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Do you see things when you read?

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message 1: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey J | 38 comments I was wondering how many people do not have any image of things while they are reading? Several months ago on the podcast, Tom and Verronica were talking about how the saw something in a book and it finally dawned on me that they were being literal when they said they could see something while they read the story. I had always been under the impression that when people said they could see X or Y while they read, they were just exaggerating because they thought it was so well described, but something in the way the two of them were discussing it made me think differently. I put a post up on Facebook to test the theory and the response was very strong. I had a small number of people, like myself who do not see anything while reading or very little, and there were also a number of people who had no idea that others did not see something while reading (including a spouse of one who did not know he visualized nothing while reading).

I have lived my whole life with the words on the page just being words and envy those who actually see something. Though I think it has helped me in one regard when I watch a movie based on a book I have read I have no issue thinking of them as two different stories based on a similar premise. Because of this, I don’t have the “The book was better than the movie” feeling.

One final thought, my wife pointed out that my favorite movie, The Princess Bride, is really just what the grandson is seeing as the grandfather reads, blow my mind!


message 2: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3532 comments Mod
We had a discussion around this when we read Ninefox Gambit.
Yoo Ha Lee has Aphantasia (the condition you describe)

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Dara also started a thread about this:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

I always have images in my head while reading. Not always the same as the author describes. If I have seen the movie version then those images will replace my own made up image.
I can't read Lord of the Rings without seeing Peter Jacksons version in my head.


message 3: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey J | 38 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "We had a discussion around this when we read Ninefox Gambit.
Yoo Ha Lee has Aphantasia (the condition you describe)

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/......"


And here I thought I was being original, lol. I was sure that I would not find a discussion on this topic nor did I think I could figure out how to find one if I searched. Thanks for the links!


message 4: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8453 comments Do I see thing when I read? Constantly!

...dang comic books.


message 5: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3944 comments Suppose I'll chime in. At best I get a vague visual when reading. If anything it is odd to see a movie / TV show of a book because then the characters and locations are set. Well, either set or so glaringly wrong as to take me out of the show.

One thing I do get, though, is a sense of scale, the bigger the better. It's no accident that I have preferred the "Cosmic" characters in Marvel comics - Dr. Strange, Warlock, Chaos and Order, Eternity, Galactus and the like. For SF, I like huge distances and contemplations of infinity. So Ringworld, any of Niven's "Ramship" books, and the incomparable Tau Zero, covering the largest possible distances of both time and space. Weapon Shops of Isher with one character swinging back and forth through time, eventually triggering the Big Bang. Stapledon's Star Maker. 2001, the rare instance where both book and film inspire.

I like to read in quiet, where my brain can settle and perceptions open wide.

For this apparently I sacrifice the ability to visualize text. I'll take it.


message 6: by Matty (new)

Matty J | 4 comments Like Tassie Dave I always see something while reading but not always the same as the author's description. While reading Neuvel's Themis Files series I had such a different conception of one character that when he would explicitly describe them it'd confuse me and make me have to mentally reset for a moment.


message 7: by Iain (last edited Jan 21, 2020 12:25PM) (new)

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1334 comments Matty wrote: "Like Tassie Dave I always see something while reading but not always the same as the author's description. While reading Neuvel's Themis Files series I had such a different conception of one charac..."

I tend to see a set of black symbols on a white background ;-)


Megan (The Gemini) (cutterrenee) How interesting! I thought everyone played a small movie in their head while reading. Aphantasia. I'll try to remember that word, though it reminds me of Anastasia enough that I might can use it as a reminder. I would of never known that some people process it differently. I see a movie, though it tends to be abstract and faces are iffy. I also replace the images after seeing a movie and my image doesn't always match up perfectly to the description.


message 9: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8453 comments Cutter (The Gemini) wrote: "How interesting! I thought everyone played a small movie in their head while reading. Aphantasia. I'll try to remember that word, though it reminds me of Anastasia enough that I might can use it as..."

Definitely check out the other threads linked above. Interesting stuff there.


message 10: by Richard (new)

Richard Vogel | 211 comments I don't get a movie as much as I get images and impressions. They don't last long, but are constant as I read, when trying to image the place and people. I have a tendency to allow actors from various movies and tv shows take over the roles, but they will eventually drift from the original to something that better fits the actual characters.


message 11: by Megan (The Gemini) (last edited Feb 01, 2020 06:01AM) (new)

Megan (The Gemini) (cutterrenee) I read on facebook today that some people don't have an inner monologue in their head. They don't have a voice in their mind when they think. I have conversations with that voice! It made me think of this thread, though. I wonder if there is a connection. Is this a left side/right side brain thing? I'm going to have to find someone to ask. I'll copy this to the old thread.

https://ryanandrewlangdon.wordpress.c...


message 12: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey J | 38 comments Megan, a friend sent me that the other day, I don’t know if it is related but I can say I don’t have an inner monologue either so suspect it might be. I almost thought it was a joke when she sent it, trying to make me think I am even stranger, haha. It would seem exhausting to have the type of monopolies that I have heard. Can’t believe that I have spent almost 50 years and did not know either of these, what else could be going on in my head that is so different than most others. I was diagnosed with dyslexia in 1st grade and wonder if there is a connection there as well.


message 14: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8453 comments I’m seein trails man. Whoaaa.


message 15: by Aaron (new)

Aaron | 264 comments Megan (The Gemini) wrote: "I read on facebook today that some people don't have an inner monologue in their head. They don't have a voice in their mind when they think. I have conversations with that voice! ..."

I converse with my inner voice far more than I do with outer people.


message 16: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1551 comments So as I've said before, I do visualize what I read. And I also have an inner monologue, and only the one voice, so not really a conversation, just a stream of dialogue, sometimes interrupted with visuals if I'm thinking of or remembering something visual.

Now I'm curious about dreamers. Like I believe most people (although with the way these threads have gone, who knows), I typically don't remember my dreams, unless I'm having one as I wake up. That's where it gets interesting, if I'm slowly waking up, my mind seems to have some control of what I'm doing in the dream, not necessarily what else is happening (although sometimes), but decisions I make or things I do or say. I guess this is lucid dreaming? This usually doesn't last too long before I fully wake up. I still typically don't remember what happens in these dreams, but I know that I've had them. This can happen both in the middle of the night, or just before I'm waking up for good.

So is this more or less how others dream? And I wonder how it relates to those who visualize what the read, and have an inner dialogue, or a rich visual imagination? Or maybe there is no correlation at all.


message 17: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8453 comments John (Nevets) wrote: "So is this more or less how others dream?"

More or less the same for me.

However, the other day I woke up and the solution to the project I was working on was sitting there in my brain. I’ve been working on this show for weeks (https://www.instagram.com/p/B7J--koBj...) and couldn’t crack it. But my subconscious mind figured it out. I got back in the editing suite that day and it worked perfectly.

Is that a dream? I don’t know. I recall visualizing the entire thing, but who knows if it played out in real time.


message 18: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3944 comments Did you read Echopraxia? It gets pretty deeply into the concept of the conscious vs. unconscious mind. Has a very similar example of solutions rising from the unconscious.


message 19: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8453 comments John (Taloni) wrote: "Did you read Echopraxia? It gets pretty deeply into the concept of the conscious vs. unconscious mind. Has a very similar example of solutions rising from the unconscious."

I haven’t. Just articles about dreams and REM sleep.


message 20: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey J | 38 comments As someone who neither visualize things or have an internal dialog, I very rarely remember any of my dreams maybe for a year. I can not remember ever having control of a dream. I am sure that I have come up with solutions in my sleep but have no idea when that has happened.


message 21: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 293 comments Occasionally I can control my dreams. Flying through a city was quite exhilarating the one time I did it.


Megan (The Gemini) (cutterrenee) Yes! I once controlled a flying dream because it was so enjoyable. Sometimes if I wake from a dream that I liked before I wanted to, I go back to sleep and force the dream again. Only if I go right back to sleep though.


message 23: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1551 comments So coincidentally enough waking up this morning I had what I was describing. And realized it was not what experts call "lucid". It is more like as the dream is ending and as I'm waking I transition to a day dream with my eyes closed. My other senses are in the real world (I feel the bed, hear the fan running in the background, taste my dry mouth). But I just sort of keep the visual and sense of audio dream going in my imagination, with a bit more control of myself, but with out sensing physical things almost more like a POV camera shot. It went of for a few minutes, and then I was too awake to really concentrate on it anymore so I rolled over and opened my eyes.

In doing just a brief google search after I posted my questions. I found that what Trike describes is common, and part of what people think dreaming is for. Going over the events of the day, committing them to memory, and then letting the sub conscious work on problems you've been stewing on.

Damn our minds are wonderfully crazy and diverse things. It shouldn't be, but each time I hear someone else's works slightly different then mine, I'm shocked. Hopefully I can think of that each time I'm trying to see someone else's point of view.


message 24: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3944 comments Carl Jung suggested asking a question before going to sleep in order to get your unconscious to work on it. The question was to be posed to the "two million year old man," the representation of the collective unconscious.

I went looking for a good link to this and couldn't find one. Jung is great, but his works are dense. I can highly recommend "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" as a readable entry point to his work. The Portable Jung is also good, but not particularly portable - it is pretty long. Much of the rest is written in a clinical format as he was writing psychology as a science. The works are revelatory, but take effort. They are not casual reading.

I'll close with the best of the quotes I found in this particular search: "Together the patient and I address ourselves to the two million-year-old man that is in all of us. In the last analysis, most of our difficulties come from losing contact with our instincts, with the age-old unforgotten wisdom stored up in us. And where do we make contact with this old man in us? In our dreams.
-C. G. Jung, Psychological Reflections


message 25: by Aaron (new)

Aaron | 264 comments John (Nevets) wrote: "So is this more or less how others dream?"

Pretty much how dreaming works for me. Occasionally, I remember that last bit of a dream.
I haven't spent the effort needed to develop full lucid dreaming.


message 26: by James (new)

James Thomas | 27 comments I remember some dreams after waking up but they fade quickly unless I make an effort to remember them. Normally dreams just play out without conscious involvement but occasionally something happens to trigger me to actively take control. Usually the dream ends right after the issue is resolved.


message 27: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Morgan (elzbethmrgn) | 275 comments I've said in other threads like this that I really struggle to visualise, but I realised after some chat on the Discord about cyberpunk that my struggle to visualise might be the reason I have so much trouble reading science fiction. I am fine with fantasy, but I definitely prefer to consume science fiction as visual media.


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