I can deal with any amount of this, especially when Thomas Metzinger is involved. It reminds me of the absolute best of Charles Williams. The magus Zoroaster, my dead child,/Met his own image/Walking in the garden. You bet.
Filed under ghosts, the horror
Tagged as ghosts, horror
That was a really interesting article – thanks.
Thank you for this excellent article. I still remember the time when I tried to put in practice Lobsang Rampa’s “teachings”… As it happens, I recently saw “Enter the Void” in Sitges Fantastic Film Festival. In case you don’t know, it’s a nearly 3 hour posthumous out of body experience from the pov of a dying drug dealer: the longest astral journey over Tokyo ever commited to cellulloid. A masterpiece for some, a Calvary’s Way for most (even if it’s based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead).
One of my wife’s colleagues is working on this, and there’s some home-grown talent about, too:
To quote the article;
“Metzinger does have a suggestion. Imagine an episode from a recent holiday. Do you visualise it from a first-person perspective, or from a third-person perspective with yourself in the scene? Surprisingly, most of us do the latter. “In encoding visual memories, the brain already uses an external perspective,” says Metzinger. “We don’t know much about why and how, but if something is extracted from such a database [during an out-of-body experience], there may be material for seeing oneself from the outside.”"
Why is this a surprise, since I’d bet a shilling against a tramp’s uppers that this has been the case ever since seaside snaps became a mass prospect? perhaps then those ‘fake’ photographs of ectoplasmic white goo from the 19th century were inadvertently telling us more about what the emergent media were doing with our sense of placing ourselves in the world than being a simple recording of apparent medium activity.
Thanks, MikeM. Great point about the emergence of photographic media. Would the same have been true about the emergence of the mirror ?
What I like is the idea that the self doesn’t exist except as the product of an assembly of essentially biological relations at a level well prior to its own perception of itself. I would like even better the idea that it’s assembled & reassembled circumstantially, on the hoof, according to some basic rules for the organism & the needs of the organism in the moment. I’m not sure I’m keen on Metzinger’s metaphor of the tunnel–I’d like to see something livelier & more fluid. More evanescent. All this is nothing to do with philosophy or cognitive science, of course; more an aesthetic. & while I love the body-dysmorphia & doppelganger imagery, & the Shelley quote in context of Williams’ Descent into Hell, I’m not so much interested in the paranormal stuff.
I linked to this article on a Science messageboard. Two people reported that they experience holiday memories in “first person”.
I think I tend to see such things from outside, if they’re old memories and not strongly emotionally-charged. If I was recalling something traumatic and/or recent, I think it would be in “first person”, and much more vivid. Older episodic memories involve a lot of reconstruction, as experiments investigating eye-witness reliability have demonstrated.
uzwi – I wonder sometimes who/what would do the assembling, if self is in a flux, what might be steady enough or fixed enough to exert organization – what would filter the needs, and devise priorities – or do others only observe this process in one, or does one observe one’s motions of mind and identity in the refraction of others’ moving, equally temporarily fixed prisms, at random co-ordinate points of intersection? What fascinates you essentially about the evanescence, I wonder?
In any case – can’t resist the following bit from Dickens here:
‘”You don’t believe in me,” observed the Ghost.
“I don’t,” said Scrooge.
“What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?”
“I don’t know,” said Scrooge.
“Why do you doubt your senses?”
“Because,” said Scrooge, “a little thing affects them.
A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of
gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”‘
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