While I was toughing through a migraine a few weeks ago, when I got to the point where I could stand to listen to something I lay in bed for a few hours and listened to Radiolab podcasts. Radiolab…how much can I fawn over Radiolab before it gets to be too much? Well I’ll test your patience, because I adore this program. They explore the most fascinating subjects, and are extraordinary storytellers. If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to an hour-long podcast, I highly recommend some of their “shorts,” which are usually about 15-25 minutes long. The most recent short I listened to was “Seeing in the Dark,” featuring the perspectives of two men who had become blind later in life, and exploring their opposed ways of “seeing” the world now. One decisively started shutting out visual perceptions, while the other attempted to further develop, enhance, and create new images.

Radiolab’s Seeing in the Dark

This was especially fascinating in light of my recent readings in philosophy class by David Hume and his distinction between perceptions of our minds: ideas & impressions. In his text An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, he proposes that we divide our perceptions into those ideas & impressions, and that all our ideas are derived from some original impression (hearing, sight, emotion, feelings, etc.). Consequently, he proposes that someone who does not have the capability of some impression, such as blindness is incapable of forming that corresponding idea. Now I’m simplifying this quite a bit, but I wonder how he would react to Zoltan Torey in this Radiolab podcast, who asserts that not only can he remember the images he had before he became blind, but that he has continued to develop further after he could no longer see?

Also, Christopher Jacrot’s photographs of NYC in the dark.