a lot of people get AIWS when they’re six or seven and grow out of it“.

A fascinating article, found via Warren Ellis’ blog, which suddenly reminded me when I read it this morning that I used to suffer a very occasional, very mild version of the same syndrome during my childhood and adolescence. All of a sudden, for no discernible reason, my visual perception of the world around me would become subtly skewed. The best way that I can describe it is that it felt like, rather than the objects around me being normal size and at normal distance, everything was a small, toy version of itself, but placed much closer to me. Sometimes it would be the reverse – objects seemed to be enormous, but distant. They occupied no more space in my visual field than before, but my perception of them had changed. It never lasted more than about ten minutes or so, and sometimes I could make it disappear by looking for a while at a large, featureless area like a clear sky. It most often started when I’d been reading for an extended period and the words on the page would start to shift perspective. I can’t remember the last time it happened to me, but it was probably at least ten years ago.

“The knowledge that another has felt as we have felt, and seen things, even if they are little things, not much otherwise than we have seen them, will continue to the end to be one of life’s choicest pleasures.”

Robert Louis Stevenson, “Essays of Travel”, chapter 13 – “Roads”.