Consciousness and Cognition magazine has published an interesting article by British cognitive psychologists, which describes - and often in the first person - the psychedelic experience of a 70-year-old former rock musician, blind from birth. "As he calls himself), passing under the code name" Mr. Blue Pentagon "(Mr. Blue Pentagon). This is the first scientific analysis of LSD-induced hallucinations in a person who has been blind since birth, and it suggests that psychedelics can induce temporary synesthesia, sensory aphasia, and altered time perception in such people.
something new and exciting. Of course, with the help of the senses available to me. Visual images have never visited me. I cannot see or imagine what is light and what is darkness. Meanwhile, under LSD and cannabis, I felt so much through hearing, touch and emotion that it was quite enough for me! "
Under LSD, different feelings can" intertwine "with each other - in sighted people this is expressed in the form of audiovisual synesthesia: sounds seem to influence the shape and colors of objects. Synesthesia also occurs with nervous disorders, including those leading to blindness. A case is described when a person who was blinded as a result of bilateral arteritic anterior ischemic neuropathy of the optic nerve experienced photisms (light and color sensations arising from irritation of any analyzer, but not the visual one) when he brushed his teeth or heard cotton. Another person, blinded by retinitis pigmentosa, claimed to see his limbs when he moved them, which can be explained by the activation of the visual cortex with proprioceptive stimuli. And here is how Mr. Blue Pentagon describes his feelings:
“When I listened to music during psychedelic experiences, it was as if I was plunging into the most beautiful waterfall in the whole world. From what I have experienced, this falls was the closest thing to what is called synesthesia. Bach's Third Brandenburg Concerto evoked a waterfall effect. I heard the sounds of violins playing in my soul, and I heard myself giving an hour-long monologue using different vocal tones. I remember my voices sounded extremely unique! LSD lent intensity to everything. The sounds of the songs that I used to listen to became three-dimensional, deep and delayed. The music seemed to disintegrate and unravel. The favorite track echoed in my head, as if the brain was hearing the music in the present, but it also clung to what was playing a second earlier. This allowed me to look inside myself and become more aware of myself, and life, and people, and music. I felt as if my brain was overloaded with information and I could not assimilate it all at once! ”
As you can see, sensations in this case are caused by an audio stimulus (music), but are expressed in a tactile form (waterfall), although Mr. The Pentagon notes that in addition to the usual sensations of touch, he experienced something else. There is an interesting parallel with how touchscreen userssubstitutions describe their sensations of "seeing with sound," clarifying that they do not have the right word for these new experiences, so they are forced to use terms that refer to the senses they are familiar with. Maybe the unfamiliar impressions that Mr. Blue Pentagon experienced were visual images or photisms, he just did not understand what they were?
Here are some more tactile impressions:
“Once under LSD, I remember, I touched a tree on the way to a friend's - and it was amazing! It was like it was a tree in a forest or even a jungle. Walking that day felt as if I was almost empty and moving at such a high speed that I was practically flying. ”
“ I felt like in a fairyland, surreal reality, where everything I touched was extremely velvety, almost as if these objects were covered with a layer of very soft patina. Sometimes I could not clench my hands as tightly as I wanted, or I clenched, but did not realize it. Once I threw in acid and smoked marijuana at the same time and wanted to touch everyone's faces in order to express to everyone everything that I think about them, just by touching their faces. It was a very strange experience, as their skin felt very soft, but their eyes, noses and mouths were somewhat distorted. ”
When Mr. Blue Pentagon listened to people's voices while on LSD, they also sometimes seemed distorted to him, and words incomprehensible, as if he had lost the ability to understand and formulate thoughts. Cases of such aphasia with the use of psychedelics are known, the authors note, but usually it is associated with visual stimulation, for example, when under the influence of a drug you cannot remember the names of objects, although you use them correctly and successfully.
“Since I do not have visual mental images, I perceive things with those feelings that are available to me. I remember at a party in 1971 I could hear every single word in people's speeches, but I did not understand the meaning of these words. It was quite frightening, because I recognized the language and therefore knew that they spoke in English, but there was no meaning in the words for me. It was as if I had unconsciously forgotten the language. ”
The perception of time was also disturbed under the influence of psychedelics:
“ I often felt that I was doing certain things very slowly, as if LSD was also stretching time. I am aware that from the point of view of science it is impossible to stretch time, but this is how it all felt. Once I talked with my ex right after taking LSD, and the time we spent together never ended! ”
Under the influence of psychedelics, sounds, touches and smells were felt in a harmonious relationship, but everyone played the leading role. still sounds, emphasizes Mr. Blue Pentagon. Here's what he says about the effects of long-term LSD use on dreams:
“I realized that the drug often changed the way I thought, my thoughts became much deeper. In the past I have always had very vivid dreams, but under the influence of LSD, dreams sometimes happened in the form of prose. Spotters aboutbraces are inaccessible to me, so places in a dream do not matter, and I rarely know where I am in a dream. The only thing I remember is the sounds and events that happen in my dreams. When I took LSD, I was not always able to sleep, but if I could, the dreams were extremely detailed, sometimes even verbose, like Shakespeare's, and often they lasted longer than my normal dreams. ”
Euphoria, stimulation, distortion of tactile sensations, sound and taste, changing the perception of music, visiting divine revelations, and so on. Visuals are far from the only manifestation of psychedelics.
As you know LSD transforms the way of thinking, often under LSD you can think "in a cube (third degree)", since there is no visual perception, the effect will spread through auditory and tactile sensations. Any images, sequence of thoughts, stereotypes, memories, desires - all this is subject to distortion and transformation.
Such people will not have visual hallucinations. Information from the eyes passes the following path: the retina - the nerve pathways - the cortex of the occipital lobes of the brain. The retina of the blind does not perceive information, which means that the visual centers of the brain have never been excited. That is, people who are blind from birth cannot imagine what it means to "see". Just as we cannot imagine ultrasound or infrared radiation, it transcends our sensory horizon. But in addition to visual hallucinations, there are auditory, tactile olfactory and visceral (sensations from internal organs).