Science Magazine

Dissociative Soul Flights

Posted on the 25 February 2011 by Cris

Out of body experiences are a human universal. Why? Because human brains are constructed in a way that enables such perceptions. Dreaming, drug use, and near death experiences regularly give rise to such experiences. Recreational users of ketamine are quite familiar with the experience, and none of these people are operating under the illusion that their experience is spiritual. How a person interprets the sensation of being outside the body will largely depend on the context and culture in which it occurs.

In pre-state societies, shamans deliberately induced altered states of consciousness and engaged in what have been termed “soul flights.” For Christians, such experiences are often cited as evidence there is a soul inhabiting the body. For those living in societies where reincarnation is a major belief, such experiences are taken as proof of recurrent life.

As Richard Alleyne reports, scientists using virtual technology have been able to reliably replicate this dissociative experience:

Throughout history people have described how they have floated from their bodies and looked back at themselves, often when close to death or on the operating table.

The accounts have been so vivid that they are often cited as proof of the existence of the soul or Heaven.

But scientists now claim they have dispelled this myth by artificially creating an out-of-body experience using computers and cameras.

They believe the feeling of detachment occurs when the brain becomes confused by conflict between the senses – and is not proof of any “spiritual dimension” to existence.

Out of body experiences result, in other words, from impairment of the temporal-parietal regions of the brain, which have long been known to be association areas. The avatars of Tron are not souls — they are the brain being tricked.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Dark Night of the Soul: the Art of Felix Meseck

    Dark Night Soul: Felix Meseck

    Felix Meseck was born in Danzig in 1883, and died in Holzminden in 1955. Meseck studied at the Fine Art Academies in Berlin and Königsberg, studying painting... Read more

    By  Adventuresintheprinttrade
    ART & DESIGN, CULTURE
  • Song Speculation True Blood Season 4 Episode 11 “Soul of Fire”

    Song Speculation True Blood Season Episode “Soul Fire”

    Since we now know the title for the Season 4, Episode 11 is “Soul of Fire”, as is our practice, we like to speculate about what song will be chosen by True... Read more

    By  Thevault
    CELEB, ENTERTAINMENT
  • Flights of Fancy

    Flights Fancy

    Reflecting recently on Marrakesh --really detailing everything a gardening friend needs to see -- I decided that the Jardin Majorelle comes pretty close to the... Read more

    By  Elizabethwix
    DESTINATIONS, TRAVEL
  • Soul Saturdays: 4 Life Perspectives

    Last week at the Skirt! Magazine Writer's Conference, a very cool, inspirational woman named Michelle Goss. Her message was about the four life perspectives tha... Read more

    By  Shawndrarussell
    DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Gandhi’s Dualism and Homer’s Soul

    Gandhi’s Dualism Homer’s Soul

    No stranger to the existential angst arising from the meta-and-physical dichotomy of sacred/profane, the inimitable Christopher Hitchens evaluates similar... Read more

    By  Cris
    DEBATE, RELIGION
  • Soul Saturday: Parenthood (the Tv Show)

    I am not a parent, but this show is about everything, not just parenting. I usually cry at the end of every episode, but not in a sad, this-is-depressing way bu... Read more

    By  Shawndrarussell
    DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • The Soul of John Black - Good Thang

    Soul John Black Good Thang

    Big generalization.I don't like R B, but I love Soul.The difference? Well . . . it's soul. Soul has it. R B doesn't. In my small, over-generalizing mind, sou... Read more

    By  Ripplemusic
    MUSIC

Magazine