?

Do you see pictures in your mind?

  1. Yes

    18 vote(s)
    90.0%
  2. No

    2 vote(s)
    10.0%
  1. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you see pictures in your mind?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Simpson17866, Oct 8, 2016.

    Apparently, the answer isn't the same for everybody, and people on both sides get their minds blown when they find out that there's another answer for other people (or possibly go their entire lives without finding out that there's another answer) :



     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Vivid pictures, actually. Under no circumstances do I suffer from aphantasia.
     
  3. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Interesting article and video.

    I can certainly see images in my mind but when it comes to visualizing things I haven't seen, I have to work a lot harder. When I tried to think of a beach, my mind immediately jumped to the beach I saw outside of Astoria, OR in May. Then I tried to picture that same beach loaded with trees and my mind put the animated trees from Lion King (my son just watched it last night). So when I tried to put something even more ridiculous (cars driving in the tide), I had to focus on each one of them and build an image of each at the same time and I can only assume these are all cars I saw recently.

    Very interesting stuff.
     
  4. Grub-r
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    Grub-r Member

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    I couldn't even imagine. (no pun intended)

    The thought of losing my imagination like that terrifies me.

    Actually makes me wonder what would be worse, lose your imagination or your sight.
     
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  5. Iain Sparrow
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    Iain Sparrow Active Member

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    Perhaps the one thing that completely separates us from the rest of the Animal Kingdom, is our imagination and an amazing capacity for irrational thinking.

    I visualize everything, not often vividly or fully articulated, but it's all visual in nature.
    Forget about artistic pursuits, what about even completing simple tasks that require a conceptual approach, building a mental image beforehand... something as simple as hanging shelves on the wall?

    I don't want to offend anyone, but is Aphantasia considered a birth defect?
     
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  6. Grub-r
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    Grub-r Member

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    sounds neurological.

    I don't think it's a birth defect because that one guy got it much later in life. But I'm no Dr
     
  7. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    They can still use their eyes :rolleyes:

    Maybe on a nitpicky technical level, but something that 1 person in 40 has without ever noticing doesn't sound too serious to me ;)

    Surprisingly personal note: I just read "The Yellow Wallpaper" for an English class and wrote a personal reaction essay about how it reminded me of being isolated as a kid by my sexual orientation

    The author of the story, as well as her author-insert character, were writers who developed post-partum depression and were forbidden from writing by doctors who just took it for granted that a woman's mind would be irreparably damaged by the intellectual stimulation, and whose mental health degraded into psychosis because it never occured to the doctors that real people might work differently from their acedemic constructs and be damaged.

    When I was given The Talk at about 12, I didn't realize at first that there were people who enjoyed the disgusting mess of body parts that I was learning about. Then I found out that basically everybody on the planet somehow enjoyed it. I didn't realize that made me asexual because I didn't hear the word until I was about 15, I thought I was a broken heterosexual. Finding out that gay and bi were also orientations didn't help because it just reinforced how much everybody around me took it for granted that everybody was interested in some form of sex or another, and I couldn't normally figure out a good way to tell people that I wasn't.​

    I found this video a couple of days ago, and I just now realized that the video made me realize what heterosexuality must feel like to people who are not only on the In, but who don't even know that there's an Other.
     
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  8. Iain Sparrow
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    Iain Sparrow Active Member

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    Yeah, they can see... but they can't visualize possibilities.

    I think one's sexual orientation is quite a different story. I'm straight, but I can imagine what it might be like if I were gay... and making better fabric choices when ordering drapes.:)
     
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  9. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    It only works when I really like the concept or idea. Though I don't put that kind of
    detail into my works, lest I become one of those who has 10 pages of how the grass
    is green and describe green. :D
     
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  10. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    Very interesting post. But I believe that the word they chose to describe this kind of perception is wrong. It's a different thing not to be able to imagine a story, the odds, a solution to a problem, what a friend of yours is doing from afar, and not being able to translate it in your mind as a picture. Meaning that the creative part of the brain is functional, but not in the most common manner (not being able to "see" in your mind at all is indeed uncommon). This doesn't translate as being unimaginative to me. Imagination comes in display in many different sensory ways (and not only). It's not just visual.

    If we were to break down the meaning of this word "A (negative prefix) - fantasia (fantasy or imagination most commonly in English)" then we would get a person that is strictly deprived of basic cognitive functions, since in absolution, this would mean that he or she would fail to speculate upon anything, because when it comes down to it, imagination is all about speculation, entertainment and creativity (which connect in a circular way, from my perspective at least).

    I have a friend that although she knows how to play the piano, she can't produce anything of her own at all, even if she tries. She has the basic music knowledge, she knows the patterns, played them uncountable times, but when it comes to "auditorising" a melody or a tempo in her mind, she becomes deaf. She doesn't think creatively in "audio", but she can remember a piece by heart and play it in her mind. She can listen to it, if it's already created. She has the same attitude towards most of the creative - entertaining stuff. She can "see" a book when reading it, but she fails to produce a story as hard as she might try. She won't be able to "see" anything if it's not already created. She needs a continuous flow of external stimuli to be able to "see", "hear", "smell", "taste" or"feel" something inside her mind. In general, when it comes down to common entertainment, she is creatively handicapped, but as a person she is really good and fast in speculating. She is very intuitive and logical. She has imagination, but she is strong in using it differently. (She is a damn good psychologist). I think that a big part of this (and I'm not going to mention biological aspects here) is because of her innate philosophy that directs her focus. She can focus on other stuff in more depth (she was the first in her class) and part of it might be because she is simply interested in them more. She likes to enjoy entertaining things, not produce them. She prefers to drain her brain dry on aspects that have a more immediate practical application.

    I also have a friend that can't differentiate the lyrics. I mean, he listens to the singing voice only as an instrument. The context of the lyrics is a mystery to him. How weird is that? :bigconfused:

    Vision and imagination are two different things. By using this word to describe a person that simply cannot produce an image in his mind, is like calling a blind man mentally dead. That's all.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016
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  11. DrtraumaTy
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    DrtraumaTy New Member

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    I too have a very vivid visual, auditory, and emotional imagination; I am curious if it is because my childhood activities involved books and Halo sparked some sort of psychological attraction to fiction... Not a day goes by without me thinking about something not real - such as the Halo or Mass Effect universe. Then again, I don't have much of a particular interest in present reality at this time - perhaps my constant daydreaming is what keeps me sane... Life would be very, very boring without it.
     
  12. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Suzanne slept her side of the bed, meanwhile Jake stared at the lamp. It looked like a lamp. He diverted his attention toward the bathroom doorway, a door ajar like a route to the lavatory, he thought.

    'Fuckit,' he cried, 'I got no imagination,' and tears spread upon the pillow like he pissed the bed with his face.
     
  13. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    So "imagination" was evidently not the best word for "being able to visualize in your mind."
     
  14. TheWriteWitch
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    TheWriteWitch Senior Member

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    I've had many moments when I visualized while writing: my character enters a room and we're both surprised by a lamp base shaped like a crashing race horse. I'm amazed at how some images rise up out of the conglomeration of my subconscious and seem as real as anything I've noted in my memory.

    It's funny that I read this just after a discussion with my husband about some of my recurring dreams. He doesn't ever remember his dreams and his eyebrows kept creeping higher as I described in detail dreams that I can still remember from years ago.

    Interesting post. Thanks.

    If you created a character with aphantasia, how would it affect his/her life?
     
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  15. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Quite conceivably wouldn't notice ;) Anytime he was asked to "picture" something, he would assume that was a metaphor for coming up with a list of facts about what the thing looked like.

    ... Which is technically what writers are doing anyway. Oh holy **** I just realized you could abuse narrative convention so horribly :twisted:

    Like the "classic ninja outfit" had nothing to do with real-life ninjas, that was actually "Japanese stagehand" dress. Modern western theatre tends to use curtains to give the stagehands time to redecorate the set without being seen, but the old Japanese custom was to have the stagehands set and reset all of the scenery in full view of the audience, and the black uniforms were just a sign for the audience to ignore them: "this is a part of the production, not a part of the story itself."

    But when one of the stagehands suddenly intruded into the story by stabbing one of the characters, the audience knew that the character had been killed by somebody completely invisible, and the effect of an in-story character being killed by an out-of-story production gimmick would've been similar to the effect of if a Deadpool comic had Merc with a Mouth grab a speech balloon out of the air to stab the other guy with.

    Or how classic Doctor Who had always been famous for the cheap costumes of the "monsters," but then one episode started with The Doctor and his companion running into one of the cheap monsters that the audience had come to expect, and then it turning out in-story to be a guy in a cheap rubber suit. The Doctor explicitly called the costume out as being unconvincing, but the audience had been trained to pretend that those costumes were more convincing than they really were, and it was very jarring to suddenly find out that the character's experience was exactly the same as the audience's experience after assuming that the two were different.

    TLDR:

    If a character in a story is asked to visualize something, then the writer can't truly show what the character is thinking about, the writer has to "show" a laundry list of facts about what the character is visualizing, and the reader knows that the laundry list of facts is not actually how the character is imagining the thing, it's just a convention of literary production. But if the character with aphantasia is asked to visualize something on the other hand, then the laundry list of facts isn't just a linguistic representation of the character's visual thought process, the laundry list is the character's actual thought process :D
     
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  16. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    I see nothing. I feel like a liar. Everyone else sees epic scenes, evil fighting good, their world is a swirl of colors and emotions and all I see are...

    Letters, spaces, this ';' fucker.

    It's like a joke everyone else is in on, through observation I can understand what they're saying, even say something that makes them laugh, but I never really 'get' it.


    Maybe i'm taking this too far, and there's some ability my mind has that compensates for this lack, this hole in my mind where picturing the imagined should be, but what we know isn't there hurts us more than what we don't know is there helps.
     
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  17. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    I'll try to explain what I mean.

    The "Hard" Logical Deduction (Skip this if you are not in the mood).

    Imagination (Image)/ Visualization (Vision) - I can only guess that these root words (image and vision), influenced the conception of the words "imagination" and "visualization" which meanings are more complex and abstract in nature, by the most common and furthermore, easiest-way-to-explain* form that imagination and visualization manifests for most people, which is indeed visual. When these words were conceived, "aphantasia" was an existing phenomenon, but it was not observed yet, so it didn't have a name to describe it at all. This difference in perception was first described in 1880 and it's name was coined some years later, by another person that focused a study on it. (I don't know the exact year). Anyhow, by that time, the terms "imagination", "visualization" and "fantasy" were already existent. But what is the important difference between the word "fantasy" and "imagination"? "Φαντασία" gets translated as "imagination" in English, their meaning is generally the same, but their etymology differs.

    Fantasy (F(ai)no -> Feno) - Φαντασία (Φαίνω) - The root word here is "feno" which is a verb and means "to shine". It is an ancient Greek word (used commonly today) and it was conceived thousands of years ago. (I speculate before the word "imagination" but I'm not 100% sure). Well, you "see" a light, don't you? So, where's the difference? The difference is that it is not the noun "light" (φανός), used to describe a concept like this, rather than the verb "shine". "Shine" has a dual nature for the meaning of "fantasy".
    1) Something "shined" in my mind and I became enlightened by it. (A "light" is for me).
    2) I conceived something creative in my mind (I became light) and by describing it to you, I shine a light on you. (The "light" is me).

    Thus, we conclude that for the person that conceived an idea in his mind by 1) an indirect visual metaphor comes in place to describe the meaning of "fantasy" and by 2) a metaphorical state of the "being" of the person comes in place.
    The metaphor used for "fantasy" is more generalized (than "imagination"), as its meaning is admittedly of abstract nature. The words "see", "vision", or "image", do not have a direct correlation with the word of analysis (they are not a part of its synthesis), but do however relate within the metaphor that describes it, as a means for the verb "to shine" to become relevant, thus important.

    Many philosophers through the years, debated upon the word "fantasy" and its concept. A philosophical approach of what "imagination" really is or means, that somehow explains why and how it came about to be connected with "seeing" is summarized through this extract I found in Wiki (I hope I won't slaughter it in translation):

    [In accordance with the platonic perception, imagination is a creative ability of the psyche that creates "phantasms", based (the psyche is based) upon elements of reality. At Filivos, Plato inserts probably for the first time the context of imagination verbally via Socrates, when he cites: "When man (human) receives through vision or through some other sense, the options and the tellings and consequently keeps in his mind the images of the options and tellings. Upon his turn, Aristotle separates imagination from sense and intellect, as well as speculating that without imagination there is no conception. The Epicureans in their turn, define as imaginative that which comes from the outside, defining the mental image as a materialistic substance of the thought. On the contrary, the Neoplatonics (or Neoplatonians, I have no clue) and the Stoics define that the imaginative, can equally come from the outer environment as well as the human psychological-condition. (Not exactly the word, but it's the closest I could think of. It's untranslatable. Another synonym is "mood"). During the middle ages, Peter Abelard delimits imagination as a follower of the senses but being beyond them, impressing to the psyche the forms of things in an unclear form which intellect makes clear. (Again, not exactly. The thinking process and ability).]

    Why did I found important to include this? Because, after hundreds of years of many bright philosophers debating with each other, while trying to define what imagination really is and how it should be addressed, we get todays' dictionary definitions:

    The "Soft" Logical Deduction (The shortcut)
    • Full Definition of imagination
    1. 1: the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality

    2. 2a : creative abilityb : ability to confront and deal with a problem : resourcefulness <use your imagination and get us out of here>c : the thinking or active mind : interest <stories that fired the imagination>

    3. 3a : a creation of the mind; especially : an idealized or poetic creationb : fanciful or empty assumption
    Full Definition of fantasy
    plural
    fantasies

    1. 1obsolete : hallucination

    2. 2: fancy; especially : the free play of creative imagination

    3. 3: a creation of the imaginative faculty whether expressed or merely conceived: asa : a fanciful design or inventionb : a chimerical or fantastic notionc : fantasia 1d : imaginative fiction featuring especially strange settings and grotesque characters —called also fantasy fiction

    4. 4: caprice

    5. 5: the power or process of creating especially unrealistic or improbable mental images in response to psychological need <an object of fantasy>; also : a mental image or a series of mental images (as a daydream) so created <sexual fantasies>

    6. 6often attributive : a coin usually not intended for circulation as currency and often issued by a dubious authority (as a government-in-exile)
    So, by an Epicurean approach upon these definitions, in correlation to their relevance upon the word "aphantasia" and its definition, the conclusion is false one, which means: it makes no sense, because so far:

    Aphantasia is the suggested name for a condition where one does not possess a functioning mind's eye and cannot visualize imagery.

    and if the "A" in "aphantasia" is a negative (meaning: without) and "phantasia" translates as the above definition of either words "imagination" or "fantasy", then aphantasia would thereby translate as a description of a person that lacks basic cognitive functions, as it lacks the ability to create in his mind in general. He would be unable to conceive an idea, thus perceived as a mentally disabled person.

    It is a deceiving word and words shouldn't be deceiving for the betterment of the already complicated system of the communicative code called language. Especially when it's suggested to be used as a scientific word.

    That's my opinion (and I almost got tempted to write a thesis upon it). :)

    Oh! I almost forgot. No, it wasn't.




    *It's easier to describe a painting in detail than a song. It is easier to conceive an image out of a song than a song out of an image. For the majority at least.
     
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  18. Iain Sparrow
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    Iain Sparrow Active Member

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    What you're expanding on, imagination manifested as creator of images and fantasies, is really just the half of it.
    I'm having to do some research (oh god no not that) for the story I'm plotting out, so characters/actions/events are coherent with a story set in 1790... at least for the most part and won't be horribly out of step with that reality... so I'm reading up on things I have only had a passing romance with, like The Age of Reason, and The Enlightenment. The rising philosophies of the day were a conscious act of subjugating imagination to pure intellect, replace Rationalism with Empiricism.
    But other philosophers were not so easily swayed, they contend that imagination is restless, and is a process in which we impose order on things that would otherwise resist being ordered. That we use imagination as sort of a bridge for all those gaps in our intellect/experience. They refer to it as, wonder. It's these "sentiments" of imagination that propel a heightened Science; surprise>wonder>admiration. This also applies to the Arts. The great literature, paintings, sculpture, architecture, of the time was more concerned with imitation and reflection, than it was with imagination.

    A article worth reading...
    http://mh.bmj.com/content/27/2/58.full

    *excerpt* "It is worth noting here, although it is not part of my main theme, that while the use of the imagination was appreciated by writers of the mid-18th century it was not regarded as a major feature of the best art or literature. This was because the idea of “imitation” was a dominant one, in both the graphic arts and in literature. Good art did not express the imaginative but rather reflected nature with order and decorum, “What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed”. Writers and philosophers of the 19th century, who did stress the centrality of the imagination in art, were more influenced by the second function which Hume ascribed to the imagination."
     
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  19. A Culture Mind
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    A Culture Mind Member

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    And what is the thought process of such mentation like? (Probably easier and faster because they don't spend time mocking it up in their mind.) I imagine this is how software constructs work, and so now you have an idea for such characters in your SF story!


    In any case, the research sounds conceptually constrained. Ask someone to imagine a feeling, physical or emotional......

    I think I experience each mode, depending on context and where I'm at in my mind. Certainly some things I'm not familiar with I'll not visualise.


    Tides in the sea brought up the short bit in the trailer of S.O.B. I saw as a kid on TV, where he's driving a car into the ocean or something. Somehow missed it later on cable, though......

    @Simpson17866: in my experience, asexuality is a lack of [sensuality] in the person, seemingly due to a childhood emotional trauma. It could also, in whole or part, be due to a genetic oddity.

    @DrtraumaTy: I was similar, particularly through junior high, when anime was just breaking out in america (GI Joe, Voltron, Robotech....), and somewhat through high school. Overlapping this, I began reading for pleasure, and got into SF....and I started learning how scifi is bogus...and my imagination went into more....plausible....and definitively more complex stuff.

    @matwoolf: nah, boy got no gumption. I bae turnin round an gettin busy with said ho.

    @TheWriteWitch (White Witch White Witch - coming for youuuuu): lots of people don't remember their dreams. They fear something, perhaps merely themself. Or their lifestyle is such that they don't get into REM.

    @Malisky: Philosophy, like English Class, is a circle jerk. So I've obsolesced it.

    @Iain Sparrow: order is. It's type/configuration is the question.
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sometimes I want a thread to have a concierge that can summarize it neatly for me.

    But I feel the need to assert that I don't believe that imagination requires the ability to form mental images. That assertion alone seems perfectly simple, given that obviously people who have always been blind have imagination.

    Moving on to the question of whether imagination requires ANY sort of virtual reality simulator--virtual touch, smell, hearing, sense of motion, etc., etc.--I'd say that it still doesn't. I don't know what imagination without that mental virtual reality simulator would be like, but I'm confident that it would exist.
     
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  21. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Gee, thanks.

    And what exactly is "your experience"?
     
  22. Robert Musil
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    Robert Musil Contributing Member

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    This thread made me paranoid--reading the article I found myself stopping to visualize things, a beach, a red triangle, my mother's face etc.--just to reassure myself that I don't have this condition. I'm fairly certain I don't, but I don't know why I would fear the possibility so much.

    I also wonder whether everyone who has this condition has the same memory problems the author has--"poor experiential memory", I think he calls it. I was thinking about the difference between being able to imagine something, and simply recalling images of that thing (or category of thing) that you've experienced before. Where, exactly is the line? Can we imagine something that we don't have at least some point of reference for? For example, I can imagine a beach that I think I have never been on--but how do I know I'm not just taking parts from one or several beaches I've been on before, unconsciously, like a sort of cryptomnesia? This is where I start to doubt myself, I think--I think I'm imagining a new beach, but then I think "Don't kid yourself, that's just Sun Bay on Vieques, you were there on your honeymoon, remember?"

    Anyway. Heavy stuff, maaaan.....
     
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  23. MusingWordsmith
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    MusingWordsmith Member

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    Oh wow, that actually sounds like me. Somewhat? I can think of 'impressions' of visuals but actual pictures? Maybe pull a photo from memory but I can't actually mentally picture something totally unique. Wow. I did not know that it was that weird to do stuff like this.
     
  24. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Thrice in my life, so we're talking near decades apart, I've been witness to what I believe is my visual cortex being liberated from it's de facto stolid functioning. One time the cause I'm sure was sleep deprivation; on the other two of those occasions my core mental state was what even the most revered of psychoanalysts would call 'hungover'. On top of those headache laden layers however my mind's eye, although in disorder, was privy to a dazzling array of quite the opposite—of order in the form of patterns. All were set to a black background, random but with the apparent line of a visual narrative. They trumped any kaleidoscope I'd ever gawped into and played out with a display of the most complex imagery I have ever witnessed. The patterns were in no way flat, I'm talking full 3D with geometries I couldn't fathom without a fair while of intense study; light and dark and colours all pitched in with such precision too so as to have me believe the scene was engineered by a being or some calculating machine with an aptitude that far exceeded my own. I was awed by the experiences but not afraid; my demeanour each time was that of lay back, enjoy the show, be grateful for the spectacle, yet secretly guilty about it as each episode was born from over indulgence.

    Hypnopomp, lucid dream, hallucination, what'er it may be, I dunno. I think what I'm saying is your mental (visual) apparatus quite likely has the ability to conjure something quite unique; 30% of our noggin's given over to processing the visual. It's just that day to day it's running with a filter applied (I humbly reckon). If you read between these lines you'll see lot's of err, microdots (starter packs) of LSD under the brollies of Magic Mushrooms.
     
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  25. A Culture Mind
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    A Culture Mind Member

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    I'm skeptical of this 'lack of knowing others pictured things'. That is, picture means just that, and even a young child knows when they can't do something that a word means. And a defense mechanism against being marginalised is to disregard, and then forget. But also, they can point at something that's 'blue'. They know what it is, so there's obviously something missing from their cognitive experience.

    Belatedly, I bet the old dude suffered something from the anesthesia.





    My innate acute perception and understanding of human nature. Even of mammals. All creatures, arguably down to single-celled organisms, are sensate. But mammals are extraordinarily sensual. They enjoy and seek physical interaction with the world, and specifically with other creatures.

    Regardless, I presented data in a neutral manner. It was then your turn to present corroborating/counter/alternative information. You didn't.


    Same as usual with about anyone: you don't want to feel marginalised/lesser, even by your own measure of things. People have degrees of traits, and then there are those who have not. Such is the physics of the Comsos.


    But those folks aren't picturing anything, ever. So I'd say you're in the bell curve.


    I've always had a sort of synesthesia with music: very much like you described your visuals, any music has a 'space': within a blank realm, colorful abstract objects that shift and transform, blend, etc. (When I went on to study music in my early 20s, I found I preferred to close my eyes during a performance, rather than watch those on-stage.) More abstractly, periods of my life have had a kind of feeling - during, and that I vividly recall later.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016

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