Last week at work we landed on the random topic of “would you rather be blind or deaf” and out of everyone in the group, I was the only one to choose blindness.
After glancing about on the Internet, my highly scientific perusal of the front page of Google lead me to believe that most people would choose deafness over blindness.
It makes sense. So much of our world is focused on being able to see. In fact, we rely on our sight so much that we probably miss out on developing our other senses simply because they aren’t needed as much in today’s world.
But the main reason I would choose blindness over deafness is summed up nicely by Helen Keller, and who would know better than her?
Blindness separates people from things; deafness separates people from people.
My life is full of both people and things, but if I had to choose one to discard, it would be the things.
In fact, over the last few years I’ve been doing just that: discarding things. I’m a minimalist (I’ve been meaning to write about minimalism, but until then you can read more over at The Minimalists) and as such, I don’t own all that much stuff. I focus on having experiences and interacting with people, so if I were to lose things like video games and YouTube, I’d survive.
That’s not to say my life would not change dramatically if I lost my sight, because it would. But none of the challenges I would face would be insurmountable. I just spent ten minutes typing up ways in which life would be worse, but I managed to find a workaround for every single problem. Apparently there are blind people that write computer programs, rock climb, and play video games!
I’m not saying that it’s much harder to be deaf. Both disabilities come with their unique challenges. But the things I value most in life would all still be fully accessible when blind.
I love to read, so Audible would pump books into my ears and Braille would cover the rest.
I love to talk, so I could still hold entire conversations with almost anybody I met on the street. And while I love being able to look at my wife, I’d much rather be able to talk to her about all the random crazy things we both come up with on a daily basis.
I love music, and would probably develop an even deeper appreciation for it and start playing an instrument again.
I love rock climbing, cycling, and being generally active, all of which could still be done with some minor changes.
But the biggest reason I wouldn’t want to be deaf is because of my favorite thing in the whole entire world: podcasts. I love podcasts. How could I live while being cut off from some of the best one-sided relationships I’ve ever developed?
While both disabilities would suck, being deaf, at least for me, would be a much larger burden that I would rather not deal with.
I didn’t dive too much into the deafness side of things, but if you think I’m completely crazy, leave a comment telling me why!
Lane Sawyer is an IT consultant at Pariveda Solutions in Seattle, WA. He enjoys writing articles like this one when he’s not working on some new project, tackling a challenging video game, or running around outside in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. You can find out more about him on his website.