Visual memory effects everything we see. Again, the brain stores memory by association. Our existing neurons are the only reference point for storing information we experience throughout the day. It can be challenging to see a new perspective of the world through the definitions we already have, but it is not impossible.
When neuroscientists approach functions like hallucinations, they approach them as random, unnecessary acts, a mistake. It is important to note; we must include misinterpretations like matrixing, paranormal experiences, and vision into the category of hallucination. Think of the things we see as falling into three categories:
Neuroscience’s answer to why hallucinations happen is that existing neurons in the brain “just happen to fire,” as though our brains ever do anything without reason.
But, what if nothing ‘just happens’ in the brain? Nothing in nature has shown itself to be random. Nature is a system of checks and balances. It does everything meticulously and with reason. However, because we have been unable to understand the impetus—as scientists—we assume the brain “just does things,” much like our ancestors believed an external, divine source must control our universe.
I think our answers are found, not in what it does randomly, but what it does intentionally. If we use this as our perspective, why it does what it does randomly makes sense.
Whether we experience reality, imagination, or hallucination, the visual cortex functions the same. When in a state of imagination, higher reason knows what we are experiencing, it’s not real. For some, there may also be limitations to how pervasive the sensory experience. The fascinating thing about hallucinations is, they are a full sensory experience. To the person experiencing them, they are as real an experience as reality itself.
And they are not random firings of the brain. They occur for a very definitive reason, survival.
For some of us, there are uniquely profound moments in life moments when we cannot deny we heard something moving under the bed or saw a dark form blocking light from the nearby window. We live our lives questioning our sanity, wondering if it is just our imagination, but what is imagination? What is it that creates monsters for some and extraordinary books for others? What is the thing sometimes lurking in the shadows or maybe just over a hopeful horizon? What is the ghost or the spirit of a loved one? What is the sign from God or the malevolent threat? What is the method behind such madness?
The argument has raged for centuries over whether these experiences genuinely exist or are merely the conjecture of overactive minds. We’ve gone around in circles, and some fall hard on the side of discrediting such imaginings, while others have lived on the far end of the spectrum, a state far from the place most of us would call reality. I’m not here to credit one side of the argument or the other. I’ve had experiences in my life I could not then explain. I’ve had an overactive imagination, and I’ve also experienced real trauma. I am not here to say one is more real than the other. My goal is purely an attempt to understand what they might be.
As discussed in the last entry, neuroscience has made significant discoveries in the realm of reality vs. hallucination. They know what the brain does, but they still don’t have a better answer to why than to say it is a malfunction or random firing. I think it something much more organized and intentional.
The brain is working from a single goal, survival. When it is not fighting for its survival, it is planning to prevent threats to its survival. Just as it does with sleep, it will use waking moments to play out scenarios to calculate ways to overcome them.
We all experience this with worry or overly analytical thinking. When we feel threatened, the only thing we can conceive of is a threat, possibly to the point where the brain creates then creates the threat. The eyes see figures. The ears hear noises. The threat is experienced again and again, at a sensual level, until the brain calculates a way to overcome it.
Our subject lived haunted, so her world became haunted, and her brain—as it would do in dreams—processed the sensory input as imagery to create a real haunt.
Suppose we return to the introduction of DNA determining identity. In that case, we could set forth the premise that all human experience exists in all human DNA, and the activation of this DNA could be the simple explanation for why some have extrasensory experiences, and some do not.
Whether it is the existence of night terrors or misconceptions of reality or even the entire experience of hallucination, DNA exists in all of us. When we walk into a place where the threat of death has been so severe, it has actually resulted in death; it is possible we conceive the identity of the people who experienced it. What else would a primal fear be?
If I fear spiders or snakes or the irregular patterns of trypophobia, in most cases, I am not experiencing my own’ threat of imminent death.’ I am experiencing the event of an ancestor, parent, or any number of externalized sources who once experienced that threat. This reliving of someone else’s experience is where it spreads.
Let’s take, for example, a haunted house. Where exactly do the ghosts exist? Science denounced the ethereal theory some time ago—the idea of ether and the molecules of the spirit living in the atmosphere is unlikely. Our atmosphere is measurable. It is oxygen and helium and argon etc. etc. So, where are these ghosts?
To deny physics is to deny the experience we’re coming to know as a concrete reality. This contradiction is what creates the argument. I can insist the world is flat, but a person who has traveled the globe or been miles above would then be required to discredit everything I submit. If I don’t discount physics, where are the ghosts? Where are the spirits of our loved ones? Where are our guardian angels or our demons?
What if the answer is simple? What if their existence is in our DNA? What if the person walking into the haunted house is activating the sensory DNA of the person who lived in that house? With this said, it would stand to reason that any kinetic experience would translate to a specific energetic imprint in our DNA. It would also suggest we share this DNA.
If, for example, the energetic impress in a house was a traumatic, life-threatening experience, it would make sense that we would imprint this information in DNA—the same way we imprint spiders or snakes—to protect descendants from the same experience. This would be why houses where murder or abuse has taken place, would be more likely to store information than a place where trauma did not occur.
Now it might stand to reason this same thing is occurring in the case of Dissociative Personality Disorder. Like with the experience of my friend living with multiple personalities. What if multiple personalities are not identity-based? What if they are a stored moment in time, a moment of perceived safety, or perceived threat relative to the situation of abuse?
What if the mind seeking to matrix a singular event an event beyond current comprehension reviews the storehouse in our mind and finds within it an explanation? What if—in these experiences of fragmentation, whether those fragments be as extreme as multiple personalities or as subtle as you not acting the same way around your parents as you do your friends—what if the experiences are our accepting the consciousness of identities that are not our own?
The truth is we seldom experience haunts as identities. I think this has been a mistake of perception. We tend to experience them as moments as snapshots of time. For example, this would be the case in a residual haunt. Even during more interactive experiences—where those who have died interact with the living—, they are still experiencing the moment of death, unresolved state of unfinished business, or the simple desire to leave a mark.
The next logical question for most is: “Is it real?” In the case of severe fight-or-flight exampled in our subject’s early years of treatment, we see the individual experience of what conditions like this can create. We’ve spent millennia pondering the question, “Were those monsters I experienced real?”
The truth is it doesn’t matter. The answer is both yes and no. The physical body responds to sensory information. You can be watching a horror movie or suspense, and your adrenal system will meet with a racing heart and sweaty palms. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can have a massage and trigger the rest and digest response of feeling soothed and safe. The body experiences it all as reality.
A purpose of meditation can be precisely this. No reflection is about having ‘real/ experience. When you imagine yourself on a beach, you don’t question the existence of the beach. You know you are not on a beach, but you are teaching your mind to relax to the familiar experience of waves, sand, and seagulls. Being on the beach is not the point. The point is creating an experience in our mind then creates an experience in the body.
The real issue is, what experience are you creating?
This is a question we will explore throughout this thesis. For our subject, it is a thing that can transform her life as the discovery of a new source.