Offbeat

Hallucinations: Are They Another Reality?

Seeing things that aren’t there can be a very creative and rewarding endeavor. The problem lies with knowing the truth about whether images are real or not. In other words, is the oasis in the middle of the desert the hallucination or is it the desert itself?

Many famous people have suffered from hallucinations and some of these disparate leaps from reality have resulted in enormous bursts of creativity. Come and meet a few of them and then decide if they are really there.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson whom the world knows as the literary giant, Lewis Carroll, wrote a tale about a pre-pubescent girl who falls back into time, attends parities with Mad Hatters who are always running late and confronts an evil card queen on a murderous rampage. The perspective of modern medical research has  revealed that his fantasy opus was not necessarily the creative brain child of an imaginative genius, but rather the byproduct of two mental conditions known as micropsia and macropsia, that were named The Alice in Wonderland Syndrome back in 1955.

Those afflicted with this condition witness the shrinking and/or growing of objects around them. Some experts believed that Carroll suffered from this all of his life as well as the reality-altering condition known as temporal lobe epilepsy in which reality can become very distorted.

Romantic English poet, William Blake, experienced and firmly believed in visions that followed him all his life. Usually, they were associated with beautiful religious images. Blake believed that archangels  helped him create his artistic works and that they read them as well.

And then there was Salvadore Dali the avant garde, highly eccentric artist who actually induced hallucinations in order to create art. Freud’s theory of the subconscious became the basis of his “paranoiac-critical method” of painting. His sensational, bizarre landscapes on canvas were far out to say the very least.

Hello, Dali.

And all his friends.

Or are they really there?

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