Hungry for Ecstasy by Sharon Klayman Farber
Trauma, the brain, and the Influence of the Sixties
[As one reviewer commented, “Forber provides a remarkably engaging view of experience that, for many people, stands among their lives’ most defining moments’. A very good book that I want to re-read]
Presentations of Gender [M.D. Robert J. Stoller] included in this book an idiosyncratic list of proposals for a program of psychoanalytic exploration.
1. Do what you enjoy
2. Be very curious
3. Do not have a clear-cut plan
4. Do not know what your conclusion will be or even where you are heading; do not head
5. Have patience; then always be impatient
6. Think it over; let it soak; listen carefully to the repetitions; let the discoveries find you
7. Use whatever techniques for data collecting appeal to you, but never stop psychoanalyzing
8. Fine people more honorable committed to scientific method than yourself and stick them with the grubby work of properly confirming hypotheses.
9. Do not try for a grant if acceptance means you must accomplish what you promised
10. Since no research anywhere comes to final conclusions, you need not rush. Act as if you will live forever, it will not make any difference to you if that estimate is wrong.
To sum up what is ecstasy is, Marghanita Laski concluded that ecstasy is an altered state of consciousness with greatly reduced external awareness and expanded interior mental and spiritual awareness which is often accompanied by hallucinations.
W.T. Stace described the core sense of mystical oneness as existing in two forms. There is the extrovertive mystical experience which looks outward to the world through the senses and finds unity , as everything that can be heard, seen, smelled, tasted or touched is melded into one. In contrast, the introvertive mystical experience turns inward, often shutting out the senses, transcending them into a pure consciousness.
Sudhir Kakar, thought to be the father of Indian psychoanalysis, used Sri Ramakrishna's life as a case study of extreme ecstasies and published a fiction study of Ramakrishna, called Ecstasy. So many of Radhakrishna’s visions and fantasies seem quite bizarre and pathological when taken out of context by become much less so when one relates them to Bengal as it was in the 19th century. From psychoanalytic point of view, Ramakrishna could be diagnosed as a secondary transsexual and psychotic, he was more interested in a meta-psychological non-pathological explanation that connects Ramakrishna's mystical realization with creativity.
“The soul should always stand ajar
Ready to welcome the ecstatic experience - Emily Dickinson”
Until the recent interest in Western culture in Eastern meditative and yogic practices, Western culture tended to regard these practices as pathological, partly because of the Cartesian dualism in Western medicine, which regards the mind and body as separate entities. And when psychoanalysis at the beginning, recognized that a dissociative response was a consequence of trauma, the emphasis was on dissociation in relation to psychopathology.
In some Scandinavian countries, sneezing while driving a car is a violation, because one can lose control of the wheel (Clement 19940.
In order to understand the increase in spending after 9/11, it helps to understand that women who are compulsive shoppers go into an altered state when shopping. The anticipation of finding, then buying or stealing the most perfect pair of shoes is exciting, transcending thoughts of their mortality and destructibility. In the wake of the terrorist attacks, the need t to escape the terror of being annihilated can lead many to excitement at the prospect of acquiring beautiful apparel and some may even have gone into a ecstatic state in obtaining it.
The 3rd eye and altered state of consciousness:
Imagine the possibility that your own brain can manufacture psychedelic experiences without the use of psychedelic drugs. DMT a chemical derived from plants is also manufactured by the human brain. Psychiatrist Rick Strassman, who has done cutting-edge research on DMT, believes that DMT is involved in a variety of altered states, including near-death experience and mystical experiences. He believes it also exists in the brain’s pineal gland, a small endocrine gland, located between the two hemispheres, deep near the center of the brain. Strassman tells us that the pineal gland is unique in being the only brain site that is unpaired; all other have left and right counterparts.
Eastern and Western visions may have experiences with symbolic or religious content, which, may become transformed into this dazzling light. The pineal gland has been called the 3rd eye or the spirit gland. Hindu regards it as the site of the sixth chakra, while Descartes devoted a good deal of time studying it, calling it the seat of the soul.
Oddly, the third eye, like the two seeing eyes, is sensitive to light and has a lens, cornea and retina. It helps regulate the body’s temperature and skin pigmentation. It produces melatonin, a derivative of serotonin, which affects how wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions are modulated. How much melatonin your body produces it depends on light. During the winter when the days are shorter, your body may produce melatonin earlier or later in the day than usual, a change that can produce symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, sometimes called winter depression. The pineal gland contains more serotonin than anywhere else in the body and can convert serotonin to tryptophan, a crucial step in forming DMT. The pineal gland sits strategically close to the crucial emotional and sensory brain centers, because it is surrounded by the limbic or emotional brain. The pineal gland has direct access to the brain's emotional centers.
Many runners and ballerinas experience a high during or dancing because extreme stress on the body causes dopamine levels to rise, thus increasing the threshold for pain. Smell and taste create distinctly intense memories and that memory depends upon the moment and mood of the person remembering.
Around 100 years ago, Freud posed a question to Marie Bonaparte one of his students: “the great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, is “What does a woman want?” Regardless of whether they considered themselves lesbian, straight or bisexual, women became aroused strongly and quickly when viewing pornography, of the male homosexual, lesbian or heterosexual variety. Men who considered themselves straight, were excited by heterosexual or lesbian porn, but were largely unmoved by male homosexual porn, demonstrating a pattern of attraction that was the polar opposite of women’s. This gender differences raises some interesting questions. Why does such a broader range of stimuli arouse women but not men?
Researcher Lisa Diamond has found that women’s sexuality is quite fluid and bendable. Although a woman may have an innate sexual orientation, she has found that despite this orientation, desire can be superseded by emotional closeness and erotic attraction can become redirected. Many of her subjects typically described being attracted “to person, not their gender”. Lisa says, “Women want to be thrown up against a wall but not truly endangered. Women want a caveman and caring”. But whatever it is that women really want, an orgasm, in any case, is literally a mind-blowing experience for a woman. When a woman is attracted to someone, her body quivers with a gush of phenyl-ethylamine, a brain hormone that speeds up the flow of information between neurons, turning on her pleasure centers and creating a frenzy of excitement because everything she experiences gives her pleasure. The body uses phenyl-ethylamine for more than infatuation; it keeps one alert, confident and ready to try something new and thrill-seeking. Chocolate contains lots of it, which may be one of the reasons many women consider themselves to be chocoholics, insisting that it is additive, producing an immediate feeling of well-being, with abstinence leading to withdrawal symptoms.
Feeling cared for by her partner seems to be important in heightening arousal. As arousal increases, much of the women’s brain shuts down, turning off fear, anxiety and all emotion, thus freeing her from all restraint. In comparison, men seem to require little time or trust in their partner to climax just direct physical stimulation. In fact obtaining meaningful brain scan data from men was problematic because their orgasms typically are so short-lasting. In men, we must differentiate between orgasm and ejaculation though they usually occur almost simultaneously. Some men can recognize the separation of the two processes, allowing them to experience multiple orgasms without the occurrence of ejaculation.
The sixties were a confusing, exhilarating, depressing time and the aftershock resonates in our lives today. The year 1961 was called the upside down year; if you turn the number upside down, it still reads the same.
“People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They are still being passed around - the music and ideas - Bob Dylan (1992)”.
“In writing this chapter, I sense a vocabulary weakness; there are not enough words for the colors of pain - Robert Stoller”
There are four types of mediation and there is major difference between TM(transcendental meditation) and the others. First, there is contemplation, in which you take a sentence or a parable and you think about it. You just go into your mind and close out the outside world and you think... Contemplation is another type of mediation that I would classify as Christian meditation. This consists of studying the scriptures and pondering God and thinking about how you can use that scripture to give meaning to your life. The third type of meditation is simply concentration, where you concentrate on one spot on the wall or your navel or a spot on the middle of your forehead. If you find yourself wandering off into other things, you bring your mind right back to that one point... In TM, you empty your mind. TM is switching your mind into neutral. You have no control over it.
A sensible man will remember that the eyes may be confused in two ways - by a change from light to darkness or from darkness to light; and he will recognize that the same thing happen to the soul - Plato.
Death and sex are powerfully linked in the minds of the suicide bombers. To understand the ecstasy of the suicide bomber, one must understand thing of cult psychology, because terrorists have become in reality members of a destructive mind control cult. The source of their rage is not only poverty and lack of opportunity, because only some are poor and uneducated. The man’s organic need is the primary factor in sexual expression in fundamentalist Islamic culture. Only married men have sexual privileges and they have nothing to do with mutuality but with pleasure through violent domination. Therefore Islam allows the man to have four wives at a time. It has been something of a secret to Western culture that in absence of a female sexual partner, it is acceptable for a man take a boy to use as a woman. It is nothing to with homosexuality. It is simply a man ‘doing what men do’ in much the same way that it becomes acceptable in prison.
An Egyptian psychiatrist interviewed on popular Iqraa Television beamed gleefully as he explained that Western civilization has no concepts of self-sacrifice and honor, which is why infidels fail to understand that the suicide bomber experiences “the height of ecstasy and happiness’ just at the moment when he presses the button to blow himself up.
“The great Goddess everywhere demands sacrifices, because the decisive moments in the life of the female - menstruation, deflowering, conception and childbearing - are intimately bound up with a sacrifice of blood” - Erich Neumann, The Great Mother: An Analysis of the Archetype.
Some of the earliest deities worshipped by human were female, but they were hardly the nurturing ‘earth mothers’ imagined by so many later scholars, both male and female. The archaic goddess was a huntress, a consumer of sacrificial offerings, and most strikingly an anthropomorphized version of the predator beast” Ehrenreich).
One of the most murderous predators was the Hindu goddess Kali, who wears a necklace of skulls and carries a bloodied ax and a giant’s severed head... She is most demanding of blood sacrifices, esp. ‘the human blood offered by frenzied, self-mutilating cult worshippers’. No wonder that she is often depicted with blood streaming from her mouth.
Creativity - like human life itself - beings in darkness - Julia Cameron.
If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage - Cynthia Ozick
Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake - E.L. Doctorow.
All artists aim at immortality; their objects must not only be brought back to life, but also life has to be eternal. And of all human activities art comes nearest to achieving immortality. a great work of art is likely to escape destruction and oblivion - Segal.
For many involved parents who talk to their children about the risks of drugs alcohol, and casual sex, it may not occur to them to tell them about the hazards of inhalant abuse because they may never have heard of it. Inhalant abuse, also known as huffing, sniffing, dusting, and bagging, is a potentially deadly form of substances abuse. It is esp. dangerous because kids think that all they are inhaling through their mouth or nose is air. They consider it to be harmless way to get high, without the cost of drugs. Nothing could be further from truth.
Inhalants are easily accessible, legal, everyday products that can be found in home, school, or office - typewriter correction fluid, computer dusting spray, gasoline, aerosol whipped cream or other products, paints, and glue. They are ‘huffed’ to create high, affecting the brain forcefully and rapidly by preventing oxygen from reaching the lungs. When exposure to inhalants becomes chronic, it causes widespread damage to the brain and other parts of the nervous system. Poppers or amyl nitrite may be inhaled to enhance sexual pleasure, and have long been part of the club culture,. Because the high is so brief, lasting only a few minutes, users may try to prolong it by inhaling continually over several hours, thus increasing the risk. Death can occur even with first-time use. Other risks include slurred speech, dizziness, confusion, hallucination, delusions, headache, muscle spasm, and vomiting. The suffocation can lead to brain damage, muscle spasms and tremors, addiction, liver, lung and kidney problems, cognitive, hearing and vision damage and heart attack. One in five American teens has used inhalants to get high, according to the national Institute on drug Abuse.
Hope is the Thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all - Emily Dickinson.