Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Splatter vision

There is a technique I acquired as a child that I was introduced to as ‘splatter vision’. I’ve no idea if that is its actual name or if ‘it’ even has a name. Nevertheless, it has been a technique popular with indigenous peoples for searching for game or avoiding predators. Let’s say you are at the edge of a meadow and need to get to the other side, but there are dangerous predators in this area. Rather than focus on a landmark such as the space between the two trees that you’re aiming for, one would widen their visual field as much as possible. This has the effect of bringing everything out of focus, but not sufficiently that you’ll fail to notice movement at the tree line – even if that minor movement is at a 90-degree angle from the direction your eyes are facing. When motion is detected, you then focus your sight on the motion and verify it is not danger. This shall soon be a Buddhist topic, wait for it…

I have used this technique in a variety of applications over my lifetime and recently I discovered something that has me wondering about utilizing this as an aid to my practice. I sometimes play a bingo game that allows me to pick from a stack of 5x5 cards that have a picture of a particular piece of fruit in each square. On every bingo card, two of the fruits are repeated three times, two are repeated twice, and fifteen are represented only once. There are fifteen possible bingos on each card. I have discovered that certain squares contribute to more bingos than others. For instance, the square on row one, square two contributes to only two bingos, while the square right below it (row two square two) contributes to twice as many – or four. As a result, it is more valuable to mark that second square than the first. Since having three ‘apples’ called is more difficult than having one ‘apple’ called, when I look at cards, I try to choose a card that has all or most of its most plentiful fruits on the least valuable squares. The challenge is, I only have about twenty seconds to choose a card.

So, I use this splatter vision to identify the triple represented fruits quickly, but realized that I cannot name them. For instance, I can very quickly see that there are three apples and three pears…but it comes out as a very general feeling/concept like “three of those and three of those” although the words are not there. I figure that I am so deep in my amygdala that it takes five or six seconds to get to the part of my brain that can access ‘language’. Then, I recalled Krishnamurti’s famous warning that the day we teach a child the name of the bird, the child will never see the bird again…
What if I experience the world visually like this (when I’m not driving or operating heavy machinery, I suppose)? What would it be like to experience the world visually without being able to name anything in it? I’m going to find out. Unfortunately, I have a series of appointments today but I am going to a small wilderness area tomorrow and am going to give a whirl. Posting here in the event anyone has suggestions/warnings – or just want me to wait until you get here.

lobsterShoshin1

Comments

  • I expected something else when I read "splatter vision", probably due to the videogames I've played...

    What you mention reminds me of the "panoramic view" that occurs to me when I'm developing / experiencing samadhi: a general and conscious view of your surroundings, of what enters the visual sense-gate -including the rest of the other gates course!- so you are aware of what lies there but you don't spend too much time conceptualising and describing. I think Trungpa Rinpoche coined this "panoramic view"..

    Anyways, I look forward to your update Yagr!

    yagrShoshin1lobster
  • Very interesting guys <3
    In one story about the Buddhas life, he recalls sitting under a tree and entering a state of peaceful calm. Hence later enabling him to combine yogic asceticism and sitting under a tree and becoming a legend …

    Here are some tips I have learned along the muggle middle way:

    • Samadhi and jhana states can be described as relaxed focus or overwhelming stillness or movement without direction. My early experiences of this was from intense movement (Buddhist martial arts).
    • Wide stillness or open awareness is a form of attention as mentioned. We have talked about this many times.
    • As well as being open to input or experiencing awareness, we can also generate attention. For example into the body, emotions, idealisations.
    コチシカ
  • yagryagr Veteran

    A funny thing happened on the way to the wilderness area...

    It has now been postponed until tomorrow. Just so you all know I didn't forget to come back and share my experience. <3

    Shoshin1lobster
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited September 10

    I'm not sure if I'm on the right track here @yagr ...

    If you think about it, according to scientific research around 11 million (give or take a few million) of incoming bits of data are being processed by our brains every second...Even though most things in our environment which are entering through our sense doors have labels, we don't tend to 'consciously' use their labels unless the objects, shapes, or colours are brought to our 'attention'...

    I'm looking around my lounge at the moment (so there's deliberate intent/purpose involved) this means labelling is happening, however when I'm just sitting looking at the laptop screen, peripheral awareness continually takes in the surrounding objects, colours shapes, but labelling is not happening until there's a shift/move to the next level of awareness where focus of attention and thought become involved...

    Awareness is fundamentally non-conceptual, before thinking splits experience into subject and object

    Splatter vision sounds similar to when your focus of attention is on nothing in particular which gives one the ability to see all that moves within this 'nothing in particular' focus of attention...

    I remember seeing a heron perched upon a fence looking out over the ocean focused on nothing in particular, ('just looking' as it would be said in Zen) then all of a sudden it would take off swooping down on the unsuspecting prey which focused its attention....

    yagrFosdick
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    I've encountered something similar in energy healing exercises, where it was called 'soft sight'. There are also 'soft hearing' and 'soft touch' exercises, same thing basically, but using different senses.

    Awareness is fundamentally non-conceptual, before thinking splits experience into subject and object>

    <3

    コチシカJeroenlobsterShoshin1
  • yagryagr Veteran

    @Shoshin1 said:
    I'm not sure if I'm on the right track here @yagr ...

    Awareness is fundamentally non-conceptual, before thinking splits experience into subject and object

    Splatter vision sounds similar to when your focus of attention is on nothing in particular which gives one the ability to see all that moves within this 'nothing in particular' focus of attention...

    Yep. Fascinating stuff (to me) because I can't see how the two statements could even be perceived as different from each other - I just have no idea which of the myriad of ways to say a thing is going to resonate with peeps. Anyway, right - was hoping to hamstring "thinking" so it wasn't able to focus on anything sufficiently to label.

    Didn't work. :) However, I experienced a very good tutorial on what happens when I booby-trap one gate.

    Shoshin1
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited September 11

    @yagr said:

    Yep. Fascinating stuff (to me) because I can't see how the two statements could even be perceived as different from each other - I just have no idea which of the myriad of ways to say a thing is going to resonate with peeps. Anyway, right - was hoping to hamstring "thinking" so it wasn't able to focus on anything sufficiently to label.

    Didn't work. :) However, I experienced a very good tutorial on what happens when I booby-trap one gate.

    Along with their beneficial nature, words can also be our worst enemy .... especially when they get in the way of the truth...

    Just out of interest @yagr have you heard of "Semantic satiation"

    Semantic satiation is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener,[1] who then perceives the speech as repeated meaningless sounds. Extended inspection or analysis (staring at the word or phrase for a lengthy period of time) in place of repetition also produces the same effect.

    Would a slight adaptation of this when out in the bush/wild, help to hamstring thinking if you set your focus of attention on an object and repeat the label of the object over and over again until it loses it's meaning...for example a tree, bush or rock...

    Not saying it will work but perhaps something to look into...

    yagr
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I remember something similar being explained back when I took a few aikido classes. From what I remember the idea was to try to tune your perception to take in the whole room rather than a singular focus.

    lobsteryagr
  • yagryagr Veteran

    @Shoshin1 said:

    Just out of interest @yagr have you heard of "Semantic satiation"

    Semantic satiation is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener,[1] who then perceives the speech as repeated meaningless sounds. Extended inspection or analysis (staring at the word or phrase for a lengthy period of time) in place of repetition also produces the same effect.

    I have! Which is extremely helpful for me - makes identification easier if I end up there again. It's always been with extraordinarily simple words - I'm pretty sure the last time I experienced it was with the word "lose" which I found ironic since we are talking about a word or phrase 'losing' meaning.

    Would a slight adaptation of this when out in the bush/wild, help to hamstring thinking if you set your focus of attention on an object and repeat the label of the object over and over again until it loses it's meaning...for example a tree, bush or rock...

    Not saying it will work but perhaps something to look into...

    My best guess (which doesn't mean I'm not going to take this out for a spin anyway) is that it'll both succeed and fail. It'll succeed in that the word will become meaningless but I suspect it'll fail in one of two ways.

    1. Repeating "I am stupid" over and over again until the phrase becomes meaningless will not stop me from identifying with a Self that I will start to see as stupid - if only temporarily. i.e. my identification with 'stupid' has just gone underground and been internalized.
    2. My other thought was that going nose-blind, for instance, doesn't mean the odor has disappeared - it just means that I've become unaware of it.

    Nevertheless, I really am grateful for you sharing this.

    Shoshin1
Sign In or Register to comment.