A spiritual plunge into the sensory deprivation tank
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on June 23, 1015
The sensory deprivation tank tantalized me when I first saw the film Altered States in 1980.
In this film, William Hurt, brainiac scientist, is convinced that different states of consciousness (sleep, dreaming, mental illness) are just as real as the “normal” waking state. He tries to access those states by floating in the tank’s dark silence after ingesting psychedelic mushrooms. He then discovers a wormhole to the infinite catalogue of human experience. That wormhole was in his mind.
It’s trippy. Altered States is over-the-top science fiction, but the philosophy behind it isn’t that far out.