Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

silence & time

October 2nd, 2004

I have collected more data on my hypothesis that the silence factor is only a symptom of a deeper, phenomenological difference between Deaf and non-deaf (a.k.a. “hearing”) people. I say phenomenological because I think it goes deeper even than culture, it is a constitutive mode of perception that shapes cognition.
During the process mediation workshop yesterday, Bob talked about his processing time, using phrases like, “Hurry up, it’s been 10 seconds”, and that he felt “frantic”. These statements refer not to the silence itself, but to the sensation, knowledge, or awareness of time passing. Later, during my poster session, I asked Eileen if Deaf people feel time passing like that, and she laughed, “No! We don’t feel that way!” My read of her reaction was that it was almost inconceivable.

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