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I'm considering going a day or two with no sight (just wearing a blindfold).

Not as some kind of artistic statement or anything, just to experience it. I'd like to really force my ears to tune in to the world in a way they can't otherwise. The wifey is on board, so I just need to figure out a few things:

  • what should I do during the day?
  • how should I prepare the things around me?
  • what can I absolutely not do? (eg: drive, work a computer, etc)
  • under what circumstances should I break the seal and remove the blindfold early?

thoughts?


edit:

I'm pretty floored by the amount and quality of the responses to this one. looks like I have to do it now. :)

I'll figure a way to either video blog or audio blog what's going on when I do.

Also, it seems i'm still going to be able to use my iphone almost seamlessly. been playing with voiceover for a while and its pretty dang intuitive.

thanks again for all of the support. I'll put together my findings.

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may be you can do a binaural recording of that sight-less phase. so that the whole event is captured the way you heard it :) –  Rishi Dani Apr 8 '11 at 21:01
    
I've been meaning to do this for a while now. Amazing that you're gonna do it! –  Andrew Spitz Apr 9 '11 at 21:22
    
This event could make for a good documentary. Call it: "Super-Ears Me". –  Utopia Apr 9 '11 at 22:58

5 Answers 5

TO DO: I'd go to a city, mall, somewhere with a lot of "stuff". As much as you can enjoy the sounds of outdoors, I feel that because the visual doesn't change too much in the woods, it's very easy to focus on the sound. In a social setting where everything/body is in motion, the visual can be overpowering.

GO SEE A MOVIE. Yes, for sure - see a packed movie, something where there will be lot of people - listen to the film, listen to the reaction. See an action movie, like Hanna - see what sounds get a reaction. See what reactions happen without a strong sound to back it up.

For added fun, have your wife quietly describe the action to you and see if someone gets angry, and then very sheepish when the realize you're "blind".

Go out to eat as well - again, somewhere busy. Go alone and see how it goes.. ask someone to read you the menu.

This may get me in trouble here, but do something mind altering. Drink a few beers, or whatever. It always alters my ears a little. I imagine without your eyes it will be more.

Also, despite what I said above, go out and sit outside for a while. Try at night - there's a lot going on that happens when you're asleep.

TO PREP: Figure out how to keep track of your money: Only use cash. Follow the guidelines here.

Clean your house, make sure the things you NEED, like your beer, toothbrush, wallet, phone, etc are all there and you know where they are.

Plan your days well, but leave some time for you to just chill, listen to some music, browse your favorite website with WebbIE.

Keep wet wipes with you - you will be using your hands a lot and will probably be touching a lot of things you wouldn't normally.

Make sure you have a sleep mask so you don't accidentally wake up and forget you can't see. Get blacked glasses for going out and some kind of walk aid. It's tiring to keep your eyes shut, just keep things going.

You're not really blind, and this isn't a life-in-the-shoes exercise, but you still need to prep as if you were going to be blind.

DO NOT: Drive, brawl, run with scissors.

WHEN TO STOP: Common sense should dictate that one :)

Good luck! I look forward to hearing what you experience!!!

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My primary suggestions are going to focus mostly on the "DON'T" category. There will also be some "DO's" as well. While yes, common sense should dictate the moments you should break the seal; there are better measures than attempting to use common sense during the act as opposed to planning ahead (which is obviously what you're trying to do).

The first thing I would do would be to perform a 24hr test run inside your home/garden before venturing out into public. That way you'll be able to answer a lot of your own questions and even some that you (or we) are likely not thinking of, especially considering I'm pretty sure the majority of people answering here are not blind. You may want to contact a center for blind assistance and inform them of your quest for enlightenment and ask them if they have any suggestions for you. Just be sure to be respectful and not insulting in any way.

While doing your first experiment in you're home (or yard if you have one) try using a walking stick to get used to how to use one effectively. You also might want to use a mouth guard while walking around so you don't fall and accidentally lose your teeth. Hide sharp knives, moves glass tables into a place you won't be in. Get some paper or plastic plates and cups. Try to think like a blind person and set up your environment as they would. While I've never been in the home of a blind person, I'm pretty sure it's safe to assume they have the majority of their furniture against walls or set up to help guide them. Sort of like the back of a couch acting as a rail to help you define your location in a room or to help guide you towards a hallway leading to your bedroom. Oh, and wear shoes with a strong toe cap. You're very likely to stub or break a toe quite easily.

When you feel ready and confident enough to go out in public, be sure to have a friend with you during your first excursions and during the more dangerous ones. That way you have a babysitter that will make sure your first external excursion isn't your last. Also, with having someone with you there will be less chances of someone trying to rob you or something (you'll obviously be an easy mark considering you'll be wearing a visible blindfold).

As an initial exterior experiment you may want to consider doing a more basic task like taking a walk around the block. Something you may want to do would be to count your steps during the blocks (and the blocks and turns themselves), especially the last one where you are trying to locate your home. If you live in a neighborhood where a lot of the homes are based around the same 5 models, it might be all too easy to accidentally enter the wrong home. Have your friend with you, hold their hand and continue practicing with the walking stick. Try to pay attention to the terrain and memorize it. You don't want to trip over a crack or a overgrown tree root in the sidewalk. Try to set up some landmark object you can feel to let you know that you have arrived at your house again. This can be a simple garden gnome or some object at the entrance to your walkway or doorway.

I'm not trying to jinx you, scare you or anything like that. Since much of this sounds a bit scary... it's just that it's a very interesting, but also very dangerous experiment. Instead of being born blind and gradually learning how to deal things through naturally progressing experiences (likely with parents who have their eyesight guiding you), you've gone your whole life accustomed to certain abilities and naturally taking them for granted. It's definitely better to be safe than sorry. While this is an awesome and likely highly enlightening experiment, you don't want to potentially lose any of your bodily capabilities (like fingers, teeth, toes... or even your eyesight) while doing it. Ease yourself into this with some trial runs in safe controlled environments before diving into the deep end.

Good luck and be safe. This sounds like it'll be a cool experiment. Please do post about the results after you're done. Some of us may want to try this some time and I'm sure your feedback would be insightful.

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Go for it ! I like to use earplugs anytime I am "in transit" or even shopping.

Once I meditated for 10 days straight-10 hours a day and other than that all I did was sleep and eat.

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was that a 10-day Vipassana course? –  Rishi Dani Apr 8 '11 at 20:57

Sounds like a very creative "phase"!!! You got me totaly excited about this "project" of yours! I will try it in the first chance I will have.

I guess i will try find myself into as many places with different soundscapes I do not know and recognise!

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I think it's an awesome idea! I would just go for it without planning too much. Maybe stock up on food so you don't have to hit the supermarket, but other than that, just go for it. You may find that you are unable to pull off a full two days on the first attempt. Stuff might come up that'll be too difficult (or dangerous) to overcome. But I'd really try to do everything that you'd normally do. Watch TV shows or films with audio description turned on. Go out into public places (again, be careful that it's not too dangerous, i.e. crossing busy roads, metro stations etc.). In terms of breaking the seal and removing the blindfold, common sense will tell you whether something is an emergency or not. You may want to have a look at this website for a bit more inspiration, help and guidance:

http://www.rnib.org.uk

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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