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Lyn Buchanan's CRV

The Man in the Dark Room With Only a Penlight

The Analogy:

Suppose that you suddenly find yourself in a totally dark room. You can't see a thing. You don't know whether there is danger about you or not. You don't know whether you will stumble and fall over something if you take a step. You don't know whether you are in a lion's den or an empty room.

About that time, you hear a voice through a headset you have around your neck. It tells you that you have a pen light in your pocket, and that you are supposed to shine it around the room and describe the location. You take out the pen light and find that it is extremely narrow beamed. You begin shining it around the room, almost in panic, to see where you are.

You shine the light upwards and see something round. "Round", you tell the person on the other end of the communications line. You continue shining it around and see something red. "Red", you tell him. You continue shining the light this way and that and finally see something that looks rubbery. "Rubbery", you tell the man.

"AH HA!!!" the man says through the earphones. "You are in a place with a beach ball!" Standing there in the darkness, you are puzzled. You know that you haven't seen a beach ball, at least not yet. The person is assuming that because you said, "round, red, rubbery", that you were describing a beach ball. When in fact, you were only telling him that you are in a place which has something round, something else red, and something else rubbery.

As you continue to move the pen light around the room, you find that you gain an awareness of where you are. You also realize that your eyes are growing accustomed to the darkness, and that the light from the narrow beam now appears to illuminate things around the beam. The area you can see begins to widen.

At some point in the panic of moving the light beam around the room at random, you get a sense of an ability to deal with the location in which you find yourself. At that time, the panicky jerking of the light beam back and forth ceases, and you return to one of the things of interest to study it in more detail.

The Meaning of the Analogy:

The person who suddenly finds himself standing in an unknown, dark room symbolizes your subconscious mind as it suddenly "arrives at the target site". The tiny, narrow-beamed pen light is the subconscious mind's level of ability to perceive the target site when it first arrives. It's mental eyes are not adjusted to the site, and it can only see a small portion of what is right in front of it. As time goes on, however, and the mind grows accustomed to the darkness, it finds that the area it can perceive because of the light grows and widens.

The tendency to jerk that narrow beam of recognition around from thing to thing, both rapidly and randomly, is only human nature. The subconscious mind obeys this same natural human tendency as it gets its bearings at the target site. This is called "winking about the site" in formal CRV terminology, and is a natural process which happens to every viewer, both novice and old-timer alike at the beginning of each and every session they do.

The person who is at the other end of the communications line symbolizes the conscious mind. It is dependent on the subconscious mind for information, and eagerly wants any information it can get. However, it is not at the target site, and does not understand that the information coming back is being sent by someone who is reporting random sightings of unconnected things at the target site. It therefore tries to put the random stream of words together and make sense of them. In doing so, it jumps first to one conclusion and then another. Or, it may decide at the very beginning on one mistaken interpretation and filter all the remaining impressions it gets according to its pre-determined definition of the site.

The point at which the subconscious mind gets to the point where it says, "OK. I can deal with this place" is the moment of Aesthetic Impact (see terminology manual). From this point on, the subconscious mind is capable of focusing in on individual items and getting details about them. It is no longer in a state of panic, and it no longer tends to report things randomly.

The point of this analogy is that, when you are working in Stage 2, your subconscious mind is "winking about the site", and you have to work very hard to not draw conclusions from the series of perceptions you are receiving. To do so will either cause you to jump to an incorrect conclusion of the target site, or will cause you to begin filtering every new incoming impression according to your pre-determined belief about what the target is.