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Kathleen Myers's blog

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Meditation and Neurobiology: Our Urgent Need for a "First Person" Science

Meditation and Neurobiology: Our Urgent Need for “First Person” Science 

     As I am going to argue for a place for first person accounts in the activity of science, it seems fitting that I begin this paper by addressing the development of my own interest in mediation. Seventeen years ago, when I was still a high school student, I began suffering from anxiety and persistent insomnia. Upon the recommendation of the uncommonly sensitive, open-minded and skilled therapist I was seeing, I began practicing meditative techniques in an attempt to quiet the mental “noise” that besieged me during the day and prevented me from enjoying a good night’s sleep. (While I had no trouble falling asleep, I would frequently wake in the middle of the night and begin thinking obsessively about matters of no real consequence.)

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Book Review: The Holgraphic Universe

  Book Review: The Holographic Universe 

     I’ve chosen to review Michael Talbot’s The Holographic Universe because I am deeply interested in scientific models of the cosmos that attempt to provide an explanation for experiences typically deemed mystical or supernatural. Most of the traditional scientific literature with which I am familiar ignores, minimizes or disavows the existence of a diverse array of experiences: precognition, retrocognition, psychometry, psychokinesis, clairvoyance, lucid dreaming, etc. Talbot’s theory (which he also describes as a “paradigm”, “analogy” and “metaphor”, in acknowledgement of the fact that it is “still an idea in the making”[p.7]) offers us a compelling “story” about the source of these, and many other anomalous phenomena.

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Near Death Experiences: Transcendental Apprehension or Cognitive Mayhem?

  Near-Death-Experiences: Transcendental Apprehension or Cognitive Mayhem? 

“I will not however tell you a story of Alcinous, but rather of a strong man, Er, son of Armenius, by race a Pamphylian. Once upon a time he died in war; and on the tenth day, when the corpses, already decayed, were picked up, he was picked up in a good state of preservation. Having been brought home, he was about to be buried on the twelfth day; as he was lying on the pyre, he came back to life, and, come back to life, he told what he saw in the other world…”   -Plato, The Republic, Book X, 614b

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"...To Be Abstracted From the World": The Function of Dreaming

 “…To be Abstracted From the World”[1]: The Function of Dreaming 

  Why do we dream? My interest in this question was prompted by a fellow student’s remark in class in one morning. Most of our physiological processes seem to have a function, she observed, but what about dreaming? While the conversation that followed was rich and informative (and I especially liked Paul’s story of dreams as providing a whole new range of experiences, and that dreaming offers us a means of “trying out ourselves” in different circumstances) I was curious to learn what other neuroscientists had to say on the subject.

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