Do You See Grids?

Frank Maddish
5 min readJul 22, 2020


My wife and I sometimes see grids when we close our eyes, and I didn’t realise until recently that we are not alone. Literally, millions of people have had the same experience. Mine are usually green on black, and if I focus on the pattern, I can adjust the perspective of my inner field of view. I have often floated over a grid plane, precisely arranged in thin green lines, and speculated upon the nature of our visual universe.

My wife has seen the same, especially if she feels faint, I too have passed out a few times in the past and witnessed grids, although on those occasions they took on a golden or orange hue. Early on in my life, it became such a regular occurrence I began to consider the nature of reality, the visual construct that we all take for granted.

Over the years I’ve grown increasingly accustomed to the phenomena and hardly even give it a second thought, until last night when a streamer on twitch began to complain of the same condition. I’ve since read descriptions of all kinds, and some people who see something more akin to a honeycomb pattern, but either way I realise that seeing grids is a common complaint.

Another streamer commented on the first, saying that they avoid virtual reality because it makes them feel like they’re going crazy and that when they sleep, their ‘grids are worse than ever.’ I’ve tried to find a definitive explanation in the field of medicine, but from what I’ve read, health professionals are grasping at straws. In the main, they over generalise the symptoms, blaming problems with eyesight and too much screen time, but when it comes to precise grids, in particular, they haven’t got a clue.

Those with a more spiritual bent argue that psychedelics, especially tryptamine, reveal a matrix of light, the perceptual framework that underlies our photorealistic world. Even ancient cultures, including Egyptians, Mayans and Hopi Indians, theorise something similar. There are plenty of hippies out there who describe three kinds, the gravitational, the electromagnetic, and the crystalline consciousness grid. I’m not so sure, I’ve only seen one, and it doesn’t look very spiritual to me, if anything, I think it’s more likely a function of our biological technology.

It reminds me a little of LED and LCD monitor test patterns, the sort of program you might run when you’re worried about missing pixels. When I was young, and there were only three TV channels in Britain, if you were up too early or too late, and sometimes in the middle of the day, you’d come across a test card. It was a static image, broadcast for two reasons, one to signify the broadcaster had run out of content, and two, to test the quality of the signal.

Perhaps grids are an automatic reset, a mechanism of balance to keep the eyes in check so that as we age, can adjust to our decreasing visual acuity. But the synthetic nature of perfectly drawn grids in the dark only reinforces my personal opinion that we are living in a simulation. There are no perfect grids in nature, except perhaps for honeycomb structures, and molecular and crystalline growth. However, most natural growth follows the Fibonacci sequence, and I can’t remember the last time I saw a green grid out there at night in the black sky.

So, if there’s a grid to provide structure to the visual universe, could it possibly be that the majority of the brain, which even now science has little understanding, is designed to project a perspective field of imagery onto our reality? It’s something I’ve discussed over the years with many people. I call it my ‘Grey Furniture Theory.’ We skin this world with light and colour, and our biological apparatus ensure that we remain convinced that what we see is real.

Could it be that underneath the cornucopia of visual data, there lies something far more simple? Grey walls and floors, grey furniture, grey people, grey animals, grey trees and hills, grey skies and seas, a whole planet of grey. In 3D modelling, you begin with the shape and add the details later. It would make sense if this whole thing were an illusion, much like the illusion of power that the autocracy has over the human race.

So many people have invested so much time and effort into living their lives, and they’ll die believing everything they’re told. Yet imagine it is possible to fool all the people all of the time? What if we add the colour to life, and that it’s only in our heads? After all, birds see more colours than humans, and cats are practically colourblind, snakes can see in infrared and insects have up to 30,000 lenses per eyeball. Then there’s the dragonfly, that can process images so quickly most movement appears as if in slow-motion.

There are far more visual wavelengths than we can see, infrared and ultraviolet fall outside of our range. Our technology, our bodies, are not all they’re cracked up to be. When I began to look into all the defects of the human body’s design, I began to suspect that the human race might’ve been rushed through on nature’s production line.

For instance, our spine is not particularly adapted for an upright gait, and there are organs in our bodies such as the appendix, something more useful for a cow, that has long since become redundant. Then again, perhaps it always was? Could it be that we are merely a mishmash of other creatures cobbled together, a genetic experiment gone wrong?

The human body is a bag of salt water and iron, held up by a calcium scaffold, brought to life with a unique recipe of exotic minerals and metals and exhilarated by electricity. It’s a good effort, but nothing’s perfect, and the grid is all you need to witness, to understand the limitations of our artificial presence in this illusory universe.

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