A Description that Proves that Aphantasia is Not Blind


When Sensory Perceptions Exceed Eyesight

Larry Neal Gowdy - Copyright ©2024 - January 03, 2024

Popular Beliefs About Aphantasia

A very common claim and belief is that 'aphantasic' people are inferior of intelligence because the people do not see 'sunlit' imagery in their minds. According to the false claims, 'aphantasic' people's minds are "blank" when their eyes are closed. The false claims are, of course, most commonly made by people who do see 'sunlit' imagery when they close their eyes.

As was stated in What is Aphantasia: "[4] Commonsense and the scientific method rely upon firsthand observations. No theory can be valid nor scientific if there is no firsthand observation." Individuals who are not 'aphantasic' are unable to firsthand observe what it is like to have an 'aphantasic' mind, and, so, therefore, the individuals' beliefs and claims about aphantasia cannot possibly be true. The same applies to hyperphantasia, phantasia, and hypophantasia as well.

All Aphantasics are Not Equal

Also from What is Aphantasia: "[3] All events of all people's lives are different. No two people can be identical, the same, nor equal of what was learned, nor be equal of how the people think." Some hyperphantasia people are bright, some are dark. Some aphantasia people are bright, some are dark. One aphantasic person's description of not seeing 'sunlit' imagery in their mind, does not mandate that all aphantasic people are identically the same.

Some aphantasics attempt to illustrate their absence of 'sunlit' imagery by asking the reader to think of a ball or an animal. By how well the individual progresses with their own personal descriptions of how they themselves imagine things, the descriptions help to lend an idea of what other sensory perceptions were present when they 'eyes-open' saw the things.

As also mentioned in What is Aphantasia, it is very rare for any individual (hyperphantasic to aphantasic) to be able to intricately describe any object. The following section is provided as an abbreviated example that illustrates that some 'aphantasic' individuals have a lot more going on in their minds and bodies than what the hyperphantasic's imagined 'sunlit' imagery is capable of producing.

An Aphantasic's Memories and Imaginations

Create within your mind an imagination of a young cotton tail rabbit. Let your imagination create the little rabbit in any manner that you wish. Let your imagination drift, of animating the rabbit's movements. Let your imagination continue imagining the rabbit for at least half a minute.

Now, what was the temperature? What were the aromas? What were the tastes within one's mouth? What were the sounds? What were the distances in-between the objects within your imagination? What was the rabbit doing? What clothes were you wearing? Why were you wearing those clothes? And most importantly, what did your heart feel?

For me, it was a cold afternoon of about two o'clock, the temperature was felt and smelled to be in the upper mid 20s, a light snow had begun, the skies were of a bright baby blue with dark puffy clouds floating in from the west, steep south cliffs about fifty feet to my left, a shallow north river about fifty yards to the right, the ground was sparse of yellowed vegetation, the soil was of many different hues and shades of browns, the many small grayish rocks on the cliff's sides, my still tasting what I had eaten for lunch, my wearing tan leather cowboy boots, faded blue cotton jeans, a heavy blue denim insulated jacket, a white straw cowboy hat, the ambient sounds of the highway over a mile away were soft of distance, about twenty feet to my west was a young gray cotton tail rabbit, and the young rabbit was facing towards the north as it repeatedly jumped back and forth from its left and right. I did not understand what the rabbit was doing, until I then realized that the little rabbit was attempting to evade the large white snow flakes that were falling slowly to the ground. I smiled with the humor of the rabbit experiencing (and learning from) its first snowfall, but my heart also felt caring compassion and love for the rabbit. After a couple minutes, the rabbit finally gave-up and surrendered, it apparently accepting that he could not evade the snow.

For myself, my memories and imaginations are deeply fluid of all five sensory perceptions, plus the knowledge of each choice, along with the felt emotions that were remembered or currently created within each scenario. That which I sensorially perceive continuously, is that which fills my memories and imaginations. Within my world, everything is vibrant, alive, radiating of beautiful things to be touched, felt, tasted, listened to, seen, cared for, and a very long list of others that never cease.

For some of us, it would be unendurably horrible if our memories and imaginations were reduced to mere eyesight.

With eyes closed, I could describe anything previously seen, with more visual details than what most people (including hyperphantasics) are able to describe while with eyes open. As also mentioned in What is Aphantasia, "[6] All things are composed of other things. The outer behavior of a thing is dictated by what exists internally." The ability to remember, recall, and to inwardly imagine complexities, is composed of specific ingredients that took time to self-develop. The ingredients include self-will, self-effort, self-determination, time, and specific life lessons learned.

Vivid Aphantasia Imaginations are Made Possible from One's Memories

No one is able to imagine aromas, flavors, warmths, nor tones of sounds if the person does not give conscious attention to them while the person is experiencing life. Surely for most healthy people, one's imaginations are the product of what the person experiences every day in life. If no conscious attention is given to life, then no vivid memories nor imaginations can exist.

One of my life lessons was to live 'off the grid' on rural land for over five years, where I was able to observe and to experience the behaviors of birds, rabbits, deer, foxes, coyotes, snakes, lizards, plus a wide variety of other living beings. Within my experiences, I have had two rabbit friends who sat with me each morning on the river bank, quail mothers who walked with me, road runners who accepted me into their flock, deer who ate my alfalfa, hawks that flew low and slow alongside of my truck, and the list is very long. I have owned motorcycles, hot rods, houses, lands, and most everything else that caught my eye. I have worked different occupations, owned my own businesses, and chose lifestyles that seemed attractive at the time. There is now nothing left undone that was worthy of being done. My imaginations can be over-flowingly vivid because I had the life experiences to learn from.

Aphantasia Cure

Some people believe that aphantasia is a problem that needs a cure. For most people, the cure is simple: go outside, personally observe everything while using all of one's sensory perceptions simultaneously. There are countless times more aromas, flavors, warmths of touch, and properties of sounds than there are 'sunlit' images. In time, it might be discovered that limiting oneself to eyesight only, is itself the ailment in need of a cure.

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