Spiritual concepts

Shared hallucination

An hallucination in which more than one person is able to 'see' or 'hear' the same thing.  As each person will only be able to describe or indicate a few details given that hallucinations tend to be short lived, it will not ever be possible to verify whether anyone is seeing or hearing exactly the same thing, but as long as approximate details are the same, then this category can be used.

Voices may be easier to match than music, if they are of known people,  as such unless the people are musically inclined and able to reproduce what has been heard, it is unlikely that shared hallucinations of music can be approximately verified.  As we have no way of describing smells, a shared hallucination of a smell is only possible at a very crude level.  It is known already that apparent temperature drops in a room and 'winds' where there is no wind can be experienced on a shared basis.

As none of us actually experiences Noumenal Reality, in many senses the Phenomenal Reality we do experience is a constant form of hallucination and a mass shared hallucination at that.  Those who study this area, however, tend to focus on very unusual occurrences. 

One of the more extraordinary shared hallucinations [in the sense of a mass sharing of Phenomenal Reality in which consensus that it did happen was obtained] is that of the Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 1917.  So extraordinary was it that even Richard Dawkins wrote of it in the God Delusion.  He says

“On the face of it, mass visions, such as the report that seventy thousand pilgrims at Fatima in Portugal in 1917 saw the sun ‘tear itself from the heavens and come crashing down upon the multitude,’ are harder to write off…It is not easy to explain how seventy thousand people could share the same hallucination.

But they did.  Scottish philosopher David Hume once wrote, “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.”  Hume’s test applied to Fatima would be to observe that it is very improbable that 70,000 people could simultaneously collude in a mass lie.  Thus whatever they 'saw' happened within their own Phenomenal Realities.  We then have to decide how it happened - inter-composer communication - a temporary glitch in the 'software' that controls Noumenal Reality.....  Lots of possibilities.  But 70,000 people is probably the largest shared hallucination we have on the site.



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