Can a Blind Man fear the Dark?

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 3rd Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Phobias

A blind man's fear of the dark is a question that a sighted person would hardly ever consider because surely in blindness there is no knowledge of light and darkness but of course a large percentage of the blind were at one time sighted so the concept of light is entirely rational and the need for it understandable albeit somewhat illogical.

Fear of the Dark?

There is a whole genre of horror stories based on fear of the dark and for the sighted person there is a distinct difference between what is possible in daylight against the limitations we face once night-time encroaches. Although our eyes continue to work, they clearly do not work to the same extent, the bright red car we see clearly in daylight becomes simply a dark coloured car at night, no different from black, brown or dark blue, it is as if we lose the shine in our eyesight come the night. That is the basis of those night-horror stories.

They play on our, very real, heartfelt, insecurities, based in part on tales we have heard and in part because of a fear of the unknown that we suspect may be lurking and fold them back into the mind to make the horrors worse than they should be.

How many people are afraid of the dark? If truth were told this would probably be a high percentage of the population.

State of Blindness

But a blind man should, once they have accepted that the state of blindness is not in and of itself a truly terrifying thing, be able to understand and adjust to the space around themselves, they will have a geographical plan of familiar locations and those that are not familiar they will try to make them more familiar, albeit that in public areas no matter how well known there is every reason why someone would place an obstacle in any odd location, yet for them darkness should offer the same challenges as daylight.

I once asked a blind friend how he got to know the space around him, asking this question while walking down a street he easily demonstrated to me how he could sense open space once a building came to an end, and as he talked about it I could also sense this on a non-visual level - but of course I had the advantage of seeing the space and how we had moved from a row of brick based houses that were a pavement's (sorry side-walk for my North American friends) width away from the road to a point where a glass office building started, at ground level this was set back from the roadway with a grass verge between the widened pavement and the building, but if you look up then above the glass structure curved out to the same level as those brick homes, and went shooting up to the skyline. A modern adaptation to a traditional city. I don't think he could understand the shape of the building from hearing his surroundings, certainly not in the way that I could see it, but that may not have mattered, because he knew that at ground level there was additional open space through his hearing alone.

Learning to Walk in a Blind Man's Shoes

They say it is tough having to walk in someone else's shoes. Having temporarily lost my own eyesight some months ago I know this is more than a metaphor because I had to learn to walk in a blind man's shoes, which gave me some insight into the problems of living with, or on the edge of, blindness and know that it is not purely a dark world.

Before experiencing blindness I also worked for a short time with a woman who was legally blind, yet she could see well enough to see shadow and recognise the difference between people, with her less than 10% visual capability, to her there was a distinct difference between day and night - by night time she went to great lengths to ensure that she was back in the safety of her own home.

So the proposition that a blind person can fear the dark certainly has a basis in reality. When I had my troubles there was certainly a time when blindness caused me great fear and perhaps more than a touch of insanity, but that is the experience of a sighted person being blinded but that has given me some understanding of the challenges involved.

Why would a Blind Man Fear the Dark?

If a person were truly blind, unable to see the difference between light and dark they would not know whether it were light or dark and they would be able to live their life without distinction, perhaps waking up at 2am, going through whatever their day brings then going to bed at the time many would be arriving home from their workplaces, they would not be tied to the same constraints as the rest of us. But of course if they went out at 3am, they must feel the difference between that and doing so at 8am, in one case the streets are empty, the other can be very crowded.

However according to the American Foundation for the Blind, blind people possess a wide array of abilities "ranging from a limited ability to see objects with special aids to the absence of light perception", indeed most of the people who are blind actually do have some light perception, so it is as likely that a blind person is as afraid of the dark as a sighted person. There are a large number of people who are legally blind who have more than basic visual capabilities, perhaps having a "visual efficiency of no more than 20 percent", of course that severely limits the things they can see in life, not being able to see the beauty of a distant landscape or perhaps the beauty of a woman or handsomeness of a man brings with it many challenges and perhaps fear as well.

There is for many blind perhaps more reason to fear the dark, because darkness brings with it greater challenges, there are no shadows from objects that help with depth perception, with darkness the blackness can be an obstacle to us all.

Image credits

  • Fear of the Dark from deviantart.com
  • Blind man Icon
  • Blind Man's Shoe by Peter Giblett.
  • Fearing Jack by 1ms.com

Nothing to fear here

If you wish to see other writings by the same author then there is plenty of choice.

Recent material by this author on other sites:

Peter B. Giblett has recently published the following items here on Wikinut:

Any thoughts? Truth is most people do and Wikinut is great a place for you to share some of your personal wisdom, that insight or knowledge about any subject you wish. You could start by adding a comment to any article, but the true writer will need to do something more, in which case you could join Wikinut, write then become connected to others who share a passion for writing.

Tags

Blind Man, Blind Mans Shoes, Blindness, Dark, Fear, Great Fear, Horror Stories, Insecurities, Limitations, Night, Night-Horror, Sense, Someone Elses Shoes, Truly Blind

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

I saw a commercial once for a product for the blind in relationship to night vs day, light and dark, but I cannot remember what that was about.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

This topic came about because of a recent film I saw with a blind man in a lead role who insisted on turning on the light in the eventhough he could not see it.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

Peter, this is a very good topic. I never really thought about this before. I have had night blindness my whole life. If I go somewhere that is pitch black I have no sight. My eyes do not adjust to the dark like others. I see nothing. Since I've always had this I don't know how to live any other way. To me it's just the way it is. I cannot drive at night.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

Nancy, one of the things I have thought much about since my infliction is human frailty - before I was always indestructible.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

Excellent work. You said, can a blind man fear the dark, I never thought about it before.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Karim Giblett
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

Amazing

Reply to this comment

author avatar writestuff
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

Interesting and informative post.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

I'm curious, Peter, how you manage to post articles on Wikinut with your blindness. Perhaps you have recovered enough vision to post. Reading every piece of your writing here, I continue to wonder. I will understand if you think it's none of my business.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
4th Feb 2015 (#)

LeRain, where I am right now is that my right eye is about 95% recovered and my left is about 50% recovered (and still likely to need a corneal transplant). I do everything these days with the aid of reading software and a magnifying glass.

Reply to this comment

author avatar M G Singh
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

Great post Peter and opened a new horizon for me,

Reply to this comment

author avatar Carol Roach
4th Feb 2015 (#)

I don't really know that many blind people but those whom I know never mentioned they are afraid of the dark.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
4th Feb 2015 (#)

I doubt most sighted people would admit to being afraid of the dark but a fair percentage are.

Reply to this comment

author avatar spirited
4th Feb 2015 (#)

I guess fear of the dark was some type of a primitive survival mechanism once.

I also fear going blind in a way at times, but they are already blind.

Interesting thoughts Peter

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
4th Feb 2015 (#)

Fear of going blind is, according to my research, one of the greatest fears people have.

Reply to this comment

author avatar viewgreen
4th Feb 2015 (#)

Great article sir. Well, in fact many people who are not blind, but in fact they heart have blinded.
Otherwise it is not actually that the blind people never feel the light because, although his eyes are blind, but in fact it isn't to his/her heart.
And that light is actually that should be imitated by those who have been awarded a normal body shape. approximately so!
Thank you for sharing this unique topic.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Stella Mitchell
5th Feb 2015 (#)

I still pray that you will have full recovery for your natural sight ...and also for spiritual insight .
Bless you Peter
Stella ><

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
5th Feb 2015 (#)

Stella, I have seen the doctor today and he is scheduling a transplant, so fingers crossed.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
5th Feb 2015 (#)

Thanks for making us think, Peter, happy that you are on your way to full recovery. Fear of dark arises from our vulnerability due to lack of awareness of the surroundings. Lions and other predators take advantage and prehistoric humans had to contend with them. Yes, going blind is scary as we are used to sight with the sun aiding us to go about our routine. I have seen a saving grace as I know of one who became insurance agent when his sight deteriorated to almost total blindness - his memory became so sharp he could remember the telephone numbers of hundreds of his clients and also due dates of premium payments.

I think of many millions in poor countries who cannot afford cataract surgery leading to severe sight issues - thankfully, many are able to get free surgery due to generous hearts. I have been contributing in a small way and I am astonished basic surgery costs are just $10. I spent 400 times that in a developed country! siva

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
5th Feb 2015 (#)

Siva, one good thing about the Canadian health system is that it is free to have such operations (without the bureaucracy of the British NHS).

Reply to this comment

author avatar ORourkeDesigns
9th Feb 2015 (#)

Peter I truly enjoyed this read. Excellent work and very well researched. I had a member of my family that lost her vision at 13 years old. Yet she was able to run a small store and do so much. Instinct she use to say also helps. Thank you for this article

Reply to this comment

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
9th Feb 2015 (#)

Some people are not afraid to rise to the challenge.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password