There is a general consensus among the neuroscience community that mystic experiences of indigenous people are either illusions or delusions. I sometimes wonder whether the scientific community realises that in doing so they not only help  perpetuate the narrative that indigenous people are a primitive people, but they also trivialise mystic traditions that serve as robust connections between man and nature. We should tread softly because we tread on their dreams.

In practice, I think this is one of those situations where neuroscientists, of atheistic inclinations, should apply the precautionary principle instead of organising a modern form of the medieval witch-hunt. We should tread carefully around the subject of the mind and the brain, and whether the mind is reducible to the brain, because we understand both very poorly. Who are we to judge a civilisation different from ours when our seemingly advanced Western civilisation has slowly traded away everything that makes us human for the sake of comfort and convenience. For all we know it is the ‘developed’ nations that are too primitive to understand the mystic traditions of indigenous populations such as the Sámi, the only remaining indigenous population of Europe. 

In fact, based on a scientific investigation I am currently carrying out at the intersection of cognitive science, information theory, and machine learning it appears that only just recently do we have the scientific tools to determine whether mystic experiences are not merely illusions or delusions. Or if I may put the question in a way that physicists might understand…is all that is observable, all there is? So far, my analysis suggests that mystic experiences are an integral part of scientific intuition. 

There are two specific examples which I shall leave as an exercise for the reader. Could the Riemann Hypothesis or the Schrödinger wave equation have been formulated by a machine learning model? To be more precise, were the data in consideration finite-state compressible(i.e. not pseudo-random)?