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In Oliver Sacks‘ book The Mind’s Eye, the neurologist included an interesting footnote in a chapter about losing vision in one eye because of cancer that said: “In the ’60s, during a period of experimenting with large doses of amphetamines, I experienced a different sort of vivid mental imagery.”
He expands on this footnote in his book, Hallucinations, where he writes about various types of hallucinations — visions triggered by grief, brain injury, migraines, medications and neurological disorders.
One chapter of the book — that’s out in paperback July 2 — deals with altered states and Sacks’ personal experimentation with hallucinogenic and mind-altering drugs in the ’60s. He says the first time he tried marijuana, it induced fascinating perceptual distortion. He was looking at his hand, and it appeared to be retreating from him, yet getting larger and larger.
“I was fascinated that one could have such perceptual changes, and also that they went with a certain feeling of significance, an almost numinous feeling.