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RE: OOBEs are NOTHING BUT hallucinations: Especially directed to Don G. Alexis D

Jun 05, 1996 05:28 PM
by Blavatsky Foundation

OOBEs are NOTHING BUT hallucinations

TO:  Don G. and Alexis and of course everyone else interested:

Some of what is written  below was posted on Theos-l about 2 months ago.
Most of it was written by Dr. Mike M. and gives in greater detail
his view on OOBEs ,etc. [All of this is taken from alt.religion.eckankar, a
discussion group].  I am posting it again to give more detail
in our present theos-l & theos-buds discussion on this subject.


>As someone who has experienced this phenomenon of OOBE=soul travel=astral
>projection=lucid dreaming for some 25 years (they are all the same), I
>have discussed this in detail before on this newsgroup.  Neither I nor
>anyone else has ever produced evidence for knowledge at a distance during
>a lucid dream or out of the body experience.  Period.  Including tests
>conducted under laboratory conditions.  Experiments with brain probing
>indicate that the OOBE is a mental state that can be reproduced by the
>excitation of certain regions of the brain.

William Martens <> wrote to Dr. Mike M.:
>>> Since, in your opinion, the inner worlds that some people experience
>>> while they are alive on this physical world are nothing but random
>>> neurons firing in the cerebral cortex of the physical brain is it also
>>> true (in your oppinion) that the inner worlds that some people believe
>>> they will go to after this life are really non-existant as well?
>>> In other words is this one physical life all that you personally expect
>>> to experience?
>>> Do you believe in any kind of continuance of your essential self to
>>> survive the physical death of your body?

Mike M. replies to Martens as follows:
>>There is no reason or necessity to postulate the existence of anything
>>supernatural to explain "inner" experiences.  There are clear
>>physiological explanations for these sensory experiences and nothing
>>mysterious about them at all.
>>Neither have I seen any evidence for the continued existence of
>>consciousness after the brain ceases to function. On the other hand, there
>>is abundant evidence for the contrary belief.
>>The universal nature of religion is perfectly understandable in biological
>>terms.  The "purpose" of a biological entity is to survive and pass on its
>>genes to its offspring.  The longer an individual survives (within
>>limits), the greater is the chance it will successfully pass on its
>>genes.  With the development of self-awareness in the human along with the
>>level of intelligence necessary to recognize the finite nature of the
>>individual organism, humans developed religion and the belief in some form
>>of immortality as a psychological expression of the "selfish" gene.  In
>>simpler terms, any being that is intelligent enough to recognize its own
>>finite nature will naturally put up a psychological defense, i.e.,
>>religion. That seems self-evident. Self-survival is the strongest instinct
>>of all.
>>I recommend "The Astonishing Hypothesis" by Francis Crick (Simon and
>>Schuster). Crick shared the Nobel Prize with Jim Watson for the discovery
>>of the helical structure of DNA.  For the past 25 years or so he has
>>dedicated himself to the study of the neurosciences.  The "astonishing
>>hypothesis" is just that consciousness is the result of the activity of
>>billions of interacting neurons.  Crick's wry humor is that this is only
>>astonishing to layman, most of whom carry some sort of religious engrams.
>>I don't see how a profound understanding of biology is compatible with
>>religious belief.  I have only seen them coexist in a very few scientists
>>who somehow manage to completely divorce their early religious training
>>from all logical scrutiny.
>>If you believe in survival after death, what is it that makes you believe

Daniel Caldwell quotes 2 paragraphs from the Mike M.'s above answer and then
adds several comments and questions:
>>In [above] article, Dr. Mike M. wrote:
>>>There is no reason or necessity to postulate the existence of anything
>>>supernatural to explain "inner" experiences.  There are clear
>>>physiological explanations for these sensory experiences and nothing
>>>mysterious about them at all.
>>>Neither have I seen any evidence for the continued existence of
>>>consciousness after the brain ceases to function. On the other hand, there
>>>is abundant evidence for the contrary belief.

>>Mike, how much do you know about parapsychology?  Are you aware of the
data of
>>this field of endeavor?  From my point of view, there is *some* evidence that
>>would indicate that consciousness may transcend the brain and in fact can
>>sometimes  operate outside the confines of the physical body.   I am not
>>saying that the parapsychological data proves such contentions.  All I am
>>saying is that this data puts a new slant on the biological data.  How aware
>>are you of this parapsychological data?  Or are you the "typical" kind of
>>skeptic of the CSICOP variety?
>>It would be interesting to see what David Lane's views are on this subject.
>>My impression is that although he is skeptical of the claims of Eckankar,
>>believes that consciousness transcends the body, etc.  I may be wrong.
>>Mike, have you read Dr. Robert Almeder's DEATH AND PERSONAL SURVIVAL: THE
>>EVIDENCE FOR LIFE AFTER DEATH?  Almeder is a philosopher and approaches the
>>subject with an open mind.  I could give you a whole list of good books that
>>are not written by religious or new age minded people but by critically
>>people who have looked at the evidence and have felt that there is something
>>mysterious about the mind and that science has not fully  explained the mind
>>nor its relationship to the brain, the nervous system and the body.
>>Are you as skeptical of your own "beliefs" and "conclusions" as you are of
>>beliefs of the Eckists, religionists, and paranormalists?  In other words,
>>you a Zetetic skeptic?  Are you aware of the writings of Dr. Marcello Truzzi?
>>There is a excellent FAQ written on parapsychology by Dean Radin and several
>>other parapsychologists.  It is available on the WWW and you can find it if
>>you do a search using the word "parapsychology."  I will try to find its
>>location on the WWW and post it later.
>>Daniel H. Caldwell

Mike M. responds to Daniel's comments and questions by reposting what
he had previously written in response to Glen's questions.

>I am reposting this in response to Daniel Caldwell's questions:
>   I will answer Glen's questions, because it just may open up some eyes
>and ears. Not those of the eck participants on this newsgroup, but of the
>lurkers, who have always been the object of my posts.  Some of this will
>be repetitive to old timers on this newsgroup.
>   First, the accusation is that I am somehow afraid of my visions,
>experiences, etc., and therefore place a materialistic slant on them. It
>seems self-evident that this explanation doesn't make any sense.  I
>started having OOBEs at the age of 15 or16 prior to my exposure to
>eckankar.  At that time, I was absolutely convinced that they were "real"
>in the same sense that most eckists wrongfully interpret these phenomena.
>I joined eckankar because it appeared to explain and to place these
>experiences into a pleasing (if somewhat simple-minded) religious context
>(I was raised a Catholic and fully believed in a Supreme Being, etc.). My
>OOB experiences were self-induced after reading the first edition of
>"Journeys Out of the Body" by Robert Monroe in 1970.  Around this time, I
>also met and befriended a professional psychic and medium.  I spent much
>of my last two years in high school with this gentleman, with whom I had
>many interesting experiences. I mention this only to illustrate that I was
>totally and completely "sold" on psychic phenomena and the supernatural.
>I was fully one of "You" out there. I could not even imagine life without
>a spiritual/psychic side. I initially wanted to go to college at Duke in
>order to study parapsychology, because Duke had the only semi-respectable
>psychic research institute in the country (I ended up going to another
>   After I began my intensive training in the sciences in college, leading
>through graduate school, postgraduate training, and beyond, I began to
>experiment on myself and to evaluate my OOB experiences, read the
>scientific literature (such as it was) on this subject and related
>phenomena. At the beginning, I was still a totally committed eckist, in
>fact, a "leader" in the area I lived in.  As my knowledge of science and
>the scientific method grew along with my evaluation of my own experiences
>and the experiences of others as documented in the scientific literature,
>it became clear that the OOBE and so-called mystical experience have a
>completely materialistic explanation in the neuron.  No evidence for
>knowledge at a distance has ever been demonstrated in a properly designed
>experiment. Period.  Despite what friend Gunnar would have us believe.  He
>appears to have just started his examination of these data-- I have had
>nearly 25 years of it, and have met and spoken to JB Rhine, among others.
>I have communicated with many over the years who have had some degree of
>control over the OOB state. I was a member of the Monroe Institute for a
>year or two in the late seventies (that just means I took one of their
>home courses).   Neither I nor anyone I have talked to has produced one
>shred of evidence that the OOBE is anything but a lucid dream or
>hypnagogic experience resulting from the firing of neurons.  That is, no
>one has produced any evidence that one can obtain information at a
>distance in this state. Certainly not the Monroe Institute, despite their
>sincerity and efforts. There has been nothing but negative results after
>many decades of work on the part of many dedicated investigators around
>the World.  After so much negative data, in any other branch of science we
>would say--enough already.
>   Of course, I am very familiar with the *claims* of positive
>results--these are a combination of statistical blips, wishful thinking,
>sloppy, uncontrolled experiments, faulty equipment, and forgery and
>fakery. Indeed, the entire field of parapsychology has been rife with
>these unfortunate occurrences.  Every time the so-called positive
>experiments have been repeated by others using a proper protocol, the
>"positive" results vanish.  If you saw some of the so-called "positive"
>data, most of you would wince and say, so what?  We are not talking about
>demonstrating the existence of the soul--rather, observing something like
>a tiny deviation from the statistical norm using Psi cards or the like.  A
>Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Ernst Rutheford, once said--if you have to
>use statistics to prove something--go back and design the experiment
>properly! If a certain type of experiment is repeated often enough, the
>outcome will come out "positive" a certain percentage of the time.
>   How have I reached my conclusions about mystical phenomena?  By an
>objective evaluation of all of the subjective and objective evidence
>available to me. It would take several volumes to describe all of the
>evidence I have sifted through and evaluated. In a way, I was fortunate to
>have intensive training in the scientific method and extensive experience
>with the the Out-of-Body state. It appears to me that few if any eckists
>on this group have actually had OOBEs as described by Monroe, Muldoon,
>Schwann, and others. Monroe's descriptions are the least colored, but even
>he embellished them considerably. For one thing, he made up the only
>incident in his first book that might have provided some sort of
>semi-objective evidence for the "reality" of his experiences (the pinching
>episode was made up for those of you who have read the book--see Rogo's
>book on Astral Projection). The pre-OOBE vibratory state described by
>Monroe is a well-known phenomenon called sleep paralysis that occurs
>during dreaming.  The fact that Monroe, I, and, and many others can become
>conscious during sleep paralysis (which precedes the OOBE), illustrates
>the dream nature of the experience. This has also been demonstrated in the
>laboratory by the use of EEGs on subjects during their OOBEs. You can look
>up the data yourselves.
>   I have also had the more "mystical" type of experience.  It's really no
>different.  I have described some of my inner experiences (dreams)
>involving Twitchell and Gross before on this newsgroup, and the fact that
>Gross asked me to contribute some of my experiences to the aborted
>biography Brad Steiger started working on. As I recall, one of my
>experiences (dreams) is actually reported in one of the eck discourses.
>All neurological gobbledegook.  Fun, but mundane.  This is also a
>hypnagogic state where one gains partial control over dream-like images.
>These are mixed with subconscious desires and images. One can hear, see,
>and experience, virtually anything, including other "planes", sounds,
>masters, etc. I believe most people can learn to induce these
>experiences.  But it takes enormous willpower, patience, and something few
>people have--lots of time.  I spent a couple of hours a day for a year or
>solearning to "catch hold of" the hypnagogic state.  I could do it because
>I was a teenager with all the free time on my hands that I needed.
>   Am I somehow afraid of the Truth?  That is not logical and sounds like
>classic psychological projection.  Who in their right mind would be afraid
>of immortality?  It was a great intellectual struggle for me to break free
>of my ingrained religious  beliefs.  Indeed, this takes a great deal of
>courage from anyone.  What doesn't take a lick of courage is to accept
>other peoples explanation of YOUR experience, which is what every eckist
>does. I did it, too, because it was easy.  They tell you exactly what you
>want to hear. How many of you have gone out on your own and attempted to
>objectively evaluate your "inner" experiences and directly challenged your
>most cherished beliefs? On the other hand, how many of you accept whatever
>Klemp tells you as fact?  Have you REALLY proven it to yourself? You don't
>have to put up a facade. These explanations are provided by those ignorant
>of physiology, the same way the Shamans used to provide religious
>explanations for mental illness, the stars in the night sky, etc.  As
>science has advanced, these silly explanations have been swept under the
>rug by all religions as hidden embarassments.  One by one. Do you want to
>look under the rug forever for your explanations?
>   What do my own personal inner experiences prove or disprove?
>Absolutely nothing. The objective data concerning the phenomena in
>question are more than sufficient to identify them as neurological states
>and to disprove the supernatural hypothesis. I happened to be in the
>unusual position of having the scientific training, to have the desire,
>and to have developed the subjective abilities to put these phenomena to a
>personal test. That is all.
>   Ask yourself what evidence you really and truly have that confirms your
>religious beliefs. How convincing is that evidence?  Would it convince a
>dispassionate observer? Would you stake your child's life on it?  Would
>trained scientific observers with no interest at stake in the outcome draw
>the same conclusions?  Can you imagine life without immortality, without a
>soul, without a master--with only organic molecules in a self-replicating
>system?  A life that ends when the brain ceases to function? I have
>imagined it both ways, and am forced to accept the correct interpretation.
>If you can't even imagine it both ways, how can you begin to go beyond
>mere religious faith?
>To paraphrase an eck master:  You can DISprove it for yourself--if you are
>bold  and adventuresome.  If you are not, then remain an eckist.
>A closing prediction: The very youngest eckists among us will live to see
>the day neurobiologists can explain the so-called mystical experience
>(i.e., hallucination, lucid dream) at the cellular/molecular levels.  No
>question about it. Eckankar will have passed into oblivion long before
>this, however. Or perhaps eckists will transform into a new type of drug
>culture, where one takes a specific neurotransmitter to induce a specific
>One last thing.  It is certainly possible that my materialistic views are
>completely wrong.  Scientific theories are constantly in a state of flux
>as we gather more data. I would place the odds that I am wrong in this
>regard at one in a thousand or less. Religion has been given a fair shake
>for millenia, and has proven to be a miserable failure at explaining
>anything.  The further we advance in our knowledge of the universe, the
>more religious viewpoints have to be abandoned. The odds are getting less
>and less every day.

End of Mike M.'s comments and


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