On Oliver Sacks’ “Hallucinations”

hallucinationsKnow your hallucinations!  You can with the latest by neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks.  Sacks’ “Hallucinations” offers a taxonomy of them, with hallucinations set out by cause:  migraine, loss of sight, epilepsy, and others.  That in itself is interesting enough, as Sacks describes how hallucinations differ from imagination and dreams, and are brain-events now observable with brain imaging.

But Sacks offers a couple of more tantalizing threads.  More than once, he offers purely neurological explanations of experiences associated with the supernatural – as for the tunnel of light in near death experiences, and for the “universal” human experience of nighttime demons.

And he offers his own experiences with drug-induced hallucination, with a style that rivals Dequincy’s or Huxley’s.   I never thought to read a sentence that begins “Before shooting up the morphine” and goes on to comprise both “Froissart” and “Henry V”.  It was intriguing to follow this man on that trip.

-Alfred E. Numen

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Published in: on February 11, 2013 at 10:52 am  Leave a Comment  

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