Re: virus: agitation, encouragement, and feedback

Tim Rhodes (
Tue, 16 Feb 1999 01:38:08 -0800

Jake wrote:

>You have to be ready to try a wider variety of attitudinal stimulus in
>cyberspace, than you would IRL. You have a lot more bandwidth to compete
>with, and more limited ways in which to do so. If you stick to the same
>attitudinal modes as you do IRL, you aren't going to get as far.

Interesting advice. Could you site some research? I think a discussion of the relative values of different modes of discussion could be quite useful here, if you'd care to begin one I'll gladly join in.

>BTW, your talk about biochemical processes and religious experience
>this from me:
>My father had a "religious" LSD experience way back in the sixties that he
>still gets worked up over even today. When he talks about it, it sounds
>of nhilistic - which doesn't set off any "profoundness" responses in me.
>for him in those days, perhaps that was profound. I wonder whether the
>experience would be different for me since I find nhilism to be boring and
>people don't usually talk about their trips as being boring.

Do you see "profoundness" as a potental property of his /ideas/ or as a quality of his /experience/? Perhaps the key to understanding lies somewhere in that none-to-obvious distinction. (The word "salience" comes to mind.)

>I have never really sought out intense religious experiences, but for long
>term mental conversions, I have found philosophy to be fairly "trippy". I
>certainly don't get the intense sensory experiences, but I have gone
>extended periods (days-weeks) of agitation, and distraction, accompanied
>waves of intuitions (some of them even resilient to rational criticism).

I wonder if the intuition/rationality duality is legit.

It seems (to me at least) that on closer inspection this looks more-and-more like a false dicotomy. Intuition is simply a function of one part of the brain--the part which sorts out complex processes and notes trends based on what is, by nature, limited information--much like the pattern recognition software used for visual identification of objects. Perhaps not "rational" in an "if-x-then-y" sense, but far in a way from irrational.

>And since they aren't drug induced, they tend to flow through
>slow enough that I actually have time to articulate some of it
>and hopefully retain some of the insights.

That's good. Of course one of the experimental advantages of psychoactives is that you have explicit durations which allow you to compare their effects against a control. How do you do this in your example? Out of curiousity, how do you clearly demarcate the difference between your baseline state and the one you're taking about above? Subjective distinctions can be subtle and very tricky.

>To me, I don't understand the point of a "religious" experience, if I can't
>later talk about it to other people and make some sense.

Can you elaborate? This sounds like simply an opinion about how you value linguistic information over other forms of information. Or are you trying to say something more universal by it?

>That is what I have generally thought of a lot of "religious experiences"
>(drug induced and otherwise) that I have heard others talk about. But
>that never seems to bother some people. In fact some people hold out
>inarticulability as proof that the "religious" experience was indeed

Perhaps some people are more able to learn from non-verbal sources than you are. As any good teacher knows, not all students learn the same way. And one would be foolish to expect that everyone else is going to respond as well to as I do to the teaching methods that happen to work best for me. Foolish, and perhaps a little egocentric to boot.

>To me, that is just proof that you "blew you mind". Big whoop.
>Crackheads do it every day.

Interesting. Have you ever had an experience that you could not describe, but which had salience to you?

May I ask, are you an Art or Music lover?

>Another way to encourage feedback is to oblige somebody on a topic that
>want to discuss.

Indeed, and a quite constructive one as well. (For the both the conversation and the social structure in which it is embedded.) Thank you.

-Prof. Tim