Re: Julian Jaynes

Lawson English (
23 Jan 1995 01:36:52 GMT

Patrick Powers ( wrote:
: I have a pet theory that hearing of voices and other mystical experiences
: were more common in the past due to shortages of food.


I've heard that given as an explanation for why fasting is considered so

It is plausible. More likely, however, is that even in traditions where
hearing voices and seeing things and so on is considered NON-spiritual,
it is acknowledged that such things can occur.

In the case of Transcendental Meditation, such events are considered a
sign that the nervous system is repairing damage from the stresses of
this life (or past lives if you believe in such things) and is to be
taken as a "good" sign, as long as it isn't encouraged to happen, or
doesn't become something that affects your behavior/life outside of

Probably "good" is too strong a term: '"normal" sign of stress-repair'
might be better.

Also, TM, and to some extent other styles of meditation, can evoke
dreaming. If a person starts dreaming during meditation, and has some
vision or hears voices or something and doesn't realize that he/she was
dreaming, the context of a spiritual practice like TM might make the
person believe that the voices, etc, were "spiritual" in nature, rather
than mundane dreams.

Since some spiritual techniques (such as the TM-sidhis -"levitation,"
etc) actually are said to induce things like levitation, mind-reading,
invisibility, the potential for confusion can be even greater.

The saving grace for sanity in the situation where someone practicing TM
Yogic Flying starts dreaming that they are floating is the
fact that one should be able to video-tape one's own flight.

It ain't been done, to my knowledge.

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