I Was Outside of My Own Head


I found this sign at the Slussen commuter train station the other day.

More like this

Den där satt på anslagstavlan här ute för ett tag sedan också, minns inte om det var på stationen eller i centrum. :-D

"I had a traumatic brain injury and a vision!"

"You had a traumatic brain injury..."

"And a vision!"

"Don't you think there might-"

"A true vision!"

By Jason Failes (not verified) on 01 Jan 2010 #permalink

Fortunately, it is difficult to quote a site and conceal it also, and so I looked at http://www.dennisinthereality.nu/ for myself. The case seems interesting, because the sense of revelation typically associated with "psychedelic" experiences here has been caused by physical trauma that potentially could be visualized by medical examination. Previous researchers seeking a "God spot" with fMRI and by examining cases of brain injury have proposed that the right parietal lobe has something to do with it, so we might predict he was injured in that area then check to see if we're right.

Still, the idea of a purpose-built site for religious revelation in the brain opens up a big can of worms. Such a thing had to evolve - does this mean then that animals have experienced religious revelation for some period prior to human evolution? Or was this ability a new and distinctive feature of humans? Can you name a right parietal lobe analog in a spider monkey? an Amphioxus? And if it has been conserved for all that time, does this mean that the "sense of revelation" as a feeling has survival value? Does it direct altruistic behavior? Those are just some of the worms you see at the top of the can volunteering to be put on the hook; mind there are lots more to be found if you dig a little deeper.

I didn't want to contribute to making the poor fellow's identity too public.

I don't see the problem with a discrete part of the brain being responsible for revelatory experiences when you prod, cut or poison it. Revelation is just one of many types of psychosis. The brain's a complicated machine and when the one you live in starts to malfunction, you have weird experiences. Simple as that.

I'm a bit bemused to see this rant is in English in Sweden. But I guess when you've had a traumatic brain injury and start seeing visions, little details like which language will let you reach the most people don't seem to matter any more.

He's being entirely rational there. Almost all Swedes know English, while any newcomers or tourists who see his signs are unlikely to know Swedish. I mean, the guy has an important message to deliver! (-;

And the English is wonderful! It's not just the syntax, but the formatting: I too now crave an e-mail address that just is. That would be philosophically awesome, if ontologically a little hard to envision.