Took a nap this afternoon, had the by-now-common hypnogogic hallucination waking up. This time I thought there was a frog on the sliding glass door. I could see his little sucker feet adhered to the glass. “Wow! Neat! A tree frog! I can’t wait to tell James. This is so…aw, BUGGER. I’m having another frickin’ hallucination, aren’t I?” Did the usual thrash and flutter of heavy eyelids, frog proved not to be there. Damn. It would’ve been cool.

It’s a little weird that the word “hallucination” can stretch to encompass both those real-as-real experiences, and the rather more muted psychedelics. The two are nothing alike. Psychedelics–a lot of drugs, for that matter–are a kind of Photoshop filter over reality. The better the drugs, the cheaper and trashier the filter. Pot or alcohol gets you a nice subtle Gaussian blur, maybe a little smudge if you really overdo it. LSD ranges from the common distortion, maybe a little streakiness, to intense solarizing and glow and cheapass rendering effects to send an artist screaming into the night, trailing lens flares.

Hypnogogic hallucinations are nothing like filters. They’re like having a different photo substituted. It may not be what you expected to see, but it’s a photo, by god, that’s real stuff there, and you have to stare at it for a minute to realize that somebody photoshopped the frogs in and cleaned up the edges. The two have surprisingly little in common, but I guess we’re limited by the lack of vocabulary for altered states of brain.

I feel on some level that it’d be cool to be artistically inspired by these hallucinations, but the fact is, they’re all the same view of my living room, and pretty boring. Oh, well, can’t win ’em all…

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