ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

So there's this thing going around referencing the TNG episode "Darmok" where they find a culture that speaks entirely in references. "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" etc. And the current thing is people translating modern memes to this format.

Lemme tell ya, there's very little that highlights aphantasia and prosopagnosia more than having people translate familiar memes into visual descriptions and names of people who are apparently famous.

ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@paideuomai I've been on the "Tamarian Language Study Group" FB group for a couple of years now. I also have fairly pronounced aphantasia. I'm not quite sure what you're describing, though, so I can't quite follow.

ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@roadriverrail I'm seeing descriptions like:

"Timberlake, his face blank and staring."

"Anthony Adams by the tree, in yellow, hands rubbing."

"Phillip J Fry, his eyes squinted."

"Troy Barnes returning with pizzas, his face fallen."

"A couple, the boyfriend distracted, the girlfriend shocked."

"Leonardo DiCaprio, his glass raised."

ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@roadriverrail I think I might know what some of those are, though I have no clue about most of them.

My point, though, isn't figuring out what memes they're referencing. It's a reflection on the fact that to some people these descriptions are apparently entirely sensible, but to me they're almost completely opaque. I think that's fascinating.

ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@paideuomai Out of curiosity, how often would you say you communicate in memes?

ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@roadriverrail I rarely post them, but I see other people post them many times a day. I think they're fun, and I mostly understand them.

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ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@paideuomai I think this might be relevant. I communicate in them heavily, especially since giphy is often how I show people my emotional context for a remark on Slack. As a result, these mostly work by my having an internal database of memes. E.g. my mind goes "I'm feeling dubious. Dubious is 'squinting fry'." I initially got 3/5 of those phrases. I got a 4th by thinking "returning with pizzas" without "Troy Barnes" in the mental search.

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ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@roadriverrail Very relevant. I don't think in memes because I don't think visually at all. That's completely alien to me. If I'm dubious, my brain *never* comes up with "How do I express that visually?" Heck, more often than not it doesn't come up with "How do I express that?" at all. Either I react immediately without filter (with facial expression or words), or my appropriateness filter stops those and I plan a word response.

ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@paideuomai I do have some level of visual thinking or at least an emulation of it. I can reason spatially, for example. Aphantasia simply means I don't "see" it. Basically, it's like the words we're typing now. I feel dubious; I can type that as "I'm dubious" or "/giphy squinting fry". In fact, I will often try to giphy an image based on my affective state (e.g. "dubious fry"), then if it fails learn the "canonical" name. It's a bit like kanji.

ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@roadriverrail Oh, I'm pretty good with spatial; it's just visual I don't get. So maybe a different issue there. Because yeah, when I communicate something either it gets out quickly (which is facial and words) or I have to think about it, which is words. Expressing it in a visual medium just totally never even occurs to me on its own.

ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@roadriverrail The other side of that, though, is pretty seamless. If someone posts a meme, either I just get it because I've seen the semantics of the meme before, or I can usually work it out from context, just like any other expression. But when I parse that meaning, the visual representation of the meme just... doesn't stick in my head. The only parts I retain are the semantics, the emotional interactions, and probably some spatial cues.

ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@paideuomai I reckon it's also worth noting that I already have a manner of casual communication that lends itself well to becoming meme-expressive. I use turns of phrase and cultural references far heavier than most people I know, and often they're a blend of American, British, and Canadian things that I forget most people don't experience in a big slurry like I do.

ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@roadriverrail Yeah, I go casual pretty easily (when I'm not hyperanalytical or overwhelmed), but mine just usually doesn't output memes for some reason.

ST:TNG, memes, aphantasia, prosopagnosia 

@paideuomai Anyway, I definitely agree neurodivergence plays a role, but it's also worth keeping in mind that (1) many people playing that game do it pretty damn terrible (2) most people are describing the one meme that matters to them (3) having a casual sense of memes as part of your language also likely plays a large factor.

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