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-Daredevil is a really interesting character--
a hero who is blinded at a young age
by radioactive chemicals that peaked
his other senses to superhuman levels,
as well as granting him a radar sense.
The question is how much can Daredevil
"see" despite his blindness
Welcome to Comic Misconceptions.
I'm Scott.
And the Daredevil Netflix series has definitely
been drawing more attention to the Man Without Fear.
I, for one, am glad about that.
Daredevil is a great character and not just
because he definitely created the Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles, as I've talked about before,
but because his powers raise some interesting questions
about the ideas of human perception.
But first, a little background on the character.
When Daredevil debuted in "Daredevil Number 1" from 1964,
we see the accident that blinded him.
A young Matt Murdock was saving an old blind man
who was crossing the street from being
hit by a runaway truck carrying containers
of radioactive materials.
A container fell out of the truck,
and the radioactive chemicals washed into his eyes,
leaving Matt blinded.
But the story doesn't end there.
As Matt grows up, he starts to realize that his other senses
have become very sensitive.
And that allows him to perceive and navigate
the world in a different way than those who can see.
And he uses these new abilities to fight crime as Daredevil.
He can hear faint sounds, including people's heartbeats,
and to tell if they're lying.
His fingers have become so sensitive
that he can read newspapers just by feeling the impressions
of the ink on the page.
And his sense of smell and taste have also
been heightened, as well.
And if we look at real life cases, this sort of thing
is not too far off.
Radiation aside, studies have shown
that people missing one sense, like sight or hearing,
actually do compensate with their remaining senses.
Blind people, like Matt Murdock, can learn to process other
information from hearing, touch, and smell in ways that seeing
people can't.
The reason for this isn't that blind people's ears and noses
go through a physical change that allows them to hear
and smell better.
They're still working with the same hardware.
They just haven't upgraded software in their brains.
You're born with a part of your brain called
the visual cortex that is responsible for processing
all the visual information you take in.
So if you are blind, what happens to your visual cortex?
Does it just simply sit there, taking up room, not
really doing anything valuable?
Interestingly, no.
Your brain will actually rewire itself
to make use of the visual processing
center in different ways.
For example, studies have shown that blind people can recruit
their visual cortex for other processes,
like hearing, touch, and even vocabulary, which could come in
handy with Daredevil's day job as a lawyer-- needing to throw
around lots of big words.
Essentially, the brain will restructure itself to further
augment the remaining senses.
And this phenomenon is known as cross-modal neuralplasticity.
How's that for big words?
Before I go any further, I feel the need
to point out a few things.
Number one, I am far from an expert in any of this,
but I put links to where I've gotten this information
from in the description.
And number two, the research for this is still going on.
So anything I say in this video could
change as new studies are done and new information is
But OK, back to how Daredevil can "see."
So the part of his brain used for seeing
is now being taken over to process
other sorts of information through hearing and touch.
And that's helping Matt Murdock navigate the world around him
in a different way, but still a pretty effective one.
There are a few caveats here, though.
Firstly, for this sort of thing to happen to its fullest
ability, you would need to be blinded young
while the brain is way more plastic and still able
to reorganize itself.
With Daredevil, this is definitely
the case since the accident that blinded him happened
when he was a youngster.
Another issue is that cross-modal reorganization
could cause problems if Daredevil ever
got his sight back.
If this happened, he probably wouldn't
know what to do with all that new visual information that's
coming into his brain.
He'd have to stop fighting crime and learn how to process it
all-- and relearn how to fight crime differently
than he has been doing for years,
which could be frustrating.
He would likely be worse off since his brain is so used
to his blindness.
Matt getting his sight back has happened
a few times in the comics, but usually through magic
so I guess we could just assume that magic also
rewired his brain to that of a seeing person, as well.
I don't know.
Now, interestingly, cross-modal plasticity
can also be a link to acquiring synesthesia.
Synesthesia literally means joined perception and comes
in all kinds of different flavors.
Sometimes, literally.
It's when two or more senses are perceived simultaneously,
like hearing a sound and then instantly and involuntarily
sensing a smell or taste or color
or a physical feeling that goes along with it.
Essentially, input from one sense
triggers another automatically.
For the most part, synesthesia is genetic.
And you can't acquire it if you don't already have it.
However, there is research to suggest that blind people do
start to acquire a kind of synesthesia
as their brain restructures itself
due to the loss of sight.
Some blind people say that they see flashes of light
when they listen to music, for example.
Daredevil definitely seems to be a synesthi.
This one panel in "Daredevil Number 9" from 1999
shows him playing on the piano and sensing the sounds
from the different chords as colors, smells, and tastes,
saying things like how C major smells like old boxing gloves,
E major is a coppery taste, and E minor
is the glow of neon in the dark.
Whether he was born with it or acquired
it due to his brain reorganizing itself,
or maybe even that comic book magic that
is the radioactive material he absorbed.
It is unknown.
But it's another little tidbit about the character
that I find neat.
So we've covered Daredevil's heightened senses
that allow him to "see" the world around him
in a different way and his apparent synesthesia that
allows him to "see" sounds.
But what about his most important power?
His radar sense.
The radar sense is possibly the most confusing part
about Daredevil, in my opinion.
Over the years, there have been many different interpretations
of it in the comics that range vastly.
And there has yet to be a truly standardized description
and explanation for this power.
In fact, there's a great seven part article
I'll link to you below on theothermurdockpapers.com that
chronicles the changes made to Daredevil's radar
sense over the years-- things like how it works,
what exactly is it capable of, and even different artists'
renditions of it in action.
I will give you the "Cliff's Notes" version, because it
is incredibly inconsistent.
Sometimes, it can see through walls and other solid objects.
Other times, it gets obstructed by plants and gas clouds.
Sometimes he sees extreme details,
and other times it's more like basic outlines and shapes.
Sometimes it's linked to his sense of hearing,
like a form of echolocation.
In "Daredevil Number 167," we see
it described like that of a bat.
It says, quote, "He emits probing, high frequency waves."
Waves, which break against any solid object and breaking
send back signals audible only to Daredevil.
From these signals, his brain instantly
forms silhouette images of everything around him.
In this manner, he "sees" in every direction.
Lots of air quotes today.
Other times, he describes his radar sense
like touch with a, quote, "sort of tactile facet to it."
There have been a few instances where he relates it
to feeling objects around him, saying
that it's like reaching out and touching everything at once.
And still other times, it's described
as a completely new, independent sense that
isn't affected at all by sounds or smells or touch.
He once said that his radar sense
allows him to be aware of his surroundings
when all of his other senses fail.
Now because of these and many other seemingly inconsistent
qualities, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what is going
on here with the radar sense.
Though, it is probably safe to assume that it's not literally
radar, but rather that's simply a metaphor that helps us seeing
people understand it better.
In fact, maybe that's the problem.
Maybe the writers and artists and readers
like us will always have a hard time determining
precisely what the radar sense is like, because we
don't have one.
So we're left trying to make sense of it
with vocabulary that doesn't exist.
In his book, "Through the Language Glass,"
author Guy Deutscher talks about the fascinating connections
between language, culture, and thought.
It's really interesting, and there's also
a Radio Lab episode I'll put in the description
if you want to listen to it.
In it, they talk about how just having a word for something
kind of unlocks your ability to notice
or consciously perceive that thing.
The example they give is the color blue.
So most cultures throughout history
didn't have a word for the color blue
until very late in the game.
And some cultures still don't have a word for it.
So they aren't able to determine the difference
between blue and green.
Their eyes can still physically register the color blue,
but their minds aren't aware that it's
any different than green, because they
haven't categorized their colors in the same way that we have.
Homer, for example, never used the color blue
when writing "The Iliad."
Instead, he would describe this sea as, for instance,
"wine dark."
There simply wasn't a word for blue
at the time he was writing.
So describing it as wine dark is something
that made perfect sense to the culture at the time.
Now how this applies to Daredevil, I think,
is that Matt Murdock-- and, therefore,
the writers and artists telling the story--
have to try and explain the radar sense in terms
that we understand it, even though it might not be entirely
correct or even satisfying.
So Daredevil relates his sense to sounds and touch,
and radar, obviously, so that we can
try to understand it at least a little bit better.
Think of it like an infrared camera.
We can't see infrared with the naked eye,
so special cameras have to take the data
and turn it into visible light that we can see.
In a similar way, the images that we
see in Daredevil comics that show how the world looks to him
might not be accurate, but is instead just
an artist's interpretation of what it might be like.
Interestingly, Stick, a blind master martial
artist who trained Daredevil, explains
that all humans have this radar sense naturally
built into our brains, but we rely too heavily on vision
and end up pushing it aside, never fully
being able to access it without intense training.
This, again, makes it seem like the radar sense is
a completely separate sense.
So this brings up the concept of the umwelt, a German term
meaning the surrounding world.
We might assume that how we perceive
the world through our eyes and ears and other senses
is the only objective reality, but it's not.
In fact, your senses actually limit your perception
of reality.
Our eyes can detect only a tiny sliver
of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Our ears have a very finite range
of frequencies it can pick up.
And our sense of smell is pathetic compared
to other animals-- like dogs, for example.
And there's so many other ways to sense the surrounding world
that we aren't naturally built for.
But that's OK.
We accept reality as it is presented to us.
We don't know what it's like to sense
the world with anything other than the sensors
that we naturally have.
We are familiar and comfortable with our specific umwelt.
However, that doesn't mean that we've reached
the limit of what we can sense.
If we were all born with this radar sense,
and Daredevil has simply unlocked his,
then that opens up the door to expand our umwelten.
Maybe the radar sense isn't an enhanced or tweaked form
of sight or hearing or touch or anything like that.
Maybe it's a brand new sense that
allows Daredevil to navigate the world around him in a way
that we haven't been able to understand yet.
He tries to explain it.
We try to comprehend it.
But it's difficult, because we'll never fully
be able to expand our umwelten just by imagining.
The closest we'll ever come is an interpretation--
a concept of what it's probably like.
What do you guys think?
Does Daredevil "see" the world through his enhanced senses,
and perhaps his radar sense is purely an extension of those?
Or is the radar sense an entirely new and unique sense
that Daredevil uses to "see" the world around him?
And do you have your own interpretation
of how it would be like to have this radar sense?
Let me know all your thoughts in the comments.
A lot of science today.
Hope you guys liked that.
And hey, if you want to learn more about Daredevil stuff,
I will link in the description to a few other comic book
channels who did videos about the Man
Without Fear, including an entire playlist by Comicstorian
that you should totally pay attention to
for the next few days, because there
might be a familiar face popping up there.
This video is also part of Nerd Sync Avengers Month.
We're doing a whole bunch of Avengers and Marvel
episodes in preparation for "Age of Ultron."
We've got plenty more to come, and I'm very excited about it.
So make sure you hit that big, sexy Subscribe button so you
don't miss out on any of it.
Once again, I'm Scott.
You can find me on Twitter and Instagram.
And we'll see you right here on Friday
for a tie-in video and more things
that you thought you knew about comics.
See ya!


How Can Daredevil "See"? | Comic Misconceptions

2125 タグ追加 保存
zaphiel 2015 年 5 月 24 日 に公開
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