Jean Marais in the film ‘Orpheus’ by Jean Cocteau

A case for exploring your senses differently

An interesting way of expanding your creativity & imagination is to approach your senses differently.  So, to begin, why not try exploring a few esoteric, sight-related conditions & syndromes as a springboard for a different point of view? We think it might shift your way of looking at things and by extension, spark your imagination.

Click on underlined links for further information.


1.  People with Synesthia enjoy a very interesting transposition of senses. (Jimi Hendrix had it!) In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme or color synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored.

Exercise: Why not try looking at a list of numbers from 0 to 9 and see if you can instinctively associate a color to each one.

2.   Blindsight is defined as the ability of people who are cortically blind due to lesions in their primary visual cortex, to respond to visual stimuli that they do not consciously see. In 2008, researchers conducted an experiment in which they asked a ‘blind’ patient to walk down a corridor filled with small obstacles. They told the patient that the corridor was empty, yet he successfully navigated around each object despite not being able to see them with his ‘eyes’. You can watch the amazing video of the experiment: here.

Exercise: Pair up with a friend (to follow you for safety) close your eyes and go for a walk. What will you ‘see’ behind your closed eyelids? Will you be able to navigate the obstacles in your path without your sight?

image from Chris Marker’s film “La Jetée”

3. Stendahl Syndrome is “a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art, usually when the art is particularly beautiful or a large amount of art is in a single place.” Of moderate clinical validity, the syndrome still poses an interesting opportunity to explore our physical reactions to observing art.

Exercise: Next time you go to a museum or gallery, try to switch off your analytical brain, and just try to feel what you see. It could be useful to your creative endeavors to notice what gut reaction and emotional sensations the artwork illicits in you, and why.

4. Remote Viewing is “the practice of seeking impressions about a distant or unseen target using paranormal means, in particular, extra-sensory perception (ESP) or sensing with mind.” Okay, so admittedly this one is a bit beyond scientific as of yet…but it’s still a cool jumping point to explore a novel way in which boost your imagination.

Exercise: Have a friend chose an object and show it to you, then have them hide it somewhere in your home. Sit quietly with your eyes closed and see if you can perhaps begin to visualize/sense where the object might be hidden.

Okay, so right about now, you’re saying to yourself: “the folks over at Seymour have gone cuckoo.” Trust us, we haven’t. We just want to encourage you to explore new ways of experiencing the world, to exercise your mind a little differently and perhaps even help you learn to ‘see’ with your eyes closed. After all, isn’t that kind of what imagination is?



 M.U. 2012

Published: September 11th, 2012

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