visual cues.

Or all the many combinations of experiences here that different people with different sensual capacities have. Imagine them sitting in a room describing their experiences with nature.

That's what always fascinates me most about human interaction. There are the things we share in common that make communication easier. And then the things we derive from very different lives and very different minds and very different bodies. Where communication is harder and more effort is needed to understand each other.

And how prejudices can pop up in which individuals are labelled as belonging to this or that group. Stereotypes that might be wildly off the reality that any particular person experiences.

Maia wrote:The places I like going are fairly remote. The mountains of North Wales, for example, though there are also more local places. It's not scary at all, and no one I've ever met while hiking has ever been anything but really friendly and helpful. Sometimes overly helpful, actually, but I always make a point of being friendly in return, because they always mean well. In pre-lockdown days I would get the train up to the North Welsh coast and then spend a few days heading inland, and I'm looking forward to doing that again soon.


I'm trying to imagine the reaction of some here in America who are blind...going into remote areas alone. There is basically a widespread frame of mind over here. This one: that there are just too many dangerous men "out there". True crime is everywhere on American television. Not everywhere of course, but women that I have talked to over the years are reluctant to do much of anything at all alone. And, again, the feeling would be that for blind women, the danger is just that much more acute.

But, again, what do I really know about it? This all just pops into my head and might be way off the mark.

Maia wrote:The RNIB still provide useful services, and I don't want to knock them too much. But I'm perfectly happy having nothing to do with them. I went to one of their conferences in 2016 and they had a whole load of speakers going on and on about their new plans for the future. It was all very annoying.


Just out of curiosity, if you were able to suggest changes the RNIB should pursue what would they be? What would your own idea of the "best of all possible worlds" be for the blind in your community.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:18 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:I do have a very profound curiosity about what it's like to see nature, or indeed anything at all, and have tried to understand it my whole life. This is why these sorts of discussions are endlessly fascinating. My own experience of nature is very much a case of completely immersing myself in it. The feel of the grass, smell of the trees, sounds of the forest, and all the other things, overloading my senses and evoking deep emotional states. I can lose myself in it, sometimes for hours on end.


Here we can try to imagine the experiences of someone who was once sighted and who felt as you do about nature. But then she loses her sight and has to experience nature more intently through her other senses. Or someone who is sighted but attempts to capture the experience of nature without the visual cues.

Or all the many combinations of experiences here that different people with different sensual capacities have. Imagine them sitting in a room describing their experiences with nature.

That's what always fascinates me most about human interaction. There are the things we share in common that make communication easier. And then the things we derive from very different lives and very different minds and very different bodies. Where communication is harder and more effort is needed to understand each other.

And how prejudices can pop up in which individuals are labelled as belonging to this or that group. Stereotypes that might be wildly off the reality that any particular person experiences.

Maia wrote:The places I like going are fairly remote. The mountains of North Wales, for example, though there are also more local places. It's not scary at all, and no one I've ever met while hiking has ever been anything but really friendly and helpful. Sometimes overly helpful, actually, but I always make a point of being friendly in return, because they always mean well. In pre-lockdown days I would get the train up to the North Welsh coast and then spend a few days heading inland, and I'm looking forward to doing that again soon.


I'm trying to imagine the reaction of some here in America who are blind...going into remote areas alone. There is basically a widespread frame of mind over here. This one: that there are just too many dangerous men "out there". True crime is everywhere on American television. Not everywhere of course, but women that I have talked to over the years are reluctant to do much of anything at all alone. And, again, the feeling would be that for blind women, the danger is just that much more acute.

But, again, what do I really know about it? This all just pops into my head and might be way off the mark.

Maia wrote:The RNIB still provide useful services, and I don't want to knock them too much. But I'm perfectly happy having nothing to do with them. I went to one of their conferences in 2016 and they had a whole load of speakers going on and on about their new plans for the future. It was all very annoying.


Just out of curiosity, if you were able to suggest changes the RNIB should pursue what would they be? What would your own idea of the "best of all possible worlds" be for the blind in your community.


I can't imagine what it would be like to have once been sighted and then become blind, but from everyone I've spoken to, it's very different to having been born blind. They retain visual memory, for example, which affects how they experience the world, and find it difficult develop skills such as echo-location, which to me just comes naturally without even thinking about it. Often they never even develop the ability to read Braille, because of a lack of sensitivity in their fingers. I suppose the same would be true, but even more so, of a sighted person who was attempting to avoid all visual input.

I feel more vulnerable in certain areas of the city, than out in the countryside, but even then, I don't feel particularly at risk, as long as I'm careful. But you're certainly not the first person to question the wisdom of me going camping out in the wilderness on my own. I've had it from family, friends, and other blind people. But for me it's essential to be genuinely independent. I also try and avoid being dependent on technology too much, though I do have a neat little talking compass and GPS locator, courtesy of the RNIB shop, incidentally, so I shouldn't criticise them too much.

As for how I would change the RNIB if I had the chance, I would get them to open their offices up to the public again, and if possible, open more across the country. One of the excuses they gave for turning them into call centres was that only people who lived within travelling distance of one of their offices would have access to it, which was unfair on people who lived in other areas, who would only be able to get advice by phone. That seems very shortsighted in my opinion, and it should instead have been an incentive to expand their operation, not reduce it to the lowest common denominator. It all boils down to money in the end though.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:28 pm

Maia wrote:I can't imagine what it would be like to have once been sighted and then become blind, but from everyone I've spoken to, it's very different to having been born blind. They retain visual memory, for example, which affects how they experience the world, and find it difficult develop skills such as echo-location, which to me just comes naturally without even thinking about it. Often they never even develop the ability to read Braille, because of a lack of sensitivity in their fingers. I suppose the same would be true, but even more so, of a sighted person who was attempting to avoid all visual input.


Below is an account from Slate magazine of someone who was sighted and then became legally blind. She admits though that "I’m not representative of the average blind and low-vision individual."

https://slate.com/human-interest/2013/1 ... blind.html

She notes the biological parts that revolve around her brain and her eyes that are beyond her control; and the parts that are more about her social interactions with others where she has more contol but has to make adjustments because of her partial blindness.

She stresses how each individual is different given the wide range of visual impairment. She can only attempt to explain the way she interacts with the world around her.

Then this part: "There are three main navigation techniques that blind and low-vision folks use: a white cane, seeing-eye animal, or nothing. There are some political and personal preferences involved in one’s choice."

Again, each individual will choose what they feel is best for them.

Then the part about reading as a legally blind person and the way sighted people treat you.

Then the tricky parts where what may be the rule for most blind people becomes the exception for others. And then all the "practical" things that blind people must relearn to do without vision.

Though, again, never having been able to see, your situation will be different.

Maia wrote:I feel more vulnerable in certain areas of the city, than out in the countryside, but even then, I don't feel particularly at risk, as long as I'm careful. But you're certainly not the first person to question the wisdom of me going camping out in the wilderness on my own. I've had it from family, friends, and other blind people. But for me it's essential to be genuinely independent. I also try and avoid being dependent on technology too much, though I do have a neat little talking compass and GPS locator, courtesy of the RNIB shop, incidentally, so I shouldn't criticise them too much.


That's really what it always comes down to. No one is going to understand the life that you live better than you do. You can only think through the situations you choose to be in to the best of your ability and do what you think through as best. Live and learn as with all of us. And who can argue with anyone wanting to be as independent as they possibly can. It's just that, again, for sighted people, they can only think about being blind in imagining themselves as being blind. What would they think is too dangerous? Only in actually being blind however does it all become a very real thing. Or, rather, so it seems to me as someone who is not himself blind.

Maia wrote:As for how I would change the RNIB if I had the chance, I would get them to open their offices up to the public again, and if possible, open more across the country. One of the excuses they gave for turning them into call centres was that only people who lived within travelling distance of one of their offices would have access to it, which was unfair on people who lived in other areas, who would only be able to get advice by phone. That seems very shortsighted in my opinion, and it should instead have been an incentive to expand their operation, not reduce it to the lowest common denominator. It all boils down to money in the end though.


Well, here, it all comes down to the options that any particular individual has available to them to convince organizations like RNIB to make the changes they would find desirable. The more people you can convince to think like you do the more weight you would have.

Also, RNIB is described as "a UK charity offering information, support and advice to almost two million people in the UK with sight loss".

Is it a part of the government? Does the government itself have good programs for those with visual impairments?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:53 am

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:I can't imagine what it would be like to have once been sighted and then become blind, but from everyone I've spoken to, it's very different to having been born blind. They retain visual memory, for example, which affects how they experience the world, and find it difficult develop skills such as echo-location, which to me just comes naturally without even thinking about it. Often they never even develop the ability to read Braille, because of a lack of sensitivity in their fingers. I suppose the same would be true, but even more so, of a sighted person who was attempting to avoid all visual input.


Below is an account from Slate magazine of someone who was sighted and then became legally blind. She admits though that "I’m not representative of the average blind and low-vision individual."

https://slate.com/human-interest/2013/1 ... blind.html

She notes the biological parts that revolve around her brain and her eyes that are beyond her control; and the parts that are more about her social interactions with others where she has more contol but has to make adjustments because of her partial blindness.

She stresses how each individual is different given the wide range of visual impairment. She can only attempt to explain the way she interacts with the world around her.

Then this part: "There are three main navigation techniques that blind and low-vision folks use: a white cane, seeing-eye animal, or nothing. There are some political and personal preferences involved in one’s choice."

Again, each individual will choose what they feel is best for them.

Then the part about reading as a legally blind person and the way sighted people treat you.

Then the tricky parts where what may be the rule for most blind people becomes the exception for others. And then all the "practical" things that blind people must relearn to do without vision.

Though, again, never having been able to see, your situation will be different.

Maia wrote:I feel more vulnerable in certain areas of the city, than out in the countryside, but even then, I don't feel particularly at risk, as long as I'm careful. But you're certainly not the first person to question the wisdom of me going camping out in the wilderness on my own. I've had it from family, friends, and other blind people. But for me it's essential to be genuinely independent. I also try and avoid being dependent on technology too much, though I do have a neat little talking compass and GPS locator, courtesy of the RNIB shop, incidentally, so I shouldn't criticise them too much.


That's really what it always comes down to. No one is going to understand the life that you live better than you do. You can only think through the situations you choose to be in to the best of your ability and do what you think through as best. Live and learn as with all of us. And who can argue with anyone wanting to be as independent as they possibly can. It's just that, again, for sighted people, they can only think about being blind in imagining themselves as being blind. What would they think is too dangerous? Only in actually being blind however does it all become a very real thing. Or, rather, so it seems to me as someone who is not himself blind.

Maia wrote:As for how I would change the RNIB if I had the chance, I would get them to open their offices up to the public again, and if possible, open more across the country. One of the excuses they gave for turning them into call centres was that only people who lived within travelling distance of one of their offices would have access to it, which was unfair on people who lived in other areas, who would only be able to get advice by phone. That seems very shortsighted in my opinion, and it should instead have been an incentive to expand their operation, not reduce it to the lowest common denominator. It all boils down to money in the end though.


Well, here, it all comes down to the options that any particular individual has available to them to convince organizations like RNIB to make the changes they would find desirable. The more people you can convince to think like you do the more weight you would have.

Also, RNIB is described as "a UK charity offering information, support and advice to almost two million people in the UK with sight loss".

Is it a part of the government? Does the government itself have good programs for those with visual impairments?


Here's an interesting article on echo-location, from our old friends the RNIB.

https://www.rnib.org.uk/rnibconnect/blind-echolocation

It's rare for those who lose their sight to learn how to do this properly, as it's an instinctive thing. I hadn't read that article before and am surprised to learn that clicking is actually discouraged by some institutions. It certainly wasn't at my school, in fact is was very greatly encouraged. I do, of course, have a cane as well, but have never had a guide dog, simply as a matter of choice.

I've often said that I think that losing one's sight should be classed as a wholly different condition to being born blind, as the issues are very different. In short, I don't actually think of myself as disabled, except in a purely legal sense, and I certainly don't live my life as if something is missing from it, or that I'm deficient in some way. The author of the article you linked has had a whole different set of life experiences to me, though quite similar, in many ways, to people I knew at school, where we were all encouraged to share our experiences and learn from each other. Many blind people, for example, have light perception, and it's relatively rare to have none at all, like myself.

The RNIB is not part of the government, and as far as I know, gets no funding from it. In terms of government support, there are various benefits and grants, especially for those who are unemployed, but since I have a job anyway, I've never really looked into it in any great detail. Giving advice on these matters, and helping people apply, is a big part of what the RNIB does, though it also gives grants itself, usually for one-off items of equipment. Education is paid for by local authorities, which in my case was a boarding school for the blind, though there is a long, slow-burning debate going on as to whether blind kids should be sent to ordinary schools, and many are. Not sure what I think about that, and I can see both sides of the argument. I very much enjoyed my time at school and wouldn't want to deprive others of such an opportunity. In particular, I liked the camping trips, and also the team sports. The school also received financial support from the RNIB, but this was withdrawn.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:00 pm

Maia wrote:
Here's an interesting article on echo-location, from our old friends the RNIB.

https://www.rnib.org.uk/rnibconnect/blind-echolocation


Interesting? More like mind-boggling for someone like me who had never even imagined that such things were possible. And it shows how, while the blind may struggle to grasp what it means to see the world visually, those who do see the world can only struggle in turn to grasp what it must be like to possess the capabilities of someone like Daniel. What must that "sense of reality" be?

Yet even within the blind community there is controversy about it:

"Daniel agrees that relatively few blind people use active echolocation to the extent that he and a few others advocate. 'In many instances it’s discouraged,' he says. 'I personally have worked with students who’ve come from schools for the blind, for whom clicking was actively discouraged. I believe it’s discouraged because it’s seen as a ‘blindism’ – if you’re clicking then you’re drawing undue or negative attention to yourself."

Again, as always, individuals must decide for themselves what is best.

And then the part about snow! Better then to be blind where there isn't any?

It would be fascinating just to walk along side someone adept at this and hear him or her describe what the echoes are telling them about the world around us.

Maia wrote:I've often said that I think that losing one's sight should be classed as a wholly different condition to being born blind, as the issues are very different. In short, I don't actually think of myself as disabled, except in a purely legal sense, and I certainly don't live my life as if something is missing from it, or that I'm deficient in some way.


You're right. If you have always been blind that's the only reality you have ever known. You can't actually lose something that you never had. So, naturally, you are going to think about being blind in a very different way from those for whom blindness does become a disability because they have to learn how to live now without being able to see.

Maia wrote:The author of the article you linked has had a whole different set of life experiences to me, though quite similar, in many ways, to people I knew at school, where we were all encouraged to share our experiences and learn from each other. Many blind people, for example, have light perception, and it's relatively rare to have none at all, like myself.


That's always the part I stress. We think about the world around us based on the accumulation of specific experiences that we and only we have. With others they will share these same experiences only more or less. Being blind or not blind. The tricky part always comes when you have had different experiences and as a result of that conflicts can pop up in which one person thinks doing something one way is better than doing it another way. Then it comes down to figuring out a way to share each other's world so that we can learn from others who are learning from us.

In the blind community, you note that being blind from birth as you are -- totally blind? -- is relatively rare. So even here it will be more challenging to communicate your own sense of reality.

Maia wrote:The RNIB is not part of the government, and as far as I know, gets no funding from it. In terms of government support, there are various benefits and grants, especially for those who are unemployed, but since I have a job anyway, I've never really looked into it in any great detail. Giving advice on these matters, and helping people apply, is a big part of what the RNIB does, though it also gives grants itself, usually for one-off items of equipment. Education is paid for by local authorities, which in my case was a boarding school for the blind, though there is a long, slow-burning debate going on as to whether blind kids should be sent to ordinary schools, and many are. Not sure what I think about that, and I can see both sides of the argument. I very much enjoyed my time at school and wouldn't want to deprive others of such an opportunity. In particular, I liked the camping trips, and also the team sports. The school also received financial support from the RNIB, but this was withdrawn.


This is a world that those like me know almost nothing about. A world where you are in a community with those who are like you dealing with the wider world of those who are not like you. And that involves interactions in the family, the neighborhood, the community and the nation. Some things are private, others public. And here there are always going to be differences of opinion about "what is best".

I know almost nothing about how this all unfolds for the blind but there are still going to be the parts that are relevant to all citizens in any particular set of circumstances. The "me" world and the "we" world. And then the part where we attempt to communicate how we have come to understand our self "out in a particular world" that may or may not be like the worlds of others.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:21 am

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:
Here's an interesting article on echo-location, from our old friends the RNIB.

https://www.rnib.org.uk/rnibconnect/blind-echolocation


Interesting? More like mind-boggling for someone like me who had never even imagined that such things were possible. And it shows how, while the blind may struggle to grasp what it means to see the world visually, those who do see the world can only struggle in turn to grasp what it must be like to possess the capabilities of someone like Daniel. What must that "sense of reality" be?

Yet even within the blind community there is controversy about it:

"Daniel agrees that relatively few blind people use active echolocation to the extent that he and a few others advocate. 'In many instances it’s discouraged,' he says. 'I personally have worked with students who’ve come from schools for the blind, for whom clicking was actively discouraged. I believe it’s discouraged because it’s seen as a ‘blindism’ – if you’re clicking then you’re drawing undue or negative attention to yourself."

Again, as always, individuals must decide for themselves what is best.

And then the part about snow! Better then to be blind where there isn't any?

It would be fascinating just to walk along side someone adept at this and hear him or her describe what the echoes are telling them about the world around us.

Maia wrote:I've often said that I think that losing one's sight should be classed as a wholly different condition to being born blind, as the issues are very different. In short, I don't actually think of myself as disabled, except in a purely legal sense, and I certainly don't live my life as if something is missing from it, or that I'm deficient in some way.


You're right. If you have always been blind that's the only reality you have ever known. You can't actually lose something that you never had. So, naturally, you are going to think about being blind in a very different way from those for whom blindness does become a disability because they have to learn how to live now without being able to see.

Maia wrote:The author of the article you linked has had a whole different set of life experiences to me, though quite similar, in many ways, to people I knew at school, where we were all encouraged to share our experiences and learn from each other. Many blind people, for example, have light perception, and it's relatively rare to have none at all, like myself.


That's always the part I stress. We think about the world around us based on the accumulation of specific experiences that we and only we have. With others they will share these same experiences only more or less. Being blind or not blind. The tricky part always comes when you have had different experiences and as a result of that conflicts can pop up in which one person thinks doing something one way is better than doing it another way. Then it comes down to figuring out a way to share each other's world so that we can learn from others who are learning from us.

In the blind community, you note that being blind from birth as you are -- totally blind? -- is relatively rare. So even here it will be more challenging to communicate your own sense of reality.

Maia wrote:The RNIB is not part of the government, and as far as I know, gets no funding from it. In terms of government support, there are various benefits and grants, especially for those who are unemployed, but since I have a job anyway, I've never really looked into it in any great detail. Giving advice on these matters, and helping people apply, is a big part of what the RNIB does, though it also gives grants itself, usually for one-off items of equipment. Education is paid for by local authorities, which in my case was a boarding school for the blind, though there is a long, slow-burning debate going on as to whether blind kids should be sent to ordinary schools, and many are. Not sure what I think about that, and I can see both sides of the argument. I very much enjoyed my time at school and wouldn't want to deprive others of such an opportunity. In particular, I liked the camping trips, and also the team sports. The school also received financial support from the RNIB, but this was withdrawn.


This is a world that those like me know almost nothing about. A world where you are in a community with those who are like you dealing with the wider world of those who are not like you. And that involves interactions in the family, the neighborhood, the community and the nation. Some things are private, others public. And here there are always going to be differences of opinion about "what is best".

I know almost nothing about how this all unfolds for the blind but there are still going to be the parts that are relevant to all citizens in any particular set of circumstances. The "me" world and the "we" world. And then the part where we attempt to communicate how we have come to understand our self "out in a particular world" that may or may not be like the worlds of others.


I have to admit to a perverse sense of pleasure in freaking sighted people out by telling them, for example, that there's a tree ten metres ahead, or a wall, or whatever.

I have no idea why anyone would try and discourage blind people clicking, and have never enountered such an attitude. I do note, however, that Daniel is American, so perhaps opinions are different there, at least in some quarters.

Snow is lovely, and I would dance around barefoot in it given half a chance. It's certainly true, however, that it muffles sound, both when it's falling and when it has settled on the ground. But the most disabling thing for me is having a cold, as this blocks up my sinuses and stops me echo-locating. This can be quite tricky at work, where I often have to push elderly people round in wheelchairs playing basketball, or hold them up in a swimming pool while they're exercising, and so on. I suppose it would be the equivalent of a sighted person going blind whenever they have a blocked nose. Thankfully, touch wood, I'm blessed with very good health, and am hardly ever ill. Wearing a mask has a similar effect (though not as bad), which is why I never do.

Yes, I'm totally blind. Having no light perception at all is relatively rare among blind people (something like ten percent, I think), and that includes those who have been blind from birth. In my case, I was born without optic nerves, so have never had any visual input.

In terms of community, I feel far more affinity with the Pagan community, than the blind one, but I suppose one was a matter of choice, and the other wasn't. I still keep in touch with schoolfriends, who are scattered all over the country and beyond, and in so doing I keep up with the latest blind gossip (even if it's not very interesting), but my social life, such as it is, here where I live, is conducted almost entirely with other Pagans, plus the occasional co-worker. Not so much this past year though, of course.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:42 pm

Maia wrote:I have to admit to a perverse sense of pleasure in freaking sighted people out by telling them, for example, that there's a tree ten metres ahead, or a wall, or whatever.


Nothing wrong with having a perverse sense of pleasure. I have a few of them myself. And I can just imagine the reactions from those who have no idea how something like that can be done. Me, for example.

Maia wrote:I have no idea why anyone would try and discourage blind people clicking, and have never enountered such an attitude. I do note, however, that Daniel is American, so perhaps opinions are different there, at least in some quarters.


I suspect that in some parts of America, people do whatever they can to not stand out. In other words, to always behave in ways that are thought to be normal. I think some people would choose not to click because it would draw attention to them. Some are just more self-conscious than others in that way. They don't want to be thought of as "different". On the other hand, if you are blind you don't see the reactions of others, do you? So that would kind of work to your advantage.

Maia wrote: Snow is lovely, and I would dance around barefoot in it given half a chance. It's certainly true, however, that it muffles sound, both when it's falling and when it has settled on the ground.


Again, the mysterious gap between those who experience snow without any visual cues and those who react to snow almost entirely through their sense of sight. How "whiteness" covers everything.

Both experiencing it together and communicating what they think and feel. But how many sighted people would even imagine snow as an actual impediment for some who are blind. It's like with the covid pandemic and the deaf. How many hearing people think about how wearing facial masks might be calamitous to those who communicate through lip reading? It never occurred to me until I read about in the paper.

Maia wrote: But the most disabling thing for me is having a cold, as this blocks up my sinuses and stops me echo-locating. This can be quite tricky at work, where I often have to push elderly people round in wheelchairs playing basketball, or hold them up in a swimming pool while they're exercising, and so on. I suppose it would be the equivalent of a sighted person going blind whenever they have a blocked nose. Thankfully, touch wood, I'm blessed with very good health, and am hardly ever ill. Wearing a mask has a similar effect (though not as bad), which is why I never do.


All I can do here is try to imagine how something like this would be accomplished by me if I was blind. A world beyond my comprehension. Are others blind at the place you work? Those who do what you do, or the elderly that you care for? Does being blind become something that you talk to others about in your interactions?

Maia wrote:Yes, I'm totally blind. Having no light perception at all is relatively rare among blind people (something like ten percent, I think), and that includes those who have been blind from birth. In my case, I was born without optic nerves, so have never had any visual input.


That is truly unimaginable to me. I can close my eyes, of course, but whatever I come into contact with I can "see" in my mind. But not to have any grasp at all about something other than through my other senses is just, well, unfathomable. I'm trying to imagine how I would feel about that. If I were born blind and learned about this thing called sight that other people had and I didn't. But, again, if you were never able to see, nothing is lost. But then what are you missing? How important would that be? What else can there be here but different reactions from different people...with no "right" reaction.

Maia wrote:In terms of community, I feel far more affinity with the Pagan community, than the blind one, but I suppose one was a matter of choice, and the other wasn't. I still keep in touch with schoolfriends, who are scattered all over the country and beyond, and in so doing I keep up with the latest blind gossip (even if it's not very interesting), but my social life, such as it is, here where I live, is conducted almost entirely with other Pagans, plus the occasional co-worker. Not so much this past year though, of course.


Yes, that is always an important factor in the lives of most of us. To have those you can interact with who share a set of values that allow you to anchor your sense of self to. Being blind would not seem to be something that separated you from experiences that are meaningful to everyone in the community.

I once had that myself in both religious and political communities.

And now that I am unable to sink down into it any longer, it is something that I sorely miss.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:46 am

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:I have to admit to a perverse sense of pleasure in freaking sighted people out by telling them, for example, that there's a tree ten metres ahead, or a wall, or whatever.


Nothing wrong with having a perverse sense of pleasure. I have a few of them myself. And I can just imagine the reactions from those who have no idea how something like that can be done. Me, for example.

Maia wrote:I have no idea why anyone would try and discourage blind people clicking, and have never enountered such an attitude. I do note, however, that Daniel is American, so perhaps opinions are different there, at least in some quarters.


I suspect that in some parts of America, people do whatever they can to not stand out. In other words, to always behave in ways that are thought to be normal. I think some people would choose not to click because it would draw attention to them. Some are just more self-conscious than others in that way. They don't want to be thought of as "different". On the other hand, if you are blind you don't see the reactions of others, do you? So that would kind of work to your advantage.

Maia wrote: Snow is lovely, and I would dance around barefoot in it given half a chance. It's certainly true, however, that it muffles sound, both when it's falling and when it has settled on the ground.


Again, the mysterious gap between those who experience snow without any visual cues and those who react to snow almost entirely through their sense of sight. How "whiteness" covers everything.

Both experiencing it together and communicating what they think and feel. But how many sighted people would even imagine snow as an actual impediment for some who are blind. It's like with the covid pandemic and the deaf. How many hearing people think about how wearing facial masks might be calamitous to those who communicate through lip reading? It never occurred to me until I read about in the paper.

Maia wrote: But the most disabling thing for me is having a cold, as this blocks up my sinuses and stops me echo-locating. This can be quite tricky at work, where I often have to push elderly people round in wheelchairs playing basketball, or hold them up in a swimming pool while they're exercising, and so on. I suppose it would be the equivalent of a sighted person going blind whenever they have a blocked nose. Thankfully, touch wood, I'm blessed with very good health, and am hardly ever ill. Wearing a mask has a similar effect (though not as bad), which is why I never do.


All I can do here is try to imagine how something like this would be accomplished by me if I was blind. A world beyond my comprehension. Are others blind at the place you work? Those who do what you do, or the elderly that you care for? Does being blind become something that you talk to others about in your interactions?

Maia wrote:Yes, I'm totally blind. Having no light perception at all is relatively rare among blind people (something like ten percent, I think), and that includes those who have been blind from birth. In my case, I was born without optic nerves, so have never had any visual input.


That is truly unimaginable to me. I can close my eyes, of course, but whatever I come into contact with I can "see" in my mind. But not to have any grasp at all about something other than through my other senses is just, well, unfathomable. I'm trying to imagine how I would feel about that. If I were born blind and learned about this thing called sight that other people had and I didn't. But, again, if you were never able to see, nothing is lost. But then what are you missing? How important would that be? What else can there be here but different reactions from different people...with no "right" reaction.

Maia wrote:In terms of community, I feel far more affinity with the Pagan community, than the blind one, but I suppose one was a matter of choice, and the other wasn't. I still keep in touch with schoolfriends, who are scattered all over the country and beyond, and in so doing I keep up with the latest blind gossip (even if it's not very interesting), but my social life, such as it is, here where I live, is conducted almost entirely with other Pagans, plus the occasional co-worker. Not so much this past year though, of course.


Yes, that is always an important factor in the lives of most of us. To have those you can interact with who share a set of values that allow you to anchor your sense of self to. Being blind would not seem to be something that separated you from experiences that are meaningful to everyone in the community.

I once had that myself in both religious and political communities.

And now that I am unable to sink down into it any longer, it is something that I sorely miss.


Yes, it's all good fun, and I think a sense of humour is essential in life.

I've never understood the desire to conform. I like being different.

Yes indeed, snow is white, and in fact it's the first thing that I think of, when someone says white. I have little tricks like that with all the colours, though my favourite is green, because it makes me think of grass, the smell of it in summer and the feel of it between my toes. It is also, of course, the colour of nature, and therefore of life. So when someone says green, those are the associations that flood into my mind.

None of my co-workers are blind, but some of our clients are losing their sight, or have lost it, due to age-related conditions. And yes, I often talk about it with the clients. They seem to latch onto me for some reason, and tell me things about themselves that they don't tell the others, about everything, not just blindness related issues. Not sure why exactly, but I'm more than happy to listen and help them in any way I can, if only with a friendly ear, or sometimes, with more concrete advice. I sometimes think that I should re-train as a counsellor.

I find seeing unimaginable, though not through want of trying to imagine it. I can't remember a specific time when I was little when I found out that everyone else could see but I couldn't. I do, however, remember asking endless questions about what it was like, and so on. And being pretty jealous about it too, if I'm being honest, with quite a few temper tantrums. I must have been a real bundle of trouble at times. Exactly the sort of thing that I laugh about now with my family.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 18, 2021 7:38 pm

Maia wrote:
I've never understood the desire to conform. I like being different.


I think it revolves mostly around the feeling of being accepted as "one of us". In the family, in the group, in the community. It depends on how different you are. If, in being different, you challenge the core values of those you interact with, they are not likely to be pleased. Here it often comes down to having the actual option to be different. Will others allow you to be...without consequences? And then the part where in being different you still allow others to be the same.

It then becomes the often complicated interaction of all sorts of factors.

Also, in being blind, you don't see how others react to what you do that is different. How does this come to be communicated to you?

But I couldn't be more like you in actually liking to be different. Not in an arrogant way but in a way that allows me to see myself in so many more shades of gray. Always open to new explanations.

Maia wrote:Yes indeed, snow is white, and in fact it's the first thing that I think of, when someone says white. I have little tricks like that with all the colours, though my favourite is green, because it makes me think of grass, the smell of it in summer and the feel of it between my toes. It is also, of course, the colour of nature, and therefore of life. So when someone says green, those are the associations that flood into my mind.


This reminds me of the scene from Children of a Lesser God where James asks Sarah to explain how she imagines waves breaking on the shore sound. Sarah then moves her arms in a sensuous swaying motion. The waves are there for both of them but they experience them in their own intimate manner.

Maia wrote:None of my co-workers are blind, but some of our clients are losing their sight, or have lost it, due to age-related conditions. And yes, I often talk about it with the clients. They seem to latch onto me for some reason, and tell me things about themselves that they don't tell the others, about everything, not just blindness related issues. Not sure why exactly, but I'm more than happy to listen and help them in any way I can, if only with a friendly ear, or sometimes, with more concrete advice. I sometimes think that I should re-train as a counsellor.


Why don't you ask them why they are drawn to you? They might tell you things that allow you to enhance those qualities, to be all the more connected. And, who knows, maybe someday you might become that counselor.

Maia wrote:I find seeing unimaginable, though not through want of trying to imagine it. I can't remember a specific time when I was little when I found out that everyone else could see but I couldn't. I do, however, remember asking endless questions about what it was like, and so on. And being pretty jealous about it too, if I'm being honest, with quite a few temper tantrums. I must have been a real bundle of trouble at times. Exactly the sort of thing that I laugh about now with my family.


This is the part that most fascinates me about you. Trying to come closer to understanding a world that, while somewhat imaginable to me, is still far, far away. Seeing is such a fundamental reality for most of us, the thought of never having been able to see anything at all from the day you are born...wouldn't that prompt at least some measure of fear and fury in most?

And then trying to understand how you have come to laugh about it now with your family. How you configured from what you once thought and felt to how you think and feel now. That's the part I always comes back to. Not what people think and feel so much as how they came to think and feel what they do now given the actual life that they lived.

Just out of curiosity, as a pagan, do you believe in the afterlife? Have you ever imagined another reality for you "there and then" in which you are able to see?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:34 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:
I've never understood the desire to conform. I like being different.


I think it revolves mostly around the feeling of being accepted as "one of us". In the family, in the group, in the community. It depends on how different you are. If, in being different, you challenge the core values of those you interact with, they are not likely to be pleased. Here it often comes down to having the actual option to be different. Will others allow you to be...without consequences? And then the part where in being different you still allow others to be the same.

It then becomes the often complicated interaction of all sorts of factors.

Also, in being blind, you don't see how others react to what you do that is different. How does this come to be communicated to you?

But I couldn't be more like you in actually liking to be different. Not in an arrogant way but in a way that allows me to see myself in so many more shades of gray. Always open to new explanations.

Maia wrote:Yes indeed, snow is white, and in fact it's the first thing that I think of, when someone says white. I have little tricks like that with all the colours, though my favourite is green, because it makes me think of grass, the smell of it in summer and the feel of it between my toes. It is also, of course, the colour of nature, and therefore of life. So when someone says green, those are the associations that flood into my mind.


This reminds me of the scene from Children of a Lesser God where James asks Sarah to explain how she imagines waves breaking on the shore sound. Sarah then moves her arms in a sensuous swaying motion. The waves are there for both of them but they experience them in their own intimate manner.

Maia wrote:None of my co-workers are blind, but some of our clients are losing their sight, or have lost it, due to age-related conditions. And yes, I often talk about it with the clients. They seem to latch onto me for some reason, and tell me things about themselves that they don't tell the others, about everything, not just blindness related issues. Not sure why exactly, but I'm more than happy to listen and help them in any way I can, if only with a friendly ear, or sometimes, with more concrete advice. I sometimes think that I should re-train as a counsellor.


Why don't you ask them why they are drawn to you? They might tell you things that allow you to enhance those qualities, to be all the more connected. And, who knows, maybe someday you might become that counselor.

Maia wrote:I find seeing unimaginable, though not through want of trying to imagine it. I can't remember a specific time when I was little when I found out that everyone else could see but I couldn't. I do, however, remember asking endless questions about what it was like, and so on. And being pretty jealous about it too, if I'm being honest, with quite a few temper tantrums. I must have been a real bundle of trouble at times. Exactly the sort of thing that I laugh about now with my family.


This is the part that most fascinates me about you. Trying to come closer to understanding a world that, while somewhat imaginable to me, is still far, far away. Seeing is such a fundamental reality for most of us, the thought of never having been able to see anything at all from the day you are born...wouldn't that prompt at least some measure of fear and fury in most?

And then trying to understand how you have come to laugh about it now with your family. How you configured from what you once thought and felt to how you think and feel now. That's the part I always comes back to. Not what people think and feel so much as how they came to think and feel what they do now given the actual life that they lived.

Just out of curiosity, as a pagan, do you believe in the afterlife? Have you ever imagined another reality for you "there and then" in which you are able to see?


It's very easy to tell if someone feels uneasy about me. It comes across in what they say, their tone of voice, and countless other subtle clues. Some people just don't like being around blind people for some reason, which is basically their loss, rather than mine, I think.

At the other end of the spectrum, I could indeed ask the clients why they prefer to talk to me more than the others. I would have to be careful though, in case they thought I didn't want them to.

When I was at my parents' yesterday I took the opportunity to ask them if there was ever a moment when I suddenly realised that everyone else around me had this strange extra sense that I lacked. But they said no, there was no such moment, at least that they were aware of. So it seems that on some level I always knew.

I don't really remember ever being fearful. I do, however, remember occasionally being furious that the world had denied me something so wondrous. Children have a finely tuned sense of what's fair and unfair, and this was definitely unfair. It certainly wasn't like that all the time though, and in general I had a very good childhood, with a loving family and lots of happy memories. What eventually changed for me, I suppose, is that I grew up. My parents sent me to boarding school where I learnt to be independent. I was really homesick at first, but that didn't last. That was when I was 11. Before that I attended a day school in my own city, which was also for blind kids, but it was definitely the boarding school that knocked any lingering self-pity out of me, which was, of course, precisely the point of it.

My brother, who is two and a half years older than me, used to tease me something rotten when we were little, moving stuff around in my room and hiding things, for example. But I always gave as good as I got, shoving stinging nettles down his bed on at least one memorable occasion. We later become very close and he became my protector as we got older, but I know he still feels guilty, which I exploit ruthlessly (just kidding). When I think of those times now, they always make me smile.

Not completely sure what I think about the afterlife, and opinions vary quite widely among Pagans, but if pressed, I would say that reincarnation is probably the most likely scenario. I should add that I don't believe in the Hindu concept of karma, where we're punished in this life for what we did in the last one. And yes, I do indeed often wonder if I'll be able to see in another life, and what it would be like.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:38 pm

Maia wrote:It's very easy to tell if someone feels uneasy about me. It comes across in what they say, their tone of voice, and countless other subtle clues. Some people just don't like being around blind people for some reason, which is basically their loss, rather than mine, I think.


I think I understand that. But, from my frame of mind, in imagining myself being blind, I think, "how would I know how people react to me if I can't see how they react to me?" Seeing is one more way in which to react to others reacting to me. But, again, that's just me imagining something I have never actually experienced.

On the other hand, in not being able to see their reactions, that might be somehow comforting. Something along the lines of "out of sight, out of mind". Let's face it, there are any number of things that sighted people see they wish they had not seen. Or could not see. Ever. There's always both sides of the coin.

What's important is that you feel comfortable being what and who you are and are able to interact with others intelligently. Also openly and honestly. In regard to their reaction to you and your reaction to them. Especially in regard to things that are beyond your control. After all, you came into the world blind. And that's where others have to start it seems.

When I was at my parents' yesterday I took the opportunity to ask them if there was ever a moment when I suddenly realised that everyone else around me had this strange extra sense that I lacked. But they said no, there was no such moment, at least that they were aware of. So it seems that on some level I always knew.


I would imagine that this will happen when you are no longer a baby...when you begin to interact with others in a more social, self-conscious way. You will hear others speak of the world that they see around them and it will dawn on you that they possess some capacity to understand and describe this world in a way you do not have. So, I can only imagine a day must come when your parents make that first attempt to explain this to you.

What would be fascinating perhaps is if somehow we could remember things like this. Important moments in our life that can have such a profound impact on how we see ourselves today. Again, the part about how we become who we think we are that always pops up in my head.

Maia wrote:I don't really remember ever being fearful. I do, however, remember occasionally being furious that the world had denied me something so wondrous. Children have a finely tuned sense of what's fair and unfair, and this was definitely unfair. It certainly wasn't like that all the time though, and in general I had a very good childhood, with a loving family and lots of happy memories.


Yes, that captures exactly how I would imagine myself reacting. You have to accept what cannot be otherwise but you can't help but wonder how it all fits into the bigger picture. There's this world out there that you are a part of but you are not a part of it in the way that most others are. The inevitable, "Why"?

Yet being grateful that at least you had good people around you and experiences to savor that provided something to always fall back on. Imagine being born blind and having none of that.

Maia wrote:What eventually changed for me, I suppose, is that I grew up. My parents sent me to boarding school where I learnt to be independent. I was really homesick at first, but that didn't last. That was when I was 11. Before that I attended a day school in my own city, which was also for blind kids, but it was definitely the boarding school that knocked any lingering self-pity out of me, which was, of course, precisely the point of it.


How did they manage to accomplish this? Was it more in what they provided you in the way of a constructive philosophy of life or in providing you with experiences that challenged you to be independent? What do you think was the most important factor?

Maia wrote:Not completely sure what I think about the afterlife, and opinions vary quite widely among Pagans, but if pressed, I would say that reincarnation is probably the most likely scenario. I should add that I don't believe in the Hindu concept of karma, where we're punished in this life for what we did in the last one. And yes, I do indeed often wonder if I'll be able to see in another life, and what it would be like.


Opinions vary among all the rest of us too. But then the part that I tend to zero on. The day to day relationship between what you believe spiritually about the afterlife and how that impacts on the behaviors you choose on this side of the grave.

So, your thinking seems to be that you were not born blind because someone or something "out there" decided that this was punishment, but, perhaps because...because of some other reason?

Is this something that you think about? Trying to understand how what you are might be connected to something that is bigger than all of us...something that perhaps may result in a life that includes sight?

There are things in my own life that I would like to reconfigure if I can somehow manage to think myself into believing that is possible on "the other side".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:22 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:It's very easy to tell if someone feels uneasy about me. It comes across in what they say, their tone of voice, and countless other subtle clues. Some people just don't like being around blind people for some reason, which is basically their loss, rather than mine, I think.


I think I understand that. But, from my frame of mind, in imagining myself being blind, I think, "how would I know how people react to me if I can't see how they react to me?" Seeing is one more way in which to react to others reacting to me. But, again, that's just me imagining something I have never actually experienced.

On the other hand, in not being able to see their reactions, that might be somehow comforting. Something along the lines of "out of sight, out of mind". Let's face it, there are any number of things that sighted people see they wish they had not seen. Or could not see. Ever. There's always both sides of the coin.

What's important is that you feel comfortable being what and who you are and are able to interact with others intelligently. Also openly and honestly. In regard to their reaction to you and your reaction to them. Especially in regard to things that are beyond your control. After all, you came into the world blind. And that's where others have to start it seems.

When I was at my parents' yesterday I took the opportunity to ask them if there was ever a moment when I suddenly realised that everyone else around me had this strange extra sense that I lacked. But they said no, there was no such moment, at least that they were aware of. So it seems that on some level I always knew.


I would imagine that this will happen when you are no longer a baby...when you begin to interact with others in a more social, self-conscious way. You will hear others speak of the world that they see around them and it will dawn on you that they possess some capacity to understand and describe this world in a way you do not have. So, I can only imagine a day must come when your parents make that first attempt to explain this to you.

What would be fascinating perhaps is if somehow we could remember things like this. Important moments in our life that can have such a profound impact on how we see ourselves today. Again, the part about how we become who we think we are that always pops up in my head.

Maia wrote:I don't really remember ever being fearful. I do, however, remember occasionally being furious that the world had denied me something so wondrous. Children have a finely tuned sense of what's fair and unfair, and this was definitely unfair. It certainly wasn't like that all the time though, and in general I had a very good childhood, with a loving family and lots of happy memories.


Yes, that captures exactly how I would imagine myself reacting. You have to accept what cannot be otherwise but you can't help but wonder how it all fits into the bigger picture. There's this world out there that you are a part of but you are not a part of it in the way that most others are. The inevitable, "Why"?

Yet being grateful that at least you had good people around you and experiences to savor that provided something to always fall back on. Imagine being born blind and having none of that.

Maia wrote:What eventually changed for me, I suppose, is that I grew up. My parents sent me to boarding school where I learnt to be independent. I was really homesick at first, but that didn't last. That was when I was 11. Before that I attended a day school in my own city, which was also for blind kids, but it was definitely the boarding school that knocked any lingering self-pity out of me, which was, of course, precisely the point of it.


How did they manage to accomplish this? Was it more in what they provided you in the way of a constructive philosophy of life or in providing you with experiences that challenged you to be independent? What do you think was the most important factor?

Maia wrote:Not completely sure what I think about the afterlife, and opinions vary quite widely among Pagans, but if pressed, I would say that reincarnation is probably the most likely scenario. I should add that I don't believe in the Hindu concept of karma, where we're punished in this life for what we did in the last one. And yes, I do indeed often wonder if I'll be able to see in another life, and what it would be like.


Opinions vary among all the rest of us too. But then the part that I tend to zero on. The day to day relationship between what you believe spiritually about the afterlife and how that impacts on the behaviors you choose on this side of the grave.

So, your thinking seems to be that you were not born blind because someone or something "out there" decided that this was punishment, but, perhaps because...because of some other reason?

Is this something that you think about? Trying to understand how what you are might be connected to something that is bigger than all of us...something that perhaps may result in a life that includes sight?

There are things in my own life that I would like to reconfigure if I can somehow manage to think myself into believing that is possible on "the other side".


I'm sure you're right, and there's a whole load of things that I miss. Body language, and that sort of thing. It's quite frustrating at times but I like to think that I'm pretty good at reading people. There may even be subconscious cues including differences in smell. Do people give off different pheromones when they are hostile, or fearful? I don't know the answer to that, but if they do, the ability to detect this is something that everyone has, but it must exist on a subliminal level. I think everyone has experienced walking into a room and feeling a nasty atmosphere, for no reason that you can explain. I know I certainly have.

I remember being astonished at how far it's possible to see. I'm not just talking about stars and galaxies, millions of light years away, but things in the real world. If you're at the top of a hill, you can see much further. How does that work? Surely if you're at the top of a hill, you're further away from the things you're trying to look at? These, and countless similar and probably quite ridiculous questions, are exactly how I spent my time exasperating my parents and anyone else who would listen. Apparently, when I was born, and it was immediately obvious that I was blind (my eyes were atrophied and later had to be removed at risk of infection), my parents were devastated, as you would expect. But one of the nurses said to them that they were lucky, because they had just embarked on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, with highs and lows that they could never have imagined. And that's the story that they told me over and over again, from my earliest conscious memory.

The school accomplished this by keeping us active. Not only with camping trips at weekends, but by a constant round of activities every evening, particularly team sports such as goalball, squatball, and field hockey (the ball had a buzzer in it, by the way). At the same time, we had to look after ourselves in the dorms, including cooking our own meals, right from the start. Their supreme philosophy was independence in all things.

I certainly don't see my blindness as a punishment for anything. I do, however, sometimes wonder if I always end up being reincarnated blind (assuming, that is, that reincarnation actually happens). My evidence for this is that I have no visual memories of any past lives. On the other hand, perhaps I have no visual memories because my brain can't process visual information. If there's any purpose to it, rather than just blind chance, then I'm sure it's a positive purpose, and finding out what that is might all be part of the journey. These sorts of considerations do indeed affect my actions in life, because I think they are essentially optimistic, and happy people tend to be nicer people. I would definitely describe myself as a happy person, in general, and, I hope, a nice person.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:21 pm

Maia wrote:I'm sure you're right, and there's a whole load of things that I miss. Body language, and that sort of thing. It's quite frustrating at times but I like to think that I'm pretty good at reading people.


Also, because you are blind you find that, out of necessity, you have to improve on all the other ways we have to interpret the way people react to us. So, in a sense, you acquire capabilities that sighted people don't have.

For example, as you note...

Maia wrote:There may even be subconscious cues including differences in smell. Do people give off different pheromones when they are hostile, or fearful? I don't know the answer to that, but if they do, the ability to detect this is something that everyone has, but it must exist on a subliminal level. I think everyone has experienced walking into a room and feeling a nasty atmosphere, for no reason that you can explain. I know I certainly have.


Given all of the different ways that someone comes into the world more or less afflicted with disabilities that become challenges, they have no choice but to come up with ways to make the world more intelligible. You feel comfortable and competent in judging the reactions of others to you. And that's what counts. And you can always have friends who are able to see things that you miss visually, who are able to convey to you those things you do miss.

Maia wrote:I remember being astonished at how far it's possible to see. I'm not just talking about stars and galaxies, millions of light years away, but things in the real world. If you're at the top of a hill, you can see much further. How does that work? Surely if you're at the top of a hill, you're further away from the things you're trying to look at? These, and countless similar and probably quite ridiculous questions, are exactly how I spent my time exasperating my parents and anyone else who would listen.


Yes, that is how I imagine it would be. How could you not be driven to come up with at least some understanding of a reality that others perceive but you do not. It would be the visual equivalent of being on the top of the hill as a deaf person and trying to imagine the sound of someone's voice as they moved farther and farther down the hill. A loud voice becoming fainter and fainter.

Maia wrote:Apparently, when I was born, and it was immediately obvious that I was blind (my eyes were atrophied and later had to be removed at risk of infection), my parents were devastated, as you would expect. But one of the nurses said to them that they were lucky, because they had just embarked on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, with highs and lows that they could never have imagined. And that's the story that they told me over and over again, from my earliest conscious memory.


Lucky might seem to be a strange word to describe it. But that is because it is a word that can only be understood by each of us given our spontaneous reaction to situations such as this. Your parents gained insights into this brand new relationship with their child who would not see the world as they did. So immediately they would be confronted with how they would have to make adjustments to this. And there would seem to be no getting around the highs and the lows. Just in coming up with the best of all possible worlds for you.

But, again, I am only groping to understand something that you are trying to convey to me from a world I am just beginning to understand. Having had no discussions like this with someone who was blind. So, sure, I'm going to miss your point from time to time until I get better at understanding it.

Maia wrote:The school accomplished this by keeping us active. Not only with camping trips at weekends, but by a constant round of activities every evening, particularly team sports such as goalball, squatball, and field hockey (the ball had a buzzer in it, by the way). At the same time, we had to look after ourselves in the dorms, including cooking our own meals, right from the start. Their supreme philosophy was independence in all things.


That's bascially how I imagined it woud be. Someone is blind and there is no getting around that when confronted with accomplishing a goal or solving a problem. But there are ways to do it and it's just a matter of setting up an environment that prompts you to dig as deep as you possibly can to find a way. While at the same time providing you with activities that are just plain fun as well as challenging.

Were most of the teachers themselves blind to some degree? What might a typical day be like? What classes were taught? Pretty much the same as in the public schools? Did they have programs for those going on to college and those trained more for particular vocations...learning job skills.

Maia wrote:I certainly don't see my blindness as a punishment for anything. I do, however, sometimes wonder if I always end up being reincarnated blind (assuming, that is, that reincarnation actually happens). My evidence for this is that I have no visual memories of any past lives. On the other hand, perhaps I have no visual memories because my brain can't process visual information. If there's any purpose to it, rather than just blind chance, then I'm sure it's a positive purpose, and finding out what that is might all be part of the journey. These sorts of considerations do indeed affect my actions in life, because I think they are essentially optimistic, and happy people tend to be nicer people. I would definitely describe myself as a happy person, in general, and, I hope, a nice person.


Whether blind or not few things are more mysterious to us then our fate "on the other side". Especially if there are things that we lack here and now that we might not lack there and then. And I don't pretend to have any better insights into that than anyone else. It's just harder for me to feel drawn to a set of conclusions until there appears to be actual evidence able to demonstrate reasons why one frame of mind makes more sense than another. Lots of times here people can think themselves into believing what they want to be true.

But blind or not happy is always better than sad, and nice is always better than not nice.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Wed Apr 21, 2021 2:18 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:I'm sure you're right, and there's a whole load of things that I miss. Body language, and that sort of thing. It's quite frustrating at times but I like to think that I'm pretty good at reading people.


Also, because you are blind you find that, out of necessity, you have to improve on all the other ways we have to interpret the way people react to us. So, in a sense, you acquire capabilities that sighted people don't have.

For example, as you note...

Maia wrote:There may even be subconscious cues including differences in smell. Do people give off different pheromones when they are hostile, or fearful? I don't know the answer to that, but if they do, the ability to detect this is something that everyone has, but it must exist on a subliminal level. I think everyone has experienced walking into a room and feeling a nasty atmosphere, for no reason that you can explain. I know I certainly have.


Given all of the different ways that someone comes into the world more or less afflicted with disabilities that become challenges, they have no choice but to come up with ways to make the world more intelligible. You feel comfortable and competent in judging the reactions of others to you. And that's what counts. And you can always have friends who are able to see things that you miss visually, who are able to convey to you those things you do miss.

Maia wrote:I remember being astonished at how far it's possible to see. I'm not just talking about stars and galaxies, millions of light years away, but things in the real world. If you're at the top of a hill, you can see much further. How does that work? Surely if you're at the top of a hill, you're further away from the things you're trying to look at? These, and countless similar and probably quite ridiculous questions, are exactly how I spent my time exasperating my parents and anyone else who would listen.


Yes, that is how I imagine it would be. How could you not be driven to come up with at least some understanding of a reality that others perceive but you do not. It would be the visual equivalent of being on the top of the hill as a deaf person and trying to imagine the sound of someone's voice as they moved farther and farther down the hill. A loud voice becoming fainter and fainter.

Maia wrote:Apparently, when I was born, and it was immediately obvious that I was blind (my eyes were atrophied and later had to be removed at risk of infection), my parents were devastated, as you would expect. But one of the nurses said to them that they were lucky, because they had just embarked on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, with highs and lows that they could never have imagined. And that's the story that they told me over and over again, from my earliest conscious memory.


Lucky might seem to be a strange word to describe it. But that is because it is a word that can only be understood by each of us given our spontaneous reaction to situations such as this. Your parents gained insights into this brand new relationship with their child who would not see the world as they did. So immediately they would be confronted with how they would have to make adjustments to this. And there would seem to be no getting around the highs and the lows. Just in coming up with the best of all possible worlds for you.

But, again, I am only groping to understand something that you are trying to convey to me from a world I am just beginning to understand. Having had no discussions like this with someone who was blind. So, sure, I'm going to miss your point from time to time until I get better at understanding it.

Maia wrote:The school accomplished this by keeping us active. Not only with camping trips at weekends, but by a constant round of activities every evening, particularly team sports such as goalball, squatball, and field hockey (the ball had a buzzer in it, by the way). At the same time, we had to look after ourselves in the dorms, including cooking our own meals, right from the start. Their supreme philosophy was independence in all things.


That's bascially how I imagined it woud be. Someone is blind and there is no getting around that when confronted with accomplishing a goal or solving a problem. But there are ways to do it and it's just a matter of setting up an environment that prompts you to dig as deep as you possibly can to find a way. While at the same time providing you with activities that are just plain fun as well as challenging.

Were most of the teachers themselves blind to some degree? What might a typical day be like? What classes were taught? Pretty much the same as in the public schools? Did they have programs for those going on to college and those trained more for particular vocations...learning job skills.

Maia wrote:I certainly don't see my blindness as a punishment for anything. I do, however, sometimes wonder if I always end up being reincarnated blind (assuming, that is, that reincarnation actually happens). My evidence for this is that I have no visual memories of any past lives. On the other hand, perhaps I have no visual memories because my brain can't process visual information. If there's any purpose to it, rather than just blind chance, then I'm sure it's a positive purpose, and finding out what that is might all be part of the journey. These sorts of considerations do indeed affect my actions in life, because I think they are essentially optimistic, and happy people tend to be nicer people. I would definitely describe myself as a happy person, in general, and, I hope, a nice person.


Whether blind or not few things are more mysterious to us then our fate "on the other side". Especially if there are things that we lack here and now that we might not lack there and then. And I don't pretend to have any better insights into that than anyone else. It's just harder for me to feel drawn to a set of conclusions until there appears to be actual evidence able to demonstrate reasons why one frame of mind makes more sense than another. Lots of times here people can think themselves into believing what they want to be true.

But blind or not happy is always better than sad, and nice is always better than not nice.


My parents were surely the luckiest parents in the world, to have me!!! I think that nurse was probably just trying to comfort them though, to be honest, after a sudden and very nasty shock, but it's something they never forgot.

Despite speaking the same language, and apparently having no difficulty communicating, in fact I know full well that I'll never be able to really understand what sighted people are talking about when they talk about seeing, and I'm sure the same must be true in the opposite direction. What seems completely normal, even humdrum, for one is freakishly alien to the other, especially if they try and think about it for any length of time. It makes me wonder what else we might be missing in the universe, which no one has any senses for. But I always like exploring this sort of thing.

The school day started at 6am. If left to their own devices blind people, especially those with no light perception, will sleep and wake up at any time of the day or night, and it takes quite an effort to stick to a proper daily routine, so they drilled it into us. The morning was for things like gym or running. The afternoon was the actual school part of the day, which, confusingly, we called college, which went on till 6pm, and the evening was for games or team sports. It was different at weekends, when, typically, we would set off in one of the school minibuses either on Friday directly after college or early on Saturday morning, and not get back till late on Sunday evening.

The school followed the standard UK national curriculum, but with a lot of extra options, both academic and vocational. The majority of the teachers were sighted, but some were blind or visually impaired. Having sighted teachers present was required for health and safety reasons, I believe.

I always love a good mystery, and what happens to us on the other side of the veil is one of the biggest mysteries of all. Here I rely mostly on my intuition, that we continue on in some way. Just as spring follows winter, and morning follows night, we are reborn, in an unbroken cycle of life, death and rebirth, but at the same time evolving into something higher, as all life does.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:03 pm

Maia wrote:
My parents were surely the luckiest parents in the world, to have me!!! I think that nurse was probably just trying to comfort them though, to be honest, after a sudden and very nasty shock, but it's something they never forgot.


All this would seem to be embedded in the actual reality of your birth. A reality that other parents are only more or less able to understand. Your parents being who they had become reacting to a part of you that would make being parents a new challenge for them. It's not like there is someone who can tell parents in similar situations how they ought to react. Each family is different.

Maia wrote:Despite speaking the same language, and apparently having no difficulty communicating, in fact I know full well that I'll never be able to really understand what sighted people are talking about when they talk about seeing, and I'm sure the same must be true in the opposite direction. What seems completely normal, even humdrum, for one is freakishly alien to the other, especially if they try and think about it for any length of time. It makes me wonder what else we might be missing in the universe, which no one has any senses for. But I always like exploring this sort of thing.


I can imagine for some who are blind a point is reached where the subject is just dropped. They cannot see, others can and however many attempts are made to bridge the gap, it never, ever will be. At least not completely. I suppose a lot depends on situations in which new experiences prompt some to come back to what it means to see or to not see something. If you are interacting with others from day to day basically doing the same things, what would be the point in bringing it up? But something very, very different? How could it not prompt that mysterious gap again.

And in grappling with the universe itself -- with "all there is" -- the sighted are no less lacking in whatever it takes in the way of sense perception and intelligence to grasp "what it all means".

Maia wrote: The school day started at 6am. If left to their own devices blind people, especially those with no light perception, will sleep and wake up at any time of the day or night, and it takes quite an effort to stick to a proper daily routine, so they drilled it into us.


This in and of itself is something I would never have thought about from the perspective of the blind. For the sighted, you see all day long and then at night, you close your eyes, stop seeing, and fall asleep. But what if you never see at all? No day and night, just night.

They say that in all of us there is this biological clock that "regulates" our sleep patterns.

This thing:

"Your circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle that regulates the timing of processes like eating, sleeping, and temperature. ... Your exposure to light, both natural sunlight and artificial indoor lights, affects your circadian rhythm. You also have something called a master clock in your brain."

But what if there is no perceived sunlight or artificial indoor lights? So, for the blind, it must revolve around the "master clock" in the brain. Back again to all of the things in the universe that none of us really fully understand.

Maia wrote: The school followed the standard UK national curriculum, but with a lot of extra options, both academic and vocational. The majority of the teachers were sighted, but some were blind or visually impaired. Having sighted teachers present was required for health and safety reasons, I believe.


I suppose that is the way it is in most places. And not just for the blind. How is it decided which students are placed on the path to college and which are not? Is this something the students choose for themselves or is it based more on test scores or those who run the schools? How do the parents fit into all of it?

Maia wrote: I always love a good mystery, and what happens to us on the other side of the veil is one of the biggest mysteries of all. Here I rely mostly on my intuition, that we continue on in some way. Just as spring follows winter, and morning follows night, we are reborn, in an unbroken cycle of life, death and rebirth, but at the same time evolving into something higher, as all life does.


My own intuition is ever grappling here with what I can't stop my mind from thinking itself into believing is most likely not to be either higher or lower. On the other hand, I also can't stop my mind from reminding itself that, who knows, maybe someday I might come across a more uplifting perspective.

In any event, it doesn't make it any less a mystery for me than for you. Rebirth is always possible. But then there's still only one way to find out. And, so far, for all of us.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Thu Apr 22, 2021 12:52 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:
My parents were surely the luckiest parents in the world, to have me!!! I think that nurse was probably just trying to comfort them though, to be honest, after a sudden and very nasty shock, but it's something they never forgot.


All this would seem to be embedded in the actual reality of your birth. A reality that other parents are only more or less able to understand. Your parents being who they had become reacting to a part of you that would make being parents a new challenge for them. It's not like there is someone who can tell parents in similar situations how they ought to react. Each family is different.

Maia wrote:Despite speaking the same language, and apparently having no difficulty communicating, in fact I know full well that I'll never be able to really understand what sighted people are talking about when they talk about seeing, and I'm sure the same must be true in the opposite direction. What seems completely normal, even humdrum, for one is freakishly alien to the other, especially if they try and think about it for any length of time. It makes me wonder what else we might be missing in the universe, which no one has any senses for. But I always like exploring this sort of thing.


I can imagine for some who are blind a point is reached where the subject is just dropped. They cannot see, others can and however many attempts are made to bridge the gap, it never, ever will be. At least not completely. I suppose a lot depends on situations in which new experiences prompt some to come back to what it means to see or to not see something. If you are interacting with others from day to day basically doing the same things, what would be the point in bringing it up? But something very, very different? How could it not prompt that mysterious gap again.

And in grappling with the universe itself -- with "all there is" -- the sighted are no less lacking in whatever it takes in the way of sense perception and intelligence to grasp "what it all means".

Maia wrote: The school day started at 6am. If left to their own devices blind people, especially those with no light perception, will sleep and wake up at any time of the day or night, and it takes quite an effort to stick to a proper daily routine, so they drilled it into us.


This in and of itself is something I would never have thought about from the perspective of the blind. For the sighted, you see all day long and then at night, you close your eyes, stop seeing, and fall asleep. But what if you never see at all? No day and night, just night.

They say that in all of us there is this biological clock that "regulates" our sleep patterns.

This thing:

"Your circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle that regulates the timing of processes like eating, sleeping, and temperature. ... Your exposure to light, both natural sunlight and artificial indoor lights, affects your circadian rhythm. You also have something called a master clock in your brain."

But what if there is no perceived sunlight or artificial indoor lights? So, for the blind, it must revolve around the "master clock" in the brain. Back again to all of the things in the universe that none of us really fully understand.

Maia wrote: The school followed the standard UK national curriculum, but with a lot of extra options, both academic and vocational. The majority of the teachers were sighted, but some were blind or visually impaired. Having sighted teachers present was required for health and safety reasons, I believe.


I suppose that is the way it is in most places. And not just for the blind. How is it decided which students are placed on the path to college and which are not? Is this something the students choose for themselves or is it based more on test scores or those who run the schools? How do the parents fit into all of it?

Maia wrote: I always love a good mystery, and what happens to us on the other side of the veil is one of the biggest mysteries of all. Here I rely mostly on my intuition, that we continue on in some way. Just as spring follows winter, and morning follows night, we are reborn, in an unbroken cycle of life, death and rebirth, but at the same time evolving into something higher, as all life does.


My own intuition is ever grappling here with what I can't stop my mind from thinking itself into believing is most likely not to be either higher or lower. On the other hand, I also can't stop my mind from reminding itself that, who knows, maybe someday I might come across a more uplifting perspective.

In any event, it doesn't make it any less a mystery for me than for you. Rebirth is always possible. But then there's still only one way to find out. And, so far, for all of us.


For sure, yes, a lot of blind people are not particularly interested in talking about this sort of thing, and just prefer to get on with it. I've also found, incidentally, that a lot of sighted people find it very uncomfortable too, as if they might upset me or something. Which is a pity, as the very opposite is the case.

Yes indeed, the circadian rhythm is determined primarily by light. It's not as if I can't tell when it's day or night, because I can, very easily. Not just the drop in temperature, but a whole host of other cues, including the smell of the air. Out in the countryside, animals and birds are much quieter at night, and different types of animal are present. In the city it's even more obvious, as the sounds are all different, if, in most cases, equally unpleasant and grating. Conversely, especially on sunny days, the feel of the sun on my skin is as obvious as it is welcome. But with no light input, those other cues are not sufficient to tell my body that it's time to sleep or wake up. As for the internal body clock, I remember reading somewhere that studies have shown it to be slightly longer than 24 hours, on average. Not by much, but enough to get you out of sync pretty quickly. My own experience is that, without a rigid routine, I'll just fall asleep when I feel like it and wake up any old time. It also makes me feel like crap, which is why for some years now I've forced myself into a pretty strict daily exercise regime.

It's not like I'm living in a constant night though, which is similar to the misconception that blind people just see black all the time. This isn't the case, especially for those born totally blind. We just don't see anything at all.

Some of the teachers were also careers advisors, assessing each student's aptitudes and abilities, and advising them what to specialise in. At the end of every school year there were a range of choices, which became greater each year. Parents were closely involved too, with meetings arranged every term so they could discuss these and other issues with the staff. The school had a higher than average proportion of its students going on to university, but by the time I got to the sixth form I had decided not to go down this route, and instead to train for work in the care sector, which is where I ended up. I do occasionaly regret not going to uni but there's no reason why I still couldn't do so, if I ever wanted to. I much prefer to be active, however, and the thought of being stuck behind a laptop all day, or in a lecture theatre, just doesn't appeal.

I'm not certain that it's strictly true that we can never know about the afterlife in this life. There's no theoretical reason why we couldn't, anyway. There are lots of people who claim to have seen ghosts, or spoken to the dead, and so on. Doesn't mean that any of them are right, but what I find suggestive is that these sorts of claims have existed throughout human history and in all cultures. Why would all societies throughout time and in all parts of the world have a similar idea about ghosts, for example? Or spirit communication? If they were just subconsciously making it up out of fear and loss, surely they would have come up with a million different ideas? When I was little I had a theory that when we die we go and live inside stones, just normal stones like you find in the garden. Why? I have no idea, it was just a childish thought, and not one I actually believed, either. This is the sort of random idea you would expect if people were making up their spiritual beliefs out of thin air. But this is not what we actually find.

I think there's actually a very good reason why, at least at first glance, it appears that we can know nothing certain about the afterlife, and that is natural selection. Evolutionary pressure would favour the survival of those who fear death more, thinking it might be the end. So most of us end up hardwired to be unsure about it.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby felix dakat » Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:01 pm

Maia wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:
My parents were surely the luckiest parents in the world, to have me!!! I think that nurse was probably just trying to comfort them though, to be honest, after a sudden and very nasty shock, but it's something they never forgot.


All this would seem to be embedded in the actual reality of your birth. A reality that other parents are only more or less able to understand. Your parents being who they had become reacting to a part of you that would make being parents a new challenge for them. It's not like there is someone who can tell parents in similar situations how they ought to react. Each family is different.

Maia wrote:Despite speaking the same language, and apparently having no difficulty communicating, in fact I know full well that I'll never be able to really understand what sighted people are talking about when they talk about seeing, and I'm sure the same must be true in the opposite direction. What seems completely normal, even humdrum, for one is freakishly alien to the other, especially if they try and think about it for any length of time. It makes me wonder what else we might be missing in the universe, which no one has any senses for. But I always like exploring this sort of thing.


I can imagine for some who are blind a point is reached where the subject is just dropped. They cannot see, others can and however many attempts are made to bridge the gap, it never, ever will be. At least not completely. I suppose a lot depends on situations in which new experiences prompt some to come back to what it means to see or to not see something. If you are interacting with others from day to day basically doing the same things, what would be the point in bringing it up? But something very, very different? How could it not prompt that mysterious gap again.

And in grappling with the universe itself -- with "all there is" -- the sighted are no less lacking in whatever it takes in the way of sense perception and intelligence to grasp "what it all means".

Maia wrote: The school day started at 6am. If left to their own devices blind people, especially those with no light perception, will sleep and wake up at any time of the day or night, and it takes quite an effort to stick to a proper daily routine, so they drilled it into us.


This in and of itself is something I would never have thought about from the perspective of the blind. For the sighted, you see all day long and then at night, you close your eyes, stop seeing, and fall asleep. But what if you never see at all? No day and night, just night.

They say that in all of us there is this biological clock that "regulates" our sleep patterns.

This thing:

"Your circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle that regulates the timing of processes like eating, sleeping, and temperature. ... Your exposure to light, both natural sunlight and artificial indoor lights, affects your circadian rhythm. You also have something called a master clock in your brain."

But what if there is no perceived sunlight or artificial indoor lights? So, for the blind, it must revolve around the "master clock" in the brain. Back again to all of the things in the universe that none of us really fully understand.

Maia wrote: The school followed the standard UK national curriculum, but with a lot of extra options, both academic and vocational. The majority of the teachers were sighted, but some were blind or visually impaired. Having sighted teachers present was required for health and safety reasons, I believe.


I suppose that is the way it is in most places. And not just for the blind. How is it decided which students are placed on the path to college and which are not? Is this something the students choose for themselves or is it based more on test scores or those who run the schools? How do the parents fit into all of it?

Maia wrote: I always love a good mystery, and what happens to us on the other side of the veil is one of the biggest mysteries of all. Here I rely mostly on my intuition, that we continue on in some way. Just as spring follows winter, and morning follows night, we are reborn, in an unbroken cycle of life, death and rebirth, but at the same time evolving into something higher, as all life does.


My own intuition is ever grappling here with what I can't stop my mind from thinking itself into believing is most likely not to be either higher or lower. On the other hand, I also can't stop my mind from reminding itself that, who knows, maybe someday I might come across a more uplifting perspective.

In any event, it doesn't make it any less a mystery for me than for you. Rebirth is always possible. But then there's still only one way to find out. And, so far, for all of us.


For sure, yes, a lot of blind people are not particularly interested in talking about this sort of thing, and just prefer to get on with it. I've also found, incidentally, that a lot of sighted people find it very uncomfortable too, as if they might upset me or something. Which is a pity, as the very opposite is the case.

Yes indeed, the circadian rhythm is determined primarily by light. It's not as if I can't tell when it's day or night, because I can, very easily. Not just the drop in temperature, but a whole host of other cues, including the smell of the air. Out in the countryside, animals and birds are much quieter at night, and different types of animal are present. In the city it's even more obvious, as the sounds are all different, if, in most cases, equally unpleasant and grating. Conversely, especially on sunny days, the feel of the sun on my skin is as obvious as it is welcome. But with no light input, those other cues are not sufficient to tell my body that it's time to sleep or wake up. As for the internal body clock, I remember reading somewhere that studies have shown it to be slightly longer than 24 hours, on average. Not by much, but enough to get you out of sync pretty quickly. My own experience is that, without a rigid routine, I'll just fall asleep when I feel like it and wake up any old time. It also makes me feel like crap, which is why for some years now I've forced myself into a pretty strict daily exercise regime.

It's not like I'm living in a constant night though, which is similar to the misconception that blind people just see black all the time. This isn't the case, especially for those born totally blind. We just don't see anything at all.

Some of the teachers were also careers advisors, assessing each student's aptitudes and abilities, and advising them what to specialise in. At the end of every school year there were a range of choices, which became greater each year. Parents were closely involved too, with meetings arranged every term so they could discuss these and other issues with the staff. The school had a higher than average proportion of its students going on to university, but by the time I got to the sixth form I had decided not to go down this route, and instead to train for work in the care sector, which is where I ended up. I do occasionaly regret not going to uni but there's no reason why I still couldn't do so, if I ever wanted to. I much prefer to be active, however, and the thought of being stuck behind a laptop all day, or in a lecture theatre, just doesn't appeal.

I'm not certain that it's strictly true that we can never know about the afterlife in this life. There's no theoretical reason why we couldn't, anyway. There are lots of people who claim to have seen ghosts, or spoken to the dead, and so on. Doesn't mean that any of them are right, but what I find suggestive is that these sorts of claims have existed throughout human history and in all cultures. Why would all societies throughout time and in all parts of the world have a similar idea about ghosts, for example? Or spirit communication? If they were just subconsciously making it up out of fear and loss, surely they would have come up with a million different ideas? When I was little I had a theory that when we die we go and live inside stones, just normal stones like you find in the garden. Why? I have no idea, it was just a childish thought, and not one I actually believed, either. This is the sort of random idea you would expect if people were making up their spiritual beliefs out of thin air. But this is not what we actually find.

I think there's actually a very good reason why, at least at first glance, it appears that we can know nothing certain about the afterlife, and that is natural selection. Evolutionary pressure would favour the survival of those who fear death more, thinking it might be the end. So most of us end up hardwired to be unsure about it.


An interesting discussion you're having with iambiguous. The English language is visually biased. There is the widespread metaphor of knowing as seeing. The blind see all the time metaphorically in English if not in other languages. Do you see what I mean?
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:30 pm

felix dakat wrote:
An interesting discussion you're having with iambiguous. The English language is visually biased. There is the widespread metaphor of knowing as seeing. The blind see all the time metaphorically in English if not in other languages. Do you see what I mean?


Yes, I see exactly what you mean, and am certainly not blind to the subtleties of English usage.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby felix dakat » Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:47 pm

Maia wrote:
felix dakat wrote:
An interesting discussion you're having with iambiguous. The English language is visually biased. There is the widespread metaphor of knowing as seeing. The blind see all the time metaphorically in English if not in other languages. Do you see what I mean?


Yes, I see exactly what you mean, and am certainly not blind to the subtleties of English usage.


Ha!
I think of the word "appear'. Phenomenology literally means the study of appearances. As a sighted person when I think of an appearance I think of something present in my visual field. But something can just as likely appear in my auditory field, or my tactile field or my olfactory field or my mental field. So it seems that conventional visually biased language tends to default toward mapping all phenomena metaphorically at least into the visual mode of perception.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
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