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Any pursuit of understanding and meaning requires faith, the acceptance of certain underlying assumptions that are necessary if one is to use a given mode of inquiry. - B. Alan Wallace, Choosing Reality,  p. 3

Source of Visions and Dreams:
A Rational, Scientific Understanding


A major aspect of the bicameral brain-mind paradigm is that the non-self conscious mind is the source for dreams and  visions. Especially but not exclusively when the self conscious mind is partially shut down, for example in sleep, the non-self conscious mind comes forth in creative activity that can be "experienced" and remembered. Occasionally, this activity is so real as to make the person think that they are dealing with objective reality.

One of the latest scientific findings is that hallucinatory drug ingestion has at least three effects that are measurable or quantifiable by brain scanning apparatus and interrogation. These three are 1) The level of blood flow to the brain is increased, 2) The level of reported "experience" is increased, and 3) the overall level of brain activity is decreased. The latter effect at first glance would seem to be incompatible or out of sync with the first two, but this is not really so. The premise that makes these three all consonant is that decreased activity of the self conscious mind always opens the door for more non-conscious mind "experience".

This premise is compatible with the cases of Partial Complex Seizure Syndrome. In these cases many of the patients during the seizure have vivid "visions" with dramatic experiences that they clearly are not having in the real world. It is overwhelmingly plausible to think that the seizure is interfering with the normal brain activity, and therefore plausible to think that this reduction may open the arena for greater non-conscious mind activity.

So, operating within the bicameral brain-mind paradigm we have a number of related mechanisms where the common denominator is reduced conscious mind activity that would induce altered states of consciousness, hallucinations, dreams and supra-normal visions. These would include but not be limited to:

  • Hypnosis
  • Sleep
  • Fevers
  • Hallucinatory drugs
  • Some types of epileptic or brain seizures
  • Self induced trances
  • Significant changes in the electrical field
  • Religious group fervor
  • Medium to severe psychological stress
  • The prolonged absence of sensory stimulation and input
  • Reduced conscious mind activity induced by music, chants or some other mechanism

All of this of course may be related to the hearing of voices, schizophrenia, and other experiential anomalies. The bottom line is that, given the information above and the range of the experiences and the message's tenor ranging from the joyful and helpful to the bizarre and sinister, it is unreasonable to ascribe these phenomena as originating from God. God and believing in God just no longer needs to be encumbered with this superstitious and pre-scientific age thinking.

One other aspect of this issue of personal, "mystical" experience must be dealt with. Experience is at the foundation of our understanding of reality; thus it cannot nor ever should be denied. When people claim to have these experiences, we should not generally challenge their having had the experience but rather the interpretation of it. It is the interpretation of the origin of the experience that is up for question, not the experience.

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