Belief

One of the things I had noticed very quickly after hallucinating was a change in both the character of how I believed, and the relationship of my beliefs to perception.

Prior to hallucinating, I was pretty sure I had lots of beliefs, but all of a sudden I wasn’t so sure. In retrospect, it felt like I had a set of hypothesis to explain the world, my place in it, where I was going in life, etc. I remember changing beliefs up until then, but nothing really changed about my perception. I leaned to the right in high school, to the left in college, and always had something of a scientific philosophical world view.

But now my beliefs were coming alive before my eyes, such that I questioned if I had ever believed anything up until that point, but simply held hypothesis’, waiting for them to confirmed by reality.

So I began to experiment, for a number of reasons, one to see if there was anything demonstrably real going on beyond my perception, and two, to investigate further the relationship between beliefs and perception. As you can imagine, I did not have a lot of luck with the first, but did have some with the second.

Early on I looked through old philosophy texts. When I first read them back in college, I think I did what many do, consider it, analyze it critically, and see what I could add to my own worldview. But when I looked over them this second time, I did not see only claims and arguments, but also a set of beliefs.

I decided to take up one, Socrates’ belief that “Learning is Recollection.” I wasn’t sure what to expect if I literally believed this, but I thought it might make learning seem quite like remembering in my perception. It didn’t. What happened instead, is that sometime after, I started having unexpected memories of another time and place, altogether. One before the here and now, where existence was composed only of thought.

When I exhausted my old philosophy books, I looked for new sources of beliefs, to see the impact on my perception. So, I turned to the new age section at the local book store. What I found, was that each book, was a little belief system unto itself. So a tried them, and one by one they each added visual depth to this hallucinatory experience, coloring this perceptual world I had set forth into with all manner of strange phenomena, from auras, to angels, and ghosts.

What did I find overall from this experiment?

There is some vague, semi predictable, or at least explicable relationship between beliefs and perception.

Is there anyway to demonstrate the existence of any of these phenomenon beyond perception?

Not that I can see.

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