Q. Are hallucinations in any way a projection of either the unconscious or the subconscious mind? To state an issue that occurred in my own family, when a family member underwent a surgery, her sodium levels dropped. She is one of the rare cases where low sodium levels induces hyperactivity and hallucinations. Although we have been told that the reason for her behavior is rooted in biological causes and changes, I would like to know the impact of such changes on the subconscious mind and whether there is any information unknowingly projected out by the individual through hallucinations. The aforementioned family member, post-surgery, looked at a fan and starting scolding it as if it were a person. Yet when asked what/who she was scolding, she answered saying that she was scolding the fan itself.

I have 2 queries regarding her behavior. One is with respect to the type of hallucination that was. It confuses me because although she was screaming at a fan, she knew it was a fan and didn’t assume it to a person. So i want to know what type of hallucination it was.
Secondly, when a servant from the house had come to the hospital, she was screaming at her and saying unreasonable things about her to her. I want to know whether this was a projection of just exaggerated affect shown through hallucinations. Thank you.

A. You ask a question that tests the very limits of science. Anyone who gives you a simple answer is guilty of being simpleminded. Really, what you are asking is what is the nature of reality and the place of consciousness within that reality.

It would be nice to think that reality is obvious and that science, for the last hundred years or so, has shown us a blurry picture and that over time, through the advances of science, that blurry picture simply becomes more and more in focus. Another way of saying this, would be to say “we know what it is but we don’t know all of the details. With the passage of days and weeks we discover more and more of the details.”

But the truth is the exact opposite of that statement. The very best scientific minds recognize that reality and the place of consciousness in reality is exceedingly difficult to determine and is likely to be not at all what we thought it to be. Put very simply but quite inadequately, it is the difference between Newtonian physics and quantum physics. Strange things happen in quantum physics and we have known this for 100 years. Experiments have been repeated year after year, decade after decade, yielding the same results and though it would be convenient to ignore these results, they cannot be overlooked.

Many books have been written about the findings of experiments in quantum physics and additional books, have been written summarizing these results and expounding upon their meaning. It would not be the slightest exaggeration to say that the very best scientific minds of our time are primarily focused on these issues. They are scientists that are nationally recognized as being among the very best, internationally recognized as being among the very best and some are Nobel prize laureates.

One of America’s best scientists, Robert Lanza has written two books on the subject. The first was titled Biocentrism: Robert Lanza’s Theory of Everything and the second was titled Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death. You can watch Ted talks and see Dr. Lanza explain his understanding of this subject. He is not alone in his beliefs; many great minds concur. To summarize their position in the simplest of all possible terms, “it ain’t simple.”

I can’t give you a simple answer about your family member. We know the drugs can be psychoactive, which means that they can enter the brain and distort its functioning. With hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, people have said that they can hear colors and see sounds. If your loved one returned to normal functioning, after this hospital event, problem solved. After that, any deeper probing enters an area of science that is simply not understood.

The very best minds in science are studying the nature of consciousness and being. It is not a simple subject, but it is not beyond the understanding of the reader of my words.

If you read both of Robert Lanza’s books, don’t expect to be an expert but you will have an understanding. Experts study for years and if you want to be an expert you also will need to study for years but you don’t need to be an expert to be impressed with the work of these scientists and to gain whatever understanding that you desire.

I hope that you don’t think that I’ve avoided your specific question. I have instead answered in the best way I possibly could. To know the effect of the unconscious and subconscious upon the conscious mind, one would need to know about the true nature of the unconscious and subconscious and conscious minds and quite honestly, no one really knows. Since I do not, nor does anyone else with whom I am aware have a complete understanding of these areas, then anything is possible. Without knowing all, who can say what is not a part of the all?

The important thing is that modern science has hopefully returned your loved one to a happy, normal existence. How to return someone to a normal existence or state of being, is thankfully practiced every day in therapist’s office across the world and if I may add, with great success. Let me leave you with this. Understanding how to return someone to a “normal” existence is a far different question than that of the true nature of existence. Good luck, my friend.

Dr. Kristina Randle