Ah, I love it when I see one of my thoughts reflected in someone else's brain. This helps me keep in mind that we humans are wonderfully alike, as well as wonderfully different.
I write a regular Strange Up Salem column in our town's alternative paper, Salem Weekly. (Feel free to give this effort to lift the blah-curse on my home town a Facebook like.)
With marijuana legalization on the ballot in Oregon, in the most recent issue my theme was "A Strange Reason to Legalize Marijuana." Here's how I started off the piece:
Here’s a news flash from the front page of modern neuroscience: “You don’t exist.” At least, not in the way most people believe they do.
We feel as if we look out upon the world as a detached ethereal consciousness floating behind our eyes, inside our head. We feel as if we’re a weightless self or soul inhabiting a body.
These feelings are wrong. The sense of self is an illusion. You, me, and everyone else are billions of neurons woven together via trillions of electrochemical connections.
Marvelously, the brain tells itself stories about how it is other than it is.
Then, not long after, I watched a new video by Andrea Diem-Lane and David Lane, "Near-Death Experiences: Neural Projections and Staying Alive." The first line of narration is...
The brain tricks us into believing something is real, when it is not, provided that such trickery gives it a survival advantage.
If I believe that I am a separate unique self, precious beyond compare, I'm going to fight harder to defend myself when attacked. Physically or psychologically, doesn't matter. Nobody messes with valuable Me.
Likewise, the short video convincingly argues that many (or most?) near-death experiences are the brain's way of telling itself, "Dude, life is really worth living. Fight to stay alive!"
The Lane's have a strong connection with India, so some of the examples are from that sub-continent. I liked how one woman devoted to her guru didn't see a vision of him when she nearly died, but rather was wowed by a Holy Chapati.
It reminded her that she had cooking duties to attend to back on Earth.
Have a look.
I'll share my entire Strange Up Salem column as a continuation to this post.