02-11-00, 05:36 PM
Last night I was listning to a radio talk show called the Art Bell show. His guest was Matthew Alper, who had recently written a book called "The God Part of the Brain".
He argued that there is as spiritualistic part in the brain that evolved in order to soothe man's fear of dying. And that he could induce a spiritual experience into the most hardened Astheist simply by stimulating that part of the brain.
For more information you can go to www.artbell.com (http://www.artbell.com) near the bottom you'll find websites connected with the book. I look forward to discussing this with yall.
I've got just one comment here:
Something that has to do with dying can't possibly be "evolved". Having a nice death experience doesn't help in survival or procreation.
On the other hand, there is indeed a system in the brain that releases endorphins (endogenous morphins) -- special hormones that kill pain when it becomes too intense, and even produce a sense of euphoria. The system can indeed be thought of as an evolved one -- since it would help in survival.
Incidentally, there are pleasure centers in the brain, that work to reward eating when hungry, drinking when thirsty, having sex, engaging in reciprocative behavior, etc. None of them are targeted at "spiritualism" -- though one can learn to auto-stimulate them (which is what spiritualism and religions do.)
I am; therefore I think.
02-15-00, 08:36 PM
I remember reading in Carl Sagan's "The dragons of Eden" that near-death experiences cause some part of the brain to release endorphins in some specific part I don't remeber which. I think these kind of mind states, plus some cases of epilepsy and delusion in general, are directly connected to this pleasure centre, be it specifically "spiritual" or not (in some 100 years we'll probably know). Then people who pass through this "chemically enhanced spiritual experience" could possibly (and rightly) have an extremely intense desire to touch on this centres again, to reach again for this mind-boggling state. And thus the prophets, and thus the messiahs. How long the road until we even begin to really know about the fine anatomy and chemistry of what's under our scalps!