Do we dream less as we get older?

The origins of the imperative, "know thyself", are lost in the sands of time, but the age-old examination of human consciousness continues here.

Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Thu Apr 22, 2021 4:49 pm

felix dakat wrote:
Maia wrote:
felix dakat wrote:
An interesting discussion you're having with iambiguous. The English language is visually biased. There is the widespread metaphor of knowing as seeing. The blind see all the time metaphorically in English if not in other languages. Do you see what I mean?


Yes, I see exactly what you mean, and am certainly not blind to the subtleties of English usage.


Ha!
I think of the word "appear'. Phenomenology literally means the study of appearances. As a sighted person when I think of an appearance I think of something present in my visual field. But something can just as likely appear in my auditory field, or my tactile field or my olfactory field or my mental field. So it seems that conventional visually biased language tends to default toward mapping all phenomena metaphorically at least into the visual mode of perception.


Yes, language is full of visual metaphors, which is not surprising, since vision is by far the dominant sense among humans in general. But this is not exclusively the case. Something can feel right, or sound good, for example, or smell a bit off, or be in bad taste. I had to think about some of those, though, which shows just how dominant sight is.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby felix dakat » Thu Apr 22, 2021 5:59 pm

Maia wrote:
felix dakat wrote:
Maia wrote:
Yes, I see exactly what you mean, and am certainly not blind to the subtleties of English usage.


Ha!
I think of the word "appear'. Phenomenology literally means the study of appearances. As a sighted person when I think of an appearance I think of something present in my visual field. But something can just as likely appear in my auditory field, or my tactile field or my olfactory field or my mental field. So it seems that conventional visually biased language tends to default toward mapping all phenomena metaphorically at least into the visual mode of perception.


Yes, language is full of visual metaphors, which is not surprising, since vision is by far the dominant sense among humans in general. But this is not exclusively the case. Something can feel right, or sound good, for example, or smell a bit off, or be in bad taste. I had to think about some of those, though, which shows just how dominant sight is.

Right! Right! Language is metaphorically equated with speech. So things sound right or sound good.

Bad is stinky. A band one doesn't like stinks.

Aesthetics are a matter of taste. And an unpleasant experience can leave a bad taste in one's mouth.

Understanding is grasping. One grasps a concept.

But knowing is most often equated with seeing. Descartes did that when he talked about certainty in terms of seeing ideas clearly and distinctly.

To my knowledge he never explained what seeing was a metaphor for. I think it was a metaphor for consciousness of images in his mind.

That brings us to another term "image". I usually think of "image" as something visual, but an image can be auditory or tactile as well.

Maia, please elucidate how images appear to you.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Thu Apr 22, 2021 6:53 pm

Maia wrote:
For sure, yes, a lot of blind people are not particularly interested in talking about this sort of thing, and just prefer to get on with it. I've also found, incidentally, that a lot of sighted people find it very uncomfortable too, as if they might upset me or something. Which is a pity, as the very opposite is the case.


I suppose this is so in part because, for some people who are blind, there is the concern that others will come to think of them only [or mostly] in terms of them being blind. And skip all the other parts. And, for sighted people, the concern that they will say or do the "wrong thing"...if they do not have much experience interacting with those who are blind. Each situation is always going to be different. It seems to come down to both recognizing the need to come up with a way to translate their differences into both the least dysfunctional and the most rewarding relationship.

Does this make sense to you, or have your own experiences been different?

Maia wrote:Yes indeed, the circadian rhythm is determined primarily by light. It's not as if I can't tell when it's day or night, because I can, very easily. Not just the drop in temperature, but a whole host of other cues, including the smell of the air. Out in the countryside, animals and birds are much quieter at night, and different types of animal are present. In the city it's even more obvious, as the sounds are all different, if, in most cases, equally unpleasant and grating. Conversely, especially on sunny days, the feel of the sun on my skin is as obvious as it is welcome. But with no light input, those other cues are not sufficient to tell my body that it's time to sleep or wake up. As for the internal body clock, I remember reading somewhere that studies have shown it to be slightly longer than 24 hours, on average. Not by much, but enough to get you out of sync pretty quickly. My own experience is that, without a rigid routine, I'll just fall asleep when I feel like it and wake up any old time. It also makes me feel like crap, which is why for some years now I've forced myself into a pretty strict daily exercise regime.


Yes, this is the perfect example of all of the things that sighted people really don't give much thought to. There are many different cues that allow someone to make a distinction between night and day. But why bother to explore them if all that is necessary is to open your eyes? And then there are the stories of those who can open their eyes, can see, but they are in situations -- like prolonged periods of total darkness -- where they too lose the ability to make this distinction. And haven't developed other methods to compensate.

Maia wrote:It's not like I'm living in a constant night though, which is similar to the misconception that blind people just see black all the time. This isn't the case, especially for those born totally blind. We just don't see anything at all.


This is hard for me to fathom. The distinction between seeing black all the time and not seeing anything at all. When I close my eyes I never see complete blackness. There are always areas that contain splashes of color. In fact, after a vigorous aerobic workout, I can shut my eyes particularly tight and see these startling splashes of alternating blue and yellow. It's nothing short of dazzling. Is there anything like this experienced by you?

Maia wrote:Some of the teachers were also careers advisors, assessing each student's aptitudes and abilities, and advising them what to specialise in. At the end of every school year there were a range of choices, which became greater each year. Parents were closely involved too, with meetings arranged every term so they could discuss these and other issues with the staff. The school had a higher than average proportion of its students going on to university, but by the time I got to the sixth form I had decided not to go down this route, and instead to train for work in the care sector, which is where I ended up. I do occasionaly regret not going to uni but there's no reason why I still couldn't do so, if I ever wanted to. I much prefer to be active, however, and the thought of being stuck behind a laptop all day, or in a lecture theatre, just doesn't appeal.


Sounds like the best of all possible worlds then. As long as the individual students are in a possition to think through their own situations and come to decisions that work best for them, then, being blind or not, one is likely to be -- to feel -- the most satisfied. You chose what you wanted to do, you're doing it, you like what you do. That's great. You make the lives of others more satisfying. Others can only be glad for you.

Maia wrote: I'm not certain that it's strictly true that we can never know about the afterlife in this life. There's no theoretical reason why we couldn't, anyway. There are lots of people who claim to have seen ghosts, or spoken to the dead, and so on. Doesn't mean that any of them are right, but what I find suggestive is that these sorts of claims have existed throughout human history and in all cultures. Why would all societies throughout time and in all parts of the world have a similar idea about ghosts, for example? Or spirit communication? If they were just subconsciously making it up out of fear and loss, surely they would have come up with a million different ideas?


My whole frame of mind here is that, sure, others may well have had any number of experiences that convinced them that life [in whatever form] continues on after the death of mere mortals on this side of the grave. But I have not personally experienced anything along these lines myself. So all I can do is to ask those who have to, to the best of their ability, provide something in the way of evidence that might persuade me to believe that, yes, it's possible that I myself might continue on after death.

After all, what else is there? There can only be this: how close someone is able to come here to closing the gap between what they believe is true about life after death in their head and what/how they are able to demonstrate that their own experience really happened. And then in providing ways that others might experience it themselves.

Maia wrote: I think there's actually a very good reason why, at least at first glance, it appears that we can know nothing certain about the afterlife, and that is natural selection. Evolutionary pressure would favour the survival of those who fear death more, thinking it might be the end. So most of us end up hardwired to be unsure about it.


Of course this takes us back to the truly mysterious reality of nature itself. Why this particular rendition of nature and not another? Why and how did the matter that we consist of come "alive"...given, biologically, the evolution of life on planet Earth? And why are some of us born blind and others not? And then all of the other ways in which biologically, socially, psychologically, etc., we can be different?

Then the part where some evoke God or the Gods. Then, in philosophy discussions, those who ponder things like sim worlds or dream worlds or solipsism or Matrix realities.

The really spooky stuff that revolves around understanding the amazing fact of existence itself.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:04 pm

felix dakat wrote:
Right! Right! Language is metaphorically equated with speech. So things sound right or sound good.

Bad is stinky. A band one doesn't like stinks.

Aesthetics are a matter of taste. And an unpleasant experience can leave a bad taste in one's mouth.

Understanding is grasping. One grasps a concept.

But knowing is most often equated with seeing. Descartes did that when he talked about certainty in terms of seeing ideas clearly and distinctly.

To my knowledge he never explained what seeing was a metaphor for. I think it was a metaphor for consciousness of images in his mind.

That brings us to another term "image". I usually think of "image" as something visual, but an image can be auditory or tactile as well.

Maia, please elucidate how images appear to you.


Ok, let's assume that an image is anything that's imagined, as the word seems to imply.

When I imagine an object, or someone happens to mention an object, a representation of it immediately appears in my mind. Let's stick with bricks, shall we, as they cropped up in the discussion I'm having with Iambiguous. A brick appears in my mind and I'm immediately aware of its weight, and the rough texture of its surface. I know its shape, all its various angles and pointed corners, including the distinctive grooved indentations at the top and bottom. The brick is clean and new. It probably doesn't match any real brick in the real world, but that's fine, it doesn't have to.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:43 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:
For sure, yes, a lot of blind people are not particularly interested in talking about this sort of thing, and just prefer to get on with it. I've also found, incidentally, that a lot of sighted people find it very uncomfortable too, as if they might upset me or something. Which is a pity, as the very opposite is the case.


I suppose this is so in part because, for some people who are blind, there is the concern that others will come to think of them only [or mostly] in terms of them being blind. And skip all the other parts. And, for sighted people, the concern that they will say or do the "wrong thing"...if they do not have much experience interacting with those who are blind. Each situation is always going to be different. It seems to come down to both recognizing the need to come up with a way to translate their differences into both the least dysfunctional and the most rewarding relationship.

Does this make sense to you, or have your own experiences been different?

Maia wrote:Yes indeed, the circadian rhythm is determined primarily by light. It's not as if I can't tell when it's day or night, because I can, very easily. Not just the drop in temperature, but a whole host of other cues, including the smell of the air. Out in the countryside, animals and birds are much quieter at night, and different types of animal are present. In the city it's even more obvious, as the sounds are all different, if, in most cases, equally unpleasant and grating. Conversely, especially on sunny days, the feel of the sun on my skin is as obvious as it is welcome. But with no light input, those other cues are not sufficient to tell my body that it's time to sleep or wake up. As for the internal body clock, I remember reading somewhere that studies have shown it to be slightly longer than 24 hours, on average. Not by much, but enough to get you out of sync pretty quickly. My own experience is that, without a rigid routine, I'll just fall asleep when I feel like it and wake up any old time. It also makes me feel like crap, which is why for some years now I've forced myself into a pretty strict daily exercise regime.


Yes, this is the perfect example of all of the things that sighted people really don't give much thought to. There are many different cues that allow someone to make a distinction between night and day. But why bother to explore them if all that is necessary is to open your eyes? And then there are the stories of those who can open their eyes, can see, but they are in situations -- like prolonged periods of total darkness -- where they too lose the ability to make this distinction. And haven't developed other methods to compensate.

Maia wrote:It's not like I'm living in a constant night though, which is similar to the misconception that blind people just see black all the time. This isn't the case, especially for those born totally blind. We just don't see anything at all.


This is hard for me to fathom. The distinction between seeing black all the time and not seeing anything at all. When I close my eyes I never see complete blackness. There are always areas that contain splashes of color. In fact, after a vigorous aerobic workout, I can shut my eyes particularly tight and see these startling splashes of alternating blue and yellow. It's nothing short of dazzling. Is there anything like this experienced by you?

Maia wrote:Some of the teachers were also careers advisors, assessing each student's aptitudes and abilities, and advising them what to specialise in. At the end of every school year there were a range of choices, which became greater each year. Parents were closely involved too, with meetings arranged every term so they could discuss these and other issues with the staff. The school had a higher than average proportion of its students going on to university, but by the time I got to the sixth form I had decided not to go down this route, and instead to train for work in the care sector, which is where I ended up. I do occasionaly regret not going to uni but there's no reason why I still couldn't do so, if I ever wanted to. I much prefer to be active, however, and the thought of being stuck behind a laptop all day, or in a lecture theatre, just doesn't appeal.


Sounds like the best of all possible worlds then. As long as the individual students are in a possition to think through their own situations and come to decisions that work best for them, then, being blind or not, one is likely to be -- to feel -- the most satisfied. You chose what you wanted to do, you're doing it, you like what you do. That's great. You make the lives of others more satisfying. Others can only be glad for you.

Maia wrote: I'm not certain that it's strictly true that we can never know about the afterlife in this life. There's no theoretical reason why we couldn't, anyway. There are lots of people who claim to have seen ghosts, or spoken to the dead, and so on. Doesn't mean that any of them are right, but what I find suggestive is that these sorts of claims have existed throughout human history and in all cultures. Why would all societies throughout time and in all parts of the world have a similar idea about ghosts, for example? Or spirit communication? If they were just subconsciously making it up out of fear and loss, surely they would have come up with a million different ideas?


My whole frame of mind here is that, sure, others may well have had any number of experiences that convinced them that life [in whatever form] continues on after the death of mere mortals on this side of the grave. But I have not personally experienced anything along these lines myself. So all I can do is to ask those who have to, to the best of their ability, provide something in the way of evidence that might persuade me to believe that, yes, it's possible that I myself might continue on after death.

After all, what else is there? There can only be this: how close someone is able to come here to closing the gap between what they believe is true about life after death in their head and what/how they are able to demonstrate that their own experience really happened. And then in providing ways that others might experience it themselves.

Maia wrote: I think there's actually a very good reason why, at least at first glance, it appears that we can know nothing certain about the afterlife, and that is natural selection. Evolutionary pressure would favour the survival of those who fear death more, thinking it might be the end. So most of us end up hardwired to be unsure about it.


Of course this takes us back to the truly mysterious reality of nature itself. Why this particular rendition of nature and not another? Why and how did the matter that we consist of come "alive"...given, biologically, the evolution of life on planet Earth? And why are some of us born blind and others not? And then all of the other ways in which biologically, socially, psychologically, etc., we can be different?

Then the part where some evoke God or the Gods. Then, in philosophy discussions, those who ponder things like sim worlds or dream worlds or solipsism or Matrix realities.

The really spooky stuff that revolves around understanding the amazing fact of existence itself.


Yes, that's very much what a lot of blind people worry about, being pigeonholed, as if their blindness defines who they are to the exclusion of all else. I've experienced it myself too, but I don't let it worry me. My response is to try and show that this is not the case, without any rancour or ill feeling.

No, I don't experience any flashes of colour or any visual input. This is one of those areas where language fails us. When I say I don't see anything at all, it's something sighted don't seem to be able to grasp, and this is certainly not the first time I've tried to explain it. Just one of those unbridgeable gaps in understanding, I suppose.

It is very different, however, for people who lose their sight. Quite often, apparently, they receive a constant bombardment of colours and shapes, to an extent that can be very stressful. This goes back to what I said before about the differences between congenital and acquired blindness, and how they are actually quite distinct conditions.

I haven't experienced any positive proof myself, either, of an afterlife, and maybe such proof is not really possible. I do note, however, that physicists currently think that about 85% of all the matter in the universe is dark matter, which seems more than enough (to put it mildly) to account for any number of souls, spirits, higher planes of existence, or whatever non-corporeal phenomenon one wishes to try and explain, surrounding us and literally within us at all times, exactly as the ancient mystics said. Just a thought, anyway. Or perhaps a hypothesis that needs testing, if anyone can think of a suitable experiment.

Why this universe and not any other? Maybe all possible universes exist, but if so, where? I can only fall back on intuition again, and say that there is surely some meaning, some purpose. The fun part is trying to find out what it is.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:32 pm

Maia wrote:Yes, that's very much what a lot of blind people worry about, being pigeonholed, as if their blindness defines who they are to the exclusion of all else. I've experienced it myself too, but I don't let it worry me. My response is to try and show that this is not the case, without any rancour or ill feeling.


Yes, that sounds like the most constructive way in which to go about it.

In part it would seem to revolve around the intention of others. Are they really interested in getting to know you in all of the different ways that anyone can get to know another? Or, instead, do they always seem to come back only to the parts that interest them. Seeing you the way they want to. And for reasons you may or may not be able to comprehend.

I suppose you would have to bring that all out into the open and start from there.

Like the song says, "people are strange". Or they sure can be.

Maia wrote:No, I don't experience any flashes of colour or any visual input. This is one of those areas where language fails us. When I say I don't see anything at all, it's something sighted don't seem to be able to grasp, and this is certainly not the first time I've tried to explain it. Just one of those unbridgeable gaps in understanding, I suppose.


Here I find myself going back to the relationship between James and the deaf kids in Children of a Lesser God. They could not hear music but it dawned on him that music can be conveyed in other ways. Like for example putting your hand on a speaker and "feeling" the music through the vibrations.

Is there anything that you are aware of that might be the equivalent among blind people.

Also, are there any books or movies or music that you have come across that, in your opinion, best examines the relationship between the blind and the sighted?

Maia wrote:It is very different, however, for people who lose their sight. Quite often, apparently, they receive a constant bombardment of colours and shapes, to an extent that can be very stressful. This goes back to what I said before about the differences between congenital and acquired blindness, and how they are actually quite distinct conditions.


I try to imagine a discussion among those in both groups as to which may be the better or the worse "condition". Just as I do in regard to my own "affliction": Agoraphobia. I've known those who can't recall when they were not this way, as opposed to myself, when the "attacks" did not start until much later in life.

Maia wrote:I haven't experienced any positive proof myself, either, of an afterlife, and maybe such proof is not really possible. I do note, however, that physicists currently think that about 85% of all the matter in the universe is dark matter, which seems more than enough (to put it mildly) to account for any number of souls, spirits, higher planes of existence, or whatever non-corporeal phenomenon one wishes to try and explain, surrounding us and literally within us at all times, exactly as the ancient mystics said. Just a thought, anyway. Or perhaps a hypothesis that needs testing, if anyone can think of a suitable experiment.

Why this universe and not any other? Maybe all possible universes exist, but if so, where? I can only fall back on intuition again, and say that there is surely some meaning, some purpose. The fun part is trying to find out what it is.


Yes, I often find myself going back to the astounding mystery of existence itself. The universe, the multiverse, the quantum world, the dream world. There are just some things that pop into our heads simply because they can. And however any particular frame of mind might seem to be implausible, the very existence of reality itself -- human or otherwise -- isn't exactly crystal clear. Albert Einstein himself once quipped that, "reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

So, in any number of ways, we are all blind to whatever is or is not "behind" the curtain of Reality. What Sartre once described as "being and nothingness".

But since we don't know what's behind "all there is", we don't know what's not behind it either.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Meno_ » Fri Apr 23, 2021 9:22 pm

I concur, but antimatter is equivalent to dark matter, so such doubt becomes spurious.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Sat Apr 24, 2021 1:28 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:Yes, that's very much what a lot of blind people worry about, being pigeonholed, as if their blindness defines who they are to the exclusion of all else. I've experienced it myself too, but I don't let it worry me. My response is to try and show that this is not the case, without any rancour or ill feeling.


Yes, that sounds like the most constructive way in which to go about it.

In part it would seem to revolve around the intention of others. Are they really interested in getting to know you in all of the different ways that anyone can get to know another? Or, instead, do they always seem to come back only to the parts that interest them. Seeing you the way they want to. And for reasons you may or may not be able to comprehend.

I suppose you would have to bring that all out into the open and start from there.

Like the song says, "people are strange". Or they sure can be.

Maia wrote:No, I don't experience any flashes of colour or any visual input. This is one of those areas where language fails us. When I say I don't see anything at all, it's something sighted don't seem to be able to grasp, and this is certainly not the first time I've tried to explain it. Just one of those unbridgeable gaps in understanding, I suppose.


Here I find myself going back to the relationship between James and the deaf kids in Children of a Lesser God. They could not hear music but it dawned on him that music can be conveyed in other ways. Like for example putting your hand on a speaker and "feeling" the music through the vibrations.

Is there anything that you are aware of that might be the equivalent among blind people.

Also, are there any books or movies or music that you have come across that, in your opinion, best examines the relationship between the blind and the sighted?

Maia wrote:It is very different, however, for people who lose their sight. Quite often, apparently, they receive a constant bombardment of colours and shapes, to an extent that can be very stressful. This goes back to what I said before about the differences between congenital and acquired blindness, and how they are actually quite distinct conditions.


I try to imagine a discussion among those in both groups as to which may be the better or the worse "condition". Just as I do in regard to my own "affliction": Agoraphobia. I've known those who can't recall when they were not this way, as opposed to myself, when the "attacks" did not start until much later in life.

Maia wrote:I haven't experienced any positive proof myself, either, of an afterlife, and maybe such proof is not really possible. I do note, however, that physicists currently think that about 85% of all the matter in the universe is dark matter, which seems more than enough (to put it mildly) to account for any number of souls, spirits, higher planes of existence, or whatever non-corporeal phenomenon one wishes to try and explain, surrounding us and literally within us at all times, exactly as the ancient mystics said. Just a thought, anyway. Or perhaps a hypothesis that needs testing, if anyone can think of a suitable experiment.

Why this universe and not any other? Maybe all possible universes exist, but if so, where? I can only fall back on intuition again, and say that there is surely some meaning, some purpose. The fun part is trying to find out what it is.


Yes, I often find myself going back to the astounding mystery of existence itself. The universe, the multiverse, the quantum world, the dream world. There are just some things that pop into our heads simply because they can. And however any particular frame of mind might seem to be implausible, the very existence of reality itself -- human or otherwise -- isn't exactly crystal clear. Albert Einstein himself once quipped that, "reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

So, in any number of ways, we are all blind to whatever is or is not "behind" the curtain of Reality. What Sartre once described as "being and nothingness".

But since we don't know what's behind "all there is", we don't know what's not behind it either.


Yes, people are strange, when you're a stranger... The Doors, I believe.

I like to think I'm a pretty good judge of character, or at least intentions. Anyone who gets to know me will find out the sort of person I am. But, you know, people are curious, and that's fine. It can even be an icebreaker. The one thing I won't tolerate, however, is pity.

Yes, I've heard of deaf people feeling the vibrations of music, and blind people do indeed have techniques of their own. For us, it's all about memory. For example, I have memorised how many steps, on average, it takes to walk around all the rooms in my flat, to the extent that I don't need to use my cane. The same is true of other places I go often, such as my parents' house (where I used to live, of course), and the leisure centre where the senior citizens' club meets, though that's actually quite a big building and I still need my cane for most of it. In my flat I keep everything in exactly the same place all the time, including the food in my kitchen cupboards, stuff in the bathroom, different items of clothing, and so on, so I never have any trouble finding it. I also keep the place very tidy (quite austere, in fact), so I don't trip over anything, or knock something over. Lots of little things like that that are just second nature.

An interesting question about books featuring blind characters, and one for which I don't have a ready answer. I'm not a great reader of fiction, and much prefer stuff about history, legends, archaeology, unsolved mysteries and so on. As for films, I know of a few that were heavily criticised in the blind community for featuring blind characters as helpless victims, always women, of course, with no agency. But sadly, I can't think of a positive one, though I'm sure one must exist somewhere.

I can certainly relate to agoraphobia as I really don't like crowded places, although I imagine there's probably more to it than that. Was there anything that specifically triggered it, in your case? What sort of solutions, or workarounds, have you found for it?

The fact that so much is unknown, or even unknowable in our current physical state, is definitely a source of great wonder and optimism. Imagine a universe in which we know everything, and have nothing else left to find out. Thankfully, such a universe is surely impossible.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby felix dakat » Sat Apr 24, 2021 3:56 pm

"Death is the possibility of the absolute impossibility of Dasein."
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Urwrongx1000 » Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:07 pm

I dream more about Maia as I get older
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Sat Apr 24, 2021 7:25 pm

Maia wrote:
Yes, people are strange, when you're a stranger... The Doors, I believe.


Yep. And the more they are not like you, the stranger they can seem. So, how do we become less strange to each other, other than by coming as close as we possibly can to understanding the way the world seems to them. And in recognizing that with some differences you can only close the gap so far.

Maia wrote:I like to think I'm a pretty good judge of character, or at least intentions. Anyone who gets to know me will find out the sort of person I am. But, you know, people are curious, and that's fine. It can even be an icebreaker. The one thing I won't tolerate, however, is pity.


And the best way to avoid that in others is to live your life self-confidently. Accomplishing tasks that make it clear that pity is the last thing you would expect from them. And that revolves around options. Those you create for yourself and those you create with the help of others.

Maia wrote:Yes, I've heard of deaf people feeling the vibrations of music, and blind people do indeed have techniques of their own. For us, it's all about memory. For example, I have memorised how many steps, on average, it takes to walk around all the rooms in my flat, to the extent that I don't need to use my cane. The same is true of other places I go often, such as my parents' house (where I used to live, of course), and the leisure centre where the senior citizens' club meets, though that's actually quite a big building and I still need my cane for most of it. In my flat I keep everything in exactly the same place all the time, including the food in my kitchen cupboards, stuff in the bathroom, different items of clothing, and so on, so I never have any trouble finding it. I also keep the place very tidy (quite austere, in fact), so I don't trip over anything, or knock something over. Lots of little things like that that are just second nature.


That would be the way to go about it. Create the world around you so that it is entirely in sync with the world as you understand it in your head. A place for everything and everything in its place. A sighted person could understand it up to a point by imagining how they might come up with a way to do things if they were to lose their own sight. Only for you there was no before and after here. In having always been blind everything comes to revolve around ordering the world around your other senses.

Maia wrote:An interesting question about books featuring blind characters, and one for which I don't have a ready answer. I'm not a great reader of fiction, and much prefer stuff about history, legends, archaeology, unsolved mysteries and so on. As for films, I know of a few that were heavily criticised in the blind community for featuring blind characters as helpless victims, always women, of course, with no agency. But sadly, I can't think of a positive one, though I'm sure one must exist somewhere.


Since I am curious about that, I'll go to Google and see what I can come up with. I am always interested in understanding how people who experience the world in different ways can come up with something -- with anything -- in the way of a "common language" that helps them to bridge the gap. How they can learn from each other about the world from unique perspectives.

Maia wrote:I can certainly relate to agoraphobia as I really don't like crowded places, although I imagine there's probably more to it than that. Was there anything that specifically triggered it, in your case? What sort of solutions, or workarounds, have you found for it?


My own experience with the onset of "panic attacks" is largely derived from a life that had been for years and years bursting at the seams with considerable stress. I figure the accumulating trials and tribulations prompted my body to trigger its own "solution". The anxiety forced me to pull back from everything "out there". Now I basically live in a cocoon world of music and film and books. And philosophy of course. But no one need pity me either. I have many, many day to day experiences that bring me lots and lots of fulfilment. And, since I was surrounded by people my whole life, it's actually rather satisfying to go it alone now. In part, I suppose, because everything I do I do only because I want to.

Hard to explain though to those who can't even imagine living as I do now.

Maia wrote:The fact that so much is unknown, or even unknowable in our current physical state, is definitely a source of great wonder and optimism. Imagine a universe in which we know everything, and have nothing else left to find out. Thankfully, such a universe is surely impossible.


Exactly. Couldn't have said it better myself. And I doubt that anyone else here can either. The sheer immensity of the universe itself is nothing short of mind-boggling.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Sun Apr 25, 2021 12:36 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:
Yes, people are strange, when you're a stranger... The Doors, I believe.


Yep. And the more they are not like you, the stranger they can seem. So, how do we become less strange to each other, other than by coming as close as we possibly can to understanding the way the world seems to them. And in recognizing that with some differences you can only close the gap so far.

Maia wrote:I like to think I'm a pretty good judge of character, or at least intentions. Anyone who gets to know me will find out the sort of person I am. But, you know, people are curious, and that's fine. It can even be an icebreaker. The one thing I won't tolerate, however, is pity.


And the best way to avoid that in others is to live your life self-confidently. Accomplishing tasks that make it clear that pity is the last thing you would expect from them. And that revolves around options. Those you create for yourself and those you create with the help of others.

Maia wrote:Yes, I've heard of deaf people feeling the vibrations of music, and blind people do indeed have techniques of their own. For us, it's all about memory. For example, I have memorised how many steps, on average, it takes to walk around all the rooms in my flat, to the extent that I don't need to use my cane. The same is true of other places I go often, such as my parents' house (where I used to live, of course), and the leisure centre where the senior citizens' club meets, though that's actually quite a big building and I still need my cane for most of it. In my flat I keep everything in exactly the same place all the time, including the food in my kitchen cupboards, stuff in the bathroom, different items of clothing, and so on, so I never have any trouble finding it. I also keep the place very tidy (quite austere, in fact), so I don't trip over anything, or knock something over. Lots of little things like that that are just second nature.


That would be the way to go about it. Create the world around you so that it is entirely in sync with the world as you understand it in your head. A place for everything and everything in its place. A sighted person could understand it up to a point by imagining how they might come up with a way to do things if they were to lose their own sight. Only for you there was no before and after here. In having always been blind everything comes to revolve around ordering the world around your other senses.

Maia wrote:An interesting question about books featuring blind characters, and one for which I don't have a ready answer. I'm not a great reader of fiction, and much prefer stuff about history, legends, archaeology, unsolved mysteries and so on. As for films, I know of a few that were heavily criticised in the blind community for featuring blind characters as helpless victims, always women, of course, with no agency. But sadly, I can't think of a positive one, though I'm sure one must exist somewhere.


Since I am curious about that, I'll go to Google and see what I can come up with. I am always interested in understanding how people who experience the world in different ways can come up with something -- with anything -- in the way of a "common language" that helps them to bridge the gap. How they can learn from each other about the world from unique perspectives.

Maia wrote:I can certainly relate to agoraphobia as I really don't like crowded places, although I imagine there's probably more to it than that. Was there anything that specifically triggered it, in your case? What sort of solutions, or workarounds, have you found for it?


My own experience with the onset of "panic attacks" is largely derived from a life that had been for years and years bursting at the seams with considerable stress. I figure the accumulating trials and tribulations prompted my body to trigger its own "solution". The anxiety forced me to pull back from everything "out there". Now I basically live in a cocoon world of music and film and books. And philosophy of course. But no one need pity me either. I have many, many day to day experiences that bring me lots and lots of fulfilment. And, since I was surrounded by people my whole life, it's actually rather satisfying to go it alone now. In part, I suppose, because everything I do I do only because I want to.

Hard to explain though to those who can't even imagine living as I do now.

Maia wrote:The fact that so much is unknown, or even unknowable in our current physical state, is definitely a source of great wonder and optimism. Imagine a universe in which we know everything, and have nothing else left to find out. Thankfully, such a universe is surely impossible.


Exactly. Couldn't have said it better myself. And I doubt that anyone else here can either. The sheer immensity of the universe itself is nothing short of mind-boggling.


Perhaps at the end of the day, we are all just strangers in a strange land, groping our way in the dark. (And I hope you liked the literary reference there, by the way, hehe.)

Let me know if you find out about any books or films, I'm curious myself. Having done a bit of Googling, I've found this list of films from the CNIB (the Canadian equivalent of the RNIB).

https://cnib.ca/en/news/blind-film-10-m ... ?region=on

I'm not an avid watcher of films, I have to say, but reading through the list, two of those are indeed familiar, namely, At First Sight, with Val Kilmer, and Scent of a Woman, with Al Pacino. I can't really say much about them though, other than what's on that page.

What I find interesting about that list is the relatively high number of films (4 out of 10, by my count) that depict romances between a blind person and a sighted one. This is actually quite rare, and of all the blind people I know who are partnered up and/or married, every single one of them has a blind partner. I suspect this is simply a result of the circles they socialise in, however, rather than any innate preference.

As for books, a Google search for "books about blindness" brings up an overwhelming number of pages!

I can understand feeling the way you do, and have often wondered what it would be like to go and live in the woods somewhere on my own, in a little wooden hut with an open fire, surrounded by nature and no people at all. Completely impractical, of course, and I can't see myself ever doing it. So would you describe yourself as happy with your life? Is there anything at all you would change, if you could?

Did the lockdown affect you, by the way? And if so, how? I'm assuming that you had one in Baltimore, though I know that different American states and cities had different policies on that so I might be wrong. The first one we had here, last year, probably affected me more than I even realised at the time, forcing me to re-assess a number of things in my life, but I'd be interested to hear your perspective as someone who is already agoraphobic.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Sun Apr 25, 2021 8:50 pm

Maia wrote:Perhaps at the end of the day, we are all just strangers in a strange land, groping our way in the dark. (And I hope you liked the literary reference there, by the way, hehe.)


What makes us more or less strangers, it seems, is that even though we can experience lives that are virtually the same, there are always going to be those things that we experience differently. We meet different people, read different books, have different close encounters that pull and tug us in ways that no one who has not lived our own life can truly understand. Over time they accumulate into a truly unique point of view.

Maia wrote:Let me know if you find out about any books or films, I'm curious myself. Having done a bit of Googling, I've found this list of films from the CNIB (the Canadian equivalent of the RNIB).

https://cnib.ca/en/news/blind-film-10-m ... ?region=on


True story: This is the same list that I found! And here is the film I would be most interested in watching:

Number 9:

"Imagine, 2012"

It is described as...

"'Imagine' is set at a restrictive school for the blind in Portugal where children are taught to stay in their comfort zones, stay insulated, and stay clear of the dangers in the world around them. But that all changes when a new teacher comes to the school – a man who is blind himself, and teaches the students to hear, touch, and imagine the world around them, and to start truly living."

And isn't this basically how the plot unfolds in Children of a Lesser God? To interact or not interact with the hearing world? What does it mean as a deaf person to "truly live"? Or as a blind person. The part that involves both worlds coming together in order to create the most rewarding interactions.

Unfortunately, when I went to places that sell DVDs, this film is only available on a format not compatible with American DVD players. When I tried to view it at Amazon prime, I was informed "this title is not available".

The trailer was equally intriguing: https://youtu.be/0OFvlcWmJUg

Which brings me around to how you would experience a movie...hearing what is on the screen but not seeing what the words and the sounds are connected to. Again, the gap between our two perspectives. Do you steer clear of movies because of what you are unable to "take in"? Or is it some other reason?

Maia wrote: What I find interesting about that list is the relatively high number of films (4 out of 10, by my count) that depict romances between a blind person and a sighted one. This is actually quite rare, and of all the blind people I know who are partnered up and/or married, every single one of them has a blind partner. I suspect this is simply a result of the circles they socialise in, however, rather than any innate preference.


Yes, so much here would revolve around your contact with those who either are or are not blind. Also, I would imagine that with those who come closest to sharing your own understanding of -- or experiences with -- the world are likely to be those that you are able to better communicate with. Better able to share the world with. But it always comes down to individuals. In Scent of a Woman, we are left imagining a relationship between Frank who is blind and a political science professor who is not. But here it seems to revolve around all of the things they might share in common given the same interests.

Anyway, I'll continue my search for something that might allow me to get a little closer to understanding a world that overlaps with mine in that we are all human beings, and that does not because human beings can be in worlds all their own in so many fascinating -- and sometimes exasperating -- ways.

Maia wrote: I can understand feeling the way you do, and have often wondered what it would be like to go and live in the woods somewhere on my own, in a little wooden hut with an open fire, surrounded by nature and no people at all. Completely impractical, of course, and I can't see myself ever doing it. So would you describe yourself as happy with your life? Is there anything at all you would change, if you could?


Over the years I have come to live more and more "inside my head". That's one option when, less and less, you are out in the world with others. The emotional fulfilment becomes more and more vicarious, true, but in a way that is hard to explain, more and more intense. I suspect that is because when you are with others any number of things can happen that distract you from what you are feeling through books and films and music. Or, at times, take it away completely. Again, really, really, really hard to explain.

And, if I could change something in my life, it would be to become my own rendition of Benjamin Button. To go in the other direction, in other words. Not likely, I suspect.

Maia wrote: Did the lockdown affect you, by the way? And if so, how? I'm assuming that you had one in Baltimore, though I know that different American states and cities had different policies on that so I might be wrong. The first one we had here, last year, probably affected me more than I even realised at the time, forcing me to re-assess a number of things in my life, but I'd be interested to hear your perspective as someone who is already agoraphobic.


Trust me: You know a whole lot more about lockdowns than I do. The irony here being that the more you implode into your own little world, the less likely you are to come into contact with a world that is ravaged by pandemics. So, really, almost nothing at all has changed in regard to my day to day existence.

But I always come back to the part in life where we think and feel one way...and then something like the Covid virus comes around and we are forced to reevaluate parts of our lives that we may or may not have given much thought to.

What were some of the tipping points for you? What new insights occurred to you as the days became weeks and the weeks became months in a world that you were actually out in...a world, given my own unique set of circumstances, I was largely able to avoid.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Mon Apr 26, 2021 1:19 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:Perhaps at the end of the day, we are all just strangers in a strange land, groping our way in the dark. (And I hope you liked the literary reference there, by the way, hehe.)


What makes us more or less strangers, it seems, is that even though we can experience lives that are virtually the same, there are always going to be those things that we experience differently. We meet different people, read different books, have different close encounters that pull and tug us in ways that no one who has not lived our own life can truly understand. Over time they accumulate into a truly unique point of view.

Maia wrote:Let me know if you find out about any books or films, I'm curious myself. Having done a bit of Googling, I've found this list of films from the CNIB (the Canadian equivalent of the RNIB).

https://cnib.ca/en/news/blind-film-10-m ... ?region=on


True story: This is the same list that I found! And here is the film I would be most interested in watching:

Number 9:

"Imagine, 2012"

It is described as...

"'Imagine' is set at a restrictive school for the blind in Portugal where children are taught to stay in their comfort zones, stay insulated, and stay clear of the dangers in the world around them. But that all changes when a new teacher comes to the school – a man who is blind himself, and teaches the students to hear, touch, and imagine the world around them, and to start truly living."

And isn't this basically how the plot unfolds in Children of a Lesser God? To interact or not interact with the hearing world? What does it mean as a deaf person to "truly live"? Or as a blind person. The part that involves both worlds coming together in order to create the most rewarding interactions.

Unfortunately, when I went to places that sell DVDs, this film is only available on a format not compatible with American DVD players. When I tried to view it at Amazon prime, I was informed "this title is not available".

The trailer was equally intriguing: https://youtu.be/0OFvlcWmJUg

Which brings me around to how you would experience a movie...hearing what is on the screen but not seeing what the words and the sounds are connected to. Again, the gap between our two perspectives. Do you steer clear of movies because of what you are unable to "take in"? Or is it some other reason?

Maia wrote: What I find interesting about that list is the relatively high number of films (4 out of 10, by my count) that depict romances between a blind person and a sighted one. This is actually quite rare, and of all the blind people I know who are partnered up and/or married, every single one of them has a blind partner. I suspect this is simply a result of the circles they socialise in, however, rather than any innate preference.


Yes, so much here would revolve around your contact with those who either are or are not blind. Also, I would imagine that with those who come closest to sharing your own understanding of -- or experiences with -- the world are likely to be those that you are able to better communicate with. Better able to share the world with. But it always comes down to individuals. In Scent of a Woman, we are left imagining a relationship between Frank who is blind and a political science professor who is not. But here it seems to revolve around all of the things they might share in common given the same interests.

Anyway, I'll continue my search for something that might allow me to get a little closer to understanding a world that overlaps with mine in that we are all human beings, and that does not because human beings can be in worlds all their own in so many fascinating -- and sometimes exasperating -- ways.

Maia wrote: I can understand feeling the way you do, and have often wondered what it would be like to go and live in the woods somewhere on my own, in a little wooden hut with an open fire, surrounded by nature and no people at all. Completely impractical, of course, and I can't see myself ever doing it. So would you describe yourself as happy with your life? Is there anything at all you would change, if you could?


Over the years I have come to live more and more "inside my head". That's one option when, less and less, you are out in the world with others. The emotional fulfilment becomes more and more vicarious, true, but in a way that is hard to explain, more and more intense. I suspect that is because when you are with others any number of things can happen that distract you from what you are feeling through books and films and music. Or, at times, take it away completely. Again, really, really, really hard to explain.

And, if I could change something in my life, it would be to become my own rendition of Benjamin Button. To go in the other direction, in other words. Not likely, I suspect.

Maia wrote: Did the lockdown affect you, by the way? And if so, how? I'm assuming that you had one in Baltimore, though I know that different American states and cities had different policies on that so I might be wrong. The first one we had here, last year, probably affected me more than I even realised at the time, forcing me to re-assess a number of things in my life, but I'd be interested to hear your perspective as someone who is already agoraphobic.


Trust me: You know a whole lot more about lockdowns than I do. The irony here being that the more you implode into your own little world, the less likely you are to come into contact with a world that is ravaged by pandemics. So, really, almost nothing at all has changed in regard to my day to day existence.

But I always come back to the part in life where we think and feel one way...and then something like the Covid virus comes around and we are forced to reevaluate parts of our lives that we may or may not have given much thought to.

What were some of the tipping points for you? What new insights occurred to you as the days became weeks and the weeks became months in a world that you were actually out in...a world, given my own unique set of circumstances, I was largely able to avoid.


It's good though, isn't it? The fact that we can never know each other fully, even though we can get ever more closer to doing so, seems like a much better option than the only possible alternative, which is that everyone is exactly the same as everyone else. The journey of discovery is the exciting part.

I noticed that one too, about the school in Portugal, and I imagine that the techniques the new teacher teaches the kids are based on what is actually taught in schools for the blind. They mentioned clicking in that clip, for example, which is encouraging. And talking of Children of a Lesser God, I'm surprised to learn that it was a play, before it was a film. I had assumed it was a book.

Yes, that's basically the reason I don't watch films, or indeed TV, very much. Some, however, come with optional voice-over descriptions, and these are, well, ok, is probably the best way of putting it. I do, nevertheless, have a few favourite films that stick in my mind, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy (I've also read the book, and still love it), Serendipity (I literally cried my eyes out), and the original Wicker Man (by far the best Pagan musical thriller police procedural ever made). What all these have in common is a highly emotive soundtrack.

Which brings us, neatly, to what you said about taking emotional fulfilment from books, films and music. Believe me, I can fully relate to this, though in my case, it's specifically music. Music has the ability to reach one's very soul, and transform it. Only if you like that type of music, though. And that's the weird thing, the totally subjective nature of it. Trad folk, for example, is not everyone's cup of tea, but it's certainly mine. As for books, I prefer non-fiction (though not exclusively). I'm currently reading a book about the history of end of the world prophecies from the time of Zoroaster to the present day (spoiler: they all failed).

I was round at a friend's house last year, in March, when Boris Johnson went on TV and told everyone to stay in their homes. We all knew it was coming, but didn't quite believe it when it happened, and it still sends a slight chill up my spine even now, the moment everything changed forever. I came back home, and didn't set foot outside again for about a month. I became fearful of ever venturing outside again, or meeting other people (it reminded me of an Azimov story about people living on a planet but never actually meeting in person), and I realised I had taken my life, which is actually pretty good, and all the people in it, for granted. One of my main failings, which I fully recognise, is a tendency to judge others too harshly and too quickly, and I've said some pretty hurtful things. I decided that if we ever came out of this, I would try and put all this right.

And then it all fizzled out and by summer we were all back to normal. Well, not quite, but sort of. Nothing is ever quite as good, or as bad, as you expect. There was another lockdown in the autumn, shorter and less restrictive, and again, another in January that has only started easing in the past few weeks. And, I must admit, I've been largely ignoring this latest lockdown, visiting friends and so on (since I live alone, I'm allowed to be part of a social bubble), but have not forgotten my promise to myself to try and be a better person.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:04 pm

Maia wrote: It's good though, isn't it? The fact that we can never know each other fully, even though we can get ever more closer to doing so, seems like a much better option than the only possible alternative, which is that everyone is exactly the same as everyone else. The journey of discovery is the exciting part.


It's good, but in order to keep it good [or to make it even better] it's important to recognize the parts where not being the same can create the sort of conflicts that make it bad instead. That's the part where you have to work out a way of communicating which takes into account different perspectives. Here though that would seem to be the case for both blind and sighted people. You accept that there will be differences and you try to the best of your ability to understand them by coming as close as possible to understanding the worlds of those you love and care about.

Maia wrote: I noticed that one too, about the school in Portugal, and I imagine that the techniques the new teacher teaches the kids are based on what is actually taught in schools for the blind. They mentioned clicking in that clip, for example, which is encouraging. And talking of Children of a Lesser God, I'm surprised to learn that it was a play, before it was a film. I had assumed it was a book.


What draws me to it is the part where the new teacher, like James in Children of a Lesser God, struggles to connect the dots between the blind world and the sighted world. The part where the students either sustain their "comfort zones" more or less isolated at the school or go out into the world that would provide them with more options. And more challenges. Only, unlike James, who is not deaf, the teacher in this film is blind himself.

Maia wrote: Yes, that's basically the reason I don't watch films, or indeed TV, very much. Some, however, come with optional voice-over descriptions, and these are, well, ok, is probably the best way of putting it. I do, nevertheless, have a few favourite films that stick in my mind, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy (I've also read the book, and still love it), Serendipity (I literally cried my eyes out), and the original Wicker Man (by far the best Pagan musical thriller police procedural ever made). What all these have in common is a highly emotive soundtrack.


As with most other things we are drawn to, films are always going to reflect our own unique world...as individuals. And here, as was explored in Serendipity, we can ponder things like the role that fate plays in our lives. We have experiences that may or may not be planned. Something happens that we may or may not have expected. But because it happened we find ourselves thinking about the world around us in a different way. We're never quite sure where the next relationship we have will take us. Just recall what Sergeant Howie's investigation on Summerisle Island resulted in. And the very profound differences that were explored between Christian perspectives and "the frivolous sexual displays and strange pagan rituals" of the islanders.

Maia wrote: Which brings us, neatly, to what you said about taking emotional fulfilment from books, films and music. Believe me, I can fully relate to this, though in my case, it's specifically music. Music has the ability to reach one's very soul, and transform it. Only if you like that type of music, though. And that's the weird thing, the totally subjective nature of it. Trad folk, for example, is not everyone's cup of tea, but it's certainly mine. As for books, I prefer non-fiction (though not exclusively). I'm currently reading a book about the history of end of the world prophecies from the time of Zoroaster to the present day (spoiler: they all failed).


Same thing here. Books, music, art. We take out of them what we first put into them...ourselves. And I think my own reaction to my own favorites here was best captured by Emil Cioran

"If everything is a lie, is illusory, then music itself is a lie, but the superb lie.....As long as you listen to it, you have the feeling that it is the whole universe, that everything ceases to exist, there is only music. But then when you stop listening, you fall back into time and wonder, 'well, what is it? What state was I in?' You had felt it was everything, and then it all disappeared."

And much the same regarding my reaction to books and art. Somehow I "fall into" the experience of being in the worlds that they create "in my head". And the intensity is derived from the experience itself. Whereas in "real life" with others it's only a matter of time before something happens and the experience is gone. On the other hand, did I explain how difficult it is for me to describe this to others?

Maia wrote: I was round at a friend's house last year, in March, when Boris Johnson went on TV and told everyone to stay in their homes. We all knew it was coming, but didn't quite believe it when it happened, and it still sends a slight chill up my spine even now, the moment everything changed forever. I came back home, and didn't set foot outside again for about a month. I became fearful of ever venturing outside again, or meeting other people (it reminded me of an Azimov story about people living on a planet but never actually meeting in person), and I realised I had taken my life, which is actually pretty good, and all the people in it, for granted. One of my main failings, which I fully recognise, is a tendency to judge others too harshly and too quickly, and I've said some pretty hurtful things. I decided that if we ever came out of this, I would try and put all this right.


Wow. I can only contrast your experience with my own. With me, nothing much changed at all. On the other hand, I have had traumatic experiences in my life in which there was definitely a great big Before part and then a great big After part. As for judging and criticizing others, I am in a world all my own here. I think about how my values come mainly from the life that I lived. And, thus, had my life been very different, I would have acquired very different values instead. I'm always pulled and tugged in many conflicting directions.

A truly precarious, problematic frame of mind here.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:03 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote: It's good though, isn't it? The fact that we can never know each other fully, even though we can get ever more closer to doing so, seems like a much better option than the only possible alternative, which is that everyone is exactly the same as everyone else. The journey of discovery is the exciting part.


It's good, but in order to keep it good [or to make it even better] it's important to recognize the parts where not being the same can create the sort of conflicts that make it bad instead. That's the part where you have to work out a way of communicating which takes into account different perspectives. Here though that would seem to be the case for both blind and sighted people. You accept that there will be differences and you try to the best of your ability to understand them by coming as close as possible to understanding the worlds of those you love and care about.

Maia wrote: I noticed that one too, about the school in Portugal, and I imagine that the techniques the new teacher teaches the kids are based on what is actually taught in schools for the blind. They mentioned clicking in that clip, for example, which is encouraging. And talking of Children of a Lesser God, I'm surprised to learn that it was a play, before it was a film. I had assumed it was a book.


What draws me to it is the part where the new teacher, like James in Children of a Lesser God, struggles to connect the dots between the blind world and the sighted world. The part where the students either sustain their "comfort zones" more or less isolated at the school or go out into the world that would provide them with more options. And more challenges. Only, unlike James, who is not deaf, the teacher in this film is blind himself.

Maia wrote: Yes, that's basically the reason I don't watch films, or indeed TV, very much. Some, however, come with optional voice-over descriptions, and these are, well, ok, is probably the best way of putting it. I do, nevertheless, have a few favourite films that stick in my mind, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy (I've also read the book, and still love it), Serendipity (I literally cried my eyes out), and the original Wicker Man (by far the best Pagan musical thriller police procedural ever made). What all these have in common is a highly emotive soundtrack.


As with most other things we are drawn to, films are always going to reflect our own unique world...as individuals. And here, as was explored in Serendipity, we can ponder things like the role that fate plays in our lives. We have experiences that may or may not be planned. Something happens that we may or may not have expected. But because it happened we find ourselves thinking about the world around us in a different way. We're never quite sure where the next relationship we have will take us. Just recall what Sergeant Howie's investigation on Summerisle Island resulted in. And the very profound differences that were explored between Christian perspectives and "the frivolous sexual displays and strange pagan rituals" of the islanders.

Maia wrote: Which brings us, neatly, to what you said about taking emotional fulfilment from books, films and music. Believe me, I can fully relate to this, though in my case, it's specifically music. Music has the ability to reach one's very soul, and transform it. Only if you like that type of music, though. And that's the weird thing, the totally subjective nature of it. Trad folk, for example, is not everyone's cup of tea, but it's certainly mine. As for books, I prefer non-fiction (though not exclusively). I'm currently reading a book about the history of end of the world prophecies from the time of Zoroaster to the present day (spoiler: they all failed).


Same thing here. Books, music, art. We take out of them what we first put into them...ourselves. And I think my own reaction to my own favorites here was best captured by Emil Cioran

"If everything is a lie, is illusory, then music itself is a lie, but the superb lie.....As long as you listen to it, you have the feeling that it is the whole universe, that everything ceases to exist, there is only music. But then when you stop listening, you fall back into time and wonder, 'well, what is it? What state was I in?' You had felt it was everything, and then it all disappeared."

And much the same regarding my reaction to books and art. Somehow I "fall into" the experience of being in the worlds that they create "in my head". And the intensity is derived from the experience itself. Whereas in "real life" with others it's only a matter of time before something happens and the experience is gone. On the other hand, did I explain how difficult it is for me to describe this to others?

Maia wrote: I was round at a friend's house last year, in March, when Boris Johnson went on TV and told everyone to stay in their homes. We all knew it was coming, but didn't quite believe it when it happened, and it still sends a slight chill up my spine even now, the moment everything changed forever. I came back home, and didn't set foot outside again for about a month. I became fearful of ever venturing outside again, or meeting other people (it reminded me of an Azimov story about people living on a planet but never actually meeting in person), and I realised I had taken my life, which is actually pretty good, and all the people in it, for granted. One of my main failings, which I fully recognise, is a tendency to judge others too harshly and too quickly, and I've said some pretty hurtful things. I decided that if we ever came out of this, I would try and put all this right.


Wow. I can only contrast your experience with my own. With me, nothing much changed at all. On the other hand, I have had traumatic experiences in my life in which there was definitely a great big Before part and then a great big After part. As for judging and criticizing others, I am in a world all my own here. I think about how my values come mainly from the life that I lived. And, thus, had my life been very different, I would have acquired very different values instead. I'm always pulled and tugged in many conflicting directions.

A truly precarious, problematic frame of mind here.


Yes, it's certainly the case that too much of a good thing, in this case, differences, can actually be bad, and indeed, in the worst cases, lead to conflict or even war. In the particular case of the differences, or perhaps more accurately, different life experiences of blind and sighted people, the basic issue, I think, is that there is no shared frame of reference (and I am, of course, only talking here of those born blind), for issues involving vision or lack of it. The solution, as you say, is accepting the differences, indeed, I would say, even celebrating them, and at the same time, to try and come to as close an understanding as possible, simply by talking and sharing.

I wonder if that film is based on a true story? It doesn't say so on the web page, anyway. And I also wonder what the school was supposed to be like before the blind teacher turned up, and why.

I'm very glad to hear that you're familiar with the classics, namely, Serendipity and the Wicker Man! In Serendipity, they allow the fate of their love to be dictated by the workings of blind chance (or rather Sarah does), but this, as it happens, is exactly how the world works anyway. We have agency, in a limited and localised sense, but overall, in the bigger scheme, things just happen. For a purpose, quite possibly, but a purpose that we can't (yet) see. As for the Wicker Man, my greatest take away from that, in addition to all those beautiful songs by Paul Giovanni, is Christopher Lee's voice!!! (And he was also in LotR, as Saruman.)

I know exactly what it's like to lose myself in a piece of music, to the extent that the rest of the world doesn't exist any more, and it is truly one of my greatest pleasures. Falling into it is exactly what it feels like, and the thoughts and feelings it evokes in my mind are quite indescribable, once it's gone again. So yes, I definitely get what you're saying there. Do you have a particular favourite book, film or piece of music, and if so, why? Not an easy question, I know.

We are all, for good or ill, shaped by our environment and things that happen to us, and these things are probably more powerful forces than we even realise. Again, the workings of fate in the universe, but that is certainly not to preclude the possibility of personal decision making and the ability to change things for the better, which I'm also a great believer in. I imagine that you find the best solution to a precarious and problematic frame of mind is exactly what we've just been discussing above, namely, the ability to lose oneself in something. Is that right, would you say?
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:42 pm

Maia wrote:
Yes, it's certainly the case that too much of a good thing, in this case, differences, can actually be bad, and indeed, in the worst cases, lead to conflict or even war. In the particular case of the differences, or perhaps more accurately, different life experiences of blind and sighted people, the basic issue, I think, is that there is no shared frame of reference (and I am, of course, only talking here of those born blind), for issues involving vision or lack of it. The solution, as you say, is accepting the differences, indeed, I would say, even celebrating them, and at the same time, to try and come to as close an understanding as possible, simply by talking and sharing.


In my own exploration of these two worlds, I came across an article in the Washington Post entitled, "No difference in blind and sighted people’s understanding of how others see the world":

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to- ... the-world/

"Even when blind from birth, sightless people understand how others see the world in the same way that sighted people do -- though they have never personally experienced a single visual image, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University.

What's more, the information is recorded and processed in the same way by the same areas of the brain, whether a person is blind or can see, the research, published in the October issue of the journal Cognition, determined."

In other words, an attempt to intertwine these two worlds in terms of both nature and nurture. There is how the biological imperatives seem to work for both communities and then how blind and sighted people come to interact in terms of what they are taught to think about blindness. The part where stereotypes and prejudices can take the place of the actual truth. Like when you pointed out how blind people are not likely to "map" someone's face with their fingers.

Maia wrote:I wonder if that film is based on a true story? It doesn't say so on the web page, anyway. And I also wonder what the school was supposed to be like before the blind teacher turned up, and why.


Tried Goggling it but nothing popped up. It's just frustrating that the movie does not seem to be available to those of us in America. But my thinking here is that it may or may not be based on a true story, but if I can imagine that it could be based on a true story, then that's what counts.

Maia wrote:I'm very glad to hear that you're familiar with the classics, namely, Serendipity and the Wicker Man! In Serendipity, they allow the fate of their love to be dictated by the workings of blind chance (or rather Sarah does), but this, as it happens, is exactly how the world works anyway. We have agency, in a limited and localised sense, but overall, in the bigger scheme, things just happen. For a purpose, quite possibly, but a purpose that we can't (yet) see. As for the Wicker Man, my greatest take away from that, in addition to all those beautiful songs by Paul Giovanni, is Christopher Lee's voice!!! (And he was also in LotR, as Saruman.)


Here, of course, it all comes down to how far you go in attributing things to fate. Some argue that everything we think and feel and say and do is fated or destined to be. Others think that, no, the most important things are always within our grasp...and our command. Me? Well, as with most things this "big", I'm more or less drawn and quartered. Tugged in conflicting directions. Ambivalent.

Same with Christianity and paganism. How far do those who advocate them go insofar as they interact with those who are not of their own faith. For example, Sergeant Howie is appalled by the casual nudity and sexual license in the community whereas the community is, instead, appalled at his own rigid conservativism. I have no spiritual faith myself so I tend toward the belief that I will do the least harm in my interactions with others. Or, rather, that I would if I had any interactions with others in the flesh.

Maia wrote: I know exactly what it's like to lose myself in a piece of music, to the extent that the rest of the world doesn't exist any more, and it is truly one of my greatest pleasures. Falling into it is exactly what it feels like, and the thoughts and feelings it evokes in my mind are quite indescribable, once it's gone again. So yes, I definitely get what you're saying there. Do you have a particular favourite book, film or piece of music, and if so, why? Not an easy question, I know.


Me too. On the other hand, the way in which I seem to be different from others is that instead of being "in the mood" for a particular song or kind of music, I have every imaginable genre there is on my "mixed tapes". I simply shift gears from one mood to another. It never fails to boggle my mind, however, how this "works" for me in ways that it does not seem to for others. Then the part where my emotional reaction becomes intertwined in an esthetic reaction. And those rare songs in which there is also an intellectual element.

In that regard, one of my favorite songs is this one: https://youtu.be/Kueq3dYyBLE

Why? because it grabs me and then grips me on all three levels. It's a very beautiful song esthetically. It evokes an intense emotional reaction in me -- sorrow, regret, despair -- and it also tells the story of a relationship in which the woman is saddened not only in losing the one she loved but losing him to those that they had both fought against.

I was in a relationship just like this in the past. So it really hits home. Any songs like this that grab and grip you?

My favorite films are, well, too numerous to count. But I suppose if I were pressed to pick the top five they would be Akira Kurosawa's Ran, Werner Herzog's Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris and Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo.

But in part admittedly it is because of how I reacted to them visually. They were extraordinary just to look at. While your own favorites would be for different reasons.

As for books, two in particular pop into my head:

1] The Magus by John Fowles...an exploration into how reality can be manipulated by others in order to bring us around to this:

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time." T. S. Eliot

2] The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. Here in particular the character Father Ralph de Bricassart. His struggle to find a relationship with God in a world bursting at the seams with reasons not to have one.

Maia wrote: We are all, for good or ill, shaped by our environment and things that happen to us, and these things are probably more powerful forces than we even realise. Again, the workings of fate in the universe, but that is certainly not to preclude the possibility of personal decision making and the ability to change things for the better, which I'm also a great believer in. I imagine that you find the best solution to a precarious and problematic frame of mind is exactly what we've just been discussing above, namely, the ability to lose oneself in something. Is that right, would you say?


Yes, I lose myself in many, many things. Knowing that there are things "beyond my control" but in ways that I can never really be certain of.

But: While sometimes a precarious and problematic frame of mind can be entirely exasperating, other times in admitting that you can only understand people and things up to a point it gives you more options in which to explore them all the more.

Does that make sense to you?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:40 am

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:
Yes, it's certainly the case that too much of a good thing, in this case, differences, can actually be bad, and indeed, in the worst cases, lead to conflict or even war. In the particular case of the differences, or perhaps more accurately, different life experiences of blind and sighted people, the basic issue, I think, is that there is no shared frame of reference (and I am, of course, only talking here of those born blind), for issues involving vision or lack of it. The solution, as you say, is accepting the differences, indeed, I would say, even celebrating them, and at the same time, to try and come to as close an understanding as possible, simply by talking and sharing.


In my own exploration of these two worlds, I came across an article in the Washington Post entitled, "No difference in blind and sighted people’s understanding of how others see the world":

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to- ... the-world/

"Even when blind from birth, sightless people understand how others see the world in the same way that sighted people do -- though they have never personally experienced a single visual image, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University.

What's more, the information is recorded and processed in the same way by the same areas of the brain, whether a person is blind or can see, the research, published in the October issue of the journal Cognition, determined."

In other words, an attempt to intertwine these two worlds in terms of both nature and nurture. There is how the biological imperatives seem to work for both communities and then how blind and sighted people come to interact in terms of what they are taught to think about blindness. The part where stereotypes and prejudices can take the place of the actual truth. Like when you pointed out how blind people are not likely to "map" someone's face with their fingers.

Maia wrote:I wonder if that film is based on a true story? It doesn't say so on the web page, anyway. And I also wonder what the school was supposed to be like before the blind teacher turned up, and why.


Tried Goggling it but nothing popped up. It's just frustrating that the movie does not seem to be available to those of us in America. But my thinking here is that it may or may not be based on a true story, but if I can imagine that it could be based on a true story, then that's what counts.

Maia wrote:I'm very glad to hear that you're familiar with the classics, namely, Serendipity and the Wicker Man! In Serendipity, they allow the fate of their love to be dictated by the workings of blind chance (or rather Sarah does), but this, as it happens, is exactly how the world works anyway. We have agency, in a limited and localised sense, but overall, in the bigger scheme, things just happen. For a purpose, quite possibly, but a purpose that we can't (yet) see. As for the Wicker Man, my greatest take away from that, in addition to all those beautiful songs by Paul Giovanni, is Christopher Lee's voice!!! (And he was also in LotR, as Saruman.)


Here, of course, it all comes down to how far you go in attributing things to fate. Some argue that everything we think and feel and say and do is fated or destined to be. Others think that, no, the most important things are always within our grasp...and our command. Me? Well, as with most things this "big", I'm more or less drawn and quartered. Tugged in conflicting directions. Ambivalent.

Same with Christianity and paganism. How far do those who advocate them go insofar as they interact with those who are not of their own faith. For example, Sergeant Howie is appalled by the casual nudity and sexual license in the community whereas the community is, instead, appalled at his own rigid conservativism. I have no spiritual faith myself so I tend toward the belief that I will do the least harm in my interactions with others. Or, rather, that I would if I had any interactions with others in the flesh.

Maia wrote: I know exactly what it's like to lose myself in a piece of music, to the extent that the rest of the world doesn't exist any more, and it is truly one of my greatest pleasures. Falling into it is exactly what it feels like, and the thoughts and feelings it evokes in my mind are quite indescribable, once it's gone again. So yes, I definitely get what you're saying there. Do you have a particular favourite book, film or piece of music, and if so, why? Not an easy question, I know.


Me too. On the other hand, the way in which I seem to be different from others is that instead of being "in the mood" for a particular song or kind of music, I have every imaginable genre there is on my "mixed tapes". I simply shift gears from one mood to another. It never fails to boggle my mind, however, how this "works" for me in ways that it does not seem to for others. Then the part where my emotional reaction becomes intertwined in an esthetic reaction. And those rare songs in which there is also an intellectual element.

In that regard, one of my favorite songs is this one: https://youtu.be/Kueq3dYyBLE

Why? because it grabs me and then grips me on all three levels. It's a very beautiful song esthetically. It evokes an intense emotional reaction in me -- sorrow, regret, despair -- and it also tells the story of a relationship in which the woman is saddened not only in losing the one she loved but losing him to those that they had both fought against.

I was in a relationship just like this in the past. So it really hits home. Any songs like this that grab and grip you?

My favorite films are, well, too numerous to count. But I suppose if I were pressed to pick the top five they would be Akira Kurosawa's Ran, Werner Herzog's Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris and Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo.

But in part admittedly it is because of how I reacted to them visually. They were extraordinary just to look at. While your own favorites would be for different reasons.

As for books, two in particular pop into my head:

1] The Magus by John Fowles...an exploration into how reality can be manipulated by others in order to bring us around to this:

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time." T. S. Eliot

2] The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. Here in particular the character Father Ralph de Bricassart. His struggle to find a relationship with God in a world bursting at the seams with reasons not to have one.

Maia wrote: We are all, for good or ill, shaped by our environment and things that happen to us, and these things are probably more powerful forces than we even realise. Again, the workings of fate in the universe, but that is certainly not to preclude the possibility of personal decision making and the ability to change things for the better, which I'm also a great believer in. I imagine that you find the best solution to a precarious and problematic frame of mind is exactly what we've just been discussing above, namely, the ability to lose oneself in something. Is that right, would you say?


Yes, I lose myself in many, many things. Knowing that there are things "beyond my control" but in ways that I can never really be certain of.

But: While sometimes a precarious and problematic frame of mind can be entirely exasperating, other times in admitting that you can only understand people and things up to a point it gives you more options in which to explore them all the more.

Does that make sense to you?


An extremely interesting article!

+++"Blind people can't be doing it through simulation," Bedny said. "There has to be a mechanism other than simulation. They have to have an abstract theory of mind."+++

Yes, definitely. When I read something, or hear a story, I don't have to "simulate" anything. It's all just there, in my mind.

+++"You can know lots and lots [about] the ways that the minds of other people work without having had this experience yourself," she added.+++

This is undoubtedly an innate, and indeed essential, human capacity, the ability to imagine what other people are thinking.

I've been asked many times how I think, what's actually in my mind, if it's not visual images. Probably, in fact, as many times as I've asked sighted people to describe seeing (well, almost). And, you know, it's a very difficult question to answer, because it's that frame of reference thing again. What I can say is that my mind is absolutely full of stuff, all the time. Not just abstract stuff either, such as ideas, but representations of physical objects. Little ones, big ones (such as buildings, or street layouts), music, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, feelings, emotions, memories, each one triggering others in an unstoppable cascade. And I'm sure yours is too, as is everyone's, because we all possess that most mind-boggling of things, a human brain. I had CT scans when I was in my teens (I wasn't ill or anything, they just wanted to probe me) and was told that my visual cortex had largely been given over to other things, though a small part was apparently inactive. Our brains, as the article pointed out, are insatiably thirsty for information, and will suck it in from anywhere. Echo-location, for example, gives me a 3D representation of my surroundings without having to touch them (the range is about 30 metres, by the way, under ideal conditions), and this, of course, is also exactly what vision does.

A lot of people in the Pagan community like the idea of provoking Christians, arguing with them, and claiming to be persecuted by them, as if the 17th century witch trials were still raging, but I find all that really annoying. For me, my Paganism derives from my love of nature, and wanting to be at one with it. And nor is it true that Pagans hold orgies all the time, as hilariously depicted in the Wicker Man! In fact, there are some branches of Paganism that go in the exact opposite direction, tending towards asceticism. My own spiritual journey has been becoming more focused, I would say, over the past three years, and I have definitely felt better, and more at peace with myself, for it.

That is indeed a very beautiful song, and very sad too, but sad in a beautiful way, as all the best songs are. If I had to pick just one as an example of the sort of thing I really like, it would be this traditional ballad from Pentangle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEzlShQQ3YQ

A love song, and one with a happy ending, which you wouldn't necessarily expect, so it comes as a nice surprise. (The same tune is also used as a march towards the end of the Wicker Man.)

Out of those films, Solaris is the only one I've heard of. I've heard of both books though, and I like the sentiment expressed in the T. S. Eliot quote. In a more general sense, what would you say makes a good work of fiction? Are there any essential elements? I like LotR, for example, because it's a journey. A journey from the homely, comforting Shire, through many epic adventures, and then a final return home, transformed. But the triumph is tinged with sadness, a longing for what can never be, because in being transformed, they have actually lost the ability to return to the simple life they had before, and they can never go back there again (a bit like Brenda and Eddie). But hope is eternal, and they then (well, some of them, anyway) embark on the next stage of their journey, to the Undying Lands in the far west, beneath the setting sun. As Galadriel said in Sally Oldfield's gorgeously sumptious song Nenya.

"It's sunrise and high tide, in the blue endless space my eyes open wide, and there's a land I can see."

And yes, it absolutely makes sense to me that knowing you have a limit to understanding people and things in certain ways actually gives you greater options for exploring them in other ways. It's the story of my life.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:06 pm

Maia wrote:An extremely interesting article!

+++"Blind people can't be doing it through simulation," Bedny said. "There has to be a mechanism other than simulation. They have to have an abstract theory of mind."+++

Yes, definitely. When I read something, or hear a story, I don't have to "simulate" anything. It's all just there, in my mind.

+++"You can know lots and lots [about] the ways that the minds of other people work without having had this experience yourself," she added.+++

This is undoubtedly an innate, and indeed essential, human capacity, the ability to imagine what other people are thinking.


Let's face it, the human mind is nothing short of this stupendous achievement when it comes to the evolution of matter going all the way back to the Big Bang. Or God. And then the part where not only does it allow us to imagine what other people are thinking, but, over and again, it allows us to wonder why we don't think the same thing. What is it about the life that we have lived that predisposed us to think one thing rather than another. And then the part that most fascinates me: blind or not, "how ought one to live"? Is there a way for philosophers to determine that?

Maia wrote:I've been asked many times how I think, what's actually in my mind, if it's not visual images. Probably, in fact, as many times as I've asked sighted people to describe seeing (well, almost). And, you know, it's a very difficult question to answer, because it's that frame of reference thing again.


Admittedly, it is this exchange I have begun with you that has prompted me to wonder the same thing in turn. What can it possibly be like to think about a world that I could not see? I think of physical things that I do from day to day to day, and I can imagine how my other senses would make sense of them. I think of being in love or having a friend or interacting in a family, and imagine the same thing. But there is still that gap that can only be unimaginable. Sounds in my minds, smells in my mind, tastes in my mind, the way things feel in my mind. Just no sight. And I suppose we will both be stuck up to a point here in describing ourselves in the world around us. As usual I'm ambivalent regarding the idea of a possible optimal reaction. There is only you and I doing the best we can here to communicate the things that are important to us.

Maia wrote: What I can say is that my mind is absolutely full of stuff, all the time. Not just abstract stuff either, such as ideas, but representations of physical objects. Little ones, big ones (such as buildings, or street layouts), music, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, feelings, emotions, memories, each one triggering others in an unstoppable cascade. And I'm sure yours is too, as is everyone's, because we all possess that most mind-boggling of things, a human brain.


And isn't this always the bottom line? That our brains are cascading with all of the things and all of the people that fill our days. It's just not likely that those are or are not blind or are or are not deaf will ever stop wondering what it's like for those who are other than they are.

Maia wrote: I had CT scans when I was in my teens (I wasn't ill or anything, they just wanted to probe me) and was told that my visual cortex had largely been given over to other things, though a small part was apparently inactive. Our brains, as the article pointed out, are insatiably thirsty for information, and will suck it in from anywhere. Echo-location, for example, gives me a 3D representation of my surroundings without having to touch them (the range is about 30 metres, by the way, under ideal conditions), and this, of course, is also exactly what vision does.


I can't help but wonder here if there is any possibility at all that medical science might one day find a way to restore your sight. Or are there some conditions in which there is little or no hope of this?

I Googled it and came up with this: https://www.siliconrepublic.com/life/bl ... ents-video

There is both text and video here. It starts by noting that...

"Advances in science and technology are enabling people who are visually impaired or fully blind to see for the very first time."

Is this a possibility for you? I'm not sure if you had mentioned this before.

Maia wrote:A lot of people in the Pagan community like the idea of provoking Christians, arguing with them, and claiming to be persecuted by them, as if the 17th century witch trials were still raging, but I find all that really annoying. For me, my Paganism derives from my love of nature, and wanting to be at one with it. And nor is it true that Pagans hold orgies all the time, as hilariously depicted in the Wicker Man! In fact, there are some branches of Paganism that go in the exact opposite direction, tending towards asceticism. My own spiritual journey has been becoming more focused, I would say, over the past three years, and I have definitely felt better, and more at peace with myself, for it.


When it comes to spiritual matters, I tend toward this: whatever works. If you can find a frame of mind that grounds you in something that somehow enables you to bring all the disparate parts of yourself together into some sense of feeling whole -- as with nature or God or Buddhism -- then more power to you. As long as it allows for tolerating others who go in different directions; and as long as, in pursuing your own path, you don't bring pain and suffering to others.

I no longer have that myself and I often challenge those that do. But I suspect that revolves around my remembering when I did once have this myself...and wishing that somehow I could have it back again.

Maia wrote:That is indeed a very beautiful song, and very sad too, but sad in a beautiful way, as all the best songs are. If I had to pick just one as an example of the sort of thing I really like, it would be this traditional ballad from Pentangle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEzlShQQ3YQ

A love song, and one with a happy ending, which you wouldn't necessarily expect, so it comes as a nice surprise. (The same tune is also used as a march towards the end of the Wicker Man.)


Yes, I am very familiar with Pentangle. In fact I posted many of their songs on my music thread here including Willy O Winsbury. Although I'm more familiar with Sandy Denny's recording of the song.

https://youtu.be/7ftfTDOJZwE
https://youtu.be/Xm0YDWBMZBU
https://youtu.be/3QoWdrY7zQg
https://youtu.be/xtqlh6WmAxQ
https://youtu.be/VVpS44LGqTk

My favorite by them [and one of the most beautiful songs ever composed] is Suil Agrar.

Maia wrote: Out of those films, Solaris is the only one I've heard of. I've heard of both books though, and I like the sentiment expressed in the T. S. Eliot quote. In a more general sense, what would you say makes a good work of fiction? Are there any essential elements?


Hmm. I was going to ask you if the Solaris film you were familiar with is the George Clooney remake or the original. The original is far better. But in large part because it is so much more beautifully filmed. And then there is a part of me that wishes that you were able to see so that you could experience it as I do. And then I realize that I can never experience film as you do and I find myself once again feeling uncertain about how to react to that.

As for fiction [novels mostly], like you, I prefer those in which the main characters are on a journey. And in a book that is an actual story of this journey. I love novels able to take the things that are important to me -- morality here and now, immortality there and then -- and explore them through characters that inhabit worlds [and interactions in those worlds] that I can at least attempt to understand in terms of my own life.

The Eliot poem is mentioned in The Magus. Here the main character Nicholas Urfe thinks he understands himself. But the Maurice Conchis character [older and wiser] takes him on a journey in which he discovers how little he really does understand the world around him.

Maia wrote: And yes, it absolutely makes sense to me that knowing you have a limit to understanding people and things in certain ways actually gives you greater options for exploring them in other ways. It's the story of my life.


Well, then that makes two of us.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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iambiguous
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:40 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:An extremely interesting article!

+++"Blind people can't be doing it through simulation," Bedny said. "There has to be a mechanism other than simulation. They have to have an abstract theory of mind."+++

Yes, definitely. When I read something, or hear a story, I don't have to "simulate" anything. It's all just there, in my mind.

+++"You can know lots and lots [about] the ways that the minds of other people work without having had this experience yourself," she added.+++

This is undoubtedly an innate, and indeed essential, human capacity, the ability to imagine what other people are thinking.


Let's face it, the human mind is nothing short of this stupendous achievement when it comes to the evolution of matter going all the way back to the Big Bang. Or God. And then the part where not only does it allow us to imagine what other people are thinking, but, over and again, it allows us to wonder why we don't think the same thing. What is it about the life that we have lived that predisposed us to think one thing rather than another. And then the part that most fascinates me: blind or not, "how ought one to live"? Is there a way for philosophers to determine that?

Maia wrote:I've been asked many times how I think, what's actually in my mind, if it's not visual images. Probably, in fact, as many times as I've asked sighted people to describe seeing (well, almost). And, you know, it's a very difficult question to answer, because it's that frame of reference thing again.


Admittedly, it is this exchange I have begun with you that has prompted me to wonder the same thing in turn. What can it possibly be like to think about a world that I could not see? I think of physical things that I do from day to day to day, and I can imagine how my other senses would make sense of them. I think of being in love or having a friend or interacting in a family, and imagine the same thing. But there is still that gap that can only be unimaginable. Sounds in my minds, smells in my mind, tastes in my mind, the way things feel in my mind. Just no sight. And I suppose we will both be stuck up to a point here in describing ourselves in the world around us. As usual I'm ambivalent regarding the idea of a possible optimal reaction. There is only you and I doing the best we can here to communicate the things that are important to us.

Maia wrote: What I can say is that my mind is absolutely full of stuff, all the time. Not just abstract stuff either, such as ideas, but representations of physical objects. Little ones, big ones (such as buildings, or street layouts), music, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, feelings, emotions, memories, each one triggering others in an unstoppable cascade. And I'm sure yours is too, as is everyone's, because we all possess that most mind-boggling of things, a human brain.


And isn't this always the bottom line? That our brains are cascading with all of the things and all of the people that fill our days. It's just not likely that those are or are not blind or are or are not deaf will ever stop wondering what it's like for those who are other than they are.

Maia wrote: I had CT scans when I was in my teens (I wasn't ill or anything, they just wanted to probe me) and was told that my visual cortex had largely been given over to other things, though a small part was apparently inactive. Our brains, as the article pointed out, are insatiably thirsty for information, and will suck it in from anywhere. Echo-location, for example, gives me a 3D representation of my surroundings without having to touch them (the range is about 30 metres, by the way, under ideal conditions), and this, of course, is also exactly what vision does.


I can't help but wonder here if there is any possibility at all that medical science might one day find a way to restore your sight. Or are there some conditions in which there is little or no hope of this?

I Googled it and came up with this: https://www.siliconrepublic.com/life/bl ... ents-video

There is both text and video here. It starts by noting that...

"Advances in science and technology are enabling people who are visually impaired or fully blind to see for the very first time."

Is this a possibility for you? I'm not sure if you had mentioned this before.

Maia wrote:A lot of people in the Pagan community like the idea of provoking Christians, arguing with them, and claiming to be persecuted by them, as if the 17th century witch trials were still raging, but I find all that really annoying. For me, my Paganism derives from my love of nature, and wanting to be at one with it. And nor is it true that Pagans hold orgies all the time, as hilariously depicted in the Wicker Man! In fact, there are some branches of Paganism that go in the exact opposite direction, tending towards asceticism. My own spiritual journey has been becoming more focused, I would say, over the past three years, and I have definitely felt better, and more at peace with myself, for it.


When it comes to spiritual matters, I tend toward this: whatever works. If you can find a frame of mind that grounds you in something that somehow enables you to bring all the disparate parts of yourself together into some sense of feeling whole -- as with nature or God or Buddhism -- then more power to you. As long as it allows for tolerating others who go in different directions; and as long as, in pursuing your own path, you don't bring pain and suffering to others.

I no longer have that myself and I often challenge those that do. But I suspect that revolves around my remembering when I did once have this myself...and wishing that somehow I could have it back again.

Maia wrote:That is indeed a very beautiful song, and very sad too, but sad in a beautiful way, as all the best songs are. If I had to pick just one as an example of the sort of thing I really like, it would be this traditional ballad from Pentangle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEzlShQQ3YQ

A love song, and one with a happy ending, which you wouldn't necessarily expect, so it comes as a nice surprise. (The same tune is also used as a march towards the end of the Wicker Man.)


Yes, I am very familiar with Pentangle. In fact I posted many of their songs on my music thread here including Willy O Winsbury. Although I'm more familiar with Sandy Denny's recording of the song.

https://youtu.be/7ftfTDOJZwE
https://youtu.be/Xm0YDWBMZBU
https://youtu.be/3QoWdrY7zQg
https://youtu.be/xtqlh6WmAxQ
https://youtu.be/VVpS44LGqTk

My favorite by them [and one of the most beautiful songs ever composed] is Suil Agrar.

Maia wrote: Out of those films, Solaris is the only one I've heard of. I've heard of both books though, and I like the sentiment expressed in the T. S. Eliot quote. In a more general sense, what would you say makes a good work of fiction? Are there any essential elements?


Hmm. I was going to ask you if the Solaris film you were familiar with is the George Clooney remake or the original. The original is far better. But in large part because it is so much more beautifully filmed. And then there is a part of me that wishes that you were able to see so that you could experience it as I do. And then I realize that I can never experience film as you do and I find myself once again feeling uncertain about how to react to that.

As for fiction [novels mostly], like you, I prefer those in which the main characters are on a journey. And in a book that is an actual story of this journey. I love novels able to take the things that are important to me -- morality here and now, immortality there and then -- and explore them through characters that inhabit worlds [and interactions in those worlds] that I can at least attempt to understand in terms of my own life.

The Eliot poem is mentioned in The Magus. Here the main character Nicholas Urfe thinks he understands himself. But the Maurice Conchis character [older and wiser] takes him on a journey in which he discovers how little he really does understand the world around him.

Maia wrote: And yes, it absolutely makes sense to me that knowing you have a limit to understanding people and things in certain ways actually gives you greater options for exploring them in other ways. It's the story of my life.


Well, then that makes two of us.


How ought one live, is a question I've been increasingly concerned about myself. I don't know if the question is solvable by philosophy, or philosphy alone, though, if it doesn't take into account emotion and intuition. Some types of Paganism, and I'm thinking specifically about Wicca here, have a philosophy summed up in the phrase, "An it harm none, do as ye will" but to me, to be honest, that sounds like a recipe for doing nothing worthwhile. In practice, it doesn't work out like that, and Wiccans, as well as Pagans in general, are often in the forefront of the Green movement, among many other things. But Wicca is not my path within Paganism.

Well, I'm very glad you're finding our conversation interesting, because I am too. Sometimes, indeed, the process of putting things into words is able to crystalise one's thoughts, and I always welcome the opportunity for that.

Here's a question for you, that you've just reminded me of. Where does your consciousness appear to reside in your body? I don't mean where is actually resides, but where it appears to reside, from your point of view.

My reaction to possibilities of medical advancement being able to give me sight is, shall we say, a complicated one, and one that I've thought about long and hard. I should point out initially that I don't actually have any eyes, well, not real ones anyway. I wear prosthetics. Assuming some solution to that is found (eye transplants might become viable in future, but to be honest, the idea freaks me out), the first question is, is my life so bad that it actually needs such a thing? The clear answer to that is no. The second question is, would I like to be able to see, and the equally clear answer to that is yes. But it's not something that keeps me awake at night.

Yes, toleration of others and their beliefs is essential, and, indeed, is something I've been less than perfect at myself, in the past. And, personally, I would go further than simply not causing any pain or suffering to others, and this is connected to the gradual focusing of my spiritual path that I mentioned before. This involves sacrifice (though not of the Sgt. Howie variety), in other words, a refraining from personal gratification. In Pagan tradition a priestess is a healer and a guide, a counsellor, in modern terms, but also a conduit to the divine, and there are a number of Pagan groups around (not exclusively Wiccan noes) that offer training in that. And, you know, I can't help wondering if being blind might actually be an advantage, and that I'm exactly how nature intended me to be.

Beautiful aren't they, Pentangle. Here's another.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwT0COKXFMM

And here's the Sally Oldfield song I mentioned yesterday, and should have posted a link to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3eSCquYRNA

I might have caught about half an hour of Solaris once, but my memory of it is pretty vague. Ok, here's an exercise then. Can you describe the visuals to me, in a way that I might understand? (Hehe.)
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:50 pm

Maia wrote:How ought one live, is a question I've been increasingly concerned about myself. I don't know if the question is solvable by philosophy, or philosphy alone, though, if it doesn't take into account emotion and intuition. Some types of Paganism, and I'm thinking specifically about Wicca here, have a philosophy summed up in the phrase, "An it harm none, do as ye will" but to me, to be honest, that sounds like a recipe for doing nothing worthwhile. In practice, it doesn't work out like that, and Wiccans, as well as Pagans in general, are often in the forefront of the Green movement, among many other things. But Wicca is not my path within Paganism.


Again, where I myself tend to get "fractured and fragmented" here is when we are faced with situations in which people on both sides of the moral divides do what they think and feel is best and in so doing it it results in harm for others. Both sides are able to make reasonable arguments for doing the opposite of what the other side wants. Like with abortion or the rights of animals or owning guns. From my point of view, the best of all possible worlds still revolves around moderation, negociation and compromise. As opposed to those with the most power always getting their way or those who insist that only if others think exactly like they do are they being reasonable and virtuous.

Maia wrote:Well, I'm very glad you're finding our conversation interesting, because I am too. Sometimes, indeed, the process of putting things into words is able to crystalise one's thoughts, and I always welcome the opportunity for that.


Well, I think that we are both intelligent, articulate and really, really curious about the world around us. And also willing to explore the way in which we have come to understand it given both the things we share in common and all of new things that we can impart to each other given the way in which our lives are different.

Maia wrote:Here's a question for you, that you've just reminded me of. Where does your consciousness appear to reside in your body? I don't mean where is actually resides, but where it appears to reside, from your point of view.


We know scientifically that mind is a matter of the brain intertwined in a staggeringly vast number of chemical and neurological interactions. But when we try to pin down this "I" that we speak of...where to go? For some it is the eyes, for others the mouth. Then the part where some want people to "speak from the heart". Or for others still it all comes down to the existence of a soul.

Me? Your guess is as good as mine!

Maia wrote:My reaction to possibilities of medical advancement being able to give me sight is, shall we say, a complicated one, and one that I've thought about long and hard. I should point out initially that I don't actually have any eyes, well, not real ones anyway. I wear prosthetics. Assuming some solution to that is found (eye transplants might become viable in future, but to be honest, the idea freaks me out), the first question is, is my life so bad that it actually needs such a thing? The clear answer to that is no. The second question is, would I like to be able to see, and the equally clear answer to that is yes. But it's not something that keeps me awake at night.


So, here and now, you are "comfortable in your skin" as some say. But you are also tugged in both directions for equally intelligent reasons. I suppose it will come down to whether or not in the future medical advancements do reach the point where you could be faced with a decision to see or not to see.

As for eye transplants, I couldn't help but Google it:

"There is currently no way to transplant an entire eye. Ophthalmologists can, however, transplant a cornea. When someone says they are getting an “eye transplant,” they are most likely receiving a donor cornea, which is the clear front part of the eye that helps focus light so that you can see." Milan Eye Center

https://www.milaneyecenter.com/resource ... 0can%20see.

All I can do is to imagine myself faced with this option. But, again, with you there is the reality that you were born blind. And, as you have noted, that can make all the difference in the world.

But, yeah, it would be kind of spooky to see the world through the eyes of another. It's just so much more intimate than a kidney or a liver transplant.

Maia wrote:Yes, toleration of others and their beliefs is essential, and, indeed, is something I've been less than perfect at myself, in the past. And, personally, I would go further than simply not causing any pain or suffering to others, and this is connected to the gradual focusing of my spiritual path that I mentioned before. This involves sacrifice (though not of the Sgt. Howie variety), in other words, a refraining from personal gratification. In Pagan tradition a priestess is a healer and a guide, a counsellor, in modern terms, but also a conduit to the divine, and there are a number of Pagan groups around (not exclusively Wiccan noes) that offer training in that. And, you know, I can't help wondering if being blind might actually be an advantage, and that I'm exactly how nature intended me to be.


Beliefs of this sort are always very mysterious to me in the end. People live lives that are very different from mine. That meet people and have experiences that they can attempt to describe to me to the best of their ability. But only to the extent I can have similar experiences or meet similar people is it ever really likely that the gaps can be narrowed.

If you'd like to, why don't you tell me the sort of experiences you have with those in your community. What sort of things do you do, what sort of things do you avoid? How are distinctions made between the role of the individual and the group as a whole?

Maia wrote: Beautiful aren't they, Pentangle. Here's another.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwT0COKXFMM


Thanks. It's one I hadn't heard before. I love Jacqui McShee's voice. It's like with Nick Drake. The voice alone is so evocative. It fits in so well with the emotion being imparted.

Maia wrote: And here's the Sally Oldfield song I mentioned yesterday, and should have posted a link to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3eSCquYRNA


Another favorite of mine. Especially this one: https://youtu.be/i0q5-fdgcW4

Maia wrote: I might have caught about half an hour of Solaris once, but my memory of it is pretty vague. Ok, here's an exercise then. Can you describe the visuals to me, in a way that I might understand? (Hehe.)


I'm not sure I could describe them in a way that even I might understand. I could tell you what I see in a way that would make more or less sense to you but here and now I have no real grip on how to make it mean to you what it means to me. And the visuals are only a way to explore the larger themes being conveyed by the filmmaker. Especially the exploration into human nature itself. So the question might become this: Is it necessary to see in order to grasp the nature of human interactions or can those who do not see grasp it in ways that may well be even more profound? One of those questions in which there is surely not just one correct answer.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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iambiguous
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:53 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:How ought one live, is a question I've been increasingly concerned about myself. I don't know if the question is solvable by philosophy, or philosphy alone, though, if it doesn't take into account emotion and intuition. Some types of Paganism, and I'm thinking specifically about Wicca here, have a philosophy summed up in the phrase, "An it harm none, do as ye will" but to me, to be honest, that sounds like a recipe for doing nothing worthwhile. In practice, it doesn't work out like that, and Wiccans, as well as Pagans in general, are often in the forefront of the Green movement, among many other things. But Wicca is not my path within Paganism.


Again, where I myself tend to get "fractured and fragmented" here is when we are faced with situations in which people on both sides of the moral divides do what they think and feel is best and in so doing it it results in harm for others. Both sides are able to make reasonable arguments for doing the opposite of what the other side wants. Like with abortion or the rights of animals or owning guns. From my point of view, the best of all possible worlds still revolves around moderation, negociation and compromise. As opposed to those with the most power always getting their way or those who insist that only if others think exactly like they do are they being reasonable and virtuous.

Maia wrote:Well, I'm very glad you're finding our conversation interesting, because I am too. Sometimes, indeed, the process of putting things into words is able to crystalise one's thoughts, and I always welcome the opportunity for that.


Well, I think that we are both intelligent, articulate and really, really curious about the world around us. And also willing to explore the way in which we have come to understand it given both the things we share in common and all of new things that we can impart to each other given the way in which our lives are different.

Maia wrote:Here's a question for you, that you've just reminded me of. Where does your consciousness appear to reside in your body? I don't mean where is actually resides, but where it appears to reside, from your point of view.


We know scientifically that mind is a matter of the brain intertwined in a staggeringly vast number of chemical and neurological interactions. But when we try to pin down this "I" that we speak of...where to go? For some it is the eyes, for others the mouth. Then the part where some want people to "speak from the heart". Or for others still it all comes down to the existence of a soul.

Me? Your guess is as good as mine!

Maia wrote:My reaction to possibilities of medical advancement being able to give me sight is, shall we say, a complicated one, and one that I've thought about long and hard. I should point out initially that I don't actually have any eyes, well, not real ones anyway. I wear prosthetics. Assuming some solution to that is found (eye transplants might become viable in future, but to be honest, the idea freaks me out), the first question is, is my life so bad that it actually needs such a thing? The clear answer to that is no. The second question is, would I like to be able to see, and the equally clear answer to that is yes. But it's not something that keeps me awake at night.


So, here and now, you are "comfortable in your skin" as some say. But you are also tugged in both directions for equally intelligent reasons. I suppose it will come down to whether or not in the future medical advancements do reach the point where you could be faced with a decision to see or not to see.

As for eye transplants, I couldn't help but Google it:

"There is currently no way to transplant an entire eye. Ophthalmologists can, however, transplant a cornea. When someone says they are getting an “eye transplant,” they are most likely receiving a donor cornea, which is the clear front part of the eye that helps focus light so that you can see." Milan Eye Center

https://www.milaneyecenter.com/resource ... 0can%20see.

All I can do is to imagine myself faced with this option. But, again, with you there is the reality that you were born blind. And, as you have noted, that can make all the difference in the world.

But, yeah, it would be kind of spooky to see the world through the eyes of another. It's just so much more intimate than a kidney or a liver transplant.

Maia wrote:Yes, toleration of others and their beliefs is essential, and, indeed, is something I've been less than perfect at myself, in the past. And, personally, I would go further than simply not causing any pain or suffering to others, and this is connected to the gradual focusing of my spiritual path that I mentioned before. This involves sacrifice (though not of the Sgt. Howie variety), in other words, a refraining from personal gratification. In Pagan tradition a priestess is a healer and a guide, a counsellor, in modern terms, but also a conduit to the divine, and there are a number of Pagan groups around (not exclusively Wiccan noes) that offer training in that. And, you know, I can't help wondering if being blind might actually be an advantage, and that I'm exactly how nature intended me to be.


Beliefs of this sort are always very mysterious to me in the end. People live lives that are very different from mine. That meet people and have experiences that they can attempt to describe to me to the best of their ability. But only to the extent I can have similar experiences or meet similar people is it ever really likely that the gaps can be narrowed.

If you'd like to, why don't you tell me the sort of experiences you have with those in your community. What sort of things do you do, what sort of things do you avoid? How are distinctions made between the role of the individual and the group as a whole?

Maia wrote: Beautiful aren't they, Pentangle. Here's another.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwT0COKXFMM


Thanks. It's one I hadn't heard before. I love Jacqui McShee's voice. It's like with Nick Drake. The voice alone is so evocative. It fits in so well with the emotion being imparted.

Maia wrote: And here's the Sally Oldfield song I mentioned yesterday, and should have posted a link to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3eSCquYRNA


Another favorite of mine. Especially this one: https://youtu.be/i0q5-fdgcW4

Maia wrote: I might have caught about half an hour of Solaris once, but my memory of it is pretty vague. Ok, here's an exercise then. Can you describe the visuals to me, in a way that I might understand? (Hehe.)


I'm not sure I could describe them in a way that even I might understand. I could tell you what I see in a way that would make more or less sense to you but here and now I have no real grip on how to make it mean to you what it means to me. And the visuals are only a way to explore the larger themes being conveyed by the filmmaker. Especially the exploration into human nature itself. So the question might become this: Is it necessary to see in order to grasp the nature of human interactions or can those who do not see grasp it in ways that may well be even more profound? One of those questions in which there is surely not just one correct answer.


Moderation, negotiation and compromise are most definitely essential, especially on issues that are so divisive, such as abortion and animal rights. (In the UK gun control is not so much of an issue, though, as pretty much everyone agrees with it.) On the first two, my own views on the sacredness of life very much colour my opinions, but I would be loath to try and impose them on others.

Presumably in order to know if a soul exists, we have to first understand what one's actually supposed to be. We can all too easily get bogged down in words and definitions though. To me, the soul is simply the thing that animates matter and infuses it with the life-force. It's not actually a word I use very much as it has far too many religious connotations that I don't wish to express with it. I prefer spirit.

My experiences in Paganism have been very numerous and varied. I first became interested at school, and began going to moots, as they're called, pretty much as soon as I moved back home, when I was 18. A moot is a fairly informal gathering of Pagans to which members of the public, those who are interested or just curious, are welcome. They generally take place in a pub function room, hired for the evening, and are usually fortnightly or monthly. Often, they will have a speaker for the evening, talking about some subject of interest to Pagans, or sometimes they will have a workshop or demonstration, and sometimes nothing at all. Most big cities, at least in the UK, have an established moot, sometimes more than one.

There is nothing secret about moots, and the moot leaders usually go out of their way to publicise them as much as possible, especially online. It's at the moots, if you become a regular, that you get to know other Pagans in person, and start finding out about the groups they're in, which are often a lot more secretive. There are quite a lot of different types of Pagans, but the most common are Wiccans, Druids and Heathens. Wiccan groups are called covens, Druid groups groves, and Heathens don't seem to have groups in quite the same sort of way, but have meetings called blots, I think (I'm not an expert there). Druids are into Celtic mythology and Heathens into Norse mythology. Wiccans are more eclectic but Celtic seems to be the most popular there too. What I'm saying here grossly simplifies it all, of course.

I was invited to attend meetings of a Wiccan coven. In the room where they met, at the home of the high priestess, they had four candles at North, East, South and West. In the North there was also an altar, with various items of equipment on it, such as a wooden disc called a pentacle, a sword, a knife called an athame, and a chalice. At the start of the meeting the high priestess cast the circle by walking round it and sprinkling a bit of salt water on the participants. Four chosen people would call the quarters in by standing in front of the candles and calling in the guardians of the North (etc.) to watch over the meeting, and these were said farewell to at the end in the same way. After each calling we all repeated the words "so mote it be". Then came the actual meeting itself, which was usually some sort of spellcasting, such as for healing. There was also sometimes a pathworking, which is a guided meditation, and the high priestess sometimes consulted the tarot about something. Then they passed round cakes on the pentacle, and wine in the chalice.

The role of individuals within the group varied quite a lot. There was the high priestess, who had set it up. The four quarter callers had the next most important roles, though these could vary each time. In practice they didn't much, as there were rarely more than about six or seven people present altogether.

Ok, that covers my own introduction to Wicca. As I said before, I gradually came to realise that it was not going to be my chosen path. I'm conscious now of the rather lengthy nature of the above, so will leave it till next time, if you want to hear more!

Yes, Jacqui's voice is lovely, and perfect for the genre. And yes indeed, I very much like Water Bearer too.

Here's Maddy Prior.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFWzPiGHd_Y

My own opinion is that you don't need to see to be able to grasp the nature of human interactions, but, as you say, it may be that I'm grasping something different about them, if only subtly.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:41 pm

Maia wrote:Moderation, negotiation and compromise are most definitely essential, especially on issues that are so divisive, such as abortion and animal rights. (In the UK gun control is not so much of an issue, though, as pretty much everyone agrees with it.) On the first two, my own views on the sacredness of life very much colour my opinions, but I would be loath to try and impose them on others.


Here there is really no alternative but for each of us one by one by one to make an attempt to think through these divisive issues to the best of our abilities...and then to take that existential leap to a point of view. I'm just more ambivalent than most because I have thought myself into believing that, in the end, there does not appear to be a way for me to get around feeling as fractured and fragmented as I am. On the other hand, I know full well how difficult it is to convey this to others. And I always assume that I may well be wrong. I can only go into places like this and explore it with others.

Maia wrote:Presumably in order to know if a soul exists, we have to first understand what one's actually supposed to be. We can all too easily get bogged down in words and definitions though. To me, the soul is simply the thing that animates matter and infuses it with the life-force. It's not actually a word I use very much as it has far too many religious connotations that I don't wish to express with it. I prefer spirit.


For me this always goes back to the profound mystery embedded in existence itself. Human existence in particular because, as far as I know, it is the only existence "out there" actually able to imagine a spiritual realm. What that means, however, is, again, so profoundly intertwined in the personal experiences of each of us -- apart from and among others -- we can only "go in" so far in exchanging our at times very different understanding of it. Or, rather, so it seems to me.

Maia wrote:My experiences in Paganism have been very numerous and varied. I first became interested at school, and began going to moots, as they're called, pretty much as soon as I moved back home, when I was 18. A moot is a fairly informal gathering of Pagans to which members of the public, those who are interested or just curious, are welcome. They generally take place in a pub function room, hired for the evening, and are usually fortnightly or monthly. Often, they will have a speaker for the evening, talking about some subject of interest to Pagans, or sometimes they will have a workshop or demonstration, and sometimes nothing at all. Most big cities, at least in the UK, have an established moot, sometimes more than one.

There is nothing secret about moots, and the moot leaders usually go out of their way to publicise them as much as possible, especially online. It's at the moots, if you become a regular, that you get to know other Pagans in person, and start finding out about the groups they're in, which are often a lot more secretive. There are quite a lot of different types of Pagans, but the most common are Wiccans, Druids and Heathens. Wiccan groups are called covens, Druid groups groves, and Heathens don't seem to have groups in quite the same sort of way, but have meetings called blots, I think (I'm not an expert there). Druids are into Celtic mythology and Heathens into Norse mythology. Wiccans are more eclectic but Celtic seems to be the most popular there too. What I'm saying here grossly simplifies it all, of course.


Okay, so here is the part where I ask you if you might be willing to take me into the last moot you attended or the next moot you will attend. To give me an idea of what is discussed and what activities unfold. At least insofar as it is not too "secretive". I'm always most curious about how people come to belong to groups like this and how the group members deal with issues in which there may not be a consensus. Obviously many people go from the cradle to the grave and never come into contact with a pagan community. Then for any number of reasons they do. That is always what fascinates me the most about any set of beliefs. Not the beliefs themselves so much as how, in being able to believe in something, it allows one to anchor their sense of self to something that is so much bigger than they can ever hope to attain as just one person in a sea of humanity. Also, the part where the different groups have similar or different beliefs and you have to examine them and decide why to belong to one rather than another.

The communities I was once a part of myself but am now no longer able to be. Though, over the years, not for lack of trying.

Are there other blind members in the moots that you attend? Does being blind ever come to the surface in your interactions there?

Maia wrote: I was invited to attend meetings of a Wiccan coven. In the room where they met, at the home of the high priestess, they had four candles at North, East, South and West. In the North there was also an altar, with various items of equipment on it, such as a wooden disc called a pentacle, a sword, a knife called an athame, and a chalice. At the start of the meeting the high priestess cast the circle by walking round it and sprinkling a bit of salt water on the participants. Four chosen people would call the quarters in by standing in front of the candles and calling in the guardians of the North (etc.) to watch over the meeting, and these were said farewell to at the end in the same way. After each calling we all repeated the words "so mote it be". Then came the actual meeting itself, which was usually some sort of spellcasting, such as for healing. There was also sometimes a pathworking, which is a guided meditation, and the high priestess sometimes consulted the tarot about something. Then they passed round cakes on the pentacle, and wine in the chalice.

The role of individuals within the group varied quite a lot. There was the high priestess, who had set it up. The four quarter callers had the next most important roles, though these could vary each time. In practice they didn't much, as there were rarely more than about six or seven people present altogether.

Ok, that covers my own introduction to Wicca. As I said before, I gradually came to realise that it was not going to be my chosen path. I'm conscious now of the rather lengthy nature of the above, so will leave it till next time, if you want to hear more!


This is something that I could never even begin to grasp other than as someone who is able to grasp it from a frame of mind rooted in my own understanding of these things. But my own understanding of them can never be more than my own subjective collection of stereotypes and prejudices. Again, if this allows others to anchor themselves to a "larger meaning" in their interactions with others then [for me] it always comes down to tolerance and "do no harm".

Maia wrote: Here's Maddy Prior.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFWzPiGHd_Y


Haunting. I had never heard this song. I just included it on my music thread. But easily one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I have ever heard is this one:
https://youtu.be/Pq2cFmhyfoI
https://youtu.be/pzolVZofcRM

I have begun to read a new novel. It's called Blindness by Jose Saramago.

How to describe it!

It's a sort of science fiction tale. People in a particular community begin to go blind "out of the blue". But instead of black they see white. An "opaque milky white". And in becoming blind they become contagious. So it is necessary for the authorities to quarantine them in, it turns out, an abandoned mental institution. One of the characters, however, is able to see but no one but her blind husband [who is an ophthalmologist!] knows it. I've only just begun it and given that I read 3 or 4 books at a time, only read a dozen pages or so a day.

Here is a passage from it:

"Like most people, he had often played as a child at pretending to be blind, and, after keeping his eyes closed for five minutes, he had reached the conclusion that blindness, undoubtedly a terrible affliction, might still be relatively bearable if the unfortunate victim had retained sufficient memory, not just of colours, but also of forms and planes, surfaces and shapes, assuming of course that one was not born blind. He had even reached the point of thinking that the darkness in which the blind live was nothing other than simply the absence of light, and that what we call blindness was something that simply covered the appearance of beings and things, leaving them intact behind their black veil. Now, on the contrary, here he was plunged into a whiteness so luminous, so total that it swallowed up rather than absorbed, not just the colours, but the very things and beings, thus making them twice as invisible."
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby Maia » Sat May 01, 2021 2:12 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Maia wrote:Moderation, negotiation and compromise are most definitely essential, especially on issues that are so divisive, such as abortion and animal rights. (In the UK gun control is not so much of an issue, though, as pretty much everyone agrees with it.) On the first two, my own views on the sacredness of life very much colour my opinions, but I would be loath to try and impose them on others.


Here there is really no alternative but for each of us one by one by one to make an attempt to think through these divisive issues to the best of our abilities...and then to take that existential leap to a point of view. I'm just more ambivalent than most because I have thought myself into believing that, in the end, there does not appear to be a way for me to get around feeling as fractured and fragmented as I am. On the other hand, I know full well how difficult it is to convey this to others. And I always assume that I may well be wrong. I can only go into places like this and explore it with others.

Maia wrote:Presumably in order to know if a soul exists, we have to first understand what one's actually supposed to be. We can all too easily get bogged down in words and definitions though. To me, the soul is simply the thing that animates matter and infuses it with the life-force. It's not actually a word I use very much as it has far too many religious connotations that I don't wish to express with it. I prefer spirit.


For me this always goes back to the profound mystery embedded in existence itself. Human existence in particular because, as far as I know, it is the only existence "out there" actually able to imagine a spiritual realm. What that means, however, is, again, so profoundly intertwined in the personal experiences of each of us -- apart from and among others -- we can only "go in" so far in exchanging our at times very different understanding of it. Or, rather, so it seems to me.

Maia wrote:My experiences in Paganism have been very numerous and varied. I first became interested at school, and began going to moots, as they're called, pretty much as soon as I moved back home, when I was 18. A moot is a fairly informal gathering of Pagans to which members of the public, those who are interested or just curious, are welcome. They generally take place in a pub function room, hired for the evening, and are usually fortnightly or monthly. Often, they will have a speaker for the evening, talking about some subject of interest to Pagans, or sometimes they will have a workshop or demonstration, and sometimes nothing at all. Most big cities, at least in the UK, have an established moot, sometimes more than one.

There is nothing secret about moots, and the moot leaders usually go out of their way to publicise them as much as possible, especially online. It's at the moots, if you become a regular, that you get to know other Pagans in person, and start finding out about the groups they're in, which are often a lot more secretive. There are quite a lot of different types of Pagans, but the most common are Wiccans, Druids and Heathens. Wiccan groups are called covens, Druid groups groves, and Heathens don't seem to have groups in quite the same sort of way, but have meetings called blots, I think (I'm not an expert there). Druids are into Celtic mythology and Heathens into Norse mythology. Wiccans are more eclectic but Celtic seems to be the most popular there too. What I'm saying here grossly simplifies it all, of course.


Okay, so here is the part where I ask you if you might be willing to take me into the last moot you attended or the next moot you will attend. To give me an idea of what is discussed and what activities unfold. At least insofar as it is not too "secretive". I'm always most curious about how people come to belong to groups like this and how the group members deal with issues in which there may not be a consensus. Obviously many people go from the cradle to the grave and never come into contact with a pagan community. Then for any number of reasons they do. That is always what fascinates me the most about any set of beliefs. Not the beliefs themselves so much as how, in being able to believe in something, it allows one to anchor their sense of self to something that is so much bigger than they can ever hope to attain as just one person in a sea of humanity. Also, the part where the different groups have similar or different beliefs and you have to examine them and decide why to belong to one rather than another.

The communities I was once a part of myself but am now no longer able to be. Though, over the years, not for lack of trying.

Are there other blind members in the moots that you attend? Does being blind ever come to the surface in your interactions there?

Maia wrote: I was invited to attend meetings of a Wiccan coven. In the room where they met, at the home of the high priestess, they had four candles at North, East, South and West. In the North there was also an altar, with various items of equipment on it, such as a wooden disc called a pentacle, a sword, a knife called an athame, and a chalice. At the start of the meeting the high priestess cast the circle by walking round it and sprinkling a bit of salt water on the participants. Four chosen people would call the quarters in by standing in front of the candles and calling in the guardians of the North (etc.) to watch over the meeting, and these were said farewell to at the end in the same way. After each calling we all repeated the words "so mote it be". Then came the actual meeting itself, which was usually some sort of spellcasting, such as for healing. There was also sometimes a pathworking, which is a guided meditation, and the high priestess sometimes consulted the tarot about something. Then they passed round cakes on the pentacle, and wine in the chalice.

The role of individuals within the group varied quite a lot. There was the high priestess, who had set it up. The four quarter callers had the next most important roles, though these could vary each time. In practice they didn't much, as there were rarely more than about six or seven people present altogether.

Ok, that covers my own introduction to Wicca. As I said before, I gradually came to realise that it was not going to be my chosen path. I'm conscious now of the rather lengthy nature of the above, so will leave it till next time, if you want to hear more!


This is something that I could never even begin to grasp other than as someone who is able to grasp it from a frame of mind rooted in my own understanding of these things. But my own understanding of them can never be more than my own subjective collection of stereotypes and prejudices. Again, if this allows others to anchor themselves to a "larger meaning" in their interactions with others then [for me] it always comes down to tolerance and "do no harm".

Maia wrote: Here's Maddy Prior.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFWzPiGHd_Y


Haunting. I had never heard this song. I just included it on my music thread. But easily one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I have ever heard is this one:
https://youtu.be/Pq2cFmhyfoI
https://youtu.be/pzolVZofcRM

I have begun to read a new novel. It's called Blindness by Jose Saramago.

How to describe it!

It's a sort of science fiction tale. People in a particular community begin to go blind "out of the blue". But instead of black they see white. An "opaque milky white". And in becoming blind they become contagious. So it is necessary for the authorities to quarantine them in, it turns out, an abandoned mental institution. One of the characters, however, is able to see but no one but her blind husband [who is an ophthalmologist!] knows it. I've only just begun it and given that I read 3 or 4 books at a time, only read a dozen pages or so a day.

Here is a passage from it:

"Like most people, he had often played as a child at pretending to be blind, and, after keeping his eyes closed for five minutes, he had reached the conclusion that blindness, undoubtedly a terrible affliction, might still be relatively bearable if the unfortunate victim had retained sufficient memory, not just of colours, but also of forms and planes, surfaces and shapes, assuming of course that one was not born blind. He had even reached the point of thinking that the darkness in which the blind live was nothing other than simply the absence of light, and that what we call blindness was something that simply covered the appearance of beings and things, leaving them intact behind their black veil. Now, on the contrary, here he was plunged into a whiteness so luminous, so total that it swallowed up rather than absorbed, not just the colours, but the very things and beings, thus making them twice as invisible."


Yes, sometimes it's a good idea just to take stock and re-assess you entire set of beliefs and opinions. You mentioned that you've been in communities in the past, what were they? Anything analogous to, say, the Pagan community?

I'll describe the last moot I attended, but I think you'll be disappointed, because I most certainly was! (See below, for other more interesting stuff, though.) It was in February last year, about a month before the lockdown, at a pub well-known among local Pagans. There were only four of us present, and since two of the others were smokers, we had to sit outside in the beer garden, and it was a bit chilly. It had been billed as a discussion about the Northern tradition, but pretty soon one of them lit up a spliff, right there in the middle of the beer garden. I didn't want to get thrown out so I left, in disgust. And then a few weeks later the lockdown happened and the world changed. I imagine moots will be starting up again soon, though, and indeed, other events such as rituals, though I don't have any specific details yet.

As for belief, this is not an important concept in Paganism. Practice is much more important, as with the form of ritual, for example. There are Pagans who believe in all sorts of different gods and goddesses, Pagans who don't, and Pagans who don't think it even matters.

Being blind has impacted my journey through Paganism in a number of ways. For example, a very common practice in Pagan ritual is visualisation, which is used, for example, to visualise the result you want to happen. This is no real problem to me as I just imagine the result without any visualisation. More difficult are colours, which are used in almost all Pagan rituals, with each colour having specific meanings, often connected to the planets and astrology. My workaround for this is the same technique I mentioned before about associating colours with their most familiar linguistc couplings (blue sky, green grass, red blood, white snow, black night, and so on).

I've never met any other blind people at any Pagan events that I've attended, but I know other blind Pagans online. As for the attitudes of other Pagans to my blindness, this runs the whole gamut that I get from people in general, Pagans or otherwise. Ranging from nervousness and being uncomfortable talking to me at one end of the spectrum, to a desire to befriend me and ask me things about being blind at the other. My reaction to people being nervous, as always, is to de-sensitise the issue by making jokes and talking about it as openly as possible.

Ok, here's the more interesting description of a Pagan event that I promised earlier, hehe. A few years ago I attended a handfasting at Glastonbury. A handfasting is a Pagan marriage, and Glastonbury is a well-known centre of Pagan and New Age activities in south-west England. The handfasting took place on Glastonbury Tor, a large hill with a lot of legendary and mythical associations. At the top of the hill is a ruined church tower. We started at the bottom of the hill then walked up it, gradually spiralling round the hill till we reached the top. They had laid out a design in the tower with sticks, comprising three squares, one inside another. The bride and groom each had nine followers, called maidens and knights. I was one of the maidens, in other words, a bridesmaid. When we got to the tower we each took our places in the squares laid out on the floor, then moved around in a complicated pattern decided by the bride and groom (who stood outside), symbolising a battle, followed by reconciliation and union. This is the part that relates to your question about how conflict is resolved, and why I chose this particular example, because the answer among Pagans, at least in theory, is through use of stylised ritual (in practice, of course, Pagans are just as fractious as anyone else, perhaps more so). The bride and groom took their oaths, and after that we all went down to a nearby pub for a meal.

Maddy is indeed brilliant, and here's another.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sls3mig_58I

Sounds like a interesting novel, but I have to note that the author seems to believe the common fallacy that blind people see black, or darkness. It certainly shouldn't affect the story though, as you describe it, which looks like an intriguing concept.
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Re: Do we dream less as we get older?

Postby iambiguous » Sat May 01, 2021 10:38 pm

Maia wrote:Yes, sometimes it's a good idea just to take stock and re-assess you entire set of beliefs and opinions. You mentioned that you've been in communities in the past, what were they? Anything analogous to, say, the Pagan community?


My point about these communities revolves more around how we come to be a part of them because of the circumstances in our lives that bring them to our attention in the first place. Had this or that not happened or had we not met this or that person we might never have become aware of the group at all. The complexity and the uncertainty of it all. I was once a devout Christian, then a Unitarian, then a political radical, then an existentialist. What began to dawn on me however is that being part of a group was really the most important consideration. It provided me with a "meaning of life" that allowed me to ground myself in something far more substantial than my own insignificant existence in the vastness of "all there is". Now that this is gone I'm left with stumbling about as best I can to make sense of things. But the consolation is that in not being a part of a group that makes distinctions between the right way and the wrong way to do things, I have many more options from which to choose.

Maia wrote:I'll describe the last moot I attended, but I think you'll be disappointed, because I most certainly was! (See below, for other more interesting stuff, though.) It was in February last year, about a month before the lockdown, at a pub well-known among local Pagans. There were only four of us present, and since two of the others were smokers, we had to sit outside in the beer garden, and it was a bit chilly. It had been billed as a discussion about the Northern tradition, but pretty soon one of them lit up a spliff, right there in the middle of the beer garden. I didn't want to get thrown out so I left, in disgust. And then a few weeks later the lockdown happened and the world changed. I imagine moots will be starting up again soon, though, and indeed, other events such as rituals, though I don't have any specific details yet.


Well, if you ever become a part of one that is more to your liking let me know what you took away from it. That's the part that always intrigues me. There is what you think and feel. Then you become a part of a community where others think and feel the same. And you have to dig down deeper into why you think and feel what you do in terms of being a part of the community itself. And then the part where something comes up in which there are different, sometimes conflicting reactions. Always wanting to be a part of the whole but recognizing the challenges that are sometimes posed in integrating "I" and "we".

Or, sure, maybe, I'm really thinking more of my own experiences over the years. Only when I get to know you better will I perhaps come closer to a "middle ground".

Maia wrote: As for belief, this is not an important concept in Paganism. Practice is much more important, as with the form of ritual, for example. There are Pagans who believe in all sorts of different gods and goddesses, Pagans who don't, and Pagans who don't think it even matters.


Yes, sooner or later what you believe is going to be tested "for all practical purposes" in your interactions with others. Some things will click, others won't. Same with some people. All we can really do is to be willing to live and learn. And then of course the part where sheer luck -- what some call serendipity -- comes in.

Maia wrote: Being blind has impacted my journey through Paganism in a number of ways. For example, a very common practice in Pagan ritual is visualisation, which is used, for example, to visualise the result you want to happen. This is no real problem to me as I just imagine the result without any visualisation. More difficult are colours, which are used in almost all Pagan rituals, with each colour having specific meanings, often connected to the planets and astrology. My workaround for this is the same technique I mentioned before about associating colours with their most familiar linguistc couplings (blue sky, green grass, red blood, white snow, black night, and so on).


Have you ever encouraged others you know who are blind from birth to explore this community with you? That way you would have another mind able to interact in the community and enabling you to discuss your own shared experiences from the same starting point.

By the way, I just finishing watching The Miracle Worker for the zillionth time. The 1962 original. I was wondering if you had ever had a relationship with someone who was deaf from birth. I'm trying to imagine what conversations between someone who was totally deaf and someone who is totally blind would be like. Each having to make their way in a world where most can both hear and see but having to so in this case from a different starting point.

Maia wrote: Ok, here's the more interesting description of a Pagan event that I promised earlier, hehe. A few years ago I attended a handfasting at Glastonbury. A handfasting is a Pagan marriage, and Glastonbury is a well-known centre of Pagan and New Age activities in south-west England. The handfasting took place on Glastonbury Tor, a large hill with a lot of legendary and mythical associations. At the top of the hill is a ruined church tower. We started at the bottom of the hill then walked up it, gradually spiralling round the hill till we reached the top. They had laid out a design in the tower with sticks, comprising three squares, one inside another. The bride and groom each had nine followers, called maidens and knights. I was one of the maidens, in other words, a bridesmaid. When we got to the tower we each took our places in the squares laid out on the floor, then moved around in a complicated pattern decided by the bride and groom (who stood outside), symbolising a battle, followed by reconciliation and union. This is the part that relates to your question about how conflict is resolved, and why I chose this particular example, because the answer among Pagans, at least in theory, is through use of stylised ritual (in practice, of course, Pagans are just as fractious as anyone else, perhaps more so). The bride and groom took their oaths, and after that we all went down to a nearby pub for a meal.


Thanks. That was really well described. I understand the need for ritual in our lives. And it transcends particular communities to basically include all of us. It seems to be a part of how the brain evolved to make sense of the world. By engaging in rituals we do the same things in the same way for the same reasons. And it is precisely in doing this that it gives the behaviors weight. And it is from this that we able to anchor ourselves to a necessary reality. With me though I find myself thinking about it in this way and the more I do the less I can participate in them myself. The part I find very hard to explain to others.

Maia wrote: Maddy is indeed brilliant, and here's another.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sls3mig_58I


And another back to you: https://youtu.be/8NrHkf7rB34
My favorite by Steeleye Span

Maia wrote: Sounds like a interesting novel, but I have to note that the author seems to believe the common fallacy that blind people see black, or darkness. It certainly shouldn't affect the story though, as you describe it, which looks like an intriguing concept.


In fact, I'm beginning to suspect that even though the novel is called Blindness, the fact that all the main characters [except one] are blind seems to be of less importance than the manner in which they become blind. And the fact that blindness actually becomes contagious. Like a viral pandemic. And then the manner in which it is necessary to quarantine them. The pages are riddled with capital letter words like Government and Authority. It seems more an attempt to explore a community cut off from the rest of society and forced to create their own world. A kind of Lord of the Flies only all the people are blind.

Though this may turn out to be wrong.

As for blackness and darkness, that is still really difficult for me to understand.

Here is something from the BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-ouch-31487662

It begins...

"It's often assumed that blind people experience complete darkness, but in my experience this is far from the truth.

"I appreciate this is going to sound odd coming from a blind person but when people ask me what I miss most about not being able to see, my answer is always 'darkness'"

And then...

"Though I've had the cord cut between my eyes and my brain, it seems that the world has not turned black. All metaphors, similes, analogies, and literary flourishes about blindness and darkness should henceforth cease to be used because I'm saying it's far from dark. It is, in fact, quite the opposite.

"So what replaces 3D technicolour vision once it's gone? The answer - at least in my case - is light. Lots of it. Bright, colourful, ever-changing, often terribly distracting, light.

"How do I even begin to describe it? Let me have a go. Right now I've got a dark brown background, with a turquoise luminescence front and centre. Actually it's just changed to green… now it's bright blue with flecks of yellow, and there's some orange threatening to break through and cover the whole lot.

"The rest of my field of vision is taken up by squashed geometric shapes, squiggles and clouds I couldn't hope to describe - and not before they all change again anyway. Give it an hour, and it'll all be different."

Is this anything like your own experience?

To me it all seems counter-intuitive. Blackness is what I would expect but, of course, I have no experience with being blind and I don't understand the technical, biological, chemical, neurological etc., interactions between the brain and the eyes.

Also, the author does not appear to have been blind from birth.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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