• Ajinkya Satish Dharane

Deaf, Dumb and Blind Intelligence

(Photo by Chris A. Tweten on Unsplash)

After hours of discussion, back and forth, we gathered the courage to go out for an ice-cream in the evening. It was our anniversary. Last five years, we had always celebrated the anniversary in Florida (except 2019, where we took a trip about a few hundred miles further south to Cancun). This year leaving Toronto was out of the question. But we thought we could at least go out for dessert instead of celebrating on the sofa. We can trust our government that much (Ontario had opened up patio dining for restaurants, a few days earlier). We assumed it would cheer us up amid all the negativity surrounding us, but -

Within a couple of minutes of our order, a deaf and dumb person came into the restaurant. He was middle-aged, looked healthy and was carrying a backpack. In a nutshell, he did not have a “stereo-typed homeless” look. When he approached our table, we cringed. Not because of his looks or social status, but by the scare of viral infection. He subtly slipped a small card on to our table and pointed out to read the message on the card. Without touching the card, I read –

I have made this card with my hand

Would you please purchase the card so I can buy food?

Any amount would be good

After reading the message momentarily, my heart sank immediately, but immediately I told the person in sign language that I do not have any cash. That person walked away and entered the store in the hopes of finding a buyer for his card. After a couple of minutes, I entered the store to collect my order and saw that the person was trying hard to ask three people behind the counter for a cake. His struggle made me hate myself for having an ability to speak and listen. The only thing I could do was buy a cake for that person – which I did.

But the incident stayed with me for a long time. It got me thinking, am I really NOT deaf, dumb and blind? Are we all really NOT deaf, dumb and blind? The answer to this can be summarized in a beautiful quote –

“I was deaf and dumb and blind to all but me, myself and I” – Loretta Young

The teen who ignores his teachers’ warnings, parents, and still uses drugs is deaf, dumb and blind. That teen chooses NOT to hear the warnings by his elders, NOT see the implications of drug use. The same teen keeps quiet in front of his (or her) friends who call him a sissy for not using drugs.

The driver who speeds on the highway, just for its thrill, is deaf, dumb and blind. That driver prefers NOT to hear his subconsciousness telling him to slow down. He (or she) sees and overlooks the speed limit signs. The driver does not speak against other rule-breakers and instead follows them into a pit.

The voter who elects a politician even after seeing that politician fail in multiple ventures is blind. The voter cannot hear the politician dividing the nation for his or her to gain power, so the voter is deaf. The voter does not speak against the authority figure and accepts a mediocre quality of life, so the voter is dumb.

On the contrary, animals do not ignore, overlook the dangers or nuances in their lives. A crow knows that it has to abandon a meal lying on the road when a car comes or die. Being the fastest on the land, a cheetah chooses to slow down after a sprint of 300 yards to save its own energy, even it means allowing its prey to escape. In the same scenario, the deer running from cheetah knows it has to stick with its herd for the best chance of survival.

The question has to be raised- Why us humans, the most intelligent species on the planet, chose to ignore the most obvious facts around us? Why do we turn a blind eye, deaf ear or keep our mouth shuts?

I have pondered this question for some time now, and I will try to answer this in the best possible way I can. But let me warn you, this answer might turn out to be the irony I am trying to point out in this complete article.

From the moment we are born, we start living in a bubble of our own. We call ourselves a globalized world, but there is a thick line between a globalized and unified world. The average person visits only 7% of the world’s countries, about 14 different countries in his or her lifetime. (Note: DailyStar UK claims this statistic, but I could not find evidence for this stat. Let’s assume, for our argument’s sake it is true). Travelling to 14 different countries sounds like a “rich person status” to most of us. But remember, the average takes into account 27 countries of EU, where one can travel without any restrictions, and EU citizens travel amongst member countries for business and pleasure often. The stat also considers North American countries where business and pleasure travel between the USA, Canada and Mexico is prevalent.

Each country, irrespective of its location, history, economy, has its uniqueness. When a person visits that country, the bubble I mentioned earlier, knowingly or unknowingly grows. The person gains a certain level of knowledge and experience (about culture, history, economy, etc.) about that country. Let’s assume a person from America visits some Asian country. That person understands the hospitality of some of those countries. Before that person’s visit, they might think the persistence in excellent hospitality as cocky behaviour, thus leading to misunderstanding and, in most cases, racist behaviour.

We need to understand how this bubble works. We ignore anything outside of this bubble. This bubble essentially is our comfort zone. The things outside the bubble are stranger to us. So, we turn a blind eye or deaf ears or keep our mouth shut in those things. And for most of us, this bubble is tiny. In the world where we live to survive and not excel, this bubble’s understanding and growth is not even on our priority list.

We do not understand politics, so we cannot hear and conclude that the statement by that leader is wrong, and we should talk against it. If the teen is raised in a neighbourhood where the drug use is a routine, that teen will ignore all the warning signs and boast that he or she is using substances.

Again, like I said before, this explanation for my question (are we really NOT deaf, dumb and blind) is derived from the knowledge inside my bubble and completely ironic.

I would encourage more feedback on this, so let me know in the comments or write to me.

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