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Aphantasia: “how it feels to be blind in the mind”

Blake Ross, a very smart guy whose accomplishments include being the co-creator of Firefox, can’t visualize things in his head simply by thinking about them—and he only just now discovered that there’s anything noteworthy about that:  I have never visualized anything in my entire life. I can’t “see” my father’s face or a bouncing blue … Continue reading “Aphantasia: “how it feels to be blind in the mind””

Blake Ross, a very smart guy whose accomplishments include being the co-creator of Firefox, can’t visualize things in his head simply by thinking about them—and he only just now discovered that there’s anything noteworthy about that

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I have never visualized anything in my entire life. I can’t “see” my father’s face or a bouncing blue ball, my childhood bedroom or the run I went on ten minutes ago. I thought “counting sheep” was a metaphor. I’m 30 years old and I never knew a human could do any of this. And it is blowing my goddamned mind.

It turns out that researchers have a name for Ross’s condition: aphantasia. His Facebook Note on the subject is an amazing, sometimes funny, deeply self-aware piece of writing.

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About the author

Harry McCracken is the technology editor for Fast Company, based in San Francisco. In past lives, he was editor at large for Time magazine, founder and editor of Technologizer, and editor of PC World.

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