The Blind

Elías Canetti

The blind was not born blind, although it took him just a little to get to be it.  He has a camera, he takes it everywhere he goes and it pleases him on keeping his eyes shut. It is like dreaming, he has seen nothing and he is already photographing it; later, when he has all the photos together, he can separate them in big and small, with inscription and number, always rectangular, well arranged, trimmed, collated and set out, only then he can see them better, in all ways.

The blind saves the effort of having seen something before. He reunites what he could have seen, accumulates it and enjoys as if they were mail stamps. By the love to his camera he crosses the wide world; nothing is enough shining, distant or strange: he catches it for the camera. He says: I have been there and he points it, if he couldn’t, he would not know where he was; the world is rich, chaotic and exotic, who could remember everything?.

The blind does not believe in nothing that has never been photographed. No matter how hard people speak, presume and rumor, his motto is: Let me see those photos! That’s how one knows what one really has seen, holds it in one’s hand, can put a finger on it and even open the eyes calmly instead of previously lavish them without no sense. Everything in this life has its moment, excesses are excesses, let us reserve the vision for the photos.

The blind likes to project his photographs extended on the wall and entertains his friends in that way. Those celebrations usually last for two or three hours: silence, lights, references, indications, advice, and humor. What a delight when he puts some wrong sided! What entirety when he notices that the other has been projected twice! Impossible to express how nice one feels if the photos are big and the projection extends. Finally comes the reward for the imperturbable blindness of the entire trip. Open up, eyes, open up, now you can see, there it is, and you were there, now you must prove it!

The blind regrets that others can also demonstrate it, but he demonstrates it better.

The Blind. Elías Canetti. Earwitness: Fifty Characters. (traduction from spanish by A. P.). Anaya & Mario Muchnick. Madrid. 1997 (pp. 681-82)