Respectful Insolence

i-e7a12c3d2598161273c9ed31d61fe694-ClassicInsolence.jpgEvery so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times, thanks to R01 deadlines. So enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from back in September 2007 that, shockingly, as far as I can tell I’ve never “rerun” before. Remember, if you’ve been reading less than three years it’s probably new to you, and, even if you have been reading more than three years, it’s fun to see how posts like this have aged.

i-5dd055a5f8d7a55c3bca3763440dbc3d-a_The_Healing_Buddha03.jpg

As I usually do on Thursday nights, I was perusing my legendary Folder of Woo looking for just the thing to be interesting and entertaining to both me as the blogger and you as the reader. As happens occasionally, nothing was really doing it for me. Nothing was getting me fired up to launch into yet another installment of Your Friday Dose of Woo. I thought about going back to the well of Life Technology (believe it or not, there is still some woo there to which I have not yet applied my special brand of Respectful Insolence™), but somehow I just wasn’t in the mood. Let’s face it, after over a year of doing Your Friday Dose of Woo, in which I’ve missed only three or four weeks total, it all starts to sound the same. It takes a special brand of woo to get me really fired up these days. (Does that mean I’m suffering woo burnout? I certainly hope not!)

Then I came across it again.

It had been stored in the Folder of Woo several weeks earlier. I couldn’t remember where or how I had come across it. I did, however, remember that it inspired me as a bit of the most delicious woo. It inspired me because it taught me things I never knew about cellular biology and neuroscience. Morever, it totally took me by surprise, because at first glance it just looked like typical New Age spiritualist B.S. But do not be fooled. Disguised under that veneer of references to “divine primordial energy” and “hidden secrets of the soul” was the most ludicrous bit of “science-y” sounding stuff I’ve heard in a while. Little did I know that I was about to enter a world of brand new receptors that no neuroscientist had ever heard of, much less described, before. But first, here’s the prelude, which should make you see why what followed took me completely by surprise:

Benefits: learn hidden secrets of the soul, expand your connection with primordial divine energy, learn the function of hidden universal forces, explore the secrets of a Sacred Order of Monks who know how to generate the Human Body of Light.

PUBLISHED IN DIGITAL FORMAT ON CD-ROM

Most of the true secrets of spiritual growth and wisdom have not been released in the West.

To date, we know that human beings use only 1-3% of their brain capacity. We also know that most of the brain capacity that is utilized is contained within the unconscious mind. These secret texts, released for the first time to those who can find it, reveal some of the secrets of the spiritual function of the unconscious mind. We plan to offer a series of these texts on our website. These books are designed to help the seeker expand and accelerate their spiritual growth through access to hidden and sacred knowledge. Access to hidden and sacred knowledge is the secret to real spiritual growth and evolution.

See what I mean? Standard New Age blather. Nothing particularly interesting there. Besides, this sort of “spirituality” is basically just religion watered down to make it palatable to Western woo-lovers. I could sit here and point out that it’s a myth that humans use only 1-3% of their brain capacity (or 10%, which is the other figure frequently bandied about), but what fun is that?

Then the woo went into overdrive:

Each of these texts are designed to stimulate and activate different types of unconscious receptors in the human brain. Stimulation of these receptors causes an energetic reaction in the brain that allows for the release of dormant proteins that are necessary for accelerated spiritual growth.

Wow! You mean that there are “unconscious receptors” in the human brain that can be stimulated to release dormant proteins that are necessary for “accelerated spiritual growth”? Before I go on, for those of you who don’t know what receptors are, here’s a quick lesson. Basically every cell in the body makes proteins that are (usually) embedded in the cell membrane with part of them facing the external environment. These proteins can do many things (cell adhesion to surrounding collagen and other proteins in the extracellular matrix), but one class of these proteins (receptors) has a very special function. These proteins bind to special proteins or other molecules in the surrounding fluid, and this binding causes some sort of change in the receptor that leads to a reaction (often the addition to a phosphate group to a protein) that ends up transmitting a chemical signal. This signal leads the cell to do things, be it move, grow, turn on genes, turn off genes, what have you. In the brain, some of these receptors result in the opening of ion channels and the transmission of electrochemical impulses, the very stuff of brain activity.

Of course, the above is a very simplified discussion (some receptors, such as the estrogen receptor) are inside the cell, rather than on the cell surface, but you get the idea. Receptors having different functions are ubiquitous and essential to ceullular function. The idea of coopting a very scientific concept to this form of woo is brilliant, and, boy, I’ve never seen it done with such chutzpah:

There appears to be a variety of receptors within the unconscious mind that are designed to receive and process the energy released from the deep energy of the universe. These receptors are not normally active during the waking state. Science has not yet discovered their existence.

They haven’t been discovered by science yet? Then how on earth does the writer even know they exist? Never mind. It’s just my lack of credulity asserting itself. My apologies. Let’s hear more:

There are many different types of receptors within the brain that have yet to be discovered. Conscious receptors are easily discovered using the available technology widely spread in our world. They are better known as chemical receptors. They process neurotransmitters, proteins, amino acids, and other chemicals that are used to power the chemical processes of the human mind. Conscious receptors are discovered via techniques used by the conscious mind of the investigator. Even while we sleep, certain of these receptors remain active and their function to a large extent has been documented and measured by our scientists.

Unconscious receptors function at an entirely different level of reality. They may only be measured by machines which detect and evaluate the unconscious energy created by the mind.

“Unconscious receptors function at an entirely different level of reality”? At least they’re honest.

This sounds like a budding woo-meister who took a couple of courses in cellular biology that did not stick. He clearly learned the terminology but the reasoning, methodology, and scientific method definitely passed him by. For one thing, I’ve never heard anyone divide receptors into “conscious” and “unconscious” receptors before. (Is an “unconscious receptor” a receptor that doesn’t do anything when its ligand–the molecule that stimulates it–binds to it?) Of course, it does make perfect sense. Scientists are (usually) conscious when they do measurements that reveal the existence of and characterize receptors, although this is not a 100% hard-and-fast rule, as anyone who has ever been a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow (or a surgeon doing research in a lab) knows. This also begs the question of why some of these unconscious researchers falling asleep at lab benches while doing long, dull assays have never uncovered evidence of these “unconscious receptors” before. But I digress.

What’s really hilarious about this article is that, not only does it postulate the existence of invisible, undiscovered, “unconscious” receptors that science cannot detect and that somehow cause an “energetic” reaction in the brain to release “dormant” proteins, but it even classifies them. All you neuroscientists out there, have you ever heard of prosonic, baryonic, and hyperonic receptors? If not, why not? You must be part of the great materialist conspiracy to suppress this hidden knowledge! Become educated in truth!

First, here’s what the prosonic receptors do:

The glial tissues of the brain are the main areas that house the prosonic receptors. These receptors are active at all times but are especially active during the sleep phase. They are also stimulated under the influence of certain types of energy radiation, primary matter, and certain special sacred written passages. These written words were designed to unlock the energy of these receptors.

Perfectly clear, isn’t it? Of course, if I could swallow my credulity long enough, I wouldn’t feel compelled to ask just how these woos know that these “prosonic receptors” are in the glial areas of the brain or how they know that radiation and “special sacred written passages” can unlock their energy. I know, I know. I’ll stop.

No I won’t. Here’s what “baryonic receptors” do:

Baryonic receptors are sensitive to the subconscious energy flow created by the subtle forces of the universe. Baryonic receptors are sensitive to the hidden subconscious energy flows that stimulate the growth and expansion of the functions of higher reasoning, telepathy, and clairvoyance. Baryonic receptors are found within the cells of the cerebellum. As such, most humans do not utilize these energies. The cerebellum is located underneath the cerebral cortex. It contains more cells within its structure than the rest of the brain combined.

Baryonic receptors allow a human to develop the capacity to communicate with the higher worlds in an intelligent manner. The baryonic receptors are active at all times. They constantly receive information from a myriad of worlds and dimensions. This information is stored within the brain and processed during the sleep state. As we evolve, the information gradually downloads itself into the conscious mind at certain times of revelation and insight.

Who knew? I wonder if I could team up with a competent neuroscientist and propose a research project to study these receptors, given that they really do sound way cool. I mean, who wouldn’t want to know how “unconscious” receptors can allow us to receive information from a “myriad” (not just a few, but a “myriad”!) of worlds and dimensions? I know I’m curious. Too bad there’s no information here that would even give me a clue where to start. Damn materialism!

Oh well, there’s only one thing to do, and that’s to go after the last receptor:

Hyperonic receptors are sensitive to the flow of energy released by the universe that operate on the level of the higher mind. Higher mind energy flow, also called hyperonic energy, allows the higher mind to connect and communicate with the unconscious and lower mind areas. The hyperonic receptors are located within the deep gray matter of the brain. These structures include the amygdala, the thalamus, the hypothalamus, and the pituitary regions of the brain. These areas are very active in guiding the function of the chakras and the endocrine organs of the body. They are also very important in maintaining the connection between the higher mind and the lower body.

Through the function of the hyperonic receptors, the lower mind is able to receive the transformative signals of puberty, aging, birth, and death. These energies are controlled and distributed through hyperonic receptors scattered throughout the deep gray areas of the brain.

Baryonic and prosonic receptors are also sensitive to these energies but not to the extent found in hyperonic receptors. This spectra of energy is by far the most powerful of all the energies that we find in the lexicon of the master symbols. Through mastery of these energies, the higher spiritual transformations that mark the transition from human to immortal may be achieved. These areas are particularly responsive to words of power, primary matter, gemstones, and telepathic stimulation.

On second thought, perhaps I should study hyperonic receptors. They sure sound a lot more interesting. However, I do have a quibble here. the “transformative signals” of puberty, aging, and birth, for example, can be explained by those “conscious receptors” and the ligands that bind to them that unimaginative material scientists have figured out through many years of careful observation and experimentation. Death, perhaps, not so much, but if these hyperonic receptors are what receive the transformative signals that make us die, then perhaps a way can be found to block their function. Oh, wait. If we do that, then we would be come insensitive to the energies that result in our spiritual transformation to “immortal.” That would be no good. I wonder how the woos know the right balance.

Of course, if you want a real research project to sink your teeth into, there’s another text that I could purchase:

According to legend, a number of ancient spiritual masters have dissolved their physical bodies into pure energy. Most used special exercises and techniques that had to be applied over a period of years, the results of which were the total transformation of the physical form into a form of self sustaining light energy. The new light form was immortal and indestructible. Somehow, these legends have not made it into our Western lexicon.

…There exists in history many examples of the successful completion of this process. Even in recent years there have been a number of Tibetan Lamas, both Buddhist and Bon-po, who attained realization of the Rainbow Body (‘ja-lus-pa) at the end of their lives and some of these occurrences were witnessed by Chinese Communist officials.

This text is designed to explore one question; is it possible for the human body to evolve into pure energy? Through meticulous research and one-of-a-kind insightful observations, The Human Body of Light explores the real phenomenon of an extraordinary type of human evolution. The realizations that accompany this knowledge has the potential to change our understanding of what it means to be human.

Now, we’re talking! A life as eternal, indestructible, conscious energy, all mediated by hyperonic receptors! That’s what I want to happen to me when it’s finally time to cash in my chips for good. I know it can happen, too. After all, this book tells me it can, and I’ve seen it on Star Trek.

Comments

  1. #1 squirrelelite
    October 1, 2010

    I was curious when you quoted the following:

    They may only be measured by machines which detect and evaluate the unconscious energy created by the mind.

    Do they actually have one of these machines working?

    Do you have to be unconscious to get it to work?

    It sounds a bit like a period near the end of my last sleep deprived EEG.

    And, I thought it was the midi-chlorians in the blood that did this.

    “Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force. When you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll hear them speaking to you.”
    ―Qui-Gon Jinn to Anakin Skywalker[src]

    But, I suppose they are probably in the glial tissues of the brain as well.

  2. #2 Old Rockin' Dave
    October 1, 2010

    It’s like deja woo all over again.

  3. #3 cervantes
    October 1, 2010

    RFK Jr. and Deepak Chopra are sitting in a bar. Harkin says, “Did you know that we only use 1/3 of our brain?” and Chopra replies, “Really? What do we do with the other third?”

  4. #4 feralboy12
    October 1, 2010

    I kept wanting to say “citation needed,” but then I saw it: “According to legend.”
    This is obviously the Science Diet version of a word salad.

  5. #5 Pablo
    October 1, 2010

    Most of the true secrets of spiritual growth and wisdom have not been released in the West.

    They have been “released” in the East then? And all this great information just didn’t find it’s way here?

    Then again, it was 2007, it’s not like they had all the com$munmication abilities that we have now.

  6. #6 Bronze Dog
    October 1, 2010

    Baryonic receptors. They really are blasting out Star Trek technobabble, like that episode they put the Enterprise into spacedock and cleared out for a deadly “baryon sweep” intended to rid the ship of some kind of particle scum they built up from warping around a whole lot. Gave an excuse for Picard to fight some trilithium thieves/terrorists as a deadly wall of green forces them to keep moving. All because he heard about a horse ranch planetside and went to fetch his saddle.

    Of course, if I’m remembering my particle physics correctly as an interested layperson, baryons are actually a whole category of particles: Anything made of three quarks, and it includes boring old protons (2 Ups, 1 Down) and neutrons (1 Up, 2 Downs). When talking about dark matter and energy, some people refer to the more familiar “normal” matter and anti-matter as “baryonic matter”.

  7. #7 Pablo
    October 1, 2010

    BD – to make it a ST-TNG reference, it would need to include tachyonic receptors

  8. #8 scepticc
    October 1, 2010

    Baryonic receptors. They really are blasting out Star Trek technobabble, like that episode they put the Enterprise into spacedock and cleared out for a deadly “baryon sweep” intended to rid the ship of some kind of particle scum they built up from warping around a whole lot. Gave an excuse for Picard to fight some trilithium thieves/terrorists as a deadly wall of green forces them to keep moving. All because he heard about a horse ranch planetside and went to fetch his saddle.

    Of course, if I’m remembering my particle physics correctly as an interested layperson, baryons are actually a whole category of particles: Anything made of three quarks, and it includes boring old protons (2 Ups, 1 Down) and neutrons (1 Up, 2 Downs). When talking about dark matter and energy, some people refer to the more familiar “normal” matter and anti-matter as “baryonic matter”.

  9. #9 scepticc
    October 1, 2010

    Something incredible has happened this year. A new vaccine (Prevnar 13) was approved by the FDA and Health Canada which covers some of the pneumococcal serotypes that are increasing in prevalence. It’s been around for 7 months now and still nobody is claiming that it causes autism. Is there possibly a change afoot?

  10. #10 atheismisdead
    October 1, 2010

    The atheists are coming to my city – MONTREAL!

    atheistconvention.org/

    please be sure to stop by for tea

    atheism is dead forever!
    _____________________
    add comment moderation to your BS

    you will not have a PUBLIC FORUM

    NEW GAME WITH YOU LITTLE F*CKERS – SPEAK N DIE. Come see the latest DM videos for your viewing pleasure!

    the WORLD TRADE CENTER PROPHECY – THE DANCE OF DEATH

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0Hez25fFrg

    media.depechemode.com/micro_sites/remasters/gr/wallpaper/violator_8_640.jpg

    _______________
    And the Pope is 100% correct: The Nazis and the atheists both wish to ABOLISH FAITH….
    bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11332515
    ________________________

    hawking is WRONG

    science cannot explain NOTHING!

    youtube.com/watch?v=PMRJJcfEXls&

    FAIR AND BALANCED!
    ________________

    dissidentphilosophy.lifediscussion.net/art-f6/the-boobquake-911-t1310.htm

  11. #11 Daniel J. Andrews
    October 2, 2010

    Hyperonic receptors must be what enable the Ancients and some modern humans to ascend (and come back, and ascend again, and come back….how many times does he cheat death by ascending…???…sigh).
    –dan

  12. #12 DLC
    October 2, 2010

    Bronze Dog: but how many quarks make up a liter of Red Matter?
    /ducks

  13. #13 Mal Akker
    October 2, 2010

    Just thought you might like to know what happens when Woo- Woo takes over a small town on a small Greek island

    http://paleochora-woowoo.blogspot.com/2008_05_25_archive.html

  14. #14 Brad D
    October 2, 2010

    It’s lucky for many of us here that we are using a competitive, irreversibly-binding inhibitor to our stupidity receptors: a basic science education.

  15. #15 Jack
    October 2, 2010

    @9
    Are you a bot? That odd non-sequitour you just laid down was a copy and paste of one of my comments from another thread.

  16. #16 Chris
    October 2, 2010

    Yes, it is an obvious bot. Orac is a bit busy (as noted above), so cleaning up spam bots must be a low priority.

  17. #17 Jack
    October 2, 2010

    I don’t expect him to… I probably wouldn’t make the time for cleaning up spam either. I just found it a little strange because 2 minutes earlier “scepticc” posted a totally legit comment. I don’t know a lot about this stuff… are there bots stealing peoples’ usernames?

  18. #18 yogi-one
    October 2, 2010

    I see the end of the part where they describe the receptors has this tidbit:

    Most people do not know that they have access to this privileged knowledge.

    That’s probably a good thing. Here’s hoping their advertising budget runs out before everybody does.

  19. #19 Chris
    October 2, 2010

    Jack:

    I don’t know a lot about this stuff… are there bots stealing peoples’ usernames?

    Sometimes, yes. There are some I recognize like the Turkish “siqis” and the one that pulls a random name and puts in part of a stolen comment. After a while you just ignore them, or if there is an opportunity for humor post a response. Sometimes they are removed.

  20. #20 Militant Agnostic
    October 3, 2010

    Converting your body to energy would result in a hell of a lot of energy, even if you were not very big. Perhaps this what caused the Tunguska event? I would think that a couple of Tibetan lamas threatening to convert their bodies to energy in downtown Beijing and Shanghai would be enough t convince the Chinese government to grant Tibet full independence. Concerting the entire mass of a human body to energy would be the ultimate suicide bomber.

  21. #21 Urmensch
    October 4, 2010

    Scoff all you want but the reason you are blind to the light of truth in this account of spiritual neurology is because you don’t have the right receptors in your brain. Or if you have them they have been deactivated by exposure to sceptical thinking.
    Before you can even approach this subtle science of prosonic, baryonic, and hyperonic receptors you must first have activated another special class of receptors.

    The moronic receptors.

  22. #22 Greg Fish
    October 4, 2010

    “That’s what I want to happen to me when it’s finally time to cash in my chips for good. I know it can happen, too. After all, this book tells me it can, and I’ve seen it on Star Trek.”

    And Babylon 5. And Star Wars. And Stargate. And in The Watchmen. And just about every sci-fi work that borrows heavily from New Age urban legends…

  23. #23 rob
    October 5, 2010

    i love how they like to go on and on about things they know about that are undiscovered.

    must be some new superposition state. something can be simultaneously discovered and undiscovered.