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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    Right, so hopefully you'd agree that purely on the basis of self-determination and freedom of conscience there's no intrinsic reason to view someone who has what they percieve as "mystical" experiences which may also be interpreted pathologically, as some sort of psychosis, as disordered?
    Huh? If I can determine something myself, then why can't I determine someone else's condition? Are you talking about his self-determination or mine?

    I couldn't call it disordered or psychosis... I'm not a physician, and even their criteria isn't always right.

    If their behaviour is otherwise disordered or disruptive, and particularly if they are unable to fend for themselves or are a danger to others, this raises new questions about whether they are sane or socially functional by comon consent or establised criteria for trying to determine sanity and healthy functioning, of course.
    One hermit who looked upon God, supposedly, found it very difficult to picture the aesthetics. His name was Nicholas of Flüe, and some of his visions only came after several years of asceticism. He left his family behind to service a chantry, but also left a legacy.



    Now, this wasn't exactly beneficial for his family, was it? Was this lunacy? Was his experience only stabilized by the dogma which assured him that he was healthy? Is this sort of psychological manifestation only the result of a thinning of the barrier between the pole of his consciousness that categorized the world, and the antipode which was more vague and caught up in the collective unconscious?

    His conception of the event was only accepted because it fit the guidelines of what the teachings of the time said. It depicted a trinity. But what if it was something different; and what if Lark somehow did this and got something different? It would certainly change his outlook on life.


    Yet some people have claimed to, when in states of variously altered consciousness, which may be interpreted either pathologically OR as a sign of divine favour, depending on one's perspective. The difficulty in finding words to effectively describe it perhaps can be taken as reflecting the supernormal nature of the experience, one for which everyday life has not equipped us with an adequate vocabulary to communicate the understanding of the experiencer on the one hand, and for the person who has not had the experience to form an adeqate understanding of what is being described on the other.

    What's your take on this? Does the impossibility of comprehending these experiences fully without having experienced them oneself constitute a reason for dismissing their plausibility and concentrating on understanding faith at a more rational level, in terms of what can be directly percieved? Or is it as the various mystical and contemplative streams of faith suggest, a reason to develop one's own consciousness in order to try to access the experiences of which others speak and form your own unique understanding based on this?
    Well, gah...

    Some people form psychosis and believe they are, quite literally, God. Am I supposed to believe that they've reached a divine pinnacle? There are people out there who have debilitating mental illnesses, and who's beliefs are far from the consensual reality that everyone else is accustomed to. Are people just supposed to say "Well, they've just developed a higher form of consciousness, or they're just a different kind of consciousness". Something cannot be separate and still equal. I would like to believe that we all have equal interpretations of reality, but obviously the differences reveal themselves in how successful one is in life, even one's own standards.

    But, I guess since I haven't been there myself, I can't place judgement. I can only make a forecast.

    This topic confuses me on the most unearthly levels.

    I have heard that these experiences can be quite helpful and healthy. Aldous Huxley had similar ones when he took mescaline and perceived reality as a "unified whole", unfettered by normal understanding. Afterwards, he advocated the Perennial Philosophy. I would call this a mystical experience, though it was different from the more conventional things.

    Everyone finds their own meaning in life. :confused:

  2. #32
    Senior Member InsatiableCuriosity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonstone3 View Post
    Spirituality does not mean 'Christianity'. And yes, my type does affect my pursuit of spirituality. I have studied MANY different religions in depth to see which one I agree with the most. And that doesn't mean to my benefit, either.
    I feel a deeper understanding of what other people feel when they choose a religion for themselves, and foremost what I choose for me.
    Religion is not what people tell you. It is what you find. It is not material items handed to you in a box from your mom on Christmas. It is a powerful surge of knowing something you feel to be true. And the INTP with Introverted Thinking will contemplate many aspects of something, especially if handed to them. They have to find it for themselves. And that is religion to this INTP.
    You have nailed it in one for me too!
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible."
    — Richard P. Feynman

    "Never tell a person a thing is impossible. G*d/the Universe may have been waiting all this time for someone ignorant enough of the impossibility to do just that thing."
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  3. #33
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Tater View Post
    Huh? If I can determine something myself, then why can't I determine someone else's condition? Are you talking about his self-determination or mine?
    His. The exercise of conscience, to be meaningful, has to reflect an individual's own choices.

    I couldn't call it disordered or psychosis... I'm not a physician, and even their criteria isn't always right.
    Indeed. The last point is particularly important when disorder can only be defined with reference to whatever is the currently accepted social norm. I suspect a large proportion of significant religious figures of the past would be in danger of recieving a psychiatric diagnosis if they lived now; this does not, however, invalidate their positive contributions to their faith, society, and the development of human understanding, which have in many cases been considerable. This is aside from the development of their own understanding which may have resulted from their experiences.

    Some people form psychosis and believe they are, quite literally, God. Am I supposed to believe that they've reached a divine pinnacle? There are people out there who have debilitating mental illnesses, and who's beliefs are far from the consensual reality that everyone else is accustomed to. Are people just supposed to say "Well, they've just developed a higher form of consciousness, or they're just a different kind of consciousness". Something cannot be separate and still equal. I would like to believe that we all have equal interpretations of reality, but obviously the differences reveal themselves in how successful one is in life, even one's own standards.
    One hermit who looked upon God, supposedly, found it very difficult to picture the aesthetics. His name was Nicholas of Flüe, and some of his visions only came after several years of asceticism. He left his family behind to service a chantry, but also left a legacy.

    Now, this wasn't exactly beneficial for his family, was it? Was this lunacy? Was his experience only stabilized by the dogma which assured him that he was healthy?
    Worth pointing out that in his day it would have been considered healthy, at least if the visions and experiences were being communicated and conceptualised in forms that were acceptable to the society and church of his day. Seeing a vision of the divine was a mark of favour and spiritural exaltation, yet struggling to combat visions of the profane may have been also interpeted as a mark of favour, a literal spiritual battle that most experienced at a more symbolic level, undertaken with God's grace and with salvation or enlightenment the result if succesful - mirroring the conflict of the ordinary person between the demands of faith and the sinful temptations of the material world.

    What would not have been acceptable is visions and experiences that reflected willing consortation with the Devil (blasphemy) that significantly challenged the established version of faith (heresy) or suggested that an altogether new understanding was needed (infidelity). It's not like the concept of insanity was not understood in former ages, even in relation to people who claimed to experience visions that others could not see. Then, as now, however, the standard was defined with reference to the current norm, which was primarily defined by the prevailing faith.

    A person believing themselves to be God, for instance, would certainly have been categorised as insane, because this is essentially a claim, in a Christian context, that you are Christ's second coming; a monumental claim for which compelling evidence would instantly be sought if it was ever taken seriously in the first place, and the person just as quickly found wanting. It would have been seen as the work of the Devil, and measures either priestly or medical (according to the lights of the day and the options available) would have been taken to cast out the demons presumed responsible. Much mental illness in medieval times would have been similarly recognised and treated to mental illness today, the sufferer shunned, ostracised, and subjected to forced treatment, IF they were seeing things unseen or unfathomable to others that challenged the existing belief system of society.

    Those who now claim to experience visions of any kind, however, are automatically challenging the existing belief system of society, which is founded on the premise that nothing is correct or valuable except what can be empirically established by science. There is no empirical way to establish the validity of visions or supernormal experiences that others do not share due to their intensely subjective nature and the lack of a testing mechanism. Therefore, there is no option but to presume that they stem from pathological causes and must be dealt with accordingly. We are essentially casting out the devils of unbelief, of blasphemy against the scientific method, if we hold to our assumption that EVERYone who has these experiences is in need of treatment.

    Is this sort of psychological manifestation only the result of a thinning of the barrier between the pole of his consciousness that categorized the world, and the antipode which was more vague and caught up in the collective unconscious?
    With this sort of thing, your guess is as good as mine


    I have heard that these experiences can be quite helpful and healthy. Aldous Huxley had similar ones when he took mescaline and perceived reality as a "unified whole", unfettered by normal understanding. Afterwards, he advocated the Perennial Philosophy. I would call this a mystical experience, though it was different from the more conventional things.
    I'm unsure how mescaline functions offhand, though I do know that its effects are strongly psychedelic, therefore perception-altering, and it has a long history of use for spiritual purposes by certain societies. Those who meditate are freqently trying to achieve a state of similarly expanded consciousness without chemical assistance. I would say that regardless of whether his experiences were personally beneficial, meditation and spiritual reflection are probably in general SAFER activities, at least if preserving one's functional sanity in everyday life is a priority, given the unpredictable effects that powerful psychedelics can have on individual psyches.
    Look into my avatar. Look deep into my avatar...

  4. #34
    Senior Member InsatiableCuriosity's Avatar
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    OK - debated whether to post this or not so here goes...

    This was a personal experience in 1994 and commenced 6 weeks before I had been involved in a particularly nasty traffic accident.

    I had friends staying. Girlfriend, her husband and child were moving interstate and needed a place to stay after they had packed up so they could finalise the removal.

    Two nights before they were due to leave I had a dream that I was in my car and waiting at an intersection and was hit from the right side by a large white truck. Then everything went blank. My girlfriend and I were going out for coffee and I was relating my dream to her while we were driving. She laughed nervously and asked me if anyone else was in the car when I was hit by the truck and I told her honestly that I didn't know.

    They moved interstate and about 6 weeks later I was behind another car at a Give Way sign with a police car behind me, waiting to turn left at traffic lights when I heard bang, crash to my right. I turned to look and saw a large white Shire water truck mowing down traffic lights so I instinctively turned my face to the left and had almost immediate impact about 20cm in front of my knees.

    At this point I need to tell you that the right hand side in Australia is the driver's side. The impact forced the steering wheel into my left hand and my car was pushed 20ft over the curb, ripping the left hand tyres from the rims. The truck came to a stop another 30ft on and it turns out that the driver had passed out at the wheel with his foot on the accelerator. The poor police officer behind me was beside himself - he said he watched it happen in slow motion and felt helpless to do anything.

    I had no broken bones but it was to turn out that I had permanently damaged, quite painfully, my left ulna nerve with compressing vertebrae at the time of impact. I have learned to deal with that pain.

    Fast forward about 12 weeks. My pain had been particularly bad when I went to sleep but I had the most amazing dream I cannot explain. I dreamt I was in the presence of a being whose face was pure light and had the sensation (that I have NEVER experienced in life) of something crossed between the best orgasm you could possibly have, the deepest sigh of satisfaction and the greatest sense of belonging. There was an awareness of a message saying "you will be home soon".

    Now generally dreams echo experience and, while I have never ever experienced this sensation before or since, it is one of the things that convinces me that there is definitely something "other"! I have tried to attach meaning to this and what "home" might mean but cannot fathom it. I guess, even though it goes completely against my normally very rational brain, I will just have to wait and see and hope that at some time in life to experience that exquisite feeling again.

    PS Had I not had the accident I probably would not be enjoying a career today in which I am totally immersed and energised by.
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible."
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    "Never tell a person a thing is impossible. G*d/the Universe may have been waiting all this time for someone ignorant enough of the impossibility to do just that thing."
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  5. #35
    Senior Member InsatiableCuriosity's Avatar
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    PS - I called my girlfriend after arriving home somewhat sedated after the accident and told her that I now knew that I was the only one in the car!
    "Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible."
    — Richard P. Feynman

    "Never tell a person a thing is impossible. G*d/the Universe may have been waiting all this time for someone ignorant enough of the impossibility to do just that thing."
    author unknown

  6. #36
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    Would that answer all your questions, if you had even one such experience? Or would it simply provoke more doubts?
    This is a very good question, I'm pretty disdainful about the people who want to witness miracles or apparitions for instance, for a believer proof isnt necessary, for a non-believer there will never be enough.

    I'm not interested in it as proof really or to dispell doubt, I dont know, I would like my spiritual growth to go in that direction, I think that it could be like wanting to be taller or something like that though the more I think about it.

    You sure about that, Tater? Can people legitimately be diagnosed as being psychologically dysfunctional purely on the basis of their subjective personal experiences not matching with an expected societal norm? Or do there have to be broader issues at stake, such as the effect of their experiences on their personalities, and the effect of their personalities and behaviour on those around them and the society they live in?
    There are a lot of them who're retrospectively "diagnosed" or pathologised like that though.

    This seems plausible. I really don't think any type or group of types has a monopoly on personal and "spiritual" development, and it's dangerous and potentially limiting to the growth of self and others to assume that someone's type will affect this capacity in any particular way. Type considerations have some potential to suggest how we are likely to approach questions, but no role at all in determining the comparative value of the answers we ultimately arrive at.
    Yeah but I tend to see an intuitive or thinker trying to be a sensor or feeler as being like someone whose african trying to be caucasian (spelling) if you know what I mean.

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