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Interesting. So Yahweh is conflated with the devil.

Michael I suggest there's another way of reading this story where it's the baby itself which launches the psychokinetic or astral attack on Moses an' Zipporah by circumcising the child breaks the spell as it were.

At first this might sound shocking but in many cultures in ancient times babies were viewed as something akin to gods angry at being brought down to this world and as such were treated almost like containers of leaking plutonium which had to be sealed and secured for the safety of the tribe in general but the parents in particular.

[This idea I suggest also lays behind many witchcraft and voodoo practises involving child sacrifice].

One of the methods used was to have newborns raised by relatives who'd still theoretic'ly have the kids' interests at heart but without being so susceptible to their potentially malign influence.

[A method which may also lay partly behind the practise of royal households exchanging and raising each others kingly and therefore extra powerful children].

Another was to sexually deflower them.

Circumcision of course involves the sexual parts.

Nor're these long ago ideas because British tabloids seem to report sev'ral times a year cases involving child residents from the Third World dying as a result of their parents try'n'o have them exorcised.

Speaking of Hebrew history and ancient concepts of an angry God, here's a link to an interesting book excerpt that I believe I previously found on this blog. I'm not sure if I saw it in the comment section or one of Michael's articles, but I bookmarked it, and it's worth re-posting in the context of this post.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/evil/hod/hod08.htm

Written in the early 20th century by Paul Carus, it reasonably unpacks verses found in the Old Testament, and traces how tribal Levant religious concepts of the Source of Good and Evil evolved as it progressed towards Temple Judaism.
It's an eye-opener, especially for folks (like me) who are only vaguely familiar with modern day Rabbinical Judaism.

Very interesting post, Michael. So many different angles that are of interest to me.

First, Chinese martial arts, as traditionally taught, absolutely include what we could term a "spiritual component". This is not the stiff block, punch, kick Japanese/Korean mass produced karate/kenpo routines found in strip mall storefronts across the country for X$s a month (little white outfit and belt of appropriate color not included).Traditional Chinese "kung fu" involves development of internal energy commonly called "chi" and mastery of the physical movements themselves must arise of mastery of Taoist philosophy and enhanced chi. The physical ultimately reflects the spiritual.

Make no mistake though, these arts are lethal. Spiritual force can be used for good or bad.

The raised chi allows the practitioner to perceive an opponents intentions before they are expressed, to remote view opponents' activities, to make the body less susceptible to injury and more supple and powerful in delivering strikes...

IMO, chi is closely related to, if not identical to, that other mystical Eastern internal energy, Kundali.

My own first encounters with real spiritual experiences ( including OBEs) was related to dedicated practice of a kung fu style (under the guidance of a traditional teacher/sifu) known as Pa-kua chuan (alternatively Pakua kwan, Bagua....).

The mind/body connection enhancement paired with chi development raises the Kundalini. When the Kundalini raises "paranormal" things happen and, if you're not prepared or aware of what those might be - or that even that they can happen - they can be very frightening; perhaps even misunderstood as to what they signify.

Also, personally salient, is that people that have done evil things - as surely a member of the Russian mafia must - do perceive themselves as given to "evil". I have known a few such men, 1%er type criminals, and they will confide that they believe they are hell bound, as if by contract, once they understand that you recognize what they are all about. This would be like a "Darth Vader" using the dark side.

In our society we want to dismiss the reality of evil. New age minimizes it. NDEs minimize it. It just doesn't feel good - too patriarchal, too judgmental, too much responsibility, too much of a downer....whatever. However, people that have done evil know what it is and what it means. They recognize it and their relationship with it.

My own son killed people in war. Some of these kills were armed enemy in a kill or be killed combat situation. Others, much less so. You do a raid on a village that is allegedly harboring a Taliban leader and you shoot everyone you encounter in the course of getting at the target. Teenage boys, sometimes women...and when they're down and wounded you shoot them in the head to finish them off..and you do this on more than one occasion and you steel your heart and give yourself, consciously, over to the dark side so you can keep on carrying out orders. Now he is going through something very much like what Kivisalo described. He awakes every night at 3:10 a.m. - something is trying to drag him down to hell and that he will go to hell when he dies. He is sure of it. This is particularly unusual because he no longer believes in god. His experiences involve physical sensation just as Kavisalo's did.

Any how, sorry to get so personal. Again, this stuff interests me greatly. I agree with your conclusion, "it seems likely to me that our distant ancestors would occasionally experience the same thing. And they would probably attribute it to an attack by a dark angel". I would only add that I think there really are dark angels - evil itself - and that we can do things that make us susceptible to their influence: 1. open up chi/raise kundalini without understanding the ramifications and/or 2. Willfully - or at least consciously - participate in organized evil

I just looked up the Jewish interpretation of this story, and apparently it was because Moses stopped at an inn (that doesn't happen too often in the Bible) that G-d decided he wasn't serious enough about the circumcision thing and came to punish him.

Very interesting, No One. I'm sorry to hear about your son's troubles.

Yes, I'm inclined to think there are evil supernatural forces. That's one reason I've always been hesitant to do too much hands-on research.

Years ago I wrote an essay called "The Dark Side of the Paranormal," which briefly explored this issue. It got negative reactions from some people interested in psi and life after death, who felt I was exaggerating the dangers of investigating these things. But I tend to think that most enthusiasts underestimate the danger. They are too cavalier in their approach, and too quick to dismiss negative phenomena with happy-talk rationalizations.

There's a reason why traditional societies shroud shamanism in an aura of mystery and taboo. I don't think it's merely to protect a fraudulent shaman from exposure (though this could be true in some cases). I think the larger reason is that there is a real risk to an inexperienced and unprepared "layman" who ventures into these deep waters.

"Years ago I wrote an essay called "The Dark Side of the Paranormal," "

Thanks, Michael. I just read it. Good essay and I agree whole heartedly with your perspective as expressed in the essay and in your comment on this thread.

In my son's case I think it was because he suffered two TBIs from blasts early on in his deployment. His bell really got rung, but he wasn't immediately evacuated ( a travesty) and for most of his last tour down range he was in a spaced out condition and following the (often illegal, IMO) orders of a crazy dead ender special forces Lt Col (nicknamed "Colonel Kurtz" a la Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now).

Evil is contagious and it is always looking for a vulnerable target.

Head injuries, Drug use, any practice that raises kundalini, séances and Ouija boards, deliberate satanic practices or just plain incautious hobby research of the paranormal can open some doors that are much better left shut.

Basically, using our transmitter/receiver model, when you get into this stuff, you run the risk of re-setting your dial to unappealing new radio stations. Any time you move beyond the human being as biological robot model, you run the risk of contact with the dark side of the spiritual. Surely the Israelites, with the ubiquitous ancient beliefs in gods, angels and demons would have been vulnerable to malevolent spiritual forces as well as positive ones.

I think that most new agers in our modern society are probably somewhat - but by no means totally - insulated from this problem because they purposefully focus on "the light" and they are not out there engaging in serious crimes or homicide. Still, there are, even among this set, the problems you note in your essay.

Like you, I recognize that this is not a popular position to take.

no one - you should also mention aikido which is avowedly non-aggressive.

Typo -- Lyn x wrote:

"They do less than half the surgery of the US, stay twice as long in hospital, and have less chronic illness as well."
I think what was meant was:
". . . stay half as long in hospital, . . ."

What the man describes in that account sounds a lot like the effects of sleep paralysis.

A feeling of suffocation, of being pressed down upon, as well as the sensing of a malevolent presence, are pretty common symptoms of sleep paralysis.

I dunno. Would sleep paralysis last for almost a full day? And would someone in that state be thrashing or writhing in bed, as the author claims he was?

No Roger, I meant stay twice as long in hospital. Cheers Lyn.

Sorry meant to add, the French see rest as important in helping the immune system among others things Lyn x.

Thought better look up some info, just for Roger ha ha. Interestingly though my info comes from my bi- cultural university paper I have just finished from

Heine, S. J. (2008). Cultural psychology. London: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. [Chapter 10: Mental and physical health (pp. 453-459)].

This info is later (2011) and differs

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/Files/Publications/Issue%20Brief/2011/Jul/1532_Squires_US_hlt_sys_comparison_12_nations_intl_brief_v2.pdf

PDF file, the US for acute cases now hospital stay 5.5 days and France 5.2, although mentions historically it has always been the other way. These are acute illness, does not mention others. It does talk of the huge difference in Health and disease that I mention, with the chronic illness hospital rates much higher as well as cancer rates diabetes etc than much of Europe. They also have less doctors and less hospital beds per capita. Lyn x.

Off topic but very interesting article from Guy Lyon Playfair regarding a poltergeist case in the upper echelon of society. I was just thinking about this the other day because it does appear most poltergeist cases reported are working class individuals.

http://whitecrowbooks.com/guylyonplayfair/entry/an_up-market_poltergeist_at_last

Thanks for the correction, Lynn. My brother in law had heart bypass surgery last week and they shoved him home a couple of days later, which turned out to be too soon.

I've lost some of the joy to publish here. Guess it's because of your emotions Michael, but still I'll make some signs. Evil and possessions.

I've been fighting a possessed man with a knife in is hand. Another time a possessed guy made his way through the entrance door with an ax in his hand. Both times ended well when the city's police forces arrived. What spirits did possess these guys? Sub personalities did. What started the possessions? One glass of wine and I don't know. Why? Enviousness.

Real possessions are not about external spirits taking control. Real possessions is a serious problem, causing thousands of deaths and suffering for millions. Have you ever faced a person and seen in his eyes the transformation from somebody you know very well to a scaring entity judging you with cold eyes and with the violence starting to transpire?

There's evil around us. Naturally (at least to me) it's mirrored in the spiritual realms. Where does the evil come from? RL and spirit worlds are connected. The origin is a question without an answer.

Great post!

I have been developing a theory, not entirely or even mostly my own, of thought-dimensionality. You've heard me chatter about this in the comments before.

I don't see any evidence or even substantial claims that high-dimensional beings can be evil. Or that high-dimensional beings can fall a la Lucifer.

If such beings existed, then the question would be why they don't simply destroy the Universe. If there are opposing good powers that prevent obliteration, then the question is why those good powers can't defeat evil completely.

Thus, I don't think there is such a thing as an evil god outside of the mythical realm (that doesn't mean they don't exist or can't have influence, but they are essentially thought-forms generated by the collective).

Are there evil supernatural powers? Sure. I think these are being that occupy the Astral (4th) or 3rd dimensions (i.e., ghosts). People need to tap into these beings in order for them to have influence. As no one says, fooling around with the paranormal inappropriately or actually being evil (lowering one's own vibration) are good routes to this. The Ouija board seems to be a particularly good way to tap into lower-level spirits.

We've also discussed the source of evil here before. I think negativity is an inherent property of the Universe that comes from an inherent contradiction in the Universe at the most foundational level. A la Godel's incompleteness theorem. My best guess is that out of the kaos of Greek myth there arose spiritual "methods" of dealing with this contradiction, and there was further a struggle among the methods for dominance (Titans vs. Gods). This process created the spiritual structure of the Universe, one that has the Love (conquering Fear) as its ultimate vector (the good news or "Gospel" of reality) via continuous evolution and development.

We experience the contradiction of the Universe as negativity, and "evil" is a particular style of negativity, possibly definable as consciousness embracing the Fear vector in an attempt to protect itself from Fear.

I think for mathematical reasons we do not yet understand, the non-prime even dimensions are unstable. As animals, we have ascended through the dimensions of thought (evolution of spirit). The jump from 2D to 3D was in effect Jaynes's shift from bicameral to unicameral (he correctly points out the shift but misidentifies the cause). Right now, the big word in the New Age community is Ascension--the shift to 5D, *never* to 4D.

The reason is that the Astral is realm of unstable thoughtforms. When people hit 4D, they become highly intelligent, psychic, crazy--or any combination of the three.

I think the "Dark Side of the Paranormal" that Michael identifies is the danger of the shift into 4D. Some people are born into it (I think I was), we too suffer. I had bad OCD as a kid and talked to some pretty nasty thoughtforms. But I was also super smart and could see things in a way others couldn't--I always seemed different from the day I was born. I had unusual experiences I thought were just "dreams." I really started to be able to channel my psi starting at age 14.

But I think I was lucky. I think others born into 4D had worse OCD, depression, bipolar, or schizophrenia, often without the benefits. They were born unready with this aspect of themselves--or, quite possibly, they were forced to suppress the benefits based on social pressure. This suppression may have caused or exacerbated the "mental illness."

Now take the case of a 3D person who starts to get into the paranormal. They are in essence hacking their brain and spirit to go 4D. In this age of Ascension, they may very well skip it and go into 5D, but this is really just beginning as a planetary process. If someone was trying to do this, say, 1940-1990, they were running the risk of diving into the Astral unprepared and unprotected, plus not born into it and thus without having the opportunity to build up resistance to the negativities one may encounter.

I think this is chiefly how the paranormal can be dangerous. Yet, I could be wrong.

"I've lost some of the joy to publish here. Guess it's because of your emotions Michael"

?

I meant to say 1840-1990.

As Hansen notes in "The Trickster and the Paranormal," religions suppressed the paranormal, most likely intuitively understanding that humanity was not ready for a jump to 5D and could not handle 4D on average. Oracles (e.g., Delphi) and shamans who *could* handle 4D were given special status and training. Soothsayers, witches, etc., had natural talent in these areas, but their activities were not "sanctioned" by society (though were nevertheless used as needed).

The collective friction with 4D (not a "jump" or "ascension," since it is not a stable state) seems to have begun in the 19th century. It seems that here we see the rise not only of greater collective psi (the Fox sisters, etc. etc.) but also more mental illness experienced by more of the population. This has gotten much worse in the 20th and 21st century, to the point where a significant percent of the population has to hack the brain/spirit with antidepressants and other drugs to tune out 4D friction. (This also seemed to be getting worse in the 19th century too, though, with the "nervous exhaustion" and "hysteria" experienced by so many.)

I think depression comes down to a channeling problem. People rubbing against or going into 4D can channel all sorts of things. If they channel nice things, no problem, it's not labeled a mental illness, but if they channel bad things, it's called depression or OCD or something else. Although I do think depression can consist of channeling pure negativity or a much greater amount of negativity than positivity, I think often it takes the form of channeling *both,* with the sufferer simply unable to tolerate the extra negativity.

Interesting thoughts as always, Matt, but I'm not so sure that mental illness is unusually prevalent in today's society. It seems to me that mental illness has been pretty common throughout history. Dramatic examples would include the witch hysterias from the Middle Ages to the 1600s, and various manias recounted in "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds," such as the "dueling mania," when men routinely fought duels to the death over trivial causes. (The recurrent Spiritualist outbreaks of the late 19th and early 20th centuries can also be characterized, in some respects, as manias.)

More mundane examples include the numerous appearances of apparently insane people in ancient texts, such as the wandering maniacs cured by Jesus in the New Testament, or the navi'im (bands of itinerant prophets who sang and danced ecstatically) in the Hebrew Bible.

Depression, anxiety, and neurosis may be on the rise - or maybe not. We know little about the inner lives of our ancestors, since modern autobiographical writing was not practiced at the time. The two ancients we know best are probably Augustine (from his uniquely self-revealing memoirs) and Cicero (from personal letters to his friend Atticus, which were never meant to be published), and both seem to have had their share of insecurities, mood swings, etc. It's quite possible both would be on Prozac today!

Matt, My own theory on evil goes something like this. At bottom, there is only One Mind. However, that one mind is, for whatever reason, subdivided into bands of awareness (awareness = consciousness). I think of these as being akin to Sheldrake's morphic fields. Life on earth belongs to a particular band of awareness that is further subdivided into distinct forms; human, animals, plants. The bands (or fields) animate and inform the physical.

I further believe that the afterlife and the astral consist of such bands of awareness/ fields and that we when leave the physical behind we will dwell in the field most compatible with our perceptual predilections.

Normal every day human consciousness is an interaction of the human morphic field, the subset of the field that constitutes a particular individual human and that individual human's physical biology and heredity and life experiences (regarding the latter, think stuff that psychologists talk about).

Most mental illness arises from some unsavory ingredient in that little stew.

Sometimes, however, an individual can, either purposefully or quite accidentally, be influenced by bands of awareness/fields outside of the normal set as described above. The most common and "lowest level" of non-ordinary access would be to have one's awareness informed to greater extent than usual by the human field at large. I would say that this field definitely contains what we call "evil" in its archetypical form; evil both as a concept and evil in the form of intelligent and willful entities. This is the realm of universal human consciousness.

A human can also find its awareness intersecting with the fields that inform animals. In the case of "evil", this would be the fields belonging to predatory animals.

Moving up from the human field of awareness we begin to access more "cosmic" consciousness and less "evil", though I do think that there are fields above the human that do contain the negative principle (the negative principle being funneled down to the human level begins to express as what we see as being evil; e.g. destructive tendencies, cruelty, etc.).

So I think the message here (and the message of the bible) is that one should not work incautiously to shift one's awareness because the most likely landing spot is the larger human (or even the animal) band (not the higher cosmic bands) where evil influences are both real and waiting to take control.

Evil in this life exist to teach us lessons that we need to learn to exist in the next life. What happens here doesn't matter because it's only a holographic illusion. After we die we will look back here like it was a dream.

I always find the paranormal interesting, but why do we have to look to it to explain mental illness? To me at least, the evidence seems pretty clear that the seeds of mental illness lie in either one's childhood or current traumatic experiences. There are a lot of bad parents out there and a lot of bad things can happen to people. It seems kind of medieval to be looking to the paranormal and "bad spirits" to explain things.

Thanks, Michael! Replies:

||I'm not so sure that mental illness is unusually prevalent in today's society. It seems to me that mental illness has been pretty common throughout history.||

Yes, it's got to be speculative. One doc I read not too long ago (and would have a hard time finding) was from the 19th century, in which the writer felt that mental illness was a problem of spiritually/mentally advanced people. So the idea existed back then, too. It's true, we know that there were places like Bedlam with raving lunatics in them centuries back, but it could be that mental illness caused by 4D friction was more of an outlier phenomenon back then, too.

||Dramatic examples would include the witch hysterias from the Middle Ages to the 1600s, and various manias recounted in "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds," such as the "dueling mania," when men routinely fought duels to the death over trivial causes. (The recurrent Spiritualist outbreaks of the late 19th and early 20th centuries can also be characterized, in some respects, as manias.)||

These seem more like social phenomena than individual mental illnesses.

||More mundane examples include the numerous appearances of apparently insane people in ancient texts, such as the wandering maniacs cured by Jesus in the New Testament, or the navi'im (bands of itinerant prophets who sang and danced ecstatically) in the Hebrew Bible.||

Yes, I certainly don't believe that mental illness did not use to exist. It may not have existed in its present form until 3D, however. Some mental illness or incapacity was probably always caused by actual brain trauma or lesions or malnutrition (e.g., iodine deficiency); this would be different from mental illness caused by advancement.

||Depression, anxiety, and neurosis may be on the rise - or maybe not. We know little about the inner lives of our ancestors, since modern autobiographical writing was not practiced at the time. The two ancients we know best are probably Augustine (from his uniquely self-revealing memoirs) and Cicero (from personal letters to his friend Atticus, which were never meant to be published), and both seem to have had their share of insecurities, mood swings, etc. It's quite possible both would be on Prozac today!||

Could be. These people were also exceptionally high-level thinkers who could have experienced 4D friction, which might have been rarer then yet still happening with a small pool of people.

no one,

Interesting! I think our speculative systems are largely compatible:

||Life on earth belongs to a particular band of awareness that is further subdivided into distinct forms; human, animals, plants. The bands (or fields) animate and inform the physical.||

I would say those bands could correspond in part or in whole to the thought dimensions.

||I further believe that the afterlife and the astral consist of such bands of awareness/ fields and that we when leave the physical behind we will dwell in the field most compatible with our perceptual predilections.||

I think this is the case. We'll go where we "fit."

||Normal every day human consciousness is an interaction of the human morphic field, the subset of the field that constitutes a particular individual human and that individual human's physical biology and heredity and life experiences (regarding the latter, think stuff that psychologists talk about).||

I think this is true. A person could also "import" non-human or trans-human fields through exploration or experience.

||Most mental illness arises from some unsavory ingredient in that little stew.||

I think we can say a bit more than that. Something like Alzheimer's or third stage Syphilis seems like genuine brain dysfunction. Depression, bipolar, and Schizophrenia spectrum disorders seem like "hyper-tuning": the sufferer is getting something extra in that is unpleasant. Autism spectrum disorders seem like "hypo-tuning": the sufferer is not able to tune into something (such as the human morphic field).

||Sometimes, however, an individual can, either purposefully or quite accidentally, be influenced by bands of awareness/fields outside of the normal set as described above. The most common and "lowest level" of non-ordinary access would be to have one's awareness informed to greater extent than usual by the human field at large.||

I think this is a good point. Schizophrenics seem to tune into this field excessively and get "junk consciousness" from it. Now this field probably exists on the Astral, but it is the territory with which we are familiar, since it is generated by humans.

||I would say that this field definitely contains what we call "evil" in its archetypical form; evil both as a concept and evil in the form of intelligent and willful entities. This is the realm of universal human consciousness.||

Yep.

||A human can also find its awareness intersecting with the fields that inform animals. In the case of "evil", this would be the fields belonging to predatory animals.||

Interesting. I'm not sure how much evil can be sucked up from there, since even pretty aggressive animals do not will themselves to be anything in particular. E.g., you can tune into a lion's desire to attack its prey, but even that is just instinctive and not a high percentage of what the lion is tuned into every day. Whereas a serial killer really is *about* the evil he perpetrates.

||Moving up from the human field of awareness we begin to access more "cosmic" consciousness and less "evil", though I do think that there are fields above the human that do contain the negative principle (the negative principle being funneled down to the human level begins to express as what we see as being evil; e.g. destructive tendencies, cruelty, etc.).||

If there is "less evil" up there, that requires an explanation. I think there is negativity in any and all dimensions, but that negativity does not get expressed as "evil" above the Astral.

||So I think the message here (and the message of the bible) is that one should not work incautiously to shift one's awareness because the most likely landing spot is the larger human (or even the animal) band (not the higher cosmic bands) where evil influences are both real and waiting to take control.||

I think that is true. I also think that one's personal tuning has a lot to do with it. Most people who explore do not tune into evil; some do. New Agers are typically cautioned to imagine themselves in white light before doing anything. I think simple things like this and identifying oneself as being on Team Good can prevent most problems.

Kathleen,

||To me at least, the evidence seems pretty clear that the seeds of mental illness lie in either one's childhood or current traumatic experiences. There are a lot of bad parents out there and a lot of bad things can happen to people.||

Trying to explain things like bipolar or schizophrenia in terms of bad parenting is definitely obsolete in the mental health community. Today, it's usually called a "chemical imbalance."

I would call it a "tuning imbalance": the brain is tuning too much or too little to the fields necessary for everyday mentality. The CW of psychiatry isn't totally wrong; it's just that more can be added to the theory to give it more explanatory power.

"To me at least, the evidence seems pretty clear that the seeds of mental illness lie in either one's childhood or current traumatic experiences"

A reasonable rebuttal to that position, IMO, is that many people coming out of bad homes, bad parents and traumatic events go on to live productive lives. Sometimes the troubles they have endured even drive them to become exceptional. Also, some people that have come from relatively idyllic home environments and who have not experienced significant trauma become mentally ill to the point of complete incapacitation.

Sometimes mental illness is solely due to a chemical imbalance in the brain and pharmacology can be used to ameliorate the symptoms.

However, going back to ancient times, there have been warnings associated with delving into the occult because doing so can result in conditions that closely resemble mental illness. While the bible pretty much just says don't do it because it will tick off god, the Eastern traditions have metaphysical explanations as to why the occult can be hazardous to mental and physical health if not approached properly. Google the dangers of kundalini raising and you will find dozens of hits on articles written by advocates who are aware of the potential risks. I think there are several good cases for demon possession as well. The Emily Rose case seems to be well documented and it seems to surpass anything one usually sees even with severely decompensated schizophrenics. There are incidents of poltergeist and other unpleasant paranormal phenomena that apparently began with casual dabbling with Ouija boards or automatic writing. Then there's Joe Fischer.

If we accept that we are more than biological robots, then we must also accept that there are potentially external energetic/spiritual forces that effect our awareness. If we can exist with thought, emotion and intent independent of our biological bodies than so can others - and those others are not all going to be nice.

I don't see where any of this makes it necessary to all medieval on the mentally ill.

"What happens here doesn't matter because it's only a holographic illusion...."

"There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke, but you and I we've been through that and it is not our fate. So let us not talk falsely now; the hour's growing late"

Bob Dylan, All Along The Watchtower

I should have noted that of course some mental illness is biologically based. But for the most part it seems to be event-based. Idyllic-seeming homes and families often aren't - there's an interesting series of articles at psychologytoday.com about rich kids having more mental illness than poorer kids.

There's a great short story by Elizabeth Gaskell, "Lois the Witch," about witch-hunting in Salem. It illustrates how the environment can lead to mental illness. It's free to read here: http://lang.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~matsuoka/EG-Lois.html

Mental illness runs in families. It's genetic. Even the predisposition to be an alcoholic is genetic. It has to do with the way some people metabolize alcohol. There is a very high incidence of Autism in Silicon Valley because computer geeks, who have a tendency towards Aspergers, are finding each other and getting married and having full blown Autistic children.

There are a lot of mental illness genes in my family. My father was the product of incest. One of my older sisters died of kidney failure due to lithium toxicity. The doctors were trying to control her depression and it ruined her kidneys. I have several nephews and nieces with Aspergers, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disorder.

Matt, Yes. We are seeing things the same way; perhaps some differences in nuances or emphasis, but essentially the same paradigm.

As for the bands of awareness being equivalent to thought realms, I suppose that we would be either debating semantics or delving into a chicken or egg discussion if we were to get into it. No need to.


Art and Kathleen, you guys are waaaaaay oversimplifying the causes of mental illness, even if we were just focusing on the biological and environmental components of causation. Here's a pretty good overview of the current medical understanding:

http://www.who.int/bulletin/archives/78(4)455.pdf

There is no gene that causes schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder or any other mental health problem. There are complex interactions of many genes, environment and, if you will, the stuff that Matt and I have added that *could* result in a particular mental illness under certain circumstances and can result in an adaptive and productive individual under other circumstances.

The link I provided mentions a point that I think needs to be emphasized. If certain genes always - or even usually - produced a mentally ill individual, those genes would no longer be in the gene pool. They would have been selected out many generations ago.

IMO just as the soul goes to a place that is a "good fit" in the afterlife, souls also go to bodies in the physical realm that are a good fit based on the mentality, energies and karma of the individual entity.

Furthermore, this is not a process planned by a micromanaging GOD either as punishment/reward nor as lesson teaching. It occurs in the same way that stones, when thrown into a pool of water, sink whereas a wooden plank floats.


"I'm not sure how much evil can be sucked up from there, since even pretty aggressive animals do not will themselves to be anything in particular. E.g., you can tune into a lion's desire to attack its prey, but even that is just instinctive and not a high percentage of what the lion is tuned into every day. Whereas a serial killer really is *about* the evil he perpetrates."

Matt, aggressive stalking and attacking prey is indeed instinctual and appropriate for a predatory animal like a lion. Nothing evil there.

However, when a human taps into that consciousness and integrates into the core of his being such that it a predominant feature of the personality and behavior, we have something different. Certainly such a person would tend to do things that others would perceive as evil. A person like that would be probably be medically recognized as a sociopath. I think an argument can be made that deliberately tapping into such animal instincts at the expense of higher human potentials, is evil. If it happened less deliberately, then perhaps the person is not evil. I dunno.

No One: Thanks for the link. Anyone in clinical mental health practice has an opportunity to observe mental health symptoms caused by many things including genetics perhaps, that is, sometimes it does appear that certain symptoms seem to run in families, but it soon becomes obvious that genetics may not be the only cause. It is really difficult to determine whether or not there is a predisposition to a set of symptoms, e.g., depression, or if the symptoms are a result of learned ways of behaving in childhood from the adult family members and then facilitated or kindled in response to the environment. More often symptoms of the more common mental illness, e.g. anxiety, depression, mania, obsessive-compulsiveness and maybe schizophrenia are caused by a variety of things including, toxic relationships, brain trauma, emotional trauma, stress, toxins in the environment, and medical conditions e.g., thyroid disease, digestive problems, adrenal disease, nutritional deficiencies, lack of exercise, lack of sleep and others that have not yet been identified. IMO, an additional factor that also should be included but will only be considered by the so-called fringe or alternative medicine practitioners is the state of the indwelling spirit or soul of the patient.

"Art and Kathleen, you guys are waaaaaay oversimplifying the causes of mental illness," no one
------------

I didn't say there was a gene, singular. I said there were genes plural. It is the interaction between sets of genes that causes mental illness. It is hardwired into the brain. I'm educated enough to understand how genetics work thank you very much.

I don't believe it has anything to do with faulty souls finding dysfunctional bodies. To be honest I think that is ridiculous. When the soul leaves the body it is healed and when it enters that Light all the pain and suffering of this life is healed.

I agree that when the soul enters the light, it is healed, or at least the healing process begins. But it appears that some souls don't "go into the light" right away; they get stuck in a sort of twilight zone. These earthbound souls seem to lie behind a variety of phenomena: possession, some Ouija board communications, disruptive spirits such as poltergeists and drop-in communicators, ghosts and hauntings, etc.

Spirit rescue circles were common in the earlier days of Spiritualism, and some are still active (I recently got an email from someone who participates in one). These circles try to contact earthbound spirits and guide them into the light. It appears that in some cases, spirits can't find their own way, and while they are lost, they can do harm (sometimes inadvertently) to the living.

That said, I'd assume that defective genetics and/or mental trauma is a sufficient explanation of mental illness in many (probably most) cases. But there do seem to be some cases that are resolved only after spiritualist intervention - e.g., Carl Wickland's patients, as described in "Thirty Years Among the Dead."

I tend to agree with No One that it may be that souls go to situations (not necessarily bodies) that are a good fit for the soul "based on the mentality, energies and karma of the individual entity." It also could be that all souls are in the process of developing toward perfection and certain life situations, such as being born male or female, rich or poor, in a healthy body or an unhealthy one, help to propel that soul toward that perfection. If one allows for free will, then perhaps within some limitations, the soul is free to choose to use the life it finds itself in to its advantage, or as it may turn out, to its disadvantage. But I would think that regardless of an outside observer's evaluation of the progress made by the soul in physical realities, all experiences and outcomes are of value in the development of the soul towards divinity.

I would disagree that "faulty souls" choose dysfunctional bodies. IMO all souls, and I do mean all are in a process of developing toward perfection and that eventually all souls are saved. And if one wishes to consider quantum mechanics in the mix, perhaps a soul's observation or beliefs effect its manifestation in the so-called physical world.

Amos, we are pretty far afield from the original topic now, but, since nobody is steering us back, what the heck.....

"And if one wishes to consider quantum mechanics in the mix, perhaps a soul's observation or beliefs effect its manifestation in the so-called physical world."

Yes. Something like that is what I meant.

"IMO all souls, and I do mean all are in a process of developing toward perfection and that eventually all souls are saved."

That is, as you preface, your opinion; albeit a popular *opinion*. I do not accept it is fact, but I do not know.
I think some good and motivated souls select situations that will provide opportunity for development whereas others just go where the wind blows. This is no different from how people of different character people face every day physical life.

The thing is that people that hold that view are, as far as I have encountered, those who have never really done anything too hideous or, in the minority, those who have done hideous things and are troubled by their acts and are thus seeking redemption. I'd be interested to hear Kivisalo's opinion regarding this.

I submit to you that there are hardcore types that have gone so far that they sense they cannot turn back; or, for whatever reason, refuse to turn back.


There is this idea that souls are somehow more enlightened and more noble minded when disembodied and that there is something (e.g. God) in control that wants and directs perfection for all and that all is equal (e.g. all souls). It's kind of a happy Bolshevik concept of life, reality and the cosmos. I think it is not true. At least you'd have to show me some evidence that points to it being true. I am not aware of any.

Off Topic, but are there any members of 'The Spiritualist Chatroom' here?
I registered with them several days ago, but aside from an email confirming registration I haven't received a follow up email confirming acceptance.
Does it normally take so long to gain membership of this group?

I think I used to participate in that chatroom. I don't recall any delay in admission, but it was more than five years ago, and I can't say how it works now.

Which one snorkeler? The Australia one or the other one? :)

Strong possession cases are very rare and I think there's a good reason for it. Our spirits are bonded to our bodies with rather strong (physical) bonds. Are there occasions when another spirit can 'blow away' our own? Offer OBE's such opportunities? Who knows? I doubt. But the real threat, it seems, are the enemies inside us. Perhaps not yet waken, but waiting...

Our minds can be influenced by other spirits. They can attach to us (our spirits I presume) for shorter or longer times. Then it's possible to pick up emotions, even messages, from them. That's what mediums do. Trance mediums seems to be possessed by a controlling spirit during the seancé. But ('these buts'), I've seen works supporting the hypothesis that these controls can be mind creations, subpersonalities active only during these very special communications. The mediums need these controls to open channels to the spiritual world. They replace the dominant and more body centered personality and parts of the spirit and the associated psi filtering neuron network. The control personalities are of course much more psi prone. They have much better access to the extended parts of the spirit (It's very interesting, the creation process for these new extraordinary subpersonalities. I'm flabbergasted by the capabilities of mind/spirit. But when looking upon my own dream dramas, I know that the Director has a great capacity).

So, a possession where another spirit seems to 'take over', can be explained as initiated from the person himself. He creates a psi prone subpersonality (just as with mental disorders there can be several reasons for it) that sometimes will pick up the states and/or memories from an attached spirit, more or less. It can't be ruled out that the creation actually can be initiated from the other side, but if that ever happens it should be a person in a mental state favouring the creation of a psi prone subpersonality. My point is that possessions are initiated by the person himself and that it is subpersonalities (not necessarily psi prone ones) created inside him that will take over. As I wrote in an earlier post, possessions seems to be a very time and cultural dependent phenomenon.

Michael: ”?” Some time ago your blog made me wake up in the nights and the words started to flow into my head (or had already flown into there) and fed several of my posts here. I've been in such mood before, with interesting results as a consequence. Perhaps I hoped that a spiritual tension would raise here to. The synchros connected to you, that I experienced, pointed forward. However, it all seemed unidirectional and the energy faded away. No critics in it. When the spirit is on, it is. And when you don't feel to fuel the fire, you don't. I think I know the reason and I'm to blame. But I'm the way I am, my writings the way they are and my humor … well, easily misinterpreted (not to mention my English).

Hi everyone, I just want to apologize for my last comment. I wrote it kind of late the other night and now that I am re-reading it is not only confusing, but it sounds a little belligerent.

I had been reading some medium's account of conditions in the afterlife and there was a comment about the difficulties faced by "defective souls". It got me thinking and it dawned on me that the idea that all souls are equal and all ultimately bound for glory is definitely an entrenched new age/afterlife believer dogma; so much so that it is rarely, if ever, questioned.

So I was just questioning it.

Rossoli, one strong possession case is the Watseka Wonder:

http://www.prairieghosts.com/watseka.html

This one, at least, seems unlikely to be a subpersonality. The various cases recorded by Wickland in Thirty Years Among the Dead also strike me as probably genuine examples of spirit possession.

As for mediumistic controls, there's a long and ongoing debate about whether they are actual spirits or creations of the medium's subconscious. A case can be made either way. It's conceivable that the distinction between "real" and "imaginary" spirit entities is less clear-cut than we assume; maybe an "imaginary" entity can acquire its own reality (in the manner of a thoughtform).

Sorry I didn't give your comments the response you were looking for. I've been pretty busy lately and haven't been participating in the comments as much as usual.

I'm not sure that I agree with you Rossoli about Spirit possession. The imagination is a wonderful thing, and I agree with you that it can just about conjur up anything. Consciousness therefore explains a lot but then is it the one and only cause, or just the physical mechanisms operating to manifest it.

For example I find psychicness operates when the mind is quiet or blank. Like everyone I get very busy during the day and my mind is on a lot of things. So I find that spirits tend to contact me just as I climb into bed when my thinking has quietened down. A few years ago I had a spirit come into my body( that's what I think anyway). Now it was one of those nights when you are so dog tired you put your head down and think you will be out in a minute. I just got into bed and this heavy sadness came over me, not just sadness but feelings of absolute despair. Having not experienced it ever, I started going through my head about my own feelings and thoughts to explain it. But life was pretty great at the time, and then I realized I had never felt that bad in my entire life and that this person had given up. I could feel my immune system was run down like it had been depressed for months and months. I couldn't sleep and so decided to get out of bed and walk for a bit. Then after about 2 minutes it just went and I was back to dog tired, put my head down and it was morning. Waking up I thought, what the hell was that?


I have never felt like that even at times when upset, I have never reached that level of despair.

Just the other day when climbing into bed, a family members head floated in front of me. So a bit worried I contacted them and asked them how they were. They had just had a mole map and have since found out one is a melanoma.


Lately I have been having treatment for anaemia so the mind is not that great. And I notice they are contacting me when I go to bed. Not asleep or even near sleep, but the minute I climb into bed. Cheers Lyn x.

@ Paul."Which one Snorkler"

I didn't know there was more than one Paul.
I guess it would be the Australian one as I followed one of Michaels links on an old article discussing Victor Zammit and David Thompson's expulsion from the Circle of the Silver Chord.
Anyway, either the Administrator is having a break or the chatroom has disbanded as I have still to receive a follow up email confirming acceptance

"Hi everyone, I just want to apologize for my last comment."

You have nothing to apologise for as far as I'm concerned, no one. That's not to say I ultimately agree with the sentiments you expressed, but they do reflect a perspective (which you always articulate on this blog with a mordant insight that I for one much appreciate) we should never lose sight of.

This is because I think it very important that taking the view that everything is ultimately OK in some sense ("All thing shall be well and all manner of things shall be well", and so on - a view that my deepest intuitions support) should not dilute our awareness of the sheer complexity, depth and at times horror of existence. Or, for that matter, the fundamental contradictions lying at the heart of existence that Matt flagged up in an earlier post.

Any achieved vision or insights concerning the fundamental goodness and spirituality of things, otherwise, will have the shallowness of having come at too easy a price - and when expressed will come over as little more that sugary platitudes.

That's how I see it, anyway.

Cheers

Simon

Yes, Watseka is one of few strong cases I know about. It doesn't conflict with the idea of a psi prone weak (or oppressed) subpersonality and a strongly attached spirit. The attachment in this particular case was very strong and lasted for months. If the subpersonality being created is a primitive one, equipped with limited parts of what makes up an ordinary human's main personality, there's open space to occupy, metaphorically speaking.

A subpersonality can skip much of the higher brain functionalities (it's not much of personality left then, is it) and thus will probably also use less filtering of paranormal influences. So yes, another spirit might take the opportunity to use it. Still, such strong and long lasting attachments are extremely rare. One reason can be that very weak subpersonalities (favourable possession conditions) also are rare and usually in action only for shorter periods (like in trance mediums), perhaps because they are … weak.

Earlier on, spirits was the natural explanation for unusual states of behaviour. They still are in some cultures/religions, letting people handle psychological tensions, receive attention or perhaps just play the game. But facts seem to tell us something else. It's the inside that counts.

Michael, you shouldn't apologize. Something might turn up later on. When the Moon is right.

”I'm not sure that I agree with you Rossoli about Spirit possession. The imagination is a wonderful thing, and I agree with you that it can just about conjur up anything. Consciousness therefore explains a lot but then is it the one and only cause, or just the physical mechanisms operating to manifest it.”

Lynn, I'm not shore I understand :( Spirits can in principal influence our minds always, more or less. And your example is a good one. Still you're in control, however deeply affected.

There is a strong connection between emotion and memory. The more emotional an experience the more powerful and long lasting the memory it creates. Our experiences are supposed to evoke emotion in our lives because emotion is what causes us to remember our experiences.

The soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and it is holistically imprinted with what it needs to learn regardless of who we are, or where we live, or what we believe. The Creator of the Universe was so smart that it was able to create a Universe where we learn what we are supposed to learn whether we want to or not. This is how holistic teaching and learning works. The lessons are just embedded in our lives as we go along living our regular lives - and as these emotions are evoked in us we remember the most emotional experiences of our lives.

It has a whole lot to do with "why we are here." We simply learn here what can't be learned in heaven. The physics of heaven is so different from the physics of this life that there are just some things that can't be learned in heaven that we are able to learn here, like what it means and how it feels to be separate due to those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness that are so often reported by near death experiencers, what time and space look and feel like, and what it felt like to be inside a body and live in a 3 dimensional + 1 time Universe.

Simon, thanks. My New Year's resolution just might be to be less mordant.

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