I learned a new word today. Aphantasia.
Aphantasia is the inability to visualize in your mind’s eye. The inability to picture something without actually seeing it with your physical eyes.
So, if you ask me to picture a dog in my mind I see…. nothing. If I close my eyes to see it, I see a blackness. What I can do though is pull up a memory of a dog. I can describe Laska, Lucy, Cricket or Boze easy enough. I know what a dog looks like but do I actually see it? Nope.
I’m not going to say I have this aphantasia, what I will say is I’ve never been good at visualization.
For example, I cannot visualize how I might re-arrange furniture in a room, unless I actually move the furniture to “see” if it can go there. I cannot imagine how a change may look in my head.
Ken can do this. He’ll draw plans for his projects from several different views. He’ll show me a drawing and say it’s the view from the top, or the backside. He can point it out easy enough, but I can not visualize what his project will look like, until I actually see it built.
I can describe what my friend looks like to you. But, I don’t “see” them in my minds eye – I’m not describing an image I am looking at, what I can do, is tell you what features I remember about a person, place or thing. I have a good memory.
If I close my eyes – I see black, sometimes sparkly lights.
If I’m taken on a guided meditation, of which I’ve been on many… I have the words now to tell you, that I’ve never actually “seen” the path in the woods, that I am guided to walk down. What I do, is remember, some path I’ve taken before — a place I like to go and I’ll remember a time I did walk down it. I do have an imagination and can imagine a path — but I don’t see one.
I have experienced several occasions where I’ve had, what I call my third eye open.
Three or four times in my life I’ve seen imagines in my “mind’s eye.” These were fantastic and very enjoyable experiences. They were certainly different enough from my regular mind’s eye to give me reason, to ring the bell of enlightenment. I would love to have this happen more often.
Do I have Aphantasia? I have no idea, I don’t really care and it doesn’t changes anything. Still, I find this interesting. I know I will experiment more with my imagination and sight.
And, I’m going to start asking others — Do you see what I don’t see?