:: They Shimmer Within ::

They Shimmer Within


Cognitive-Evolutionary Perspectives on Visionary Beings

574 Pages: B&W with 35+ Illustrations

Release Date: March 2018
Book Size: 15.5cm x 23.5cm
Genre: Psychedelic Studies / Cognition / Evolutionary Psychology / Anthropology

Price: £32.95 excluding P&P

This book is now available direct from the booksellers below.

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:: Read a preview of chapter 1 here (PDF format) ::
:: Read the illustrated text of the talk I gave on this subject at Breaking Convention 2017 (PDF format) ::


The use of psychedelic drugs and visionary plants, such as ayahuasca, D.M.T., salvia divinorum and 2-C.I., is rising within Western society, and with this use are emerging an increasing number of mind-blowing reports narrating encounters with otherworldly ‘elves’, shadow people and visionary beings. Contemporary approaches to these shimmering discarnate entities in psychedelic thought have tended towards the literal, the archetypal or the imaginal, while the wider scientific community tends to dismiss them as overly bizarre or seemingly inexplicable experiences.

However, the relatively new fields of the cognitive science of religion and evolutionary psychology may be able to provide novel and meaningful insights into such visions, which are at the very least statistically significant psychological phenomena worthy of further study. The cognitive suggestion that invisible supernatural agents found in all religions spring from arrays of deeply-founded, innate but non-imagistic mental processes is one that can be applied to encounters with beings during intense visions, while the evolutionary idea that such cognitions are often easily triggered, difficult to inhibit, and emerge most prominently during emotive periods of high mental or physical demand is also applicable to visionary experiences and altered states of consciousness.

This wide-ranging book explores how our oldest and deepest mental processes predispose us as humans to believe in invisible supernatural agents - and find them emotively meaningful - even though we live in a universe which lacks them, and presents a new hypothesis of how these same cognitions facilitate the emergence of those agents to become suddenly, dazzlingly and emotively visible when psychedelic drugs and visionary plants are ingested.

Bruce’s holistic approach, in which visionary beings are considered in the same manner as all other psychological experiences, leads to the conclusion that such discarnate entities shimmer within as profound and awe-inspiring, but ultimately mysterious, products of the mind, an existential paradox of simultaneous knowing and unknowing which rests at the heart of what it is to be human.

This is an academic text, but concepts and theories are explored in an accessible way for the general reader. It is also the third in a series of explorations towards a more holistic system of thought, perception and experience, entitled Visionary Humanism.



About The Author
A Conversation

Three Million Years Ago
Thirty Thousand Years Ago
Three Minutes Ago


Part I: Of Wild Spirits & Little Vision Tricksters
1. Encounters with Visionary Beings
2. Magical Helpers
3. Terrors of the Night
4. Ancestors
5. Spirits of Place
6. Shamanic Spirits
7. Plant Spirits
8. Seducers and Abductors
9. Humanising the Beyond

Part II: A Cognitive Model of Visionary Beings
10. Prelude to the Model
11. Two Approaches to Visionary Experience Critiqued
12. Heuristic Models of the Mind
13. Agent Detection
14. Facial Recognition and Pareidolia

15. Social Intelligence
16. From Cognitive Fluidity to Recursive Consciousness
17. Ontological Violations
18. Minimal Counterintuitiveness
19. The Element of Surprise
20. Purpose, Meaning and Cognitive Closure
21. Metacognition on the Tip of Your Tongue
22. Holistic Perspectives

Part III: Questions, Meanings and Dreamings
23. Why Beings? Why Ubiquitous Intentionality?
24. Is A Visionary Capacity Evolutionarily Adaptive?
25. Are Wild Spirits and Visionary Beings Precursors to Gods?
26. Is There a ‘God Spot’ or ‘Visionary Beings’ Spot in the Brain?
27. Why Theology? Why Metaphysics?
28. Do We Need To Exit Western Thought to Understand Visionary
29. What, If Anything, Does It All Mean?
30. Have We Explained Visionary Beings, or Explained Them Away?

Neurocosmic: A Vision
Spooks I Have Known And Loved

Notes & References

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:: Selected Page Previews ::

They Shimmer Within Preview 1

They Shimmer Within Preview 2

They Shimmer Within Preview 3

They Shimmer Within Preview 4

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They Shimmer Within - A New Book from Bruce Rimell


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