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OBEs are hallucinations

Jun 05, 1996 02:50 PM
by Don DeGracia


Thank you for the comments to my thoughts.  Let me respond in turn.  Let's begin

<Your thoughts are very important. To some degree, they represent the
majority opinion.>

At a superficial level this is indeed true.  As you probe deeper into my
understanding though, I don't know if such a statement can apply.

I don't know anything about  Dr. Mueckler and only heard of him in Daniel's
post, so I cannot say anything at all about what drives or motivates him.

<. Another problem with citing "scientific facts" which others may
point out to you is that they are "facts" right now, they may change at any
time. i.e. who quotes Euclid today? Scientific "facts' go in and out of
fashion almost as frequently as hemlines. >

This statement is observant and accurate to a degree, however, it is incomplete.
Science has a cummullative nature about it.  Most mathematicians today continue
to quote Euclid because many of Euclid's ideas forn the corner stone of math.
NonEuclidean geometry (which Einstein used to forumlate Relativity theory) is
not a refutation of Euclid - it is an extension of Euclid and would not exist
without Euclid's contributions.

This is generally true of all science.  I am a chemist.  I do not quote 18th
century chemist like Lavosier or Dalton, but everything I do in my lab implies
what these people discovered two centuries ago.  What I do in my lab would be
impossible without their contributions.

So, the nuts and bolts of science are not really fashion at all, nor are they
arbitrary.  They are techniques and viewpoints that serve as foundations to
build upon.

<My only problem with the "scientific facts" behind the statements of Dr.
Mueckler is based upon the fairly obvious perception that they are based
upon the a priori rejection of ANY AND ALL extra-physical or trans-physical
phenomena. >

Part of this attitude amongst scientists reflects the historical roots of
science: science grew as a counter-cultural movement to the unthinking dogma of
the Medieval Church.  And, like a brash teenager trying to proove his own,
science rejected its connection to spirutal truths.  Although, this is not true
in general.  Many great scientists, including Newton, Einstein, and many others
were imminently spiritual men, and saw science in a spritual light.

Another part of this attitude has to do with finding the least complicated
explanation. Science is driven by Ocam's razor, which is to find the simplest
explanation for a phenomena.  When  this fails, more complicated explanations
are then invoked.  Necessity drives this process, not fancy or speculation.  The
history of science is replete with such examples.

Thus, to attribute OBEs as phenomena created by the brain is the simplest
explanation, and also the most obvious.  It is a starting point, and a good one
that has worked well for the past several decades in which this paradigm has
been used.  Again however,  Dr. Mueckler simply has a bad attitude to come off
as if these issues are all black and white.

Even Manly Hall himself has said that we should not try to invoke super-physical
explanations when a physical explanation will suffice.  This of course is
different from rejecting spirituality in any sense, which is a mistake many
scientists make.  Scientists who flat out reject spirituality simply expose
their ignorance and lack of depth and subtlety.

< But to occultists (who are not all simply mystics) while the
brain is an immensely interesting thing, it is not the most interesting
thing.  To metaphysicians it is the mind which is important.>

This is an unfortunate viewpoint alexis.  You are making a dichotomy where, in
fact, there is none.  It is also unfortunate that occultists feel justified to
ignore the knowldege of the brain without first studying it and trying to
understand it.  I used to hold this attitude, but I was force to learn about the
brain in my PhD program, and what i learned so fascinated me that I now am
enamored with the study of the brain.  I can literally think of no more
interesting topic.  The brain is a vast mystery and to dismiss its study so
nonchalantly only reveals that you are not well informed about our current state
of knowledge of the brain and mind.

The brain and mind are two different views of the exact same thing.  The mind is
not different from the brain.  The mind is a process created by the brain.  Now,
this does not need to imply that there is no mind that transcends brains, as for
example, with the occult idea of the mental plane.  From another angle, God's
mind created not only the brain, but the entire physical world.

All I am saying is do not sell yourself short by rejecting ideas with which you
have no familiarity.  If your brain was to become damaged either by trauma,
stroke or other means, you would quickly appreciate the significance of the
brain in the action of the mind.  I hope it never comes to this and that you can
simply open your mind to current knowledge and discover intellectually just how
important the brain is for the operation of your mind.

<o most
non-devotee metaphysicians the proper analogy is that the brain is
equivalent to a CPU (a fantastically efficient CPU) while the mind is the
operator of the CPU.>

Again, such thinking is a vast oversimplification.  There is nothing wrong if
you wish to allow your thinking to exist at such a simple level.  However, when
others offer more sophisticated views, I would hope you would at least listen to
what they have to say.

The brain/mind is very, very different from a computer.  I don't have time to go
into this but if you want references to authors who discuss this matter, I can
happily send them to you.

The brain controls itself.  Your sense of control of your thoughts, emotions and
actions are in fact due to a specific part of your cerebral cortex.  There are
thousands of documented cases of people who have sustained damage to these
regions of the cortex and lost control of themselves and experienced drastic
changes in personality.

I use to believe that the brain was merely a channel for our non-physical self.
I no longer belief this idea.  I consider the idea, but I do not believe it.
What I do know, and have seen in hospital settings is that people who experience
brain damage undergo drastic changes in their mental and psychological

To me, the crux of the matter always rested on dreams.  Dreams, supposedly are
our nonphysical experiences, or at least some of them are.  The fact is however,
when people suffer symptoms of brain damage, these symptoms are also present in
their dreams.  If our dreams were, say, our astral body acting
semi-independently of the physical body, there is no reason to believe that
brain damage would affect the action of the astral body.  However, brain damage
symptoms do occur in the person's dreams, indicating that dreams themselves are
a product of the brain.

This idea leads to a very different line of thought than the traditional occult
view that seperates physical and nonphyscal bodies.  Instead of simply rejecting
this view because it appears to counterdict what you presently believe, I would
recommend opening up to this view, even if it does challange your present
believes.   I have discovered, and unfortunately, again do not have time to
dwell on this issue, that the idea that the brain creates our conscious
awareness is not contradictory to traditional occult ideas of transcendental
realities.  however, by mixing the two viewpoints, a new viewpoint emerges that
is substantially different than either alone, and, not suprisingly, is a view in
complete harmony with the great mystical and religious truths of the aeons.

<This is a perception of reality that is, I think, not
amenable to either scientific proof or disproof. At least not in our time.>

Again, I would only suggest you familiarize yourself with the evidence.  When
you see the state of our current knowledge, you will come to appreciate that
such statements as this are no longer applicable.

< But as they deal with matters spiritual they are not, and never
will be totally amenable to "scientific proof" at least not in the current
state of scientists. Any investigation, of any subject, must be open and

And the flip side to this is, again, that you, or people with similar interests
and background, make the effort to familiarize yourself with current evidence
and thinking.  You will see that scientific ideas are not biased, that they are
driven by necessity (for example, trying to determine how to treat a victum of
brain damage).  You must ask yourself: as an occultiust who makes a claim to
understanding the human constitustion, how would you personally deal with a
person who has suffered brain damage?  How would your ideas be of practical
value in helping such a person?

This is really worth thinking about.

So, I will close here.  Again, I thank you for the exachange of ideas.  My best
regards and wishes.

Dr. DeGracia
(But everybody just calls me "Don"...really!)

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