30 June, 2020

Aphantasia Realizations

From Anwinity.
Sad realizations. When people talk about undressing with one's eyes, they actually mean it. When people suffer from ptsd, they actually see it. Having only just realized that not everyone has aphantasia like me, these are newly sad realizations to me. Mindfulness tactics. Counting sheep. Memory palace techniques. Even rotating objects drawn on paper. Mental chess. Police sketch artists. Movie tropes that show characters' active imaginations. Spank bank. Seeing more than a few moves ahead in strategy games. Floor is lava. Spatial IQ tests. Seeing monsters in the dark.

My understanding of all of these things has had to be reevaluated in the past week. There are so many things that I thought I understood which, it turns out, I've hardly understood at all. Flashbacks of Wittgenstein's Tractatus. How did I not realize? How can I have read so much philosophy about qualia and yet miss such a basic thing? Fish noticing water.

Tomorrow I have yet another surgery. I saw a doctor earlier today. I have appointments for next week, for next month, for even the month after. I hear of people getting a reality check on their mortality and rethinking their life choices. Who they are romantically attached to; whether they've visited places they care about; when is the last time they spoke to their various family members. But, to me, this feeling is definitively and uniquely in the category of what else have I taken for granted?

What kinds of mental experiences have I missed out on, whether through disability or through inaction? How many more misunderstandings of mine might overturn so many ideas that I previously thought I had a handle on?

It feels good to fantasize about these things before I hit another dividing line tomorrow. It is, most of all, what I love about life.

Be well.

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