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2014 mystery mystics limits of science for acs

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2014 mystery mystics limits of science for acs

  1. 1. Mystics, Mysteries, and the Limits of Scientific Understanding Tuesday, November 25, 2014 Comments for the American Chemical Society Knoxville, Tennessee Buehler Hall room 472 7:00 PM November 25, 2014 April 29 SUNDAY TVUUC DIALOGUE 10:05 Neil Greenberg Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of Tennessee, Knoxville 104/10/18 Mystics in Science
  2. 2. 204/10/18 Mystics in Science My discipline (neuroethology) as a scientist requires the best possible good faith investigation of the causes and consequences of phenomena – my focus was on a behavioral pattern. BUT, how far to go in the chain of causation? … Looking as deeply as possible into the underpinnings of science – that is the credibility of data, the bases on which we are satisfied in the truth of a belief is justified –we are brought to the shared cognitive architecture of spirituality
  3. 3. 304/10/18 Mystery & Mystics in Science THIS EVENING we are pursuing RESONANCES between the two great traditions –SPIRITUAL and SCIENTIFIC— EACH emphasizing a different part of the cognitive processes that give us confidence in the “truth” of a belief Both mysticism and science center on practices intended to nurture those processes and validate the experiences or awareness they may lead to...
  4. 4. 404/10/18 Mystics in Science Like our chosen culture, this talk will raise more questions than it may answer (The Parable of the Balloon of Knowing) We can know and/or we can realize (The Parable of the French Philosophers – existential phenomenology) We must create our own connections to “own” the insight We want to go beyond mere discourse, but my only resources are WORDS
  5. 5. As far they refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. But with respect words, as with numbers,
  6. 6. 604/10/18 Mystics in Science There is a strong current of METAPHYSICS in our inquiry, so I’ll begin with the first line of ARISTOTLE’s treatise, “on metaphysics” (c. 350 BC)
  7. 7. “ALL MEN by NATURE DESIRE TO KNOW” 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 7 BUT – how “good does our KNOWLEDGE need to be? •Absolutely TRUE! Or •GOOD ENOUGH to meet our biological needs Motivational systems are energized by STRESS. They are designed as though it is better to have TOO MUCH than TOO LITTLE! This is an issue for OPTIMALITY ANALYSIS: costs versus benefits
  8. 8. 804/10/18 Mystics in Science BUT ADAPTIVE ACQUISITION of KNOWLEDGE – like any human motive— respects the Aristotelian “golden mean.” In biology from development to ecology to evolution to physiology : “nothing in excess”
  9. 9. “nothing in excess” is one of the two great mottos found at the Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi. The other motto is equally important to us: Gnôthi seautón (Know thyself) To be an effective, competitive organism, we would be wise to follow this advice... Because... the ancient ruins of the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi. is spread out over the southern slopes of Mount Parnassos, beneath the Phaidriad rocks.
  10. 10. We see the world not as it is, But as we are . . .
  11. 11. We see the world not as it is, But as we are . . .
  12. 12. We see the world not as it is, But as we are . . .
  13. 13. 1304/10/18 Mystics in Science MYSTICISM is the pursuit of communion with, identification with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate Reality, Divinity, spiritual Truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. DIGGING DEEPLY into their cognitive substrate, the methods are different only in their relative emphasis from those of SCIENCE Some (but probably not most) scientists confront mystery at levels of intimacy that engenders deep knowledge that can only be accessed through intuition.
  14. 14. 1404/10/18 Mystics in Science (“to be ONE with the TRUTH you seek”) (but we might ask, “IS TRUTH a DIRECTION, like TRUE NORTH, rather than a goal to be obtained?) We have to think about WHAT WE “KNOW”, how we come to know it, and what circumstances confer CONFIDENCE in its validity – here is where I find the level of organization provided by NEUROSCIENCE most useful
  15. 15. AN ASIDE on ART & ORGANISM the American Chemical Society Knoxville, Tennessee Buehler Hall room 472 7:00 PM November 25, 2014 The intimacy and intensity of the artist’s exploration of phenomena in the world (in conjunction with one’s own deepest “self”) leads to a sense of “oneness” with what is being explored. The goal has transmuted into “becoming one with the truth you seek” – a kind of co-dependence.1504/10/18 Mystics in Science
  16. 16. 1604/10/18 Mystics in Science MYSTICS are individuals who have confronted MYSTERY and experienced an ineffable transformation in consciousness However these transformative experiences come about, they work through a living organism and deeper insight into their causes and consequences may be, at least in part, attained through the biology of consciousness and cognition. Whatever other unknown and possibly unknowable forces may be in play we are drawn to the search. St Francis of Assisi St Thersa
  17. 17. "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.“ --Albert Einstein
  18. 18. “As the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it (on a piece of touchstone), so are you to accept my words after examining them and not merely out of regard for me.” -Buddha "In what concerns divine things, belief is not fitting. Only certainty will do.“ – Simone Weil
  19. 19. 1904/10/18 Mystics in Science CONSCIOUSNESS occurs at the intersection of the being and its environment The NATURAL HISTORY of this attribute of behavior must accommodate DEVELOPMENT, ECOLOGY, EVOLUTION, and PHYSIOLOGY
  20. 20. 2004/10/18 Mystics in Science SCIENCE BEGINS and ENDS in MYSTERY
  21. 21. 2104/10/18 Mystics in Science “ENDS in MYSTERY” ?? Your first response might well be “NO!” –science solves problems, get answers, establishes reliable knowledge.
  22. 22. 2204/10/18 Mystics in Science AND THAT IS ALL TRUE as far as it goes … but it only goes so far … in our world, whether we’re looking an sub-atomic or grand cosmic phenomena, each “peak” of understanding reveals a further horizon
  23. 23. SOURCES OF DISSONANCE between MYSTICISM and SCIENCE • Epistemology. what is truth and how can it be known? Science says truths could be tested and verified through empirical experiments, religion requires that spiritual truths be accepted on blind faith • Ontology. What is the nature of being? Religion says that ultimately, the nature of reality was spiritual, and nothing else could exist. Science took a materialist position, arguing that everything could be reduced to, and explained by, the interactions of independently existing atoms and the physical forces which acted on them. 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 23
  24. 24. I believe a normal curve is a reasonable starting point for conceptualizing more or less confidence and a cause or consequence CAUSES CONSEQUENCES 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 24
  25. 25. 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 25
  26. 26. I could argue that for any PERCEPT in REAL TIME, apparent VERACITY occurs at the point where dissonance between CORRESPONDENCE and COHERENCE is minimized and RESONANCE is maximized 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 26
  27. 27. Experience 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 27 UNCONSCIOUS convergence happens constantly as the mind seeks to reconcile the modest stress of modest novelty with ongoing experience.
  28. 28. Experience 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 28 BUT CONSCIOUS AWARNESS could happen suddenly: AHA! ... with an intensity commensurate with the level of stress being resolved.
  29. 29. THE CREATIVE SELFTHE CREATIVE SELF inspiration theoryinspiration theory Joan:Joan: . . . you must not talk to. . . you must not talk to me about my voices.me about my voices. Robert:Robert: How do you mean?How do you mean? Voices?Voices? Joan:Joan: Ihearvoices telling meIhearvoices telling me what to do. They come fromwhat to do. They come from God.God. Robert:Robert: They come from yourThey come from your imagination!imagination! Joan:Joan: Of courseOf course. That is how the. That is how the messages of God come to us.messages of God come to us.
  30. 30. Thomas Alva EdisonThomas Alva Edison Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine perGenius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration.cent perspiration. THE CREATIVE SELF perspiration theory
  31. 31. THE GREAT TENSIONS of the human mind and spirit THAT WORK TOGETHER are often viewed as alternative perspectives or “ways of knowing,” The balance of their respective influences can tip the civilized world as we know it: “Historian Charles Freeman points out that in Europe, ‘Christian thought...often gave irrationality the status of a universal ‘truth’ to the exclusion of those truths to be found through reason. So the uneducated was preferred to the educated, and the miracle to the operation of natural laws.’” (p184) EVEN TODAY, New Scientist magazine can speak of “Reality Wars” and the “End of the Enlightenment” (8 Oct 2005); and Esquire magazine speaks of “Idiot America,” where “gut feelings” are elevated above those of reason. (Nov 2005) essential tensions
  32. 32. Experience 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 32 SPIRITUAL QUEST: The “mysterium tremendum et fascinans” (mystery that repels and fascinates, gateway to a transformative experience of the “wholly other”)
  33. 33. Experience 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 33 Most vividly manifest in extreme or dysfunctional situations
  34. 34. “There are moments, and it is only a matter of five or six seconds, when you feel the presence of the eternal harmony ... a terrible thing is the frightful clearness with which it manifests itself, and the rapture with which it fills you. Dostoyevski Experience 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 34
  35. 35. “the boundaries of my body dissolved, I felt one with everything” --Jill BolteTaylor Left temporal lobe stimulation creates a “sense of self” … when the left temporal lobe is stimulated but the right temporal lobe is quiet, the sensation is that of A sensed presence that is not you. God in the Brain 3504/10/18 Mystics in Science
  36. 36. • We have all had EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCES which were either included in our world view or rejected as illusions, sensory error, dreams ... • BUT DOSTOYEVSKI’s and JILL TAYLOR’s brain-dysfunction-based experience had so much in common with experiences of MYSTICS that it seemed back in the game: accessible to neuroscience. • Developmental, ecological, evolutionary, and physiological phenomena all contribute to a complete analysis ... But there are more depending on one’s level of analysis... 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 36
  37. 37. 3704/10/18 Mystics in Science Describe behavioral experience Development of experience Ecology of experience Evolution of experience Physiology of experience
  38. 38. 3804/10/18 Mystics in Science AMONGST the persistent BIOLOGICAL TRAITS we express is the pursuit, expression, and desire to understand further knowledge of nature and ourselves . SPEAKING OF BIOLOGY
  39. 39. 3904/10/18 Mystics in Science But to use knowledge to meet an adaptive NEED, we seek confidence in its VERACITY The “reality-testing “mechanisms of our brains confer credibility: Do new percepts or ideas meet the tests of CORRESPONDENCE and COHERENCE ??
  40. 40. 4004/10/18 Mystics in Science HIDDEN (“occult”) causes MOTIVATED, DRIVEN by “need- to-know” -- native curiosity and exploratory instinct ... energized by stress-evoking mismatches of mental and environmental worlds relative STRESS is evoked by the urgency of need-to-know (and the apparent PROXIMITY of the solution: “feeling of knowing” and “tip-of-the-tongue phenomena”)
  41. 41. MYSTERY PROSTHESES: how far can we EXTEND our senses: subatomic, cosmic ... 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 41 IN OUR PURSUIT OF MYSTERIES and their solutions, CAN WE GO BEYOND our competence as organisms? What about COGNITIVE competence? information processing?
  42. 42. MYSTERY Our BIOLOGICAL NEED to KNOW is more-or-less DEVELOPMENTALLY urgent, more-or-less ECOLOGIALLY facilitated, more-or-less EVOLUTIONARILY adaptive, and more-or-less PHYSIOLOGICALLY enabled depending on our homeostatic needs 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 42
  43. 43. MYSTERY Our BIOLOGICAL NEED to KNOW is more-or-less DEVELOPMENTALLY urgent, more-or-less ECOLOGIALLY facilitated, more-or-less EVOLUTIONARILY adaptive, and more-or-less PHYSIOLOGICALLY enabled depending on our homeostatic needs 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 43
  44. 44. DEVELOPMENT: The “mystic in the crib” The infant’s world in lockstep with brain maturation, is one of wondrous, often transformative discovery BUT CURIOSITY declines as we enter reproductive phase. it is no longer “worth” the time and effort unless the environment changes ADULTS: to act spontaneously and be creative takes expensive effort: “Learn the rules, then you can forget them !”
  45. 45. 4504/10/18 Mystics in Science WE are the heirs of 2500 generations of ancestors who have persevered in the face of savage struggles against the elements, disease, despair, and our competitors
  46. 46. 4604/10/18 Mystics in Science TRANSCEND: to go beyond – we pursue modest examples of transcendance from infancy SPIRITUAL: referring to immaterial reality; not obviously connected to physical attributes of environment RELIGIOUS: – re-ligare : “re” (to restore) & “ligare” (ligature, tie, bond.) MYSTICAL: referring to mystery -- experiences or observations without confident connections to well known phenomena (OCCULT = “hidden”)
  47. 47. For example, we would first seek an objective description of an extraordinary experience such as a : “MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE” 1. Ineffable: defies expression, cannot be described in words. 2. Noetic: gives insight and knowledge into deep truths. 3. Transient: Brief and cannot be accurately remembered, though easily recognized if it recurs. 4. Passivity: facilitated by preparation, but once begun it seems out of one’s control as if controlled by a superior power William James 1918 (issue is personal enlightenment) 4704/10/18 Mystics in Science
  48. 48. For example, we would first seek an objective description of an extraordinary experience such as a : “EMPIRICAL EXPERIENCE” we pursue THE BEST EVIDENCE WE CAN GATHER Using the cognitive reality-testing mechanisms of CORRESPONDENCE and COHERENCE And then “TELL THE BEST STORY WE CAN WITH THE EVIDENCE AVAILABLE” (issue is transparency and public acceptance) 4804/10/18 Mystics in Science
  49. 49. 4904/10/18 Mystics in Science HIDDEN (“occult”) causes DRIVEN by “need-to-know” -- native curiosity and exploratory instinct ENERGIZED by urgency of need- to-know (and the “feeling of knowing” and “tip-of-the- tongue phenomena”)
  50. 50. 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 50 NEW PERCEPTS Are derived from the creation of connections… •Between the brain and the world (to which we are connected by imperfect senses) or •Between different parts of the brain (which act upon each other imperfectly) •NEW PERCEPTS ALWAYS involve more or less DISSONANCE—deviation from a set point, a “comfort zone” •CONNECTIONS depend on preceding and anticipated percepts which all together determine one’s paradigm—world view, changes in which always involve more-or-less stress (recalls the dynamic tension between “freedom” and “safety” – the relative COSTS and BENEFITS of VALIDITY, or VERACITY )
  51. 51. 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 51 TRANSFORMATIVE-- More-or-less stressful CORRESPONDENCE (is it real) COHERENCE (does it fit) MINIMAL EFFORT – model confirmed & enlarged
  52. 52. "Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens" --Ralph Waldo Emerson 04/10/18 Mystics in Science 52

Editor's Notes

  • YOUR BRAIN at this moment is the product of over a thousand generations of biological and cultural evolution. All we have ever been or will be -- have ever thought or felt or will ever think or feel -- is a product of coordination of its billions of cells.
    The human brain is responsible for the most mundane life-sustaining functions as well as the transcendent epiphanies of the spirit. This presentation will review resonances between two major behavioral strategies for knowing and understanding
    In particular, recent developments in neuroscience provide additional insights into the similarities and differences between behavioral patterns we call "spiritual" or “scientific" … and their relationships with the mass of tissue within us we call "brain."
  • http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mysticism : Mysticism (from the Greek μυστικός, mystics, an initiate of a mystery religion) is the pursuit of communion with, identification with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate Reality, Divinity, spiritual Truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism usually centers on a practice or practices intended to nurture those experiences or awareness. Mysticism may be monistic,dualistic, nondualistic, or ontologically pluralistic. Differing religious, social and psychological traditions have described this fundamental mystical experience in many different ways. The words "mystical" and "mysticism", though commonly used by mystics to affirm extraordinary insights beyond all expression, and thus impossible to communicate to others, have also sometimes been used in a presumptive sense which insists that others must believe and accept what aspects of the experiences can be communicated, or in an entirely pejorative sense, strongly related to rejection of such authoritarian claims.web 1] 
  • http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mysticism : Mysticism (from the Greek μυστικός, mystikos, an initiate of a mystery religion) is the pursuit of communion with, identification with, or conscious awareness of an ultimateReality, Divinity, spiritual Truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism usually centers on a practice or practices intended to nurture those experiences or awareness. Mysticism may be monistic,dualistic, nondualistic, or ontologically pluralistic. Differing religious, social and psychological traditions have described this fundamental mystical experience in many different ways. The words "mystical" and "mysticism", though commonly used by mystics to affirm extraordinary insights beyond all expression, and thus impossible to communicate to others, have also sometimes been used in a presumptive sense which insists that others must believe and accept what aspects of the experiences can be communicated, or in an entirely pejorative sense, strongly related to rejection of such authoritarian claims.web 1] 
  • http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mysticism : Mysticism (from the Greek μυστικός, mystikos, an initiate of a mystery religion) is the pursuit of communion with, identification with, or conscious awareness of an ultimateReality, Divinity, spiritual Truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism usually centers on a practice or practices intended to nurture those experiences or awareness. Mysticism may be monistic,dualistic, nondualistic, or ontologically pluralistic. Differing religious, social and psychological traditions have described this fundamental mystical experience in many different ways. The words "mystical" and "mysticism", though commonly used by mystics to affirm extraordinary insights beyond all expression, and thus impossible to communicate to others, have also sometimes been used in a presumptive sense which insists that others must believe and accept what aspects of the experiences can be communicated, or in an entirely pejorative sense, strongly related to rejection of such authoritarian claims.web 1] 
  • LAST WORD on Words belongs to Einstein (paraphrased)
    “As far they refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
    Cited by Fritjof Capra in The Tao of Physics (1975:41)
  • Knowledge satisfies a biological need and depending on one’s development and environment we are highly motivated to acquire all we can. Our confidence in the reliability and validity of knowledge is a powerful motive. Aristotle recognized this: “All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves …”
    It has obvious adaptive qualities (to a biologist, “adaptive” means “helps us to meet our biological needs – from health through self realization ---maximizing one’s fitness s defined by contributions to the next generation) : what are your possibilities? your limits? WE began pursuing this knowledge as infants, like all organisms, constantly testing hypotheses about these questions and revising our behavior as a result -- HOW FAR can their arms can reach … can their minds reach … AND with some peculiar gifts that enable us to modify or extend our limits …microscopes … telescopes … we do not stop until the cost exceeds the benefit – and very often, not even then! (the shrine at Delphi had another motto on the wall of the antechamber: mēdén ágan = "nothing in excess")
    All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer sight to almost everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things. –Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book I, 980a.21. 350 BC http://www.classicallibrary.org/aristotle/metaphysics/index.htm
  • Knowledge satisfies a biological need and depending on one’s development and environment we are highly motivated to acquire all we can. Our confidence in the reliability and validity of knowledge is a powerful motive. Aristotle recognized this: “All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves …”
    It has obvious adaptive qualities (to a biologist, “adaptive” means “helps us to meet our biological needs – from health through self realization ---maximizing one’s fitness s defined by contributions to the next generation) : what are your possibilities? your limits? WE began pursuing this knowledge as infants, like all organisms, constantly testing hypotheses about these questions and revising our behavior as a result -- HOW FAR can their arms can reach … can their minds reach … AND with some peculiar gifts that enable us to modify or extend our limits …microscopes … telescopes … we do not stop until the cost exceeds the benefit – and very often, not even then! (the shrine at Delphi had another motto on the wall of the antechamber: mēdén ágan = "nothing in excess")
    All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer sight to almost everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things. –Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book I, 980a.21. 350 BC http://www.classicallibrary.org/aristotle/metaphysics/index.htm
  • μηδὲν ἄγαν.Mēdèn ágan."Nothing in excess"Inscription from the temple of Apollo at Delphi
    Γνωθηι σεαυτον
    One of the main religious sites in the Classical World was the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi. Delphi is situated in Phocis and the ancient ruins spread out over the southern slopes of Mount Parnassos, beneath the Phaidriad rocks.Apollo was worshipped at Delphi as the god of light, harmony and order. He was also the god possessed with the power of prophecy and through his oracles communicated the will of Zeus to mortals. Envoys went to the oracle to consult it over important matters of state, as well as some private matters. After making a sacrifice to the god, they paid a set sum and then awaited the message from the god. This was given through a priestess - the Pythia - whose incomprehensible mutterings were in turn interpreted by other priests.Contests were held at Delphi every four years, similar to the Olympic Games, and contestants came to the sanctuary from throughout the Greek World. These games not only included sporting competitions but also music and poetry contests. The site had its own theatre and hippodrome for equestrian events. The games lasted a total of 8 days and the victor's trophy was a wreath of laurel, the tree sacred to Apollo and the right to erect a portrait statue within the sanctuary.Worshippers would enter the sanctuary to Apollo from the south-east and then proceed along the Sacred Way towards the Temple of Apollo. This walkway was lined with votives which commemorated various victories such as the Athenian one for their victory at Marathon. These were then followed by a series of treasuries set up by different cities to house their religious emblems as well as riches etc. These temples were replicas of small temples and followed the basic principles of design. The most sacred building was the temple of Apollo, the remains of which date from the 4th Century B.C. The temple was in the Doric order, with 6 columns on the ends and 15 along the long sides. The centre of the temple is reached by a ramp. On the walls of the nave were two inscriptions of well known sayings 'know thyself' and 'nothing in excess'.
    (http://www.ggsg.org.uk/subjects/humanities/classical_civilisation/classics/Greece/Delphi.html)
    γνῶθι σεαυτόν.Gnôthi seautón."Know thyself"Aphorism inscribed over the entrance to the temple of Apollo at Delphi.
  • “It is the theory that decides what can be observed” (Albert Einstein); “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend” (Robertson Davies); or “People only see what they are prepared to see” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
    The Natural History of Intuition: The New Neurobiology and Concepts of Self and Identity
    ABSTRACT. Intuitive behavior is understood to be guided by nonconscious cognition. The natural history, or ethology, of any behavioral pattern involves the search for insight about its causes and consequences. “DEEP ethology” refers to the search for understanding based on the unique questions asked by each of four principal biological disciplines, each with their respective levels of organization, and how the answers obtained converge on a full understanding. The four disciplines are development, ecology, evolution, and physiology — DEEP. One’s understanding of one’s self is supremely intuitive and can be viewed from this perspective. Further, this understanding can empower individuals to more-or-less freely rely upon “intuition” to energize their daily lives as well as important decisions. This power is exemplified by creativity expressed in art and science, but also in clinical diagnosis. My presentation will touch briefly on each element of the DEEP ethological perspective on intuition and how they contribute to the fullest understanding of the phenomenon. Emphasis, however, will be placed on the proximate causation of behavior, the nervous system and its orchestration by physiological phenomena including endocrinology and neurophysiology. In doing this we will identify some of the boundaries of human possibilities as exemplified by their expression in extraordinary individuals.
  • Background: art by MEITHNER
    “It is the theory that decides what can be observed” (Albert Einstein); “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend” (Robertson Davies); or “People only see what they are prepared to see” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
    The Natural History of Intuition: The New Neurobiology and Concepts of Self and Identity
    ABSTRACT. Intuitive behavior is understood to be guided by nonconscious cognition. The natural history, or ethology, of any behavioral pattern involves the search for insight about its causes and consequences. “DEEP ethology” refers to the search for understanding based on the unique questions asked by each of four principal biological disciplines, each with their respective levels of organization, and how the answers obtained converge on a full understanding. The four disciplines are development, ecology, evolution, and physiology — DEEP. One’s understanding of one’s self is supremely intuitive and can be viewed from this perspective. Further, this understanding can empower individuals to more-or-less freely rely upon “intuition” to energize their daily lives as well as important decisions. This power is exemplified by creativity expressed in art and science, but also in clinical diagnosis. My presentation will touch briefly on each element of the DEEP ethological perspective on intuition and how they contribute to the fullest understanding of the phenomenon. Emphasis, however, will be placed on the proximate causation of behavior, the nervous system and its orchestration by physiological phenomena including endocrinology and neurophysiology. In doing this we will identify some of the boundaries of human possibilities as exemplified by their expression in extraordinary individuals.
  • “It is the theory that decides what can be observed” (Albert Einstein); “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend” (Robertson Davies); or “People only see what they are prepared to see” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
    The Natural History of Intuition: The New Neurobiology and Concepts of Self and Identity
    ABSTRACT. Intuitive behavior is understood to be guided by nonconscious cognition. The natural history, or ethology, of any behavioral pattern involves the search for insight about its causes and consequences. “DEEP ethology” refers to the search for understanding based on the unique questions asked by each of four principal biological disciplines, each with their respective levels of organization, and how the answers obtained converge on a full understanding. The four disciplines are development, ecology, evolution, and physiology — DEEP. One’s understanding of one’s self is supremely intuitive and can be viewed from this perspective. Further, this understanding can empower individuals to more-or-less freely rely upon “intuition” to energize their daily lives as well as important decisions. This power is exemplified by creativity expressed in art and science, but also in clinical diagnosis. My presentation will touch briefly on each element of the DEEP ethological perspective on intuition and how they contribute to the fullest understanding of the phenomenon. Emphasis, however, will be placed on the proximate causation of behavior, the nervous system and its orchestration by physiological phenomena including endocrinology and neurophysiology. In doing this we will identify some of the boundaries of human possibilities as exemplified by their expression in extraordinary individuals.
  • http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mysticism : Mysticism (from the Greek μυστικός, mystikos, an initiate of a mystery religion) is the pursuit of communion with, identification with, or conscious awareness of an ultimateReality, Divinity, spiritual Truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism usually centers on a practice or practices intended to nurture those experiences or awareness. Mysticism may be monistic,dualistic, nondualistic, or ontologically pluralistic. Differing religious, social and psychological traditions have described this fundamental mystical experience in many different ways. The words "mystical" and "mysticism", though commonly used by mystics to affirm extraordinary insights beyond all expression, and thus impossible to communicate to others, have also sometimes been used in a presumptive sense which insists that others must believe and accept what aspects of the experiences can be communicated, or in an entirely pejorative sense, strongly related to rejection of such authoritarian claims.web 1] 
  • http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mysticism : Mysticism (from the Greek μυστικός, mystikos, an initiate of a mystery religion) is the pursuit of communion with, identification with, or conscious awareness of an ultimateReality, Divinity, spiritual Truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism usually centers on a practice or practices intended to nurture those experiences or awareness. Mysticism may be monistic,dualistic, nondualistic, or ontologically pluralistic. Differing religious, social and psychological traditions have described this fundamental mystical experience in many different ways. The words "mystical" and "mysticism", though commonly used by mystics to affirm extraordinary insights beyond all expression, and thus impossible to communicate to others, have also sometimes been used in a presumptive sense which insists that others must believe and accept what aspects of the experiences can be communicated, or in an entirely pejorative sense, strongly related to rejection of such authoritarian claims.web 1] 
  • Neuroscience and Religion: the Emerging Dialogue. YOUR BRAIN at this moment is the product of over a thousand generations of biological and cultural evolution. All we have ever been or will be -- have ever thought or felt or will ever think or feel -- is a product of coordination of its billions of cells.
    The human brain is responsible for the most mundane life-sustaining functions as well as the transcendent epiphanies of the spirit. This presentation will review resonances between two major behavioral strategies for knowing and understanding
    In particular, recent developments in neuroscience provide additional insights into the similarities and differences between behavioral patterns we call "spiritual" or “scientific" … and their relationships with the mass of tissue within us we call "brain."
  • A MYSTIC is “a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.”
    William James, who popularized the use of the term "religious experience"[note 7] in his The Varieties of Religious Experience,[18][19][web 1] influenced the understanding of mysticism as a distinctive experience which supplies knowledge of the transcendental.[20][web 1] 
  • Intuition ?
    Mystery can also be intensely motivating --
    It might involve an unknown that we might find threatening
    It might feel like an unresolved chord or a sense of dissonance that we seek to resolve -- much in the sense that we like to know the endings of stories:
    Slavney and McHugh (1984) (speaking of psychotherapeutics) regard "Reasoning from meaningful connections and life stories is the best way to capture a part of reality..." And this is apparently so important that we possess powerful predispositions if not needs (that probably represent adaptations that have their roots in their contribution to our biological fitness).
    DP Spence (1982):"we are searching for coherence and continuity; as a result we tend to minimize anything which interrupts the 'flow' of the narrative. Because we are searching for narrative truth, we are always attempting to write the best possible 'story' from the available data..."
    "A warp in the simian brain....made us insatiable for patterns‑‑patterns of sequence, of behavior, of feeling‑‑ connections, reasons, causes: stories . . . . narrative is the only art that exists in all human cultures. It is by narrative that we experience our lives." (Morton 1984)
    "....far from being nonutilitarian....imaginative narrative....fiction was decisive in the creation of our species, and is still essential in the development of each human individual and necessary to the maintenance of his health and pursuit of his purposes." (Morton 1984)
  • First, in the field of religion, the last hundred years has seen a veritable explosion in our knowledge of humanity's great religious traditions. A plethora of new translations of sacred texts from around the world is expanding and re-shaping our basic understanding of what it can mean to be religious and to lead a spiritual life. In particular, we have discovered that, at the core of all the major religions, there exists a current of mystical teachings which, when compared to one another, exhibit a startling degree of cross-cultural agreement.
    What's especially interesting about these mystical teachings is their epistemology, which in many respects resembles that of science. For instance, while mystics recognize that faith is, indeed, a significant part of a spiritual path, they also maintain that faith alone is not enough. In fact, according to the mystics, if faith solidifies into dogmatic belief, it will actually become an obstacle to further progress. As Simone Weil wrote: "In what concerns divine things, belief is not fitting. Only certainty will do."4 It was out of this same concern that his disciples not rest on mere faith that the Buddha admonished them:
    As the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it (on a piece of touchstone), so are you to accept my words after examining them and not merely out of regard for me.5 -- http://www.centerforsacredsciences.org/index.php/publications/science-and-mysticism-in-the-twentieth-century.htm
  • Knowledge satisfies a biological need and depending on one’s development and environment we are highly motivated to acquire all we can. Our confidence in the reliability and validity of knowledge is a powerful motive. Aristotle recognized this: “All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves …”
    It has obvious adaptive qualities (to a biologist, “adaptive” means “helps us to meet our biological needs – from health through self realization ---maximizing one’s fitness s defined by contributions to the next generation) : what are your possibilities? your limits? WE began pursuing this knowledge as infants, like all organisms, constantly testing hypotheses about these questions and revising our behavior as a result -- HOW FAR can their arms can reach … can their minds reach … AND with some peculiar gifts that enable us to modify or extend our limits …microscopes … telescopes … we do not stop until the cost exceeds the benefit – and very often, not even then! (the shrine at Delphi had another motto on the wall of the antechamber: mēdén ágan = "nothing in excess")
    All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer sight to almost everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things. –Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book I, 980a.21. 350 BC http://www.classicallibrary.org/aristotle/metaphysics/index.htm
  • "Science without religion,” said Einstein “is lame, religion without science is blind." SCIENCE at its best creates more mystery than it resolves. As in science, religion is energized by “everyday mystical experiences.” --the experience of the unknown—
     
    Mystery is the mainspring of religion as well as science and mystics are –intentionally or not—its most intrepid explorers.
     
    In fact, as human phenomena, science and spirituality often seem deeply involved with each other.
     
    My own reading of cognitive neuroscience makes it clear that “knowing” is a fundamental human need that builds on the organization of the brain, but which varies –like other “sensitive periods”-- throughout development with its utility.
     
    I have identified two widely distributed but distinct brain systems that work intimately together to establish confidence in the validity a belief. These “reality testing” systems are lateralized and commonly –albeit simplistically--associated with emotion and logic.
     
    We are not surprised when a poet extolls the primacy of beauty: “What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth" (Keats 1817). But truth is more complicated for the great scholars of reason in our scientific tradition. They have recognized the necessity for the reciprocal relationships of our major cognitive functions: "The senses cannot think. The understanding cannot see," said Immanuel Kant. The great 17C. mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal famously stated that “the heart has reasons of which reason knows not.” In the time we have, we will explore the biology of belief and the essential dialectic of its mechanisms.
    Einstein, Albert (1930). "Religion and Science" New York Times Magazine(Nov. 9): 1-4.
    ( Kant in CPR cited by Wechsler 1978:2) (or: "Perception without conception is blind, while conception without perception is empty." (Kant CPR 1978) [recalls “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” (Albert Einstein in Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium (1941) ch. 13)
  • "Science without religion,” said Einstein “is lame, religion without science is blind." SCIENCE at its best creates more mystery than it resolves. As in science, religion is energized by “everyday mystical experiences.” --the experience of the unknown—
     
    Mystery is the mainspring of religion as well as science and mystics are –intentionally or not—its most intrepid explorers.
     
    In fact, as human phenomena, science and spirituality often seem deeply involved with each other.
     
    My own reading of cognitive neuroscience makes it clear that “knowing” is a fundamental human need that builds on the organization of the brain, but which varies –like other “sensitive periods”-- throughout development with its utility.
     
    I have identified two widely distributed but distinct brain systems that work intimately together to establish confidence in the validity a belief. These “reality testing” systems are lateralized and commonly –albeit simplistically--associated with emotion and logic.
     
    We are not surprised when a poet extolls the primacy of beauty: “What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth" (Keats 1817). But truth is more complicated for the great scholars of reason in our scientific tradition. They have recognized the necessity for the reciprocal relationships of our major cognitive functions: "The senses cannot think. The understanding cannot see," said Immanuel Kant. The great 17C. mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal famously stated that “the heart has reasons of which reason knows not.” In the time we have, we will explore the biology of belief and the essential dialectic of its mechanisms.
    Einstein, Albert (1930). "Religion and Science" New York Times Magazine(Nov. 9): 1-4.
    ( Kant in CPR cited by Wechsler 1978:2) (or: "Perception without conception is blind, while conception without perception is empty." (Kant CPR 1978) [recalls “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” (Albert Einstein in Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium (1941) ch. 13)
  • "Science without religion,” said Einstein “is lame, religion without science is blind." SCIENCE at its best creates more mystery than it resolves. As in science, religion is energized by “everyday mystical experiences.” --the experience of the unknown—
     
    Mystery is the mainspring of religion as well as science and mystics are –intentionally or not—its most intrepid explorers.
     
    In fact, as human phenomena, science and spirituality often seem deeply involved with each other.
     
    My own reading of cognitive neuroscience makes it clear that “knowing” is a fundamental human need that builds on the organization of the brain, but which varies –like other “sensitive periods”-- throughout development with its utility.
     
    I have identified two widely distributed but distinct brain systems that work intimately together to establish confidence in the validity a belief. These “reality testing” systems are lateralized and commonly –albeit simplistically--associated with emotion and logic.
     
    We are not surprised when a poet extolls the primacy of beauty: “What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth" (Keats 1817). But truth is more complicated for the great scholars of reason in our scientific tradition. They have recognized the necessity for the reciprocal relationships of our major cognitive functions: "The senses cannot think. The understanding cannot see," said Immanuel Kant. The great 17C. mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal famously stated that “the heart has reasons of which reason knows not.” In the time we have, we will explore the biology of belief and the essential dialectic of its mechanisms.
    Einstein, Albert (1930). "Religion and Science" New York Times Magazine(Nov. 9): 1-4.
    ( Kant in CPR cited by Wechsler 1978:2) (or: "Perception without conception is blind, while conception without perception is empty." (Kant CPR 1978) [recalls “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” (Albert Einstein in Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium (1941) ch. 13)
  • http://www.centerforsacredsciences.org/index.php/publications/science-and-mysticism-in-the-twentieth-century.htm :
    EPISTEMOLOGY: the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. ...the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.
    ONTOLOGY: the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
    METAPHYSICS: the study of the nature of the world, reality, and existence.
    “When the twentieth century opened, science and religion were locked in a protracted war in which it seemed no compromise was possible. There were two primary reasons for this. The first wasepistemological,1 involving different notions about what constitutes truth and how it can be known. While science boasted that scientific truths could be tested and verified through empirical experiments, religion apparently demanded that spiritual truths be accepted on blind faith.
    The second reason was ontological.2 That is, science and religion were founded on diametrically opposed views concerning the fundamental nature of reality. Religious believers insisted that, ultimately, the nature of reality was spiritual, and that, apart from this All-Encompassing Spiritual Reality, nothing would or could exist. Advocates for science, on the other hand, adopted a strictly materialist position, arguing that everything could be reduced to, and explained by, the interactions of independently existing atoms and the physical forces which acted on them.
    Faced with two such irreconcilable worldviews, it appeared that any thinking person would have to choose sides—and many did. But for those who admired science, yet also intuited there must be more to life than the "wiggling and jiggling of atoms,"3 the apparent intractability of this historical conflict presented something of a personal dilemma. To pursue a spiritual path while simultaneously maintaining a scientific outlook required a kind of philosophical schizophrenia. How else could one pray for divine guidance by night and then take one's automobile to a mechanic in the morning? The underlying paradigms upon which these two actions were based simply refused to mesh.” – CENTER FOR SACRED SCIENCES
     
  • In the normal curve, the tail never reaches zero because (in an infinite population of score) a data point might yet occur…
  • http://personal.kenyon.edu/hartlaub/MellonProject/Bivariate2.html
  • Epilepsy Behav. 2008 May;12(4):636-43. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2007.11.011. Epub 2008 Jan 2.
    Spirituality and religion in epilepsy.
    Devinsky O1, Lai G.
    Abstract
    Revered in some cultures but persecuted by most others, epilepsy patients have, throughout history, been linked with the divine, demonic, and supernatural. Clinical observations during the past 150 years support an association between religious experiences during (ictal), after (postictal), and in between (interictal) seizures. In addition, epileptic seizures may increase, alter, or decrease religious experience especially in a small group of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Literature surveys have revealed that between .4% and 3.1% of partial epilepsy patients had ictal religious experiences; higher frequencies are found in systematic questionnaires versus spontaneous patient reports. Religious premonitory symptoms or auras were reported by 3.9% of epilepsy patients. Among patients with ictal religious experiences, there is a predominance of patients with right TLE. Postictal and interictal religious experiences occur most often in TLE patients with bilateral seizure foci. Postictal religious experiences occurred in 1.3% of all epilepsy patients and 2.2% of TLE patients. Many of the epilepsy-related religious conversion experiences occurred postictally. Interictal religiosity is more controversial with less consensus among studies. Patients with postictal psychosis may also experience interictal hyper-religiosity, supporting a "pathological" increase in interictal religiosity in some patients. Although psychologic and social factors such as stigma may contribute to religious experiences with epilepsy, a neurologic mechanism most likely plays a large role. The limbic system is also often suggested as the critical site of religious experience due to the association with temporal lobe epilepsy and the emotional nature of the experiences. Neocortical areas also may be involved, suggested by the presence of visual and auditory hallucinations, complex ideation during many religious experiences, and the large expanse of temporal neocortex. In contrast to the role of the temporal lobe in evoking religious experiences, alterations in frontal functions may contribute to increased religious interests as a personality trait. The two main forms of religious experience, the ongoing belief pattern and set of convictions (the religion of the everyday man) versus the ecstatic religious experience, may be predominantly localized to the frontal and temporal regions, respectively, of the right hemisphere.
    “There are moments, and it is only a matter of five or six seconds, when you feel the presence of the eternal harmony
    ... a terrible thing is the frightful clearness with which it manifests itself and the rapture with which it fills you. If this state were to last more than five seconds, the soul could not endure it and would have to disappear.
    During these five seconds I live a whole human existence, and for that I would give my whole life and not think that I was paying too dearly ...
    --Dostoyevsky
  • Epilepsy Behav. 2008 May;12(4):636-43. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2007.11.011. Epub 2008 Jan 2.
    Spirituality and religion in epilepsy.
    Devinsky O1, Lai G.
    Abstract
    Revered in some cultures but persecuted by most others, epilepsy patients have, throughout history, been linked with the divine, demonic, and supernatural. Clinical observations during the past 150 years support an association between religious experiences during (ictal), after (postictal), and in between (interictal) seizures. In addition, epileptic seizures may increase, alter, or decrease religious experience especially in a small group of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Literature surveys have revealed that between .4% and 3.1% of partial epilepsy patients had ictal religious experiences; higher frequencies are found in systematic questionnaires versus spontaneous patient reports. Religious premonitory symptoms or auras were reported by 3.9% of epilepsy patients. Among patients with ictal religious experiences, there is a predominance of patients with right TLE. Postictal and interictal religious experiences occur most often in TLE patients with bilateral seizure foci. Postictal religious experiences occurred in 1.3% of all epilepsy patients and 2.2% of TLE patients. Many of the epilepsy-related religious conversion experiences occurred postictally. Interictal religiosity is more controversial with less consensus among studies. Patients with postictal psychosis may also experience interictal hyper-religiosity, supporting a "pathological" increase in interictal religiosity in some patients. Although psychologic and social factors such as stigma may contribute to religious experiences with epilepsy, a neurologic mechanism most likely plays a large role. The limbic system is also often suggested as the critical site of religious experience due to the association with temporal lobe epilepsy and the emotional nature of the experiences. Neocortical areas also may be involved, suggested by the presence of visual and auditory hallucinations, complex ideation during many religious experiences, and the large expanse of temporal neocortex. In contrast to the role of the temporal lobe in evoking religious experiences, alterations in frontal functions may contribute to increased religious interests as a personality trait. The two main forms of religious experience, the ongoing belief pattern and set of convictions (the religion of the everyday man) versus the ecstatic religious experience, may be predominantly localized to the frontal and temporal regions, respectively, of the right hemisphere.
    “There are moments, and it is only a matter of five or six seconds, when you feel the presence of the eternal harmony
    ... a terrible thing is the frightful clearness with which it manifests itself and the rapture with which it fills you. If this state were to last more than five seconds, the soul could not endure it and would have to disappear.
    During these five seconds I live a whole human existence, and for that I would give my whole life and not think that I was paying too dearly ...
    --Dostoyevsky
  • We are moved by mental forces we do not understand: A “TOP-DOWN” theory
    Robert Beaudricourt, the Inquisitor, is speaking to Joan, and she replies:
    . . . you must not talk to me about my voices.
    Robert: How do you mean? Voices?
    Joan: I hear voices telling me what to do. They come from God.
    Robert: They come from your imagination.
    Joan: Of course. That is how the messages of God come to us.
    (Shaw, St. Joan 1923, scene 1)
    Painting: Jean d'Arc at the coronation of Charles VII, by Ingres. (Notice that her arms appear on her coat-armour.)
    “At the time of Joan's childhood the land of France was caught up in the Hundred Year's War. Joan's home town of Domremy was placed somewhat in between the forces of the English and the French. Although Joan had a relatively peasant and simple childhood, occasionally she and her family had to flee from armies passing through their town.
    “Joan started hearing voices at the age of 13. These voices originally only exhorted her to pray often and attend church. After a year or two they started telling her that she must help the dauphin, or future king, of France be crowned. The dauphin, Charles VII, had to be coronated at Reims by tradition, but at that time Reims was held by the English, with their own hopes of crowning Henry VI, who was but a child, when he was old enough.
    “Joan left her home town without telling her parents and managed to get to the King and convince him of the sincerity of her mission. She was supplied with an army to raise the siege of Orleans, the first necessary step to reaching Reims. Despite the bumbling and lack of faith of her fellow commanders, the siege was lifted with full credit going to Joan. From there it seemed that Joan could do no wrong in battle until she reached Reims and the King was coronated. After this, Joan's successfulness started declining, mainly thanks to the lack of monetary support from King Charles VII. She was captured at Compiègne when the drawbridge was raised too hastily, resulting in Joan being left outside.” [http://www.therussells.net/papers/joan/]
    Joan was tried by an English inquisition court, found to be heretical, and burned at the stake. Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc in English) was born in Domrémy (Lorraine) in 1412, daughter of Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romee (died 1458). She played a major (and somewhat mysterious) role in rallying the flagging forces of Charles VII against the English occupier in 1429, leading her troups to breaking the siege of Orléans and having Charles VII officially crowned king in Reims the same year. She was later captured and sold to the English, who burned her at the stake for heresy and perjury in 1431, in Rouen. Her case was officially reopened and the sentence annulled in 1456. [http://www.heraldica.org/topics/france/jeannedarc.htm]
    The text of the grant of nobility (Dec 1429) survives. It was made in favor of her parents, her three brothers Jacquemin, Jean and Pierre, and their descendants male and female, in perpetuity. Thus, in her family,
    nobility was transmitted by females. It was confirmed in October 1550, on petition of Robert Le Fournier, baron de Tournebeu, and his nephew Lucas du Chemin, seigneur du Féron, both descended from a daughter of Pierre du Lys.
    The Arc family seemed to have arms prior to these events, namely: Azure a bow or in fess, thereon three arrows crossed ..., on a chief argent a lion passant gules [note: I am told that the Darc family home in Domrémy displays somewhat different arms above the door: three arrowheads surrounding some object.] Of her three brothers, two had issue: the descendants of Jean adopted the name of Du Lys and used the arms. Pierre, who became a knight, had two sons: Jean, knight, who left only a daughter, and Jean the younger, who was briefly Échevin of Arras in the 1480s. He returned to France and kept the name of Du Lys, but resumed the arms of Arc. His great-grandsons Charles and Luc du Lys, seigneur de Reinemoulin, petitioned for the right to quarter du Lys and d'Arc, which was granted by Letters Patent of November 25, 1612. The same letters granted to Charles a crest representing Jeanne d'Arc proper, holding a sword surmounted by a crown or in one hand and her banner in the other, and the war-cry La Pucelle!. Luc received a crest of a fleur-de-lys or issuant between two banners as before, with war-cry: Les Lys!.
    The special privilege of female transmission of nobility was a fiscal danger: since nobles were exempted from certain taxes, notably the taille, the number of tax exemptions could unduly increase. As a result, as part of a reform of the taille in June 1614, the privilege was curtailed. Those descendants who had already claimed and were enjoying nobility could retain it and transmit it to their posterity in male line. Those who were not "living nobly" could not claim the privilege anymore. Women ceased to transmit nobility.
    Reference: Jules Quicherat: Le Procès de Condamnation et de Réhabilition de Jeanne d'Arc, dite la Pucelle. Paris, 1841-49. (All relevant documents in volume 5; Jeanne d'Arc's testimony about not using her arms is in vol. 1, p. 117.)
  • We are moved by an act of will: A “BOTTOM-UP” theory
    The idea of divine inspiration was contradicted by Edison’s crediting his creativity breakthroughs to the sweat of his brow!
    “Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration” (quoted by M. A. Rosanoff in Harper’s Monthly Magazine Sept. 1932, as having been said by Edison  c.1903)
  • Reality Wars (New Scientist - 08 October 2005)
    “After two centuries in the ascendancy, the Enlightenment project is under threat. Religious movements are sweeping the globe preaching unreason, intolerance and dogma, and challenging the idea that rational, secular enquiry is the best way to understand the world. // Over the next 12 pages, we report from the front line of this conflict. We investigate the roots, the aims and the capabilities of the religious fundamentalists and examine the likely consequences for science, culture and the environment. And we ask what can be done to halt the slide into a new age of unreason.
    Esquire published Charles P. Pierce’s essay, “Greetings from Idiot America” (Esquire - November 2005 pp 181-185/218-224.): “In the place of expertise, we have elevated the Gut, and the Gut is a moron, as anyone who has ever tossed a golf club, punched a wall, or kicked an errant lawn mower knows. We occasionally dress up the Gut by calling it "common sense." The president's former advisor on medical ethics regularly refers to the "yuck factor." The Gut is common. It is democratic. It is the roiling repository of dark and ancient fears. Worst of all, the Gut is faith-based.”
    “‘Intellect is pitted against feeling,’ [Hofstadter] wrote, ‘on the ground that it is somehow inconsistent with warm emotion. It is pitted against character, because it is widely believed that intellect stands for mere cleverness, which transmutes easily into the sly or the diabolical.’”
    “Historian Charles Freeman points out that in Europe, ‘Christian thought...often gave irrationality the status of a universal ‘truth’ to the exclusion of those truths top be found through reason. So the uneducated was preferred to the educated, and the miracle to the operation of natural laws.’” (p184) (see notes on )
  • IN THE BALANCE OF CORRESPONDENCE AND COHERENCE, one or the other predominates and can satisfy the balance that confers VALIDITY – the cognitive error-detecting mechanism …
    “mysterium tremendum et fascinans-- that stomach- flipping mix of awestruck fear and entrancing fascination.” ― Abundance of Katherines John Green
    ..the “numinous” (the spiritual dimension), the utterly ineffable, the holy, and the overwhelming. The “holy” is manifested in a double form: as the mysterium tremendum (“mystery that repels”), in which the dreadful, fearful, and overwhelming aspect of the numinous appears…
  • Epilepsy Behav. 2008 May;12(4):636-43. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2007.11.011. Epub 2008 Jan 2.
    Spirituality and religion in epilepsy.
    Devinsky O1, Lai G.
    Abstract
    Revered in some cultures but persecuted by most others, epilepsy patients have, throughout history, been linked with the divine, demonic, and supernatural. Clinical observations during the past 150 years support an association between religious experiences during (ictal), after (postictal), and in between (interictal) seizures. In addition, epileptic seizures may increase, alter, or decrease religious experience especially in a small group of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Literature surveys have revealed that between .4% and 3.1% of partial epilepsy patients had ictal religious experiences; higher frequencies are found in systematic questionnaires versus spontaneous patient reports. Religious premonitory symptoms or auras were reported by 3.9% of epilepsy patients. Among patients with ictal religious experiences, there is a predominance of patients with right TLE. Postictal and interictal religious experiences occur most often in TLE patients with bilateral seizure foci. Postictal religious experiences occurred in 1.3% of all epilepsy patients and 2.2% of TLE patients. Many of the epilepsy-related religious conversion experiences occurred postictally. Interictal religiosity is more controversial with less consensus among studies. Patients with postictal psychosis may also experience interictal hyper-religiosity, supporting a "pathological" increase in interictal religiosity in some patients. Although psychologic and social factors such as stigma may contribute to religious experiences with epilepsy, a neurologic mechanism most likely plays a large role. The limbic system is also often suggested as the critical site of religious experience due to the association with temporal lobe epilepsy and the emotional nature of the experiences. Neocortical areas also may be involved, suggested by the presence of visual and auditory hallucinations, complex ideation during many religious experiences, and the large expanse of temporal neocortex. In contrast to the role of the temporal lobe in evoking religious experiences, alterations in frontal functions may contribute to increased religious interests as a personality trait. The two main forms of religious experience, the ongoing belief pattern and set of convictions (the religion of the everyday man) versus the ecstatic religious experience, may be predominantly localized to the frontal and temporal regions, respectively, of the right hemisphere.
    “There are moments, and it is only a matter of five or six seconds, when you feel the presence of the eternal harmony
    ... a terrible thing is the frightful clearness with which it manifests itself and the rapture with which it fills you. If this state were to last more than five seconds, the soul could not endure it and would have to disappear.
    During these five seconds I live a whole human existence, and for that I would give my whole life and not think that I was paying too dearly ...
    --Dostoyevsky
  • Epilepsy Behav. 2008 May;12(4):636-43. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2007.11.011. Epub 2008 Jan 2.
    Spirituality and religion in epilepsy.
    Devinsky O1, Lai G.
    Abstract
    Revered in some cultures but persecuted by most others, epilepsy patients have, throughout history, been linked with the divine, demonic, and supernatural. Clinical observations during the past 150 years support an association between religious experiences during (ictal), after (postictal), and in between (interictal) seizures. In addition, epileptic seizures may increase, alter, or decrease religious experience especially in a small group of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Literature surveys have revealed that between .4% and 3.1% of partial epilepsy patients had ictal religious experiences; higher frequencies are found in systematic questionnaires versus spontaneous patient reports. Religious premonitory symptoms or auras were reported by 3.9% of epilepsy patients. Among patients with ictal religious experiences, there is a predominance of patients with right TLE. Postictal and interictal religious experiences occur most often in TLE patients with bilateral seizure foci. Postictal religious experiences occurred in 1.3% of all epilepsy patients and 2.2% of TLE patients. Many of the epilepsy-related religious conversion experiences occurred postictally. Interictal religiosity is more controversial with less consensus among studies. Patients with postictal psychosis may also experience interictal hyper-religiosity, supporting a "pathological" increase in interictal religiosity in some patients. Although psychologic and social factors such as stigma may contribute to religious experiences with epilepsy, a neurologic mechanism most likely plays a large role. The limbic system is also often suggested as the critical site of religious experience due to the association with temporal lobe epilepsy and the emotional nature of the experiences. Neocortical areas also may be involved, suggested by the presence of visual and auditory hallucinations, complex ideation during many religious experiences, and the large expanse of temporal neocortex. In contrast to the role of the temporal lobe in evoking religious experiences, alterations in frontal functions may contribute to increased religious interests as a personality trait. The two main forms of religious experience, the ongoing belief pattern and set of convictions (the religion of the everyday man) versus the ecstatic religious experience, may be predominantly localized to the frontal and temporal regions, respectively, of the right hemisphere.
    “There are moments, and it is only a matter of five or six seconds, when you feel the presence of the eternal harmony
    ... a terrible thing is the frightful clearness with which it manifests itself and the rapture with which it fills you. If this state were to last more than five seconds, the soul could not endure it and would have to disappear.
    During these five seconds I live a whole human existence, and for that I would give my whole life and not think that I was paying too dearly ...
    --Dostoyevsky
  • Temporal-lobe epilepsy--abnormal bursts of electrical activity in these regions--takes this to extremes. Although some studies have cast doubt on the connection between temporal-lobe epilepsy and religiosity, others find that the condition seems to trigger vivid, Joan of Arc-type religious visions and voices. In his recent book “Lying Awake,” novelist Mark Salzman conjures up the story of a cloistered nun who, after years of being unable to truly feel the presence of God, begins having visions. The cause is temporal-lobe epilepsy. Sister John of the Cross must wrestle with whether to have surgery, which would probably cure her--but would also end her visions. Dostoevsky, Saint Paul, Saint Teresa of Avila, Proust and others are thought to have had temporal-lobe epilepsy, leaving them obsessed with matters of the spirit.
    Although temporal-lobe epilepsy is rare, researchers suspect that focused bursts of electrical activity called temporal-lobe transients may yield mystical experiences. To test this idea, Michael Persinger of Laurentian University in Canada fits a helmet jury-rigged with electromagnets onto a volunteers head. The helmet creates a weak magnetic field, no stronger than that produced by a computer monitor. The field triggers bursts of electrical activity in the temporal lobes, Persinger finds, producing sensations that volunteers describe as supernatural or spiritual: an out-of-body experience, a sense of the divine. He suspects that religious experiences are evoked by mini electrical storms in the temporal lobes, and that such storms can be triggered by anxiety, personal crisis, lack of oxygen, low blood sugar and simple fatiguesuggesting a reason that some people find God in such moments. Why the temporal lobes?
    Persinger speculates that our left temporal lobe maintains our sense of self. When that region is stimulated but the right stays quiescent, the left interprets this as a sensed presence, as the self departing the body, or of God.
    I was alone upon the seashore ... I felt that I ... return[ed] from the solitude of individuation into the consciousness of unity with all that is ... Earth, heaven, and sea resounded as in one vast world encircling harmony ... I felt myself one with them.
    rampant.
  • Middle English mistik, from Latin mysticus of mysteries, from Greek mystikos, from mystēs initiate
    First Known Use: 14th century
    All knowledge is discovered or invented by a collaboration of individuals with their environments, especially their experience of the environment.
    A phenomenon is known at the intersection of an individual with its environment – imagine two intersecting bell-shaped curves, one the individual (which throughout DEVELOPMENT is always more-or-less open to change (compare the obsessive curiosity of an infant with that of a mature adult) but always changing
    MYSTICS pursue knowledge that does not seem to be accessible through the senses or the senses alone.
    transformative experiences
  • Knowledge satisfies a biological need and depending on one’s development and environment we are highly motivated to acquire all we can. Our confidence in the reliability and validity of knowledge is a powerful motive. Aristotle recognized this: “All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves …”
    It has obvious adaptive qualities (to a biologist, “adaptive” means “helps us to meet our biological needs – from health through self realization ---maximizing one’s fitness s defined by contributions to the next generation) : what are your possibilities? your limits? WE began pursuing this knowledge as infants, like all organisms, constantly testing hypotheses about these questions and revising our behavior as a result -- HOW FAR can their arms can reach … can their minds reach … AND with some peculiar gifts that enable us to modify or extend our limits …microscopes … telescopes … we do not stop until the cost exceeds the benefit – and very often, not even then! (the shrine at Delphi had another motto on the wall of the antechamber: mēdén ágan = "nothing in excess")
    All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer sight to almost everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things. –Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book I, 980a.21. 350 BC http://www.classicallibrary.org/aristotle/metaphysics/index.htm
  • The “mystic in the crib” is a riff on “The Scientist in the Crib” – Alison Gopnik’s term for the developing infant WHO IS BORN WITH THEORIES AND SPENDS THEIR DAYS TESTING THEM
    She is professor of cognitive psychology at the University of California at Berkeley.
    BUT A MIND ONCE STRETCHED BY KNOWLEDGE (like a heart once stretched love) CAN NEVER REGAIN ITS FORMER SHAPE
    SO – in our formula of input > integration > output, functions have been transformed by experience, and the central integrative centers in particular. The percepts generated by sensation, the associations, the perceived stressfulness, and the ease of motor output are all more-or-less altered.
    Hence creativity can be engendered by INPUT (seeing MORE) INTEGRATION (seeing familiar things in new ways) or OIUTPUT (expertise (cognitive-neuromuscular pathways) and ease of expression)
    All things are new . . . Novelty and the stress response
    Einstein said he was able to make great breakthroughs because he never lost his ability to see like a child. He wrote to a scientist friend: “People like you and I, though mortal of course, like everyone else, do not grow old no matter how long we live. What I mean is that we never cease to stand like curious children before the great Mystery into which we were born.” (Letter to Otto Juliusburger, Sept 29, 942; Einstein Archive 38-238)
    Picasso also famously said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
    WE were all “scientists in the crib,” as Alison Gopnik of the Psychology Department at Berkeley recently put it — developing and testing hypotheses about the way we and the world are and how we can relate to one another, rejecting the hypotheses that are false – it is a necessary stage of our cognitive development. It is the phenomenon of mind that ultimately makes learning possible, and is the beating heart of the scientific method.
    NOVELTIES – perceived mainly by the right hemisphere, but familiar experiences get proportionally more attention from the left hemisphere – what the author describes as the “novelty–routinization distinction.”
  • (2500 generations at 20 years each for 50,000 years)
    Anatomically modern humans evolved from archaic Homo sapiens in the Middle Paleolithic, about 200,000 years ago.
    Replaced last of ancestral species about 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, (Homo erectus, Homo denisova, Homo floresiensis and Homo neanderthalensis)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatomically_modern_humans
    Emergence of BEHAVIORALLY MODERN HUMANS estimated at 50,000 years ago
  • More about TRANSCENDANCE: moving out of one’s comfort zone is a frequent corollary of learning adaptive change
    Change is usually so gradual we are not aware of it … but not always: sometimes it is quite sudden: We find ourselves in what educators call the “teachable moment” – a perfect storm of circumstances that leads to a sudden often startling change in consciousness. This evening, let’s call it “the spiritual moment” --
    Joseph Campbell called it “aesthetic arrrest” -- “We may dance toward it and away, achieve glimpses, and even dwell in its beauty for a time; yet few are those that have been confirmed in that knowledge of its ubiquity which antiquity called gnosis and the Orient calls bodhi: full awakening to the crystalline purity of the bed or ground of ones own and yet the worlds true being. Like perfectly transparent crystal, it is there, yet as though not there; and all things, when seen through it, become luminous in its light” (Joseph Campbell 1968)
  • Might it be that for some people, all experiences are “mystical” ?
  • Might it be that for some people, all experiences are “mystical” ?
  • "Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens"
    (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
    But as Sarah Goodenough suggests in Sacred Depths of Nature – we can opt out of the “need to know” – we can (in the words of the Country singer Iris Dement, “let the mystery be”

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