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Article

Hallucinations - review - Oliver Sacks

Posted on

MYSTERY OF THE MIND Sacks argues that hallucinations are vital to mankind

Hallucinations

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Oliver Sacks
publisher:
Knopf
genre:
Nonfiction

We gave it a B+

Hallucinations are often signs that something’s wrong, that we’re injured or crazy, or that we’ve ingested something we shouldn’t have. Sacks’ elegant new study dispels fallacies and quashes stigmas about the phenomenon, saying that hallucinations are ”an essential part of the human condition.” He presents diverse case studies of varying severity — from migraine sufferers who see cool shapes to a marathon runner who gets abducted by aliens — and convincingly argues that throughout history, hallucinations have been vital to mythmaking and religious experience. Reading so many deeply bizarre personal accounts of seeing things that aren’t there can get tiresome — it’s like listening to people describe dreams. But at its best, Hallucinations is an absorbing plunge into a mystery of the mind. B+