I also question (somewhere in the mountain read and yet to be fully digested) the concept of reduced cognition. At age 39 I was requested to submit to a WAIS test to be informally informed “she’s a fucking genius with an IQ of 170”. As my experience with the informer was that she was prone to exaggeration, I shrugged.
When later, age 59, I was interviewed in an informal setting by a psychologist engaged in the Brain Donor scheme, that whatever it was, I still ‘had it’. I have always subscribed to a very high score being the product of memory in the ability to reverse repeat series of 9 digits in a row. Also the ability to put a story into a sequence of images not seen before by the testing psychologist. That I do not present as a ‘genius’ I regard as a consequence of the impact of changed behaviour when in a group setting. (Morrisby DTB and cockroaches.)
As an author, my experience was an ability to elicit images in the minds of others without using any description. In a group setting, one author remarked that I never described anybody/anything and was howled down by the rest of the group. Each described the image perceived from my written piece and each differed. I accepted whatever magic was working and did not question the hows of whys of it.
I have written a novel “Mixed Fortunes” wherein some employ visual imagery to a common purpose. In this I drew on my experience within two basically illiterate communities. In my book, “Life Before Lithium”, I describe many experiences for which science has yet to uncover an explanation. One is that on a Tuesday morning I woke from a nightmare, sitting up in bed with a scream lodged in the back of my throat. The following Friday, late afternoon, the police called to inform me that my 16 year old son had been hit by a motor car and was in hospital; severe brain damage. From that moment until after the funeral, I was on automatic pilot. I had lived it in my dream/nightmare which had prepared me for the horror. There was a final horror during my research for a novel on heart transplants (now abandoned).
My last (final?) poetry reading I explained my discovery of aphantasia and asked the audience to close their eyes as I read a poem which explains what I see as my purpose in life. The only feedback I noted was a look of joy and thumbs up by one person.
Those of you aboard my ship
prepare yourselves for a long, long trip.
Do not grumble as we pass the shore.
This is what I ask you
be thankful for the rescue
as I sail the seven seas forevermore.
Settle in for a long, long ride.
Your fare is paid with all your pride.
Know the measure of the ticket you have bought.
Travel now in peace or your journey will not cease
and do not leave this ship before your port.
When you sit down at my table
teach me all that you are able
add your store of knowledge to my hoard.
My ship is called “The Comet”, I shall live my life upon it
Only through learning am I never bored.
Once I sailed this ship alone
searching for my final home
then was told that this was not to be.
Now I understand the message, I carry those who need a passage,
Devil’s refugees on a rescued Destiny.
Those who were stolen, snared or sold
can throw their cargo in my hold
as they jump from the dark side of the moon.
I keep a peaceful ship for the quarrelsome soon slip
on decks holystoned to Heaven’s tune.
There will be times you are afraid
and think mistake has been made
as I steer into the dark of darkest awe,
but in all worlds must be seen, my lanterns red and green
as I sail the seven seas forevermore.
At the time of the WAIS test I was told by the referring psychiatrist that my problem is that I have no self-image; that I perceive myself as an amorphous mass. My reply was an amorphous mess. Recently I woke up in a wrestling match with such a shape – a large, strong, solid blob of indeterminate shape.
Now 82.5 years old (how we boast as we get older) I continue to more fully appreciate that I left school at 14 and entered the full time work force. As such, my education was restricted mainly to basic country primary school and Sunday School at which I was teaching at the age of 12. My performance at university as a special entry student was 1% below a credit; exceptions being high distinctions for statistics and the third year research essay on depression.