The paradox of imagining aphantasia

Visualizers, have you ever tried to imagine what it’s like not to visualize?

It’s a paradox, isn’t it? The moment you try to imagine it, you’re already visualizing, which is the very thing we’re asking you to not do. It’s like asking you to think about something you can’t think about.

Let’s dive deeper into this intriguing paradox.

Imagine you had to describe the color blue to someone who has never seen it. How would you convey its essence without referring to other colors or visual experiences?

That’s the challenge we face when explaining aphantasia to someone who naturally visualizes.

When you, as a visualizer, imagine an apple, you might not only see its vibrant red or green skin but also feel its weight and maybe even taste its sweetness.

But for someone like me with aphantasia, thinking of an apple is a different experience. I focus on the concept of the apple—its crunchiness, its sweetness, and its identity as a fruit.

I understand the apple, even if I don’t “see” it in my mind’s eye.

Try thinking of an apple without these sensory details. It’s like savouring the thought of an apple without ever seeing or tasting it.

Just as it’s impossible for me to visualize pictures, it’s equally challenging for many visualizers to truly grasp what aphantasia is like.

Have you ever tried to explain your way of thinking to someone who experiences the world differently?