Do The Deaf & Dumb Think Themselves Unhappy?
Two deaf and dumb scholars of the late Abbe Siccard were asked--Do the
deaf and dumb think themselves unhappy? The following is the answer of
Massien:--"No; because we seldom lament that which we never possessed,
or know we can never be in possession of; but should the deaf and dumb
become blind, they would think themselves very unhappy, because sight is
the finest, the most useful, and the most agreeable of all the senses.
Besides, we are amply indemnified for our misfortune by the signal
favour of expressing by gestures and by writing our ideas, our thoughts,
and our feelings, and likewise by being able to read books and
The following is the answer of Clerc, the other pupil, to the same
question:--"He who never had anything has never lost anything, and he
who never lost anything has nothing to regret; consequently, the deaf
and dumb who never heard or spoke, have never lost either hearing or
speech, therefore cannot lament either the one or the other. And he who
has nothing to lament cannot be unhappy; consequently the deaf and dumb
are not unhappy. Besides, it is a great consolation for them to be able
to replace hearing by writing, and speech by signs."