Posted: Oct 16, 2014 6:31 am
by Kafei
Fenrir wrote:Dostoyevski had em all the time. It was epilepsy.

Well, this is precisely what I mean that because this is not a very understood phenomenon, the nature of it has never been properly studied by neuroscience. There's many ways to induce this phenomenon, a near-death experience can cause mystical experience, in some cases a stroke can cause this to happen as in the case of Jill Bolte Taylor, disciplines such as meditation is also capable of inducing it, fasting for long periods of time as in the various forms of asceticism, the ingestion of shamanic entheogens, etc. When you say that Dostoyevsky "had 'em all the time," I get the impression that just by calling it an "epileptic seizure," you feel as though this somehow denounces it. It's like the people who like to say, "Oh, that's just a hallucination," when they themselves have never experienced a hallucination, and act as though they know what a hallucination is. Sure, a hallucination isn't something projected into three-dimensional space that is "real," but that's missing the point.

Have you ever had a seizure before? It can be quite an insightful experience. In fact, when things like this do occur, neuroscience sees it as an opportunity for psychological insight.

If you think about what a seizure is, it's heightened neuronal activity, even more so than that of the ordinary state of consciousness. While from the outside it can appear quite scary, the inner experience of the person undergoing the seizure is astonishing. While they may be related to mystical experience, I'm not sure if I'd entirely put them in the same category. I say that because I've experienced both, a mystical experience and a seizure. There are neuroscientists that believe that the capacity for the mystical experience may be agitation in the temporal lobes. So, perhaps they are related. However, my experience was far more profound than that of the seizure I had, but the seizure was, nevertheless, quite an interesting experience, too. I had the so-called "mystical experience" prior to the seizure, but the seizure was without a doubt token and trivial when I compare these side by side.

Consciousness itself is still something that neuroscience is still trying to map and explain. If you Wiki consciousness, you'll find a line that reads, "Nothing worth reading has been written about consciousness." It's still somewhat of a terra incognita relative to the neurosciences. I don't deny that these experiences may be just our own minds, but our own minds lit up to such a degree that the informational content of the experience becomes seemingly incomprehensible, and it's this seemingly incomprehensibility that has been interpreted throughout the ages as "God," "Allah," Brahman," "soul," "Shekhinah," "Beatific vision," "Cosmic consciousness," "Nonduality," "ego death," etc. Well, at least that's what Perennial Philosophy is proposing.