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What if?

June 2, 2007

Our brains are electro-chemical organs, bundles of nerves, and our final arbiters on what is real and what isn’t. We’re accustomed to the idea that our brains need eyes, noses, ears, tongues and fingers to sense the world around us and properly interact with it. The idea occurred to me today that perhaps our minds can sense and interact with the world around us in other ways, completely independent of our physical senses. Our brains are, after all, the ultimate sensory organs we possess – without them, our other senses would be useless.

What if our brains are able to touch or sense realities beyond our normal, conscious reality? What if our brains are able to touch these realities, but are not evolved enough to actually process them? A mind that touched a reality it couldn’t process would find itself increasingly pulled from this reality, having to dedicate more and more energy to process its experience; which would put the mind more and more into that reality, and less in our conscious, consensual reality. How would others, who hadn’t experienced such a shift in reality, describe someone who had? Crazy? Sick? Mad?

Some of the greatest thinkers among us – poets, musicians, scientists – are believed or known to have suffered some sort of mental illness, bipolar disorder figures heavily here. Their achievements demonstrated that they were masters of observing some facet of our common reality – but is it possible that it’s their ability to touch an uncommon reality that fueled or gave them the perspective they needed to bring their sometimes revolutionary thoughts into our common reality?

Mental illness, mood disorder, or simply an experience of a reality different from ‘common’ reality – a reality of muses, inspiring and nightmarish?

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