Monday, May 29, 2017

Spending Time in a Dark Room

When we meet a blind person we naturally feel empathy for the person but rarely consider what that would mean to us if we were blind. How are they able to live without sight is even difficult to imagine.

A professor emeritus in the science department, who still is active in many different positions writes in the Kyeongyang magazine about an experiment he had with six teachers of science. He wondered how difficult it must be to teach the blind students a course in science. He wanted the teachers to experience the blindness of the students even for a short period of time.

He made a dark room and selected 6 volunteer teachers in science who were willing to participate. In the dark room, he had the numbers on the wall in relief that would direct the teachers to their seats. The instructor would give directions once they entered the room and they would go to the table with the experimental equipment laid out before them.

They were not given any help in what to expect in the darkroom. They were allowed to talk with one another and by trial and error method to arrive at results. The first experiment was with a model of an eye. They thought at first it may be a terrestrial globe but one of the participants suggested it may be a model of an eye. They agreed and succeeded in dismantling the model. Since most of them had worked with such a model and had taught it in class,  he asks, would that have been possible if they hadn't experienced the model of the eye previously?

The second was a model of the molecular structure of ice. In our textbooks rarely would one see the molecular structure of ice and little is studied on the subject, consequently no one was able to make heads or tails of the model before them.

The lights were turned on and they were asked what did they learn from the experience. First of all, it was the first time they had such an experience. It was the first time in the lives of many of the group that they had such a feeling of helplessness and were humbled. They felt for the first time how grateful they were for the sense of sight to see the beautiful world in which we live. As teachers for the blind, they thought they knew what the students faced in their learning environment but they agreed they did not understand.

They felt closer to the students they were teaching and understood their difficulties. All the teachers learned a great deal from the darkroom time. He feels this kind of time in a dark room would be a great learning experience for many.

Why did God put us on the earth to die? The professor wonders if this is not to experience what the teachers did in the dark room. God wanted us to experience helplessness and see our faults, dwell on his mercy and come to an appreciation of the meaning of life.