Tuesday 6 March 2007

Giving your soul to Cyberspace

Two things i have read today in different places have led me to some musings. Though the two things are apparently unconnected, there is a connection, and oddly, it is the Tin Drummer's blog.

The first point is the bizarre post I have read on Ellee Seymour's page about Second Life. If you haven't read it already, I recommend you do, it's very strange and not something I suggest you sign up for. I never thought Virtual Reality Existence would be on us so soon, but apparently it is. Worrying really.
What I thought was interesting was how few comments there were on Ellee's page today- usually there are a veritable horde. It was if people had read the post and been scared off blogging as a result.

That's where we link in to the second thing I read today. It seems, according to The Telegraph, that OBEs (Out of Body Experiences, as opposed to the Gong John Lennon handed back) and NDEs (Near Death Experiences, the whole travelling along a tunnel to a bright light thing) are simply further examples of sleep paralysis, the phenomenon of being asleep and awake at the same time.
Now, for those pf you who've never had sleep paralysis, this won't be much of an explanation, but as it happens, I happened to comment on sleep paralysis recently when the Tin Drummer was expounding on Aliens (I hasten to add, he dooes NOT believe in such things). This is because sleep paralysis is generally agreed to be behind many alien abduction experiences. This has meant that the experience of sleep paralysis was fresh in my mind when I read the article.

I have had about fouror five serious experiences of sleep paralysis in my life- as opposed to the minor jolting incidents everybody gets. One of them should suffice as a warning.
About five years ago, I developed the bad habit of coming in from work and going straight to playing a game called Halflife. It was set in an underground research facility in the Nevada desert after a nuclear accident. Various mutants aliens ran riot over the place whilst maines dropped in to elimiate both aliens and survivors.
After a heavy weekend with no sleep, I had come in from work and ended up forgetting the time again. I was on the game for about six hours before going to bed, physically and mentally drained, but in a state of high tension.

At some point I awoke to see searchlights flashing through my window. I could hear voices, radios, gunfire. There were certainly soldiers outside my bedroom. Some sinister black alien was descending from the ceiling and I could not move. I tried to call for help, but no words come out. I felt like I was mouthing the words, but there was no voice to give them breath. I struggled against all this for about a minute until, like a switch going on, power came back to my limbs and I was alone.

On the other occasions I have had it, they have been scary, but never so intense. On the other occasions, lack of sleep and too much partying have been to blame, but in this instance I really was scared to go back to sleep. Usually I give it two or three minutes of checking I'm fully awake before going back to sleep, on this occasion it was a while before I dared. I realised then that if had been a more suggestible person, I would have thought it was an alien abduction. Luckily for me, the whole thing was just TOO similar to Halflife.

Some of the others I've had have been fairly odd. One, bizarrely enough fitted almost exactly the classic medieval description of a succubus- I even felt the 'succubus' copulating with me, which suggests in some sense that these sleep paralysis incidents tap into some kind of collective subconsciousness. Possibly different types of sleep paralysis work on different sensory organs, hence the fect that so many are similar. That would explain why so many NDEs are basically the same.
But none EVER affected me like the Computer Game related one.

Certainly when I read posts like Ellee's on Second Life, I become uneasy about how much of our minds we are losing to cyberspace.
Not that I'm going anywhere. Just that thereare lines that you have to draw.

Computers can be dangerous, if you give them your soul.
Take care out there, my friends.


Anonymous said...

I've had similar, but less intense, experiences - mainly with something pulling the covers off the end of the bed, inspired by various ghost stories. I imagine that if I didn't know so much about sleep paralysis and believed more in the supernatural I might be inclined to assume that these events really had happened in some form.

Halflife was a great game.

Anonymous said...

I've never played it, but this is a great post and the kind of post I don't seem to see enough of on the blogosphere. Mine was very much of the succubus variety - a great pressure on my chest. It happened only the once, during a time of great stress.

I don't believe in aliens, anymore, as I've even mentioned to day on matt's blog, but I do protest too much because I'd love there to be. I'd love an EBE to come down and shoot Tony Blair in the arse with a laser and tell him to fuck off out of No10.

just like I would very much like Jesus to come down and pick a fight with Richard Dawkins. I'd love to see the two of them arguing on a chat show or comment show (say Newsnight) and see who threw the first punch. I guess if Jesus did it would kind of undermine his case but I can see him being drawn to doing it. He'd need the patience of a...oh.

Might I add that there is *nothing* odd about my blog!!!

Anonymous said...

Ah, well I respect Dawkins as a biologist even if his Atheist crusade irks me somewhat.
As you can probably gather I'm a fairly theistic Catholic, much in the mode of Pius XII who accepted the big bang and evolution. I only believe on one supernatural event, transubstantiation and even that can be accepted scientifically, if you think about Isotopy.

Anonymous said...

CBI: that is roughly my position, although Atheism is a dark monster constantly stalking my dreams, especially when I recall the dead body of my grandfather. Not the fact of his death, but the body itself.

I would not dare discuss biology with Dawkins. The man is a fine biologist. However, by his own admission, he doesn't give two ****s about religion so how the hell he can write books about it, blaming it for everything (except, oddly enough, life, which was something that used to bother his mate, Douglas Adams - not religion I mean, but life itself) I don't know.

what do you make of Pius XII then? I'm always wary of citing him, though at the very worst his behaviour was better than some secular authorities.

Anonymous said...

I think Pius XII receives unjust criticism for his role in the war- he was no friend to the Nazis and did everything he reasonably could do. To call him Hitler's Pope is an insult to Catholics. I have a book somewhere called 'The Last three Popes and the Jews' written by a Jewish guy called Pinchas Lapide which basically supports Pius XII.
In spite of my often liberal views on other subjects, I am not a big supporter of all that was done at Vatican II and think the present Pope was the right choice.