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The evolution of religion and altered states

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Howard Is, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. Howard Is

    Howard Is Lucky Mud

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    Religion and ‘spiritual’ altered states are the product of natural selection. The God delusions of various kinds, including ‘states’ , enabled the intellectually enhanced monkeys to survive the otherwise crippling existential crisis which is self awareness.
     
  2. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    Are they actually what enabled our evolution or are they just side-effects of the core beneficial developments?
     
  3. Howard Is

    Howard Is Lucky Mud

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    Neither.
    They allowed Homo Sapiens to function.
    Those who carried the mutation were able to function more effectively. The others were blighted with the Dread.
     
  4. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    I kind of had it pegged they came across some magic mushrooms, didn't know what it was and tried it, got high and liked it. Actually, I would surmise that's how most religions started and took off.
     
  5. Howard Is

    Howard Is Lucky Mud

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    Or peyote, ergot, rivea corymbosa, cannabis, ayahuasca ..... sure. I don’t think the two ideas are mutually exclusive.
     
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  6. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    They're malfunctions; neurological short circuits, neurotransmitter floods, &c in the brain, "waking us up"
    from the usual abstract representation of the world created in our minds from sensory inputs.
     
  7. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Why do you believe they are maladaptive?

    In general, if something complex seems 'wrong'/'broken' yet has lasted for tens of thousands of years, it's far more likely you misunderstand it than it actually is 'wrong'/'broken'.
     
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  8. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    Considering the benefit evolutionarily, I would think the malfunction would be a lack of spiritual awareness. What other than a malfunction explains the self-destructive direction of the human species? Spirituality on the other hand, takes us in the opposite direction towards Life.
     
  9. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I confess I'm going to have a hard time taking the proposition of the OP seriously when they conflate theological worldviews with delusions.

    It seems to not occur to the types who make that conflation that everyday experiences - and telling stories about them - are the root of all theism. Unless you find telling stories to be deluded, well... the arts would like to have a few words with you. Probably several. In iambic pentameter.
     
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  10. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    Self-destructive since when? How far do you want to go back to put our species into perspective? Seems we have been rather successful overall, even if we are now understanding that life isn't so benevolent to species that grow exponentially without regard to their environment.
     
  11. ratiocinator

    ratiocinator Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill

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    It's well known that humans have a tendency to see agency and patterns where they don't actually exist. This makes sense in terms of evolution because it's much more preferable to think storms are angry and want to hurt you or that rocks want to fall on you (false positives) than fail to think a tiger wants to eat you (false negative). Similarly, it's better to see faces in clouds and fires than not see them hidden in the forests.

    It's 'wrong'/'broken' in terms of seeing the world as it is but it served a purpose just "a moment ago" in evolutionary time.
     
  12. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Not necessarily maladaptive, just a radical deviation from normal consciousness.

    The "wrong/broken" concept is a whole different thing; a cultural, not a neurological question. A Pleistocene brain, I assume, would be capable of the same altered states and abnormal functioning as ours.

    Altered consciousness is a neurological phenomenon; an alteration clearly visible on brain scans.
    "Tens of thousands of years" involves natural selection and culture, not levels of consciousness. Our brains are little changed from those of our Pleistocene forbears -- which is a problem in itself....
     
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