Persons excluded from U.S. Citizenship / Eugenic History

The extent to which Americans are ignorant of our history is ASTOUNDING.

The history of immigration laws is available to anyone – scads of articles, books, American History classes and courses, governmental and online sources are readily available. And yet, I have not read one news article, nor heard one “news reader” so-called expert or one lawyer even mention the history of U.S. immigration law.

We hear cries of “That’s not us” referring to social, racial, religious, or myriad other discriminatory distinctions as to “Who can become an American Citizen.” Many people stomp their feet in indignation at the very suggestion that the U.S.A. HAS EVER been unfair, arbitrary, politically motivated, stupid, vindictive, racist, childish or merely selective in it’s “don’t bother to apply for citizenship” lists.

ARE YOU KIDDING? A high percentage of American citizens TODAY would have failed the entrance exam in years past.


Persons not eligible to become U.S. citizens at various points in history.

1790 Other than WHITE MALES, every person on the planet is excluded.  How clear is that message?

1882 Banned: ALL Chinese. And those convicted of “political offenses” and lunatics and idiots (That’s mentally retarded people and the mentally ill.) And those likely to need financial assistance (the poor).

1903 Banned: Polygamists and Political Radicals. (Mormons – that’s a religion, so don’t claim we’ve never targeted a religious group.) 

1907 Banned: Those with physical or mental defects. Categories such as these allow for a wide spectrum of subjective interpretation. Those with tuberculosis and  unaccompanied children. (Japanese immigration was also restricted)

1917 Illiterates, psychopathic inferiors; those intending immoral acts; alcoholics; stowaways and vagrants.

1924 Preference quota system enacted.

(Much more in the previous post and posts on American Eugenics – search my blog)



“The Final Solution.”

Much of U.S. immigration law was driven by the intent of keeping the U.S. a White Christian country, and by the American eugenics movement, which helped this “cause” by labeling non-white “foreigners” as immoral, defective, degenerate, subhuman, mentally deficient and unbalanced, and also sought to identify the same categories of people who were already in the U.S., and to eliminate “them” through sterilization of “defective” women. (Yes, this happened.)

Periods of increased laxity in immigration requirements were due to the need for desperate people who would provide cheap labor for the manufacturing industries.(Irish, Italian, Eastern Europeans) Low pay, dangerous working conditions, child labor, loss of life, high rates of disease and horrific inhumane living conditions were happily passed off as “opportunity” in service of vast corporate profits. The lack of “doing something” about illegal Central American and South American immigration is simply the same case of worker exploitation.

Immigration by well-educated, wealthy Asians can be seen as the importation of required “upscale workers” in tech industries due to the failure of the U.S. education system to equip American citizens with intellectual skills.

The ongoing effort by psychology and psychiatry to “root out” defective people can be seen in the growing obsession with diagnosis such as Autism, Asperger’s and the expanding list of psychopathologies in children. We might hope that this effort is the last gasp of immoral Eugenic monstrosities passed off as “science,” however,

genetic engineering of fetuses promises to make the elimination of “defective” human beings the perfect tool for implementing Eugenic goals. 




Is a Spiritual Life Possible in the U.S.?


This may sound like another “glib” Aspie conclusion, but I’m serious! Please see previous post: What does “Spiritual” Mean? / The Protestant Work Ethic

I’ve learned over recent years that when I feel distress of a vague nagging type, there is a “real” problem behind it. I believe this is true for many Americans, who may not recognize that the source is environmental. One of the awful trends in modern American life is this: if you are “depressed” which is a highly-exploited generalized “mental state”, it’s your problem. Life is the American Dream, and you are just not pulling your weight. Job loss, poverty, illness, grief, violent neighborhoods, natural disasters? Hey! Buck up and shut up. Don’t be a buzz-kill. See a therapist; take drugs.

In the previous post, we learned that the early Protestants, the Calvinists, believed in pre-destination: God has only so many “reserved seats” waiting in heaven, and if you are not a Chosen Person, your only recourse is to work your ass off for minimum wage for the Chosen People. This makes the Protestant Elite “rich” (of whatever race, ethnicity, religion or national origin), but we all know that these are conscientious people who plow all their profits back into their “wealth machines” here in the U.S.  This ensures good jobs and a worthwhile reason for the non-chosen masses to exist at all – putting in a lifetime of service to ensure that the seats around the boardroom table in heaven are occupied by the Elites. Sorry; there are no “leftover” seats in heaven. Unfortunately, the ever-growing tonnage of wealth tied up in the “wealth machine” is the magic ticket to heaven; it must grow and grow and grow.

“Spirituality” in Protestant cultures is at best an obligation on the part of the Elite to “not enjoy” their wealth but to amass a fortune, an obligation that passes to the heirs. As for the masses – well, if you don’t become rich, it’s because God didn’t choose you to be rich.

When spelled out so plainly, it’s a “scheme” that sane human beings (or cats and dogs, for that matter), would reject. But this is America, and from the beginning of the European invasion, the continent was sold as Heaven on Earth. A magical place in which you could buy a “seat in heaven” whether or not you were one of the Chosen People. Suddenly, Predestination had a lot of “wiggle room.”

It’s arguable just when the *”don’t enjoy your wealth” commandment disappeared from the Capitalist Playbook; it certainly doesn’t exist today. Neither does “spirituality”. Despite the U.S. being one of the more “religious” nations on Earth, any notion that we were ever a spiritual society is a sham.

* It may have been simple geometry: as the Middle Class grew, the hierarchy of wealth had to expand to include millions more Americans. What’s the point in being “rich” but unable to show it? – a Middle Class person might live a more luxurious material existence than a “millionaire” chosen person.

But- ain’t America great! A Spiritual Life (and elections) can be bought.




What does “Spiritual” Mean? / The Protestant Work Ethic

The inescapable connection in Protestant Christianity between work, wealth, Capitalism and Spiritual success. (Separation of church and state is a myth)

Note: American Capitalism is a whole new animal!

In sharp contrast is the traditional use of “spirit, spirituality” to refer to a non-material domain:

Definition of spiritual: 

1.  of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spiritincorporeal spiritual needs  2. a. of or relating to sacred matters spiritual songs  b. ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal spiritual authority

3.     concerned with religious values

4.     related or joined in spirit our spiritual home his spiritual heir

5.     a. of or relating to supernatural beings or phenomena b. of, relating to, or involving spiritualismspiritualistic

Examples of spiritual in a sentence: 1.  Doctors must consider the emotional and spiritual needs of their patients. 2. I regularly consult our pastor about spiritual matters. 3. The Romantic composers saw Beethoven as a spiritual ancestor. 4. France will always be the spiritual home of wine lovers.

Origin and Etymology of spiritual : Middle English, from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French espirital, spiritual, from Late Latin spiritualis, from Latin, of breathing, of wind, from spiritus First Known Use: 14th century

The Roman Catholic view, from Catholic Encyclopedia: http:/ /encyclopedia

( Latin spiritus , spirare , “to breathe”; Gk. pneuma ; Fr. esprit ; Ger. Geist ). As these names show, the principle of life was often represented under the figure of a breath of air. The breath is the most obvious symptom of life, its cessation the invariable mark of death; invisible and impalpable, it stands for the unseen mysterious force behind the vital processes. Accordingly we find the word “spirit” used in several different but allied senses: (1) as signifying a living, intelligent, incorporeal being, such as the soul ; (2) as the fiery essence or breath (the Stoic pneuma ) which was supposed to be the universal vital force; (3) as signifying some refined form of bodily substance, a fluid believed to act as a medium between mind and the grosser matter of the body. The hypothesis of “spirits” in this sense was familiar to the Scholastic age, in fact down to the end of the eighteenth century, “animal spirits”, “vital spirits”, “natural spirits” were acknowledged agencies in all physiological phenomena (cf. Vesalius, Descartes, Harvey, Erasmus, Darwin, etc.) “Magnetic” spirits were employed by Mesmer in his theory in very much the same way as modern Spiritists invoke the “ether” of the physicists.

In Psychology, “spirit” is used (with the adjective “spiritual”) to denote all that belongs to our higher life of reason, art, morality, and religion as contrasted with the life of mere sense-perception and passion. The latter is intrinsically dependent on matter and conditioned by its this sense is essentially personal. Hegelianism, indeed, in its doctrines of Subjective, Objective, and Absolute Spirit, tries to maintain the categories of spiritual philosophy (freedom, self-consciousness and the like), in a Monistic framework. But such conceptions laws ; the former is characterized by freedom or the power of self-determination; “spirit” in demand the recognition of individual personality as an ultimate fact.

And a brief summary of “primitive” religion from an index of world religions. Primitive commonly refers to the lifestyle and technology of the people, and not necessarily to the people themselves.

Primitive religion is the beliefs and practices of people who lack writing and have a simple, material culture; it has existed since the beginnings of mankind. It is the religion of peoples who tried to understand and live with the terrifying and mysterious powers of nature. Primitive survival lays bare the basic character of man, because he is stripped of the material benefits that often mask our need for God.

Probably most humans throughout history have adhered to primitive religion. It is still widely practiced today in its pure form among preliterate peoples; in addition, many members of major religions (including Christianity) partake of primitive thought and practice to varying degrees.

In the West there is now a great interest in primitive religion. Many think that modern secular man needs to recover primitive man’s participation in the cycles of nature as well as his sense of the sacred. Primitive religion developed over every continent among peoples who have no contact with each other; and yet many basic similarities exist among primitive religions.

The gods are generally connected to dead ancestors. That is, they relate to the tribe or clan and support the customs that have in the past kept the group functioning. Belief is  in a large number of gods, each symbolizing an ancestor of a family, clan, village, or certain localities such as a river or a mountain. This is called henotheism, meaning close adherence to a certain god while recognizing the existence of others. Most groups do believe in one supreme, “high” God, who is the first source of all existence. But that God is usually considered too distant to be concerned with the affairs of men. The local gods are not always predictable, and spiritual practices are meant to appease their anger or to gain favors from them. (Which has carried through to modern religions to  varying degrees.)








How Psychologists Destroyed Public Education

A group pf psychologists were the first to re-enact the formation of the Grand Canyon. The historic event occurred in 1940 thanks to a grant from the National Park Service.

NOVEMBER / A high school in Arizona where I frequently work as a substitute

Back in the classroom after lunch, I can relax. The TA for the period is using one of the computers. I set my coffee on the desk and dig through a pile of papers and magazines set to one side. I strike intellectual gold, American style: a set of exercises designed by psychologists to “support” togetherness among staff and students.

I did not make this up: taxpayer-funded Ed. psych. consultants came up with this all by themselves.

THE PLAYPEN- Establish the boundaries of a playpen large enough to accommodate the group members, and allow group members to interact as babies and toddlers in the playpen. Establish the rules of no slapping, or biting, or hurting the other children. Let the interaction flow. SHARE.

NONVERBAL SHARING- Have the group stand in a circle. Each member, one at a time, non-verbally transmits a feelings message to each member of the group. SHARE. Option: May be done with eyes opened or closed.

HAND EXAMINATION: Instruct two people to non-verbally (!) examine each other’s hands. Ask them to to decide which one will “examine” first, and to allow at least 3 minutes to touch and look, before instructing the other partner to be the examiner. Ask each to verbally share the experience and specifically what they were able to discover about the partner. SHARE.

GROWING OLD- Ask two people to pretend they are very old. Insert cotton balls in their ears, dim the lights, and ask them to converse with each other. Give them a topic, eg, “Discuss what is going on in your life.” SHARE.

By this time I’m snickering and kicking the desk, and the TA looks my way. I ignore her because it just gets better:

RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVE- Enact a situation which symbolizes a religious truth or teaching. Establish the time, place, circumstance and people and allow the action to flow. EXAMPLES: 1. Moses receiving the 10 C’s from God. 2. Jesus healing the sick 3. Embody the spirit of Bhudda 4. Be your God. SHARE

SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE- Present an enactment which best describes a scientific or physical phenomenon. Allow the action to flow. EXAMPLES 1. Portray parts of the body (legs, liver, heart, eyes and explain the structure, functions and relationships to one another. (Let each person link with others and speak as anatomical parts.) 2. Portray Copernicus trying to tell 16th C people that the sun, not the earth is at the center of the solar system. 3. Embody a seed in the ground and act out the growth process. 4. Enact how sandstone is formed.

I’m pounding the desk and snorting, but wait, there’s more! 

5. Create vital organs linked to one another and ask one member to be a drop of blood circulating through the system. Ask the drop of blood to non-verbally interact with organs to establish their function with the drop of blood. 6. Enact the formation of the Grand Canyon. SHARE

My hysterical laughter unnerves the TA; I apologize for disrupting her computer game and continue to pound the desk while screeching. Outside the building the sunlight suddenly withdraws, and a group of short football players in squash yellow jerseys and brown pants fades against the gravel practice field. Heavy gray clouds loom between the oleanders which border the building and the low roof overhang outside.

All empires eventually fall, but the American Empire will be the first to be destroyed by psychologists.

How to Help an Asperger Person / Online Advice

Google how to help Asperger people and an avalanche of advice to “normal” people  about dealing with autistics shows up, mostly well-meaning explanations for “strange or weird behavior” and what to do about it. The overall impression is that having an autistic person in your life, by accident or choice, is like having your life invaded and encumbered by a special type of misfortune in the form of a “lovable weirdo” whose presence will be “worth it” if you can get a PhD. in Sainthood / UFO Studies.

Like this Fuzzy Monster suddenly appearing in your Martha Stewart living room: “Monsters may not make great pets, but they certainly make for great chairs, and designer Jason Goh proves that with his furry rocking monster chair.”



From Autism Initiatives

How to help a person with Asperger’s syndrome

Understanding how a person with Asperger syndrome views and interacts with the world around them is key to helping and communicating with them effectively.

An Asperger “visitation-invasion” of your life is more like this:

Need for routine

·        It can be very difficult for people with Asperger syndrome to predict or plan what will happen at any given event or time. (Damn Quantum Physics!) Routine is often, the only way someone with Asperger syndrome can have a sense of predictability or control over events. (Routine is efficient for getting life’s mandatory trivial BS out of the way so that we can focus on important things)

·        It may also mean that a change to that routine can be very disruptive and upsetting. Young children may impose* their routines, such as insisting on always walking the same route to school. (Wow! Asperger children ARE mega-powerful, just like T. Rex! *As opposed to adults-parents and domineering narcissists imposing their rigid schedules and rules on everyone else.)

Processing information

·        For most people, the majority of information received by the brain is automatically disregarded as unimportant. Many people with Asperger syndrome have difficulty with sifting through the important and unimportant information, therefore taking in a lot of details that others might miss. (Wrong: We’re very good at weeding out shallow social jibber-jabber, which is very low on actionable information. That blank stare into space means we’re ignoring you, unless and until you have something interesting to say.)

·        Although a positive trait at times, decision making and prioritising what is important can be very difficult with so much information to sort through. (Ditto above: “important” does not include incoherent social anguish over transitory emotional distress, or claims that your cat is a genius.) For some, making a decision over what to have for lunch, for example, can be a very time consuming and tiring process. Because of this they may need help restricting their options or structuring a timetable to reduce the incidents of decision making. (We can’t “win” – Making “quick” decisions about almost everything except what to wear, or which unappetizing crap to order for lunch, earns us the accusation of black and white thinking, which is what “normal people” call our preference for “facts”.)


·        People with Asperger syndrome tend to learn more effectively when things are presented visually, rather than orally. (So do many “normal” people, but deviating from standard archaic ideas about pedagogy would be “too hard” and require “empathy”.)

·        When tackling a task, many people with Asperger syndrome will do it in the way they did it before, even if that method did not work. They may recognise that it doesn’t work and may have been told a better way of performing the task, but still find themselves doing it the same way as before. (“Here stupid, do this” – usually a glib verbal direction, which doesn’t actually work. The assumptions here are VERY simplistic and ignore the evidence that in the social environment , “how to do things” is often so irrational, illogical, subjective, circuitous, and PURPOSEFULLY obscure, that trying to “figure out” the intended procedure is impossible. Any sane person tricked into installing Windows 10 on their computer-laptop will verify this. Hours of searching for workarounds and fixes on forums and tech sites leads to hanging on to any “method” that will work, even if it is ridiculously stupid, just because it’s the best we can find or come up with.)

·        It is often only in the action of doing something in the correct manner that someone will learn to do it that way again. Working alongside someone with Asperger syndrome and guiding them through a task can be an effective teaching method. (That is, if you know what your are doing! Pretending to know, when you don’t, because this is face-saving social protocol, will result in an Asperger getting mighty frustrated with you’re misrepresentation. Hint: you’re inability to say, “I don’t know how to do this” reveals low self-assurance and is not at all helpful.)

Physical abilities

·        For some people with Asperger syndrome, poor motor / organisational skills and clumsiness may be an additional difficulty. They may find difficulty with games that involve gross motor and *social skills, such as football. Awareness of this can be beneficial, and alternatives suggested. (Weird pairing of clumsiness and organizational skills! What percentage of “normal” people lack physical coordination, graceful movement and athletic ability? Try observing any middle-high school phys ed. class.)

Pop-Science / Shameless Research

Just in case you think that “research” carried out at academic institutions is automatically “legitimate” –


Frequent sauna bathing may protect men against dementia, Finnish study suggests December 16, 2016, University of Eastern Finland / Summary: Frequent sauna bathing may reduce the risk of dementia, suggests a recent study in Finland. In a 20-year follow-up, men taking a sauna 4-7 times a week were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those taking a sauna once a week. The association between sauna bathing and dementia risk has not been previously investigated. (For good reason – spurious correlation) Assumptions: 100 % of men with dementia are diagnosed, and if not, those who haven’t been diagnosed would conform to the sauna study “results”. There are no contributing variables in dementia other than “taking saunas” – no genetics, no behaviors, nor environmental factors. If you grossly simplify variables to the “one” variable that you’ve already decided is “the primary link” then that variable (“sauna-taking frequency”) is the one your study will “find”. 

Men should avoid rock music when playing board games, say scientists December 12, 2016, Imperial College London /  Summary: Mozart may enhance a man’s performance in board games – while AC/DC may hinder their chances, according to new research. (Is this really worthy of the Imperial College, or any academic institution?)

Uncombable (not able to be combed) hair gene discovered, November 17, 2016, Universität Bonn / Summary: Some children suffer from completely tangled hair, which cannot be combed at all. In German, the phenomenon bears the apt name “uncombable hair syndrome” or even “Struwwelpeter syndrome”. Researchers have identified mutations in three genes that are responsible for this. (Who knew? Turns out this affects maybe 100 humans on the planet and “sufferers” don’t think it’s all that tragic.) 


Wow! Daylight savings causes more mayhem than Satan!


Switching to daylight saving time may lead to harsher legal sentences December 14, 2016, Association for Psychological Science / Summary: Judges in the United States tend to give defendants longer sentences the day after switching to daylight saving time compared with other days of the year, according to new research. (OMG! What if DS change occurs on a Saturday? Sunday as the day of “vengeance” (and days when court is not in session) wrecks this observation)

The transition from daylight saving time to standard time leads to depressions October 27, 2016, Aarhus University / Summary: The number of people diagnosed with depression at psychiatric hospitals increases immediately after the transition from daylight saving time to standard time, concludes new research. The increase in “number of” depressed patients in (some) psychiatric hospitals is not scientifically measurable or repeatable. The phenomenon depends on a subjective opinion of by someone about “who is depressed”; is not extendable to ALL institutions (don’t forget that in the U.S., nearly half of prisoners in jails and prisons are psychiatric patients), nor does it include “depressed” individuals in general. The real danger of popularization of studies like this is “implied” GENERALIZATION to include people not remotely covered by a bogus “study” that is anecdotal and popular for “self-diagnosing” readers.

Does daylight saving time increase risk of stroke? February 29, 2016, American Academy of Neurology (AAN) /  Summary: Turning the clock ahead or back one hour during daylight saving time transitions may be tied to an increased risk of ischemic stroke, but only temporarily (!) according to a preliminary study. (“Magical thinking”)


What your choice of smartphone says about you November 21, 2016, Lancaster University / Summary: Android users are more honest than iPhone users say psychologists, in a study published this week which is the first to find a link between personality and smartphone type. (Any chance that Motorola, HTC, Samsung and Sony, Acer, Alcatel, Asus, Huawei, LG and ZTE, who have all made Android phones (and tablets) paid for this research?)

High-fat dairy products linked to reduced type 2 diabetes risk April 2, 2015, Lund University /  Summary: Consumption of high-fat yoghurt and cheese are linked to a reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as a fifth, according to new research. High meat consumption, on the other hand, is linked to a higher risk. (Do you think that dairy producers may have paid for this research? Risk assessment is notoriously unreliable, so it’s become an extremely popular “evasive” tool. LOL)

Note: There’s no doubt that Science Daily “selects” research to highlight on their website based on popularity algorithms, but, for someone like me, it still offers a huge service: quick access to “research” being funded at institutions, famous and not so famous, that falls into both legitimate academic work AND bogus, fraudulent, incompetent and “rigged” studies paid for by corporations and industry groups – with “outcomes” dictated by the funder. These studies offer insight into the use of “spurious correlations” – coincidence, outright lies and hedge words, no causal proof, but implied “results” (especially “risk”) in order to sell products and to grab the attention of internet seekers who are science illiterates.

The phrase “Scientists say…” refers to those handy, hard-working and imaginary “science elves” who are recruited to produce whopping lies about unethical, industry-paid, and just plain idiotic “studies” –

What Science Daily has to say about itself:

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Updated several times a day with breaking news and feature articles, seven days a week, (which precludes any danger of scrutiny for accuracy, legitimacy or quality) the site covers discoveries in all fields of the physical, biological, earth and applied sciences. Stories are integrated with photographs and illustrations, links to journals and academic studies, related research and topics, encyclopedia articles, and videos, to provide a wealth of relevant information on almost every science topic imaginable – from astrophysics to zoology. And thanks to a custom search function, readers can do their own research using the site’s extensive archive of stories, topics, articles, videos, and images.

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Aphantasia / Unable to Produce Mental Images

Aphantasia: I noticed someone had used this search term and reached this blog. Having not heard of aphantasia, I looked it up.

Aphantasia: A life without mental images  By James Gallagher Health editor, BBC News website, 26 August 2015

“Most people can readily conjure images inside their head – known as their mind’s eye. But this year scientists have described a condition, aphantasia, in which some people are unable to visualise mental images.”

The article offered a short test – You scored 40 out of 40

This score suggests that your visual imagery is more vivid than usual. Scores at the upper end of this range are suggestive of ‘hyperphantasia’: exceptionally strong powers of visualisation. About 23% of people score in this range, the highest of our five bands. If you consider your imagery to be exceptionally strong, and would like to be included in future research, you can contact the team at Exeter University through this email:

The test, though simple, made me aware that “demanding an image,” which is what the test does, makes visualizing even easier. I can zoom in on skin texture; see just a piece of clothing or the whole person, and can animate the person’s movement. I think this is because, as a visual Asperger, I view these details all the time, so they get saved in my memory. Someone who doesn’t pay attention to the environment simply wouldn’t have a detailed memory to “visualize.” Also, since I take many photographs, and have for years, I would imagine this activity increases visual memory; on the other hand, my interest in a wide range of images, from the entire landscape to detailed “natural” processes probably reflects my visual “hyperphantasia.”

On the other, other hand, I never photograph people, but can visualize people. It’s possible that visual Aspergers don’t look people in the eye (face) because the image is just too clear, detailed and intimate. (Like Fred’s nose) Do NT’s really want to know that this is how we see people?

How could I forget this face?

How could I forget this face?


How well does your “Mind’s Eye” work? / Aphantasia

New York Times / SCIENCE /6/22/2015

Picture This? Some Just Can’t

By Carl Zimmer

Certain people, researchers have discovered, can’t summon up mental images — it’s as if their mind’s eye is blind. This month in the journal Cortex, the condition received a name: aphantasia, based on the Greek word phantasia, which Aristotle used to describe the power that presents visual imagery to our minds.

In 2005, a 65-year-old retired building inspector paid a visit to the neurologist Adam Zeman at the University of Exeter Medical School. After a minor surgical procedure, the man suddenly realized he could no longer conjure images in his mind. Dr. Zeman couldn’t find any description of such a condition in medical literature. For decades, scientists had debated how the mind’s eye works, and how much we rely on it to store memories and to make plans for the future.

The patient agreed to a series of examinations. He proved to have a good memory and he performed well on problem-solving tests. His only unusual mental feature was an inability to see mental images. Dr. Zeman and his colleagues scanned the man’s brain as he performed certain tasks. First he looked at faces of famous people and named them. Certain regions of his brain became active, the same ones that become active in other people who look at faces.

Then the scientists showed him only names and asked him to picture their faces. In normal brains, some of those face-recognition regions again become active. In the patient’s brain, none of them did. The patient could however answer questions that would seem to require a working mind’s eye. He could tell the scientists the color of Tony Blair’s eyes, for example, and name the letters of the alphabet that have low-hanging tails, like g and j. These tests suggested his brain used some alternate strategy to solve visual problems.

Something remarkable happened: the patient was not alone.

“I have spent my entire life explaining to people that I do not think visually,” one reader wrote to me. “I cannot conjure a mental image of a person or of a place to save my life.” 

It turned out that Dr. Zeman and his colleagues were also hearing from people who thought they had the condition. The scientists decided to make a formal study of their email correspondents. They replied to emails with a questionnaire designed to probe the mind’s eye. All told, the researchers have received 21 responses.

The scientists asked their subjects to picture things like a sunrise. Try as they might, most of the respondents couldn’t see anything. But some of them did report rare, involuntary flashes of imagery. The mention of a friend’s name, for instance, might briefly summon a face. When the scientists asked their subjects to mentally count the windows in their house or apartment, 14 succeeded. They seem to share the  ability to use alternate strategies to get around the lack of a mind’s eye.

All in all, Dr. Zeman and his colleagues were struck by how similar the results of the survey were.

“These people seemed to be describing something consistent,” Dr. Zeman said. Rather than being a unique case, the original patient may belong to an unrecognized group of people.

In their new report, the scientists note that many of the survey respondents differ in an important way. While the original patient started out with a mind’s eye, the others never did. If aphantasia is real, it is possible that injury causes some cases while others begin at birth.

Thomas Ebeyer, a 25-year-old Canadian student, discovered his condition four years ago while talking with a girlfriend. He was shocked that she could remember what a friend had been wearing a year before. She replied that she could see a picture of it in her mind.

“I had no idea what she was talking about,” he said in an interview. Mr. Ebeyer was surprised to discover that everyone he knew could summon images to their minds. “I’d been searching forever on Google, but I didn’t know what to look for,” he said. “It was really empowering just to hear a story of someone else who had it.”

Mr. Ebeyer got in touch with Dr. Zeman, who sent him the questionnaire. Like many other subjects, he could count his windows without actually picturing his house. “It’s weird and hard to explain,” he said. “I know the facts. I know where the windows are.” The new study has brought Mr. Ebeyer some relief. “There’s something I can call this now,” he said.

Dr. Zeman now wonders just how common aphantasia is. “Moderately rare” is his guess, but to follow up, he has sent the questionnaire to thousands of people in Exeter.

He hopes to find enough people with the condition to begin a bigger scanning study, comparing their brains with those of people who see vivid mental images. Speaking of which — Dr. Zeman said that he was interested in meeting more people with aphantasia. He can be reached at _________________________________________________________________________


My need for “wide open natural spaces” may be a way of compensating for sensory overstimulation. Crowded human environments are unbearably “war-zone” like.

ME: I’ve italicized peculiar non-scientific phrases that refer to picture memory – “having a mind’s eye” would seem as if there is an organ in the mind that functions as an eye and it either works or it doesn’t. Verbs such as “conjure” and “summon” sound as if this is a magical process that requires some “hidden” effort. I don’t think these descriptions are peculiar to the writer, but are common usage.

As a visual thinker, what do I think of this? It’s almost impossible to know whether what I experience as visual memory is the same as that of people with “normal brains” (here we go again). Is my default visual processing an extreme form of what is normal or something else entirely? I would say that I don’t conjure, summons or make an effort to “see” picture memories; they aren’t “conscious” but belong to an unconscious system. Conscious thought is word thought; visual thinking is intuitive / unconscious.

An analogy might be that I experience something like an ATM machine; the card that I insert contains a request for information or an answer. (The answer would be in the form of a pattern, connections, processes or images.) The request goes into the machine, which whirrs and clunks and at some point (there is no timetable or deadline) an answer “appears”. (Don’t ask me where!) The images at work inside the machine are invisible – I don’t need to “see” them. The “answers” that emerge are visual: (my brain has processed visual memory, so what else but images would result?

The results may be geometric arrangements, categories of impressions; connections, patterns and various types of relationships; not linear, but 3-D and “moveable”. Sometimes I can verbalize (translate into words) these visual andwers; many I cannot. Often I “see” word concepts and structures a “visual” – my brain converts words / written work as graphic relationships so that the “structure” of thought “pops out”. The point is, visual thinking utilizes visual memory – it’s not a photo album that one looks through to find a picture of Uncle Albert.

Okay visual thinkers: help me out! How do you experience visual thinking?