So, you want to learn rapid image cycling?


There are two problems when trying to learn rapid image cycling. Firstly, it's difficult and tedious. Secondly, the transition from ordinary cycling to hypercycling is especially daunting. Let's break these down.

Firstly, rapid image cycling is an unnatural mental imaging technique that is inherently difficult. And because it requires substantial memorization, it helps to have some sort of aid in the beginning. Writing down your list on a piece of paper and scanning through it is the obvious solution. An improvement on this is adding a metronome to help with the tempo. But what if, rather than you scanning the list, the list itself handily rotates itself for you? Each item on the list comes to the fore when it's time to be imaged. Less effort makes the whole thing easier, and allows for longer practice sessions.

But the second problem is even more important. When you get sufficiently good in rapid image cycling, you are asked to progress to hypercycling. Hypercycling is an explicitly visual technique. To hypercyle, you have to imagine a two or three-dimensional object, like a rolodex or a clock face spinning very fast. This object has been absent in all prior practice. You go from simply switching from image to image, to having all 20+ images placed and rotated on an imaginary object that you have never used before. The transition can be exceedingly difficult - for many people impossible.

fountain pen on spiral book


I was present in a large audience when Dr. Bengston relayed the story of a determined apprentice. To master cycling, she drew a series of rectangles arranged in a circle on her garden. Each box stood for an image, and as she walked from rectangle to rectangle she would also mentally cycle the corresponding image. She literally felt her list with every step. "Now that's dedication", smiled Dr. Bengston.

That story stuck with me, and over the years I flirted with various ideas of getting the job done easier. I looked at various objects I could modify accordingly, mainly something along the lines of a prize wheel (a-la wheel of fortune). Then the idea of using software hit me. The result was the 3D and 2D vizualizer.

When you start learning rapid image cycling with the vizualizer, each image is etched into a "physical" object from the start. The object does all the rotating automatically. Of course you still must try your damn hardest to keep up mentally, but the whole process is far easier. Even more importantly, the transition from rapid image cycling to hypercycling is now seamless. To hypercycle, you just mentally spin the object faster. That's the theory at least! Try it out and let me know how it worked for you.

time lapse photography of ferris wheel
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