Ganz Feld

Ganz feld is German for complete/total/full field. It refers to experiences arising from uniformity of light, the absence of any detail on which to focus. It is also frequently referred to as blank field, a term I find more useful as it contains the importance of complete absence.

Any synthetic ganz feld is without the critical influence of the underlying facts of life… natural ganz feld tends to presage a potentially lethal short-term future for the perceptor. Any natural ganz feld will, in time, elicit the last question…

Am I to live, or am I to die before I think again.

There is a fragment of time between our sensorimotor system being authorised to act and tactile/visual/audio feedback confirming success. Many corrections can be made without reference to consciousness. This is a period during which we are in free fall from one now to the next – the wheels in motion and with excitement/fear we await the outcome of our will or circumstance. Many socio-economic and environmental factors influence the pessimism or optimism accompanying each leap, small or great, into the unknown. Any form of training increases the probability that act and outcome will be as intended and predicted within the scope of that training.

Ganz feld is a term used to describe the experience of zero visibility white-out fog or snow. I have had the fog version twice while tramping the tops of some of NZs North Island ranges. There is a period of Fear as you recognise that you are in the midst of a significant-probability lethal situation. There’s a natural instinct to blame, so there’s Anger, with self and/or other, for the fact that you’re in this situation (known as the ” Too late now!” moment). If all goes well and the irrational responses are weeded out without doing anything especially stupid then the Reasoning stage begins. We attempt a more or less detailed examination of the known facts and create credible interpretations upon which realistic predictions can be based. With Transcendence we realise that we are masters of this matter, that no more certainty can be extracted from the available information. With transcendence, the cessation of internal dialogue, comes the formation of will… to do or not to do. Every action and inaction is preceded by this question. To be or not to be fills fear’s melodramatic moments until the will to act has been executed and confirmed. These are ideas that scale well – variation in real-world significance needs to be acknowledged with measured response.

Westerners like their wisdom neatly expressed by witty mnemonics. Thus you will notice several unusually capitalised words in the last paragraph. The essentials of fear, anger, reason and transcendence are entrained to the notion of FART. It is generally agreed that a FART is better out than in, however we would all be happier if we made an effort to FART with courtesy and consideration. We all need to FART. If there be such a thing as a Human Right then a fundamental must be the inviolability of the opportunity to FART in accordance with one’s beliefs without diminishing the equivalent right of any other.

And then there is the final FART when NDE accounts are reconciled with the real thing.

These ramblings are the froth remaining after meditation on the nature of ganz feld using a zero-tech ganz feld device. Take two of pieces of white A3 copy paper and staple them together such that you have a smooth, even arch over your face when you put your head between the two sheets. Place apparatus on bed or floor under any ordinary light source, insert head and lie on back with open eyes.

Open eyes are essential – natural ganz feld is an eyes wide open experience – no way to hide, in a reality without reference. Closed eyes or darkness correspond to routinely occurring states, notably nightfall and sleep. White noise loud enough to blank any ambient noise helps. Under stuck-in-the-snow circumstances, of course the only sounds would be your own heartbeat, breathing and the sounds or soundlessness of that reality. I haven’t quite come to a conclusion about ganz feld colour. My gut feeling is that colour is a point of interest, a creator of attachments – looking for unevenness in diffusion of the primaries used to create the colour, seeking the perfect name/description or applying meaning/symbolism to the colour. White through mid-grey simulates well established natural ganz feld scenarios, zero visibility due to snow or fog.

Recreational ganz feld is worth exploring. It isn’t too hard to refrain from the ganz feld shattering attempts to focus on something – edges of goggles, texture of paper, uneven illumination. Once past the distractions, a safe environment is conducive to creative visualisation and both fantasy and geometric hallucination. In conjunction with breathing (pranayama) and vocalisations (mantra) it can be a quite wonderful way to spend an hour or so. Yes – synthetic ganz feld takes time, first to deal with all the visual noise in your apparatus, then to stop debating with yourself – how long to spend and how long it’s been so far, safety, are you ready? It’s amazing how much time we waste consulting our consciousness over matters already ruled upon a thousand instances ago.


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  • auntyproton  On February 23, 2012 at 2:36 am

    Do you know of any well-made Ganzfeld goggles? I haven’t been able to find a pair that was reviewed as anything other than poorly-made. I also tried to make a pair out of swimming goggles and window frosting paint but they’re not producing the Ganzfeld effect. Don’t need AVS, just the straight Ganzfeld. Thanks!

    • CraigT  On February 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

      I haven’t looked for plain ganz feld devices. I have heard of successes with the half-ping-pong ball approach. I have had success with the arch of A3 paper mentioned in my post.
      Have you experienced ganz feld by any means? My impression is that it’s not as easy to recreate as some seem to suggest. It’s certainly fragile – it doesn’t take much to be reminded that there is an ordinary world right there.
      The main thing is that the complete visual field be occupied with an even, detail free illumination. A white wall or ceiling properly illuminated and viewed from a suitable distance should work. A full-face safety visor with the clear plastic replaced with translucent plasitc or grit-blasted to a frosted finish will work – I didn’t do it for ganz feld, but for another illumination project (see TriField).

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