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    January 17, 2009

    Halucinate Without Drugs – AKA Fun With Neuroscience

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    I’m speaking at the ScienceOnline09 Conference in Durham, NC, today so I have little time to post, but I wanted to throw up this fun thing from the Boston Globe to keep everyone occupied while I’m away:

    “DO YOU EVER want to change the way you see the world? Wouldn’t it be fun to hallucinate on
    your lunch break? Although we typically associate such phenomena with powerful drugs
    like LSD or mescaline, it’s easy to fling open the doors of perception without them: All it
    takes is a basic understanding of how the mind works.”

    Try for yourself here.  I particularly like the rubber hand trick. [Update:  fascinating and detailed post about this research over on Neurophilosophy, here]

    4 Responses to “Halucinate Without Drugs – AKA Fun With Neuroscience”

    1. Engatnomal says:

      What about this one: eyes wide open!
      All that it takes is sitting with a calm mind. I am an experienced meditator (± 20 years) and the following experience happened to me a couple of times. With eyes wide open, I could clearly see two images at the same time: the image of the wall in front of me and mental images without any sense (a boot dipping in melted chocolate!).
      The experience is somehow hard to describe because it was like seeing two movies at the same time. Images were as clear as they can be. I have the feeling that it may be possible to see even more than two images at the same time: as these images are the “product” of the mind, why stop at two? I am joking… But the fact is that “seeing” is at least as mental a process than a sensory one.

    2. Blind Squirrel FCD says:

      Figured this one out for myself during my misspent youth many, many years ago. You can skip the ping pong balls if the light source is bright enough; just keep your eyes closed and the lids serve as diffusers. The ability to regulate the frequency is important. Substitute Hendrix for white noise and throw a thimble full of lizard shit in the bong and you’re good to go.

    3. kamaka says:

      Hahaha…..
      Long ago, I got the chance to “hang out” in an isolation tank. I was told I would last no more than twenty minutes. With no sensory input, the brain invents it’s own version of a reality. It was a very intense, phantasmagoric three hour mental excursion with plainly heard music and voices, intense hallucinations, episodes of terror and euphoria. Whole bizzare story-lines unfolded in the mind unbidden.
      The floating in salt-water was extremely relaxing, but the wild internal journey: not for the faint of heart.

    4. Valis says:

      Mmm, I still prefer LSD…

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