March 18, 2002

March 18, 2002 3:07 PM

“Godspot.” A friend used this term in an email recently. I interpreted it to mean one’s space of private values, the “inner sanctum”. Then last night while reading a fascinating book called The Age Of Spiritual Machines (Ray Kurzweil), I again came upon this phrase and learned its modern origins. Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California began research with epileptics who had spiritual experiences while having a seizure. The research determined a small locus of nerve cells in the frontal lobe of the brain that became active when the test study group had specifically spiritual/mystical experiences. The scientists called this “the God module.” Thus the study concluded that there is a place in the brain that is predetermined for “experiences of God”. In other words, it is suggested the brain is hard-wired for said experiences. In the study, tracking surface electrical activity in the brain of non-religious persons found a similar response when they were shown words/symbols “evoking spiritual beliefs.” Neurological basis for “the spiritual experience” has also been claimed for some time now by evolutionary biologists… It could be argued that spirituality is consciousness itself. Ray Kurzweil suggests that machines based on a design of human thinking will claim consciousness, and attend real as well as virtual “houses of worship”.