Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind: Descending Underground in by Yulia Ustinova

By Yulia Ustinova

Caves and the traditional Greek brain analyses thoughts of looking for final knowledge in historical Greece. The Greeks perceived psychological stories of remarkable depth as as a result of divine intervention. They believed that to percentage within the immortals' wisdom, one needed to unencumber the soul from the weight of the mortal physique by way of achieving an altered nation of realization, that's, by way of merging with a superhuman being or via ownership via a deity. those states have been usually attained through encouraged mediums, `impresarios of the gods' - prophets, poets, and sages - who descended into caves or underground chambers. Yulia Ustinova juxtaposes historic tales with the result of glossy neuropsychological learn. This novel procedure allows an exam of spiritual phenomena not just from the surface, but in addition from the interior: it penetrates the awareness of people that have been engaged within the imaginative and prescient quest, and demonstrates that the darkness of the caves supplied stipulations important for his or her actions.

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94 At the peak of the tunnel experience, the hallucinating person sees himself among iconic images which may combine geometric, zoomorphic, and anthropomorphic features; they undergo fantastic metamorphoses, deriving from the experiencer’s cultural luggage and memory. He may see himself turning into an animal or undergoing other frightening transformations. 95 90 Harner 1990: 26; similar accounts of other Inuit shamans: Merkur 1985: 207–8, 214, 216. 91 Lewis 1989: 52. 92 Talalay 1994. 93 Blackmore 1993: 71.

Caves are sometimes diYcult to get to; entering a cave means crossing the border between the worlds of the familiar and the unknown, a very signiWcant action bringing about discomfort, fear, and even true claustrophobia. 104 The frightening cave environment is therefore most suitable for rites of passage, providing the milieu for the three-stage process which 101 Plog 2003: 18, 21; Harner 1990: 26–7. 102 Lewis-Williams 2002: 204. 103 Ep. 4. 41. 3. 104 Ridden by fear, people who enter caves even for a short time may lose control of their actions and feelings, just as happened in the Marabar Caves to the characters of E.

106 Roux 1999: 320–1. 107 Solomon 1965; Zubek 1969; Austin 1998: 102–4. 108 La Barre 1980: 39; WulV 1997: 76; Zuckerman 1969; West 1975: 300; Martindale 1981: 316; Geels 1982: 44; Siikala 1982: 105; Merkur 1985: 172; Austin 1998: 102, 494; Joseph 2003b: 9. 109 Suedfeld 1969; Kubie 1965; Vernon et al. 1965; Freedman et al. 1965; Martindale 1981: 99, 255; Winkelman 2000: 149; Austin 1998: 102. 110 Lilly 1972: 40, 42. Lilly also experimented with LSD during isolation, which produced enhanced results.

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