In my Psychology class a few weeks ago, my lecturer spoke in passing about language. He asked how you would survive if you were born dumb; incapable of speaking. There was a pause. His blanket conclusion I summarize thus; you can’t survive without language. Think about what it is like being incapable of verbalizing your thought for a moment. I find it frustrating when someone cuts me short or my hand is ignored in class and I can’t speak my mind. That is all an issue of not being allowed to speak in a sense. How does it feel not having the biological capacity to speak? Keep that image in your mind for a moment. Pause. Ruminate.
Thought about it? Great! Now just for a moment, I want you to think what it’s like being deaf, has anyone of you ever heard a deaf person speak, it sounds weird right? Well because hearing and speech goes hand in hand. A deaf person can’t make a shrill sound because when learning how to speak you do so by imitating, when you can’t hear what something sounds like you can’t really imitate it. So here you are deaf, which some of you will be with your mp3 blasting ear plugs, incapable of hearing others? Yes there is sign language a way to communicate, but how much is lost in translation in sign language. I can only imagine what it is like arguing in sign language, patience is required. I think I would stick to the middle finger to zero in the fact that I am upset. But I do empathize with the hearing impaired who we really do take for granted. It is a condition you can also find yourself in from a freak accident or just deafening yourself with music.
Now imagine being deaf and dumb. Thank God for sign language, right? But what happens if you throw in being dumb, deaf and blind. Despite the cruelty of life and the unexplainable calamities that affect the most undeserving of such disaster, at least God was gracious enough to not have such a trifecta. If there is a person on this earth who is dumb, deaf and blind, I genuinely pray that God would be gracious enough to at least restore one of the senses. Because that is plain cruel; you are left with is touch, smell and taste.
How do you fully experience life without those three key senses of communication? If I can’t see, hear or speak to you. How exactly do you communicate? Indulge me for just a moment what would that be like? How do you perceive depth or express the pleasure of the sun kissing your face or enjoy a walk through Karura forest. Enjoy the sounds of Ladysmith Black Mambazo?
If I have never seen, heard or even heard someone express an emotion, a state of being, what kind of an existence is that?
From experience, you can relate to and maybe understand others when they communicate that experience to you; to a certain degree. If you can’t share an experience, any experience, by communicating it to another person, then what does life mean to you? You see no matter how you look at it, demanding for change in public transportation, being dumped via text message or on Facebook, enjoying a good sumptuous Ugali meal, stubbing your toe or catching flak for lying about your sibling to your parent, is life. But what makes those experiences something worthwhile and makes life more fulfilling is we can communicate and express our emotions. When that’s taken for you well… you decide what that is…a black hole, death, punishment….
My point? Enjoy every experience of your existence; good and bad and share it because that is what life and living is all about!
First published on http://blog.storymojafestival.com