(This is a repost from a recent LiveJournal post)
This piece is written with a theist bent, but that aside I’m finding the information in there very intriguing to my own situation. I also greatly enjoyed reading about the science behind the biology, and overall the article is very well-researched.
With regards to alcohol-induced rage, I have been known to go into this state during intoxication, but I wouldn’t say alcohol is the cause of this. Generally pain doesn’t stop me. The only thing that would stop me suddenly is if my breathing were to get obstructed, or maybe someone attempting to talk me down. Otherwise, I eventually just run out of steam.
In the end I would concur with the author here, in it being a self-induced phenomenon, or triggered by some sort of strong emotion. Neurotransmitters such as adrenaline would go strongly into play here. This can definitely be seen as a form of altered state, and as such, anyone with a strong religious inclination can definitely see it as a spiritual experience. Very similar to this would be the ordeal-frenzied shamans have been known to whip themselves into, though the means and ends may be slightly different.
My experience with it is also similar, in the sharpening of senses. My muscles will spasm. My mouth has a tendency to get real dry. I’ll pace. I’ve been told I have a habit of growling a lot. My hands will clench and unclench and, in thinking about it, they do tend to be held in an attitude suggesting claws. Paranoia and fear are also experienced, to varying degrees. Usually when I come out of this episode, I am weak, sore all over, and experiencing strong migraine symptoms. Usually I spend most of the day hibernating, but occasionally I will awaken the next morning and act as if nothing has occurred. I think it all depends on the emotions involved at the time, and the general situation. I also found some similarities with the author’s recounting of his own childhood. When describing the physical attributes of berserkers, I was surprised to read that “short and skinny” (which fits my description) was a common attribute, as well as the more commonly-known broad and hairy ones.
Overall, it was an interesting read. It also gives me something to think about, as it relates to my own personal situation.
Last night, surfing the web in a fit of boredom while trying to get to sleep (which didn’t occur until many, many hours later) I came across this website: SpaceWeather.com. Very, very interesting site. I particularly enjoyed the Radio Meteor Listening and the NASA online VLF receiver. Of course there is also RadioAstronomy, which broadcasts live feeds from various radio locations around the world–a personal favorite of mine (I am quite happy to see that it’s now back online again, because for awhile the site had gone down).
As bizarre as these noises might sound to most people, I actually find them quite relaxing. Relaxing to the point where I have been known to reach strange altered states of consciousness while listening to one continuous stream, and have gotten into the habit of doing so whenever I feel I need to achieve some meditative calm, or otherwise get myself into a different headspace. I will usually do this while sitting up and leaning against something, sometimes in bed, with my eyes closed. Sitting up helps prevent me from falling asleep, but given my chronic insomnia, it has been known to happen. This is one of the reasons also why I began playing a stream to help me get to sleep. White noise, much like the static on a TV screen, has a consistent hypnotic effect. I’ve heard of others who have used the method of watching white static on a TV screen to achieve altered states of consciousness, but this method is not something I could readily relate to. I don’t even watch television when there are actual programs playing, unless its something I’m readily interested in.
Astronomy and related is actually a very intricate part of my spirituality. Its part of what I work with. There are several people I know who work with objects and spirits/entities from the natural world: animals, bones, skins. My preferred method is working with the celestial and meteorologic: meteorites, tektites, fulgurites, weather patterns, astronomical observations. I have said before that I could relate to a star or a thunderstorm more readily than I could an organic being. That said, it doesn’t mean I don’t have a fair amount of respect for the natural world, it just isn’t my element. When I sit in my room and work with my meteorite and impactite collection, either sorting them or creating pieces of art out of them (or some reasonable facsimile thereof), and listening to one of these radio streams, not only do I feel like I am more in my element, but I also feel like I can better relate to the material I am working with.
I will elaborate more on this topic later. Right now my primary focus is achieving some degree of profitable sleep, the lack of which has interfered quite a bit with my thought processes lately. Signing off for now.