Monday, July 23, 2012

Your Green Sounds a Little Flat

This week, please watch and listen as artist Neil Harbisson describes how he listens to color.  In responding (which please do for Friday at local noon), please consider two questions: to what extent can one sensory way of knowing be substituted for another?  Which of your ways of knowing does this lecture employ or trigger, and how and why?


  1. To start with, I think Neil Harbisson is pretty amazing. He made a disability into an advantage for himself, and then continued on to extend his advantage to others through the Cyborg Foundation. One sensory way of knowing can be substituted for another to a large extent, because there are so many different ways of knowing, as discussed in class a few times. We can be knowers through language, faith, perception, experience, reason, etc. Now, these ways of knowing can be narrowed down by looking at which ways of knowing uses senses (like, you can use your any sense for experience; sight, smell, touch, etc). Sticking with experience as a way of knowing, these sensory ways can be substituted depending on what sense is stronger for the person. For example, if I go to a chocolate factory, I know I’m near chocolate because I can use my eyes to see it, I can smell the strong scent of chocolatey goodness, I can taste the candy, I can hear the chocolate being mixed in machines, or I can feel a bunch of candy bars in my pocket. Any of these senses are ways of knowing that you are around chocolate. These senses will help me decipher whether I like chocolate, what type of chocolate it is, how common it’s being enjoyed, and how much it is- all ways of knowing.

    This lecture triggers a few ways of knowing for me- perception and experience. This is because when watching the video, I thought about blind people and how their hearing is good because they’re so dependent on it. By knowing that senses can be substituted, it is not magic to me that the guy in the video can do that, but I do perceive him to be very intelligent and passionate about the new method to help work on it and spread the word. This triggers experience because I have been around color-blind people who can’t see certain shades, and brings me back to remembering sitting down and watching TV shows like Rugrats where the camera would zoom in to Spot’s (the dog) perspective and we viewers would be in black and white. These two traits are triggered because everything links in one way or the next, and sometimes certain stories or topics can evoke the least expected memories.

  2. As someone who tries to appreciate and take full advantage of all of her senses through art and experience, I've always found it very difficult both to imagine my life without one of my senses and to imagine life with an extra sense, as Neil Harbisson has. I call it this - an extra sense - purposely: I do not believe he has found a way to substitute one way of sensory perception for another. He has, of course, found a different way of experiencing the world, a sense which I cannot imagine having, and which unquestionably widens his perception and understanding of the world. Of course, this brings to mind also the phenomenon that is synesthesia - the way I see it, it's another way of adding a dimension to sense perception, just as Harbisson has done. As far as I know, however - which isn't very far - senses cannot actually be substituted for each other.

    This lecture raises for me, as it did for Sara, questions about both perception and experience and, I suppose, reason.
    Because of the way I use perception to know these five particular determining characteristics about any given object I encounter, and because of the way Harbisson experiences these objects differently, I am using my own experience of my perception - knowledgeception! - to learn of Harbisson's lifestyle and how he knows, and to question it. I also use reason to justify my statement that although Harbisson may experience individual colors, this perception has not made up for his inability to see color the way people without colorblindness can, and that rather it has added yet another sense to his knowing.

  3. Neil is incredible! (I had to start my post this way). I admire the fact that he did not victimize himself due to his color blindness but instead, he went searching for a way to better himself. However, I think that his case is uncommon. While listening to the video, I wondered what become of him without the technology. Though he is able to do extraordinary things, like painting sounds, he will never be able to see colors. He might understand colors better than those who can see it, but part of seeing colors is the satisfaction you get out of it. I do not believe that he substituted one sense for another; he simply developed a way to understand what he cannot see with sound since he will never actually see colors.
    This lecture employs in me two ways of knowing: emotion and reason. I had to listen to the video twice to make up my mind on how I feel about using technology to better human’s senses. Technology, to my opinion is unnatural but that does not make it “bad.” I am uncomfortable with idea of walking around with a headpiece that would be considered a part of my body (kind of like Feed). However, I had to use reasoning do see the benefits in it. Neil unfortunately was born with color blindness, but because of his headpiece, he is able to understand and feel color.

  4. Neil was amazing! When I read the note in the post, I thought he would have a strange, rare form of synesthesia but I was pleasantly surprised by him and his "eyeborg". The best part, for me, was that he dressed in keys- As on the show, he was dressed in a Cmajor cord s major cords indicate something light and upbeat. Now to tackle the questions at hand. Neil hasn't changed the way he SEES color but is instead HEARING it. When I think of substituting, like in a recipe, I think apple sauce for canola oil in oat muffins (it will change the flavor a bit and, if the apple sauce is sweetened, you will add less sugar). If these two muffins were made, they would taste very differently. For Neil, he "sees" color very differently than anyone in this class would but at the same time, he really isn't actually seeing color. Therefore, to a certain extent can one sensory way of knowing be substituted for another.

    The video employs perception. Neil perceives color very differently than a majority of the world but at the same time he has never actually seen it and he has lived his life without color. He understands what a life without color is like and what one with is like as well. But his world with is hearing instead changing his perception of color and sounds.

  5. This was really interesting, I liked his quote: “Knowledge comes from our senses” because I have never really thought about it that way, being someone who has all of their senses working properly. It’s interesting the things we take for granted, because we already have all this knowledge at our fingertips that we don’t even realize. To answer the first question, the extent that another sensory way of knowing can be substituted for another is only half because I know that Neil Harbisson can hear his colors but people who normally look at colors don’t hear them, they just see. I feel like Neil will never be able to see colors how someone with “normal” vision would see it, which makes me feel grateful for my knowledge. Although, he does have the knowledge of color, just not the way most people have it. Therefore to answer the second question, this lecture for me triggered perception as a way of knowing, because as I said before, Neil has a unique way of seeing colors than the average person. I think it is really amazing that the sounds he hears from his device are different colors, but to someone who has not become attuned to those sounds, think they are just sounds.

  6. You have got to love TED lectures. I never even knew that this type of technology existed! Even though it is tragic to live in a world without the beauty of color, Neil has an incredible superpower. The fact that he can hear color rather than see reveals a new mystery of the human nature. Maybe we're not the normal ones, maybe he is. Who knows. To a large extent, I believe that one sensory way of knowing can be substituted for another. Think of this: When someone is born blind, that person, although they cannot see, have incredibly precise hearing. The same goes for the deaf, who see more than a typical human may see. Neil has been given the opportunity to take on an incredibly new sense. Through technology, he has become aware of color and not oblivious of it's wonders.

    This lecture, like my other classmates, triggered experience. This is because my Father is color blind. He is not as extreme as Neil, but this genetic defect makes life a little more challenging. He often needs help picking out the right clothes so he doesn't miss match the colors. Once he told me a story that when he applied for a job at the meat department at a grocery store, he was rejected. This was because he could not tell whether or not the meat was in good or bad condition. That was the first time he realized he was color blind. Ever since, he has had to look at color differently, especially when it comes to traffic lights. I thought it would be difficult to adjust to a minor case of color blindness, but I have know idea how Neil was able to learn the concept of hearing color. This is a miracle if you ask me!

  7. To what extent can one sensory way of knowing be substituted for another?
    For this specific topic, I think it is necessary to meet certain condition in order to inspire our senses to do more than we are already doing, for example, Neil's colorblindness arouse the ability to "hear" more than we do. As part of the evolution, there is a belief that monkeys are human's ancestor, and the reason why human no longer have tails is simply because we don't need it. To think about this backwards, if we still have the ability of seeing the colors, then it must be important for us in order to live, and it is just as important for those people who are color blind. The need of color makes Neil expand his other senses, and for ordinary people who don't have special needs, it is harder to expand one of our sense like Neil does.

    Which of your ways of knowing does this lecture employ or trigger, and how and why?
    I'm appeal to the last sentence that Neil said, "we should stop making application in our mobile phone but the applications on ourselves", the moment when I heard this, I imagined if I install all the applications I have in my phone into my brain, then I will be able to do many things, for example, be able to know when is the bus coming, or know how people think of all the restaurant in the city. Recently I heard that it is popular to install a camera in the cars now in Taipei, at first, it is for safety issues such as the responsibilities in a car accident. (However, people now use it as a way to gain money by sending the tape of people illegally driving to the police.) To require certain type of vehicle install the camera helps people to figure out how and what happened in an accident and reduce the amount of arguments; to expand this idea, I wonder if we all install a camera on ourselves would help us see the reality?

  8. I thought this video was really cool. I especially liked when he said he had to add more colors to the color wheel that humans don’t see, and I like how he uses it to his advantage. To answer the two questions above one way that a sensory way of knowing can substitute another is by making up for where the way of knowing is lacking. If one way doesn’t work there is always room for knowledge to be conveyed in another way. This lecture employs perception because of all of the different ways the relationship between color and sound can be understood. The way I might understand the relationship might not be the same way someone else might. I know that I relate and connect particular songs with certain people, events, and moments in time. For example every time I listen to the song “Can’t Get Enough” by The Black Eyed Peas I think about the first time I spent the weekend at alyshamarie:)’s house. Every Single Time.

  9. I think Neil Harbisson is unbelievably incredible! To be able to use his incapacity as a tool for success is definitely something that everyone should learn from and do the same. Although, i would like to also respectfully disagree with his statement " Life will be much more exciting when we stop creating applications for mobile phones and we start creating applications for our own body." Because being of the christian faith and religion, I strongly believe that God made man from his own image. And the changing of the human body would just be turning God's creation into nothing. So I do think that we should modify our body if it helps us achieve happiness and capability in our lives but I don't think that it should be our priority, especially if we don't suffer from anything. So this is kind of a bitter-sweet topic for me, because I regard highly of people such as Neil Harbisson and what they are capable of achieving, but im still conservative regarding modification to the human body. This reminds me of a documentary I watched in Rwanda about a french guy who had invented a way to write with the eye. So the eye movement could create figures and therefore one could write a letter without even having to touch a pen. This certainly does help people who are not capable of writing to write but I still don't know for sure if for sure it is morality necessary.


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