Currently reading Oliver Sacks', Hallucinations and entirely fascinated and excited to learn more about this INCREDIBLY common characteristic of the brain. Hallucination has been, at times, a regular experience for me, likely relating to poor eyesight. As an adolescent my imagination entertained the idea that I was experiencing something "mystical" or of the "supernatural realm." It's fun to learn about the tricks my brain has been up to while debunking my previous ideas.
"Hallucinations have always had an important place in our mental lives and our culture. Indeed, one must wonder to what extent hallucinatory experiences have given rise to our art, folklore, and even religion. Do the geometric patterns seen in migraine and other conditions prefigure the Motifs of aboriginal art? Did Lilliputian hallucinations (which are not uncommon) give rise to the elves, imps, leprechauns, and fairies in our folklore? Do the terrifying hallucinations of the nightmare, being ridden and suffocated by a malign presence, play a part in generating our concepts of demons and witches or malignant aliens? Do "ecstatic" seizures, such as Dostoevsky had, play a part in generating our sense of the Divine? Do out-of-body experiences allow the feeling that one can be disembodied? Does the substancelessness of hallucinations encourage a belief in ghosts and spirits? Why has every culture known to us sought and found hallucinogenic drugs and used them, first and foremost, for sacramental purposes?"