[ Memory is an illusion || Predictive processing and the perception of reality || Death is an illusion || Quantum entanglement, predictive action and light effecting the past || Creating hallucinations on purpose || Drug free entertainment ]
There are two types of hallucination experience. Both are common to those who either use psychedelic drugs or enter trance states. Both can also happen with conditions of mental stress, illness, psychosis, seizure, migraine or dementia.
And as we’ll get to later, both can be encouraged for positive benefit by the use of technology.
These two types of hallucination are loosely categorised into Eidetic and Entoptic hallucinations.
Eidetic hallucinations are memory and imagination based projections of people, places and situations similar to the abstract imagery we get in dreams.
These mainly happen as a result of trance states and are random and very specific to the individual.
Entoptic hallucinations are phosphene based geometric shapes and patterns caused by excitation of cells in the eye’s and how that interacts with the visual cortex and brain. Mental illness, high stress, flickering light and even slightly pressing on the eyes can cause these type of hallucinations. Although science would now most likely not call these hallucinations. Recent thought and study, would suggest that they are intrinsic stored symbols in our nervous system common to all people. The evidence is in art and drawing from thousands of years ago.
See article: >>>> Ancient rock art and psychedelics >>>>
From one hallucination to another
Sometimes these geometric Entoptic effects morph into the more recognisable form of Eidetic imagery as a psychedelic or trance state experience continues. So for example, geometric patterns change into faces or scenes from a persons past or imagined future. This is partly due to the hormone serotonin being one of the precursors to Entoptic imagery that once depleted, gives way to more form and function Eidetic imagery.
Users of the roxiva RX1 audio visual brainwave entrainment device will often have that same experience. It starts with abstract geometric effects and leads to more realistic hallucinations. In this way using just light, people can have a drug free psychedelic experience.
Memory is an illusion
Some more open minded scientists would argue that everything around us is a hallucination. And that our hallucinations are either useful or not.
Research on memory shows that what we remember from the past is mostly a guess at best anyway. Extreme examples of this, are the high number of people who are found guilty and later acquitted from a crime they did not commit when new evidence arises. And this occurs even though eye witnesses testify and put them at the scene!
This happens because our memory is actually very suggestible and malleable.
Literally there are cases of people who have been the victims of crime, identifying someone innocent as the criminal just because the evidence points toward them and their name and picture is shown repeatedly during interviews. In some cases the person even see’s images of the actual real criminal and completely dismisses them as if they were not there at the scene.
So if what we have seen in the past is subject to change by details in the present.., then what is real?
In the article ‘Mindfulness, and changing reality through observation’ I detail how observation alters what is real to each observer. And that our brain notice’s things by detecting differences. If no difference exists then the event or situation is considered by the brain as unimportant and is ignored. IE: It is deleted from our reality.
Predictive processing and the perception of reality
One of the theories gaining popularity about reality and perception of reality is the idea of predictive processing.
Predictive processing states that our brains are constantly generating and updating a mental model of the world around us.
Our brains are always searching to predict what is going to happen next. And if something seen, heard or felt disagrees with that prediction.., then we move ourselves physically or mentally to match the prediction rather than being wrong.
So a physical example of this would be the brains prediction that you will feel a certain temperature around the 37 degree Celsius range (approximate core body temperature). Your brain therefore predicts that your skin temperature will feel close to that too. If it does not.., then it will prompt you to move somewhere cooler or warmer to match the prediction.
Perception is reality
A mental example of predictive processing might be waiting for a person who is late. Based on your previous experience with that person your brain will have made a prediction. If that prediction revolves around them being ‘late as usual’.., then to match that prediction your thoughts will then shift to one of them being unreliable or not caring about you, regardless of the real reason. Or as already highlighted, in extreme cases if a victim is unknowingly coached or by experience expecting the sort of person who is likely to be the criminal.., they will move to include ONLY that type of person as a possibility to the exclusion of the truth. Brain washing techniques use similar principles along with punishment and reward (note the present tense of that statement).
Purposeful use of illusions
In some cases illusions are used purposely in ways that may surprise you. MP3 audio for example uses compression technology to remove repeating sounds and spaces knowing that the mind will fill in the blanks. Video is in fact a series of still images (approx 24 or more) shown one after the other that the mind links into smooth movement.
Low quality speakers like those in many smartphones cannot reproduce the frequencies of the adult voice. An auditory note has it’s own tone called the fundamental, plus upper and lower tones called harmonics (usually at 2x, 3x, 4x etc the frequency). The mind reconstructs the sounds it hears from these speakers and phones based on the higher harmonics of the fundamental note. If it didn’t, you would hear all voices on your phone as child like in tone.
Road markings close to an intersection or place of increased danger will sometimes get slightly closer together as you get closer to the intersection. This gives the visual/audible sensation of you speeding up rather than slowing down so that you adjust accordingly and slow down more.
Death is an illusion
Life as an illusion, is not to be confused with ‘the illusions of life’. The illusions of life are more like limiting beliefs. For example that attachment or acquisition will fill something missing inside you, that scarcity and fear are real.., or the self imposed limitations of space and time. Change those beliefs and your reality changes too.
We’ve all heard or read somewhere that life is an illusion. And if that is to be considered as true.., then death must be an illusion too. Reality only becomes reality if consciousness is present. And being that consciousness cannot be isolated within or to the body or mind, then can we say it lives or dies when our physical body does?
Reality is learnt
We think of our eyes and other senses as being portals to the outside world. But with one simple change to the cells in our brain, the sky can be red instead of blue in a persons experience. Consciousness has to be present for what we see to be seen. The labels we give to things are taught to us and cannot be proven to be real without agreement.
By now you may have heard of the famous double slit experiment. Repeated experiments show that a single photon of light can act as a particle or a wave depending on whether it is observed or not. Or it can act as both. IE: It is proven that observation creates reality! Without anyone to observe, there exists only potential.
How can this be true? Because reality is not out there.., it is a construct of our mind and requires consciousness to exist.
Have you heard this before: If a tree falls in the forest and no-one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Well no, because until some form of observation is present.., the tree and the forest only exist as potential waves and particles that may or may not collapse into form. They don’t exist.
It goes even deeper than that though…
Quantum entanglement, predictive action and light effecting the past
Two particles created together (like photons of light) are entangled (joined) across space and time. Regardless of the distance between them, if one is manipulated.., the other instantly reacts to the change of it’s partner with no time lag at all. Proving that the speed of light is not a limit to the travel of information.
How can two particles act in a way that ignores the concept of time and space? Time and space are not out there at all.., they are constructs in our mind.
Studies show that it is even weirder than that however…
Using a single photon of light, experimenters have shown that the choice for that photon to act as either a wave or particle can be pre-cognitive. In these experiments the photon is manipulated by a random number generator driven device AFTER it has entered the device, to be either a wave or a particle. But, the photon has already pre-chosen to be a wave or particle based on what was going to occur in the device and this is measured before entering the device. Whatever manipulation it receives after it is measured, effects what has already been measured. Wrap your mind around that!
Creating hallucinations on purpose
With the advent of virtual reality and CGI in movies.., creating hallucination experiences has never been easier. How far away are we from a hologram projection becoming so real that it is indistinguishable from reality? Not far at all.
And then there are the pharmacological ways of creating hallucinations. Psychoactive drugs like LSD and DMT or the more common naturally occurring substances like magic mushrooms have never been so popular. And these substances are now being shown to have huge potential for helping with neurological disorders also.
Why? One of the reasons for this benefit is in the switching off of a part of the brain called the ‘default mode network’ while still being conscious enough to notice the result. The Default mode network (DMN) is one part of your brain that makes you you. It is part of what gives you the experience of being separate and unique from everything else. It is most active during self introspection and least active during sleep or altered states of consciousness.
Without the DMN, or with it switched off.., we experience ourselves as more connected to all that is. The experience of an inactive default mode network can be like a flow state in sport. Or it can be an experience of connection to something bigger than ourselves. It’s this experience that often breaks the pattern of fear, anxiety and sadness that can overwhelm us leading to dis-orders of the mind.
As I wrote about in ‘hypnagogia and the hypnagogic light experience’, we often get a drug free experience of this lack of default mode network activity in the moments just before we fall asleep. The result of which is often hallucinations and visions with personal significance.
Religious and spiritual experience
Other parts of the brain become more active as the DMN becomes less active to produce what we would consider spiritual and religious experiences. One of those area’s recently highlighted is called the periaqueductal gray (PAG) in the brain stem. Although there is no actual ‘God spot’ identified in the brain.., this comes close according to new research.
The PAG is an ‘old brain’ structure known for its role in fear responses, regulating heart rate, attachment and bonding. The PAG is also known for reducing pain by releasing the brains own painkillers.., endogenous opioids.
The discovery of this older evolutionary part of the brain being at least partly responsible for spiritual experience was a surprise. And leads scientists to speculate on the potential of spirituality and religion to reduce physical and emotional pain via it’s effect on natural pain killer activity.
Being part of a community is therefore only one way that regular religious or spiritual experience may help us deal with life’s stressors and discomfort. With increased control of these parts of the brain, comes reduced emotional and physical pain. And pain in any form is something we generally move away from.
Creating something out of nothing
One simple trick you can use to give yourself an experience of hallucinations is to take advantage of the Ganzfeld effect. This is where the brain tries to make sense of a constant light source and/or sound (or the complete lack of both) by inventing experience to fill a void.
The brain does not like to be in a state of nothingness for long and will create experience where none exists. So by purposely isolating yourself from all light and sound, or by filling your senses with constant unchanging light and sound.., you can have some trippy experiences.
I’ve written about that here:
Drug free entertainment
One way to create these hallucinations on purpose is with technology. Researchers are experimenting with switching on and off parts of the brain with mild electric stimulation techniques. So far these are mainly done with people whom already have electrodes implanted in theirs brains for other purposes but techniques are evolving.
Ultrafast Ultrasound is one newer form of stimulation in the research phase. This technology is already being trialled as a way to measure brain activity easier and more completely than the more common EEG or fMRI techniques. Using sound itself as a vibrational way to effect the brain or body is potentially even more exciting. And not just for creating changes in consciousness or states of mind.
Giving someone an experience of expanded consciousness is one thing.., using the same idea to improve someone’s quality of life without surgery is another.
Ultrasound has potential for non-invasive treatment of brain disease and breaking down or destroying unwanted cells in the body. In some studies, ultrafast ultrasound has even been used to jump start parts of the brain.
Psychedelic drug free trance
The Roxiva RX1 uses light and sound to give users drug free entertainment in the form of a psychedelic experience where hallucinations combined with deep trance states lead to very unique and powerful journeys. Using flickering light at specific frequencies, users experience intense visions of colour, movement and mandala type patterns.
The experience is similar to an Ayahuasca, DMT or LSD journey but without having to ingest a psychoactive substance and the added benefit of remaining in control of how long and intense the experience is.
For most people not willing to ingest a psychoactive substance.., the lack of control of the unknown is the reason.
Light induced hallucinations
The purposeful use of strobing or flickering light, causes the previously stated entoptic hallucinations. This effect is caused by interference patterns from cells in the eyes being excited and then calming down again and how they interplay with the brain. As this happens multiple times a second, complex forms of shape and movement occur. And this often leads to the more recognisable eidetic hallucinations like meeting a past loved one, revisiting memories, and creative visions about the present or future.
In essence people get a non-pharmacological trip. And maybe not surprisingly this can have some significant positive benefits. Especially when combined with other more stable sessions where people can experience fast and easy meditation in minutes.
By having your own mindfulness aide to support you in relaxing consistently, you can create your own stress free environment and explore altered states of consciousness.
Why just find your internal space of calm, when you can create it at the push of a button. We all need some time to unplug from the outside world and BE rather than DO.
I believe it was French philosopher Blaise Pascal that said:
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,”
I would tend to agree. Certainly most of humanities solutions have been a result of divergent and lateral thinking which stems from a meditative state.