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Out-of-Body Experience on Demand

timothy posted about 12 years ago | from the wish-it-was-me dept.

Science 72

GT_Alias writes "CNN has an article reporting that some neurology researchers in Switzerland have triggered repeated out-of-body experiences by firing certain electrodes in the patient's brain. It seems that a part of the brain called the angular gyrus, responsible for logic and spatial awareness, triggers the sensation."

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all the time (1)

nocomment (239368) | about 12 years ago | (#4293052)

It's called mescaline...

Re:all the time (1)

sys$manager (25156) | about 12 years ago | (#4293188)

Or Ketamine, or DXM.

Not that I would ever do that.

Re:all the time (2)

littlerubberfeet (453565) | about 12 years ago | (#4293497)

My favorite for out-of-body experiances remains MDMA. Shame it was banned, many psychiatrists found valid use for it

Re:all the time (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4293653)

My favorite for out-of-body experiances remains MDMA. Shame it was banned, many psychiatrists found valid use for it
No offense, but you sir, have no idea what you are talking about. Just ignoring the fact that MDMA inducing an OOB in a way comparable to the dissociatives (DXM, K, PCP) is damn near ridiculous and only makes it clear that you've wanted to use it alot more than you've actually used it - just ignoring that, the psychiatric uses of MDMA had jack shit to do with OOBs. The preminent psychiatric value of MDMA is in it's ability to induce empathy and openess while still maintaining a relatively coherent attachment to the 'normal' world. A very valuable tool when it comes to therapy.

Re:all the time (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | about 12 years ago | (#4294839)

  • No offense, but you sir, have no idea what you are talking about. Just ignoring the fact that MDMA inducing an OOB in a way comparable to the dissociatives (DXM, K, PCP) is damn near ridiculous and only makes it clear that you've wanted to use it alot more than you've actually used it - just ignoring that, the psychiatric uses of MDMA had jack shit to do with OOBs. The preminent psychiatric value of MDMA is in it's ability to induce empathy and openess while still maintaining a relatively coherent attachment to the 'normal' world. A very valuable tool when it comes to therapy.
Sounds like you could use a hit of "empathy and openess" inducing MDMA right about now... :)

Hmmmm (3, Interesting)

zpengo (99887) | about 12 years ago | (#4293074)

That soundly debunks decades of pseudoscientists who claimed that they actually *were* leaving their bodies....

Funny how those decades happened to coincide with eras of particularly heavy drug use!

Re:Hmmmm (2)

sydb (176695) | about 12 years ago | (#4293551)

So why doesn't it demonstrate that the experience is real, and that there are other triggers besides drugs, meditiation and spiritual experiences?

This doesn't 'debunk' anything.

Re:Hmmmm (0)

dameron (307970) | about 12 years ago | (#4293681)

Funny how if something is described and in many instances accurately reported by "pseudoscientists" it gets discounted, but when "real" scientists stumble over it accidentally suddenly they've "discovered" something.

The news here is that the "real" scientists, who for years have claimed out of body experiences were either lies, hoaxes, drug induced hallucinations or intentional self deceptions, have verified an experience paranormal investigators have been describing for a long time.

-dameron

Re:Hmmmm (4, Insightful)

jareds (100340) | about 12 years ago | (#4294047)

The news here is that the "real" scientists, who for years have claimed out of body experiences were either lies, hoaxes, drug induced hallucinations or intentional self deceptions, have verified an experience paranormal investigators have been describing for a long time.

You're confused. Imagining or hallucinating that you're floating outside your body is not paranormal. It's only paranormal if the subject is literally able to see what is going on while their eyes are closed or something. This article did not describe the verification of anything like that. They were able to cause out-of-body experiences, but nothing indicated that they were anything more than hallucinations.

If all paranormal investigators claimed is that people sometimes imagine themselves floating outside their bodies, nobody would have called that "lies, hoaxes, or intentional self deceptions" (I'm sure it could be caused by drugs in some cases, though).

Re:Hmmmm (1, Interesting)

dameron (307970) | about 12 years ago | (#4295198)

If all paranormal investigators claimed is that people sometimes imagine themselves floating outside their bodies, nobody would have called that "lies, hoaxes, or intentional self deceptions" (I'm sure it could be caused by drugs in some cases, though).

Several paranormal investigators have claimed exactly this, but the subject has, despite plenty of research, been laughed out of "serious" academic circles. A good summary on this flavor of research can be found here:

link [charter.net]

When people like Michael Persinger do serious research in "paranormal" areas (and it looks like he came pretty damn close to nailing this neurological/OOBE phenomenon on the head) they get tossed into the "kook" bin.

The typical reaction from skeptics to people reporting OOBEs is to a priori refute the claim, usually stating the subject simply imagined it, or was dreaming, or offering other less satisfying explanations. The reasoning never gets to the point of examining whether the subjects have actually extra-located their consciousnesses or only sincerely believe they have done so, because OOBE's don't exist.

But apparently now they do.

-dameron

Re:Hmmmm (2)

jareds (100340) | about 12 years ago | (#4295323)

You're contradicting yourself, so it's difficult to argue with you.

I wrote: "If all paranormal investigators claimed is that people sometimes imagine themselves floating outside their bodies..."

You wrote: "Several paranormal investigators have claimed exactly this, but the subject has, despite plenty of research, been laughed out of "serious" academic circles." and "The typical reaction from skeptics to people reporting OOBEs is to a priori refute the claim, usually stating the subject simply imagined it.... because OOBE's don't exist"

If stating that the subject imagined it is the reaction from skeptics, why would claims that people imagine it be laughed out of academic circles?

I'm afraid I don't understand what you're saying. One cannot say, and I doubt anyone does, that an experience does not exist because it was merely imagined. One can deny that the experience corresponded to reality: the person may have been dreaming, imagining, or hallucinating. However, making such a claim does not deny that the person experienced what they did.

Also, who has called Persinger a kook? I thought his work was well-regarded by skeptics.

Re:Hmmmm (2, Informative)

dameron (307970) | about 12 years ago | (#4295537)

If stating that the subject imagined it is the reaction from skeptics, why would claims that people imagine it be laughed out of academic circles?

I don't know why, but it happens. It's circular logic and probably springs from a prejudice on the part of skeptics (or in Persinger's case because he has expanded his theories to include explanations of UFO sightings, and having anything to do with UFOs will get you branded a kook).

To skeptics 1) OOBE aren't real, thus 2) reports of OOBE must be imagined or faked. 3) Trying to fit OOBE into a traditional scientific framework (even if the claims are that OOBE are imagined, not what Persinger claims btw) the research is discounted because 1)OOBE aren't real.

I know it doesn't make sense, but it happens alarmingly frequently on the fringes of science. That Persinger's research has gone essentially unnoticed but a chance discovery by "legitimate" scientists gets CNN's attention is typical.

I could go on about this for hours, but sorry to be less than clear earlier. If I find an article that better sums up my position I'll either post it here or post a link.

-dameron

so are they really using electrodes... (1)

ktulus cry (607800) | about 12 years ago | (#4293100)

or hits of acid?

all the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4293173)

It's called mescaline...

Hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4293189)

That soundly debunks decades of pseudoscientists who claimed that they actually *were* leaving their bodies....
Funny how those decades happened to coincide with eras of particularly heavy drug use!

Re:Hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4293253)

Funny how this looks like this [slashdot.org] comment.

Control Seizures with Electricity (1)

greenhide (597777) | about 12 years ago | (#4293193)

Michael Crichton's Terminal Man directly addressed the idea of using electric shocks to control seizures. Of course, in the book, the dude goes apeshit because like a kiddie and an open cookie jar, he just can't get enough of the electric shocks and then I think he goes on a killing spree or something. Fairly typical Crichton stuff.

I hope research like this gets us to understand more about how the brain works, but I can't help feeling that there might still be something to this "out of body" experience. After all, some accounts describe people who actually "saw" things during their out-of-body experience that were later corroborated by other people who were in the same room.

Finally, and this is the truth, you can actually purchase an Astral Projection kit. [lunamyst.com] Just think of how this new discovery will hurt their business!

'see' things during an OoBE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4296433)

How could they see things?
What people seem to forget it that when they their conciousness leaves their bodies behind, they also leave behind their senses, their eyes in particular. So how could they 'see' anything during their experience?

In fact, come to think of it, how did they know their conciousness left their bodies at all? Mine could be sitting a few miles away while I write this, whereas my eyes are right in front of the screen. Actually that would explain lots of things, like why I'm so slow in the mornings. My conciousness goes walkabout during the night, and in the morning I have latency problems...?

Re:Control Seizures with Electricity (1)

JumpingBull (551722) | about 12 years ago | (#4298187)

The terminal man, if memory serves, was about using electric shocks for (negative) neural feedback to control seizures.

Problem was, the neural pathway in the person so wired, included a strong masochistic pathway - so instead of a purely negative feedback, the behavior had a positive feedback overtone. The resultant behavior was not pretty, as I recall...

Now fiddling with the limbic system via wires has yet to be achieved as a regular diagnostic practice.

How is this potentially related to the Slashdot crowd?

There are the psychoactive prescription drugs, that seem to be increasingly popular, and are certainly profitable, with potentially similar effects on affects, as the recent article on the post-Columbine lawsuit is alleging.

It would be probably a good idea that a specialist in psychiatry do the monitoring/ prescription of these substances - most of which do not have the longer history of the illegal psychedelics and other mood altering drugs. The family physician may not realize the severity of some of the side effects.

Perhaps there is no quick fix for that class of problem. But YMMV...

outlaw it! (1)

Lepruhkawn (199083) | about 12 years ago | (#4293197)

I wonder how long it will take the Bush administration to try and outlaw such experiments.

Re:outlaw it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4293238)

Bush approves of passing electricity through people.

Re:outlaw it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4293310)

Including retarded people.

he'll just declare war on switzerland.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4294968)

bush: stop these experiments now or we'll blow up you.
the swiss: ok no problem we're done now
bush: LIARS! don't let them fool you! we need to get rid of the swiss! it's for the econom^H^H^Hsafety of the world!!!
rest of world: umm no dont do this
bush: what? all i hear is a buzzing noise

so are they really using electrodes... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4293204)

or hits of acid?

I wonder... (3, Interesting)

cornice (9801) | about 12 years ago | (#4293249)

I wonder if this is what ketamine [lycaeum.org] does.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4298432)

naw, Ketamine just makes it REALLY hard to 'interface' with other people. Communication is nearly impossible, but no out-of-body experience.

Wired brain? (1)

DocSnyder (10755) | about 12 years ago | (#4293340)

And, said both Blanke and Gordon, the trauma of having electrodes implanted in one's skull, plus the fear and uncertainty that go along with a complex clinical procedure, could possibly help trigger such a misfiring of information, such as the case of the Geneva patient.


Then it wasn't the electrodes but the fear of becoming a Borg which caused the out-of-body experience.

Awesome (1)

jeramybsmith (608791) | about 12 years ago | (#4293376)

I think this means a whole section of books at Barnes and Noble will need to be moved into the "fiction" section.

are they using electrodes or DMT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4293514)


need further investigation..

Now you too (2, Funny)

Ratso Baggins (516757) | about 12 years ago | (#4293639)

Can enjoy the "Moderator" experience, in the safety of your own home....

Re:Now you too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4293668)

People can be divided into two groups: those who divide people into two groups, and those who do not.

Been there, done that... again (3, Informative)

Mazzaroth (519229) | about 12 years ago | (#4293772)

This has been done before. Wired magazine published an article [wired.com] in november 1999 on this. The reshercher (Michael Persinger [laurentian.ca] , neuropsychologist at Canada's Laurentian University in Sudbury) is doing research on using electromagnetic fields to induce feelings directly in the brain. Induced feelings include sensatgion of God's presence, sensation of out of body experiences, etc.

I remember when I read this article, I was blown away. Something to really make you think... :-)

Re:Been there, done that... again (1)

corey_lawson (562933) | about 12 years ago | (#4297974)

...and in the book, "War in 2020", the Japanese had a technology called "the scrambler" that used EMF waves to bake one's voluntary nervous system. Imagine being completely paralyzed, i.e., you can breathe (that's automatic), but you can't talk, move, etc. You'd get to live out that Metallica song...

Re:Been there, done that... again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4298855)

I've "fallen asleep" a number of times with my eyes open, mind awake, and body asleep. I was paralyzed. It's very strange. (No, I hadn't been drinking or doing any drugs.)

It can be scary if you don't expect it though, which happened to me once or twice.

Re:Been there, done that... again (1)

some guy I know (229718) | about 12 years ago | (#4302581)

This happens to me sometimes when I'm waking up.
I am fully consious, but I can't move any part of my body, except for my eyes and eylids.
The thing is, if I close my eyes and try to move a part of my body, it feels like I'm actually moving it.
I can "get up" and "move" around the room, but if I open my eyes, I'm immediately snapped back to my prone position.
Eventually, I lose consiousness and reawaken a few moments later, this time able to move.

I used to think that the whole experience was a weird dream, but now that I have a clock that I can see from my bed, I've noticed that when I wake up for real, the time is only one or two minutes past what I observed when I was paralyzed.

My geuess is that what is happening is that the mechanism that the body uses to prevent sleepwalking (and other movement while sleeping) has not disengaged like it should when I regain conciousness after sleeping.
Losing consiousness, then reawakening, "resets" the mechanism.

This happens to me several times a year.

Re:Been there, done that... again (1)

tolan's my name (234431) | about 12 years ago | (#4303972)

this happens to me every other day... Sometimes it goes on for hours.

Re:Been there, done that... again (1)

lostPackets (598793) | about 12 years ago | (#4309755)

This is actually a fairly well documented phenomea known as recurrent isolated sleep paralysis. You're correct in you assertion of the chemical cause. During sleep a chemical (don't remember then name) is produced that parlysis skeletal muscles (to prevent acting out dreams).. sometime people start to reawaken before the effects haver worn off.

That said there does seem to be a correlation between RISP and reports of out of body experiences. While not pushing a "spiritual" agenda, OBEs have many aspects that resist a simple answer - so the RISP related symptoms are almost certainly not all of the picture.

Try doing a google search on recurrant isolated sleep paralysis.

Re:Been there, done that... again (1)

Mr Bubble (14652) | about 12 years ago | (#4312822)

Happens to me to.

It's called sleep-paralysis. I can either struggle fiercly or "give up" and sink back into sleep.

I have read that it is a)the body's normal block on neuro-muscular activity when sleeping not disengaging cleanly and b)the "soul" or "astral body" is slightly "out of phase" with the physical body. This being the first step in an OBE.

I also get the rapid, exponentially increasing buzzing sounds, but have never had an OBE and don't know if they are real or not.

As for the thrust of the article, just because these states can be induced, does that mean they aren't "real". I mean, what if moving the consciousness out of the body is just a matter of perception and is akin to flipping a switch? Just because there is a physical activator doesn't deny the experience. The fact that death occurs by physical means is no evidence against the continuation of a soul.

try and think logically (1)

jo-do-cus (597235) | about 12 years ago | (#4293945)

if you think logically about this, it doesnt prove anything. Even if you can trigger any experience in some way, that doesnt mean it is in any way related to 'real' outer-body experiences.

Not that i am trying to deliver some spiritual viewpoint here; i am just trying to say that if you can create something that looks very much like something we know, that doesnt mean it is the same thing or that it came to be in the same way.

So however interesting this may be, it can never be an argument in any science vs. spirituality discussion.

Like most things in science (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 12 years ago | (#4297031)

You're right, it cannot be proven at this time with absolute moral certitude.

However, if you apply Occam's Razor to the situation, "people experience out of body experiences," you have two options:

1) a certain part of the brain is being abnormally stimulated. Stimulating this part of the brain is proven to produce the perception of out-of-body experiences.
2) the subject's soul, which cannot be detected, is leaving his body, and moving about the room.

Option 2 is exceedingly more complex, and therefore far less likely to be the correct choice. Your confidence level is still not 100%, but it approaches it.

Like you, I'm not trying to deliver an anti-spiritual viewpoint (I happen to have an irrational belief in a soul for some reason) but you *can* apply scientific thinking to this situation.

Re:Like most things in science (3, Insightful)

Mazzaroth (519229) | about 12 years ago | (#4298374)

We have to be very carefull with Occam's Razor. This discriminator must be used to order hypothesis, not to rule them out. Moreover, the ordering is highly dependant on the technological level of the observer. And too often, we don't go beyong the first hypothesis in the ordered list.
Let me give you an example: I have a clock on the wall behind me. Here are some hypothesis:
1. A quartz is oscillating by feeding it using white noise generated by a device composed of chemical stuff (battery). The white noise triggers the quartz's natural resonnance frequency. The time is then indicated by a complex set of electronics dividing a quartz oscilation and driving a step motor to which is attached the hands we see.
2. Someone is hiding behing the wall and turning the handles.

Occam's Razor would put the second explanation as the simplest. I don't think it is the right explanation though.

It is not because an explanation is satisfactory that it is the right one. We have to keep an open mind.

Re:Like most things in science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4302724)

If your situation is similar to mine, I think hypothesis 2 should be more like:

Someone has snuck into my house while I was asleep, drilled a large hole in the wall behind my wall clock without me noticing it, attached some mechanism for moving the hands of the clock, and is now sitting there hidden, turning a crack perfectly smoothly for hours on end.

Kinda loses some of its simplicity, eh?

Re:Like most things in science (1)

Mazzaroth (519229) | about 12 years ago | (#4304179)

:-) Depending on my "technology level", this hypothesis (the second one) might be way simpler than the first one, even including the hole in the wall and everrything - and this is my point: Occam's razor is highly dependant on the technology level of the analyst. So are the hypothesis might you answer me. But I might include a "magical" hypothesis on my list (like, in my example, the quartz story, or something fuzzier, or like the soul explanation at the root of this thread). To that, I will use Clark's third law [lsi.usp.br] : Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Sometime, "magic" is the right answer... even if the details are still fuzzy. ;-)

Re:Like most things in science (2)

Doctor Fishboy (120462) | about 12 years ago | (#4311329)

You could rephrase the two statements like this:

1. It's an electronic clock based on well-known electronic processes and principles

2. A quiet introvert who enjoys people having an accurate sense of time placed a clock on a wall and hid himself behind it, and keeps himself supplied with food from an unknown source whilst twiddling the hands using another time reference.

Now it's the first explanation that's the simplest.

I don't like Occam's razor for this reason - I think you can phrase the choices according to your own biased viewpoint. It is only effective when there is a bare minimum of testable information present - lifting the clock off the wall is a simple experiment, whilst OBE's are all about human-percieved experiences, very hard to dispassionately test.

Dr Fish

Re:Like most things in science (1)

Doo-da-man (62202) | about 12 years ago | (#4299725)

Occam's razor [ucr.edu] actually says (in the context of generating hypotheses) "one should not multiply entities beyond necessity." One interpretation of that maxim is "the simplest explanation is best." A good interpretation in some contexts, but not the only interpretation.

Anyway, a soul would be an entity whose existence is postulated unnecessarily if the brain itself can reasonably be postulated as the source of the phenomenon. So, what "simpler" means in this case is fewer entities (and types of entities, such as immaterial souls) that we have to invoke in order to explain something. Not that a soul is somehow more complex than the brain (how would we know?).

A major criticism for any mix of materialistic and spiritual entities having causal relations (such as the one above where someone questioned how we know there isn't a *real* out of body experience that just happens to coincide with a particular kind of cerbral stimulation) is the lack of any means to causally relate a material thing ( even a force) with something spritual. The reverse, having a spritual thing cause things in the material world, is just as problematic.

Re:Like most things in science (2)

pla (258480) | about 12 years ago | (#4301002)

In most cases, I would agree with you. In this specific case, however, consider the cause of such a brain region *existing* in the first place...

1) Contrary to the popular "we only use 10% of our brain" myth, our wetware counts as the single most expensive tissue in our bodies. Any neurons not used for *something* vanish very quickly, both evolutionarily (selection) *and* over the course of our lives (atrophy).

2) Direct electrical stimulation of the brain can also make the subject experience visual effects, vivid recollection of old memories, even orgasm. That does not mean the evoked experience cannot occur in the first place, just that we can artificially makes someone *feel* that experience at will.

Thus, it seems more likely that the existance of this brain region must have some use, either critical to our long-term well-being, or used reasonably often. I wouldn't say we can claim what purpose it serves yet, but now that we've located it, futher studies of what conditions activate it aught to *greatly* increase our knowledge about the entire "out of body experience" phenomena in general.

ah nuts... (0)

bigreddog81 (570519) | about 12 years ago | (#4294006)

I came in here to see some potentially witty comments, but no one has yet made a reference to milako plus synthemesc... :-P

Obligatory Connie Willis - Passage - reference (2)

dpilot (134227) | about 12 years ago | (#4294080)

Good book, too.

Deals with chemically-induced near-death experiences, I suppose in the same realm as out-of-body. One researcher studying the chemical/neurotransmitter side, one studying the meaning of the experience.

What does this prove: (5, Interesting)

dotslash (12419) | about 12 years ago | (#4294114)

Here's an interesting discussion I had with my wife:

"What if stimulating that part of the brain causes *actual* out-of-body experiences rather than just the perception. What if you consciousness is disengaged from your body? How can the researchers tell the difference between *real* and *perceived* out-of-body? Did they ask the subjects to perform a task (such as observe something outside their field of view) that would only be possible in an *actual* out-of-body? Essentially they have proved an causal link between stimulation of this area of the brain and out-of-body experiences. They have not proved that the experience was perceived and not real."

Of course this doesn't mean it's real any more than it means it's just perception. Simply put, the experiement has only shown a causal link, without accurately examining the "effect" that follows the cause. Just because you can trigger it, doesn't mean it's fake. I would like to see them follow up with some tests of the "experience" to determine whether it is a perceptual recreation of the scene from different perspective.

Once they prove this, they will also have only proven that you can trigger "fake" out-of-body. That still does not prove that there is no "real" out-of-body that can occur under other circumstances.

By the way, I don't have any reason to believe in out-of-body being anything more than a perceptual issue, but the science here doesn't address that question.

Re:What does this prove: (3, Interesting)

scaryjohn (120394) | about 12 years ago | (#4296447)

How can the researchers tell the difference between *real* and *perceived* out-of-body?

One's brain mediates everything, every experience, every perception. That is a relatively obvious, but pretty important theory (as in supported by evidence) of cognitive science. You're right; there is no difference between a "real" out-of-body experience or a "percieved" one. The scientists claim not to want to "explain out-of-body experiences away" but they're persistant in pop culture precisely because in the first few cases counselors were either unwilling, or not well-enough versed in cognitive theory to tell the person having the experience that it was their brain going nuts (and sometimes, these patients would go to therapist after therapist until they found such an enabler).

I imagine this finding, if re-tested in a systematic way (which will be damn hard, because the number of people one could ethically stick electrodes into is miniscule) will go a long way towards debunking out-of-body experience as somehow paranormal.

It's just like UFO's. A pannel of scientists back in the late 80's or early 90's (after the Condon report came out) were left to sift through a huge stack of UFO reports... and everyone was waiting for them to come out with a conclusion that these people were all on drugs, or that they were reporting bona fide encounters with aliens. They're conclusion: there was a small kernel of cases where the Flying Objects were indeed Unexplainable... but that these incidents represented an opportunity for physicists and atmospheric scientists to learn new things about Life, the Universe and Everything.

Re:What does this prove: (1)

rkenski (212876) | about 12 years ago | (#4297209)

And what if, following a long philosophical tradition, the perception is in fact the actual reality? What if there is no actual world and all we have is our pont of view on them? There is something like this in Dostoievski's Karamazov, when he says that it doesn't matter if God exists or not, provided you can feel him. Nietszche also said that we build our reality in the same way when we are sleeping and when we are awake. I could quote many other writers and post-structuralists that deal with this problem in the same way, but I'm not with my books right now and I think you already got the point.

I know it is not a popular scientific tradition among americans and, specially, among computer scientists, but it is a pretty interesting line of thought.

It will sure be difficult to show he who had an out-of-body experience that what he saw is an illusion.

Re:What does this prove: (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | about 12 years ago | (#4298203)

> And what if, following a long philosophical tradition, the perception is in fact the actual reality? What if there is no actual world and all we have is our pont of view on them? There is something like this in Dostoievski's Karamazov, when he says that it doesn't matter if God exists or not, provided you can feel him. Nietszche also said that we build our reality in the same way when we are sleeping and when we are awake. I could quote many other writers and post-structuralists that deal with this problem in the same way, but [...]

...in the meantime, what if there was an actual reality? What if there was an actual world, and all we silly hairless apes had to go on is the evidence of our senses, and the ability of our intelligence to interpret the data passed back to us by our senses?

There's something like this in Schrodinger's and Einstein's and Pauli's theories, where you can't tell if the cat's alive or not, provided you don't observe it, and that matter and energy are interchangeable, and that electrons can't occupy any energy state they bloody feel like, but that they exist only in one of a finite number of discrete states at one time, and that you can make 'em jump from one state to another, but you can never shove 'em halfway in between these states.

> I know it is not a popular scientific tradition among americans and, specially, among computer scientists, but it is a pretty interesting line of thought.

I know it is not a popular poststructuralist tradition among academics, and, specifically, among philosophers, but the notion that there exists an objective reality, whose nature can be determined through the scientific method, is also a pretty interesting line of thought.

> It will sure be difficult to show he who had an out-of-body experience that what he saw is an illusion.

A lot of people tried the "objective reality" idea, built devices like transistors, cathode ray tubes, radio and X-ray telescopes, nuclear weapons, and laser keychain pointers based on those principles.

In the meantime, what have postmodernist and poststructuralist theorists brought us, other than graduate papers on postmodernism?

I think the scientist denying the OBE-believer's claim as mere illusion has a much easier time of it than a poststructuralist philosophy student's attempted denial of everything from the 15-kiloton explosion over Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the 0.5 milliwatt HeNe laser reflecting annoyingly off his computer's display after having been aimed there by a couple of wise-ass geeks in the engineering lab across campus.

I can't speak for Dostoevsky, but I think Nietzsche would have been embarassed at you. Who, since Nietzsche's day, has done more to completely redefine our understanding of reality than the scientist? Will to Power, indeed.

Re:What does this prove: (0)

rkenski (212876) | about 12 years ago | (#4300916)

It is easy to tell, by all the rage you've shown, that "will to power" is an important thing for you. You sure deal with post modernism in a very emotional way. I don't know what other post modernists did to you (and I don't want to know, really), but I am not here to destroy the "objective reality" idea that is so precious to you. I just want to present a different point of view, one that has to do with the discussion at stake.

First of all, I am not really sure if reality is objective or subjective. I don't need to. I think both points of view can coexist and be used in different circunstances. It is a much more scientific position. Zealotism is not scientific. Objective reality was useful for building bombs, cars, airplanes and remote controls, but it has several problems to analyse different values and cultures. My proposal, following the parent post's ideas, was that the "subjective reality" idea could be useful for studying "out of body" experiences. It could lead to nothing, but it would be at least an interesting approach on the issue.

Even physics and math can deal with different and contradictory paradigms, why can't philosophy and metaphysics? But then you present "objective reality" as an ultimate truth and "will to power" as its ultimate ethics. If you want to keep on with this "power" approach, go on, bomb the world. Someday, you are going to regret it.

Nietzsche would have been embarassed at you

*laugh* really, did you try to offend me? Nietszche was embarassed at himself!

Re:What does this prove: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4313153)

I think you mistook rkenski for some semi-edicated wishy-washy New Age relativist. Wrong! rkenski has shown (s)he is better educated than you. And I wouldn't be too sure about objective reality. There's an awful lot of doubt and disagreement in QM about how wave collapse should be interpreted; the subjective may be more important than you think.

--ralph dot clark at csfb dot com

Re:What does this prove: (2)

SanLouBlues (245548) | about 12 years ago | (#4299697)

Or just change the environment outside of the patients field of view, but not outside of their fov if they were looking down. Their inability to change the point from whence they perceive themselves does not indicate that they are not perceiving themselves.

It'd also be interesting to see what happens if you put a mirror in front of them: "I see me seeing me!". Or a two way mirror, reflective side up: "I see the ceiling! This is so cool!"

Re:What does this prove: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4302537)

The article says that at one stage the woman thought her legs had become shorter? If you think that by stimulating part of her brain, she may have had an actual out of body experience, I'm sure you think that maybe her legs actually did get shorter too, and the stupid doctors were neglecting her by not grabbing a ruler and measuring her up. This woman was hallucinating. I may dream I live in Queensland, but that doesn't mean that just because nobody saw me leave my bed at night that I may have hopped on a plane and taken off.

so is there any souls exist in human's body? (1)

Pitty (608539) | about 12 years ago | (#4294366)

yeah, exactly, i had this kind of experience too. Especially when I am taking a nap in somewhere, I will see myself sitting in front of the computer and try to type my password. However, I never typed it right though i tried so hard, and I would feel like my eyes just couldnt open to see the keyboard, and then i guess I fell asleep again. I thought at first that my be my soul was wandering around to take a rest... but based on this... well... maybe not, my soul still likes me and doesnt wanna go out.

Re:so is there any souls exist in human's body? (1)

faeryman (191366) | about 12 years ago | (#4294395)

if you would like more control when that happens, you would probally be interested in learning about astral projection.

My professional opinion (1)

therealmoose (558253) | about 12 years ago | (#4294794)

You're fsking NUTS!!!

Re:so is there any souls exist in human's body? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4294976)

one time i picked up the keyboard and typed in my password, but it was for the wrong computer. i switch the monitor switch over, and HEY right there on irc:
root
*********

Re:so is there any souls exist in human's body? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4298967)

I don't think I've quite had this experience, but I've had lucid dreams, and times where my body would be "asleep" but my mind would be awake and alert.

I would like to experience the so-called OBE to see what it's like. Maybe I can try to obtain knowledge of something I don't know about, but has been around for a long time, like the serial number of the fluorescent light fixture in my office. Or watch hot chicks shower.

timothy leary (1)

rizzo420 (136707) | about 12 years ago | (#4294568)

didn't timothy leary discover this a long time ago???

2 of the greatest things to come out of uc berkeley... lsd and bsd unix...

out of body experiences...not Godly (1)

dolphin558 (533226) | about 12 years ago | (#4295196)

http://www.layhands.com/HowToBeCertainOfSalvation. htm http://www.layhands.com/HowToCastOutSpirits.htm

Re:out of body experiences...not Godly (2, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | about 12 years ago | (#4298244)

> http://www.layhands.com/HowToBeCertainOfSalvation. htm
> http://www.layhands.com/HowToCastOutSpirits.htm

1) Gentoo. Build from source.
2) FDISK and install Linux instead.

Re:out of body experiences...not Godly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4302605)

Mod parent up! +1 Funny

Although it is kind of sad that so many people actually believe this crap.
No, really, they do.
And, what is worse, they indoctrinate their children as well, a terrible form of child abuse.

Move over oxygen bars... (1)

OppressiveGiant (558743) | about 12 years ago | (#4295386)

If i could charge $20 a hit for a couple milliwatts of electricity...

Been Around For A While... (1)

dupper (470576) | about 12 years ago | (#4295644)

Freakoligists in the 60's achieved this through liberal use of a miracle chemical, : C20H25N3O

from the wish-it-was-me dept. (3, Funny)

Dannon (142147) | about 12 years ago | (#4296839)

Now, how's about getting those scientists to work on Out Of Work/School/Chores On Demand Experiences? Preferably without those annoying Out Of Money Experience side effects. ;-)

wow, so... (1)

radiashun (220050) | about 12 years ago | (#4298208)

would i be able to make my 8am classes finally? i could just lay there and "be" in class :-)

Re:wow, so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4298994)

Yea, radiashun's here... in spirit! :-)

I've been abducted (1)

espionage_7 (605753) | about 12 years ago | (#4301925)

I dont think they really did an out of body thing. They probably found a way to triger sleep paralysis, which researchers thing is responsible for alien abductions and other shit.

DXM, Depersonalization, and more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4313949)

DXM (Dextromethorphane - commonly found in cough syrups), has been known to creat the feeling of and OBE at very high dosages. DXM metabolizes into a different chemical called DXO which in turn increases ketamine, a chemical responsible for halucinations. Many have had so-called OBEs on high dosages of DXM, yet it is sinply a preception and nothing else.

There is also a mental disorder called Depersonalization that affects sufferers with constant feelings of not being real, being outside of yourself, being trapped in your mind, or being trapped outside of your mind (no, it's NOT schizophrenia), and even having constant OBEs. It has been shown that people with this disorder have certain imbalances of ketamine, serotonin, dopamine, and other neurochemicals that cause these sensations. OBEs are nothing more than the *perception* of being outside of your body, and is considered a specific type of halucination. Other types of OBEs (such as actually floating around the house without your body) are outright halucinations.

Conciousness is simply the sum total of your higher brain functions in your frontal lobe and is not "separate" from "you", therefore there is no such thing as a "real" OBE.
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