Re: Fwd: The Geek Syndrome

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sat Dec 15 2001 - 02:55:31 MST

Dunno if I am a visualizer per se or not. I know that I don't
see visual images in my head
for a lot of types of problems and situations that some of my
friends do. I can do that
to some degree but it seems relatively limited. What I tend to
do more is build complex
multi-dimensional models in my head that I don't so much "see"
as envelop and fly all around
and, well, "be". I do a lot of soaring in and out of mental
spaces representing things I am working
on. This usually works just fine but it seems different from
some of the visualizers
I know. I partially visualize and did it more when I was
younger. I used to remember who
wrote books because I could always pull them off my mental shelf
and look at the cover. But that
pretty much disappeared. I can't construct a mental visual
image all that well at all. I find
myself instead piecing it together from mathematical
abstractions as I crawl/fly/feel along it. I
usually have a fast enough brain to do ok at that but in some
branches of mathematics it doesn't
work well.

- samantha

Damien Broderick wrote:
> At 02:41 AM 12/15/01 +0100, Anders wrote:
> >So, what do you non-visualizers do for kicks?
> We let our fingers do the walking. :)
> >It might be beneficial for transhumanism (and
> >transhumanists!) to learn more about this range and to promote an
> >understanding of it in popular consciousness, in order to both get
> >inspiration for possible changes and help build a tolerance for truly
> >different mindsets.
> Absolutely. It would be a smart move if *every* educator, at least, learned
> a bit more about this range, and took it into account. I frequently rant on
> about my own, um, cognitive anomaly (or variant), but here I go again:
> I was regarded as a real dope at school, and when I was 12 got shifted out
> of an `academic' Jesuit school to a crappy `technical school' (woodwork,
> rudimentary machine shop, etc), where I proved even less competent. I
> suspect that I might be the only PhD ever to emerge from its dark Satanic
> mills... :)
> The key to this weird misdiagnosis of stupidity is likely to be my
> inability to form mental visual images. I can eventually get most places
> others can reach, but I have to do it by clawing up the walls with my
> fingernails (speaking of fingers). (Yet I *dream* in full color images.)
> The epiphany that set me free happened at the end of my first year at
> university, when I abruptly grokked that when tutors and lecturers and text
> books kept going on about `poetic images' they *meant* it... at least
> sometimes. The everyday experience of perceptual hallucinations stood at
> the ground level of the metaphor. *Fuck, people SEE things in their
> HEADS??* You've gotta be *joking*!! I ripped into some psych literature and
> found there was a body of evidence on this variation in mental modality
> (cognitive mapping and mental imagery studies were not yet fashionable, not
> for decades yet), but no educators seemed to have noticed. I went to my
> English prof and said I'd like to do research in this area. He looked down
> his nose and said with a sniff that in that case I might wish to change my
> major to... (yuck)... psychology. NOT THE POINT, d00D, I wanted to shout,
> but I was far too polite in those days. I'm not sure much has changed
> since. (Although postmodernist approaches to the text would eschew anything
> as crass and literally minded as image-like imagery; even so, the shared
> *experience* of mental imagery probably underpins most enthusiasm for
> reading fiction and poetry. Is this true of sf readers? We like gaudy or
> numinously cosmic settings, but I wonder if the tendency to *actual*
> visualizations--in comix, magazine illos, special FX movies, rendered
> games, etc--might reflect an appeal to a lot of people who like the ideas
> but *don't* autonomously roll their own images.)
> Damien Broderick

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:27 MDT