Grof, Dr Stanislav - The Dangers of 'False memory'
Type of Spiritual Experience
‘False perceptions’ – confusing access to perceptions
How can you tell a vision from perception recall?
So far I have given the impression that access to perceptions produces ‘the Truth’. It does, but there are cases where the composer has intervened and the person is not getting access to perceptions at all but to a constructed scenario designed to teach the person a lesson, or gently lead him or her to a better understanding of something traumatic. Not all ‘perceptions’ are perceptions. Sometimes they are the equivalent of a dream or an eyes closed vision.
The dream or vision will look no different to a sequence from the perceptions log. It will be vivid, the emotions will be there, and very often sensory impressions will be added, so distinguishing a ‘perception’ from a dream or vision is extremely difficult.
In psychology, this is referred to as ‘false memory’, but in fact it is simply a case of confusing vision from perception recall. The danger is thus not of false perceptions, but of confusing ‘dream sequences’ with perceptions.
Very often dream sequences are constructed to prepare a person for the reliving of a genuine set of perceptions – they form the lead in to what might have been truly traumatic.
I think from the examples I found, it seems to be exceptionally important to work through all the experiences until you get to the key ones.
The composer seems to have a tendency to work gradually backward along the log if you are taking hallucinogens or undergoing therapy and often the most trauma is experienced in childhood. Thus the experiences need to be worked all the way through in order to distinguish preparatory ‘dream sequence’ from ‘actual perception’.
A description of the experience
LSD Doorway to the Numinous – Dr Stanislav Grof
George’s attitudes toward these experiences oscillated for a long time between accepting the possibility that his father was a sadistic murderer and seeing the ‘relivings’ as products of his own fantasy. When he finally encountered in his sessions the brutality of his biological birth, he assumed a very critical attitude in regard to the veracity of these events and offered an alternative interpretation. His final conclusion was that the ‘relivings’ were probably products of his desperate resistance against confronting the birth experiences.