John McCormick

Polymath, recently self-diagnosed with the most-depressing self-discovery I’ve experienced to date…aphantasia. As of about 10:00pm last night, Sunday, March 14, 2022, I learned that I am different…internally blind as a bat. Up until this point, this condition has never bothered me. Tonight…I’m very unhappy… UPDATE — June 20, 2023: At this point I’m pretty much over my initial unhappiness of my discovery that I have aphantasia. Honestly, it seems like everyone else out there who have the little movie screens in their heads are the weirdos. That seems like such a handicap to me…but what would I know…I’m blank inside. From what I understand of aphantasia and related issues, I have complete waking aphantasia, but I dream vivid, true-to-life, dreams with the complete sensory experience. My dreams can be so realistic that it can be difficult to tell them apart from real life. I also do not have an internal monologue–at least not much. Again, simply basing it on what I can tell about my own mental experience, I think abstractly, not in words, and I don’t hear my own thoughts most of the time. I do occasionally think of words in English or other languages when I’m concentrating on those words or something specific about them. Otherwise, I just…think. How my thought processes work, I haven’t got a clue. I have the idea that I think on an abstract level sans interpretive processing. At least that’s how I perceive it. It seems to me that everyone thinks on an abstract level, but most people then add an additional level of words, sounds, and visual artifacts on top of that basic mental processing. With the exception of certain artistic pursuits in which a clear visual or auditory “picture” is very useful, it seems to me that such additional processing just slows people’s mentation down. An alternative is that people like myself with aphantasia are actually thinking using visual, auditory, olfactorally, etc., but for some reason their brain has hidden this from their conscious minds…similar to those who have divided hemispheres of the brain, where their left sides and right sides don’t know what the other is doing. I will say that I don’t believe that is the case, for certain particular reasons, but I’m offering it as a possible explanation. Anyway, long story short…I’m blank inside and I’m okay with it. Curious about what all those other “weirdos” experience, but I’m happy as I am.