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InvisibleRebelSteve33
Amateur Mycologist
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Registered: 05/28/02
Posts: 3,774
Loc: Arizona
An Experience of Heightened Awareness
    #711905 - 06/29/02 09:07 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

The following passage comes from the book Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey by Jane Goodall. As most of you probably know, Jane Goodall lived with chimpanzees for a good part of her life and brought about a lot of change in the scientific community with her findings. She has written several books about her life and her experiences, there have been articles about her in National Geographic, and I believe there were also a couple of TV programs about her.

In this passage, she has been following a group of chimpanzees throughout a forest in Africa by herself all day. She has just recently returned to the forest and the chimpanzees after going through several hardships in her life. She finds comfort and solace in being with the chimpanzees in the forest, and that is why she has returned to them.

Here is the passage:

"Lost in awe at the beauty around me, I must have slipped into a state of heightened awareness. It is hard -- impossible, really -- to put into words the moment of truth that suddenly came upon me then. Even the mystics are unable to describe their brief flashes of spiritual ecstasy. It seemed to me, as I struggled afterward to recall the experience, that self was utterly absent: I and the chimpanzees, the earth and trees and air, seemed to merge, to become one with the spirit power of life itself. The air was filled with a feathered symphony, the evensong of birds. I heard new frequencies in their music and also in the singing insects' voices -- notes so high and sweet I was amazed. Never had I been so intensely aware of the shape, the color of individual leaves, the varied patterns of the veins that made each one unique. Scents were clear as well, easily identifiable: fermenting, overripe fruit; water-logged earth; cold, wet bark; the damp odor of chimpanzee hair and, yes, my own too. And the aromatic scent of young, crushed leaves was almost overpowering. I sensed a new presence, then saw a bushbuck, quietly browsing upwind, his spiraled horns gleaming and his chestnut coat dark with rain.
Suddenly a distant chorus of pant-hoots elicited a reply from Fifi [one of the chimpanzees]. As though wakening from some vivid dream I was back in the everyday world, cold, yet intensely alive. When the chimpanzees left, I stayed in that place -- it seemed a most sacred place -- scribbling some notes, trying to describe what, so briefly, I had experienced. I had not been visited by the angels or other heavenly beings that characterize the visions of the great mystics of the saints, yet for all that I believe it truly was a mystical experience."

What do you think? When I read that the first time, I got that tingly feeling all over my body, like every single one of my hairs was standing on end. It is just a truly amazing description of a real state of heightened awareness, coming from a respectable and intelligent woman. I hope that one day, I too can experience something like this. What are your thoughts?

-RebelSteve


--------------------
Namaste.


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Anonymous

Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #711937 - 06/29/02 09:18 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

What do I think? I think that respectable is a highly subjective term relying on the opinion of a mass of people. Therefore, it deserves its due attention, and no more. Intelligent? Yes, I agree. But I think that mystical states rely on the intelligence of the person. I do not think that dolts have visions. I further think that Dr. Goodall promotes junk science based on her desire to perpetuate myths that were constructed for her in college. The basis for all good science is objectivity. Without it very little can be learned.

The best mystical state is called, "Reality". I heartily recommend it to those unfamiliar with it.


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InvisibleRebelSteve33
Amateur Mycologist
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Registered: 05/28/02
Posts: 3,774
Loc: Arizona
Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: ]
    #711981 - 06/29/02 09:30 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

I further think that Dr. Goodall promotes junk science based on her desire to perpetuate myths that were constructed for her in college. The basis for all good science is objectivity. Without it very little can be learned.

Mr. Mushrooms- These are some strong words about someone who you obviously do not know much about. Dr. Goodall received no training at a university whatsoever. This is one of the reasons she is so famous; because she had no formal scientific training whatsoever, but she has made some very signifcant discoveries in the world of science. The only school she attended was a nursing school for a short while.
Originally, she went to Africa to visit a friend who she had known from nursing school. While in Africa, she met Lewis Leakey and became good friends with him. Leakey was a scientist who was interested in doing a research program with the chimpanzees in Gombe. Jane Goodall always had a love for animals, and one day while she talked to Leakey about his plans she mentioned "I wish I could do that."
All along, Leakey had been hoping Jane would say something like that. He knew she had no formal training, but he thought that would be good for the research program that he intended BECAUSE of the fact that she would be objective in her findings. And so that is how she went to Gombe to live with the chimps.

-RebelSteve


--------------------
Namaste.


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Anonymous

Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #712087 - 06/29/02 10:01 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

"Strong words" is a subjective interpretation, is it not? The fact that Dr. Goodall never attended college does not belie the fact that she was indoctrinated. The evidence for her indoctrination is abundant in her writings. Dr. Goodall lacks the objectivity necessary for good science. She spends most of her time noticing the similiarities between chimps and humans without coming to terms with the decidely wide disparity between them. The next time someone sees a chimp writing a history, composing a symphony, or leading a religious service they would have something of real value to report to us. I appreciate your lesson in her biography. I was unfamiliar with her lack of formal training.

I take it that you resonate with her "mystical musings". Well and good. Others have been demystified of their leanings, and for the better I might add. It has been my experience that reality is the best teacher. That which is contained in it does not change. The laws of logic are immutable. I prefer a more concrete roadmap when navigating the realm where I exist.


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InvisibleRebelSteve33
Amateur Mycologist
Male

Registered: 05/28/02
Posts: 3,774
Loc: Arizona
Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: ]
    #712835 - 06/30/02 11:03 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

I posted this thread for comment's on Jane's experience, not on for comments on her as a person. I personally feel she is one of the most objective scientists of our time and has made a lot of great contributions. She was the first to record chimps using tools, which made us dramatically rethink the way in which we differentiate man from all other animals. She also recorded them waging war on each other in a very human-like way, which was another important observation from her work. I think that what Jane did for science and the way we think about animals and humans is just as important as our supposed landing on the moon.

But all that is besides the point... Does anyone have comments on Jane's experience. In parts it sounds almost like a strong mushroom trip (ego-loss, increase in senses), but it was not drug induced whatsoever. Is this proof that we can experience things even stronger than a mushroom trip without any foreign substance whatsoever? Just our minds?
For me it is.

-RebelSteve


--------------------
Namaste.


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OfflineShroomalicious
You may say I'ma dreamer...

Registered: 06/20/02
Posts: 319
Loc: The Shire
Last seen: 13 years, 11 months
Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #713164 - 06/30/02 01:45 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Does anyone have comments on Jane's experience. In parts it sounds almost like a strong mushroom trip (ego-loss, increase in senses), but it was not drug induced whatsoever. Is this proof that we can experience things even stronger than a mushroom trip without any foreign substance whatsoever? Just our minds?

Man, I meditate at least once a day. Zazen meditation is designed to turn all your energy inside you and then relax and make your mind blank, get rid of all your opinions and preferences, etc. So, once you have done that then you can truly look at yourself (and in turn, others) subjectively. They refer to it as "centered" but having done it dozens of times it is nearly identical to Ego Death, the only real difference is that you are far more comfortable and calm so it is not so tramadic. Heightened senses comes along with this. Just as severly depressed patience have been proven to see less color, people more in tune with life tend to see deeper more vibrant colors with better detail. It may sound far fetched but it worked almost instantly for me and it continues to work everytime I do it.

Dr. Goodall was out in nature for so long that I would be surprised if she didn't experience at least some of this "in-tuneness".

You should try some Zazen my friend.


--------------------
Shroomalicious - :smile: I love you and in doing so I love myself, because we ARE all one :smile: - "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves the whole world blind and toothless". - Mahatma Ghandi


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Anonymous

Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: Shroomalicious]
    #714576 - 07/01/02 12:01 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

When i first heard about her, when i was little on pbs, i thought how happy she must be to live in nature, with the chimps and how one day i would like to join her.
But recently my bro told me she got murdered.
Or was that the other monkey lady?


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OfflineShroomalicious
You may say I'ma dreamer...

Registered: 06/20/02
Posts: 319
Loc: The Shire
Last seen: 13 years, 11 months
Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: Anonymous]
    #714700 - 07/01/02 01:07 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

You are thinking about Dian Fossey (no E in her name). She worked with Gorillas not with monkeys . She was killed by poachers after she burnt down their village I believe (because they killed some Gorillas she loved), there is some movie about her, though I have not seen it.


--------------------
Shroomalicious - :smile: I love you and in doing so I love myself, because we ARE all one :smile: - "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves the whole world blind and toothless". - Mahatma Ghandi


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Anonymous

Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #714885 - 07/01/02 04:40 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

In reply to:

I personally feel she is one of the most objective scientists of our time and has made a lot of great contributions. She was the first to record chimps using tools, which made us dramatically rethink the way in which we differentiate man from all other animals. She also recorded them waging war on each other in a very human-like way, which was another important observation from her work. I think that what Jane did for science and the way we think about animals and humans is just as important as our supposed landing on the moon.




I hold the oppposite opinion. I believe what she did was further confuse the issue about the primacy of man. We have also found out that animals using "tools" is common throughout the animal kingdom. Even birds do it. The cognitive leap between perceptual abstraction, which is what animals use, and conceptual abstraction, which is what humans use, is quantum. Jane Goodall is one of many who try to make a monkey out of man. The objective facts in her case have fallen err to erroneous subjective interpretation. Of course that is just my subjective interpretation and, as you say, does not address the issue you were asking about.

As to her experience in the forest I would say that it bears a strong resemblance to a mushroom induced state of consciousness. She experienced a break with reality. There are many ways of inducing such a state, hers was in no way unusual. Does it provide "proof" that we can experience without any foreign subtance? Well, I like to use the word evidence (this isn't math or pure logic). Yes, I agree with you. The usefulness of such states are debatable. Fantasy is a good place to hide from reality if nothing else.



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Offlinefrogsheath
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Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #718093 - 07/02/02 03:09 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

I really liked her description of the moment. It was a vivid picture --complete with smells, sounds, tactile sensations etc.. I have felt this before. Not quite the same way but similar. It is basically a deep appreciation of nature. The oneness she talks about is subjective. It is a BEAUTIFUL awareness which experiences the miracle of life as passionately as it should. God-intoxication is one word someone called it. I will call it MotherNature-intoxication. The oneness is "objective" ultimately anyway. I am still trying to acheive it. Yeah!
peace


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Offlinehongomon
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Registered: 04/14/02
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Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: ]
    #718221 - 07/02/02 04:28 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Mr Mushrooms, I'm intrigued by your treatment of subjectivity. Of course "strong words" comes from RS' subjectivity--just as the latter part of "Others have been demystified of their leanings, and for the better I might add" comes from yours.

But that's okay, right? Our opinions have a place in dialogue. They are accepted with the necessary grain(s) of salt when possible, and challenged when they are not. But even that distinction, between when to respect and when to challenge, cannot entirely escape subjectivity.

I haven't read any of Goodall's more "scientific" writings, and you may be right about her lackings in solid scientific methodology, which must, as you assert, be based in objectivity. In this passage, she is obviously waxing philosophical, but in fairness to Goodall she gave plenty of warning that she might--consider the title of the book. It is unlikely the passage would have made its way to any scientific journal.

However, Goodall does show an awareness of the place of objectivity, even when attempting to relay a "mystical" experience. She mentions scents, colors, shapes, sounds, pitches--stimuli to the senses. When we experience reality (damn these presuppositions!) it is through our senses.

Anyway, it rings true for me, as well, as I have felt that "oneness". Even if it is a momentary detatchment from "reality" (entheogenic plants are usually involved in my case), it is still a beautiful, transcendent thing. And subjective enough to be held dear within and shared with care.


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OfflineTraveller
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Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #719388 - 07/03/02 02:28 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

if you hang around in environments where you are the only human enough you are bound to experience states like this eventually, i think. going camping with the expectation of "mystical states" could well be counter-productive but it seems to happen quite often to me that when i go exploring in forests (especially when there is a river around) i start off making lots of noise and generally acting like a damn city-human but usually something will stop me, a sight or a sound or a thought and suddenly there I am! or rather there everything is. every time after it happens i feel super-energized and peaceful, i feel like a real human being, like that's how life should be and how i want my life to be. i reckon if you want to experience "mystical states" (obviously there are many different kinds, or levels maybe?) just go hang out in forests by yourself and try to be really really quiet.


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Anonymous

Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: hongomon]
    #719485 - 07/03/02 05:47 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Great post hongomon!!! Unfortunately a reply would require more time than I have today. One of my best friends is up from Florida and I haven't seen him in ten years. After answering a few posts I will probably be off the net for the rest of the day.

I'll try to get back to it tomorrow.


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: Traveller]
    #721391 - 07/03/02 10:37 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Traveller I know what you mean! It doesn't take as long as one might think to "blend" in with the forest--creatures start going about their lives right near you in no time.

What island in South Thailand were you on?


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OfflineTraveller
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Re: An Experience of Heightened Awareness [Re: hongomon]
    #721404 - 07/03/02 10:42 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Koh Phangan


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