BMB adds to Revelation debate

Wed, 26 Jan 1994 11:05:01 -0500

> I had similar, what I might call "recurrent nightmares" along that
>theme during my childhood. Some of them seemed VERY real I might add. It
>was not until I was in my late teens that the nightmares ceased entirely.
>Reflecting back on those nightmares, I can clasify them as "internalizations
>to the subconscious" of "external (and emic) real-world experiences." These
>RL experiences chose to manifest themselves as "nightmares" as a coping
>mechanism to deal with both extreme mental and physical abuse that occurred
>throughout my childhood. It was not until I was older and could rationalize
>about the nightmares and their meaning(s) in context, that the said dreams
>quite literally "died."

This, of course, is the reaction that most Western people take
toward their dreams. That once they are 'rationalized' they will go away. I
am sure you are aware that other societies (e.g. the Maya) have different
attitudes. Please note I am glad you were able to come to terms with the
abuse you experienced.

>I, like D. Read, do *not* subscribe to the belief
>of revelation as something "external" of the mind channeling into one's brain
>from the universe afar. This seems to me to be preposterous and nonsensical,
>at least within the current scientific bounds of our reality.

I suppose then that the 56 Kb of new information which just entered
the regional supercomputer here is "preposterous and nonsensical." Oh, and
"outside the current scientific bounds of our reality" as well.

>I'll leave such "external" beliefs to the New Agers down in Sedona/ Verde Valley.

Cease with such straw man business. The New Agers treat all
'revelations,' even grunts from some 30,000 year old caveman, as the Truth.
New Agers *believe* in revelation; I am merely interested in investigating

>I see hallucinations, revelations, "God-like experiences" as the culmination of
>data reorganization within the brain.

Yes, I would say that many 'revelation' experiences fall into this
category, but not all. The ones which do not are the ones in which the
person possesses new, rather than reorganized old, information.

>Whether drug-induced or not, such
>experiences may result from chemical alterations or imblances within the brain,
>causing a reorganization of stored data in a "different pattern." The # of
>resultant patterns may very well be infinite. Imagine, if you will, for lack
>of a better example, an artist (painter). This painter has a set number of
>colors he begins his work with--say the primary colors. These are the facts,
>the data that are stored in the brain. Once the painter mixes these colors
>from his palette and applies them to the canvas, an "infinite" number of
>colors (including shades and hues) may result, and hence an infinite number
>of final pieces of artwork (a beach scene, a spring mountain valley, etc).
>The colors (or facts) are trivial to what the final outcome of their
>combination becomes (the revelation). That is why revelation appears to be
>such a grandiose experience--the final product is worth much more than the
>sum of its parts.

Aha, Brad, I see a reductio ad absurdum in the making. Based on this
extrapolation, I gather that you are agreeing with the postmodern theory
that "all art is appropriation." No artist ever makes anything new, they
merely reorganize other styles, mediums, into new combinations.
Based on this extrapolation, then, one could also argue that science
rarely creates anything new, either. For most of what passes for 'new'
knowledge in science is frequently reorganization of the old, yes? After
all, the ancients speculated about atoms, evolution, and even cultural
difference, and 'science' is merely recapitulating many of their debates.
Perhaps the 'new' information that many scientists (or cultural
anthropologists) 'create' is just merely reorganizations of existing
information as well? Seems to me you're heading right for postmodern
territory again...

>Brad M. Biglow
>Graduate Student
>Northern Arizona University

Seeker1 [@Nervm.Nerdc.Ufl.Edu] (real info available on request)
Anthropologist, Cybernaut, PoMoDemite, Noetician, Situationiste, et al.
University of Florida, Gainesville, Cosmic Nexus of the Universal Matrix
"'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds!" --Malaclypse the Younger