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Sensory Deprivation Tank 'ed'...

Posted on March 21, 2011 at 10:25 PM

Yes alright, I know, I know.  It's been awhile since I blogged.  I have a decent enough excuse - I just started a new job in a new lab, and there's a steep learning curve (aka, I now have duties in addition to pressing the start button on an analyzer.) Anyhow, I promised a few readers who knew what I've been up to as of late that I'd blog about it, so here goes:

So anyhow, you may not know that evil scientists have a certifying agency.  That's right, we all like to keep a long collection of random numbers and letters after our names and in order to do that, we have to hold certain certifications which involve us having to take online courses and go to conferences to earn these stupid little vouchers known as CE credits(I think it stands for Continuing Evil).  We even have to take these stupid little quizzes to show that we're retaining information.  Here's a sample question:

1. World Domination is _________

(a). Very important

(b). Not that important, there are still episodes of Family Guy I haven't seen on Hulu.

(c). All of the above.

You see what I mean?  Tricky, aren't they?  So there I am, completing a course on the history of evil science when I came across a chapter on John C. Lilly.  In a nutshell - dolphin communication, psychedelic drugs, aaaaaaaand... the study of the nature of consciousness using something called a sensory depravation or isolation tank.  Now sure, the idea of using dolphins as minions was intriguing, but what really threw me was the isolation tank.  Basically it's a big metal coffin that contains water super-saturated with epsom salt. (so anything would float in it.) You shut yourself in and float.  No light, no noise, and since you're floating, you really can't feel anything either,  If you've never seen Altered States, here's a visual for you:

okay, never freaking mind. This stupid blog program won't let me add a pic. (seriously i should just give up and go to wordpress... but i digress.) Just google it.  So John C. Lilly took a bunch of drugs and tripped out a bunch of times. (and another random tangent -  wouldnt it suck to be his research assistant?  You'd be standing there with a towel like "oh, you saw the cosmos. uh-huh. purple monkey spit dripping from the ceiling.  Sure I'm writing this down, just like I'm sure you'll remember this all tommorrow.")

I don't know what was so intriguing about this, but I had to try it (WITHOUT the massive amounts of LSD, or whatever the heck they were on.  I mean seriously, how is that science?  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the drugs had more to do with your altered mental state then the isolation tank, Dr. Lilly.)  and it turns out there's a sensory dep. place not far from the house.  So I went. (but I took my best friend, because let's face it- It's a little creepy, right?)  Let me just tell you, the hardest part is working yourself up to close the door, because once you do, you're on your own.  Just naked in this pitch black little space filled with warm water.  For the first thirty or so minutes I'm floating, and I can't really relax because all I can think about is that this is all very comfortable.  So comfortable, and the water's warm and salty and what if... what if the person before me just took a leak or something?  What if the timer was broken, and I know the guy said that music was supposed to come on when your time's up... but what if mine doesn't work?  How freaking long have I been in here?  Is that a light?  It looks like a tiny dim light but it moves whenever I try to freaking look at it.  Like a damn firefly or something.  I'm freaking out.  Am I freaking out?  Oh God, I just stopped breathing.  There it goes again.  What if I'm asleep right now?  The guy said people fall asleep all the time, and it's okay, you won't drown or anything.  How do I know I'm not asleep right now?  I could be.  How long have I been in here?  I can't feel my body at all.  It's gone numb.  If I fart it'll be like a hot tub. A stinky hot tub. I should be, like, meditating or something.  Ohhhh gaaaa, my eye itches, but if I touch it it'll sting because of all the salt water.  I am not getting out.  I don't want to wuss out.  Meghan's probably over there in her tank all "ahhhhhhh... how relaxing." and if I get out I'll be a damn wuss. (By the way, Meghan's 8 months preggo and had to get out to pee like ten times and was sitting in her tank thinking pretty much the same thing.)  And then the music came on.  And it didn't seem like two hours.

So I dunno.  I guess everything is worth trying once, but I dont think I'll be making a repeat trip anytime soon.  Now, dolphin communication on the other hand...

Categories: Secrets of Scientists, Awwww, come on!

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