Discussion Board

Topic: Have you had a "God" experience?

From: Greg Popwell
Location: Helena, AL
Date: 01/29/2009

Hi Greg,

Just completed Darwin's Radio and was wondering if you've had an experience anything like Kaye Rafelson? I'm a lapsed Christian and atheist because I've never had that kind of experience.

Thanks,

Greg

Re: Have you had a

From: Greg Bear
Date: 02/03/2009

Yes--pretty much as Kaye's experience is described. These experiences are not rare, but the sort of prolonged "exposure" I went through--lasting off and on for about a month--seems unusual. Bottom line? I've never been an atheist, but now I have a very persuasive anecdotal data point!

Re: Have you had a

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: 02/03/2009

I had always wondered if that "event" with Kaye was autobiographical or borrowed from a family member. My Cognitive Scientist friend Daniel J. Plummer's PhD advisor at UCSD studies that phenom...I think the guys name is Ramachandra or something like that...and that there are specific parts of our brains that are just for "The God Experience". Which opens whole cans of Philosophical Worms, as such experiences are Politically Incorrect amongst much of academia and the Hard Sciences.

I've never had anything spontaneous like that, though thru various Yogic and other practices have at one time or another worked close to it...simulation? Hard to say.

But now I'm dying to know: what were you writing when it happened?

Mike Glosson.

Re: Have you had a

From: Greg Bear
Date: 02/05/2009

VITALS, as I recall--but I was planning DARWIN'S CHILDREN around that time as well.

Re: Have you had a

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego
Date: 02/05/2009

Vitals is still one of your few books I haven't read.

Will have to hunt down a copy soon.

Mike

Re: Have you had a

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 02/05/2009

Not philosophical can of worms, but an emotional one. Modern philosophy (ie: since the beginning of the enlightenment) is in large part a fervent attempt to address the inherent insecurity in the human condition, and hence is a dog tail-chasing circumstance.

There is no balance in any camp, precisely because there are camps (or rather that there are emotional conditions that invoke them).

Re: Have you had a

From: Dave Kelley
Location: San Antonio, TX (until May)
Date: 02/27/2009

I have just finished "Darwin's Children" and was intrigued by Kaye Lang's epiphany. I have also just discovered your web site and this thread.

As part of your research for the book (or for yourself), have you heard whether or not anyone has taken a blood sample during an epiphany? I wonder if such an experience could be caused by an unusual release of excessive amounts of hormones, say endorphins, or by a rarely occurring combination of hormones.

Any new insights on this topic since the book was published?

Thank you for a pair of thought-provoking books on many levels. I use biologically inspired optimization methods for radio antenna design, and your speculations about retroviruses has me thinking about ways to improve the performance of genetic algorithms. Art and technology sometimes make good dance partners!

Best,
Dave

Re: Have you had a

From: Greg Bear
Date: 03/02/2009

Haven't heard much new about the physiology or physiochemistry of epiphanies. They're so tough to pin down--one is rarely in the lab or the hospital at the same time! And the measurement could be pointing toward a response, not a cause...

Re: Have you had a

From: Al Brady
Location: st neots
Date: 06/08/2010

Drugs like magic mushrooms salvia and ketamine can trigger powerful and lucid and persistent thought-environments, and many primative religions in particular utilise this to compelling effect. Im not saying there arnt spirits out there to be contacted in such a vision state, but the fact that chemicals can effect such states means they are partly chemical in nature. As I say thats not to reduce the experience; the mind itself is also 'just chemical in nature.'
I certainlly believe people when they say they have had a revelatory experience and acted on their interpretation of it.
I reckon there must be epiphany centres somewhere in the architecture of the brain as the mind and all its contents only exist in the meat of the brain, so all experience occurs in there. Some brains dont have them, like some cars dont have turbos, so some people dont get epiphanic revelations maybe.

One question Id like to ask people who feel theyve been transformed by epiphanies is do they feel the wisdom came from an external source or as a result of 'working soething out' inside themselves. Thatd be interesting, although obviously it would all be opinion at the end of the day.

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