Re: Neuroscientists and the "God module"

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sun Jan 28 2001 - 03:35:01 MST

Damien Broderick wrote:
> At 03:58 PM 27/01/01 -0700, Michael LaTorra wrote:
> >Here's the rub: People who enter these altered
> >states become extremely susceptible to outside memetic influences, which may
> >or may not prove benign in the long run. If the experiencer is in a
> >religious environment, then he or she can become a Christian, Muslim, Jew,
> >Hindu, Buddhist or any New Agey religion imaginable.

>From my own experiences I both agree and disagree. As these things are
experienced as being from or of something deeper than the mind and
reasoning they can tend to make the mind seem an inferior means of
knowing. This possible consequence can disarm the person toward greater
creduility. However, I often find that I tend to self-originate memes
in this state more than simply accept existing ones. I don't think I am
unique in that. Many established religions distrust people having such
experiences because these people tend to feel they have their own direct
perception of what the religion is after all supposed to be about and
thus they tend to drift away from the official dogma.

> This is cognate with what social scientist Lucien LÚvy-Bruhl called
> `participation mystique'. Hence the effectiveness of the Nazi mass rallies,
> and soccer hooligan/ street demo hysteria, etc.

These are very different states of mind.

> >But what would happen
> >if an individual entered an experiential state of feeling one with
> >everything (a state of nondifferentiation) while participating in an
> >Extropian "meditation workshop"? Would he or she become a more effective
> >advocate of transhumanist ideas, or a glaze-eyed fanatic?
> Mmmmmm. Glazed....

I like glazing, as long as it is sweet. :-)

Seriously though, the state of oneness is a lot more than simple
non-differentiation. One can get simple non-differentiation from being
sufficiently drunk after all. It is not at all difficult to go zooming
along the implications of evolving and self-evolving intelligences and
individual intelligences linking into larger intelligence and lifetime
within VR universes and such and end up with a very holistic, since of
the unity of all minds type of perspective. It is very easy to get
quite high on these ideas and possibilities. I don't believe that is a
bad thing at all. I even think a bit of that is necessary to break up
old small, limited, bio-self thinking.

Dream on!

- samantha

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