Wesley’s Project

The concept of sensory deprivation really intrigued me after hearing Wesley’s presentation.  I began to research the effects of sensory deprivation and came across The Effects of  Partial & Total Sensory Deprivation. By: Mark Bancroft, MA.  This article stated that sensory deprivation functions in the same way as meditation in order to “reduce the perception of external stimulus”.   “Awareness of one’s surroundings remains and hypnagogic activity is likely to occur.” (Bancroft, Mark).  A dictionary definition of hypnagogic is an inducement of drowsiness.  This shows that sensory deprivation is seen as a form of meditation in order to slow down the mind into a more trancelike state.  This relates to when Wes discussed his experience with us about the Ganzfield Effect.  In order to achieve the trance like state you must cover your eyes with half a white ping pong ball, play white noise into your ears through a head phone, and shine red lights over your eyes.  Wes told us about his friend who did it and he said that he began to see different objects such as trees and eventually hippopotamus’.  It is used for meditative effects in order to free your mind.  However, this can also go the opposite way when methods like this are used for solitary confinement.  Solitary confinement is considered a form of sensory deprivation because it eliminates sight while at night time, hearing since there is nothing to hear, and others.  Solitary confinement is used as a torture method and in the prison system for criminals who are so dangerous they need to be alone.  Victims of solitary confinement have stated that they begin to have an inability to distinguish whether they are alive or dead.  They begin to lose control of their minds.  Wes said that many people who are stuck in solitary confinement begin to throw their bodies and smash their heads against walls in order to kill themselves.  They said that killing themselves would be less painful than living in solitary confinement.  I truly find it amazing and a little disturbing to think sensory deprivation can be used in such opposite ways.  Some find the deprivation relaxing and allows them to go into a meditative state in order to clear their minds.  Others find it to be a heinous and torturous method that presents them with the idea of committing suicide.

Tracy’s Project

Tracy’s project interested me because leading up to it everyone made it seem as if it’s this terrible idea that should not be discussed.  However, after listening to it I realized that it was not so much the existentialism but more so the aspect of nihilism.  Tracy did not speak very much on that in the hopes of not depressing us; so I wanted to depress myself and research it.  A dictionary definition of nihilism is as followed: an extreme form of skepticism that systematically rejects all values, belief in existence, the possibility of communication, etc.  I could understand why this is a little depressing if we think that there is absolutely no belief in existence or in communication.  This begins to get into Tracy’s presentation which dealt with four major people: Gabriel Marcel, Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzche, and Sartre.  Marcel believes that all individuals are responsible for their own actions and their own meaning in their lives.  He did not believe in predetermination which is a very common trait for those in believe in existentialism and nihilism.  Kierkegaard believed that people should have authentic lives.  Again, nothing is predetermined and all are responsible for the order they create or the chaos that they create in their own lives.  Nietzsche was a major believer in nihilism.  He said that in order for people to excel in things they must create their own values and rules.  One should not need to follow the rules or laws that are set in place; yet, people should go out and make their own rules and laws for the things in their lives.  He also strongly believed that nothing in life has inherent importance or purpose.  Absurdism was the last topic that Tracy discussed and that was related to Sartre.  Absurdism is the thought stating that the efforts of humanity to find inherent meaning will ultimately fail (and hence are absurd), because no such meaning exists, at least in relation to the individual.  Sartre believed in the opposite of karma and that anything can happen to anyone at any time.  Existentialism and nihilism are very dark and dismal topics of philosophy that maybe I am happy I do not know that much of.  I feel as if there is a meaning to life and that the world is not some life full of unimportance and misery.

Max’s Project

Max discussed the art of meditation with us including different forms of meditation in three different religions/theologies.  These three different religions/theologies were Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism.  In Judaism one of the major forms of mediation is in the form of davening.  Davening is a type of meditation in which one rocks back and forth while listening to a traditional Jewish song such as the Avinu Malkeinu.  This motion is said to have the ability to call on the passed souls of those lost and also to drive the sins and evils from one’s body.  Max then spoke about another form of meditation called Kapparot.  This was a ceremonial event in which a chicken was involved.  Chants and dances would take place in which the person would then swing a chicken/fowl over their head.  The swinging of the fowl would allow for your sins to be placed into the fowl and removed from your body.  He then went on to speak about Christianity and their meditation.  A popular form is silent prayer where you listen to a song typically sung in Latin.  A popular song is called Gaudeamus omnes which is a form of Gregorian chanting.  Lastly, Max spoke about Buddhism.  A major aspect Max spoke about was Bhavana which is a form of meditation that you want to reach Dhyana (profound stillness).  This form of meditation is considered the “cultivation of oneself”.  This is the form of meditation that Siddhartha practiced where he wished to leave dukkha (suffering) and enter into Nibbana (nirvana).  This project has made me really curious on how to meditate and what exactly the positives of meditation are.  I began looking around on the internet for meditation techniques and I found this one website.   http://www.freemeditations.com/ This website started off by saying the goals of free meditation which are to bring inner peace into one self and the world in a positive and spiritual way.  I also discovered different methods of meditation such as the Raja Yoga meditation.  This meditation is supposed to be done early morning and late evening in order to cleanse the mind and allow it to be open for new thoughts.  This one specific website had multiple different types of meditation techniques that can be used to bring that inner peace into you and into the world.

Rodger’s Project

I really enjoyed hearing Rodger’s project today.  I never really thought that the concept of fasting could be so interesting and have such deep meanings behind it.  Due to my non religious upbringing I was never really informed on the ideas of fasting.  Rodger today described the different reasons behind fasting such as religious, political, or spiritual reasons.  He then mentioned specific examples of fasting such as his own personal experience with fasting.  Hearing about Rodger’s experience was really eye opening because he mentioned how after the third day he felt as if he no longer had a hunger and did not feel the desire to eat any longer.  Also, it was interesting to learn of all of the different protests that happened in the manner of hunger strikes such as Bobby Sands in Ireland.  From this project I would really be interested to see what exactly happens to the body and mind during a fast.  I know Rodger mentioned that the body goes into starvation mode but what exactly does that include?  Also, what kinds of things happen to the mind?  Do hallucinations happen or does the mind stay completely stable?  The effects caused by the fast really intrigue me.

Rodgers Project: Fasting

                Rodger did his presentation on fasting and what exactly fasting is.  Fasting is the abstinence of neither food nor drink for an extended period of time.  Fasting can be done for multiple reasons like religious reasons, health reasons or political reasons.  In Rodger’s presentation, he discussed famous fasts that occurred and he also mentioned his own person fast that he did over the past summer.  A famous fast that he mentioned was done in Ireland by Bobby Sands.  Sands was arrested and sentenced for 14 years in prison in the HM Prison Maze, also known as Long Kesh.  While he was incarcerated, Sands refused to eat as a hunger strike and encouraged others to join with him.  He promoted this hunger strike in order for others to recognize them as political prisoners instead of as criminals.  This protest became known worldwide and was recognized as a famous political hunger strike.  Another very famous fast that Rodger mentioned was the fast that Siddhartha performed in order to reach his stage of enlightenment.  Siddhartha fasted to the point where his bones were protruding from his skin and he was living on only the sustenance his feeble body could provide.  It was only when Siddhartha accepted the rice dish that he realized extreme fasting to that point was not the only path to achieving enlightenment.  From that point on, Siddhartha began to live his life in moderation; he did not live in luxury but he did not live in poverty.  After that, Rodger told us about his own personal experience with fasting.  It was interesting to hear that a person my age decided to fast to see how exactly it does feel in accordance to his knowledge of Siddhartha.  He noted that in the beginning it was difficult especially since he had the pressures and desires surrounding him from his friends and family.  However, after the third day Rodger said that he no longer felt hungry and no longer felt the need for food.  How does one day later change your entire mental and physical take on the matter?  How did one day make him no longer feel the need to eat?  This presentation made me want to look into the physical changes that a fast may have on your body.  People respond to the detoxification differently depending upon the different levels of toxicity in their body.  People who take it too seriously such as for extended periods of time can result in serious medical hazards like a drop in blood pressure and emotional distress.  I saw on a different website that juice fasts are extremely beneficial for the brain.  It is said that a juice fast can help to enhance clarity of the mind, confidence, and ambition.  I find this to be a little peculiar because I always thought that food and nutrients were what helped to keep the brain intact.  This was fascinating to learn because if my depriving the body of certain things and only supplying it with juices, I would allow for my brain to achieve clarity it is not used to.

Christian’s Project

I missed the beginning of Christian’s project so I’m reflecting on today’s class discussion.  I think it was really interesting hearing about how Christian believes that music like hip hop has a specific philosophy of a person.  I do strongly believe that music reflects a person.  Music has different interpretations for every person and two people could interpret the same song in a different way depending upon their own personalities.

5/10/11

Today is my last day for work on this project because I will not be in class tomorrow.  I think that my presentation is developed and put together very well.  My powerpoint includes the necessary information about the interpretations and how some of those interpretations differ in other parts of the world.  I also have the links on my powerpoint to other websites that talk more deeply about the information about the chakra.  I was really interested to find out that there are multiple chakras throughout the body and that each different chakra has a different meaning.  This topic is alot more involved than I anticipated and I wish that I could have been in class the day that that Shaman lady came in because I heard she spoke on these subjects.  I am really excited to hear other people’s perspectives and I’m hoping the class has an interest in this like I do.

5/5/11

At this stage of my project I feel as if there might not be much more research that I can do.  I have found all the information necessary including the color interpretations, aura interpretations, and everyday uses of the aura.  Right now I feel that for my project I simply need people to talk to about this which is ultimately what the presentation is going to be.  I see my presentation going as a big class discussion rather than a lecture.  I am genuinely interested in what other people have to say about their “color” or their “aura”.  It fascinates me to believe that something as insignificant of a color can truly impact someone to think that that color is their true meaning of life.  The people in this class all have very thoughtful things to say in class practically everyday so I am excited to hear what everyone has to say on a sort of strange topic because I do think this topic is strange but I enjoy it.

5/4/11

Today in class I started to narrow down my research onto all of the specific items that I need for my presentation.  That specific search included the aura interpretations of all colors and where that is reflected on the chakra.  Also, I found a little bit more information on the chakra which will help in my presentation to identify where the aura’s are on the chakra and are in your body.  This will be useful for my presentation because the visual description of the chakra will make it easier to read and interpret the auras.

5/3/11

Today I focused my research on the modern uses of the aura and how it is used.  I found this person, Guy Coggins, who created a camera in order to use it for auraphotography.  This takes an image that is supposed to reflect the aura color that surrounds you.  The image can then allow a person to figure out what their aura is which then reflects on the person’s consciousness and their spiritual self.  This type of information is relevant for my project because I’m trying to explore how exactly people can interpret their “aura” and their spiritual color maybe giving them a better insight on their own personal self.