It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

The God Capsule: Can Psychedelics Prove a Biological Basis for Spirituality?

page: 1
7

log in

join
share:

posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 05:04 AM
link   
So what is transcendent consciousness? Is it something that only the spiritually inclined can achieve? Is it something that can be found through yoga, fasting, chanting and other means? Can it be found quite simply in a pill?

Science is starting to understand how these different methods may work in similar ways via modern imaging technology.

www.alternet.org...


Fifty years after Huxley’s death, science is beginning to understand, with some precision, how these window cleaners go about their work. By pairing the controlled mysticism induced by psychedelics with modern imaging technology, scientists are mapping the biological underpinnings of spiritual bliss, the way psychedelics helped an earlier generation of researchers map the links among the serotonin system, joy and depression.

The key finding so far involves changes to a part of the outer brain called the posterior cingulate cortex.

“Our psychedelic imaging studies show a strong association between experiences of god and a breakdown in activity linking the posterior cingulate cortex to the frontal brain regions,” says David Nutt, co-director of the Beckley-Imperial College psychedelic research program in London.

“Growing evidence suggests religious and other belief systems are inevitable products of the ways in which the brain works.”


So the saying 'it's all in your head' may be more true than one would think.


In a forthcoming book, Nutt describes the Beckley-Imperial team’s findings that indicate mystical “out of body” states are linked to reduced blood flow in the posterior cingulate cortex, a central hub in the creation of our sense of self, or ego.


So in essence, the religious experience is a by-product of our nervous systems.


“The sense that there is more to human beings than biological processes is common to all religions, and our research suggests this has a basis in brain function,” says Nutt. “Subjects reporting ego-dissolution are significantly more likely to report a spiritual experience. Since ego-dissolution correlates to a breakdown of [specific brain regions] we can predict spirituality might come from a similar change in this brain region, which can also be triggered by meditation, fasting, and ritual singing and dancing. These insights reveal the concept of God is an emergent property of our nervous systems.”

It’s not just '___' and ritual chanting that can trigger these mystical states. Nutt points to evidence that they can be induced by brain stimulation with direct low voltage electrical currents and magnetic pulses.


The article goes on to dismiss the actual mystical states themselves, suggesting that those who believe these experiences to be essentially outside the body and biological process are fantasists.


Even within the psychedelic community, there is a tradition of “non-dualism” that rejects biochemical explanations of consciousness.

“The non-dualists think the brain is a receiver picking up signals flowing throughout the universe,” says Robin Carhart-Harris, Imperial-Beckley’s lead investigator. “It’s fantasy, but there’s a kind of investment in these ideas, matched with an extreme anti-authoritarianism and suspicion of scientists.”


I think that here Robin Carhart-Harris is speculating. I know scientists who are not strict materialists, but rather have an open mind to potentially mystical or paranormal explanations without going all-out into anti-authoritarian thought (all the while adhering to the scientific process).
It is also interesting to question what is the evolutionary purpose of these states? Is it designed to bring a culture together via religion/spiritual belief, or is there some other purpose. Psychedelics have remarkable properties in treating depression, and fear of death in those with terminal diseases.

I certainly accept the main premise of the article, but I am not sure that the mystical/psychedelic experience should be dismissed so readily. I do believe this experience is a biological/neurological process, that much seems obvious, but beyond that I suspect further testing should be done.
edit on 9-11-2017 by bgerbger because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:07 AM
link   
a reply to: bgerbger

I have this theory that all spirituality comes from our distant memories of being an infant suckling on our mother's milk.

I'm not sure religious experience is a byproduct of our nervous system. Consciousness and self-awareness seems like a byproduct of our nervous system. However, I've recently watch a video on "materialism" which has really altered my view on how the Universe is constructed. Maybe we are all pieces of the God experience:



It's hard to reconcile the implications of the results shown in the experiments without including some form of spirituality explanation. Although, I imagine to their dying breath, my atheist friends will say the only things that exist are those you can experience with evidence. Any if there's no evidence, then whatever it is you are talking about only exists in your imagination.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:47 AM
link   
For me, just because we can map the brain and see what's connecting or disconnecting, that doesn't dismiss spiritual experiences as "just in my head". I think it's amazing and fascinating that we can watch it unfold from a wholly different perspective, but that doesn't make it any less real.

I think psychedelics can provide a different means to reach an end than some can do through self induced ways. I used to feel that was cheating. My feelings have morphed, and while I think reaching those states without using other substances is very commendable, I have left my previous perspective behind.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:59 AM
link   
a reply to: bgerbger



“Growing evidence suggests religious and other belief systems are inevitable products of the ways in which the brain works.”


I think its pretty arrogant to proclaim that you understand it all; especially other people's experiences.

Maybe that scientist needs to have a "spiritual" experience himself.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 07:26 AM
link   
a reply to: bgerbger

I seem to have a very different perception to yours.

Spirituality is about experience. It is about building on past experiences with new experience. It doesn't come on like a hit. We get out of it what we put into it. I get a lot out of it because I put a lot into it.

Spirituality is about living day to letting spirit command everything else. In our own spirit we have to mature. It is not just an all in one, no need for any further learning experience. We develop and evolve. We GROW in spirit.

My spirituality informs my politics, my relationships, my choices on all levels, the kind of music I listen to, the way I behave morally, what books and poetry I read, even how I behave online. That is by no means an exhaustive list of the way my spirituality controls every other aspect of my life. My spirituality is the controller of all my behavior and the measure of it. Christ said the measure we use in the measure that shall be used so i feel good about this. If judgement requires an explanation at any time I will be able to say that Christ was the measure I used and I will admit to falling way short.

Spirituality is more than even my life or the universe. I don't worship nature or the universe because they are just the painting. I worship the One who painted it all through the means established by His Servant who we call the Son of Man.

I have a great deal of experience, Jim Morrison and Aldous Huxley style. I have a great deal of Bob Marley experience every day for the last thirty years. I have traveled round this grey blob in my head big time. The doors are nearly all open. Psychedelics have helped some, but I must confess that I fond my Spirituality in words; Christ's Words. They are my authority beyond the universe even. I recognize no other authority spiritually (though I respect earthly authority because Christ advised this as the best policy and I agree with His wisdom).

Am I giving you a hint about how big and wide my spirituality is? There are very many people like me in many faiths. I think it is a human defining quality. It can not be found in a pill because it is not a singular thing. It is in everything and is everywhere; it is even multi dimensional. It reaches into human perception, informs and even dictates. It can be dark, too. There is dark spirituality. IS do some well dark things which they claim comes from spirit, but which spirit? Good and evil are very real and we must all navigate through this duality in our earthly existence.

They even said Christ had a demon and Christ actually cast out many evil spirits. I think He just cleaned out people's heads in a way they could identify with in that time and place. We can clean up our act. We can change energy. We all can do that. A lot of the evil stuff we do is because we are quite literally ignorant. We do not understand or have consciousness about our actions; "Forgive them, Father, because they don't know what they do".


edit on 9-11-2017 by Revolution9 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 07:34 AM
link   
a reply to: bgerbger


, scientists are mapping the biological underpinnings of spiritual bliss, the way psychedelics helped an earlier generation of researchers map the links among the serotonin system, joy and depression.

They're barking up the wrong tree. Endorphins and Dopamine aren't the same as 'Spiritual Bliss' nor what is referred to as spiritual enlightenment from psychedelics.

They do changes ones perspective though, I can attest to that. It isn't about the feelings associated wth drugs, getting high is one thing, seeing oneself is something altogether different.

Laboratory researchers, they'll put anything in a test tube and classify it.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 07:35 AM
link   
5 dried grams in silent darkness



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 08:03 AM
link   
So your saying religious experiences cause the same effect on the brain as drugs, but without the drugs? That still leaves unanswered questions.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 09:24 AM
link   

originally posted by: dfnj2015
a reply to: bgerbger

I have this theory that all spirituality comes from our distant memories of being an infant suckling on our mother's milk.

I'm not sure religious experience is a byproduct of our nervous system. Consciousness and self-awareness seems like a byproduct of our nervous system. However, I've recently watch a video on "materialism" which has really altered my view on how the Universe is constructed. Maybe we are all pieces of the God experience:



It's hard to reconcile the implications of the results shown in the experiments without including some form of spirituality explanation. Although, I imagine to their dying breath, my atheist friends will say the only things that exist are those you can experience with evidence. Any if there's no evidence, then whatever it is you are talking about only exists in your imagination.


That was an excellent video!

Quantum Physics is basically verifying what a lot of the Eastern paths have suggested, utilizing methods of meditation to play with the consciousness of the creator known as the observer.

It is funny watching the western Scientist attempt to break this down to simple physiology. Really we are like the controller for a video game, the place where consciousness plays with matters!



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 10:07 AM
link   
a reply to: bgerbger
SNIP

As for the op, i think that we have a lot to gain as a species by investigating our own minds, and if pychedelics can help us along, then we should be devoting more to the studies.

It made me realize that I'm a tiny little piece in this vast universe, and that's okay.

I do believe in a "creator" of sorts, but I'm not convinced in any one ideology.

I am god, you are god.

Everything is everything all the time.

I don't "know" anything, but that's okay. I'll just be the best human I can be.


"People are my religion, because I believe in them."
edit on 11/9/2017 by Blaine91555 because: Snipped discussion of personal use.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:50 PM
link   
They might to be able to give a sense of seperation from reality, but it far from Nirvana. Some of these drugs might give one a more internal, neuro, feel, but I bet the brain will be to distracted trying to calibrate it senses, let alone, talk to the body.

Other drugs, well, it will hurt in the morning I bet.
edit on 9-11-2017 by Specimen because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 06:55 PM
link   
Please keep the section of the T&C quoted below in mind so this thread can continue. Thanks.

Do not reply to this post.




i) Narcotics and illicit mind-altering substances, legal or otherwise: discussing personal use or personal experiences as the result of such substances is not allowed in any form.

edit on 11/9/2017 by Blaine91555 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 07:46 PM
link   
Oops. Guess I can't talk about personal experiences here.


My bad, mods.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 08:06 PM
link   
Why would there be an evolutionary purpose?

Breakdown of neurological function would occure in failure of the evolutionary and biological processes; not necessarily as a product of survival. All systems breakdown when pushed to their limits.

However; as to the attempt to scientifically explain specialty and label it a fanticy caused by neurological breakdown. Who is to say this is a "breakdown" state? Who is to say that this Neurobiological design is not preordained? Explaining how something occurres does not explain why it is that way in the first place.



posted on Nov, 9 2017 @ 08:16 PM
link   

originally posted by: dfnj2015
a reply to: bgerbger
Although, I imagine to their dying breath, my atheist friends will say the only things that exist are those you can experience with evidence. Any if there's no evidence, then whatever it is you are talking about only exists in your imagination.


As an Atheist myself I would have to agree with your sentiment. To many of my like minded cohorts project their own belief system on the opinions. Truth is there is always room for "spiritually" and "theism" in all scientific discoveries. If "a breakdown in activity linking the posterior cingulate cortex to the frontal brain regions" truly is the mechanism to experience spirituality who is to say that some almighty creator(s) didn't design it that way?




top topics



 
7

log in

join