Don2Leisel: Brains consciousness ect
Nov 11, 1995 01:27 AM
by Don DeGracia
Sorry for the delay getting back to you but I've been very busy lately.
< I'm under the impression
that you're busy doing something like your PhD thesis. Are you?
I'm getting my PhD at Wayne State University here in Detroit MI. My work is in
a field called "cerebral ischemia and resucitation". What we study is the kind
of brain damage people get after they have a heart attack. The work entails
mostly a lot of biochemistry.
I hope to have my PhD in about 4-6 months.
< I understand that you're interested in what you aptly call
altered states of consciousness>
unfortunately this is seperate from my PHD work. The study of ASC is still not
accepted in acadamia. I hope that once I get my PhD I will be able to somehow
move into the ASC field and do work in that area. Right now my research into
ASC is all done on my own time and is completely seperate from my acadmic and
professional life. Nonetheless I think the sciece I have done studying ASC is
better than the science I have done on brain biochemistry!
<I got the impression from Harry &
maybe from Serge too that we're dealing with faster & faster vibe
With regard to ASC the traditional occult and theosophical idea is that these
are faster vibrations and frequencies. However though I acknowledge this
viewpoint it presents too many technical obstacles as a fruitful line of
inquiry. So instead I work with the idea that altered states result from
different actions or states of the brain. This line of thinking is much easier
to pursue experimentally. One can study their own dreams and as you mentioned
with LSD there are drugs that affect the brain and create altered states and
this makes studying the hypothesis that altered states come about from changes
in the brain much easier to study.
< What is a PET scanner like and a CT scanner & what other
Well given that you could go into our medical library at school and get about
10 books on each of these topics there is no way I can explain fully what these
technologies are so I'll give you a quick and simple idea.
CT is easy to understand. CTs are X-ray machines hooked up to fancy computers
that let you take 3-dimensional X-rays of the brain. So you can use CTs to see
if there are any abnormalitis in a persona brain like if there is a tumor up
there or something like that.
MRI is a lot more complicated to understand. MRI works on the principle that
atoms are like little magnets. And you know how magnets attract one another:
north poles repel north poles but attract south poles and vice versa for south
poles of a magnet. Well again atoms behave in exactly the same fashion. MRI
means "magnetic resonance imaging". What you do in an MRI is put a person in a
big magnet and this big magnet makes the atoms in the persons brain line up with
it. See normally we are not in a big magnet so the atoms of our brain kind of
just move along anyway they please. But when you apply the magnet it makes the
atoms move and line up with the direction of the magnet so that the north poles
of the atoms line up with the south pole of the applied magnet. And it takes a
ceratin amount of energy to cause the atoms to line up like this and an MRI
machine can measure that energy.
Well clever people have figured out how to use these energy measurements to
reconstruct a 3-dimensional picture of people's brains. And I'll spare you the
details cause I don't even know then that well!
So the bottom line is that MRI CT scanners and PET scanners all work to let
doctors see 03 dimensional images of peoples brains without having to cut the
person open. These are very very powerful tools.
<Well I think philosophers *did* take scientific info into their
Sure they do Liesel. But the thing is science is always changing as new
methods and ideas are worked out. Philosophers take whatever is current and try
to build some kind of "absolute" viewpoint from the temporary notions of
science. And furthermore the distort the science very very badly in the
Yes lets take the uncertainty principle. Most philosophers use this idea to
make vast generalizations about knowledge and about Nature. On the other hand
the simple truth is that the uncertainty principle is a consequence of certain
ideas in mathematics. To illustrate you know that if you mutliply 2x3 that
this equals 06 right? And also if you mutliply 3x2 that this also equals 6. In
other words changing the order in which you multiply two numbers doesn't affect
the outcome of the multiplication. Well this is true with numbers but it is
NOT true with another mathematical entity called a "matrix". I won't explain
what a matrix is but it doesnt have this same property. If you multiply two
matricies the order you multiply them in DOES make a different. Thus if you
have two matricies call them A and B then AxB does not equal BxA. This
mathematial idea is quite literally where the uncertainty principle comes from.
It is a consequance of the math used by physicists to make up mathematical
statements about their experiments. But you never hear this idea. Instead you
here all this two-bit drama about how we can never understand nature because of
this thing called the uncertainty principle. However such interpretations are
many steps removed from the math and the fact is its the math that is
important not the interpertation. Thus this is why I am critical of
philosophies built upon scientific ideas. Again to repeat the science itself
changes and second the philosophers take the science out of context. Its like
the phone game or something: by the time the message gets back around its
<I don't know about posting my article on theos-buds>
If you are not comfortable with the idea then don't do it.
< More important
you're willing to take a bit of a risk to experiment around & I
think that's what's needed & good>
I don't think of it as taking a risk at all. The way I see it God gave us a
mind to use to explore things not to fill with a bunch of ideas that make us
feel smug and pompus.
<"To understand as much
about a thing as is
possible and not to close your mind to alternatives" can be rather
dificult. Because we're very used to hooking something new on to
something we're familiar with.>
Yeah I call this "complacency" and its a bad mental habit. People misuse
ideas. They use ideas as ego boosts and as tools to manipulate other people.
When I said I use yoga to purify my mind I mean that yoga teaches not to misuse
your mind in these fashions. Yoga teaches how to overcome the egotisitical
urges that drive people and it teaches how to use mind as an organ of truth.
<Also I once
read parts of CWL's description of Devachan to a friend. He said that
it was very similar to his good LSD trips taken years ago when he was
in college. Could you take that as some kind of a proof? >
Yes I take LSD experiences as proof of occult teachings in a way at least. I
too have done much experimenting with LSD and also discovered that LSD
experinces are very much like the things Leadbeater taught about. Studying LSD
is one of my major lines of thinking. I have some writing about this available
on the internet if you are interested.
<I wonder what your view of magnifying is because I've also heard of
that etheric tube & also that one can learn to make one that makes
things smaller. I think it's so without really having any proof
myself just trusting the source I heard it from.>
Again this goes back to what I said above about using the hypothesis that
altered states are due to changes in the brain because its easier to study the
brain than it is to say proove that an etheric tube exists. What I have
discovered is that LSD causes magnifying clairvoaynce. I have also experienced
magnifying clairvoance in my astral projections a couple times. Anyway I have
recently developed a theory about how changes in the activity of the brain could
lead to magnifying clairvoayance. Again I have a file of this availble which
I could send you if you wish to read about my theory. It is very erudite
<I don't quite understand what you say about brain research. I think
the TS ought to incorporate all the new stuff in its thinking but to me
whatever the brain does is not the highest
Well what I am saying is that this remains to be seen. What kind of proof is
there one way or the other that the brain is not the highest function? If
someone is going to make this claim they better have some kind of evidence to
back this up. And the truth is Leisel there is good evidence to support the
idea that the brain is the highest function. One line of evidence is LSD. LSD
changes the brain and in doing so it gives people mystical insight under the
proper conditions it is not quite so simple as this in practice. So in this
case the proof is readily available: eat the LSD and see for yourself. On the
other hand if you take the opposite viewpoint you have to find some way to
demonstrate it some way to show that you can have "buddhic consciousness"
without having the brain involved. This would be a very tough thing to
demonstrate. Now if people want to go around and say that the brain is not the
highest function and just believe it without trying to demonstrate it well
that is there buisness and its not something I want anything to do with because
its simply dogma and talk.
<ness life whatever you
wish to call it which is much more than the brain. I can sometimes perceive
it in another person's eyes and mopvements & in my little cats eyes & being.
To me there is spirit & it's not just the brain. It activates the brain & the
rest of the
body. & not all the experiments in China can convince me that the
brain is all there is.>
Well if you don't want to look at the evidence of experiments then you have
closed your mind and nothing I can say can convince you otherwise right?
See to me such an attitude is not only a misuse of the mind it is also
callous and insensitive. Do you have any idea what doctors have to deal with
when they deal with a person with brain damage? I mean serious brain damage
that messs up a persons mind not simple brain damage that just paralyzes a
person. When a person suffers serious damage to the frontal lobes of their
brain that spark that you see in the eyes dissappers. But you don't know this.
When have you ever had to deal with a person with damage to the frontal lobes of
their brain? Or when people are made vegatables because of damage to their
brain. How can you be so insensitive to not try to put yourself in the shoes of
the doctors and scientist who have to deal with these kinds of realities every
day or their life? which you and most other theosophist don't. You and other
normal people take your normal life completely for granted. Go spend some time
with people with Alzheimer's disease or people who have had very serious brain
damage and then come back to me and spout your cute little myths about souls
and spirits and "buddhic consciousness".
I'm sorry if I sound angry but I am. People take so much for granted and they
never stop and think about what they are saying. Doctors and scientists that
talk about what the brain does are not just running off at the mouth. They have
every good reason for making the statements they do: their ideas are a
reflection of their direct experience. I wish I could say the same for
theosophists but I can't. Most theosophists have no experience at all with
altered states though they act like experts know nothing whatsoever about the
experiences of brain doctors and brain scientists though like John Algeo in
his AT article they act like experts and most theosophists just sit around
and run off at the mouth with all their cute and pretty and completely
unsubstantiated little myths.
Of course this absudity makes me upset! How do you expect anyone with any
intelligence or any sensitivity at all to take theosophy seriously when it acts
so smug popmpus and uncaring?
So again Liesel I apologize for my tone. However someone has to say these
things and it looks like I'm the one. I'm always open to alternative viewpoints
and new ways of looking at things. However I expect the same from other
I will close here.
My best wishes to you
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