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TOPIC:

ON LACKING MENTAL IMAGERY

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26
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08-01-2002
04:33 AM ET (US)
I doubt that someone censored you. I have not been on the Psyche-D listserve for a few years.

I would occassionally post, and it was accepted. However, I usually couldn't get anyone to respond to what I felt were very relevant points. Some forums are almost sets of private discussions.
25
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08-01-2002
04:31 AM ET (US)
Glen, this is interesting about Skinner. Initiators and leaders of new schools are often far broader than their later followers. Behaviorist "schools" did use techniques to block publication of ideas that countered their beliefs. This non-scientific behavior is characteristic of most science.

However, I did not experience much opposition to the existence of imagery - but there remains a strong feeling that it isn't important.
24
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08-01-2002
04:26 AM ET (US)
I have many different types of experientials. But, what is most common to all is that what is experienced is a very small part of what is emergent as pattern of activity in my brain at that time - and which is context for the experience. Here I don't mean process activity, but a whole world submerged below consciousness that gives meaning to the small tip of the iceberg that reflects the sun.

I am aware of the presence of this context, but the context itself is not experienced. However, most of the time this awareness isn't even there, as part of the experiential.

When I encounter labels from my created conceptual schemes, such as LQE for "Learners for Quality Education" I know that my theories and models for a nu educational process/system are there ready for explication. I could write and talk endlessly, after covering all that I might have prior thought of I could continue to explore. My world is generative. Most of what is there to be experienced has not yet been experienced.

It often shocks me to realize how shallow my experientials really are - and yet how vast and exciting is the context, which I never actually experience. When I first became aware of this I was relieved, and decided to abandon attempts to have others experience my world, as I have never experienced my world myself. Yet it is there, and it could be shared with others - but by processes that go well beyond communication.

When I am having my most enjoyable experientials I can't sit still, but walk around. The iconic-acronyms that label my fundamental conceputal schemes emerge and recede as bubbles expanding on a surface, sometimes breaking as other bubbles emerge. The pattern of bubbles bursting on the experiential screen generates an inner conceptual-emotive glow that feels "true" (NOT THE TRUTH).

In the space of a few minutes my mind may cover small technological details of online collaboration, new insights into the nature of language, the frustration of my own limitations, thoughts on temporal texture and the horrible crisis of crises we face today, yet contrasted with our vast and glorious potentials. There may be a rapid flood of details and meta thoughts on how all this might be related. But my strongest experientials, what most people refer to as their consciousness is bland -- a few word subvocalized, perceptions of my environment and body, NO visual or auditory images.

The above was generated on the fly. I was typing continuously with small fraction of a second pauses. My experientials were the words emerging on the screen, and when I cited examples above there was a brief glow that faded as I sought (was open to the emergence of) another example. I didn't now consciously chose those examples.

Enough for now. Larry
23
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08-01-2002
03:56 AM ET (US)
HOW DO I THINK?

I will attend to this in another set of small essays that I have been composing the past months, but have yet to assemble - I will put them in QuckTopic soon.

There is ONE sense that SOME of my experientials are Kinesthetic. When I think verbally I subliminally speak silently. I don't "hear" the words but "sense" the biological behavior that would be involved in speaking them. But this is only related to thinking verbally, which I seldom do. As I type I realize that I am also subvocalizing as I type - but I never get ahead of myself, although I am not reading words - the words emerge in subvocalization and in my eyes at the same time.

There is another sense that may be kinesthetic - and that is I can have topological experientials. I can tell you roughly how furniture is arranged in a room and the experience is related (but not similar to) feeling.

What is the shape of the USA? I can't visualize it. But I know that it is wider than tall, has a pensula at the lower right and Maine sticks out. If I attempt to sketch the USA I can draw and erase as what I am seeing feels better. I can even experimentally sketch state boundaries. HOWEVER, when I look at it later, there are many inaccuracies.

However, most of my most interesting experientials are not subliminal ordinary experientials. I "grok" (a term for Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land) abstract organization. I will save more on this for what I will later add.
22
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08-01-2002
03:45 AM ET (US)
Steven, I am very sorry for the long, long delay. I was very pleased to get your message and queries and had intended to respond promptly. I won't go into why I am late at this time.

I didn't attend Hurlburt's talks and am not aware of his work. Now that I have time, I will read the references you gave me. My interests and missions are so varied that I can't explore them all.

I have had intermittant interest in phenemonology, and do believe that the experiential domain is very important. That there are domains of reality beyond the phenomonological is part of my experientials - but I have long rejected the concepts of an objective external reality that matches any of the phenomonological experiences related to comprehending a model or theory.

As with current brain-mind coorelations, I found phenemonological literature (that I read) concentrating on sensory-like experientials and staying away from what I feel are more important and more interesting: the so-called "higher" cognitive levels and processes.

The circularity of our talking about what we are talking about always provides difficulty.

I also found that many people attempted to generalize to all from their own personal phenomonology. From my lack of imagery I have learned to appreciate a vast range of individual differences in reported experientials. I believe we should attempt to map this diversity before we attempt to make general models.
21
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08-01-2002
03:32 AM ET (US)
I perceive the words emerging on the page. I often know that more words are coming - "waiting" - but they are not yet experienced and I don't know what they would be. If I am interupted they are gone.
20
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08-01-2002
03:30 AM ET (US)
I can't imagine a knob, but I can think of a controlling device. But, I don't seem to be able to effect the speed, other than stopping and starting.

However, I would like to train myself to flow with my typing, to keep the emergence in sync with my typing. Yet, there are many times when the emergence of ideas is very rapid and there is no ability to record them.

I want to distinguish between RECORDING a just prior thought and FLOWING with the synchrony of thought and expression.
19
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08-01-2002
03:26 AM ET (US)
There are differences when I speak or type, but in both cases there is seldom a thought of the word before I actually experience it - actually hearing myself saying it, or watching it emerge on the screen. Sometimes if my typing is backed up I with subvocally speak to myself, but this is usually immediately forgotten and I cannot type it even a second later.

Usually they are grouped in phrases - although I also know that whole sentences are there ready to emerge. However, the typing is often slow and another thought or group will emerge before I have completed typing. Usually this leads to my not typing the last words of a phrase, which I immediately forget. Sometimes a single sentence will be a splicing together of fragments of what would have been a few sentences.

Often generalization will occur as I attempt to type, where I start at one level, and generalize before finishing typing. Often when I am finished I have no memory of what the specific was that I started with.

I have developed "iconic acronyms" that "label" some of my fundamental conceptual schemes. At times I can flash through a series of them, "knowing" that in my subconscious each scheme is being activated. I sense the relationship between the icons-schemes.
18
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08-01-2002
03:17 AM ET (US)
"Who" is the "we" doing the controlling? I believe, and have come to accept as a very positive aspect of myself, that I have NO CONSCIOUS VOLITION. I do not act from my consciousness. No decisions are made from consciousness.

There is a holistic entity/process that can make decisions, and I can be consciously aware of them AFTER they have occurred in the brain. Brain studies confirm this.

Something modulates and facilates what is experienced, but I wouldn't use the term "control" for it.

TRY THIS EXERCISE. Choose a number from 1 to 10. Did you actually choose it, or did it just pop up and then you accepted it or rejected it, and again acceptance or rejection also popped up? "3 pops up, not-3 pops up, 7 pops up, 7 ok pops up".

I hypothesize that consciousness is an OUTPUT, a type of BEHAVIOR. It's function is to provide feedback to the whole as to a summary of the prior state in a format that the brain is prepared to handle, percept like input.
17
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08-01-2002
03:08 AM ET (US)
Exactly. I fear NOT being able to control, or to suppress visual imagery. I have had clients who had unbidden imagery and it was very disturbing for them. I can watch a violent scene in a movie and it doesn't bother me. Others can't watch as the image will stay with them for a long time.

Yet, I have put myself into situations in an attempt to generate visual imagery - such as Holotropic Breathwork. I did have brief eyes closed visual imagery with LSD.

Readers with strong imagery who also enjoy highly conceptual literature report the suppression of visual imagery during such reading (and other techniques so as not to be distracted by the imagery).
16
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
08-01-2002
03:04 AM ET (US)
I have no auditory imagery or memory. When a word is thought, I am subvocalizing it and the experience is in the muscular sense of speaking it. When I think verbally, I speak to myself silently.

I have no access to the nature of my doors then. But, what about the doors on my current house. The front door has little panels, to columns I believe, but I cannot say how many, or even if they are all the same size - and I see that door daily, and often dust the panels!

The back door is a pair of French doors, each with two columns of transparent glass panels. I cleaned them yesterday. How many. I guess 4 or 5, probably five in my memory of cleaning -- in three stages, which if it was 4 would be in two stages.
15
Hugh
07-22-2002
02:47 AM ET (US)
Yes, me too, I'd like to hear Larry's response. (Am I missing it somewhere?)
14
Hugh
07-22-2002
02:44 AM ET (US)
This is an extraodrinary matter, if true. I have had friends who used (or maybe overused) psychedelics who, years later, not having used them for years, report visual "experiences." One artist says that the mandalas he has painted were "seen" in such a way. Yet remembering Larry's statement that imagery could interfere with conceptual thought, I can surmise this to be the case if one were inspecting a hundred "screens" within one's mind. How could one arrive at conceptual understandings of philosophic terms, which require rather the subsumption of hundreds or thousands of images under one term or phrase?
13
Hugh
07-22-2002
02:35 AM ET (US)
I don't readily see why visual imagery would be a handicap in reading conceptual literature, unless the reader allowed it to interfere with conceptual thought. Why would it have to? Could it not rather illuminate conceptual thought? For example, when I read or hear the word "abstraction" I sometimes have an image of "something" vaguely being squeezed or pressed to get an essence out of it---the thought that comes out is the "abstraction." One squeezes the flowers to get a perfume from them, for example. I don't think this image interferes with my ability to understand what "abstraction" means. And yet, of course, abstraction is not making perfume, and I understand that.
12
Hugh
07-22-2002
02:27 AM ET (US)
Yes, the phenomenon of faces (or landscapes) appearing before the eyes before falling asleep is well-known, and a fascinating mystery to me. Sometimes they can be startling. This happens to me with or without alcohol and I'm not even sure that it happens more often when I've had a little to drink. Do people call these "hypnogogic images"? As if such a term for them explained them in the least! They "feel" like psychic phenomena when they happen to me. The faces I see are sometimes mystical or religious and very impressive. "Visionary" in the traditional sense. The fact that this has happened to you, Larry, even if very briefly, is reassuring. (Although you seem to do a fine job of conceptual thinking without imagery!)
11
Hugh
07-22-2002
02:22 AM ET (US)
I have sometimes noticed that drinking may produce more vivid imagery in my dreams. This is not always the case. Sometimes it produces unpleasant dreams, sometimes pleasant ones. Years ago when I was drinking (I would say) too much wine in the evenings, I sometimes had very beautiful, colorful dreams---once of Viennese waltzers, women in gorgeous dresses, and I was ecstatic (when I found myself awake). Larry, have you ever noticed alcohol producing more visual images in your dreams? Of course, we have heard of "delirium tremens" when seriously ill alcoholics "see" horrible images of spiders, snakes, elephants, or monsters and are seriously upset.
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