Not That - A Meditation on Hallucinations

I’ve been reading Oliver Sacks’ recent book, Hallucinations, and it is jaw-dropping to learn what incredible sights and sounds (not to mention touch and smell) the human brain (or is it mind?) can conjure up.1 He describes the hallucinations people have had as a result of various illnesses and serious medical conditions like Parkinsonism, drugs both recreational and medicinal, brain damage, sensory deprivation, and several other circumstances. Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks(Sacks notes that it wasn’t realised for years that some medical conditions often caused hallucinations in patients because of people’s reticence in letting anyone know they were “seeing things” in case they were diagnosed as being mad.) The book set me thinking about the whole matter of hallucinations, their nature and implications, and prompted memories of my own occasional hallucinatory encounters over the years. I share my musings here for anyone who might be interested, starting with a few descriptions of my hallucinations.

In 2010, I suffered a mild stroke, and was rushed to hospital. While I was there I began to notice something weird happening with the walls. I would look at a light-coloured, plain surface and watch in fascination as a beautiful and complex reddish-brown arabesque design would softly emerge as if out it until it was as clear and strong as a printed wallpaper pattern. I figured the design originated from the architecture of the blood capillaries in my eyes, but had become somehow greatly embellished into this marvellous arabesque. (There’s more of an artist in me than I realised!) What really got me was that the pattern was not simply projected generally in front of my eyes but appeared stuck precisely on the surface I was looking at and nowhere else, so its distance away from me seemed to vary with how far I happened to be from the wall or cupboard door I was staring at. When I looked away, it disappeared. This hallucinatory phenomenon occurred for over two days when I looked for it. On one occasion, I peered out of the hospital ward’s window at the tarmac-surfaced pavement three storeys below. Sure enough, the red-brown arabesque patterning emerged on the tarmac, contained within the path’s edges.

Another visual phenomenon that appeared over the same period of time was truly bizarre. When I closed my eyes I could somehow (don’t ask me how) focus inwardly on my veins – I assume eye capillaries – and observe blood sluicing through them exactly as if I was looking through a microscope. I was amazed at how fast blood moves around the body. There were tangles of these fine capillaries with blood rushing around within them like traffic at a busy and complex highway interchange. The imagery was vivid, full-colour, and in extreme high definition. Now, hallucinations are supposed to be pseudo-perceptions, sensory perceptions of things that are not really there, but I have absolutely no doubt that what I was watching was actual activity within my body. Of course, I would have enjoyed all these effects – patterns and microscopic vision – a lot more were I not concerned that I might have a major stroke at any moment and drop dead!

Way back in the 1980s, I experienced a more dramatic hallucinatory episode. It was at a bad time in my personal life and friends had come to visit me in my Welsh cottage to help me through it, and they thoughtfully brought large amounts of dope, cannabis, with them. Late in the evening, I lay down on the floor near the open fireplace. The log fire had burned down into bright embers and I stared into their comforting and warming glow. As I gazed at a coruscation of gleaming points of firelight along the edge of one ember, I was suddenly presented with a gold-orange landscape spread out before me. Now, please understand me: we all readily see faces, castles and other forms in glowing embers, but this was something markedly different. As I looked, I saw trees and fields and a country lane. A cottage stood alongside the lane; I saw its door open and an elderly man come out and walk to the garden gate, open it, and start walking up the lane. Apart from the fact that the scene was in reds, oranges, yellows and golds, it was clear and distinct in the most minute, precise detail. It was like a miniature 3D movie, and it was becoming more intensely “real” all the time. Realising I was pretty high, I pulled away from the fireplace and went up to my bedroom where I sprawled on the bed. I lay there and heard the rain falling against the window pane, a sound that transformed into the flawless rendition of singing angelic voices. My entire sensory apparatus was in freeform, and I drifted off into sleep to the sound of a heavenly choir.

Well before this episode I’d become acutely aware that the human mind-brain could mould perceptions in any way it liked. This epiphany had dawned on me almost twenty years previously, when, during an LSD session, someone had brought out a handkerchief which I immediately saw as a dead dove. The person was holding it by the corner and I saw in totally accurate and convincing detail, down to its feathers, the bird being held by its beak. Somehow, the creative elements of my visual faculty had transformed the already suggestive folds of the handkerchief. I understood from that point on that perception is a moveable feast.

But what does this mean? Can we really know the real? As Sacks points out in passing, our perception of normal everyday reality is a hugely complex affair. Many processes have to be brought seamlessly together from various parts of the brain to give us a stable view of the world (a view that is heavily moderated by the worldview of the culture we are in). All the time, every single moment of perception, except in dreams and hallucinations when our sensory faculties are let off the leash. The same brain processes within the darkness of our skulls that are used to create our view of consensus reality are involved in the creation of dreams (especially lucid dreams) and, more so, hallucinations. Let’s take one step further: could our consensus reality be our culture’s shared hallucination?

Some philosophers have suggested that culture could be seen as a hallucination, and at a basic level, physicists now debate whether or not matter is linked to and affected by consciousness in some mysterious way – the “observer effect” for instance – and there are various scientific notions flying around that question the nature and status of matter and our perception of it. Much earlier, the poet Coleridge said: “For all we see, hear, feel and touch, the substance is and must be in ourselves”. We have the modern movie myth of the Matrix, in which the protagonists are entrapped in a virtual reality – even the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom reckons there is a twenty-percent chance that we are in a computerised world created by other entities, perhaps post-humans living in the future.2 And from ages past, various religions have exhorted us to perceive everyday reality as being illusory – most notably, perhaps, in the largely Hindu doctrine of Maya (a Sanskrit term literally meaning, “not that”). Of course, sceptics say: “Okay, go out there and walk in front of a bus – bet you’ll get killed or mangled”. Well of course I would, locked into the same reality as the bus! (True adepts of magickal processes can, to some degree, pick the lock of that stubborn, stuck-in-the-groove reality.)

A number of anthropologists have reported witnessing things when in the field with other societies that would be considered impossible psi phenomena in their home, western cultures. A particularly famous (or infamous) encounter with other worldview reality involved anthropologist Edith Turner, the widow of the eminent anthropologist Victor Turner and editor of the academic journal, Anthropology and Humanism. In 1985, she was invited by the Ndembu people of Zambia to participate in a healing ritual under the leadership of a tribal healer known as Singleton. At the climax of the somewhat dramatic ritual, Singleton’s patient was healed – suddenly, with an entranced expression on her face, she raised her arm. “I saw with my own eyes a giant thing emerging out of the flesh of her back,” Turner reported. “It was a large gray blob about six inches across, opaque and something between solid and smoke. The gray thing was actually out there, visible, and you could see Singleton’s hands working and scrabbling on the [patient’s] back.” The spirit causing the woman’s illness had been exorcised. “It was a small experience, but one which demanded a reorganization of the way I did anthropology,” Turner later wrote.3 Another classic case involved Kenneth Kensinger, who spent time living with the Cashinahua tribe in the Peruvian Amazon. He noted the fairly common occurrence of apparent remote perception (“clairvoyance”) by many of those who took part in ritual sessions using the mind-altering brew, ayahuasca. On one notable occasion, six out of nine men who had taken part in an ayahuasca session told Kensinger that his chai (his maternal grandfather) had just died. It was not until two days later that the anthropologist was informed by field radio of the death.4 And there are plenty of other similar cases.5 As the German anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist, Christian Ratsch, indicated to me regarding his own experiences of magical happenings while living with the Lacandon Maya in Mexico, he felt that he only had such experiences because he was living in the other reality of the tribe’s worldview, the Lacandon’s hallucination.

Are psi phenomena glitches in the otherwise convincing illusion of our westernised culture’s understanding of consensus reality? Blips in the picture, so to speak? In daylight and perfect health, without any form of intoxication, I have seen two apparitions close up, in absolute three-dimensional detail. Were they hallucinations, in the sense of being pseudo-perceptions? I don’t think so. In one of them, someone with me saw the apparition as well. The fact is that many people, a large minority, in our culture have experienced at least one psi event in their lives – be it telepathy, precognition, seeing a ghost, or suchlike – yet because of the power of the hallucination we are embedded within they tend to push it to the back of their minds, telling only a few friends at best, knowing they will not be believed, and even ridiculed, by mainstream society. It is why parapsychology has such a struggle to be accepted by “serious” science, and why it is so poorly resourced.

Reading Sack’s book, I couldn’t help but feel that with the way things are seemingly going in the world right now, maybe it is time for a change in our hallucination.

Daily Grail Publishing has published two books by Paul Devereux, The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia and Lucid Dreaming: Accessing Your Inner Virtual Realities (with Charla Devereux). He is currently rewriting his early classic book, Places of Power, for Daily Grail Publishing. His author page on Amazon is at https://www.amazon.com/author/devereux-books and his website is www.pauldevereux.co.uk.

 

Notes

1.  My formal review of this book is slated to appear on the Reality Sandwich website: http://www.realitysandwich.com/reality_sandwich_reviews_home

2 . http://www.simulation-argument.com/

3.  Turner, E. (1994), “A Visible Spirit Form in Zambia”, in Being Changed, David E. Young and Jean-Guy Goulet (eds.). Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press.

4.  Kensinger, K. (1973), “Banisteriopsis Usage among the Peruvian Cashinahua”, in Hallucinogens and Shamanism, Michael J. Harner (ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

5.  Over several years now, I’ve recounted numerous such examples in various lectures and writings. For example: “The Moveable Feast”, in Mind Before Matter (eds. Pfeiffer, Mack and Devereux), O Books, 2007. ISBN 978-1-84694-057-6.

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Philemon's picture
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31 May 2012
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41 weeks 11 hours

Hi Paul,

Thanks for this article. My girlfriend's mother gave me a copy of Hallucinations for Christmas and it has - so far - been collecting dust. Your review just gave me the motivation to read it. Thanks!

"The yard looks smaller without leaves." -Calvin Jarrett, Ordinary People

alanborky's picture
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29 January 2009
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Whoah Paul I'm so glad you're putting stuff like this out and not just because anyone who's started having or's about to start having such experiences'll feel less insane or isolated.

But also because even old hands like myself can experience relief finding out someone else's undergone similar stuff especially if they're at the young kids stage because during the Nineties I was endlessly terrified mine'd walk in on me during my latest visit from 'Death' because each time it'd happen I'd never really be sure whether THIS time I really WAS dead and therefore REALLY as flat as a pancake so flat in fact my rib cage'd feel like a collapsed deckchair hence my ransacking medical text books for indications of something like a cartiligeous structure at each side of the rib cage which could be made to act like collapsible hinges under certain extreme conditions.

Saying that there were definitely certain parts of my 'Death' visitation phase which I actually enjoyed because on some occasions all'd seemed left of me was my skeleton every bone of which'd feel somehow conscious and vibrantly alive so even though my body'd actually appear completely normal to my eyes my hands'd only be able to feel bone and if I bumped into anything or someone slammed a cardoor outside I'd resonate like a very expensively made acoustic guitar.

One thing I never got used to tough was the back of my skull feeling like an oppresively tight crash helmet haphazardly made of 'interlaced strips' of this sort of weird plaited plastic wood like substance but amazingly given it's sinister reputation I absolutely adored my rictus smile because it seemed to fill me with this amazing vibrant radiant invincible optimism I could handle or endure ANYTHING.

And then there were times like yourself when I'd be seemingly seeing inside my body and my consciousness'd suddenly switch into my blood stream but unlike the illustrations used in TV adverts my blood cells wouldn't chaotically swirl all over the place like jelly jots but'd be this incredibly drilled and martialled army like force filled with this heartbreaking almost unbearable joy at simply endlessly marching two steps forward then one step back all the time bombarded on all sides by this monumental yet soothing fugue like roar composed of countless tones produced by billions of cells simultaneously marching in and out differently widthed passages pitches rising as passages narrowed or descending as passages widened.

And as you say these experiences're incredibly vivid and enormously detailed reflecting in the bodily ones at least our normal moment by moment existence during our early life yet where do such things fit in or indeed tell us about current ideas on Evolution?

Skraag the Destroyer's picture
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I've had some hallucinations over the years; mushrooms, LSD, Ayahuasca and sleep deprivation.

All of them have given me completely different experiences and all have been very enjoyable.

The hallucinations from sleep deprivation were interesting. I'd been awake for about 48hrs and noticed it was getting light outside. I turned to look out the window and a cloud in the sky morphed into this giant lizard thing that came swimming towards me. That was pretty cool and I got on with some work. A couple of hours later I was standing outside in the garden and I looked up into the sky again, and another cloud morphed into another weird lizard beast, this time with long spiky claws that kept stabbing out at me.

Mushrooms can be very expanding; my tobacco turned into little wriggling worms as I rolled a smoke!

Ayahuasca (Jurema) is incredible; the patterns you see are amazing and it becomes immediately clear where the Mayans, Incas and the like got their inspiration. Jurema gives you a 'loved-up' feeling, similar to ecstacy/MDMA, but it's much more intense.

I found it very hard to concentrate on anything with LSD; I tried eating a plate of food, which seemed to be glowing, but I just couldn't focus to eat anything.

I've also had a variety of paranormal experiences, from the ghost of a young boy who liked playing on the beach to a personal message from a Grandmother I never met. All of them, for me, have been real.

One thing I want to experience more is Lucid Dreaming. I've had a couple; one where I didn't realise at the time that it was a lucid dream and another where I was able to speed things up so that I could escape from the people who were chasing me. That was fun.

The Pineal Gland is a wonderful thing, which we need to learn more about; especially how to consciously control the release of DMT!

Just as a side point about DMT: if you were able to extract the DMT produced by the body, a day's worth would be enough to land you a prison sentence under the Mis-Use of Drugs Act!

Greg H.'s picture
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Great post! I always appreciate personal experiences of others. The "hallucinations" bring to mind the meaning and definition of reality - as you state mystics say reality is all an illusion. The fact our perception of the world is a construct of our mind/brain, means that all reality is a hallucination of sorts. So long as our consensus reality agrees we are considered normal or sane. Once outside the consensus, trouble ensues and yet...? What is true reality - if it can even be defined?

Ghosts, angels, clairvoyance, visions, etc...same as trees, birds, apples, cars, etc…they all are manifestations of the mind simply because we can never directly experience the outside world. Sensory input is translated by our brain with the image, taste, smell, color, size, etc... all interpreted and created within our heads, not necessarily an accurate representation of our external reality - that whatever that is "out there". So who’s to say what is a hallucination and what is representational? So long as one continues to function, is non-violent, and not destructive then who is anyone to define another’s reality as not real.

Open-mindedness in these matters as in most matters is key to seeking and finding the truth, at least to the limits it can be found.

Greg H.

dmanister's picture
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You have strayed far afield from Dr.Sacks' book, which is concerned with neurological conditions. What's informative in this book is Sacks' description of hallucinations as fully realized, 3-dimensional animate entities, whether groups of people who interact with the person hallucinating in a completely realistic manner, or tiny humans leading 6-inch high donkeys!

The realistic nature of hallucinations, which convince those who see them of their solid existence in the outside world, along with Dr Sacks' explanation that they are often experienced by people who are completely sober and sane, throws new light on close encounter and abduction experiences, as well as other sightings of nature sprites, faery-folk and such, which may be hallucinations. MRI and CAT scans can diagnose brain tumors and other brain disorders that may be causing these or other experiences.

Anyone truly interested in critical thinking will factor in this new neurological information when researching claims of paranormal experiences.

emlong's picture
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A lot of us here are quite capable of keeping a foot in both realizations. It is just that too many of us have been in on multiple witness simultaneous "hallucinations." Sacks is great at interesting anecdotes and making complicated science intelligible to the lay person, but most of us here are fully aware of the neurological mechanism of hallucinations already. I have been a Sacks fan for years, but I can't say he shifts my own experiences with the so called paranormal. The better paranormal TV shows these days always first look for neurophysical causes of "haunting" for instance, so it is not like the paranormal world is unfamiliar with what Sacks is talking about.

daydreamer's picture
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I think it is worth noting that 'being convinced' is itself describable in this 'hallucinatory metaphoric' manner.

What I mean by this is that it seems that an activity in the brain/mind has to occur for us to be convinced of anything. The fact that every night we have bonkers dreams where our mother might turn into a rabbit and proceed to play volleyball without even a bat of a single eyelid by our reality filtering system deeply suggests to me that more is going on here.

Perhaps we are convinced by hallucinations in the same manner we fail to spot the non-reality of the dream while we are in it. I have read reasons why this might be the case based around the brains limited processing power, i.e to simulate reality would require more processing power than the brain is capable of, so we experience this limitation by the limitation of the dream - it literally cannot be modelled in enough detail to allow us to walk around and do whatever we want so we follow a line through it with our reality filtering turned off. That way the brain only has to model one possibility instead of the billions of possibilities if we actually had freedom within the dream/hallucination.

daydreamer's picture
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Hi Greg,

It seems to me that selection pressures on animals during their evolution place no particular pressure on creating a perfect model of their environment - just one close enough to survive. We might even argue that a) perfection is a philosophical entity that does not really exist, b) a mechanical system made of neurons could not achieve perfection anyway, c) energy conservation by the brain results in shortcuts and reductions in processing that attempt to not process the environment perfectly, but instead take shortcuts that result in the odd mistake in our perceptions happening.

No matter what reality ends up being I would suspect that the above occur to us all.

I'd also be willing to bet that since evolution can only act on what is there if entire realities exist outside of its domain then selective pressures will not have created perceptive systems designed to do much. The nature of our abilities with regard to realities outside of evolutions abilities to touch will be pretty poor unless something else has given us abilities in them. Given our relationship with biology arguments surrounding this have remained diverse and passionate since before the work of Descarte, who tried so hard to provide illumination with regard to dualism.

emlong's picture
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http://www.aboriginaldreamtime.net/

******************************

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/biology/b10...

"The "why" of ESP seems simple enough. Evolutionarily speaking, people who could perceive or foresee bad events like predator attacks or earthquakes (and thus avoid them), or sense lucky breaks like clean food or water (and thus seek them out) would be more likely to survive and pass their genes on to the next generation than those who could not. Having access to information beyond the limits of the basic human senses must have been a real survival advantage."

daydreamer's picture
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Yep, indeed. I can see how that would work. This would well and truly bring this into the physical world though if genes are capable of selecting for it. It would be fascinating.

For those who like to argue that it is entirely separate from the physical and not even mediated by the physical then it is also food for thought. Evolutionary arguments are more difficult in that context.

emlong's picture
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Most of us still live under the intellectually and socially exerted illusion that there is some kind of demarcation between mind and the physical world. It is a trite observation for me to make, but it is very obvious. Arguments often begin with this premise and on behalf of people who think they are freethinkers.

Greg H.'s picture
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There are so many ways in which the question "what is reality" is raised. Several quick anectdotes from my own experiences...

Ate mushrooms 4 times in life - one time felt connected to everything everyone. Felt and knew what girlfriend would say - subjective. Then felt connected to pinball game, could not lose, went on forever, won numerous games, when suddently connection severed like something internally shut off. Then immediately lost ball after ball. Not subjective, verifiable by girlfriend and any observer. In holographic universe model and most eastern phiolosophies, everything is connected with shared consciousness...if only can resonate with or access it.

Middle of 8 week europe back pack trip, completely relaxed on Santorini for 2 weeks. State of nirvana so to speak. Played gin rummy for weeks, suddenly for 3-4 days during my nirvana, every hand dealt to me was perfect. No matter how shuffled, who shuffled, could not avoid receiving perfect hands on deal. Discard needed card, next won drawn would be perfect. Not subjective, but 3rd party verifiable. Beyond coincidence. Are we partners in creation? Are we a holomovement fabricating reality at will?

Panic attacks as 18 year old over fear of ultimate death and deleting out. Prayed to God (universal consciousness? The implicate?) for a sign. Follwing day first I was approached by a stanger who point blank told me God sent them to me and gave me tiny booklet on being saved through Christ. Later on returning to my locked car from only minutes inside a bank, another booklet materialized on my driver's seat. That evening a member of the club I worked at on leaving slapped a 3rd booklet into my hand on his way out without word. Did an independent God send these messages? Did I cause this to happen as a partner in creation? Mere coincidence? Not hallucinations as 3rd party verifiable.

I've experienced vibrations since childhood that I learned precede out of body travel - the separating of physical from the astral? Stifled them for many years. Finally accepted them and rolled out of body, falling, materialized in a room. Surprisingly could not press hand through wall solid. Saw reflection in mirror -surrounded by shimmeriing flourescent energy. As I approached wife sitting in bed studying, suddenly two unseen powerful entitities restrained me from either side and I immediately blacked out. Woke next morning. Have not had vibrations since - though I had them for close to 30 years prior off and on. Lucid dream? I had those all through my teens - this was different and I never fell asleep first...

and on and on... Brain is indeed limited. I ascribe to concept it is a receiver. Mind is independent and more than we phathom. Amazing how similar Cayce's 100 year old readings agree with Bohm's theory of the implicate and consciousness and generally elements of quantum theory.

Greg H.

MoRiDiN's picture
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I have spent great lengths of time, as a young man, under altered states of consciousness, and have had so many meaningful experiences...

I was introduced to LSD right out of high school and had a "steady" (if ever there is such a thing in the chemical world) supply of un-perforated white blotter before I was even 18 years old. That summer was one of experiencing things which awakened me in ways that took me years to fully understand.

I have had group hallucinations, as well as hallucinations shared by a tripping partner.... explain that one.

Anyway, lets just say that I explored the upper limits of tolerance with aforementioned white blotter.... and learned more about myself and my psyche exploring the world under altered perceptions, than i could have ever imagined possible.

Its' just too bad that our culture has created this war on drugs (really a war on personal liberty) and sick police state... because I spent much of my 20's trying to find other avenues of reaching those places I had been before, and hard drugs do not take you there.... they ruin your life and take you to prison.

Looking back, I can say that my entire philosophy for living was very meaningfully molded by my experiences, and I wouldn't change it for anything. Abandoning religion for reason and empirical evidence and logic, yet still finding significant experiences under altered consciousness...

If only we could walk into a shop and purchase 2C-E as easily as we can purchase a pack of smokes... I imagine the society I would wish for is a minarchists dream which is a long ways off... but I will LOVE altered perception until I lose my corporeal existence... whatever that means.

grimfarvity's picture
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You don't know how much of a relief it is to find out I'm not the only one who has this happening 24/7. Everything you describe about the arabesque pattern and the colors and landscapes - I see this constantly in front of me. I read Hallucinations and the closest I can match my experience to is "visual migraines." That makes sense, because it started after a decade of mind-splitting migraines that made me sometimes want to kill myself to stop the pain. Then as suddenly as they started, they stopped, and then the hallucinations started soon after.

There is an important difference in my experience, and I wondered if you might have left this part out (because it is too weird for some people to accept). The "stuff" I see is always moving, and will attach to my finger if I put my hand up. Then it forms into a spring-like strand and drills into my finger. I can feel and see it drilling in. I can touch the gold lattice or springs, manipulate them in the air, or pull on it to wrap around my hand, run it through my palm, just about anything you would be able to do with, say, cobwebs. Everything about it obeys the laws of physics except that it's not real in the first place. I can even pull a strand in front of a mirror and I can see it in the mirror (rather than looking directly at it). It's everywhere, like a coppery fine netting or lattice, and it is responsive. This has been going on for 5 years so I'm used to it. It is considerably active when I look at the ceiling and walls when I go to bed. There's so much of it I have to pull it aside to look up at my clock. I can grab it, pull it apart, and see clearly beyond it. Then I let go of it and it joins together again and the walls and ceiling are wavy again, like an upside down pond.

I also hear the angelic chorus you described, but sometimes it's an orchestra, patrioic music, or even a rock band, and it's always on. In the 5 years this has been going on I haven't "seen God" or heard voices telling me what to do, etc., so I don't think it's psychological but more likely brain damage from the migraines, or a filter is broken that usually weeds out this "noise."

There's more but I fear describing any farther because it gets freakier, and so far no doctor has been able to figure out what's going on, after MRIs, psychological tests, etc. I just have to live with it. But it's not a bad thing to have to live with. ALL of it is so beautiful it takes my breath away. I wish everyone could have this hallucination. If the air is really full of this stuff, then it is easy to see how "everything is connected."

emlong's picture
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This reminds me of a story a friend told me about an LSD session he had with two other friends back in the late 60's. At one point my friend was suddenly inspired to see if he could make himself visually disappear. He then entered a state in which he felt he had accomplished that, but the catch was that his two friends also swore he had indeed disappeared for about 10 seconds. So was this a "shared hallucination" or did he actually alter his native frequency such that it exceeded the speed of light for a brief moment? Or did he via the power of suggestion alter the perceptions of his fellow trippers? If physical reality is entirely a matter of frequency and vibration then how do we sort all of this out? Was this a sort of "noise cancellation" phenomenon?

SecretSun's picture
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I'm having a lot of trouble with Sacks since he cites the utterly vile Elizabeth Loftus (the least of her transgressions includes testifying FOR THE DEFENSE in serial killer Ted Bundy's trial) and the pedophile-enabling "false memory" hoax.

A five-second Google search would reveal that not only is Ramblin' Randi on the FMSF board but so are a host of MK Ultra veterans and the late CSICOP director on human sexuality- and very outspoken and very radical pedophilia advocate- Vern Bulloughs.

FMSF was founded by a Lutheran minister with ties to the pedophile underground who declared in Paedika that pedophilia was "God's will." Its cofounder was himself accused of molesting his daughter, who is now a prominent university professor. One of the false memory's crowd biggest supporters is the Vatican, but the entire argument was shot down by the Massachussetts Supreme Court when they tried the hoax in NAMBLA co-founder Paul Shanley's appeal.

This shows either a troubling bias or an unscholarly lack of discernment on Sacks' part. I sincerely hope it's the latter.

Also, hallucinations are by their very nature non-empirical so I don't see how you can possibly devise a science around nothing but testimony.

emlong's picture
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http://www.reflectionsinthenight.com/psy...

I bumped into "Mauri" during the Sandy Hook debacle which inspired some research on my part and found her web site fascinating. What is the scuttlebutt on her? She has an intelligent blog. The above link deals somewhat with the "agents" within the psychiatric profession in southern California.

asecretcountry's picture
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SecretSun wrote:

I'm having a lot of trouble with Sacks since he cites the utterly vile Elizabeth Loftus (the least of her transgressions includes testifying FOR THE DEFENSE in serial killer Ted Bundy's trial) and the pedophile-enabling "false memory" hoax.

Two Bizarre segues in one post..
Bundy...like anyone..was entitled to a legal defence.
There have been over 70 years of papers/articles/court cases/books etc pointing out the bleeding obvious problems of relying on trance states and"memories"/malleability of memory and iatrogenic artifacts etc etc..
Yet in this day and age of easy information availability you managed to miss them all.
How is that possible.?????
To suggest that her work was "pedophile-enabling" implies living in some form of restricted information bubble.
Perhaps a deeply religious indoctrination might explain that.??
Some of the induced FAKE memory memes were based on the the rotten edifice created by Freud.
Even a cursory reading of books like "unauthorized freud"/"why freud was wrong" etc shows the basis of some aspects of modern psychology to be built on sand.
It was "pedophile-enabling" in that investigations into real pedophiles were side tracked by the mass hysteria of the time.
"Satanic ritual abuse" came from the same mad morass as well which many of the "all memories are real man" advocates dont mention.
And there is a reason for that isnt there.????