It is common in rationalist circles to ponder the fact that the interior spaces of our minds are surprisingly diverse places -- and that we tend not to grok this no matter how many times it is pointed out.

A perennial example is aphantasia, a condition in which a person does not have the capacity to mentally visualize things. (Here is a well-writen example). A person with aphantasia is generally fully in possession of their cognitive abilities. In fact, the condition first came to light when educated and thoughtful people reacted badly to the psychological and philosophical accounts referring to qualia as if they could really appear uncaused in the mind, rather than existing simply as poetical metaphors. Science is hard enough without people inventing things! And of course, most people reacted to these negative reactions by assuming that those people who did not experience internal qualia were just jerks who were purposely denying reality to make obtuse points.

Anywho... I recently discovered an unexpected addendum to this. A recent discussion questioned whether most people could generally picture detailed, full-color, moving images, such as knots, rotating complex shapes, impossible shapes, etc. My first thought was that I could easily do these things, with the exceptions of knots, which kept turning into impossible objects (inconsistently passing through bits of themselves). Then, I realized that I couldn't, or at least didn't.

So here's a fun thing: some people suffer from anosognosic aphantasia.

Well, almost. I can perceive complex visual forms, moving, and in detail, and I do not have to notice that anything is odd. But if I actually pay attention (which I previously have not had cause to), I am actually connecting a series of still and partial images, combining them in something like a movie reel, and simply interpreting this as if it were movement. Which seems fair enough, except that when I pause on a still, it is often an extremely limited view of one part of the target -- one corner, one piece of texture, etc.

More interesting, this is something that I had thought about before, but completely missed that I was doing it all the time. I do this much more pervasively when visualizing faces, and I spent some time noticing this when the subject was broached in the above link (this one). I simply noted that I was apparently a little bit face blind, as I cannot visualize a whole face at a time, and certainly not moving. It did not even begin to occur to me that this was how I visualized other things, just more so.

If you can believe that you are experiencing one thing in your mind when your mind is presenting you with another thing, an obvious supposition is that rather than your mind selecting an arbitrary level of things to directly experience mentally and then patching up the differences with the illusion of fulsome perception, your mind probably just grinds away through its semantic network and then overlays the appropriate beliefs of meaningful and direct correlations to reality.

So, keeping in mind that the typical mind fallacy is a thing (I will node this someday, I promise, but in the meantime, it simply means that you have a strong tendency to assume that other people think more like you do than they actually do), I am assuming that actually everyone is aphantasic, and that the belief that you see things in your mind is simply another form of qualia that the mind uses to equivocate mental models with sensory models.

This may also account for the indelible certainty that people have consciousness and souls and all that jazz. The mind selects useful bits of processing and applies the appearance of color or space or self or unique-snowflakiness. Unfortunately, this doesn't actually help us understand what causes these feelings of relevance -- we are still not reduced to automations -- but we're getting closer!

My mom and I are on a mini-vacation for her birthday (which was on the 14). Yesterday and today, we were in Cottonwood, a town so small that it is known only for its probity to Redding. All her family is up here, and we haven't seen them in a while-- for good reason.

Okay. My mom is basically the most successful out of her siblings. My aunts Leslie used to be a drug addict and has a gambling problem and she has no savings account and is apparently in debt. (Ask me about their me she got drunk and crashed into two police cars!) My uncle Paul has his own place, but he's Bi-Polar and probably has schizophrenia (he has several key symptoms) but he refuses to get meds or seek help because he thinks doctors are drug pushers and the psychiatry field is a conspiracy by the government.

I am not even exaggerating; his youngest daughter, my cousin Katie, is a pharmacy tech and he refused to talk to her for like a year after she got her certification because he considered her to be a "legalized drug dealer for the government."

Last night, my mom, grandma, grandpa, and aunty Leslie went to play Bingo at the local casino and actually had a really fun time. (It helps that my mom won 200$). Normally my mom and Leslie don't get on too well, but they were having a really great time and acting like happy kids. We were gonna visit Leslie today before we left town, but Leslie's elderly and overweight dog fell off the bed and hurt himself, so she's busy trying to get the vet over and they might have to put him to sleep, so basically we were told not to go over because they're dealing with all that.

Leslie called my grandma asking for 100$ for the vet. Grandma waffled and so Leslie called Paul, who then called my grandma to talk about it. They are both super torn up because every time they give her money, she never pays them back and 100$ is a lot to them, and she also blows money she doesn't have (like spending 100 at bingo and in the casino last night when she owes 300$ to a checking-for-cash place), but they also feel really bad for the dog (who they both know because she brings her dogs around).

And in the middle of talking about the dilemma, my uncle started ranting about how "Canadian Liberals" are ruining America by sending their politicians down here and how they're gonna send someone to be president and how the Orlando shooting that happened last week was a plot by the government. My grandma had to hang up. He was yelling so loud we could hear him through the phone.

So in short, my mom's family is a little fried in the head.

That's how my morning went!

Now we are on the road again heading to Fort Bragg to see the glass beach and the Skunk Train. Any and all technical errors in this WU are because I am typing this on a phone. Totally.

Hi E2, long time no node.

I'm moving to Boston for work.

Currently plotting road trip: Portland -> Missoula -> Bismarck -> Minneapolis -> Ohio -> Massachusetts.

More details as I have them.

Head east, conquer an already liberated colony!

In the wake of shootings and other tragedies involving men, the subject of toxic masculinity and the accusations of the inherent evil of men don't cry reared their ugly heads again.

And as someone who's recently decided to go through some kind of therapy, I mused as to what, as a man - worked for me and didn't. A huge question out there is "why don't more men seek help?"

Not that it matters, but I'll muse here anyway.

A huge part of what disillusioned me was seeing the marked difference between how men and women were treated. I was not allowed to bring ANYTHING into the psych ward where my wife was being held. I had to watch my stuff like a hawk from my vantage point on my chair, because just about anyone could have walked away with my identification, keys and wallet. I straightened up to stand up to stretch my legs and the cop had his hand on his gun. I reminded him that I wasn't the patient, I was with someone who was. I was told not to move anyway. A couple of men complained about the long wait time and how they needed medication, etc. and were treated with near total indifference.

When a woman came in, however, she was permitted to carry her bag, purse and multiple personal items to her bed. Not only were they not immediately confiscated with someone keeping one hand on a gun, they were left alone by the staff because apparently it was very important to her that they not go through her belongings. (This is a suicide/psych freakout ward. What if she'd had drugs, a razor blade?) She was handled with kind words and kid gloves and everything was done to her perfect comfort not to worry madam and (hand back on gun) SIT DOWN SIR AND DO NOT MOVE AGAIN I DON'T CARE WHAT HE SAID TO YOU.

There was a dark joke in the Tom Sharpe novels about the psychiatrists in apartheid South Africa dealing with the problems of middle aged white ladies with cups of tea and lots of counselling, whereas people of color were usually drugged into a stupor and subjected to electroshock. I was reminded very much of that. Raised voice and male? Two cops move forward, one with a baton, one hand on gun. She was in the midst of a full scale screaming match because they couldn't tell HER what to do, and they were like "there, there, dear."

Interestingly, when I called a patient advocate after being turned away from an initial consult because I literally went into very frequent sobbing jags, their two first questions were "are you hearing voices and are you planning on hurting other people". Well pardon me if I actually wanted help for myself, right?

And therapy itself has proven to be disappointing. I'm still down, I'm still not responding well to certain things, and it's affecting my work because my concentration is slipping. I was expecting more out of the process than someone typing into a computer, and then throwing a few pills my way. And when I say there's things that still need to be addressed, she's like "try taking more of the same pill" as opposed to treating a second symptom.

But I'm playing the charade because I'm infinitely calmer, and I like where that's taken me.

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