Listening with your eyes

eye The title above can surely raise one’s eyebrow and could even launch a school debate.  Simple as it may look and sound, the same is very intriguing and maybe can get one to wonder if it is possible.  But with the way the modern world, as well as modern minds presents itself today, everything is within reach.  In the fast-paced world of technology that people live at right now, almost, if not all, is possible.  What’s important today in order to reach for one’s goal or to answer one’s complex questions is the belief or the idea that the word “impossibility” is nothing but an idea drawn by mediocrity.

One of the infinite out-of-the-ordinary and complex questions and problems facing the world right now is that of the above.  Can we really listen with our eyes?  The writer of this piece got a frown from a kid when he attempted to pop the same question.  Even kids, who people believe to be equipped with all the answers to these kinds of queries, are left dumbfounded.  The sub-problem that can arise from this problem is that it is by itself, unusual and unnatural in nature.  Of course there are unlimited ideas on these kinds but in order to get to answer this dilemma, one should start initially answering the very basic questions.  Is one really capable to get to listen through the eyes?

Our early elementary science school books have long taught our young minds that the human beings have, in order to perceive something, senses. Almost everyone then and now learned that it is only thru the eyes that we see, thru the ears that we hear, thru the nose that we smell, thru the tongue that we taste and thru the skin that we are touched.   These are all what we call as traditional senses (sight, smell, hear, taste and touch) and they are all being manifested thru the said sense organs that are located in our body.  Thru the evolvement of science, we currently have additional senses aside from the ones mentioned before.  According to recent studies, humans do have, aside from the traditional five, six additional senses.  It is as follows: pain (nociception), balance (equilibrioception), joint motion and acceleration (proprioception & kinesthesia), sense of time, temperature differences (thermoception), and direction (magnetoception).  Current studies also have defined senses as, according to Wikepedia.com, as cell types that responds to a physical phenomenon instigated by the brain.

With the clear view of what really is the meaning of the word “sense”, one’s study becomes more narrower as we are being pointed to the main culprit of it all- the brain. It is through the signals being given or transmitted by the brain that our senses come into play.  For it is through the activity instigated by the brain that signals are sent to the organs.  On a more simplified way, every aspect of human activity-voluntary or involuntary requires brain function.  It is what the brain receives and what the brain signals out to the different organs that matters.  Experts nowadays are still in search for the possibility of giving the brain more power and function than the usual.

Normally, when the mind is at a “wake” stage, whatever activity the mind and the brain of an individual does, it can be termed as “conscious” stage.  This brain activity of being conscious is the normal way, as neurologists would state.  But there are also activities that are termed as the “sub-conscious” stage.  It is the brain activity beyond the conscious awareness.  The common man would call the said brain activity as one that is not normal. A classic example of this sub-conscious activity is memory.  It can be recalled at will.

Simple to more complex explanations and information are today present regarding the conscious and the sub-conscious state of mind.  The conscious mind activity or mind power enables the mind to form emotions, imaginations, memory and will.  Our mind power is the way we think.  Illustratively, our mind is like a natural spring flowing constantly.  The mind and its thoughts then chooses what kind of water to pour but it cannot yield a fresh and bitter water to pour at the same time.  In short, positive and negative thoughts cannot be equally produced by our mind.  One activity should rule over the other. And since the mind produces thoughts, the modern man is now faced with challenge and the responsibility of enhancing these thoughts.  Experts say that man needs to influence his mind with emotions and thoughts that are positive.  With this, according to them, the sub-conscious mind or the mind power gets into play.  Philosophically, it is thinking than what one believes what one thinks.  In a more simplified way, it is a method of overcoming what one thinks by simply enhancing or moving forward, or by putting one’s positive thoughts into action or into reality.  It is much like of the slogan of a famous advertisement of an energy pill:  “what your mind can conceive, your body can achieve.”

Going back to the problem and with the discussions stated above, the possibility of getting the solution in a more acceptable and comprehensible manner is getting vivid.  Now that the tremendous brain activity is realized as well as its unparalleled power, the next possible question in mind is, can the brain alter or manipulate all these signals and transmissions so that the possibility of listening to the things that we see and being able to comprehend the same in a manner so natural, possible?  Again, the modern world of realized ideas has numerous simple to complex answers.

According to the City College of San Francisco website (ccsf.edu), they defined that listening is the process of absorption of the words and sentences by the brain.  It is a process in which facts and ideas are understood.  Additionally, a good and proper listening requires the 3 A’s: Attitude, Attention and Adjustment.  It also requires concentration.  A good active listener incorporates concentration and listening, which is a vital role in communication.  Active listening involves our primary sense organs, the ears and the eyes as well.  But it is possible to listen with just using the eyes?

A very classic example, and probably the concrete answer or solution to the problem at hand is the sign language.  History tells us that sign language began during the 17th century in Spain.  Sign language is basically the means of communication used by deaf people.  In general, there is a corresponding sign language for every spoken language or on a more vivid explanation, sign languages and its development depends on how large the deaf population a country has.  It is the deaf who generates and develops sign languages.  Studies today shows that it is through these cultural innovations that the richness of history of a country is preserved or the richness of its spoken language is cultured.
Experts state that sign languages are very much like oral languages, they both organize fundamental meaningless units into cognizable ones (study of Phonetics).  Moreover, there are many elements of a sign for it to be more comprehensible: the hand form, palm orientation, place of articulation, movement or facial expression.

The comprehension of these signs depends on the amount of information the mind has gathered or what the mind has already experienced.  The brain is made to react more abruptly and comprehend to signs presented rather being communicatively manifested.  This abrupt comprehension is also related to the mind’s narrowing of decision and, thus, according to experts, often produces good results.  Such of this process of the brain is cohesively explained by Dr. Malcolm Gladwell in his book, “Blink”.  He further explained that man’s minds tend to “blink” and make good decisions if these decisions are made without actually thinking.  He named this mind process of “blinking” as “thin-slicing”.

The above theory becomes more vital once incorporated with sign language as a simple sign could have various interpretations and meanings that only through “thin-slicing” activity can provide.  More so, both of them uses the importance of learned and gathered information and experiences as their framework.  Without these vital factors, the end results could result into confusion.

With the facts presented above, it is now clear that external factors, such as learned information and experiences, are very significant in the process of ever having to really “listen” to what we normally “see”.  The amount or the sum of comprehension would initially rely on the power of the mind to absorb what is being signaled or transmitted.  The retention of these transmitted signals is triggered through the mind’s sub-conscious stage.  Being able to transform these signals in an abrupt manner or being able to “thin-slice” could positively bring good results.  Thus, a more cohesive method of active listening using a different mean is achieved.  With these being realized, also the possibility of listening through the eyes, or even having to use the other senses, is possible.  Anything is possible as long as everything is in the mind.

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