RE: Voices

Bill Ramsay (
Thu, 10 Jul 1997 10:27:48 +0100


At 10:06 PM 7/9/97 +1000, you wrote:
>Following is a post I wrote before Chris, so he might like to elaborate
>I don't profess to know much how about the following hence my reliance on
>references and others opinions.

Thanks for the contribution. I had forgotten 'hypnogogic' and never heard
of the other. I'm not convinced that the hallucination-pseudohallucination
distinction is a useful one and I note that the hypnogogic-hypnopompic
distinction is situational, not phenomenological, which doesn't help us to
understand the expreience any better. This led me to wonder whether we need
a construcivist dictionary, i.e. one in which the definitions rely on
explanations couched in terms of the FP and the corollaries rather than in
positivist-realist terms. Compiling such could be entertaining and instructive.

>My unsophisticated way of summarising the above is to say: we may all be
>able to be hypnotised, some people may have what have been referred to as
>pseudohallucinations, while relatively few people experience 'true'
>hallucinations. This point has relevance to the issue of 'causation'. for
>example, I may choose to be hypnotised, but as much as I try it is unlikely
>that I could choose to have auditory/visual halluciations.

Unless you were a shaman, of course, and actively sought them out.
Incidentally, since such experiences are often the result of deliberately
induced sensory deprivation or sensory overload, do they count as
pseudohallucinations or hallucinations? (Back to the dictionary point.)

>There would seem
>to be a vulnerability or propensity for some people to have hallucinations.
>Some people can use drugs such as LSD or speed without major event, while
>for others the result is a state characterised by experiences which could
>be labelled psychotic.

But for the context. Or psychotic experience, non-psychotic experiencer?


>Feel free to object if you believe I am referring to your comments
>inappropriately, but a key phrase in your comments below, to me, is:
>> (snip) and find myself resistant to re-construing
>An aspect of many people labelled as acutely psychotic is this aspect of not
>even considering reconstruing.

In the end i'm forced to, of course. But if this were a criterion of
psychosis then how many psychotics do we have walking the streets? Recent
events in N. Ireland, the militias in the US, etc. make one wonder.


>As you note, a common thread is that all the above experiences are construed
>as 'real', however I suspect what 'real' means in these situations may
>differ. For example, many 'delusions' can be unswervingly held, even in the
>face of massive invalidation. Lindsay started to say some interesting
>things on this subject.
>Perhaps this is a key issue, responding to construing that can't be directly
>experienced/validated by another, but which is construed as more real than
>experiences which can be shared with others. I have no doubt such a
>description is flawed, however it is a crude attempt to explore this matter.

You're beginning to write the dictionary, though...



W. Ramsay,
Dept. of Educational Studies,
University of Strathclyde,
Jordanhill Campus,
G13 1PP,

'phone: +44 (0)141 950 3364 (direct dial-in)
fax: +44 (0)141 950 3367
'fax: +44 (0)141 950 3367