Floating On Air

Scientists Replicate Out-of-Body
Experience. Is It All Just an Illusion?

One of the cornerstones of the mystical experience, an essential component of pretty much every tradition of spirituality since immemorial times, is now facing a big challenge: scientists at the University of Geneva claim they have “fooled” research subjects into thinking they were out of their bodies during an experiment.
Using a clever combination of cameras and virtual reality goggles, the researchers created computer-generated avatars for the volunteers, and placed each standing two meters ahead of its model. When the subjects were touched in their backs, so were the avatars.
That way, the scientists say, the volunteers’ brains became confused about their virtual and real selves, and were led to believe that their avatars were their own bodies. It’s not as complicated as we made it look like, just a matter of dissociating touch and vision.
Of course, after all this hard work, the scientists had to brag. First calling their experiment an out-of-body simulation. Then blaming what happened on a confused brain. And finally, saying that most similar experiences are just an illusion. Oh, they’re so crossed. Just wait until Miss Cleo hears about this.
In any case, it’s way more simple than to eat peyote. Or going through a brain injury. Patients have claimed to have floated above their own bodies in dreams, on the operation table, or over mourners when their clinical deaths occurred. They all came back to tell the story, of course.
Now as for you or that acquaintance of your uncle, who claimed to have seen his friends crying while the paramedics performed CPR on him, there’s no threat of loss credibility. The mystical experience, by definition, is intrinsically personal and truer as it’s privately held. In other words, you believe on what you want to believe.
We should be so lucky, though, if the research would affect the ability to make millionaires out of those late night TV psychics. But in reality, they only exist because people call them in the first place. Again, you believe on what, etc, etc.
For there’s already a perfect method to prevent people from spending millions seeking advice from their TVs, about what lays on the other side of the Big Sleep. And it was invented a long time ago: It’s called education.

One thought on “Floating On Air

  1. Lisa at fLVE says:

    Some would even say that about our politics and our movie stars. Seems there’s a lot of cross over appeal there.


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