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TOPIC: I have a theory!

I have a theory! 1 year 4 months ago #2898

  • Ethel B
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Or at least a way to try to explain how my brain works.

Imagine the brain as a computer. (Yes, I know that is always a clumsy analogy and brains aren't really similar to computers, but bear with me.) Whether you can visualize or not, the brain creates source code for memories. Imagine that most people have their source code hooked up to an internal monitor just like the computer at your desk; they plug in memory, or something they're hearing or reading a description of, and, voila!, it appears on their monitor. But for me, I have all the source code, but I can only decode it into words or thoughts. I have no monitor and never did, so this seems perfectly natural to me. This is the only way I can explain how I am able to describe in detail every room in the house I moved from 5 years ago, every color, the cracks in the slate tiles in the entry hall, where all the doors and windows were, etc. I can recall my dreams and remember the vivid images and tell you precisely what they looked like, even though I can't visualize them. I can faithfully reproduce a color I recall in photoshop or with paints, even though I can't see the color in my head. I don't know if my reproductions are as 'true' as people who are looking at the image in their mind's eye, but my gut feeling tells me they are. When I am reading descriptions of things, my brain is making up that source code and I definitely can report back to you what I think the character or the scene looks like, even though I can't pull up an image of it on my non-existent monitor.

Does any of this make sense to you? Do you experience this in the same way?
Last Edit: 1 year 4 months ago by Ethel B.
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I have a theory! 1 year 4 months ago #2905

  • moyer
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In short: your hypothesis is similar to what others here on the forum have tried describe.
It feels pretty accurate to me, in fact I even get my monitor plugged in while I am asleep or trypping... so I know its possible.

-joel
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I have a theory! 1 year 4 months ago #2916

  • Ethel B
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I have vivid dreams and I have had hallucinations too, but from what I've been reading, those images are activated in a different way. Some involuntary mechanism that isn't related to the mind's eye. Not sure I know enough about that to speak cogently on it, though. (To carry my analogy forward, they are on a different hard drive that IS hooked up to the monitor, but we are not fully in control of that computer.)
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I have a theory! 1 year 4 months ago #3181

  • maurav
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This is pretty much exactly how my mind words. I build up algorithms for everything and how many points involved in the algorithm typically mirrors how familiar or important it is that I "know" that thing. I can often list the algorithm points for, say, recognizing my car, but have to put effort into remembering a few points about a rental car.
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I have a theory! 1 year 3 months ago #3264

sounds about right :)
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I have a theory! 1 year 3 months ago #3267

  • Sekhmet
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Sounds very familiar to how my mind works.
Lovely way to describe it!
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I have a theory! 1 year 3 months ago #3473

  • andy_scherben
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I love it! I literally have explained it to people in almost the same way. I have a Psychology degree and when I learned about memory encoding I thought about this a lot. It is amazing to me that we all seem to agree on aspects of creativity and ways we think. I am extremely excited to see where the research goes. I considered getting a PhD just so that I can do research on this topic. I have a fear of public speaking so I probably wont for the PhD. I really hope that research goes further on this topic.
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I have a theory! 1 year 3 months ago #3544

Likewise I can verbalize all my memories and discuss in detail, though I am lousy with colour unless it stood out in the first place. I even can, with my remembering details especially if it was an activity, draw a vague mental image of what I am thinking of, but it is very fuzzy like a picture on an old black and white tv with rabbit ears, when i taught golf I was far more aware of the kinesthetic/ feel rather than the visual movements so that probably ties into the aphantasia. I don't dream or at least do not remember them fully though there are times I think I might have dreamt.

So I see some similarities to our visualization but also some differences.
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I have a theory! 1 year 3 months ago #3646

  • phoenixmoon
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sounds similar but mine is off at night as well
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I have a theory! 1 year 3 months ago #3683

  • Tilma
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I am not sure about the computer image. I have taught myself to stubbornly tell people that I think in thoughts.

I find it hard to think about how I think. Who was it that said it's like trying to open a box with the key that's inside? I often feel that way. I sure as hell don't have the Matrix running through my skull.
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I have a theory! 1 year 3 months ago #3685

  • Ethel B
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Other people seem to relate more to your thought-based description. It seems probable to me that two or more paths to memory and imagination exist and vary from person.
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I have a theory! 1 year 3 months ago #3763

  • AlyHillary
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That sounds both reasonable and similar to how I do it, yeah. I tend to think in patterns, and definitely there's the element of "yes I understand what's going on, no I don't see it..."
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I have a theory! 1 year 2 months ago #3945

  • stu204
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Ethel B it is not similar to a computer, it is the most powerful computer we have in the world today, the human brain. It is able to do so many tasks simultaneously subconsciously that it is truly amazing. Keep in mind, anything man (Mankind) made, took the power of a human to have that thought and idea in order to achieve the new reality of making that idea into current "modern life".

Before Alan Turing opened the door and paved the way for modern computers, computers were just a room full of humans breaking down individual bits of information and solving problems.

With regards to your description, I can relate to it quite a lot. I have been trying to explain it as something similar to a corrupted video card, that when you are trying to think of an image, event, or "picture" there is no actual "video" or image yet all else remains, such as sound, touch, taste, and texture.

The human mind/brain is such a fascinating thing, in spite of what many so called "professional's" would have people believe, we actually know very little and have very little understanding of the human brain. IE: how the brain functions as a processing organ, specifically how does it do it, We have no actual understanding of how that information is stored, where it exists, or what it looks like in the human brain. We don't know what the speed of thought is. We do not have the tools yet to answer these questions.

To me, our brains are the world's first and nature's most efficient quantum computers. Made of of 75% water for it's mass, this little tofu like structure is made up of 86 billion neurons with each having 1000 connections. We can hold up to 2.5 petabytes of information, just to give you an idea of what that represents, roughly 3 million hours worth of Law & Order reruns. Wrinkles in our brains are believed to help with it's processing power. 50% of our genes are responsible for the make up of our brains organization while the other half of our genes describe the remaining 98% of our bodies. Kind of amazing when you consider if only weighs about 3 lbs, yet still our 3rd largest organ.

We like to think we are a lot smarter then we truly are, so it is very interesting to me that in the last 5,000 years, our brains have roughly decreased in size by 10% on average, yet it still consumes 20% of our blood and oxygen. Even in to our late 40's it is still developing.

Human ego and the baffling notion of their desires to "protect" the established in place systems, act as the real barriers to making progress on our levels of understanding. Thankfully technology allows us to start to question and seek new ways to find the answers to questions we didn't even consider worth asking.

One of the biggest failings of our current "modern" medical established system is equally both, the inability to deal with, treat, or even diagnose multiple ailments as a whole, and the basis of this "medicine" or treatment on the "average patient". Again, thankfully technology allows us to break down these barriers, and will force open the doors towards progress in precision medicine. There are so many cases where you give "medicine" to a patient when it is known that there is a 50-50 chance where it will have no effect or make them sicker.

While we fast approach a step backwards in progress, with issues such as antibiotic resistance, practices which were much regarded for the realm of quackery and homeopathic practitioners, "scientists" have now reinvented the wheel, with regards to homeopathic bowel nosodes into what is now known today as fecal transplants or FMT (fecal microbiota transplants) which is a perfectly accepted form of treatment. Thank you Doctor Bach and Paterson for this ground breaking "new" scientific discovery that only took a century or so to discover after it was already discovered. This new old discovery, has the potential to help people who suffer from a wide number of ailments from C. diff infections, to rheumatoid arthritis, to autism and more.

With humanity entering into new fields of discovery such as quantum biology(Quantum Biology has been around a long time, it is just that it has been only in the past 10 years or so that new discoveries have changed our understanding) this also has the potential to further increase our current level of understanding in ways we have yet to imagine. Quantum physics underpins organic chemistry, organic chemistry scaled up in complexity gives us molecular biology, which leads to life.

Jumping back to the brain and Aphantasia, sometimes I wonder, if much like Einstein said about how energy can not be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another, considering that even though we do not have the ability to store, record, and recall visual imagery and details in a somewhat "normal" manner, it is non the less still recorded and stored, just in another form of data. So when I hear of people's near death experiences and the vivid stories that usually go along with them, I wonder what it would be like, for people like us at the moment of death. Please don't misunderstand, as I am not trying to be morbid, rather just simply pondering the whole "life flashing before your eyes" sort of thing and wonder what that must be like?
Since we are still gathering and stored this data, just in a different way, I wonder what the effect would be for a person with Aphantasia.

I personally have had a number of concussions in my life, the most severe one, losing several hours of my "life" with regards to any awareness of what took place. In my younger days I did have the opportunity to partake in perfectly legal use of salvia, which I can only describe as a very strange journey into the corners of your subconscious mind. During those 8 to 10 minutes, I did have very intense visual images and experiences as the former reality as I knew it, ceased to exist in those moments. As I started to reenter reality as I know it to be, the majority of that experience was consumed by trying to recall and remember what just happened and come to terms with it.

So this does lead me to believe, that somewhere, even in the deepest forgotten corners of our minds, there still exists the ability to vividly interact with thoughts and images, even if it is subconscious and we are unaware of it. Now thinking of this, it leads me to wonder if it is possible that people with Aphantasia might have some sort of build up of the storage of visual information and upon a moment like death or near death, a massive release of visual imagery that has been stored up and/or repressed for a lifetime?

Obviously it is impossible to accurately answer these questions, but I still find it interesting to wonder about it.
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I have a theory! 1 year 2 months ago #3947

  • dicknose
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Off topic, Einstein was the one who showed that energy can be created!
Previously it had been assumed energy was conserved, similarly mass was thought to be conserved.
E=mc^2 showed how they relate and its mass+energy that is conserved, not energy alone.
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I have a theory! 1 year 2 months ago #3954

  • Kiingarian
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2Ethel B, I like the simplification of the vision / video process.
2stu204, Yes there is more involved with the computer like the video card, (can't forget faulty cables :) ), none the less. You are very right about the delicate tuning of the mind and its capability. Yet, in the end this is a simple analogy.

One thing that bothers me, is that both of your sights. (note: nor in dream or awareness can I visualize) It sounds like our inability to visualize in our mind seems to be a disability. I know my case is different than most, since I was aware of it at a young age, and worked with how it works and watching other grow "normally" and how they experience life, I don't think I could have done it with a visual mind

Personally, to me this is like skin. Some are white, burn easy and should stay out of the sun. Others are darker tones, more heat tolerant but can't stand the cold. Others are a nice mix. It sounds to me like most of us here, is good mix. While I'm on one of the extremes and the rest of the world on the other. If its heat tolerates or cold, I don't think it’s a bad thing or something that should be repaired or even thought of as something that is broken. Just something that we should experience like all of life, and see it grow with its full potential.

The skin analogy may not say describe how it works, but more of a way to view it as a gift, to be harnessed and use using its limits and advantages.
This is an awesome group of people, makes one wish we could just sit and talk.
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I have a theory! 1 year 2 months ago #4104

  • Sheriam
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Haha, love how you carried on this analogy^^ EthelB
That's what I've read too. Involuntary imagery. I get flashes. But I can't control them and I can never manipulate them. So if I am asked about a cat, I might get a flash of a cat but I have no control over color, surroundings etc. and I can't hold the image. So yeah, no control^^
@Stu204 In my case sound/smell/touch don't remain either. Only words.
Last Edit: 1 year 2 months ago by Sheriam.
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I have a theory! 1 year 3 weeks ago #4305

  • gwen_38
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Yes, this is analogous to my own experience, and I've been using a similar metaphor. But for me, I have the computer, a really good gpu, and no monitor. I can actually process visual data really well, so I have a gpu. But I work in autocad instead of paintbrush, and never see what I'm making, just know it's there. Some people only have a text parser.but ti's a really good command line interface.
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I have a theory! 9 months 1 week ago #4848

  • MattY13
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This explains it perfectly for me!
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I have a theory! 2 months 3 days ago #39356

  • Dove
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Spot on!

This is exactly how I explain my lack of a minds eye to other people. I have everything a computer has to allow entering of data and getting results out except for the screen. I have a camera (see) speakers (speak) mic (hear) keyboard (data entry) etc but not the screen.

I can, for example, also describe old houses I've lived in, but don't get an image when I describe them.

What I am more and more intrigued by is the question 'so what?' Surely being so different must have some impact on how we live our lives? But what? I don't know the answer to this and part of the reason is that I can't get in someone else's head to understand how their head works.
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