By Anupum Pant
If you are here to judge me because you think you clicked on a completely nonsensical headline, well that is what headlines are for – To get you to open the link and read.
However, I have to tell you that this headline isn’t complete nonsense. There is more to the word blind than just the word alone. The word Blind in itself doesn’t completely define the exact state of a person’s visual ability. So the blind can see, or not, depending on the kind of blindness they are affected with.
Functionally Blind or Legally Blind
First, there is this thing called functional blindness. The functionally blind can see a bit, but not enough to do everyday tasks without hindrance.
Some people might even have something called partial vision loss due to eye related ailments like glaucoma or cataract. The vision in such cases could be blurred or narrow.
In short, despite being classified as “blind”, people with functional, partial or legal blindness can see at least something. They can perceive light. But not all kind of blind people can perceive light.
People who are totally blind cannot see. They see nothing. It is called NLP (No Light of Perception). For the people who can see naturally without making any conscious effort, the concept of being able to see nothing can be a very profound concept to grasp. Explaining the meaning of nothingness to a not-blind person is exactly the same as explaining the concept of color to a totally blind person. Experience of one sense can in no way be explained by referring to some other sense. It is a subjective experience.
Some totally blind people are able to map out a 3D image of the world through their eyes. They literally see through their ears. And this can be learnt. – Read more.
There are also some cases where even totally blind can perceive light to some extent. – Source
Is Black = Nothing?
Contrary to what most of us assume, the color black is NOT nothing. You’d assume that a person who is totally blind would see black, like you do when you close both your eyes. But seeing black is not seeing nothing.
Suppose, if you’d ask a totally blind person to describe the color black because you’d assume he always sees it, he’ll not be able to describe it. To experience nothingness to some extent, you can do this:
Close your left eye. Now you are seeing through your right eye. Focus of things with your right eye. But, what you are seeing with your left eye is nothing. It is not black. You see nothing.
Probably the most popular person here on the internet who can talk to you about total Blindness is, Tommy, who runs a splendid YouTube channel.
Tommy has been blind all his life. He makes great videos. If you haven’t subscribed to his channel, you must do it right now. The channel, on the whole, will give you quite an insight into the concept of No Light of Perception from a first person account of a Totally blind person. Here is one video of his which I loved. He talks about what colors mean for completely blind people.