Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Seeing or hearing things that are not there – were called “apparitions”. Until the French psychiatrist Jean Dominique gave them their current name, hallucinations. A hallucination is a strictly sensational form of consciousness, as good and true a sensation as if there were a real object there. The object happens to be not there, that is all. Unlike mental images, hallucinations do not remain obediently inside your head. They are outside of your control – projected into the world that surrounds you – which reinforces their compelling reality. They have a life of their own, breaking into your chosen biography rather than belonging to it. Nobody else can see, hear, feel, smell or taste what you are experiencing. This captures their profoundly disturbing nature, an eeriness which is not fully reflected in the definition As Raymond Tallis states -To be in the grip of such incorrigibly private experiences is to be sequestrated in the most profound solitude.There is an intuitive explanation of why perceptual loss – as in loss of some physical organ and in experimental sensory deprivation – should be associated with hallucinations: that nature, the brain, the mind, abhors a vacuum. Hallucinations betray their nature by not fitting into the seamless fabric of experience and meaning unfolding over time until they become so insistent that they have a subjective reality comparable to that of the objects that others can also see. Oliver Sacks, a psychologist immersed himself in a treatise on “megrim” and “nerve storms” and aided by drugs and amphetamines induced a state of ecstasy in which he saw “migraine shining like an archipelago of stars”. - The Principle of Psychology-

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