Brains do funny things during fevers. I had a memorably strange experience some years ago involving the ‘revelation’ that reality is just tiny boxes inside other boxes. This week while being very ill, I had the ‘vision’ that the universe is just a Twitter thread about Our Flag Means Death.
Mess up your brain chemistry, and strangeness will ensure. I tend to hallucinate when I’m sleep deprived. Anything that pushes your body into some kind of altered state has the potential to bring weird and random insights. However, I am inclined to mistrust any vision that wasn’t actively sought.
I’m lucky because the kinds of things my brain offers up as mystic truths when I’m simply ill, are so clearly ridiculous. I can have a good laugh about them when I surface, and they make for good stories. I’ve never mistaken one of these for a serious insight into the nature of the universe. I can’t help but wonder how many other people’s religious experiences – especially in times when fevers were more common – were really fever experiences. In the absence of Our Flag Means Death fan art, you might well go for the powerful images available to you – angels and demons and so forth.
A hunger for meaning can be a misleading thing. The desire to be important can lead a person to take themselves far too seriously. If you are more interested in being spiritual than in being important, there’s a lot to be said for not taking yourself too seriously.