Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday 12/4/16 do we think of  completely new, unprecedented and original area of the brain, ancient and unused? What would that be? The materialists have been struggling with the idea of consciousness; what about those areas, called by experts, beyond imagination?

Suzanne Koven is a writer and a primary care internist in Boston. She once interviewed Oliver Sacks, who has since died, when he was promoting his new book, Hallucinations. The interview raised some chilling possibilities. Her introduction was as interesting as the interview. I wrote about it a while ago but, in our materialistic world, it is worth revisiting.

A while before the interview Koven was recovering from shoulder surgery and was unhappy with her slow progress. On the way home from a friend's house, a trip designed to entertain her and improve her post hospital mood, she saw her twenty year old son enter her house before her. She was thrilled to see him but was annoyed he did not leave the door open for her; he clearly saw her as he looked right at her. She hurried inside with plans of introducing him to her friend and searched the house but found no one. She was hallucinating; she had imagined the appearance of her son and his actions. She had no history and no significant medication to account for it.

Koven's interview with Sacks included some remarks about his surprising drug-taking history and one startling observation. Later in the interview Sacks says, "..[A]...  parfumier had made something unlike anything ever encountered on earth. And it had a very strong smell which aroused no associations and could not be compared to anything. One realized this was absolute novelty. And I quote Poe on this: absolute novelty can enter some hallucinations and maybe some psychosis. I don’t know if imagination is enough. I think hallucinations in various ways go beyond imagination. These are not necessarily creative ways, though maybe they could be put down to creativity."

asks, " Almost like a visitation? Or would you say hallucinations sometimes come from a part of the brain that isn’t part of the “self?”

Sacks answers, "Yes, well that’s what the muse is. Or the devil!"

"An absolute novelty!" "...a part of the brain that isn’t part of the “self?”"

So, part of the brain has virgin territory, some perhaps vestigial--like an appendix, and some perhaps separate from the self and periodically interactive?

Is he talking about the soul?

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