How possible is it for blind people to study history effectively?

Oct 2017
356
America ??
Is anyone here acquainted with any blind people personally? I’m not intending in any way to make blind people’s lives look more miserable than it already is, but questions & solutions for how they can learn nearly as effectively as sighted people has long puzzled me.

When we consider that up to 30 percent of human cortex is devoted to vision & that 75 to 80 percent of what we learn is through vision, it’s quite difficult to imagine how the blind could learn nearly anything as effectively as sighted people can, especially science & history. Yes they really don’t live in the same physical world as sighted people do. Not even the best human echolocators with visual cortexes dedicated to sound do, as sound works very differently from light & consequently has less to offer than light in examining finer details.

Since sound recording devices weren’t developed until the late 1870’s, doesn’t that make most if not all of history & recording prior to then visual dominated, especially for physical structures like nature landscapes, clothing, tools etc, basically anything non abstract as in ideas, philosophy, literature etc? Since we humans as higher primates are visual dominated biologically, visually has always been our primary method of communicating & recording throughout history, indeed without means to record sound until the late 19th century, that’s always been the only way to share information about the physical world non verbally. Even for us sighted people, there’s really no way for us to know what people, animals & other stuff sounded like other than from descriptions & reconstructions before the late 19th century.
As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But how does this fit with history? Just imagine yourself blind, how would all you have ever learned, saw & heard about history fit with that? Especially if you were born blind so had no abstract idea of attributes of normal human vision whatsoever. At best only limited to abstract ideas isn’t it? Certainly it would have been nice if there were more prominent blind historians throughout history so that today’s blind people could have more like minded references, but I suppose how it is otherwise reflects the dual fact that blind as well as disabled people overall have always made up a tiny fraction of society & that only important people & events got to record history doesn’t it?

What do you think the best solutions are for blind people to study history?
 
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