SFPS Sociology Walking Blindfolded Experience Discussion

Blind Walk

This may be done alone or with a partner. If two do it, each takes a turn guiding and and a turn being “blind’.

  • Select an area open and free of fire plugs, sewer gratings and gopher holes. (I used to walk on the paths of a botanical garden. The paths around Rockland Lake or Hessian Lake would be easy to follow.)
  • With eyes closed, move ahead slowly.
  • A guide makes this much, much easier to do. To guide a blind person, one usually offers an elbow. This puts the blind individual half a step behind the guide, able to read changes in direction from side to side and also if the guide is stepping up or down for a staircase. (I do NOT suggest tackling stairs in this exercise.) 
  • Move at a pace which is comfortable to the “blind” partner. Do not try anything fancy or fast. Avoid obstructions and be aware that the guded person may experience some anxiety at the unfamiliar sensations experienced while walking with eyes closed.

After three minutes exchange roles.

A solo exercise might be easier with a walking stick for a “cane”.

Do the exercise silently, to experience how other senses compensate for the lack of visual data. Students notice the textures underfoot, the sounds of echos in hallways (especially when approaching cross corridors), the different sounds one makes when walking on carpeting versus hard floors, etc.

After you finish, sit down for five minutes and write up your experience. Please be as specific as possible about sensations you experienced – and alterations in the attention you paid to them.

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