The Treehouse + The Cave

The Treehouse + The Cave: Phosphenes <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src=""></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: '\x3d9561264\x26blogName\x3dThe+Treehouse+%2B+The+Cave\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3d\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3d\x26vt\x3d-2611371644715887499', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Phosphenes Leonids

When I was 5 or 6 I discovered what I wouldn't know was the phenomenon of phosphenes until the age of 14.

After I was put to bed, I'd lie awake with the palms of my small hands applying firm pressure to each closed eye. Patterns of deeply saturated color (reminiscent of fireworks or fireflies) would fill what had been my central and peripheral fields of vision. Initially I would watch, critical and entertained, enjoying the novelty of a personal light show. However, over time I began to allow myself to sink into these visions. I would look past that primary layer, towards the receding blackness rather than the dancing light.

I got good at it, and by the time I was 8 or 9, I was able to completely loose awareness of myself as a viewer, as body lying in bed. Using this method I cultivated minor out of body experiences for much of my youth. I always felt very comfortable, being just a mind and eyes.

Then, one day I was unable to achieve this absence. As an adult I tend to think that I lost it as soon as I comprehended the physical nature of the phenomena itself. Though to be honest, I think I lost the skill gradually, as my interest in defining the parameters of reality moved on to other aspects of my life. I miss it, though I still keep the company of the colors.

Images: The 2001 Leonids

Blogger Rob thought:

great post,

Just found it, please check my similar post out above :)

could I please use your pictures of the leonids as an example of what you have used as an analogy to what you see?

June 23, 2005 at 1:43 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger Andy thought:


Thanx for your thoughts. I'm impressed by your attempt to depict the virtually invisible. Nice feedback from the forums as well; to which did you post?

You can of course link, cite, copy whatever from my post, just give me credit. Also know that I nicked those Leonid images from, I didn't (and couldn't) shoot them myself.


June 24, 2005 at 9:00 AM - Comment Permalink  
Anonymous martin thought:

hello andy!

what you wrote at the end is kind of funny because it reminds me of the pink floyd song "comfortly numb" which has the following lyrics in it: ".... when i was a child i caught a fleeting glimpse, out of the corner of my eye, i turned to look but it was gone i cannot put my finger on it now... ".

anyway, currently i'm interested in generating these things you see and what you and rob posted and blogged definately helped.
... my first try (from months ago and until now the only try) to picture one shape-thing you see:

please let me know what you think.



June 27, 2006 at 6:40 PM - Comment Permalink  
Blogger Andy thought:


I've been working on trying to depict this experience as well, check out these two posts (Deep Field, Constellation).

Enjoyed yours,


July 2, 2006 at 9:48 PM - Comment Permalink  
Anonymous martin thought:

wow, these two are amazing! don't know how you did it, also didn't read the text because got not much time now but will check it out later!



July 3, 2006 at 5:47 PM - Comment Permalink  

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