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My favorite seizure

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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11 June 2019 16:31
 

DEGENERATEON has recently expressed interest in what it might be like to experience a religious vision. I’ll go first.

It took place shortly after my 17th birthday, in my upstairs bedroom in the depths of Wisconsin. At that point in my life having been a lapsed Catholic, I’d recently been born again into the Christianity of new people I was meeting as a result of my new faith which I’d adopted one night with a friend. He’s still a Christian, by the way, after all these years. I’m not.

As far as I can tell, I experienced two seizures within a couple of weeks of each other, but I no longer remember any of the details of the second one I had. The first one is still sort of in my head. I got tempted by Satan.

The details of the vision have gotten a bit foggy, but I remember that “it” happened around my normal bedtime. It felt completely different from a dream. That amazing quality and feeling of realness is perhaps typical with temporal-lobe epilepsy (TLE) seizures, and contributes to confidence in the supernatural validity of TLE visions. Not all TLE seizures are visions, though—far from it.

I suppose some of the bible verses I’d been reading pushed through into the vision. It featured both audio and visual, and it resembled a movie screen floating above my head off to one side. The guy on the screen offered me some reward if I were to do something or stop doing something. It might have been that I was being asked to break from my new faith, but I’m not sure. The reward that was presented was a delight to my senses, I remember. I guess that was supposed to tempt me, like a shot of heroin or something. I turned down the offer, came to for maybe a minute, and went to sleep.

Note: I’ve never been diagnosed with epilepsy, and in case the DMV is looking, I have no seizure history other than the two episodes that I have self-diagnosed. I’ve spoken to several neurologists about the ins and outs of seizure control and etiology as they relate to my employment over the years.

[edited to correct typos]

 

[ Edited: 11 June 2019 16:56 by nonverbal]
 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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11 June 2019 18:26
 

At the time, did you believe that you had actually been contacted by Satan, or did you write it off as a possible seizure?

Did it have any effect on your religious belief?

 
 
DEGENERATEON
 
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DEGENERATEON
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11 June 2019 21:06
 

Thanks for the description- I’m interested in cheshire cats question and also how did you just go to sleep after the experience?  You weren’t frightened?

I think the closest thing that’s happened to me is some very intense deja vu.  Maybe not in the same ballpark as a conversation with satan but I’ve experienced it a few times and it felt like I knew events were going to happen.  If I could somehow harness this ability for sports gambling…

 
nonverbal
 
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12 June 2019 06:00
 

It’s difficult for me to tell how much it affected my faith. Since I was new to Christianity, I imagine I was still seeing the world through atheistic eyes just out of habit because I remember that I sort of knew what was going on, but sort of didn’t, too. At any rate, it did impress the hell out of me, evidenced by my remembering it to this day, as it happened in 1972.

Maybe if God had made an appearance, it would’ve affected me more. And the fact that God never appeared in any of my regular sleep dreams, either, eventually caused me to think that such matters are arranged by God. If anything boosted my faith as a result of the seizure, it was that.

As for my going to sleep following the seizure, I later learned about the postictal period, which commonly includes drowsiness. Also, it was my bedtime, so sleep was in order. I wasn’t frightened at all. Just amazed.

Also, no words were spoken during the vision, though communication did take place.  It was a sensory experience like none other.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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12 June 2019 06:08
 

nv, I’m guessing you would probably have mentioned it, but as a 17-year-old in the early 70’s, I’m wondering if you’d ever taken drugs (e.g. LSD) at any time prior to these incidences.

[ Edited: 12 June 2019 06:17 by Jan_CAN]
 
 
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12 June 2019 06:50
 
Jan_CAN - 12 June 2019 06:08 AM

nv, I’m guessing you would probably have mentioned it, but as a 17-year-old in the early 70’s, I’m wondering if you’d ever taken drugs (e.g. LSD) at any time prior to these incidences.

Who, me? . . .

Actually, I remember that I’d been drinking a lot of beer just prior to my conversion. The legal drinking age back then was 18, and my pals and I had fun pretending to be that age, a little early. Years ago, I asked Mario if he’d become accustomed to drinking frequently just prior to his conversion. He didn’t answer, at least not politely. My thought is that when I abruptly stopped drinking beer once I was born again, that abrupt stop triggered the seizures. Mario doesn’t like this sort of information because it might apply to him, as well.

 
 
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12 June 2019 07:43
 

LSD, alcohol, a combination of herbs and over the counter medication, seizure, magnetic fields, etc. etc.  There are endless reasons I can accept for the experience (and it seems you accept them as well nonverbal).  But there are others (Owl Guy) that are convinced that the cause is god.  What tips the scales?  At what point can you say that you are certain that it wasn’t a hallucination and that god has revealed itself?  And if this experience convinces you, how is it that you can’t describe what happened?  You can stand here after the experience and have completely changed your view of the universe but can’t (or won’t) describe why?

Let’s say the next Making Sense podcast starts with this housekeeping:
“This is Sam Harris…..ok a little housekeeping.  Well some big news - I’m no longer an atheist.  I had an experience a few days ago….and it was a revelation.  I fully believe there is a God, not the same God that many see him as today, but there is some overlap with Christianity.  I’m unable to describe this experience in a clear way, and even if I attempted to, I know I would face the backlash of many of the same arguments I used to present myself.  So I’m not going to do that.  So anyway, our guest today is .......”

 
proximacentauri
 
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12 June 2019 11:12
 

I’ve heard quite a few descriptions of experiences but only one additional however involving Satan. It is from my uncle who said as a kid he had decided to “run away from home” one evening. Suddenly as he rounded a corner of a building in the small town where he lived, he came face to face with the Devil! He described it as the classic image of the ugly red face and horns. He swears to this day he’s not making this story up but I’m more than a bit skeptical. I was warned as a kid by my father that the “Devil would get me” if I did something wrong. I remember dreaming at least once that I was being chased by ole Satan, probably after committing some sort of kid mischief that day. Satan was a very real figure for me as he was for most kids who were brought up by evangelical parents at that time.

[ Edited: 12 June 2019 11:25 by proximacentauri]
 
nonverbal
 
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12 June 2019 12:02
 
DEGENERATEON - 12 June 2019 07:43 AM

LSD, alcohol, a combination of herbs and over the counter medication, seizure, magnetic fields, etc. etc.  There are endless reasons I can accept for the experience (and it seems you accept them as well nonverbal).  But there are others (Owl Guy) that are convinced that the cause is god.  What tips the scales?  At what point can you say that you are certain that it wasn’t a hallucination and that god has revealed itself?  And if this experience convinces you, how is it that you can’t describe what happened?  You can stand here after the experience and have completely changed your view of the universe but can’t (or won’t) describe why?

Let’s say the next Making Sense podcast starts with this housekeeping:
“This is Sam Harris…..ok a little housekeeping.  Well some big news - I’m no longer an atheist.  I had an experience a few days ago….and it was a revelation.  I fully believe there is a God, not the same God that many see him as today, but there is some overlap with Christianity.  I’m unable to describe this experience in a clear way, and even if I attempted to, I know I would face the backlash of many of the same arguments I used to present myself.  So I’m not going to do that.  So anyway, our guest today is .......”

That’s funny. But most people have the good sense not to reveal much about their innermost thoughts and experiences especially if such events, if honestly described, would be out of the ordinary to the point of being perhaps embarrassing, perhaps not. I guess I have no such compunction because I no longer belong to a religious club. It’s my hobby to attempt to think critically about religious clubs I’ve been a part of in the past. The owl guy disagrees.

 
 
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12 June 2019 12:53
 
proximacentauri - 12 June 2019 11:12 AM

I’ve heard quite a few descriptions of experiences but only one additional however involving Satan. It is from my uncle who said as a kid he had decided to “run away from home” one evening. Suddenly as he rounded a corner of a building in the small town where he lived, he came face to face with the Devil! He described it as the classic image of the ugly red face and horns. He swears to this day he’s not making this story up but I’m more than a bit skeptical. I was warned as a kid by my father that the “Devil would get me” if I did something wrong. I remember dreaming at least once that I was being chased by ole Satan, probably after committing some sort of kid mischief that day. Satan was a very real figure for me as he was for most kids who were brought up by evangelical parents at that time.

It truly is extraordinary that a person’s brain can powerfully yet creatively, with apparent moral intent even, overtly take over a person’s “self,” whatever that might be, and present a sensory argument for that person to take into consideration. A psychically funded, simulated homunculus lurks in the background at every corner if you look closely, I suspect. You need to acknowledge the value of metaphor first, of course.

 
 
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12 June 2019 13:35
 
DEGENERATEON - 12 June 2019 07:43 AM

What tips the scales?  At what point can you say that you are certain that it wasn’t a hallucination and that god has revealed itself?

A trip or a seizure lasts for a limited amount of time. The experiences I had (which I have described in years past) had a more permanent affect on me.  Faith is not just an attitude I work up - it is simply part of my character/nature. The experiences opened a door for me that fundamentally changed my view of reality.  God seems very real to me, not just a concept.  There was a paradigm shift for me that has been permanent.  Now, in my religious wanderings since that time, I’ve discarded a lot of baggage that I picked up along with way, looking for a community.  This place helped me discard a lot of that baggage. But the fundamental change that happened decades ago remains the same.  I could no more discard it than I could discard part of my brain.

 
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12 June 2019 13:57
 

I just thought of something - it definitely had more of an impact on me than deja vu and was absolutely real.  When I was about 6 (best guess) I was in my bunk bed with my younger brother on the bed below me.  I heard what I was almost sure was a ghost coming from the hallway.  Started kind of faint and got louder and louder.  Scared the bejesus out of me, I crawled down to my brothers bed and asked if he heard it but he was fast asleep.  I sat there staring at my door sweating bullets for who knows how long, probably an hour after the sound stopped.  A week or so later, I woke to the same sound.  This time was more terrifying because I had heard it before and now it was even more real.  Same thing, crawled down to my brother’s bunk, but he was out.  Another week or so later, I woke again to the ghost.  Terrified again, but this time I had to do something.  I ran to my parents room (right down the hall) and woke up my mom and asked her if she could hear the sound.  She said she didn’t hear anything and I was just having a dream.  I thought I was going batshit crazy, but this experience was as real as anything and happened multiple times.  I would still hear the sounds from time to time, but they began to be less frequent and I just fought my way through the fear.
When I was older I realized it was my parents having sex and my mom moaning.  It’s kind of funny, but a 6 year old me didn’t think so, and the fact that no one else heard it (or told me I was just having a dream) almost assuredly did some psychological damage.  For quite a while I was very open to supernatural things because I had heard a ghost - it was as real as any experience I have ever had.  I was also afraid of the dark, maybe not debilitating but definitely had an impact.  Possible anxiety issues as well. 

So there’s my embarrassing “supernatural” story.  Maybe it also affected me in a good way, because I’m extremely skeptical of any supernatural claims now.

 
proximacentauri
 
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13 June 2019 07:05
 
nonverbal - 12 June 2019 12:53 PM
proximacentauri - 12 June 2019 11:12 AM

I’ve heard quite a few descriptions of experiences but only one additional however involving Satan. It is from my uncle who said as a kid he had decided to “run away from home” one evening. Suddenly as he rounded a corner of a building in the small town where he lived, he came face to face with the Devil! He described it as the classic image of the ugly red face and horns. He swears to this day he’s not making this story up but I’m more than a bit skeptical. I was warned as a kid by my father that the “Devil would get me” if I did something wrong. I remember dreaming at least once that I was being chased by ole Satan, probably after committing some sort of kid mischief that day. Satan was a very real figure for me as he was for most kids who were brought up by evangelical parents at that time.

It truly is extraordinary that a person’s brain can powerfully yet creatively, with apparent moral intent even, overtly take over a person’s “self,” whatever that might be, and present a sensory argument for that person to take into consideration. A psychically funded, simulated homunculus lurks in the background at every corner if you look closely, I suspect. You need to acknowledge the value of metaphor first, of course.

Yep, the brain’s got some vulnerabilities and quirkiness that are vestiges of our evolution I suspect, that when inculcated with cultural images can manifest in ‘visions’ when the brain hiccups due to stress, seizure, lack of oxygen, etc. For fun, here are a few ‘devils’ from films…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntesLFSV5pk

 

[ Edited: 13 June 2019 07:15 by proximacentauri]
 
bbearren
 
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13 June 2019 09:52
 
DEGENERATEON - 12 June 2019 07:43 AM

But there are others (Owl Guy) that are convinced that the cause is god.

Is that statement an example of “critical thinking”?  I’ve not said in any post in any thread at any time that I am “convinced”.  Perhaps others have made that statement about themselves, but I have not.

I have stated in multiple posts in multiple threads that there is no certitude in anything.

[ Edited: 13 June 2019 10:04 by bbearren]
 
 
DEGENERATEON
 
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13 June 2019 11:35
 
bbearren - 13 June 2019 09:52 AM
DEGENERATEON - 12 June 2019 07:43 AM

But there are others (Owl Guy) that are convinced that the cause is god.

Is that statement an example of “critical thinking”?  I’ve not said in any post in any thread at any time that I am “convinced”.  Perhaps others have made that statement about themselves, but I have not.

I have stated in multiple posts in multiple threads that there is no certitude in anything.

My sincere apologies.  I assumed you were certain, my mistake.  But here is how I arrived at that assumption:
-You had experiences you describe as “revelations”
-You changed your view, and not in subtle ways, from an atheist to a believer in god
-You started to attend a church
It appears that you (while not being certain) have reasoned that the best explanation for your experiences were a revelation from god.

Is that correct?

 
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13 June 2019 12:07
 
DEGENERATEON - 13 June 2019 11:35 AM

It appears that you (while not being certain) have reasoned that the best explanation for your experiences were a revelation from god.

Is that correct?

You said that you listened to the podcast.  Perhaps you were distracted or otherwise engaged at the time.  Nhoj and I went over that aspect in some detail.

 
 
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