A hallucination is where you see (or hear, or feel…) something that isn’t there. A negative hallucination is where you don’t see (or hear, etc) something that is.
It’s what I did when my leg cramped up once. I didn’t want the pain, so I stopped experiencing it. But that’s a dramatic example. It happens to all of us, every single day.
Have you ever lost your glasses while they were on top of your head? You can feel the glasses there… until you can’t.
What about the clothes you’re wearing? Or whatever you’re sitting or standing on? As I write this, my brain is bombarded with sensory information – the keyboard on my fingertips, the shirt on my back, the chair beneath me. Consciously, I’m not aware of any of it.
At least, not for long.
And if something changed – like, if my shirt suddenly became twice as heavy – then I’d notice.
Until then, though, it’s routine. It’s unimportant. Your conscious mind has other things to worry about than tracking the feeling of cloth on your back.
Your unconscious, though? That tracks everything.
My favourite demonstration of this is the cocktail party effect. You can be in a loud room and have a conversation with someone. They might not be the loudest sound in the room – they probably aren’t- yet you hear them fine.
Your mind focuses on the sound of their voice and ignores all others.
But when I say ignores, I don’t mean it deletes anything. If someone in the background noise mentions your name, you hear it.
Your unconscious monitors all the information it can, looking for threats and opportunities. It spares you from most of that, occasionally promoting something of interest into your awareness.
What is “of interest” changes. More importantly, you can change it. If you think about soccer all day, you’ll notice things in your environment – posters, TVs in the background, snippets of conversation on the bus – relating to soccer you might otherwise miss.
Your unconscious assumes what you consciously think about is important, so it’ll find more of that for you.
Anyway, the cool thing is you can use reverse hallucinations all sorts of ways.
Like to overcome any bad habit.
How easy would it be to skip dessert if you literally couldn’t read see that part of the menu?
Food for thought.
If you want to learn how, here’s your action: