phenomenology of deafness

“It was a mistake to assume that my cousin’s universe was a tenuous universe of silence or emptiness. In fact it was a fluid universe of movement, affinity, alliances, sublime extravagances, evanescent pleasures, rendezvous with first-blush auroras, mornings, voyages, mercurial vagrancies, and a momentum forged in rampant elevation, up, up, standing on my shoulders in the water, vaulting circumfusion bubbled forth, embodied in a gulp of waves. His feet slipping from my shoulders and we both fell. It was a mistake to assume his silence was a heaviness, when in fact his silence was a gravity balanced light against the ballast of the world.”
Nasdijj, the blood runs like rivers through my dreams, p.170

2 thoughts on “phenomenology of deafness”

  1. It is with bemusement I read this line, “…in fact his silence was a gravity balanced light against the ballast of the world.”
    Why is it always the case where hearing people view silence as an object of allusion? Do deaf people describe or analyze the non-silence of hearing people? Besides, there is no such a thing as silence in terms of deaf people to begin with.

  2. Do deaf people make fun of noise? I don’t recall ever seeing an instance of it; what they do make fun of is what hearing people look like – our behaviors and mannerisms in response to sound. So, it isn’t the “non-silence” but there is recognition of a stimulus (even if the point of the humor is to show how ridiculous the behavior appears without it).
    I’m not sure of the author’s intention, but I suspect he didn’t actually mean anything like the absence of sound. I think he meant the kind of consciousness that visual people have, and how that serves to establish its own kind of equilibrium. It reminds me of a time at my friend Laurel’s, when her cat was in heat and wailed through the night. Laurel slept peacefully through the whole thing while I squirmed and fidgeted – she teased me (as have other deaf people, at other times) about “popping my ears” to get rid of that nuisance noise once and for all! 😉
    But, even as I’m defending Nasdijj, I am wondering if there’s a way he could have made the point without invoking something familiar to contrast it against….hmmm!

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