4 Answers

  1. Such people will not have visual hallucinations. Information from the eyes passes through the following path: retina-nerve pathways – cortex of the occipital lobes of the brain. The retina of blind people does not perceive information, which means that the visual centers of the brain have never been excited. That is, people who are blind from birth cannot imagine what it means to “see”. Just as we can't imagine ultrasound or infrared radiation, this is beyond our sensory horizon. But in addition to visual hallucinations, there are auditory, tactile olfactory and visceral (sensations from internal organs).

  2. In the journal Consciousness and Cognition came a curious article British psychologists cognitivists that describes, and often first-person psychedelic experience born blind 70-year-old former rock musician (“rock star” as he calls himself), passing under the code name “Mr. Blue Pentagon” (Mr. Blue Pentagon). This is the first scientific analysis of LSD-induced hallucinations in a person who has been blind since birth, and it shows that psychedelics can cause temporary synesthesia, sensory aphasia, and changes in time perception in such people.

    “Every time I was under acid, I experienced something new and exciting. With the help of my senses, of course. Visual images never visited me. I cannot see or imagine that there is light and that there is darkness. Meanwhile, under LSD and cannabis, I felt so much through hearing, touch, and emotion that it was enough for me!”

    Under LSD, different feelings can “intertwine” with each other – in sighted people, this is expressed in the form of audiovisual synesthesia: sounds seem to affect the outlines and colors of objects. Synesthesia also occurs in nervous disorders, including those that lead to blindness. A case is described in which a person who became blind as a result of bilateral arteritic anterior ischemic neuropathy of the optic nerve experienced photicism (light and color sensations that occur when an analyzer is stimulated, but not the visual one) when brushing his teeth or hearing a clap. Another person who went blind due to retinitis pigmentosa claimed to see their limbs when they move them, which can be explained by activation of the visual cortex of the brain with proprioceptive stimuli. And here's how Mr. Blue Pentagon describes his feelings::

    “When I listened to music during my psychedelic experiences, it was like being immersed in the most beautiful waterfall in the entire world. From what I experienced, this waterfall was the closest thing to what is called synesthesia. Bach's third Brandenburg Concerto evoked a waterfall effect. I could hear violins playing in my soul, and I could hear myself delivering an hour-long monologue using various vocal keys. I remember that my voices were extremely unique! LSD made everything intense. The sounds of the songs I usually listened to became three-dimensional, deep, and laggy. The music seemed to fall apart and unravel. My favorite track echoed in my head, as if my brain was listening to music in the present, but also clinging to what had been playing a second earlier. It allowed me to look inside myself and become more aware of myself, life, people, and music. I felt like my brain was overloaded with information and I couldn't process it all at once!”

    As you can see, the sensations in this case are caused by an audio stimulus (music), but are expressed in tactile form (waterfall), although Mr. Blue Pentagon notes that in addition to the usual sensations of touch, he experienced something else. This suggests an interesting parallel with the way users of sensory substitution devices describe their experience of “seeing with sound”, specifying that they do not have the right word for these new experiences, so they are forced to use terms that relate to familiar feelings. Maybe the unfamiliar impressions that Mr. Blue Pentagon was experiencing were visual images or photisms, but he just didn't understand what they were?

    Here are more tactile impressions:

    “Once on LSD, I remember touching a tree on my way to a friend's house – and it was amazing! It was like a tree in a forest, or even a jungle. Walking that day felt like I weighed almost nothing and was moving at such a high speed that I was practically flying.”

    “I felt like I was in a dreamland, a surreal reality where everything I touched was extremely velvety, almost as if these objects were covered with a layer of very soft patina. Sometimes I couldn't squeeze my hands as tightly as I wanted, or I was squeezing but didn't realize it. I once took acid and marijuana at the same time, and I wanted to touch everyone's faces so that I could tell everyone what I thought of them just by touching their faces. It was a very strange experience, as their skin felt very soft, but their eyes, noses and mouths were somewhat distorted.”

    When Mr. Blue Pentagon listened to people's voices while under LSD, they also sometimes seemed distorted and the words were incomprehensible, as if he had lost the ability to understand and formulate thoughts. Cases of such aphasia when using psychedelics are known, the authors note, but usually it is associated with visual stimulation, for example, when under the influence of drugs you can not remember the names of objects, although you use them correctly and successfully.

    “Since I don't have visual mental images, I perceive things with the senses that are available to me. I remember at a party in 1971, I could hear every single word in people's speech, but I didn't understand the meaning of those words. It was quite frightening, because I recognized the language and therefore knew that they were speaking in English, but the words didn't make any sense to me. It's like I've unconsciously forgotten the language.”

    The perception of time was also affected by psychedelics:

    “I often felt that I was doing certain things very slowly, as if LSD was also stretching the time. I know it's scientifically impossible to stretch out time, but that's how it felt. I once talked to my ex right after taking LSD, and the time we spent together didn't end at all!”

    Under the influence of psychedelics, sounds, touches and smells were felt in a harmonious relationship, but the dominant role was still played by sounds, emphasizes Mr. Blue Pentagon. Here's what he says about the effects of long-term LSD use on dreams::

    “I realized that the drug often changed the way I thought, my thoughts became much deeper. In the past, I have always had very vivid dreams, but under the influence of LSD, the dreams sometimes came in the form of prose. Visual images are not available to me, so in a dream, places don't matter, and I rarely know where I am in a dream. The only things I remember are the sounds and events that happen in my dreams. When I took LSD, I wasn't always able to sleep, but when I did, the dreams were extremely detailed, sometimes even verbose, like Shakespeare's, and often lasted longer than my normal dreams.”

  3. Euphoria, stimulation, distortion of tactile sensations, sound and taste, changing the perception of music, visiting divine revelations, and so on. Visuals are far from the only manifestation of psychedelics.

  4. As you know, LSD transforms the way of thinking, often under LSD you can think ” in a cube (third degree)”, because there is no visual perception, the effect will spread through auditory and tactile sensations. Any images, sequence of thoughts, stereotypes, memories, desires – all this is subject to distortion and transformation.

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