#139: Moving screen

In the late 80’s, psychologist Francine Shapiro observed that particular eye movements reduced the intensity of disturbing thoughts in some patients (eg victims of combat stress, rape etc). The truth is no-one really knows why this works, but EMDR does seem effective.

I noticed recently that certain Apple screen savers (eg ‘Beach’ under OS X) were having a similar, low-intensity hypnotic effect. These are essentially still images of a tranquil scene, each of which is very slowly panned and zoomed; imitating the way that one’s eyes tend to move around a scene.


My suspicion is that these screensavers are so popular because they detune the critical, conscious part of the mind and allow access to underlying emotions. A similar thing happens when I read a large body of printed material: my eyes quickly begin to drift around the page, I lose ‘concentration’, and my mind wanders off into emotional states which are unrelated to the text.

Today’s invention is a program capable of making such a moving screensaver from any large JPEG image. The resulting image would be designed to move in those patterns which are known to provide most effective emotional release. This would almost certainly help some people subliminally, without any awareness of being ‘in therapy.’

Occasional tears in the keyboard would be a small price to pay.

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