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  • Book
    Oliver Sacks.
    Print2012
    Status: Not Checked Out
    An investigation into the types, physiological sources, and cultural resonances of hallucinations, this book traces everything from the disorientations of sleep and intoxication to the manifestations of injury and illness. ... Hallucinations ... are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness, or injury. People with migraines may see shimmering arcs of light or tiny, Lilliputian figures of animals and people. People with failing eyesight, paradoxically, may become immersed in a hallucinatory visual world. Hallucinations can be brought on by a simple fever or even the act of waking or falling asleep, when people have visions ranging from luminous blobs of color to beautifully detailed faces or terrifying ogres. Those who are bereaved may receive comforting "visits" from the departed. In some conditions, hallucinations can lead to religious epiphanies or even the feeling of leaving one's own body. Humans ... have used hallucinogenic compounds to achieve [such life-changing visions]. As a young doctor in California in the 1960s, the author had both a personal and a professional interest in psychedelics. These, along with his early migraine experiences, launched a lifelong investigation into the varieties of hallucinatory experience. Here, he weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind-altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organization and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture's folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all, a vital part of the human condition. --Excerpted from book jacket.