Ever since I was about seven or eight years old, I learnt how to distinguish the sound of each note, hence how I developed my absolute pitch. However, I discovered that I could apply this perfect pitch to not just music, but also things like using the telephone, recognise certain textures of sound when I dial the telephone, and knew when I was calling a fax machine or dialup system. At the time, I knew that these were tones that a person could associate with these things. When I started getting more technical in later years, I learned that computers used tones in various forms of sine wave frequencies to communicate to each other mathematically across long distances. These tones also included different types of noise as well. That brings me to something I just discovered. Up to this point, I did not know that the emergency alert systems found on television and radio used tones to send encoded messages across the network, yet when I heard the tones I associated them with an emergency message. I did a bit of research and learnt that the series of tones I was hearing was called the specific area of message encoding, or SAME.
As blind people, we tend to be more aware of our surroundings, with our third or mind’s eye. We are able to see and hear beyond, like in ‘The Giver’. This doesn’t mean that we cannot see and or hear physically, but it just means we are able to view the world differently. I have been able to recognise speech synthesisers that you would normally find in screen readers on places like the public city bus, in movies, the ATM, and other keosks. Of course, this doesn’t mean that blind people are the only ones who know about it, for certainly there must be a number of sighted people who know about these things, only they are not visible to the general public. I know a number of amateur radio operators, and as mentioned in my post, blind people seem to develop their own culture that is devoted to the mannerism associated with radio communications. This leaves outsiders who cannot conform to the culture to be overwhelmed because we cannot understand their close-mindedness.
I looked into the phantom flute phenomenon, where if you play two flutes in the high ranges, you will often hear a third flute that is not present. This is due to the resultant (sum of two frequencies or difference of two frequencies) that I was picking up. As a prospective piano tuner, I had to know what these were and how they would get in the way when I was tuning really high strings. The same applies for dual-tone multi-frequency or DTMF tones. When you dial a number or letter, two given frequencies that are predetermine create a unique texture that allows a person to know what is being dialed. In FBI and other forms of criminal investigation, people like us can listen to numbers being dialed so we can track the numbers of the party the caller is calling. This same thing goes for people who are incapable of measuring heart and breathing rate, save for the equipment they need.
When I learned how to differentiate beatings, i also learnt how to calculate frequencies that humans cannot hear based on how they feel. I could mention in a job interview that I can calculate a person’s heart rate, or a tremor based on my knowledge and muscle memory. I can calculate how fast a fly’s wing is buzzing while scientists had to use expensive equipment to do that. It’s a shame, because they could have matched the tones using a free programme like audacity and the recording of the insect’s wings.
When I was making these discoveries, I knew I wanted to try out a facsimile machine, and use dialup, despite the fact that people said those things were going out of date and that dialup was slow. It wasn’t because of the obvious that I wanted to use these systems, but it was because i was fascinated by the sounds it made when it communicated across the telephone line. I was wondering if some day in the future transhumans will be able to decode messages like morse code used in amateur radio in a natural sense, without using implanted devices. I got inspired by this idea when someone told me that scientists would be able to upload brain waves that escaped from your ears into a database. They would burn those brain waves onto a CD, which holds some form of music. Let’s say you are dancing. They would be able to record how your brain behaves when you dance. If they could copy that into a computer and replay it back in a room full of people, then everyone would start dancing because their brains would be decoding the brain waves.
So, I have met other blind people who shared this same passion of mine and we believe that if more people were interested in a certain way, not to the point where we know all about it, but to a certain extent, we could change the world in getting more people to pay attention more closely. What do you all think? I think we can learn how to be more aware of our surroundings if we just stop going into our iWorld environment and get out into the real world, because the iWorld is for people who are close-minded and selfish and the real world is for people who really care. We need to keep onto empathy and compassion.