Dear Jeanne: 

Message -----
From: "Jeanne Houston" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>, [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: Re: Many worlds theory of immortality
Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 07:19:01 -0400

I didn't read the article but I am aware of the conceptual basis for this idea. To answer your question, it is possible that altered states, including those caused by mental illness, can allow the brain to pick-up information from elsewhere. However, the differentiation must be made between such elsewhere (or elsewhen) awarenesses and true hallucinations (the same goes for dreams. Some people postulate that some dreams could be awarenesses of other realities but then use lucid dreaming as an example. Right idea, wrong type of dream). Many of the hallucinations common to schizophrenics are based on outside stimuli triggering a preconvieved viewpoint which is then externalized as a hallucination. For example, such a patient may be on his way to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled and see a billboard for an auto body repair shop that features a close-up shot of a man cowering in fear that says "Watch Out! The Morons are Out There!" (a true advertisement). This billboard could stimulate a reaction in the patient based upon the apprehension that the doctor may not know what he's doing and prescribed the wrong medication. This reaction could manifest itself as a merely a thought, "Yeah. And I bet my shrink's a moron too!" or it could extend into the outside world if the patient looks back at the sign. Suddenly the sign could have its own response to this sudden thought that the patient's psychiatrist is a moron and could read something like "Yes! Your shrink's a moron and he's out to get you!"

This is based on research done by Janssen Pharmaceutica in the development of a simulator of the schizophrenic experience. The simulator was created with the input of actual patients to make it as realistic as possible, and I have used it before, as part of my research. In this case, the hallucinations of the schizophrenic are based on internal apprehensions and are not observations of some parallel reality. The tendency should be resisted to simply assume that just because someone is perceiving something that we aren't, that what they're are perceiving is somehow linked to some interdimensional knowledge or higher reality. If one wants to take that tact, then they must also engage in the very real hard work of substantiating exactly what the nature of these perceptions are and if they have any kind of objective basis. To do that takes a considerable amount of work. Otherwise the question goes unanswered and any consideration of what is or isn't going on is simply unbridled speculation.

Hope that helps. 

> I once read an article in, I believe, Time Magazine, about the relatively
> new field of "neurotheology" which investigates what goes on in the brain
> during ecstatic states, etc. One suggestion that intrigued me was that it
> may be possible that in such a state, and I believe that schizophrenics were
> also mentioned, that the brain is malfunctioning in such a way as to allow
> it to perceive states of reality other than that which the normal brain
> would perceive. In other words, the "antenna" (brain) is picking-up signals
> that are usually beyond the scope of the normal brain. I wondered if anyone
> could comment on this, and if there was any reason to even entertain the
> thought that perhaps some people have passed through a crack in the division
> between our universe or dimension, into perhaps another? I read this
> several years ago and wish that I could recall the details of the article,
> but I don't have it anymore.
> Jeanne


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