Re: virus: Biochem, sorta
Sun, 22 Sep 1996 20:01:51 -0500 (CDT)

On Sun, 22 Sep 1996, Wade T. Smith wrote:

> All I meant was that there are some reliable, repeatable, and clinical
> studies of hallucinations. (And a few of 'religious' experiences, i.e.
> trance and meditative states.)

One of those studies on hallucinations was in Scientific American. The
similarities to the descriptions of Eastern religious experiences are
striking. I can say, between the article and my research into 'mystical
Christian experience', that the article's sequence of events has very
little similarity to the latter.

I would be very interested in recent studies about religious experiences in
Western religions [Christianity, Judaism, Islam]. The ones based on
Eastern religions are fairly common. While meditative states

> 'Fire in the Brain' comes to mind, pretty recent too, I think.
> All this assumes, as I do, (based on the evidence...), that there is
> nothing to be dealing with in religious experiences other than
> hallucinations.

There should be, a priori [posteriori?], two classifications for
1) Physical sensory perception with no basis in any kind of reality.
[Physical reality is definitely the most susceptible to verifiability and
the tools of science.]
2) Sensory perception with a definite origin in some kind of
reality, but which has been mislabeled so that it consciously appears
like physical reality.

If the type 2 definition is altered so that the perceptions are
'correctly labeled' [at any rate, they are no longer marked as 'physical
reality'], we get a reasonable description of religious/spiritual
perceptions. I haven't read up on this in detail, but I believe:
1) There is conclusive evidence that religious/spiritual perceptions
are similar to hallucinations [I assumed this in the above classification]
2) If type 2 actually is sometimes instantiated [I haven't seen
serious research into this question! All of the research seems to be
unaware of type 2 as a formal possibility, and I haven't seen where this
question is dealt with.], we have a possibility that some
religious/spiritual perception could have the same domain as type 2, but
is labeled as nonphysical. [This is NOT saying it's labeled CORRECTLY!]

I have very good grounds for believing that the antipsychotics are just
as good at disabling religious/spiritual perceptions as disabling some
kinds of clinical hallucinations. Considering: 1) their chemical
relatives; 2) they are 'dumbing drugs' for the unafflicted; and 3) their
long-term side effects, it is possible that the net effect is like
medieval "leeching". I would be more favorably inclined if they were
functionally 'smart drugs' in the unafflicted.

/ Kenneth Boyd