Others Articles ' special Illusion ' Sunday Freaks 23

Saturday, 13 September 2014 10:42


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Published in News
On Fringe, a sensory deprivation tank can activate your mental powers and even open a gateway to another universe. But what can floating in a dark warm tank do for you in real life? And why would people even want to do such a thing?
The sensory deprivation tank — a temperature-regulated, salt-water filled, soundproof, lightproof tank that can isolate its occupant from numerous forms of sensory input all at once — has gone by many names over the years, but its overall design and purpose have remained largely unchanged: to find out what your brain does when it's shoved into a box all by itself and left alone for a while. Here's the complete lowdown on sensory deprivation tanks.
Back in the old days, if you wanted to experience sensory deprivation you wore a blindfold or stuck your fingers in your ears like everybody else. But that all changed in 1954, when neuroscientist John C. Lilly dared to question what would happen if the mind was deprived of as much external stimulus as possible.
In the original deprivation tank, you were suspended in 160 gallons of water with everything but the top of your head completely submerged. A nightmarish-looking "black-out" mask, similar to the ones pictured here, supplied you with air and blocked any light from reaching your eyes. The water and air temperature were kept at the same temperature as your skin, roughly 34 degrees celsius.
The masks were eventually done away with (apparently people found having their heads wrapped in latex distracting), and the requirement of total submersion along with them; instead, the water was saturated with 800 pounds of Epsom salt, which made the water so dense that you could float with your entire body at or near its surface in spite of its shallow depth.
Inside the tank there is no light, and therefore no sense of vision. You experience the kind of quiet that allows you to hear your muscles tense, your heart beat, and your eyelids close. The extreme buoyancy of the water lends your environment an almost zero-gravity quality. The lack of a temperature differential plays with your ability to perceive where your body ends and where the water and air begin.
But then what happens? What do people experience while they're in the tank? Can an isolation chamber really transport you to a parallel universe like it does on Fringe?
The first man in the tank
The answer to every one of these questions (yes, even the one about Fringe) depends on where you look and whom you ask, as the vast majority of available evidence regarding the effects of sensory deprivation tanks exists in the form of personal accounts.
But before we can talk about these accounts and the research that may help support them, it would be helpful to gain some understanding of the mind that first conceived of the tank.
While John C. Lilly is certainly well known for developing the world's first isolation tank, he was by no means a stranger to revolutionary, albeit sometimes strange and uncharted, areas of medical and scientific innovation.
Lilly was a pioneer in the field of electronic brain stimulation. He was the first person to map pain and pleasure pathways in the brain. He founded an entire branch of science exploring interspecies communication between humans, dolphins, and whales; conducted extensive experimentation with mind-altering drugs like LSD (personally); and spent prolonged periods of time exploring the nature of human consciousness in the isolation tank.
It bears mentioning that Lilly's experiments with interspecies communication, personal LSD use, and sensory deprivation often overlapped.
All this is to say that calling John C. Lilly eccentric would be akin to calling the Beatles a popular band – somehow "eccentric" just doesn't do the man justice.
What really happens in the tank?
Bearing these things in mind, it's safe to say that Lilly is probably the closest that reality has ever come to producing a real-life version of Fringe's Walter Bishop, which brings us back to to the subjects of isolation tank experiences and parallel universes.
In Fringe, Walter's sensory deprivation tank serves as a bridge between two alternate realities. Lilly believed that his experiences in the tank could produce a similar effect.
Lilly claimed that the sensory deprivation tank allowed him to make contact with creatures from other dimensions, and civilizations far more advanced than our own. He would forever refer to his very first encounter with entities from another dimension as "the first conference of three beings," the details of which are recounted in great detail on Lilly's website and are really worth the read.
Lilly's, however, is an experience that others who use tanks have rarely reported.
By comparison, characterizations of sensory deprivation like this one by comedian Joe Rogan begin to sound downright grounded — and Rogan's descriptions of hallucinations, heightened levels of introspection, and the sensation that the mind has left the body are actually among the most commonly reported experiences among tank users. Even renowned physicist Richard Feynman described having hallucinations and out-of-body experiences while using sensory depravation chambers.
Reports of a heightened sense of introspection and out-of-body experiences by tank users mirror those of people with extensive experience in meditation, and both practices have been linked to decreased alpha waves and increased theta waves in the brain — patterns most typically found in sleeping states.
Other investigations have demonstrated that deprivation of even one form of sensory input can have hallucinatory effects. And while there is very little research done today that examines sensory deprivation at the level that it's experienced in an isolation tank, a study conducted in 2009 showed that just 15 minutes of near-total sensory deprivation was enough to trigger vivid hallucinations in many of its test subjects.
Having said that, it's worth pointing out that the scientists selected test subjects who scored in either the upper or lower 20th percentile on a test called the "Revised Hallucinations Scale," which basically scores the predisposition of an otherwise healthy person to see things that aren't really there.
Not surprisingly, participants selected from the bottom 20% were more likely to report hallucinations.
If there's a take-home message from all of this, it's that sensory deprivation tanks are something of a mixed bag. Depending on your proclivity for psychoactive drug use, they can offer anything from a means to achieving relaxation and reflection to a vehicle that can aid you in your travels through time and space. And if you should feel the itch to explore what sensory deprivation might be able to offer you, you can seek out nearby tank centers over at Float Finder.
Published in NEWS Archives
Friday, 23 May 2014 05:02


For those our lazy stoned readers who prefer to watch than to read- check these videos down and hallucinate as much as you can:
check these videos down and hallucinate as much as you can:
check these videos down and hallucinate as much as you can:
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:44


An auditory illusion is an illusion of hearing, the aural equivalent of an optical illusion: the listener hears either sounds which are not present in the stimulus, or "impossible" sounds.
In short, auditory illusions highlight areas where the human ear and brain, as organic, makeshift tools, differ from perfect audio receptors (for better or for worse).
Here are the examples of the main ones:
Top 10 Incredible Sound Illusions

In these illusions, your mind is tricked in to thinking it is hearing something when, in fact, it is not. To get the most out of this list you should have a set of stereo headphones and a stereo sound system. Unless otherwise noted (before each audio file), you should listen to these sounds with your stereo. Laptop speakers are not suitable for most of these illusions.
10 - Scale Illusion

This illusion was discovered by Diana Deutsch, and is an example of our brains “grouping” similar notes together. Two major scales are played: one ascending, one descending. However, the notes alternate from ear to ear – for instance, the right ear hears the first note of one scale, and then the second note of the other.

There are several ways in which people perceive these sounds, but the most common is to group the high and low notes together. Rather than hearing the two scales, people hear a descending and re-ascending melody in one ear, and an ascending and descending melody in the other. In other words, the brain reassigns some of the notes to a different ear in order to make a coherent melody. Right-handed people tend to hear the high melody in the right ear, and the low one in the left, while left-handers show a more diverse response.
NOTE: Listen through stereo headphones, or stereo separated loudspeakers, best placed some distance apart.
9 - Phantom Melodies
Some pieces of music consist of high-speed arpeggios or other repeating patterns, which change only subtly. If they’re played fast enough, the brain picks up on the occasional notes that change, and links them together to form a melody. The melody disappears if the piece is played slowly.
Compare these recordings of Christian Sinding’s Frühlingsrauschen (“Rustle of Spring”). At the higher speed, the changing notes linger in your perception long enough to be linked into a melody, but at the lower speeds they’re too widely separated. (original recording: www.classicalmidi.co.uk / Slow recording courtesy of Karle-Philip Zamor).
8 - Shepherds Ascending Tones
This is a recording of Shepard’s paradox synthesized by Jean-Claude Risset. Pairs of chords sound as if they are advancing up the scale, but in fact the starting pair of chords is the same as the finishing pair. If you loop this sample seamlessly then it should be impossible to tell where the sample begins and ends.
7 - Falling Bells
This is a recording of a paradox where bells sound as if they are falling through space. As they fall their pitch seems to be getting lower, but in fact the pitch gets higher. If you loop this sample you will clearly see the pitch jump back down when the sample repeats. This reveals that the start pitch is obviously much lower than the finishing pitch.
6 - Quickening Beat
This recording is subtle. A drum beat sounds as if it is quickening in tempo, but the starting tempo is the same as this finishing tempo. Listen carefully.
5 - Virtual Barbershop
This is a demonstration of the stereo effect. Listening to it, you feel as though you are in a barber’s chair, with the barber moving around you, clipping away at your hair. As the barber “moves” to your right, the volume increases slightly in the right channel and decreases in the left. Similarly, increases in the volume of sound from the clippers give the impression that he is bringing them closer and closer to each ear. The illusion demonstrates our ability to locate sounds in space; by comparing the inputs to the two ears, we can work out where a sound is coming from.
NOTE: Listen through stereo headphones.
This sound was created by QSound Labs (www.QSound.com), which used the sound/technology in games like those found at www.EarGames.com.
4 - Matchbox Rattle
This, like the barbershop above, is another stereo illusion. In this illusion a man shakes a matchbox all around your body and lights matches occasionally.
NOTE: Listen through stereo headphones.
3 - Tritone Paradox
This illusion was also discovered by Diana Deutsch. In this recording, some people hear the two notes going from low to high, while others hear them going from high to low. The is a good one to listen to in a group so you can compare notes afterwards. The notes being played are called the tritone – it falls exactly in the middle of a standard musical scale. This note was once considered to be evil and was not used in music until modern times.
2 - MgGurk Effect
Wait! Do not play the clip above until you have read this text. When you play this clip for the first time, play it with your eyes closed. Listen to what the man is saying. Now, play it again with your eyes open. Do you hear BA-BA, GA-GA, or DA-DA? Most adults (98%) think they are hearing “DA” – a so called “fused response” – where the “D” is a result of an audio-visual illusion. In reality you are hearing the sound “BA”, while you are seeing the lip movements “GA”.
1 - Phantom Words
This illusion was first demonstrated by Diana Deutsch at the University of California, San Diego. The recording features overlapping sequences of repeating words or phrases, located in different regions of stereo space. As you listen to it, you’ll start to pick out specific phrases. However, none of the phrases are really there. Your brain is constructing them, in a bid to make sense of a meaningless noise. Indeed, you may find that the phrases you hear are related to what’s on your mind – for example, people who are dieting often hear phrases associated with food. This can be a very eerie experience.
NOTE: Listen through stereo separated loudspeakers, best placed some distance apart.
Sound for under 20s Only
This is a sound that can only be heard by people under 20 (some over 20 can hear it but not many) – it is a sine wave at 18,000 Hz (by comparison, a dog whistle sounds at 16,000 – 22,000 HZ – meaning your dog can hear this “under 20s” sound as well). This sound is used by some teenagers as a ring tone on their mobile phone so that only they (and others of their age group) can tell when the phone is ringing. It is also occasionally used in England to play very loud in areas that authorities don’t want teens to congregate in, as the noise annoys them. As people get older they lose the ability to hear higher pitched sounds – that is the reason that only young people can hear this sound – it is too high for most people over the age of 20.
Some audio sourced from Diana Deutsch’s Audio Illusions with thanks
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:44


This sort of illusion is characterized by visually perceived images that are deceptive or misleading. Therefore, the information gathered by the eye is processed by the brain to give, on the face of it, a percept that does not tally with a physical measurement of the stimulus source. A conventional assumption is that there are physiological illusions that occur naturally and cognitive illusions that can be demonstrated by specific visual tricks that say something more basic about how human perceptual systems work. The human brain constructs a world inside our head based on what it samples from the surrounding environment. However sometimes it tries to organise this information it thinks best while other times it fills in the gaps. This way in which our brain works is the basis of an illusion.
If you’re in the mood to have your mind blown, these 10 optical illusions will definitely do the trick.
Give your brain a workout and test your ability to mess with your perception by checking out these 10 optical illusions, and let us know which one had you the most confused and astounded.
Confusing Circles

optical illusions
Despite What You See, This Image Is NOT Moving

optical illusions
Black And White?

Yes Or No?

Toys Come To Life

The Spirals Appearing Blue And Green Are Actually The Same Color

Spiraling Out Of Control

Stare At The Middle For A Change In Color


optical illusions

optical illusions
Here you can find a huge gallery of the trickiest optical illusions.
. http://www.brainbashers.com/opticalillusions.asp
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:44


Tactile illusions are illusions that exploit the sense of touch. Some touch illusions require active touch (e.g., movement of the fingers or hands), whereas others can be evoked passively (e.g., with external stimuli that press against the skin).
One of the oldest tactile illusions is the Aristotle illusion. It is easy to perform. Cross your fingers, then touch a small spherical object such as a dried pea, and it feels like you are touching two peas. This also works if you touch your nose.
This is an example of what is called "perceptual disjunction". It arises because your brain has failed to take into account that you have crossed your fingers. Because the pea (or nose) touches the outside of both fingers at the same time - something that rarely happens - your brain interprets it as two separate objects.
A variation on the Aristotle illusion is to cross your fingers, close your eyes and then touch two different objects simultaneously - a piece of Blu Tack and a dried pea, say - one with each fingertip. You will need someone to guide your fingers onto the objects, and the illusion doesn't always work, but if you're lucky your sense of touch will tell you that the objects are the opposite way round from where they actually are. This is because your brain fails to correct for the fact that your fingers are crossed over.
There's also the reverse Aristotle illusion: cross your fingers and touch the inside of a corner of a room or a box. This time, because the wall is contacting the insides of your fingertips, you should feel one surface, not two. Some people even experience three.
A similar effect can be achieved by holding your hands in front of you with palms down. Close your eyes and get somebody to lightly tap the back of both hands once, one after the other, with as short an interval as possible between the taps. Open your eyes and wave the hand that was tapped first. You'll get it right every time. Now do it again with crossed arms. If the taps are sufficiently close together - less than 300 milliseconds or so - you'll get it wrong a lot of the time.
This clearly has something to do with a failure to "remap" your body schema to take your crossed hands into account, but that can't be the whole story as single taps are easy to get right even with crossed hands. Neuroscientists think it happens because your brain is trying to do too many things at once: remap your body schema and also work out the order of the taps. The second task sometimes interferes with the remapping and causes it to fail (Nature Neuroscience, vol 4, p 759).
Amazingly, the illusion can also be made to work with sticks. Hold two wooden spoons out in front of you, one in each hand, with arms uncrossed, and get somebody to tap the ends of the spoons in quick succession. Again, you automatically know which stick was tapped first. But cross the spoons (not your arms) over and you'll get it wrong. Even more weirdly, if you cross your arms and the spoons, the two crossings-over cancel each other out and it again becomes obvious which one was tapped first (Journal of Neurophysiology, vol 93, p 2856).
Last year, Marc Egeth of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, reported a variant on this illusion. Stick your tongue out and turn it upside down (not everyone can do this), then run a finger along its top and bottom. It will feel as if your finger is touching a numb part of your tongue, while your tongue will register the touch on the opposite side from where it is being touched. Again, this is down to a failure to remap your body schema to take your unfamiliar tongue position into account (Perception, vol 37, p 1305).
Another simple tactile illusion relies on fooling your perception of distance. Take a paper clip, straighten it out, then bend it so that the tips are about a centimetre apart. Now close your eyes and run it from the tip of your index finger to your forearm via your palm and wrist. As you move the tips of the paper clip from an area of high acuity - your fingertip - to lower-acuity areas, it feels as if they are getting closer together, or even that only one end of the paper clip is touching your skin. This is because your forearms are less well set up for discerning fine structure than the tips of your fingers.
And have you ever felt that?:
If a person wears a baseball cap for a long period of time and then takes it off, it may still be felt.
If a person turns their tongue upside down, and runs their finger along the front, it will feel like the finger is moving in the opposite direction.
If a person pushes outwards with their hands against something for a while, then stops, it will feel as if there is something stopping the person's hands from closing together. Similarly, if a person pulls outwards with their arms, for example pulling their pants outwards, then stops, it will feel as if something is keeping their hands from staying at their sides.
If a person is lying on his/her stomach with arms stretched in front and another person raises his/her arms about 2 feet off the ground and holds them there for approximately one minute, with the person on the ground having his/her eyes closed and head hanging, then slowly lowers the arms to the ground, it will feel as if the arms are going below the level of the rest of the body.
After exercising on a treadmill or walking on a moving sidewalk for extended periods, a person will often feel 'pulled forward' when they step off onto stationary ground.
If two people join their opposite hands and one slides his index and thumb over two joined fingers he will feel the other finger like it was one of his.
If a person has been in the sea for a long time, they may afterwards still feel the ocean current pushing and pulling them.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:44


A temporal illusion is a distortion in the perception of time, which occurs when the time interval between two or more events is very narrow (typically less than a second). In such cases, a person may momentarily perceive time as slowing down, stopping, speeding up, or running backwards. Additionally, a person may misperceive the temporal order of these events.
Telescoping effect: People tend to recall recent events as occurring further back in time than they actually did (backward telescoping) and distant events as occurring more recently than they actually did (forward telescoping).
Vierordt's law: Shorter intervals tend to be overestimated while longer intervals tend to be underestimated. Time intervals associated with more changes may be perceived as longer than intervals with fewer changes
Kappa effect: The Kappa effect is a form of temporal illusion verifiable by experiment, where in the temporal duration between a sequence of consecutive stimuli is thought to be relatively longer or shorter than its actual elapsed time, due to the spatial/auditory/tactile separation between each consecutive stimuli. The kappa effect can be displayed when considering a journey made in two parts that take an equal amount of time. Between these two parts, the journey that covers more distance may appear to take longer than the journey covering less distance, even though they take an equal amount of time.
Chronostasis is a type of temporal illusion in which the first impression following the introduction of a new event or task demand to the brain appears to be extended in time. For example, Chronostasis temporarily occurs when fixating on a target stimulus, immediately following a saccade (e.g., quick eye movement). This elicits an overestimation in the temporal duration for which that target stimulus (i.e., post saccadic stimulus) was perceived. This effect can extend apparent durations by up to 500 ms and is consistent with the idea that the visual system models events prior to perception. The most well-known version of this illusion is known as the stopped-clock illusion, wherein a subject's first impression of the second-hand movement of an analog clock, subsequent to one's directed attention (i.e., saccade) to the clock, is the perception of a slower-than-normal second-hand movement rate (the seconds hand of the clock may seemingly temporarily freeze in place after initially looking at it).
The oddball effect-another temporal illusion occurs when a person perceives unusual stimuli of a potential threat or mate (See Fight-or-flight response). For example, research suggests that time seems to slow down when a person skydives or bungee jumps, or when a person suddenly and unexpectedly senses the presence of a potential predator or mate. This reported slowing in temporal perception may have been evolutionarily advantageous because it may have enhanced our ability to intelligibly make quick decisions in moments that were of critical importance to our survival. However, even though observers commonly report that time seems to have moved in slow motion during these events, it is unknown whether this is a function of increased time resolution during the event, or instead an illusion of remembering an emotionally salient event.
Effects of emotional states-the perception of another persons' emotions can also change our sense of time. The theory of embodied mind (or cognition), as caused by mirror neurons, helps explain how the perception of other people's emotions have the ability to change one's own sense of time. Embodied cognition hinges on an internal process that mimics or simulates another's emotional state. Depression may increase one's ability to perceive time accurately. One study assessed this concept by asking subjects to estimate the amount of time that passed during intervals ranging from 3 seconds to 65 seconds. Results indicated that depressed subjects more accurately estimated the amount of time that had passed than non-depressed patients; non-depressed subjects overestimated the passing of time. This difference was hypothesized to be because depressed subjects focused less on external factors that may skew their judgement of time. The authors termed this hypothesized phenomenon "depressive realism."
Changes with aging-Psychologists have found that the subjective perception of the passing of time tends to speed up with increasing age in humans. This often causes people to increasingly underestimate a given interval of time as they age. This fact can likely be attributed to a variety of age-related changes in the aging brain, such as the lowering in dopaminergic levels with older age; however, the details are still being debated. In an experimental study involving a group of subjects aged between 19 and 24 and a group between 60 and 80, the participants' abilities to estimate 3 minutes of time were compared. The study found that an average of 3 minutes and 3 seconds passed when participants in the younger group estimated that 3 minutes had passed, whereas the older group's estimate for when 3 minutes had passed came after an average of 3 minutes and 40 seconds.
Effects of drugs-Stimulants produce overestimates of time duration, whereas depressants and anesthetics produce underestimates of time duration. Psychoactive drugs can alter the judgement of time. These include traditional psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline as well as the dissociative class of psychedelics such as PCP, ketamine and dextromethorphan. At higher doses time may appear to slow down, speed up or seem out of sequence. In a 2007 study, psilocybin was found to significantly impair the ability to reproduce interval durations longer than 2.5 seconds, significantly impair synchronizing motor actions (taps on a computer keyboard) to regularly occurring tones, and impair the ability to keep tempo when asked to tap on a key at a self-paced but consistent interval. In 1955, British MP Christopher Mayhew took mescaline hydrochloride in an experiment under the guidance of his friend, Dr Humphry Osmond. On the BBC documentary The Beyond Within, he described that half a dozen times during the experiment, he had "a period of time that didn't end for "
Stimulants can lead both humans and rats to overestimate time intervals, while depressants can have the opposite effect. The level of activity in the brain of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine may be the reason for this. Dopamine has a particularly strong connection with ones perception of time. Drugs that activate dopamine receptors speed up ones perception of time, while dopamine antagonists cause one to feel that time is passing slowly.
Effects of meditation- Researchers have increasingly focused on the benefits of meditation in everyday life and performance. Mindfulness in particular improves attention, working memory capacity, and reading comprehension. Given its emphasis on moment-to-moment awareness, they noticed that mindfulness meditation would alter time perception. The Researchers had participants carry out a temporal bisection task, where several probe durations are compared to "short" and "long" standards. Following this, participants either listened to an audiobook or a meditation that focused on the movement of breath in the body. Finally, participants completed the temporal bisection task for a second time. The control group obviously showed no change after the listening task. However, meditation led to a relative overestimation of durations.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:44


During the preparation of each Sunday Freak magazine we make a lot of web and libraries researches. And often some of us find the materials or facts, that none of us knows as well. Live a life- study a life. So, here is one of that secret hidden stories about MAYA.

In Advaita Vedanta philosophy, māyā ( illusion) is the limited, purely physical and mental reality in which our everyday consciousness has become entangled. Māyā is held to be an illusion, a veiling of the true, unitary Self—the Cosmic Spirit also known as Brahman. The concept of māyā was introduced by the ninth-century Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara. He refuses, however, to explain the relationship between Brahman and māyā.
Many philosophies and religions seek to "pierce the veil" of māyā in order to glimpse the transcendent truth from which the illusion of a physical reality springs, drawing from the idea that first came to life in the Hindu stream of Vedanta.
Māyā is a fact in that it is the appearance of phenomena. Since Brahman is the only truth, māyā is true but not the truth, the difference being that the truth is the truth forever while what is true is only true for now. Since māyā causes the material world to be seen, it is true in itself but is "untrue" in comparison to the Brahman. On the other hand, māyā is not false. It is true in itself but untrue in comparison with the absolute truth. In this sense, reality includes māyā and the Brahman. The goal of spiritual enlightenment ought to be to see Brahman and māyā and distinguish between them. Hence, māyā is described as indescribable. Māyā is avyakta and as Parameshashakti has two principal functions: one is to veil Brahman and obscure and conceal it from our consciousness; the other is to present and promulgate the material world and the veil of duality instead of Brahman. The veil of māyā may be pierced, and, with diligence and grace, may be permanently rent. Consider an illusion of a rope being mistaken for a snake in the darkness. Just as this illusion gets destroyed when true knowledge of the rope is perceived, similarly, māyā gets destroyed for a person when they perceive Brahman with transcendental knowledge. A metaphor is also given—when the reflection of Brahman falls on māyā, Brahman appears as God (the Supreme Lord). Pragmatically, where the duality of the world is regarded as true, māyā becomes the divine magical power of the Supreme Lord. māyā is the veritable fabric of duality, and she performs this role at the behest of the Supreme Lord. God is not bound by māyā, just as magicians do not believe the illusions of their own magic.
The following passage is by Sri Shankaracharya:
The Supreme Self (or Ultimate Reality) who is Pure Consciousness perceived Himself by Selfhood (i.e. Existence with "I"-Consciousness). He became endowed with the name "I". From that arose the basis of difference.
He exists verily in two parts, on account of which, the two could become husband and wife. Therefore, this space is ever filled up completely by the woman (or the feminine principle) surely.
And He, this Supreme Self thought (or reflected). Thence, human beings were born. Thus say the (scriptures) through the statement of sage Yajnavalkya to his wife.
From the experience of bliss for a long time, there arose in the Supreme Self a certain state like deep sleep. From that (state) māyā (or the illusive power of the Supreme Self) was born just as a dream arises in sleep.
This māyā is without the characteristics of (or different from) Reality or unreality, without beginning and dependent on the Reality that is the Supreme Self. She, who is of the form of the Three Guna (qualities or energies of Nature) brings forth the Universe with movable and immovable (objects).
As for māyā, it is invisible (or not experienced by the senses). How can it produce a thing that is visible (or experienced by the senses)? How is a visible piece of cloth produced here by threads of invisible nature?
Though the emission of ejaculate onto sleeping garments or bedclothes is yielded by the natural experience of copulation in a wet dream, the stain of the garment is perceived as real upon waking whilst the copulation and lovemaking was not true or real. Both sexual partners in the dream are unreal as they are but dream bodies, and the sexual union and conjugation was illusory, but the emission of the generative fluid was real. This is a metaphor for the resolution of duality into lucid unity.
Thus māyā is invisible (or beyond sense-perception). (But) this universe which is its effect, is visible (or perceived by the senses). This would be māyā which, on its part, becomes the producer of joy by its own destruction.
Like night (or darkness) māyā is extremely insurmountable (or extremely difficult to be understood). Its nature is not perceived here. Even as it is being observed carefully (or being investigated) by sages, it vanishes like lightning.
māyā (the illusive power) is what is obtained in Brahman (or the Ultimate Reality). Avidya (or nescience or spiritual ignorance) is said to be dependent on Jiva (the individual soul or individualised consciousness). Mind is the knot which joins consciousness and matter.
Space enclosed by a pot, or a jar or a hut or a wall has their several appellations (e.g., pot space, jar space etc.). Like that, Consciousness (or the Self) covered here by Avidya (or nescience) is spoken of as jiva (the individual soul).
Objection: How indeed could ignorance become a covering (or an obscure factor) for Brahman (or the Supreme Spirit) who is Pure Consciousness, as if the darkness arising from the night (could become a concealing factor) for the sun which is self-luminous?
As the sun is hidden by clouds produced by the solar rays but surely, the character of the day is not hidden by those modified dense collection of clouds, so the Self, though pure, (or undefiled) is veiled for a long time by ignorance. But its power of Consciousness in living beings, which is established in this world, is not veiled.
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 09:05

Cultural History of Tripping part1

The Psychedelic in Society: A Brief Cultural History of Tripping
The term  psychedelic  is derived from the  Ancient Greek  words  psuchē  (ψυχή - psyche, "soul") and  dēlōsē  (δήλωση - "manifest"), translating to "soul-manifesting".
A  psychedelic experience  is characterized by the striking perception of aspects of one's mind previously unknown, or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from its ostensibly ordinary fetters. Psychedelic states are an array of experiences including changes of  perception  such as  hallucinations,  synesthesia, altered states of awareness or focused consciousness, variation in thought patterns,  trance  or  hypnotic  states,  mystical  states, and other mind alterations.
These processes can lead some people to experience changes in mental operation defining their self identity (whether in momentary acuity or chronic development) different enough from their previous normal state that it can excite feelings of newly formed understanding ranging from  revelation  &  enlightenment  to the opposing polarity of  confusion  &  psychosis. Psychedelic states may be elicited by various techniques, such as meditation, sensory stimulation[1]  or  deprivation, and most commonly by the use of  psychedelic substances. When these psychoactive  substances are used for  religious,  shamanic, or  spiritual  purposes, they are termed  entheogens.

The term was first coined as a noun in 1957 by  psychiatrist  Humphry Osmond  as an alternative descriptor for  hallucinogenic drugs  in the context of  psychedelic psychotherapy.
Psychedelics are notorious today because of the rude splash they made in the Sixties and Seventies, when the tidal wave of altered consciousness they unleashed billowed across the social landscape, upsetting many an apple cart, Newtonian and otherwise, along the way. During the course of this insurrectional drive to expand the human mind, millions of students, artists, and other seekers were ushered by chemical agents toward – and, hopefully, through -- the Doors of Perception, a term borrowed from William Blake by Aldous Huxley to describe, in his 1954 book of the same title, the expansive universe to which drugs such as LSD can open up the mortal brain -- a realm in which everything appears, in Blake's words, "as it is, infinite."
Timothy Leary’s calls to “tune in” psychedelically and Ken Kesey’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests, the multimedia LSD extravaganzas immortalized by Tom Wolfe, steered untold legions through these portals into a molten state of being which is all but smothered today beneath the buttoned-down collars of straight-laced yuppie composure. Because most psychedelic drugs have been illegal since 1966, there are no accurate polls to determine the numbers of people who experimented. But many at least temporarily heeded Leary's clarion call to abandon middle-class security and catch the wave of revelation by gulping down psychotropic chemicals. Leary's death in 1996 has sparked a burst of introspection on the impact of the drugs he proselytized, and the high numbers of Baby Boomers who stormed heaven with them now have the stature to contemplate the fruits of their rebellions.
The demographics of tripping are actually much broader than one might suspect. You needn't be a hippie to have a psychedelic background. The corporate and civic leaders who are running the country today are likely to have once been experimental long-hairs in their school days.

We know that President Bill Clinton and both major-paty candidates vying to succeed him, Texas governor George W. Bush and Vice-President Al Gore, have admitted or intimated they've used illegal drugs. Indeed, many in high places today have been in even higher ones in their youth, touring the outer galaxies of their own minds on acid and other psychedelics. Millions have a unique lens embedded in their minds composed of the rarefied fibers of their hallucinogenic experiences. Meanwhile, many who didn't "turn on" are wondering, "What did I miss?" Still others, psychedelic veterans among them, find “recreational” drugs and the culture of their “indulgence” disquieting, and for good reason from their perspective. Trips, after all, were known to go awry.
As the new millennium begins, the use of psychedelics is again on the rise after tapering off in the 1980s. How could this be happening? Wasn’t the first time around, the convulsive Sixties and Seventies, too unsettling for anybody to want to go back? Well, the fact is that human beings will always want to suspend everyday reality, be it by legal means or otherwise, and they will always be at least curious about alternate states of consciousness, especially those that are consecrated in many of the world’s ancient traditions.
To be continued…
Published in NEWS Archives
Friday, 25 January 2013 05:51

The nature of hallucinations part2

What Are Visual Hallucinations?
Hallucinations, defined as the perception of an object or event (in any of the 5 senses) in the absence of an external stimulus, are experienced by patients with conditions that span several fields (e.g., psychiatry, neurology, and ophthalmology). When noted by non-psychiatrists, visual hallucinations, one type of sensory misperception, often trigger requests for psychiatric consultation, although visual hallucinations are not pathognomonic of a primary psychiatric illness.
Visual hallucinations have numerous etiologies. Here, we discuss possible mechanisms and offer a differential diagnosis of visual hallucinations, with an emphasis placed on conditions that arise in the context of medical and surgical illness. Treatment typically rests on the underlying etiology, so timely recognition and an understanding of causative mechanisms are crucial.
What Causes Visual Hallucinations?
Numerous hypotheses have been suggested to explain the genesis of visual hallucinations. These have been summarized and categorized: psycho physiologic (i.e., as a disturbance of brain structure), psycho biochemical (as a disturbance of neurotransmitters), and psychodynamic (as an emergence of the unconscious into consciousness). Visual hallucinations can be the result of all 3 processes, given the interplay among disturbances of brain anatomy, brain chemistry, prior experiences, and psychodynamic meaning.
To date, no single neural mechanism has explained all types of visual hallucinations; however, the similarity of visual hallucinations that are associated with seemingly diverse conditions suggests a final common pathway. There are three pathophysiologic mechanisms thought to account for complex visual hallucinations.
The first mechanism involves irritation (e.g., seizure activity) of cortical centers responsible for visual processing. Irritation of the primary visual cortex causes simple elementary visual hallucinations, while irritation of the visual association cortices causes more complex visual hallucinations. These data are supported by both electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings and direct stimulation experiments.
Lesions that cause differentiation of the visual system may lead to cortical release phenomenon, including visual hallucinations. Normal inputs are thought to be under the control of inhibitory processes that are effectively removed by differentiation. It has been further suggested that differenced neurons undergo specific biochemical and molecular changes that lead to an overall increase in excitability.
A multitude of lesions can cause this loss of input and inhibit other cognitive functions. Of note, visual hallucinations may be induced by prolonged visual deprivation. One study reported visual hallucinations in 10 of 13 healthy subjects blindfolded for a period of 5 days; this finding lends strong support to the idea that the simple loss of normal visual input is sufficient to cause visual hallucinations.
Finally, due to its role in the maintenance of arousal, the reticular activating system has been implicated in the genesis of visual hallucinations. Lesions of the brainstem have led to visual hallucinations (as in peduncular hallucinosis). Further, visual hallucinations are common in those with certain sleep disorders, and occur more frequently in those who are drowsy. The observation that visual hallucinations occur more frequently in those who are drowsy (even in the absence of frank sleep pathology) suggests that the reticular activating system plays a role in visual hallucinations, although the precise mechanism has not yet been established.
Published in NEWS Archives
Thursday, 24 January 2013 07:22

The nature of hallucinations part1

The nature of hallucinations
The general theory of hallucinations here delineated rests upon two fundamental assumptions.
One assumption states that life experiences influence the brain in such a way as to leave, in the brain, enduring physical changes that have variously been called neural traces, templates, or engrams. Ideas and images are held to derive from the incorporation and activation of these engrams in complex circuits involving nerve cells. Such circuits in the cortex (outer layers) of the brain appear to subserve the neurophysiology of memory, thought, imagination, and fantasy.
The emotions associated with these intellectual and perceptual functions seem to be mediated through cortex connections with the deeper parts of the brain (the limbic system or “visceral brain,” for example), thus permitting a dynamic interplay between perception and emotion through transactions that appear to take place largely at unconscious levels.
Conscious awareness is found to be mediated by the ascending midbrain reticular activating system (a network of nerve cells in the brainstem). Analyses of hallucinations reported by sufferers of neurological disorders and by neurosurgical patients in whom the brain is stimulated electrically have shown the importance of the temporal lobes (at the sides of the brain) to auditory hallucinations, for example, and of other functionally relevant parts of the brain in this process.
A second assumption states that the total human personality is best understood in terms of the constant interplay of forces that continually emanate from inside (as internal physiological activity) and from outside the individual (as sensory stimuli).
Such transactions between the environment and the individual may be said to exert an integrating and organizing influence upon memory traces stored in the nervous system and to affect the patterns in which sensory engrams are activated to produce experiences called images, fantasies, dreams, or hallucinations, as well as the emotions associated with these patterns. If such a constantly shifting balance exists between internal and external environmental forces, physiological considerations (e.g., brain function) as well as cultural and experiential factors emerge as major determinants of the content and meaning of hallucinations.

The brain is bombarded constantly by sensory impulses, but most of these are excluded from consciousness in a dynamically shifting, selective fashion. The exclusion seems to be accomplished through the exercise of integrative inner mechanisms that focus one’s awareness on selected parts of potential experience. (The sound of a ticking clock, for example, fades in and out of awareness.) Functioning simultaneously, these mechanisms survey information that is stored within the brain, select tiny samples needed to give adaptive significance to the incoming flow of information, and bring forth only a few items for actual recall from the brain’s extensive “memory banks.”
From Encyclopedia Britannica (www.britannica.com)
Published in NEWS Archives

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