HACK YOUR BRAIN
January 12, 2009 Leave a comment
Not satisfied with having collaborated in a liberal hippie coup over the government that has made Atlas Shrugged a reality, the BOSTON GLOBE is now proposing that we all get freaky-deaky and “hack our brains.”
What will these pinkos think of next? Rewriting the Constitution to make it more akin to the Beat poetry of Allen Ginsberg?
DO YOU EVER want to change the way you see the world? Wouldn’t it be fun to hallucinate on your lunch break? Although we typically associate such phenomena with powerful drugs like LSD or mescaline, it’s easy to fling open the doors of perception without them: All it takes is a basic understanding of how the mind works.
The first thing to know is that the mind isn’t a mirror, or even a passive observer of reality. Much of what we think of as being out there actually comes from in here, and is a byproduct of how the brain processes sensation. In recent years scientists have come up with a number of simple tricks that expose the artifice of our senses, so that we end up perceiving what we know isn’t real – tweaking the cortex to produce something uncannily like hallucinations. Perhaps we hear the voice of someone who is no longer alive, or feel as if our nose is suddenly 3 feet long.
Yeah, this is going to do wonders for our economy, a bunch of stoners tripping balls on their lunch breaks!
Let’s start with the method pictured above. You cut a ping pong ball in half and tape each half over one of your eyeballs, blacking out all visual stimulus. You then lie down next to a radio blaring pure static.
Wait for it…
You’ll soon be seeing visuals straight out of Planet Unicorn, narrated by your late grandfather!
It turns out that your brain thrives on stimulus, and when deprived of fresh information, it reverts to making stuff up. Your brain has more in common with Jayson Blair than you might have realized…
The chap pictured above is pioneering neuroscientist Jan Purkinje, who as a child realized that if he closed his eyes and looked towards the sun, then rapidly waved his hand before his face, he’d see all kinds of crazy colors and patterns!
We’re told the same is possible by sniffing industrial-strength glue, although the career path of those who follow that method isn’t quite as impressive as that of Mr. Purkinje…
Fun with phantom limbs: Simply place your hand where you cannot see it, and a rubber hand where you can. Have a friend stroke both hands until you become convinced that the rubber hand is your actual hand.
Then have your friend stab or bash the rubber hand! You’ll totally freak out and think you’ve been stabbed or bashed!
Note: having your friend stab or bash the REAL hand is not nearly as fun or cool.
This last one is called “The Pinocchio Illusion” (not to be confused with Bootsy Collins’ landmark Pinocchio Theory, which posits that if you fake the funk, your nose got ta grow).
Basically, you blindfold yourself, then sit in a chair with a friend sitting just in front of you. Simultaneously, stroke your own nose and your friend’s nose. You’ll soon become convinced that you have a foot-long nose!
No word on whether this illusion can also work with boners.
For more illusory ideas, check out the entire infographic in the IDEAS section.
Maybe in a sense the propagation of drug-free hallucinatory methods is for the best…
All the latte-drinking hippies will be busy taping ping pong ball halves over their eyes, which should give REAL Americans plenty of time to elbow them out of the way while we figure out how to solve our economic, social, political, and diplomatic problems!