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Why I suspect I’d make a lousy Tibetan Buddhist meditator

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — where the blind spot of aphantasia meets the beauty of Avalokiteshvara ]
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Tablet DQ 600 Avalokiteshvara & the aphantasic

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Perhaps sadly, perhaps not, I suffer from aphantasia.

It’s a great relief, actually, to have found someone who doesn’t laugh at me when I say I can’t visualize — a researcher, no less, Prof. Adam Zeman, with a paper on the topic in Cortex.

I have tried on occasion to find metaphors for my condition. The best way to explain what does happen when someone asks me to visualize something is to say I can see it “as if painted in water on glass” — or “as if it’s behind me, out of sight, but I can remember roughly what it was like when I last looked.”

Sources:

  • Lion’s Roar, Developing Pure Perception Through Visualization
  • BBC Science news, Aphantasia: A life without mental images
  • University of Exeter, Can’t count sheep? You could have aphantasia
  • Adam Zeman, Lives without imagery – Congenital aphantasia
  • Surrealism and surreal reality

    Sunday, April 24th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — perception and plutonium ]
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    The sureralist master and master surrealist Salvador Dali here invokes optical illusion to illuminate the fickle nature of our perceptions of (non-surreal) reality:

    As for reality itself, it has its own form of surreality — in this case, the dismal facts of plutonium stockpiles and their disposal, and their implications for politics (not to mention its conceivable / inconceivable continuation by other means).

    All of which is unpleasant to conteplate, seldom discussed, and thus itself a form of perceptual illusion:

    FWIW, I see a visual connection between these two images, although that may ba a personal quirk not shared by others. Again, a quirk of perception?

    **

    Readings:

  • RFE / RL, As Putin Swipes At U.S. Over Plutonium Disposal, Nuclear Cooperation Takes A Hit
  • Cheryl Rofer at Nuclear Diner, Plutonium Disposal Difficulties
  • Karl Sharro’s two modes of “simply” explaining the Middle East

    Friday, December 4th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — on visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles ]
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    If you didn’t get it when Sharro posted his visual explanation:

    maybe his verbal version will make things simpler:

    **

    Sources & resources:

  • The Atlantic, The Confused Person’s Guide to Middle East Conflict
  • Washington Post, The chaos in the Middle East, explained in one (long) sentence
  • Vox, This one-sentence explanation of ISIS is brilliant
  • Some people are neither verbal nor visual but kinesthetic — I dread to think how Sharro will explain all this simplicity to their nervous systems.

    Sunday surprise: kundalini’s rising and the jukebox blows a fuse

    Sunday, October 18th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — some examples of deep dreams, mechanical and spiritual ]
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    In the upper panel, a claim made for the Deep Dream Generator:

    SPEC kundalini deep dream

    In the lower panel, an image of the chakras or lotuses in the subtle body, through which the kundalini serpent rises from deep sleep to full spiritual awakening.

    The “sixth level” in the chakra system would be the Ajna chakra:

    The Ajna chakra is positioned in the brain, directly behind the eyebrow center. Its activation site is at the eyebrow region, in the position of the ‘third eye.’

    **

    Deep Dreams:

    Here’s what Google’s Deep Dream Generator comes up with:

    Deep Dream

    Here’s an early statue of Arya Lokeshvara from the Potala Palace, dating to the 7th century and described as the Potala’s most sacred statue:

    Bhairava thangka 600

    This is a detail from Hieronymus Bosch, The Temptation of St Anthony:

    detail, the-temptation-of-st-anthony-1516-1 bosch 600

    From one of the marvellous array of manuscripts of the Beatus commentary on Revelation:

    Beatus 600

    Here’s a deep dream in words, from Hermann Hesse..

    GBG as organ 600

    Another, from Shakespeare:

    shakespeare 600

    A secular deep dream..

    Alice red queen 600

    and a deep dream — as surreal as all the rest, yet capturing “no more than” simple reality — in a photo posted today by Bill Benzon:

    Benzon coke 600

    **

    Roll over, Beethoven:

    Further to AI: Emlyn saw the ostrich

    Monday, August 10th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — following on from A difficulty with DoubleQuotes — in which Emlyn and his mother exhibit different forms of recognition ]
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    For the record, my son Emlyn looked at the middle frame in this image:

    negative2 cropped

    and “saw” the ostrich.

    **

    He immediately pointed me to one of a series of double imgages comparing the facial expressions of an ostrich and the BBC’s latest Mycroft Holmes:

    ostrich mycroft

    Hm, yet another use of DoubleQuotes!

    **

    Here’s the “ghost ostrich” — the middle image in the set of three above, juxtaposed with the ostrich as Emlyn recalled it from his encyclopedic interest in the great detective:

    ghost ostrich

    Can you see the resemblance? Frankly, I can’t.

    **

    In any case, Emlyn’s mother had it right, I think. She saw the original dog image (left, below)

    nichon frisee
    Bichon Frisé image, right, via Dog Breed Information and Pictures

    and suggested it was a Bichon pup. If so, it’s a feisty one. I wouldn’t know..


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