Romains, Jules - eyeless sight
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Jules Romains – Eyeless sight
When the subject first begins to see ... he is unable to use his cephalic vision at the same time.
The result of this is a curious state of consciousness. The subject who is holding his head straight has the impression that his face is stuck in an absolutely black hole, while there is a bright light at the level of his chest.
If a small object is placed centimetres from his chest, this object seems bathed in light; the subject has the impression that if he could succeed in making his attention descend enough, he would see the object with remarkable clearness, but he only succeeds in this to a slight degree, only a glimpse results.
This glimpse is very different from homocentric vision. That is vague and flowing, but like ordinary vision through the eyes, for example, in a room after dusk; the data are insufficient, but the attentive gaze can be turned fully on an object and can endeavour at leisure to decipher its form.
On the other hand, in sternal vision, the difficulty comes from our inability to change the centre or axis of our attention. We feel that the object is well lighted and that the details are clearly marked, but somewhat as a man would perceive out of the corner of his eye a near and well lighted object which he could not look at directly.
If the subject lowers his head slowly in such a way as to bring the object gradually into the region of the ordinary visual field, the moment the object enters it, sternal vision ceases.
I repeated this experiment scores of times, with the most varied arrangements. It seems that, at least at the beginning of paroptic education, there is an incompatibility between the two visions. They cannot superimpose their effects. But after a while they seem to become juxtaposed; that is to say, it is possible to have sternal vision of an object without suspension of cephalic vision of other objects in another part of space.
It results from this non superposition or heterocentricity that when the subject tries to obtain sternal vision, he ought to avoid leaning his head in the direction of the object. His head should remain straight or slightly uplifted.
After sternal vision other regional visions reveal themselves . We have noticed a beginning of vision by the hand, the back of the neck and the back.