Ben Alderson-Day
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In Two Minds
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The author begins this chapter by describing a study to test an unusual observation – that reading, in some senses, could be considered almost like a hallucinatory experience, and thus that there are parallels between imagination and hallucination. The author proposes a second kind of presence – those that are not out there in the world but in here with us and feel more real for it. If we think of the self as being defined in relation to others, it should not be a surprise that in some cases we can almost activate that other in our lives. It may even be a direct parallel to the ways in which disrupting the bodily self can bring forth bodily presences. The author suggests that it is a mistake to think that presences come from nowhere. They are other, and yet they are us – echoed, reflected and transformed. They are what can come forth when times become strange or pressured, when we lose track of where we begin and where the world ends. Their origin gives presences that feeling of significance and familiarity, for they are that scaffold when all is otherwise lost. They have been beside us all this time.

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The strange science and true stories of the unseen other


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