Reason and revelation

Wed, 12 Jan 1994 12:00:00 PST

SEEKER1 writes:

" What are anthropologists to make of the
knowledge attained through Native American vision-quests? Spirit possession?"

As mentioned in a previous post, here one arrives at a fundamental juncture:
either you accept the claim that whatever it is that the mind does is merely
a product of the material brain, or you accept the claim that the mind has
capacities that arise from outside of the brain. If you accept the former
then the "knowledge attained through Native American vision-quests" is
nothing more or less than an instance of how the brain processes the inputs
it has received and produces outputs as a consequence, and the question
becomes: How is that the brain, when acting in this manner (ie. the
vision-quest), produces a state that is interpreted by the brain as arriving
at "knowledge" which (as far as the brain perceives at least consciously)
appears to come from without? If you accept that the mind is more than the
brain; i.e., there is somthing "out there" that comes into the brain to make
the mind, then it is certainly plausible to claim that something like the
"vision-quest" provides a means to "tap into" what ever it is that is "out
there" that makes the mind the mind and more than just a material brain. The
latter takes us out of the realm of science as it presupposes that the
universe, in some sense, has non-material properties that are outside of the
material universe as it is generally understood.

Personally, I assume that the mind IS just the manifestation of teh material

D. Read