[B5JMS] Today We Lost Richard Biggs

b5jms at cs.columbia.edu b5jms at cs.columbia.edu
Sun May 23 04:28:44 EDT 2004

From: "David Barton" <dlb at patriot.net>
Date: Sat, 22 May 2004 17:23:23 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 66

"Gary Forbis" <gryzon at comcast.net> wrote in message
news:sNKdnUW2arugOjPdRVn-sw at comcast.com...
> Aisling Willow Grey wrote:

> > Don't know if this is what you're looking for, but this strikes very
close to
> > home for me: pretty much the entire basis of shamanism - my spiritual
> > practice - is the ability to enter an altered state of consciousness in
> > to have a direct experience with the Divine.  There are still plenty of
> > cultures out there who do this with entheogenic assistance (psychoactive
> > chemicals derived from plants, such as ayahuasca and amanita muscaria).
> > However, many others (especially western practitioners) use aural
> > (drumming, toning bowls, didjeridoo), or...nothing.  So, for them,
> > it's a matter of self-discipline.
> I suppose what I'm getting at is that this sense of oneness or inner
> peace or whatever it is people obtain from spirituality might be nothing
> more than some sort of endorphine released in the brain.  Thinking
> spiritually may be a way to "naturally" release this chemical, while
> taking certain drugs may be the artificial alternative.
> To put it bluntly, spirituality may be nothing more than a chemical in
> the brain.

You know, this kind of reductionism seems to me to strongly mix cause and
effect.  It may well be that spiritual experiences are accompanied by this
particular chemical, and even that injecting this chemical can lead to a
feeling close to spiritual ecstasy.  But this does not necessarily mean that
spiritual experience is caused by that chemical; it is at least as possible
that the chemical is linked to the experience, and has been keyed to
spiritual experience over time.

When I am afraid, adrenaline is released into my bloodstream.  If adrenaline
is injected into my bloodstream, then I become afraid; I feel the effects of
fear.  This does not mean that if someone points a gun at me, I should not
be afraid.  To suggest that "fear" is only a product of adrenaline is
absurd.  But because the subject is spirituality, no one points this out.
No one doubts the reality of things that we *should* be afraid of.  Our
bodies are made up of hormones, neurochemicals, and other physical
mechanisms that record and cause the experiences and feelings we have; by
reproducing those body states (the chemicals, hormones, electrical
stimulations, and so on) we can reproduce those feelings.  This does not
invalidate the reality of the stimuli that produced these feelings in the
first place, and to point out the existence of these feelings and say that
the reality "is nothing more than a chemical in the brain" is simply
nonsense.  We see it clearly in other things, but because someone brings it
up in the case of spirituality (or God or religion or whatever) we seem to
lose all common sense.  If there were no initial stimulus, there would be no
reason for the chemical to exist.

This does not automatically mean that God (or spirituality or whatever)
*does* automatically exist; however, it does mean that we need to account
for the experience, not as "nothing more than a chemical in the brain", but
in some way, be it God or cultural pressure or whatever..  That there is a
chemical in the brain means nothing at all; chemicals don't appear in the
brain by magic.

Dave Barton

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: Sat, 22 May 2004 23:43:05 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 35

I was awakened today with several phone calls from cast members and Doug to
pass along the terrible news that this morning, Richard Biggs passed away.  

We're still gathering information, so take none of this as firm word, but what
seems to have happened, happened quickly.  He woke up, got up out of bed...and
went down.  The paramedics who showed up suggested it was either an aneurysm or
a massive stroke.

His family members have been informed, and all of the the cast have, as far as
we can determine, also been informed.  

This is a terrible loss for all of us.  Richard was a consummate professional
but more than that he was an honorable, stand-up guy.  If he gave you his word
on something, you never had to wonder about it afterward.  He was always
helpful and supportive of all the cast, even those who only came in for one
episode, always with a ready smile and determined to do whatever it took to
make the scene work.  He was, quite simply, a terrific guy, and everyone here
is just devastated at the news.

More word as this develops.  We may try to have some kind of fund raiser to
help give whatever assistance may be helpful for his kids.

We all miss him terribly.


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
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