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God In The Brain


Brother Jeff
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From: http://www.innerworlds.50megs.com/god.htm

 

The word God has two meanings for some, and two connotations for others. In one, God is the savior. He 'saves' people. You can pray to 'him' and 'he' will give you what you want, or perhaps the wisdom do go on with your life if you don't get it. Or, perhaps, 'he' will hear your prayer. The savior offers you the option of not being alone. For some, he's 'always present'. For others, he's there 'when they need him'.

 

In the other meaning of the word, God is the creator of the universe.

 

In Asia and India, and many of the cultures in the rest of the world, the 'personal savior' and the creator aren't the same thing at all.

 

In the west, the God who made the universe, and the God who saves, are one and the same. It's quite an awe-inspiring thought. That the creator of the cosmos is personally interested in YOU.

 

However, when science looks at God, this gets to be a bit of a problem. The personal savior is a matter of personal experience. The creator of the universe isn't. Although I've met people who claimed that they 'know' that the universe has a creator, I've never met anyone who claimed to have been there when it took place. Science responds to the question 'where did it all come from' through its search into the origins of the physical universe. That turned out to be a matter of cosmology, and eventually brought us to the Big Bang Theory.

 

On the other hand, many people have had experiences of God as the personal savior. Mohammed and Moses both heard his voice, they say. So did Saint Francis. So did Saul on the road to Damascus.

 

The list of historical accounts is long, but it's nothing compared to the list of people who have had the experience of God in the course of Near-Death Experiences.

 

Thousands of people have had the experience of meeting God while they were clinically dead. Not all Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) include meeting God, and not all people who were revived from clinical death had NDEs to tell about.

 

Nevertheless, now that there is a body of evidence about 'seeing God' for science to study, there is a picture emerging about how it happens.

 

The conclusion that's taking shape has a lot in common with the traditional Hindu view (shared by many Buddhists) that if one comes face-to-face with God, one is actually being confronted with one's self.

 

And the self is now a matter of brain science. It has fallen to the neuroscientists for two reasons. There's a neurological disorder that sometimes leaves people seeing god, or at least claiming to. And there's a neurological picture of the self emerging.

 

Within neuroscience, both the self, and the disorder that seems to make visions of God concern the limbic system, the middle and lower portions of the temporal lobes, parts of the brain that are activated very easily. More easily, in fact, than any other parts of the brain.

 

There are two pieces of evidence behind this. One is that psychological 'disorders of the self' usually involve differences in the limbic system. A schizophrenic hippocampus is different from normal one. A depressed person's amygdala (there's two - one on each side) works differently from a normal one.

 

The other important evidence is a thing called "The Forty Hertz Component." It's a component of a typical EEG readout. It appears from the temporal lobes, and its there when a a person is awake, there when the person is in REM sleep, but it's absent when a person is in dreamless sleep.

 

We cannot remember dreamless sleep, but we can recall dreams, and what happens in ordinary, waking consciousness. And those are the times when the 40hz is present. A conclusion follows. One that a lot of people don't like too much. The 'self' is what we experience when a specific pattern of brain activity is happening. It might BE that activity, or it might only require it. In either case, "we" aren't completely made of any sort of spiritual or divine energy. Some of what we are, at least, can be measured, recorded, 'logged in as data', and all that.

 

I've seen evidence that 'we' can exist outside the body, as well as the brain, during the out-of-body experiences that can happen during near-death experiences, but that's a rare circumstance. Throughout most of our lives, most of us are living within the framework of our bodies, including our brains.

 

when 'we' exist, we're always using our brains in specific ways, and one of the few constant ways we do it is by maintaining the '40hz component

The 40hz activity appears out of the temporal lobes. It's pathways have come to be understood after studies of people who had trouble in the temporal lobes (epilepsy, head injury, etc.). It involves the surface of the temporal lobes, and two of it's deeper structures, the amygdala and the hippocampus.

 

More to the point, it involves these two sets of structures, on two sides of the brain. We have, two selves, or two senses of self. One on the left, and one on the right. They're not equals, though. The left-sided sense of self is dominant in most people. It's the one where language happens. It becomes dominant when we learn to speak in childhood. After that, we use language as our main way of relating to others. We maintain an almost constant stream of inner words, inner monolog and thoughts, in words, about almost everything we experience.

 

One the other side of the brain, following the rule that each thing on one side of the brain does the opposite of what the same thing on the other side of the brain does, we get the conclusion that there is a non-linguistic sense of self on the right side of the brain.

 

Ordinarily, our two 'selves' work in tandem with one another. The one on the left is sort of in charge of things, but constantly gets input from the sense of self on the other side. Both of them are accustomed (or habituated) to this arrangement. But, once in a while, (or for some people, quite often) the two fall out of phase with one another, and the left-sided 'self' manifests by itself.

 

When this happens, we experience our own, right-sided, silent sense of self coming out where the left sided sense of self can and does experience it.

 

Read the rest here: http://www.innerworlds.50megs.com/god.htm

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I'm not sure what this guy's point is. From what I've seen, it doesn't look like he gives any info about the self transcending the human brain, nor does he describe any mystical experiences as transcending material functions.

 

I'll admit I only skimmed this though (I've been a bit busy), but if you can sum up his overall argument I'd appreciate it.

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Well, I think his main point is that we experience "God" as a part of our own brains - the visitor experience - and that "we" exist only when a 40 Hz signal exists in our brainwaves. That's a lousy summary, I know, but that's the gist of it.

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I have a couple books on this very subject. In my opinion, these experiences can be explained by neurochemistry. If you want more info, PM me. :) Not in the mood to type a lot right now........

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Well, I think his main point is that we experience "God" as a part of our own brains - the visitor experience - and that "we" exist only when a 40 Hz signal exists in our brainwaves. That's a lousy summary, I know, but that's the gist of it.

 

Well, no argument there, certainly.

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