Final Thoughts - Altered States

Throughout shamanistic societies, people believe in both underground and overground worlds, that to reach the subterranean place where the spirit world exists, you enter via a hole in the ground, a road that leads to the depths of the earth; the feeling of travelling down or along a tube or tunnel occurs in dreams, near-death experiences and altered states of consciousness, often with the appearance of a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Dreams were once taken more seriously than they are now, whilst altered states are often sidelined & ridiculed by our rationalised Western society (funny how the first part of that word also describes a given amount of food) ; they can be brought about by various methods — intense concentration, sensory deprivation, drumming visual stimulation, prolonged & relentless dancing as well as pain, fatigue, hunger and consumption of psychotropic substances. All these activities cause a feeling of disassociation from one's own body.

They can also be experienced in our everyday lives and thinking patterns — we repeatedly shift from "outward" to "inward" directed thoughts — from being fully alert and aware of our immediate surroundings, to being deep in thought and contemplation, oblivious of everything as if somewhere else — " Oh I'm sorry, I was miles away" — known as "fragmented conscious", it's experienced throughout the world, it's how and who we are.

Although our brain and nervous system are neurologically the same in construction and operation, the information received is specifically defined by the cultural and environmental situation existing in each structured society. All this processed information relating to an altered state is transmitted to the wider populace and culture, so people who haven't experienced a personal altered state believe — or are certainly convinced enough — as to whatever has been brought back from another world.

Final Thoughts - Joy Division



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