Neurosciences of Religion: Meditation, Entheogens, Mysticisim

Neurosciences of Religion: Meditation, Entheogens, Mysticisim

How the Neurosciences Explain Religion or Not

by Felix Larocca

We already know how humans evolved as hunter-gatherers and how our genetic, mental, and behavioral nature was conditioned by and for this kind of life, even as we now live in a very different environment of our techno-cultural creation.  We considered how evolution had shaped our predispositions for religion and what functions and dysfunctions religion might have played in our species’ history.  We were introduced to the idea that the human mind was modular, that there were instinctive dispositions that then developed in conjunction with social and environmental factors into various inference systems in our brains.  Religion, we were told, could be understood as a potent combination of these different inference systems in our evolved brains – agency detection, ontological categories, intuitive physics, intuitive psychology, pollution-contagion templates, memory-recall patterns, and so forth, all assembled and accessed as independent mental modules.

In this entry, we are going to examine the human brain directly to see how the cognitive neurosciences try to understand and explain religious and spiritual experiences.  And we note first that there has been a tremendous amount of new research and new insights into the working of the human brain in the last few decades.  Powerful new tools also allow us to examine the function of healthy human brains and these tools have recently been used to study the brain functions of Buddhist monks, Catholic nuns, Pentecostals speaking in tongues, and others. Read more of this post

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(VIDEO) – John Major Jenkins – On 2012 & The Galactic Alignment

John Major Jenkins – On 2012 & The Galactic Alignment

John Major Jenkins is an independent researcher who has devoted himself to reconstructing ancient Mayan cosmology and philosophy. In these short clips, Jenkins talks about the difference between his areas of research, including the galactic alignment. Jenkins also discusses his thoughts of 2012 as an “endpoint” of history as we know it.

The Search for an Endangered Mushroom That Could Cure Smallpox, TB and Bird Flu

The Search for an Endangered Mushroom That Could Cure Smallpox, TB and Bird Flu

By Andy Isaacson, Mother Jones
Posted on December 29, 2009, Printed on January 1, 2010
http://www.alternet.org/story/144856/

IN THE OLD-GROWTH forests of the Pacific Northwest grows a bulbous, prehistoric-looking mushroom called agarikon. It prefers to colonize century-old Douglas fir trees, growing out of their trunks like an ugly mole on a finger. When I first met Paul Stamets, a mycologist who has spent more than three decades hunting, studying, and tripping on mushrooms, he had found only two of these unusual fungi, each time by accident — or, as he might put it, divine intervention.

Stamets believes that unlocking agar­i­kon’s secrets may be as important to the future of human health as Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillium mold’s antibiotic properties more than 80 years ago. And so on a sunny July day, Stamets is setting off on a voyage along the coastal islands of southern British Columbia in hopes of bagging more of the endangered fungus before deforestation or climate change irreparably alters the ecosystems where it makes its home. Agarikon may be ready to save us — but we may have to save it first.

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