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OfflineSeussA
Error: divide byzero

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 04/27/01
Posts: 23,480
Loc: Caribbean
Last seen: 28 days, 2 hours
Altered states from a nobel prize winner
    #571269 - 03/06/02 07:47 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

I just finished reading the chapter "Altered States" in the book "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman" written by Richard Feynman. Dr. Feynman won the nobel prize in physics, worked on the atomic bomb during WWII, taught at Cornell and Caltech, etc... a pretty smart and talented guy.

Anyway, in the chapter he talks about how he always wanted to try drugs to see what a hallucination was like, but didn't want to risk messing up his brain. He started using an isolation tank and this is what he had to say:

... And so I realized that things are stored [in our memory] according to the location where you had the experience. I felt pretty good about this discovery, and came out of the tank, had a shower, got dressed, and so forth, and started driving to Hughes Aircraft to give my weekly lecture. It was therefore about forty-five minutes after I came out of the tank that I suddenly realized for the first time that I hadn't the slightest idea of how memories are stored in the brain; all I had was a hallucination as to how memories are stored in the brain! What I had "discovered" had nothing to do with the way memories are stored in the brain; it had to do with the way I was playing games with myself.

[...snip...]

I had considerable discussion with the various people there about the reality of experiences. They argued that something is considered real, in experimental science, if the experience can be reproduced. Thus when many people see golden globes that talk to them, time after time, the globes must be real. My claim was that in such situations there was a bit of discussion previous to going into the tank about the golden globes, so when the person hallucinating, with his mind already thinking about golden globes when he went into the tank, sees some approximation of the globes - maybe they're blue, or something - he thinks he's reproducing the experience.

[...snip...]

I believe there's nothing in hallucinations that has anything to do with anything external to the internal psychological state of the person who's got the hallucination. But there are nevertheless a lot of experiences by a lot of people who believe there's reality in hallucinations. The same general idea may account for a certain amount of success that interpreters of dreams have. [...snip...] So I think that, perhaps, the interpretation of hallucinations and dreams is a self-propagating process: you'll have a general, more or less, success at it, especially if you discuss it carefully ahead of time.


--------------------
Just another spore in the wind.


Edited by Seuss (03/06/02 07:49 AM)


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Offlinesaturnalone
Stranger
Registered: 03/06/02
Posts: 8
Last seen: 14 years, 8 months
Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: Seuss]
    #572001 - 03/07/02 12:35 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

http://shroomery.org/wwwthreads/files/25911-saturn1.jpg

When he says "but didn't want to risk messing up his brain" he missed the picture big time. His whole brain/life was "eductated and programmed" from 1st grade on up. I lose all respect for the guy because he thinks his brain was not messed with. In my opinion he is an egoist. He thinks his personal studies and knowledge, and the system he follows, is correct and could in no way be wrong. Typical mistake every scientist has made since early times. Another loser.


--------------------
:wink:


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Anonymous

Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: saturnalone]
    #572045 - 03/07/02 01:30 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

He might have missed things that you or I welcome or may seek via ethnogenic substances, but
this does not mean he was not aware of cultural or educational programming which may have
affected him. What I get out of this is that he was concerned about neurological damage that may
result from ingesting these substances.

From the few things I've read and heard of the guy he was a brilliant and sometimes unorthodox
individual. By expressing the opinion that the man was a loser you enlighten others more about
yourself than you do about the one you disparage.


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Offlinealphatrion
journeyman
Registered: 08/01/01
Posts: 64
Last seen: 12 years, 4 months
Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: ]
    #572069 - 03/07/02 01:52 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

saturnalone and evolving - i think you are both right. scientists usually fall for the trap that you shouldn't cross over to the other side - giving up an objective worldview - because you will become less objective. which in my experience is exactly the opposite. So he is a looser in a way, being so intelligent and not taking the quantum leap.
on the other hand - this man has been on television an made a good impression on me and others, some actually learned somethings... also he did top quality research... so he IS a hero. Did we accomplish comparable things in the public arena (which is not everything i know, but a lot).

His lectures happened to be on my television years ago - but to actually understand was a bit difficult, so i was more looking at the way he taught (excellent!).
For anyone who didn't know there are mp3's flying around the net of feynman lectures (theoretical physics). search on winmx, kazaa or any other of your fav p2p clients.


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: ]
    #572087 - 03/07/02 02:07 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

He was an arsehole. What is he doing giving an opinion on something he knows nothing about? What's scientific about that? When he's eaten 5 dried grams instead of lying in the bath for half an hour he might be worth listening to.

And if he thinks mushrooms mess up your brain we know he's clueless anyway.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: Xlea321]
    #572124 - 03/07/02 02:45 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

And if he thinks mushrooms mess up your brain we know he's clueless anyway.

For some it does as evidenced by this Erowid Trip Report

...As things darkened in my mind (and in the woods), My friend--a hellova nice guy--began to take on evil dimensions to me. I backed away from him as the fear crept in. Things began to get bad and I told him so--he just kept saying that I was tripping and to think mellow thoughts. In another hour I was in the tent, gripping the covers, trying to keep from falling up into the night sky, rolling in terror. When my friend finally came into the tent, I told him not to let me leave the tent or I would smash my head on a rock until I bled to death. I meant it. He tied a string from his toe to the tent zipper opening so that he would wake if I left. I suffered hard until daybreak. Fear.

By morning, the world looked completely different--as it does to anyone who suffers clinical depression--a brain drained of serotonin--the inability to feel pleasant in any sense of the word from any stimulus.

I suffered this for weeks--never came out of it. Tried several antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs prescribed by quack family doctors who dont know shit about the mind. Lost my job because of my panic attacks and depression. Lay in bed for months.

Finally checked into a clinic and went through a real psychiatrist who prescribed prozac for a year. I remember being able to do nothing but cry in his waiting room in front of other people who just stared. I am not in any way emotional, but the chemical imbalance that existed after the trip turned me into a simpering mass of liquid emotion, fear, and blackness. There are no words to describe the place I was in.


If anyone experiences this all too frequent and long-lasting result of a bad trip, go to a real psychiatrist and get on Prozac--or the latest equivalent. Take long walks. The houses, cars and trees will seem evil to you--ignore them. Trust people who want to help you. Stay off of caffeine and alcohol while on the antidepressants. Eat healthy. Forget self-treating with beer, etc., it will just make it worse. And for God's sake don't do anything stupid--you will recover in time. I did. I have been back from Hell for years now, and in a way i'm glad it happened because it was a death and rebirth experience for me. Would never wish it on my worst enemy though.



--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisiblePynchon
Slow Learner

Registered: 04/28/01
Posts: 578
Loc: New Zealand
Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: Xlea321]
    #572258 - 03/07/02 06:40 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Feynman was far from an arsehole, or an egoist. Check out his book _The Meaning Of It All_ , in which he gives a good overview of the scientific method and explains how otherwise intelligent people can be sucked into believing in astrology and the like (he does it a little more gently than Swami)...

He used to go to strip clubs to sketch the expressions on the faces of the men, so it's not like he was some evil scientist guy, he was a bongo-playing, pervert-painting genius.

>When he's eaten five dried grams instead of lying in the bath for half an hour he might be worth listening to

Are you saying that the hallucinations you experience from five grams of shrooms are somehow more valid than his isolation tank "trip"?

>And if he thinks mushrooms mess up your brain we know he's clueless anyway

If you think your hallucinations are real, then something has sure messed your brain up.


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Offlinerum
Stranger
Registered: 03/07/02
Posts: 21
Last seen: 14 years, 7 months
Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: Seuss]
    #572296 - 03/07/02 09:04 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

you also aren't placing yourself in the time of his life: they didn't honestly know yet if LSD/shrooms could affect your brain in hazardous, permenant ways; studies had not 1) been done 2) been conclusive.

And then once the pyschadelics studies came out, there was tons of controversy there: the "respected" sci community actually charged the LSD-alcoholic treatment therapists with the idea that the 80% success rate was merely a halucination induced by the LSD. :P

so don't be so harsh, he's a brilliant man: besides his own genius, he revolutionized the system of edu and teaching (well, he did, but as our--in the us--edu system is crap for k-12, it didn't funnel that far down :P


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: Swami]
    #572527 - 03/07/02 03:37 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Swami, if that's all the evidence you've got for mushrooms messing up your brain it's not really worth discussing is it.

1) No idea what the guys mental condition was already.
2) No idea if the mushrooms caused what he thinks they caused.
3) No idea if the report is even true.



--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: Pynchon]
    #572534 - 03/07/02 03:43 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

Are you saying that the hallucinations you experience from five grams of shrooms are somehow more valid than his isolation tank "trip"?

Well I'm saying that before you start casting judgements on altered states you need a little more experience of them than laying in the bath for half an hour. It's like me reading quantum physics for dummies and then writing an article saying "This quantum physics is all a load of poppycock"

If you think your hallucinations are real, then something has sure messed your brain up.

If all you experience with drugs is "hallucinations" i'd stop taking them and do something more productive with your time.




--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: rum]
    #572543 - 03/07/02 03:52 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

you also aren't placing yourself in the time of his life: they didn't honestly know yet if LSD/shrooms could affect your brain in hazardous, permenant ways; studies had not 1) been done 2) been conclusive.

That's fine, if you don't want to take them then don't take them. No-one's going to be upset if he doesn't take them are they? Great for Richard. The problem i have is him not taking them and then proclaiming himself the expert on altered states.

Well we had as much reliable info about LSD and shrooms by the early 60's as we have now. With no research being done in the last 35 years the field is pretty much where it was in 1965. When did he write the article? Was it after Wasson's report on mushrooms?


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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Anonymous

Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: Xlea321]
    #572601 - 03/07/02 05:00 PM (14 years, 9 months ago)

I didn't see in the quote where the guy proclaimed that he was an expert on the subject. He merely
stated his beliefs (I take that to mean his opinion) about hallucinations after the experience.

Are you upset because he thought that there was no external reality to hallucinations? Do you
feel that this threatens your belief system because you believe that your drug induced perceptions
are real (they exist outside of your consciousness)?


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: ]
    #573109 - 03/08/02 02:16 AM (14 years, 9 months ago)

He's suggesting that because he's been in the tank once it somehow makes his opinion more valid than if he hadn't. Otherwise, why did he go in the tank in the first place?

As i said, I've never hallucinated from mushrooms. If all you experience is hallucinations I'd forget drugs and move into something worthwhile.

And if you want to argue about the nature of consciousness I'd start quoting guys like Roger Penrose at me rather than this ignoramus feynman.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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Offlinegreenpin
wierdo
Registered: 11/22/01
Posts: 13
Loc: FL, USA
Last seen: 13 years, 9 months
Re: Altered states from a nobel prize winner [Re: Seuss]
    #574088 - 03/09/02 10:37 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

What were some more things about altered states written about by this guy.

Did he ingest any sacraments?
What are some of you peoples views on altered states.
I just take it as is it. Different insights into my life and life come from these different places.

Also, has anyone here seen a face out of the rocks? A rock face, like it was the spirit of the rock.

peace to all,
stoly


--------------------
-stoly


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