Hallucinations have led everyone from shamans to acid gurus to believe they were getting a glimpse into the spirit world. Jack Cowan says they may actually be getting a peek into their own brains. Cowan is the mathematician and neuroscientist featured in the latest episode of Clever Apes, talking about how the patterns in those hallucinations actually reflect the structure and behavior of networks in our heads.
We’ll get to the science in a moment, but it’s worth considering how entwined these hallucinations may be into the human experience. As Cowan mentions, some anthropologists believe that much of cave art is hallucinatory, as demonstrated in this presentation Cowan put together.