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Neurotheology, the God Helmet, and Reality

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posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 02:57 AM
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Neurotheology, also known as biotheology or spiritual neuroscience[1], is the study of correlations of neural phenomena with subjective experiences of spirituality and hypotheses to explain these phenomena.
....
Neurotheology hypothesizes that the basis of spiritual experiences arises in neurological physiology, for example an increase of N, N-Dimethyltryptamine levels in the pineal gland, and attempts to explain these neurological basis for those experiences, such as:

* The perception that time, fear or self-consciousness have dissolved
* Spiritual awe
* Oneness with the universe
* Ecstatic trance
* Sudden enlightenment
* Altered states of consciousness

en.wikipedia.org...

i never really knew these studies had a name until i read an article about the creation of the God Helmet.


Michael Persinger, a recognized neurologist, has invented a helmet that is able to induce mystical experiences by using electromagnets to stimulate the right temporal lobe (Hercz, 2002). More than a thousand volunteers have tried the helmet, and 80% of them are reported to experience a ‘tangible presence’. Hercz explains that stimulation of the right temporal lobe invokes right-sided self, which the dominant left-sided self perceives as another entity. The feeling eventually leads subjects to have religious experiences, such as the feeling of infinite possibilities and the sense that there must be something greater.

www.onset.unsw.edu.au...

to me, this blows my mind [no pun...intended...maybe]. the god helmet neither proves or disproves that god does or does not exist, but it just shows us that the same results can be reproduced by stimulating the brain. this HAS to make one question our perceived reality.

if the brain can be figuratively and manually poked to produce a sensation of god, how do we decrypt a true perception of god from a false perception of god?

if then our minds cannot tell the difference from a real god or a fake god, does it really matter either way? regardless, the mind is making it an actual perception to the individual, so to the individual, god would be real always. but KNOWING this, it would seem silly to believe in something that has the potential to only exist in one's head and have no actual substance outside of each person's mind. but, the perception could as easily be from a genuine god, so do we take that chance?

the intention of bringing up this topic is not to start a religion thread but to start actively thinking about these dilemmas.

the point is...
the more we learn about the nature of the brain and its contents [the mind], the inevitability grows in the questioning of reality, life, religion, and the perceptions and meanings we give to them all.

[edit on 15-6-2008 by banyan]




posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 03:09 AM
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Originally posted by banyan

if the brain can be figuratively and manually poked to produce a sensation of god, how do we decrypt a true perception of god from a false perception of god?


One would say that we cannot.

Yet.

Nevertheless, the Brain's existence (in all animals too) is something that should not simply be ignored, the simple fact that somehow our DNA has provided us the means to grow a neuro-center capable of all the things we associate with intelligence is astounding.

I would infact say that thinking of such things, of how our reality seems so damn convenient is enough to drive a man insane.

Which is why it's bloody important to sit on the fence when it comes to this sort of discussion.

flagged & starred, btw.

[edit on 15-6-2008 by Anti-Tyrant]



posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 03:36 AM
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We might be built with a natural communication system. It might explain some "psychosis" symptoms. Which may or may not be a disorder in that case. May be how some people come to the conclusion that God has spoken to them. People with the ability to connect to spiritual levels may have more activity in the right brain naturally. Could explain a lot of things.



posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 03:44 AM
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reply to post by seagrass
 


It could.

It depends on whether or not people are going to allow it to, though.

I'm in favour of it, regardless of whether or not my beliefs are on the line.

Anything else would just be ignorance, no?



posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 04:26 AM
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The feeling eventually leads subjects to have religious experiences, such as the feeling of infinite possibilities and the sense that there must be something greater.

I guess one could also argue that an overwhelming sense of Hope or optimism could be described as the above. Is this feeling purely a result of religion?. As i am sure many people also express similar feelings at the birth of children, experiencing wonders of nature and the like. Interesting post.



posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 04:47 AM
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Interesting topic. Firstly I must say I am agnostic.

I heard of an experiment done involving blind people, they stimulated parts of the brain and the blind people reported seeing flashes of light. There eyes were not capable of receiving the signals and sending them to their brain but they could cause some "sight" manually. The reason I am bringing this up is that just because we can simulate it manually does not mean the manual method to generate these experiences is the same as the natural method. Perhaps this is the effect the divine has on a person.

Personally I agree with an above poster in that I don't think we can really tell the difference, but then at one extreme we cant really tell if the world around us is really there or just perceived to be there if you see how I mean.

[edit on 15-6-2008 by CuriosityStrikes]



posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 10:28 AM
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Anyone here familiar with Psychotronics?

As far as I know the Soviets pioneered the technology, but it could go back further possibly to the Germans or even Tesla.

The Soviets approached the issue of Psi from a very different point than people in the West. The Soviets being complete materialists felt that Psi phenomena must originate only from the mind. In the course of their research they engineered technology that could affect the mind.

From what I understand the technology was used to psychoactively stimulate the mind. Basically they were Electronic Entheogens. Entheogens are psychoactive substances that are used in spiritual and mystical experiences. Most are illegal drugs that alter the state of consciousness of the subject. The Soviets basically made devices that could do the same thing but without the use of drugs.

Well from that point of view I would have to say this "godhelmet" is a psychotronic device and Michael Persinger may need to be very careful in his research. He could like others before him be playing with a Pandora's Box and not even realize it.



posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 11:23 AM
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I recommend Julian Jaynes' "Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind". After that, read everything you can on meme theory. Then take a fresh look at religions, secret societies, and any institution engaged in communications. The "God Helmet" is a BB gun next to the Howitzer of memetic reprogramming.



posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 11:26 AM
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Originally posted by atlasastro
I guess one could also argue that an overwhelming sense of Hope or optimism could be described as the above. Is this feeling purely a result of religion?. As i am sure many people also express similar feelings at the birth of children, experiencing wonders of nature and the like. Interesting post.


In essence, bliss. I experience this on a regular basis when contemplating upon my family and children. So I can certainly understand this sentiment.

Perhaps, religious experiences could be considered a type of security blanket. I've heard them described as a feeling of eternal hope, a sense that someone out there loves and cares.

Could it be that it is the euphoric feeling that is paramount in these experinces, as opposed to the trigger stimulus? (religion, godhelmet, love, etc.)



posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 12:19 PM
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I had just read an article about Jill Bolte who has suffered a stroke on the left side of her brain. This put her in better communication and understanding with the right side of her brain which she describes as being connected to a universal conscience. I believe this also confirms the OP's stance...




One morning, a blood vessel in Jill Bolte Taylor's brain exploded. As a brain scientist, she realized she had a ringside seat to her own stroke. She watched as her brain functions shut down one by one: motion, speech, memory, self-awareness ...

Amazed to find herself alive, Taylor spent eight years recovering her ability to think, walk and talk. She has become a spokesperson for stroke recovery and for the possibility of coming back from brain injury stronger than before. In her case, although the stroke damaged the left side of her brain, her recovery unleashed a torrent of creative energy from her right. From her home base in Indiana, she now travels the country on behalf of the Harvard Brain Bank as the "Singin' Scientist."



Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight



[edit on 15-6-2008 by yankeerose]



posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 02:02 PM
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reply to post by Anti-Tyrant
 
Why do beliefs have to be "on a line"? Beliefs should be flexible and malleable, and able to change based on knowledge and experience. Ignorance does keep beliefs constant. So does knowing. Admitting to not knowing something completely leaves a lot of room for more knowledge. But yes, some people don't want to know any more than they are willing to believe.



posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 02:22 PM
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Oh, in my darkest moments, i believed.

It does have a certain... affect on the brain, one that is noticable if you're sensitive enough to pick up on it, eventually i figured out that the effects of that belief were infact beneficial in many aspects yes, but it was the strength of that belief which defined the overall benefit.

I simply found something i could believe in, Reality.

I do enjoy deploying everything at once, at least mentally speaking.

Of course, to choose one would be to deny the other.

There is balance, my friend.



posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 02:24 PM
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That's not to deny the Miracle of Reality, of course, and everything that is in it.

My continued existence is a spiritual one.



posted on Jun, 15 2008 @ 02:32 PM
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A belief would be strongest when a person didn't think there was anything else to know about it. It would give a person pleasure to know they were safe in that belief. Feeling safe would make me a little nervous, because I know I don't know everything. Even the things I think I know have turned out to be wrong.



posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 01:54 PM
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Originally posted by MikeboydUS
Well from that point of view I would have to say this "godhelmet" is a psychotronic device and Michael Persinger may need to be very careful in his research. He could like others before him be playing with a Pandora's Box and not even realize it.


well that's the exact thing that REALLY makes me think. how do we know that something similar is not being currently deployed at this moment? people have been worshiping gods in all major civilizations past to present...in this world's history. why?

maybe our mind naturally evolved that way to perceive gods [whether or not they exist]. maybe aliens have been in contact and in control of this world since our beginnings, and we are but twisted fleshy experiments in brain-reality control.

or maybe this god phenomena in our brains is meant to nurture and guide humanity in its infancy until we become mature and mentally evolved enough to perceive and experience reality on higher levels.



posted on Jun, 26 2008 @ 01:03 AM
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reply to post by banyan
 


People recognize patterns and systems. I think that reason more than many others is why humans recognize gods. By the time of Pythagoras and Plato humans had picked up on to all kinds of systematic phenomena and felt they could influence this phenomena through theurgy.



posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 12:04 PM
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Originally posted by MikeboydUS
reply to post by banyan
 


People recognize patterns and systems. I think that reason more than many others is why humans recognize gods. By the time of Pythagoras and Plato humans had picked up on to all kinds of systematic phenomena and felt they could influence this phenomena through theurgy.



maybe people recognizing patterns and systems led them to recognize gods, but that is not where it should stop in logical reasoning. patterns and systems are leading us to the opposite conclusion now...that the concept of god can be faked and manipulated in each of our minds, that maybe "gods" were invented in our minds only as a defense mechanism or for whatever reason that we do not yet fully know.

to realize the mind can house the notion of god is to recognize the new pattern of human potential.



posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 10:05 PM
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i found a video on youtube showing acclaimed evolutionist and atheist richard dawkins trying out persinger's god helmet...



it seems like some hardened [temporal lobes] individuals do not experience god with the god helmet. it does seem like we DO create our own reality in this way. if we are more open to a certain notion, we are more likely to experience it. if we are closed off...we will not. our reality is individually interrupted by our brain.

what exists for me, may not exist for you.



posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 10:27 PM
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There is one thing that I wanted to ask MR Persinger and other researchers is if there is a possibiliy for a global or astronomical event that could trigger the same 'symtoms' as the god helmet produces?

Ive alway wondered that possibily some astronomical event could of took place in the ancient times that may have forced people to hace these odd religious experiences, alien abuductions etc.......


I like the fact that people see their own 'God' or belief system as their brains are activated.

2012 anyone??



posted on Jul, 12 2008 @ 10:59 PM
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reply to post by IvanZana
 


wonderfully put.

like with herbalism or naturalism, there exists on this earth alternatives for human-made medicines and narcotics. many people believe shamans can cure you of your illness just as efficiently as Mr. MD.

maybe [and even likely] there's a natural occurrence of what the god helmet does on this earth and that is why religion is so predominant in most parts of the globe.

that we even HAVE the part of the brain that gives us these thoughts or beliefs just makes me wonder what's really going on. it could be a strong argument for AND against the existence of god.

what naturally could electrically stimulate the temporal lobes and has been for...since the creation of the first religion?







 
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