Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Was a Mute

On Friday I was silent the entire day. I didn't speak for 24 hours.

My original intent was to protest the mistreatment of homosexual and transgender teenagers. It was successful. It brought the matter to quite a few people's attention.

A friend and I decided to keep going without talking for 24 hours, even when we were out of public and any possibility of having an impact on the aforementioned issue. It became a personal experiment. I had willfully become mute, and I wanted to see what it was like to live as if I were mute for one day.

It was certainly enlightening.

It isn't just that it is difficult to communicate without speech. That is a given. Truly knowing the extent, however, is less easy to assume. By revoking the act of speech - something so integral to human-to-human communication - you become trapped, shut off, and locked inside your own head, just a spectator of the outside world. The actor reverts to being a mere audience member. Other modes of communication are too innefficient to offer any real benefit, and you are at a severe disadvantage. You cannot mutter even a few words to yourself in a moment on stress! Willingly holding something so dear (and so taken for granted) away, you essentially find yourself enduring a trial of masochism, as well as form of self-conditioning and discipline. Don't talk! Don't even say hello. All you can do is wave; you, being merely an observer behind the window panes of the eyes, can only knock or gesture to direct people this way or that. The skull, after all, is soundproof. You can scream as much as you want within the confines of your own head, but no one will ever hear you. How appropriate an allegory for the oppressed.

Taking this idea further, I want to attempt to be blind or deaf (or both) for a whole day, sometime within the next few months. It is an analogous form of the masochistic conditioning of what I did yesterday. It is a way to learn things about yourself, how you communicate, and how you interact with the world around you. If nothing else, it certainly produces a form of empathy for people who actually are mute, deaf, and so forth.

Could you imagine never speaking? For those who came from Direct-Waves (and other big music fans) - could you imagine never hearing your favorite records again?


Mars said...

Could I imagine never hearing my favorite records again? NO!

I did know a guy who called himself 'Deaf Dumb Dwayne' (one Halloween he was a DJ replete with booth and turntables and giant sign that said 'DJ DEAF DUMB DWAYNE'). He loved techno because the bass vibrations were so intense he could 'hear' them. Of course, the only place he could do that was at a club, so can I imagine that? I shudder to think.

Great work for a great cause Thundermind. Maybe not in our lifetime, but soon I think the Western world will (by and large) end its persecution of homosexual and the transgendered.

It seems like the teens I know today don't seem to have negative views of the GLBT community - in fact, they don't even care. A classmate is gay - so what? This seems to be the prevailing attitude.

Or maybe I just know some great kids...

wassonii said...

Unfortunately, it's a multi-cultural malady, these injustices.
It's hard enough to conform the will, but the progression over conditioned response is laudable.
Did you take a pad of paper with you?

thunderperfectmind said...

ha, dwayne sounds like an interesting guy. reminds me of beethoven's response to music.

if things keep going the way they do, it'll end. honestly what i think is even more incredible is that the sexes are gradually becoming equal, something we haven't seen since the agricultural revolution - homosexuality was acceptable until the rise of the church.

it's kind of hit or miss. a lot of teens are actually really supportive, but i've met many that are just the opposite, especially the stereotypical jock asshole boys. and then there are others that don't really care a whole lot either way - which is better than opposing it.

yeah, i had a paper and pen with me the whole time (for the most part). which might be considered cheating i guess but i wanted to be as incapable as a mute but not any more than that. after all, a mute can write. i usually only wrote messages to tell people what i was doing.

Anonymous said...

...dead blog zone again :^?
the Pilot

thunderperfectmind said...

nah, not dead blog zone. i actually typed up a few things today but haven't posted them yet. i think i mentioned in one of my first posts that i had some important dates coming up, so i wouldn't get to post much until they were over, but i wanted to start the blog up anyway. well, those dates ended today. :)