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Occultism, Mental Illness , and Satanism

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.satanism,alt.politics.satanism,alt.magick
From: (RyanS2)
Subject: Re: Occultism, Mental Illness (Cause/Effect?), and Satanism
Date: 23 Jan 2003 08:59:36 -0800

> First and probably foremost, I have had a lot of experience with
> meditation and people who have meditate, and I have never heard of
> anything like what they are describing.  Nothing even remotely
> resembling what they are describing.

Are you a trained psychologist?  Have you ever conducted double-blind
studies?  Have you ever examined people before and after they started
meditation to notice changeable patterns in their cognitive
recognition?  In other words, "Do you have any credentials outside of
ad hoc hypothesis to establish a line of verifiability?"

> I mean if you want to cite what appears to be scientific evidence that
> 20% of people who play piano grow purple wings, then you will have
> cited what appears to be scientific evidence that people who play
> piano grow purple wings, but I have known enough people who play piano
> to call it bullshit.

Likewise, I have had KKK members tell me that they don't encourage
violence against minorities, I have had Marxists deny an experiment
done by a Marxist doctor which involved genital reconfiguration to
prove the Marxist hypothesis that sex is a class struggle to be true
to "not be in the interest of Marxism", and so forth.

> Second, what exactly are you missing in the above?  Who is Singer?
> Who posted this data?  Clearly it is not taken directly from
> Persinger, it is appearing in some larger context and is posted by
> somebody trying to describe an overall pattern in meditators.  Who
> posted it?
> Is the fact that it is on the Internet sufficient evidence to you that
> this information is valid?

I've read the original studies, including various interviews with
Persinger and his data.  I didn't go into detail because I didn't feel
like it.  Let me give a little elaboration.  Here's Persinger's

1.)  Meditation, prayer, chanting, mundras, yoga, and magick work all
cause the same changes in brain-wave patterns.

2.)  After extended changes in the brain-wave make-up, the person will
start becoming more and more "sensitive" to psychic phenoms.

3.)  These psychic phenoms are shown to be consistent with a sensitive
temporal lobe.

This work has been published in three places:

"Religious and mystical experiences as artifacts of temporal lobe
function: A general hypothesis." Perceptual and Motor Skills

"Temporal lobe signs and personality characteristics". Perceptual and
Motor Skills 66:49-50.

Persinger, M. and K. Makarec. 1987. "Temporal lobe epileptic signs and
correlative behaviors displayed by normal populations". Journal of
General Psychology 114(2): 179-195.

For a fuller hypothesis, here's Peggy Wright, "A psychobiological
approach to shamanic altered states of consciousness".  ReVision,
Spring 1994, p. 172:

"The ASCs most commonly used by shamans differ both phenomenologically
and biologically from possession trance (PT) or TL-ASC. Possession
trance involves more behaviors which approximate temporal lobe
seizures with clear amygdala involvement.

Shamanic ASCs likely share a common neurobiology with other ecstatic
and mystical states. However, specific phenomenological and biological
factors may vary enough to separate certain meditative ASCs from
shamanic ones.
One possible physiological correlate of ecstatic and mystical
experiences involves electrical changes in the deep structures of the
temporal lobes. These may involve either (a) ictal events, such as
TLTs with amygdala participation or milder forms of temporal lobe
seizures without pronounced amygdala involvement, and/or (b)
interictal hippocampal high-voltage, slow-wave hypersynchrony without
amygdala involvement.

These electrical changes may either occur spontaneously or be induced
by a variety of behaviors, all of which have been used by shamans to
enter trance states.

The electrical changes can be linked to a number of personality
changes found in individuals with TLE. A number of these
characteristics are similar to those found during certain instances of
the shamanic call. Therefore, one type of shamanic call may involve
such spontaneously generated electrical activity.
Temporal lobe transients and mild TLE may provide a neurological
substrate for the development of mature shamanic ASCs. The actual
control of these ictal events, through the cultivation of interictal
hypersynchrony, may provide the method for entering and controlling
shamanic ASCs.

Hippocampal high-amplitude, slow-wave hypersynchrony may provide
neurobiological contributions to shamanic reintegration after the
initiatory crises and to continuing mental and physical health.

Both genetic and nongenetic physiological factors interact with
learned behavior to influence shamanic ASCs. Hallucinogenic plant
substances have a strong capacity to bypass any lack of physiological
predisposition to developing ASCs.

The typically long training periods allow for shamanic ASCs to be
"shaped" by various induction procedures and cultural expectations.
This shaping process affects the phenomenology of these ASCs and, very
likely, the specifics of their neurophysiology as well."

The next one is "UFOs...Seriously", by Susan McClelland and John
betts, from "Maclean's", 8/13/2001, p.44-48:

"Individuals prone to paranormal experiences are sensitive to weak
electromagnetic fields and to man-made electrical fields, which are
becoming more prominent in the communication age," explains Persinger,
who has studied the link between magnetic fields and paranormal
experience for 15 years.

Initial experiments exposed the right hemisphere of subjects' brains
to magnetic fields, prompting subjects to posit a presence interacting
with their thoughts and moving in space as they focused on it. So
paranormal experiences during or just following stimulation of the
right hemisphere may be no more than the right half of the brain
becoming aware of the left.

Persinger could evoke the presence in many individuals, but it was
most common in subjects with temporal-lobe sensitivity. "People with
sensitive lobes have experiences resembling those of epileptics," says
Persinger. "Also, they're creative and sensitive to the
electromagnetic environment."

> Your original claim was that magic causes brain damage.  You have
> posted some very specious data which while completely contradicting
> everything I have ever encountered in meditation, also completely
> fails to support your point.  You are drawing a purely speculative
> relation between "epilepsy-like symptoms" in your specious data and
> the brain damage you claimed.

No, I simply followed the KISS guideline:  Keep it Simple, Stupid. 
Judging from the answers I got in response to the post, my ideas were
basically right.  It's a waste of my time to have posted this much in
response.  The post which listed an abbreviated version of Persinger's
work is available through SFweekly, August 28, 2002.

> Very specific description.  It didn't come from any data you have, so
> where did it come from?

You mistated that.  It should be "any data which you posted up".  

For the next part, I turn to Independent School, Winter2002, Vol. 61
Issue 2, pp. 70-78, Kenneth Wesson, "Where is God in the Brain?":

"Over the years, there have been cases of certain types of epilepsy
that have promoted higher states of religiosity. Twenty-five percent
of the individuals who have fallen victim to right temporal lobe
damage report “seeing God's face” and “hearing God's
voice.” Disease or damage to the same region brought forth
religious visions, feelings of ecstasy, and related phenomena.
Prominent religious figures such as Joan of Arc were reported to have
shown several of the classic symptoms of someone suffering from
temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) complete with revelations, insights, and
visions accompanied by seizures (many of the ingredients for the
archetypal epiphany).

One of the brain's unique features is that it can alter perception
through a wide variety of unusual means, changing our view of reality.
When we are alert and awake, neuronal circuits in the upper regions of
brain stem produce and discharge important neurotransmitters. These
are molecules or “chemical messages” traveling from one
neuron to another. Neurotransmitters can modify or even shape our
behavior. When and where they act on the brain will determine whether
we are happy, violent, in love, or demonstrate any other state of
being. When neurons in this area and the region just above it in the
medulla are bathed with the essential neurotransmitters, we are alert.

In addition to hypnotic states and cases of
“mind-over-matter” evidence, taking hallucinogenic drugs
can also alter one's state of mind by physically altering specific
sensory systems inside the brain. The drugs often cause an individual
to see bright colors, hear voices, or otherwise misrepresent the
things one sees, seeming to take them into another cerebral dimension.
The mystical shaman would eat or smoke special varieties of mushrooms,
which would induce trances. The chemicals in mushrooms tinker with the
brain's seratonin pathways and change the operations in the thalamus
(one of the subcortical structures of the limbic system) and the
frontal lobes.

While the frontal lobes assists us with decision-making and planning
behavior, the thalamus is the gateway for all sensory information
relaying all sensory input from the body. The thalamus provides us
with the perceptions of touch, pressure, and pain in addition to
arousal, emotions, and awareness. The level of seratonin, like
psychoactive drugs, can aid or hamper the frontal lobes in their
decision-making processes. Once processed and analyzed by the
thalamus, which serves a valve-like function, information is sent to
the various regions of the cerebral cortex for final processing.

Because the brain is basically a small neurochemistry factory,
rendering our behavior a function of its interior chemical balances,

it must protect its own chemical integrity by carefully monitoring the
levels of substance exposure. That safeguard comes by way of a
blood-brain barrier, where entry is restricted to the familiar
chemicals for which the brain has initiated or orchestrated the
production. However, if a foreign chemical has a molecular structure
similar to one of the brain's neurotransmitters, it will often enter
the brain undetected, which can wreak behavioral havoc. The incoming
information overflow causes hallucinations and other distortions in
the sensory perception and processing systems.

When individuals meditate, chant, recite mantras, or sing religious
songs for extended periods of time they can experience profound
feelings of euphoria. Sensory deprivation and exhaustion can also
change the levels of seratonin in ways that affect the thalamus,
resulting in situations in which the brain creates some of its own
stimulation (auditory and/or visual hallucinations) or where it
assigns gross misattributions to incoming information. While some
consider hallucinations, out-of-body feelings, and supernatural
experiences to be indicators of higher states of consciousness again
are cases where the thalamus has often lost its ability to control the
flow of information coming in from the over-stimulated sensory
systems. Some individuals who regularly have these experiences are
also subjects who are also found to sensitive temporal lobes."

Concerning it's relation to brain damage, here's August L. Reader,
ReVision, Summer 1994, pp. 7-9:

"Another part of the anatomy that is of importance to us in this
discussion is the automatic nervous system, comprised of both the
sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which act as the
automatic regulatory mechanisms within the body. It is through these
systems that the blood pressure, pulse, blood oxygenation, breathing,
heart rate, and all other automatic functions necessary for the
survival of the organism are regulated and kept in balance. Hence,
whenever there is an excess in sympathetic flow, in general, there
will be a reflex of parasympathetic flow to balance it. For instance,
when the blood pressure goes up for any reason due to a stimulus
within the sympathetic nervous system, a para-sympathetic rebound will
occur through certain reflex arcs. However, there are certain
conditions that override this automatic reflex and that can cause a
"disconnection" between the two sides of the autonomic nervous system
and can lead to profound, if not fatal, results. It is these sorts of
disconnections that I will be discussing as to their relationship to
the near-death experience.

The sympathetic and parasympathetic systems act in "balancing" the
stresses that assail the physical body, both externally and
internally. These signals are carried into a very primitive part of
the brain called the locus coeruleus, either by direct signals (Miller
1985) or by circulating peptides (Myers 1969). From there, the
appropriate response is then carried out by either the sympathetic or
parasympathetic side of the autonomic system. The locus coeruleus is
most sensitive to physiological changes and is the area of the brain
that appears to be most involved in near-death experiences and the
meditation of the reflexes that occur. The locus coeruleus, in turn,
stimulates the hypothalamus, which is the area of the ancient
reptilian brain that controls pain, sexual response, hunger, thirst,
and all of the major hormonal systems of the body.

Vascular Contributions 

The basilar artery is unique in that it is a single artery that is
formed from two arteries, the vertebral arteries, which course
superiorly from the spinal column into the back of the neck. It is at
the base of the brain that these two arteries fuse to form a singular
basilar artery, which then courses from the neck up into an area
behind the eyes and in between the ears where it bifurcates into the
two posterior cerebral arteries. The posterior cerebral arteries are
very important in our discussion because they are the major blood
supply to the occipital lobes and to the geniculate bodies, the
lateral half of the lateral thalamus, the posterior limb of the
internal capsule, and the optic tracts.

Psychological Contributions 

Many of these events are enhanced during certain psychological states
of mind, such as when there is extreme fear or panic, and by other
forms of marked stimulation to the sympathetic nervous system. During
these times, it appears that selected reflex loops are stimulated
through the amygdala and limbic system to retrieve temporal lobe
memories as templates to match the perceived danger within the
environment. This is an archetypal protective mechanism that
automatically comes into play whenever the sympathetic nervous system
is stimulated in a "fight-or-flight" response (Cannon 1927). These
archetypal memories are those that have been genetically saved
throughout hundreds of generations of human and probably earlier
evolutionary life that have enabled mankind to survive and flourish.
Thus, with increasing sympathetic stimulation, there is an enhancement
of these archetypal survival images that can then be variously
interpreted as mystical images, reincarnations, channeling, or other
paranormal and equally theological phenomenon (Reichel-Dolmatoff

Conversely, when there is an excessive stimulation of the
parasympathetic nervous system, which can also occur in darkness, a
vasodilation of the peripheral circulatory system occurs, leading to a
slow decrease in blood flow to the cerebral cortex. When this occurs,
the areas most sensitive to decreased blood flow and decreased
oxygenation are those areas called "watershed" areas at the end of
capillary beds. These areas occur where the capillary beds of one
major artery comes in contact with the capillary beds of another
artery, such as those seen in the occipital lobe and brainstem. The
occipital pole, which serves central visual acuity, is one of the most
common areas involved in cerebral vascular accidents of the watershed
type. Typical to loss of blood flow to this area leads to a condition
known as a cortical release phenomenon (Brust and Behrens 1977), with
the generation of a large, white light in the central portion of the
vision (Foerster 1931). As this white light extends, it increases to
involve the entire occipital cortex and, thus, the entire visual

This is what occurs in profound mystical states such as those seen in
Zen Buddhism and Hinduism, where profound relaxation (i.e.,
parasympathetic overload) occurs with marked peripheral vasodilation
(Guyton 1991), leading to cortical ischemia of the type described
above. This has also been called "Nirvana," "Samadhi," or "Union With
God." The latter metaphor is prevalent in Catholic mysticism such as
that described by St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila (Pears
1972). Also, the sudden loss of blood pressure to the brain that
elicits this phenomenon is basic to the near-death experience and the
commonality of vascular collapse seen in those patients (Morse 1990)."

> And what the hell do you mean by "post hoc postulations"?  

It means "after the purpose", generally, post hoc assumptions are ones
you make about the past by looking at present evidence and making a
conclusion about the past based upon this evidence.  If used as a
fallacy argument, it's called "post hoc, ergo propter hoc".  A book
which uses this approach quite a bit is Robert Wright's "The Moral

> I will happily concede to you the title of "ten minute expert".

I will happily brandy my title about, but I'm willing to bet I'm the
only person here who has read the studies listed.  :P

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