New Insights into ESP, Hallucinations and ASC
Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research, April 2018
10 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2017 Last revised: 19 Dec 2018
Date Written: April 27, 2017
Altered states of consciousness (ASC) induced by meditation, mind-altering drugs, hypnosis, or physiological lesion are quite an important and fascinating yet puzzling field in the study of human consciousness. This paper attempts to reveal the essence of ASC in a scientific way.
On the basis of empirical materials, firstly we summarize four essential phenomena (hallucinations, paranormal phenomena, more sensitive awareness and mystical experiences) in ASC after an initial clarification.
Hallucinations are the most common phenomena in ASC. Different from most research focusing on the generation mechanism of hallucinations from the perspective of neurophysiology, we propose a universal model for hallucinations to reveal the formation mechanism of different states of hallucinations from a unique perspective. Our starting point is that there are two pathways through which to affect perception: When false internal stimulations and external objective stimulations affect perception together, the changes in their relative strength will result in the consistence, breakdown and re-consistence of the five senses, leading to three basic states of hallucinations (one can distinguish reality from fantasy, one cannot distinguish reality from fantasy, and reality and fantasy are totally reversed).
As an implication of this model, the third state of hallucinations suggests a novel hypothesis which is totally different from "multidimensional space-time" and "quantum entanglement" to interpret extrasensory perception (ESP): the essence of ESP is that false internal stimulations are mistaken as external objective stimulations which enter through sensory organs, while real external objective stimulations are mistaken as perceptions which do not result from sensory organs when one is in deep hallucinations. Moreover, in the second state of hallucinations, the inconsistence of the five senses can also explain the generation mechanism of out-of-body experiences, synesthesia and many other marvelous psychedelic phenomena in ASC. Thus far, we arrive at a conclusion that paranormal phenomena are simply illusions that happen along with deep hallucinations.
Subsequently, a new brain-filtering model is presented to explain the more sensitive awareness. Furthermore, we originally point out that the essence of Buddhist Vipassana is the more sensitive awareness caused by the weakening of the brain-filtering function.
Next, we discuss mystical experiences which occur in Samatha. Although it is still unknown to the generation mechanism of Samatha, according to the experiential descriptions, we know that thinking activities halt and the usual five-sense mode of perception shuts down to activate a totally new mode of apperceiving in Samatha.
Finally, a general framework will be made to reveal the essence of ASC: The loss of the self results in three mechanisms (more sensitive awareness, hallucinations and Samatha) and the relationship among them is figured out. On this basis, the relationship between Buddhist tranquility and insight is brought to light.
Keywords: extrasensory perception (ESP), hallucinations, altered states of consciousness (ASC), paranormal phenomena, filtering model
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