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“Form Constants” (another kind of Synaesthesia)

January 12, 2008


If you haven’t caught on yet, I am totally obsessed by the idea of form.  (And anyone else out there who is, should give Lia Purpura’s On Looking a read.)  Not just because I’m a poet with footing in free-verse, and…like my peers…only now have begun a longing, dangling dive into FORMAL poetry.  But, ALSO, because to have an eye/ear/mind for composition, to be an artist of any kind, is to worship form.  Form is what we manipulate, and respond to, in musical scores and written words, painted shapes and textures, the natural world, other human bodies, etc.  One of my professors is known to say that we are each just examples of “patterns” by which he means “a consistency of form,” with subtle alterations.  Similarly, Zen thinkers denying the egoistic “I” say, instead, we participate in an ongoing movement, vibration, fluidity that is The Universe. 

All of this is so I can share a little link I found by accident today, to a Wikipedia article about a phenomena called “Form Constants;” they are literally, visual, formal repetitious hallucinations that some drug-users experience.  The research began on Native American users of peyote, which piqued my interest, because I have participated in a Native American sweat lodge ceremony more than once, but never with the involvement of ritualistic drugs.  Anyhow, this is just one more way form fascinates me in its omnipresence.



3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2008 6:26 pm

    At the end of the page, you can listen to a fascinating bit about the neurological phenomenon of synesthesia. I was listening to the podcast of this show on the tube and I thought of your blog.

    Synesthesia is weird to me! I didn’t know it was a neurological thing–I thought one was supposed to associate colors and shapes with words and music. But apparently, it is a condition that is common in creative types.

  2. branded72 permalink
    March 25, 2008 12:22 pm

    Wonderful post. When I read your words, I so taken with how much they mirrored my thoughts. Thanks for this. Blessed be.


  3. branded72 permalink
    March 25, 2008 12:49 pm

    One more thing. Synesthesia, I’ve always thought, is related to sound, color, taste, touch………basically any stimuli. Neurology is just the process by which this event occurs.
    Also, Form Constants I have read, have been reported to occur among prisoners in……say solitary confinement. Basically, sensory deprivation. And have been argued to be UnConstitutional. Some people really go nuts. I happen to love altered states of consciousness when studying certain things. And Sensory Dep. tanks are wonderful. Not at all for the faint of heart though. WARNING! lol. Seriously though, I can only do it right at certain times. Have to be completely ready to go exploring.

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