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Interactive video lesson plan for: The "God Helmet" Can Give You Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences

Activity overview:

Steven Kotler explains that a new device and its imitators can trigger "mystical" experiences in the brain. His latest book is Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact (http://goo.gl/eLjsSX).

Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/religion-and-god-helmets

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Transcript: So when I was 18 years old I went skydiving forthe very first time and this was in Ohio. And it was a really – this was before they had tandem jumping and somebody on your back guiding you down and I had to jump with a static line like a rope attached to the airplane floor. And the whole thing was shoddy. The airplane was held together with like duct tape and change. It was really hysterical. The minute I kind of let go of the plane and jumped out of the plane I flew out of my body. Like my consciousness was like 25 feet away and I as staring back at my body. And what was actually even stranger about the whole thing is as I was doing it I had started to tip back – my back was at an awkward angle and I realized when the chute was going to catch I was going to get whiplash unless I totally relaxed all my muscles so my extra corporal self looked at this and said okay, you’ve got to relax otherwise you’re going to end up in the hospital. And I did. And then the chute caught and I popped back into my body. So what the hell is going on there right? Out of body experiences are mystical experiences. Now there are also fairly common mystical experiences. If you put out of body and near death experiences together and they’re sort of – we’ve now discovered there are sort of out of body experiences tend to lead into near death experiences. But if you sort of lump them as a category according to Gallup, 10 to 20 percent of all Americans have had this experience.

So it’s very common, right, one out of five of us have had this experience yet it’s very, very mystical. What’s interesting is over the past 25 years really kind of starting I think in the early 90s as brain imaging technology kind of came up to speed for the first time we started to really poke at what are these experiences. We now know what causes out of body experiences. We have some very good ideas about what causes near death experiences. In fact if you go through the spiritual cannon whether you’re talking about cosmic unity, that feeling of oneness with everything or glossolalia, speaking in tongues, trance states, meditative states, flow states, psychedelic experiences, right. All these things – all these altered states of consciousness that we’ve called spiritual depending on our cultures over years are now known as the product of kind of standard biology. And that’s where we are today. And that’s really interesting. But let’s consider Michael Persinger’s work, right. He’s a neuroscientist at Laurentian University. He invented something called the so-called God helmet. Now the God helmet directs a weak electromagnetic pulse, basically it creates a weak electromagnetic field around the right temporal lobe. Now the right temporal lobe is actually one of the things that causes out of body experiences. If you stimulate it, if it becomes hyperactive it can dislocate the self. So over 1,000 people have worn Michael Persinger’s God helmet, right. Eighty percent of them report feeling a sensed presence in the room, the feeling that there’s something or someone, a God, demon, an angel, a ghost in the room with them. Other people have reported out of body experiences.

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Aaron Lehmann

Tagged under: Steven Kotler,God Helmet,Out--body Experience,Near-death Experience (Literature Subject),mystical,technology,skydiving,Gallup,Americans,brian,imaging technology,cosmic unity,oneness,glossolalia,trance states,meditative states,flow states,psychedelic experiences,biology,neuroscience,electromagnetic,temporal lobe,God,demon,angel,ghost,religion,religious,spiritual,Big Think,BigThink,BigThink.,Education,Educational,Lifelong Learning,EDU

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