Setting foot in the world of hallucination is a novel experience to say the least. If I had to compare to something I’d say it’s a bit like being a foreigner in a strange land. All of a sudden, this new world opens up that didn’t exist before.
I suppose its even stranger in modernity than in former times, since we’ve near completely severed ties with the ancient world. There is no present correlate to the shaman to bring you into it, or school you in its ways. Nevertheless, this fact leaves room for a completely modern approach to this novel world with its bizarre implications and accompanying phenomena.
Very early on, I had to make a major shift in the way I thought about certain types experiences. Previously I had thought of psychics, ghosts, esp, clairvoyance, auras, any spiritual phenomena really, as at worst lies and at best bad explanations. Someone thinks they saw a ghost, and it turns out to be someone’s headlights, off in the distance during the dead of night.
Now there was another possibility. I had to consider that these were real perceptual experiences, not just misinterpretations of normal phenomena. Does this make them any more real? Oddly, no.
But there are implications. One of the first thoughts that occurred to me was of Socrates’ Daemon, that it was not some metaphorical sense of when to speak or when not to, but something completely real to him. I had thought of his belief that learning was recollection as an hypothesis, but now I had to consider that he really may have perceived learning this way.
Many ancient texts that had seemed quite metaphorical to me before, like the bible or quran, now appeared quite literal. In some form or another, people heard and saw these things.
Still, as fascinating as it all was, I couldn’t see anything real about it beyond perception.