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re: spiritual experience OR hallucinatory delusion » habbyshabit

Posted by lil' jimi on August 23, 2003, at 22:14:52

In reply to Re: spiritual experience OR hallucinatory delusion ? » lil' jimi, posted by habbyshabit on August 20, 2003, at 16:45:47

dear Habby,

> Jim, you know I adore you.

as i adore you

> I also am in this state of mind that wants to argue that it's not spiritual experience OR hallucinatory delusion but both at the same time. >

excellent ... ... i have to agree ...

> It's called a divine revelation when it's a culturally accepted and seemingly insightful, useful in the 'real' world phenomenon and a delusion when no one else can relate to it. >


> At any rate it is very real to the one experiencing it, just ask my husband.

i understand.

> This isn't the place to dissect my husband's experience in that it's the faith board, about religion and spirituality - not about psychological dysfunction. >

as you wish ... ... i’m here because of my psychological dysfunction ... ... your husband offers us an illustrative case-in-point for an example in our discussion ... ... he has my deepest respects and sympathies

> I brought him up as I was writing because I realized living with his experience is what lead me down this slippery slope into questioning faith and the nature of the psycho-neurologic basis of spiritual experience. >

we can see how his issues have had an adverse impact on your confidence in your faith ... ... an excellent reason for you and i to be here, i’d say.
... ... ... for my part, i continue to pursue this because of my interest in “the nature of the psycho-neurologic basis of spiritual experience” ....

> I read a very scholarly article that convincingly painted jesus as a manic depressive!

could you find us a title and author? ... ... sounds fascinating. .. .. ... could make for an interesting discussion here ...

> What is this thing called faith and how does our brain conspire with our minds to give us just the spiritual experience that matches our religious beliefs. In my days of moving into Buddhism - I had a beautiful experience of feeling like the female body of Buddha. If I had been equally enamored with Christianity instead, might it not have been interpreted as the female body of Christ? You see - which comes first - the belief or the spiritual experience. >

speaking strictly from my personal experience, i would have never had spiritual experience(s) if i had had to have believed in spirituality first ... ... my first several spiritual experiences were in the face of my then hard-bitten deliberately anti-supernatural belief system ... ... ... and, to me, these anti-validating aspects of my experiences are what has persuaded me of their spiritual significance ... ... ... in general, we should expect that one of the hallmarks of spiritual or religious experiences should be their power to transform our lives ... this should be expected to be rather more than just validating one’s status quo ... ..

> My spiritual experiences still color my view of the world. So do my husbands experiences. And believe me, he is very functional in the everyday world. I'm very confused, I agree. But your arguments are chicken/egg theories to me, based on the cultural consensus of the day and the milieu you find yourself in. Talk Dakini's to a Islamic fundamentalist and they'll think your as nutty as I think my husband's ideas are. ( I think - I know very little about Islamic fundamentalism, what with all those virgins and everything ) >

there is no argument that the cultural milieu and religious context can and does interact with spiritual experience ... ... and this mutual interaction can be formative of religions ... ... ... for instance, buddhism continues to hunt for its cultural legs here in the united states ... ... but it is not necessarily invalidating of spiritual experiences ... ... we should expect the benign celestial forces to try to transmit their blessings in the vernacular of the culture of their beneficiaries

> My thoughts are not those of a scholar. I am talking off the top of my head and out of the pain in my heart. >

i’m no scholar neither! ... ... “buddhologist” is used as a term of disparagement among the devout .... .... i offer my respects for you in your suffering ...

> I'd love to go back to believing. I guess I'll eventually have to leave this board, having become irrelevant to the nature of the discussions here. Boy that's a drag. But I love you guys for taking up this conversation with me. >

i have offered you my denial of these assertions that this discussion would be seen as inappropriate here ... ... i find it highly appropriate .... .... may the powers that be agree.

> Still working it out,
> Hab

me too, but i’m not in your pain level ... so i want to help ...

there’s lively debate about the metaphysical underpinnings of neuroscience ... ... including theories of consciousness ... ...
... our factors we are considering include :
... ... social/cultural/religious
... ... neurotransmitters
... ... spiritual experience

... the eliminativists argue that all forms of consciousness are illusory
... physicialists argue only materiality is “real” ... ... these two constitute the main materialists’ attempts at monism ... dualism being avoided ...
... and there are proponents from the other side making their immaterialist counter-arguments ...

... this is your chicken-and-the-egg debate ...
... which is casually primary? ...
... socialization?
... belief system?
... consciousness?
... neurotransmitters?

i admire the natural scientific view ... ... the big bang ... stellar and planetary evolution ... biological evolution ...
... this is a standard view: we evolved neurotransmitters to promote our survival and procreation ... ... this lead to consciousness ... intelligence ... spiritual experience ... ... ... all of which is just stacking up the factors by going from least conscious to most conscious ...

... ... at this level of conventional experience, it makes intuitive sense to accept that states of consciousness are caused by neurotransmitters’ dynamics ... i don’t bother to deny this ... how else would antidepressants work? ... or any of the psychotropic drugs work? ... ... ... yet, if even the highest forms of spiritual experiences are the consequence neurotransmitters, should we feel spirituality is thus degraded?

the first noble truth explicates the primacy of suffering
... ... ... my own interpretation of this truth is to view our universe as being composed of discrete quanta of agony
... ... ... we have evolved serotonin levels to protect us from feeling this agony on its universal scale
... ... ... so we are each in peril should our serotonin levels fall too low for any reason ... the cosmic pain can crush our ability to endure and drive even the strongest of us to self-destruction ... only this thin veil of serotonin stands between us and this unutterable risk ... ...

there are alternatives to those conventional views ... ... there is the effect that consciousness can have on our neurotransmitters ... ... meditative practices have been shown to increase serotonin levels ... ... and the consciousness of stress and trauma have impact on neurotransmitters’ levels ... hypnotism can effect neurotransmitter levels ...

in light of the eternal values, all existent things arise from mutually interdependent co-origination ... arising simultaneously as a vast woven fabric of a mutually reinforcing web of “causes” and “effects” ... ... this view does not deny the view from conventional duality of cause and effect, it includes it ... ... but this non-dual view can defy these chicken and egg arguments ... ...

... ... yet i accept that despite the validity of the eternal view (and any skepticism we may have about it), your husband has a practical, conventional problem, which should see a conventional treatment ... ... adjusting his neurotransmitters is the obvious approach to relieve non-reality, irrationally based delusions ... ... if only he could be complicit for you ...

i can not guess if this has been helpful for you ... ... you and he are in my prayers
... i thank you for your discourse here from which i continue to benefit ...

(today is our 17th wedding anniversary!)

take care!
~ jim




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