copyright Scari©2003
all rights reserved Scari.Org

Development page


Encoded Chimeric Blastula

tcttccctcc cgactgctct cactactgca gcctggctcc agccgcagga % 4101
cactactgct gtgcagaagc ccctacttgg aactccaact gcatttttca % 4151
cctttgctaa cagttttcag tggtggttgg gaaatgttat tggcttaagc % 4201
cttagcacaa accgtcaccg gtgatattca ttccatggaa atgttctgaa % 4251
ttctaaagct gaatttacaa agcttctgga aaacaacctg caaccaaatt % 4301
agtgactgaa ttttttagtt aactcaaaat tccaaatcag agggttttgc % 4351
aatgcctgga ggaaccttgg aggcttttaa agtgttaatg ctattaatgg % 4401
cattcagagg gattttctac agaattgtcc cttcattacc tgtttataca % 4451
gttttactac ttaccagggt actgtataaa tccttgtgct aaattttgct % 4501
atagagtatg tggtccctgc tgtgagctgg gaggaaccaa atactgtatc % 4551
tctatgttac atagaaagcc ctaggagact ttctcctgtt atctgaacaa % 4601
ctatttgctg tactgataaa aaggaaacag catagtctca ttcacttttt % 4651
gaaatggaaa tgataaaata aaacacattt tggtcattcg ggaacaaaat % 4701
accctctcta cttttatcac ataaaattaa ataaatagaa accaaaatat % 4751
ttcagtatca atcttagttt gtgcacttta ggataaagaa tgtgtttacc % 4801
caaatccttt tggcctggtt acttagttca gattttgaaa gaaaatatat % 4851
ttgtggcttt tatgtgtgaa tttagacaat ggaatccatg tggtgcctcg % 4901
ttttccctga gattatgtat taattcaacc tgtaaatgca aaccatctaa % 4951
tagtcagcga gaccctatag ccctgctgct taatgggggc acacaagggc % 5001
atgcagccct cgtaccaggc agactgtgtt catattaaca gcatcgtgga % 5051
gaaactcatg ctgggggaca ggggagggag atgtaaatgc tcagcaggga % 5101
gatctggaga ttcctggagc aggtggagtt gggacctggc cttgaacgat % 5151
gggtctggct ctggcagtca gtaatgccaa agggaagagc agcataactg % 5201
tcactttcca tgggacagaa gtgtgtgaat caagttgcag tgacgcttca % 5251
cctatttatt attttggtca tttagaagaa tttcattgtc agtagaagtc % 5301
ctttaaatca tttccccttc agtgacgtct cacaaaaaaa agatctgtct % 5351
ttagcttttt agtctcagac tttattagac agatactacc tgtactctta % 5401
ttctgtaatc tttgttggga tggattcaca tcttgcaaag gaagggaggc % 5451
atgtagtata atggggcaaa cagacccagc tctgccactc gttagatatg % 5501
tgaccttctg caagttgctt agtgcctgtg agcttcagtg tcctcatgga % 5551
taagaaagat ccaacacctt cttggaagga ttatatcaaa tgaagtaaca % 5601
tgagtaaagg gtccagcaga atacctggca tatagtggag tcaatgaatg % 5651
attaataata ttattaatag tggtcatgag agatatatgt ataacatgtt % 5701
attatgtaga ctcactatat agactctatt ctacatagaa tatagaacat % 5751
tatataacaa acaactataa taagtagact atagtaaaca acctcacttt % 5801
gtctcagttg cctcatcttg atggaaaact gctctttctc tcctgttacc % 5851
ctgacagaga gcgtctacat tctaaaagaa agatatttaa caaaatggtt % 5901
gagtacagat ccaagagtca aatagctgtc tggttcaaag tccagctgtg % 5951
tgattttgag ctagtcaccc aatctcactt tgtctcagta gccttatttg % 6001


Collective Unconscious or Collective Subjective

Provenance of Mystical Experiences #1
This article submitted by
Question: "What are the causes and brain mechanisms involved in mystical experiences?" This one has the beginnings of a real answer from contemporary neuroscience. Below, I summarize information from my neurological research utilizing excerpts from two books: (i) "Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, and Clinical Neuroscience" by Rhawn Joseph, and (ii) "Is There Anybody Out There? The Fate of God in an
Accidental World" by Taner Edis.
Answer #1: (from Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, and Clinical Neuroscience
by Rhawn Joseph – Williams & Wilkins Press, Second Edition, 1996)
The amygdala enables us to hear "sweet sounds", recall "bitter memories", and determine if something is spiritually significant, sexually enticing, or good to eat. The amygdala makes it possible to experience the spiritually sublime, is concerned with the most basic animal emotions, and allows us to store affective experiences in memory or even to reexperience them when awake or during the course of a dream in the form of visual, auditory, or religious/spiritual imagery. The amygdala also enables an individual to experience emotions such as love and religious rapture, as well as the ecstasy associated with orgasm via enkephalin secretion, and the dread and terror associated with the unknown.
In fact, the amygdala, in conjunction with the hippocampus, contributed in large part to the production of very sexual as well as bizarre, unusual, and fearful mental phenomenon, including dissociative states, feelings of depersonalization, and hallucinogenic and dreamlike recollections involving threatening men, naked woken, sexual intercourse, religion, and the experience of gods, demons, and ghosts.
(B) THE AMYGDALA, THE TEMPORAL LOBE, AND THE SOUL Mystical states may be voluntarily or involuntarily induced and are dependent upon the differential stimulation and deafferentation (i.e., cutting off the afferent nerve supply – with afferent nerves being nerves that carry impulses from receptors to the central nervous system) of limbic system nuclei, including the hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala, as well as the right frontal and right temporal lobe. Moreover, it appears that these brain areas differentially contribute to non-mystical religious and emotional experiences as well.
Interestingly, the hypothalamus is concerned with all rudimentary aspects of emotion and controls the hormonal and related aspects of sexual activity (again, including the capacity to experience orgasm and heroin-like highs via enkephalin secretion). By contrast, it is the amygdala, in conjunction with the temporal lobe and hippocampus, that enables a human being to have religious, spiritual, and mystical experiences.
The amygdala, hippocampus, and temporal lobe are richly interconnected and appear to act in concert in regard to mystical experience, including the generation and experience of dream states and complex auditory and visual hallucinations. Moreover, intense activation of the temporal lobe, hippocampus, and amygdala has been reported to give rise to a host of sexual, religious, and spiritual experiences; and CHRONIC HYPERSTIMULATION can induce and individual to become hyper-religious or visualize ghosts, demons, angels, and even God, as well as claim demonic and angelic possession or the sensation of having left the body.
The amygdala and inferior temporal lobes are also highly involved in the generation of feelings of intense sexual arousal, fear, or conversely, rapture and euphoria – the latter being a consequence of the large quantities of enkephalins being released and the high concentrations of opiate receptors located throughout the amygdala. In response to pain, stress, shock, fear, or terror, the amygdala and other limbic nuclei begin
to secrete high levels of opiates, which can induce a state of calmness as well as analgesia and euphoria.
As noted, if these neurons are hyperactivated, such as occurs during dream states, seizures, physical pain, terror, food deprivation, and social and sensory isolation, and under LSD (which disinhibits the amygdala by blocking serotonin ) an individual might infuse his perceptions with tremendous religious and emotional feeling. Hence, under these conditions, the individual may hallucinate and ordinary perceptions, objects, or people my be regarded as spiritual in nature or endowed with special or religious significance. Hence, the individual may come to believe the or she is experiencing, through the one or more of the various sense modalities, God, the gods, demons, angels and so on. In actuality, the individual is hallucinating and is excessively emotionally/religiously aroused and/or experiencing an enkephalin high among other thing.
(C) OBE’S, FEAR, & LIMBIC HYPERACTIVATION The prospect of being terribly injured or killed in an auto accident, fighting during wartime, and the like is often accompanied by feelings of extreme fear. It is also not uncommon for individuals who experience feelings of terror to report perceptual and hallucinogenic experiences, including dissociation, depersonalization, and the splitting off of ego functions such as that they feel as if they have separated from their bodies and floated away or were on the ceiling looking down.
Feelings of fear and terror are mediated by the amygdala, whereas the capacity to cognitively map, or visualize, one’s position and the position of other objects and individual in visual-space is dependent on the
hippocampus. The hippocampus contains "place" neurons that are able to encode one’s position and movement in space.
The hippocampus, therefore, can create a cognitive map of an individual’s environment and his movements within it. Presumably, it is via the hippocampus that individuals can visualize themselves as if looking at their bodies from afar, and can remember, and thus "see" themselves, engaged in certain actions, as if one were an outside witness. Moreover, under conditions of hyperactivation, it appears that the hippocampus may create a visual hallucination of that "cognitive map" such that the individual my experience himself as outside his body, observing all that is occurring.
In fact, is has been repeatedly demonstrated that hyperactivation and/or electrical stimulation of the amygdala-hippocampus-temporal lobe can cause some individuals to report that they have left their bodies and are hovering upon the ceiling staring down. In psychoanalytic terms, their ego and sense of personal identity appears to split off from their body, such that they may feel as if they are two different people, one watching, the other being observed.
EXPERIENCES (NDE’S) – Excerpt from Susan Blackmore’s book "Dying to Live," then back to Rhawn Joseph.
(i) The Consistency Argument
The first argument for The After Life Hypothesis is The Consistency Argument. This is that NDE’s are similar around the world and throughout history. The only possible explanation for this, so the argument runs, is that NDE’s are just what they appear to be – a journey through a real tunnel to another world which awaits us after death. Consistency, it is argued, amounts to evidence for an afterlife.
The consistency is certainly there. We have explored may different kinds of NDEs and seen that, although no two are the same, there are consistent patterns: the joy and peace; the tunnel; the light; the out-of-body experience; the life review and the dissolution into timelessness; the return to life and the changes it brings. The consistency is there but this does NOT mean there is an afterlife.
The joy and peace are consistent because of the natural opiates (endorphins and encephalins) released under
stress. The tunnel + light and noises are consistent because they depend on the structure of the brain’s cortex and what happens to it when it is deprived of oxygen or is affected by disinhibition and random activity. The OBE [out-of-body experience] is consistent because it is the brain’s way of dealing with a breakdown in the body image and model of reality. The life review is consistent because the endorphins and encephalins cause random activation and seizures in the temporal lobe and limbic system where memories are organized. The same effect leads to the breakdown of time and its relationship to self. And it is this dissolution of [the model of] self that accounts for the mystical experiences and aftereffects.
NO Afterlife Hypothesis is required to account for the consistency of the NDE across times, peoples and cultures. Indeed, The Dying Brain Hypothesis accounts for it much better.
(ii) The Reality Argument
The second argument I call The Reality Argument. It is that NDE’s FEEL so REAL that they must be what they appear to be, a real journey to the next world.
By exploring the reasons why things seem real I have provided an alternative interpretation. It is useful for us, as biological organisms, to separate what is real from what is not. However, the distinction is largely
artificial. ALL we have is [the] model-building [capacity of the brain and nervous system] and we call some models "real" and some "imaginary." The most STABLE and PERSISTENT ones, like those based on the senses, we call real. The ones that affect the limbic system in certain ways we feel as "familiar" or "meaningful." Mostly this works well, but during the NDE it leads us astray. Stable tunnel forms in the cortex seem real. An out-of-body perspective taken on in imagination seems real. So the felt "realness" of the NDE’s is NO evidence that there is anyone to travel out of the body or any next world to go to. The Dying Brain Hypothesis thus accounts better for why the experience seems so real and can also account for why obviously "unreal" things are seen in NDE’s as well.
(iii) The Paranormal Argument
Third comes The Paranormal Argument. That is that NDE’s involve paranormal events which cannot be explained by science. Since they cannot be explained in any normal way they must be evidence that the NDE involves another dimension, another world, or the existence of a non-material spirit or soul.
This is NOT a good argument for The Afterlife Hypothesis for two reasons. Firstly, I have cast considerable doubt on the evidence itself. Many cases are simply very weak to start with, others become weaker the deeper you look into them and some have even been INVENTED altogether. Secondly, even if the evidence were compelling, it could NOT be explained just by claiming that "There is an afterlife." If the evidence changes in the future and truly convincing paranormal events are documented then certainly the theory I have proposed will have to be overthrown – along with a lot more of psychology, physics and biology – BUT THE AFTERLIFE THEORIES WE HAVE ENCOUNTERED HERE WILL NOT DO INSTEAD.
By contrast, The Dying Brain Hypothesis explains why people seek "paranormal" evidence to bolster their impression of realness and how the stories are passed on and elaborated. By understanding the role of the limbic system and temporal lobe it accounts for the experiences of familiarity, insight and "deja vu" and for the increase in psychic-[seeming] experiences after the NDE. I shall keep looking for evidence that might prove it wrong,, but for now The Dying Brain Hypothesis accounts better for what we know.
(iv) The Transformation Argument
Finally, there is The Transformation Argument. This is that people are changed by their NDE’s, sometimes
dramatically for the better, becoming more spiritual and less materialistic.
By contrast, The Dying Brain Hypothesis is compatible with two reasons for transformation. One is simply that being made to THINK about death [concretely] can affect a person’s priorities deeply, whether it is their death or another’s and whether they have an NDE or not. This alone can make them less selfish and more concerned for others. The other is that coming close to death can provoke the insight that self was only a construction of the brain and nervous system; that all the struggles, attachment and suffering of life depend on that artificial construction and that it can be let go. There never was any SOLID SELF and there is no [substantial] self to die. With this insight fear is left behind and life can be lived more directly and fully. The Dying Brain Hypothesis accounts better for the mystical insight of the NDE and the changes it can bring about.
All things considered, I can see NO reason to adopt The Afterlife Hypothesis. I am sure I shall remain in the minority for a long time to come, especially amongst NDErs, but for me the evidence and the arguments
are overwhelming. The Dying Brain Hypothesis, for all its shortcomings, does a better job of accounting for the experiences themselves. And it reveals NOT a false hope of the self being perpetuated into an infinite and everlasting tomorrow by God (or whatever), BUT A GENUINE INSIGHT BEYOND THE
We are biological organisms, evolved in fascinating ways for NO purpose at all and with NO END in ANY MIND. We are simply here and this is how it is. I have no [substantial] self and "I" own nothing. There is NO ONE to die. THERE IS JUST THIS MOMENT, AND NOW THIS AND NOW THIS…
The preeminent neurologists Penfield and Perot describe several patients who, during temporal lobe seizures, claimed they could seem themselves in different situations. One woman stated that "it was as though I were two persons, one watching, and the other having this happen to me", and that it was she who was doing the watching , as if she were completely separated from her body.
One patient had a sensation of being outside her body, watching and observing herself from the outside. Another neurosurgery patient alleged that, while outside her body, she was also overcome by feelings of euphoria and eternal harmony. Yet another patient reported an epileptic aura in which she experienced a feeling of being lifted up out of her body, coupled with a very pleasant sensation of elation and the feeling that she was just about to find out knowledge no one else shares, something to do with the link between life and death. Yet other patients suffering from temporal lobe seizures have noted that feelings and perceptions suddenly became CRYSTAL CLEAR (my "Space-Like Mind" experience) or that of having Truth revealed to them, or of having achieved a sense of greater awareness such that sounds, smells, and visual objects seemed to have greater meaning and sensibility.
It is likely that conditions involving extreme fear and/or traumatic injury, and some cases of temporal lobe epilepsy, result in hyperactivation of the amygdala and hippocampus, which in turn will begin to hallucinate and/or trigger visions of brilliant light, as well as secrete opiate-like neurotransmitters than induce a state of euphoria and, thus, eternal peace and harmony. Given that similar experiences are reported by those who have been declared "clinically dead", the possibility is raised that the hippocampus and amygdala may be the first areas of the brain to be affected by approaching death, as well as one of the last regions of the brain to actually die. That is, as one approaches death, and even after "clinical death", the amygdala and hippocampus may continue to function briefly and not only become hyperactivated, but produce a feeling of eternal peace and tranquillity and a hallucination of floating outside the body and of meeting relatives and other religious figures, like in a dream.
A not uncommon characteristic of high levels of limbic system and inferior temporal lobe activity are changes in sexuality as well as a deepening of religious fervor. It is noteworthy that not just modern-day evangelists, but many ancient religious leaders, including Abraham and Muhammad, tended to be highly sexual and partook of may partners. Many also displayed evidence of the Kluver-Bucy syndrome, such as eating dung (Ezekiel), as well as temporal lobe hyperactivation and epilepsy.
Muhammad, God’s alleged messenger, was apparently dyslexic and agraphic (loss, partial or total, of the ability to write) and was known to lose consciousness and enter into trance states. In fact, he had his first truly spiritual/religious conversion when, as the story goes, he was torn from his sleep by the archangel Gabriel.
Muhammad was basically a kind and considerate man, but he was also known to fly into extreme rages and to kill, or at least order killed, wealthy infidels and merchants and those who opposed him. These behaviors, when coupled with his increased sexuality, heightened religious fervor, trance states, mood swings, and possible auditory and visual hallucinations of a titanic angel, certainly point to the limbic system and inferior temporal lobe as the possible neurological foundation for these experiences.

Spontaneous Remissions,  parallax beacon of truth reveals the Chimeric Blastula of intelligent design.

WHICH BLACK SHOULD YOU CHOOSE? The new Black is the True Black
incestuous amplification IS THE NEW incestuous amplification

The new Black is the True Black

incestuous amplification

xxx the TRUE black is the NEW black

incestuous amplification:: the new black is the true black

the NEW black is the TRUE black

XXXX Collective Unconscious or Collective Subjective

inc incestuous amplification


incestuous amplification
Incestuous Amplification


The n THE Subjective Collective is the
new Collective Unconscious
Black is the TruThe ne

w Black is the True Blacke Black

The new Black is the True Black

The new Black, the True Black


Among a TINY MINORITY of humans, the nuclei of the limbic system have a tendency to periodically become over-activated. When this occurs, emotions may be perceived or expressed abnormally, and the sensory and emotional filtering that normally takes place in these nuclei is reduced or abolished Moreover, instead of being merely overly sensitive, those affected may suddenly experience extreme anger, rage, paranoia, depression, sexual desire, or even religious ecstasy. And they may hallucinate the presence of threatening people, animals, or even religious figures. Deepening of emotions, hallucinations, alterations in sex drive, and the development of extreme religious beliefs (i.e., hyper religiousness) are not uncommon manifestations of limbic-temporal lobe seizures and hyperactivation.
In fact, certain individuals who develop temporal lobe epilepsy and, thus, limbic hyperactivation, may suddenly become hyper-religious and spend hours reading and talking about the Bible (or other culturally relevant scriptures) and other religious issues. Once this condition develops, they may spend hours every day preaching or writing out their mystical and/or religious thoughts, or engaging in certain actions they believe have religious significance. Many modern-day religious writers also happen to suffer from epilepsy are, in fact, exceedingly prolific, and those who feel impelled to preach tend to do just that.
People who suffer from periodic episodes of limbic and temporal lobe hyper-activation, such as those with temporal lobe epilepsy, typically have seizures. It is not uncommon for these seizures to be preceded by an
The great existential author, Feodor Dostoevsky, apparently suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy. Dostoevsky alleged, via one of his characters, that when he had a seizure the gates of Heaven would open and he could see row upon row of angels blowing on great golden trumpets. Then two great golden doors would open and he could see a golden stairway that would lead right up to the throne of God.
As noted above, there is some evidence that many religious and spiritual leaders have had similar temporal lobe, limbic-system-induced religious experiences. Moses, for example, may have suffered from temporal lobe seizures. Presumably, this was a consequence of being left, as an infant, for days to bake in the sun, after his mother abandoned him in a basket on a small stream. If that were the case, his brain could have become overheated and damaged by the scorching Egyptian sun.
If Moses subsequently developed temporal lobe epilepsy, this cold explain his hyper-religious fervor, his rages, and the numerous murders he committed or ordered. His speech impediment, hyper-graphia (copious and obsessive writing with a neurological etiology), and hallucinations, such as hearing the voice of God speaking to him from a burning bush, are symptoms not uncommonly associated with temporal lobe seizures and limbic hyperactivation.
It has been well established that even short-term social and sensory isolation lasting just a few days can induce emotionally and visually profound and complex hallucinations that can be so personally distressing
that volunteers will refuse to discuss them.
John C. Lilly in 1972, combined LSD with prolonged water immersion and social and sensory isolation for about 7 hours on several occasions, and experienced and observed the presence of spiritual God-like beings who beckoned to him.
Isolation, as well as food and water deprivation, increased or decreased sexual activity, pain, drug use, self-mutilation, prayer, and meditation are common methods of attaining mystical states of religious an spiritual
awareness, and have been employed world-wide, across time and culture. These states also activate the limbic system.
For example, not only can pain or a desirable food item or sex partner result in limbic arousal, but when the limbic system is denied normal modes of input, be it sensory, emotional, social, or nutritional, it can become hyperactive; stimuli normally deleted and/or subject to sensory filtering are instead perceived. That is, limbic sensory acuity is increased, and in some respects what is perceived is not always an "hallucination" in the sense that it really involves the perception of overlapping sensory qualities that are normally filtered out. Sensory filtering is quite common at the level of the amygdala, which contains neurons that are multimodally responsive as well as inhibitory via serotonin. However, when this filter is removed, hallucinations and/or the perception of unusual sensory qualities can result.
As pertaining to many religious figures


cosmic clock
gene splice


Provenance of Mystical Experiences #2

FHB/Remo_Ruffini on 9/16/99.
Email Address:


As pertaining to many religious figures such as the Buddha the following may be said. While he may or may not have been hallucinating when he sought, meditative isolation and enlightenment, given the other features of his personality and religiosity, it could be argued that his amygdala and temporal lobe were highly active. Similarly, others capable of great spiritual experiences demonstrate signs and behaviors associated with limbic and temporal lobe hyperactivation. Is this, perhaps, because they are, in fact, hyper-activating this region of the brain via various meditation, attentional, and breath-manipulation techniques?
That is, a person who lives a highly spiritual and mystical lifestyle, might perpetually activate this region of the brain and achieve what others can only hope for via drugs, fasting, and isolation/deprivation – access to the Spiritually Sublime.
Some so-called mystics have reported a cessation of dreaming after years of intensive meditation the intermediate stages of which were characterized by silences, luminosity’s of all sorts, as well as changes in the experience of time, space, causality, and self. Is there any basis in neurology for claims like this? We believe the answer is in the affirmative, though the condition would be VERY RARE.
The amygdala and the neocortex of the temporal lobe are highly interactionally involved in the production of religious and hallucinatory experiences, INCLUDING DREAM STATES. This is especially the case for the RIGHT temporal lobe and RIGHT amygdala.
Moreover, the right hemisphere (and the right amygdala) is more involve than the left in the reception and production of religious imagery. This is likely, as the right hippocampus and right amygdala, and the right
hemisphere in general, also appear to be involved in the production of hallucinations and dream imagery, as well as REM (i.e., rapid eye movement) during sleep.
Electrophysiologically, the right temporal lobe become highly active during REM sleep, whereas, conversely, the left temporal region become more active in NREM (i.e., non-rapid eye movement). sleep. Similarly, measurements of cerebral blood flow have shown an increase in the right temporal regions during REM sleep and in subjects who, upon wakening, report visual, hypnagogic, hallucinatory, and auditory dreaming. Interestingly, abnormal and enhanced activity in the right temporal and temporal-occipital areas acts to increase dreaming and REM sleep for an atypically long time.
Conversely, LSD-induced hallucinations are significantly reduced when the right (but NOT the left) temporal lobe has been surgically removed. Similarly, it has been reported that dreaming is ABOLISHED with right (but NOT left) temporal lobe destruction. Furthermore, there appears to be a specific complementary relationship between REM sleep, hallucinations, mystical experiences, and right temporal (and thus right amygdala and hippocampus) electrophysiological activity.
Answer #2: From "Is There Anybody Out There? The Fate of God in an,Accidental World"
Psychology provides a better starting point, keeping in mind that even,ordinary experience is vastly complex and nowhere near adequately understood. First, we need a rough map of mystical experience. Visions, hallucinations, and the like take place in states of HYPERAROUSAL---levels of cognitive and physiological activity are high. OTHER MYSTICAL EXPERIENCES ARE PHYSIOLOGICALLY DISTINCT, CHARACTERIZED BY AN ABNORMALLY LOW LEVEL OF AROUSAL. AWARENESS OF THE EXTERNAL WORLD FADES. Claims of special spiritual knowledge have been based on both kinds of experience, but mysticism is more properly associated with introvertive experiences brought on by concentration techniques, "clearing the mind," and trying to remove dependence on ordinary conceptual frameworks.
The most radical claims concern a "depth-mystical" state in which no perceptual or conceptual content is said to be present. This goes beyond having a vision of the deep nature of reality, or feeling a supernatural
presence; it is a state of consciousness which lacks any object to be conscious _of._ After emerging from this state, the mystic describes it, perhaps by using the language of negative theology---setting God beyond
_all_ limitations, and therefore all concepts. Psychologically, the central notion is the pure consciousness event (PCE), in which "The subject is awake, conscious, but without an object or content of consciousness---no thoughts, emotions, sensations, or awareness of any external phenomena. Nothing." This state is attained by a process of "forgetting." Through repetitive mental techniques, cognition and conceptual thinking are turned off, producing an effect similar to sensory deprivation experiments. "Meditators and mystics practice a technique in which they recycle a constant mental subroutine. This technique serves as a catalyst to enable the mind to come to ‘forget’ all thought and sensation."
So mysticism is based on universal psychological processes, and even some sort of doctrine-independent core might exist in PCEs. Of course, how this is to be interpreted is the crucial question; the level of diversity and doctrine-dependence that exists precludes a simple perennial-philosophy approach.
While psychology illuminates the phenomenology of mysticism, it also naturally leads to reductionist explanations requiring nothing beyond the brain. Of course, esoteric knowledge claims are not associated with any single psychological state, so complex explanations are required. While depth-mysticism involves withdrawing into a cloud of unknowing, visionary experiences are different altogether. A PCE might be intelligible in terms of the attention-focusing function of consciousness: perhaps the neurological basis for attention continues to operate even when parts of the brain dealing with cognition and memory are occupied by a recycled mental subroutine. Visionary mysticism is similar to hallucinatory and psychedelic experiences, so it is likely that the brain is doing something altogether different, though perhaps with some common elements.
Drug-induced experiences are helpful (within limits) in understanding mystical states. For example, in a well-known experiment, seminary students were given either a placebo or a psychedelic drug. All immersed themselves in a religious environment by attending chapel, and engaging in prayer and meditation. Many of the psychedelic group's experiences were closely similar to classic mystical accounts. At present, it is fairly clear that mystical states, like ordinary consciousness, have an underlying biological
basis. This is not to say that drug and visionary mystical experiences are identical---the effect of a crude application of psychoactive substances may well be different from what the brain's own chemicals produce within a supportive social and religious context. However, there is no evidence for anything beyond the brain. Proponents of psychedelic mysticism make grandiose claims, like so-called "transpersonal experiences" providing esoteric knowledge and transcending limitations of a "Cartesian/Newtonian conception of the world." However, these rely on bad physics and the kind of occult holism examined previously---little new is added by a psychedelic orientation.
An emphasis on the brain lets us profitably compare extraordinary experiences. Time perception is often distorted in mystical states, sometimes to the extent of time feeling unreal or nonexistent. Very similar
phenomena are known from NDEs, and experiences involving the temporal lobe of the brain. Many "weird" aspects of mystical experiences are best approached in the context of paranormal claims in general. More mundane psychological factors also can be recognized in mysticism. The best known example of this concerns the oft-encountered sexual imagery in mystical texts. An ecstatic state naturally will be described using the emotions and vocabulary of sexual love, so unless the Christian identification of sex and sin is taken too seriously, this is no embarrassment for mystical religion. However, it brings up a mundane psychological substrate to the experience, rendering it less mysterious.
Psychology is less helpful in understanding matters like the effect of mystical experience on personality. We know too little about the complex processes involved, though this ignorance does not call for a supernatural resolution. Intriguing comparisons between some psychopathological states and mysticism can be drawn, but this line of argument risks prejudicial disease or deficiency implications. What is important is that there are brain states not corresponding to perception of any objective reality, but which are nevertheless intense in _feelings_ of insight or reality.
We can now give a naturalistic view of mysticism, to set in contrast with mystical arguments for God. Humans have a natural capacity for ecstatic experiences which have historically been interpreted in various religious frameworks. These experiences can be valuable in learning about our brains, but they do not signify anything beyond. While phenomena like the PCE are curious, their use in explaining the world is limited. However, mystical experience can of course be valued independently of explanatory concerns.
The Buddhist tradition in particular has much insight to offer, especially as a counterpoint to the theist and monist tendency to view the self as a unitary, even magical thing.

FHB/Remo_Ruffini on 9/16/99.
Email Address:

reprinted from Harvard Edu






  National Astrological Sciences Association charter member