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Kulturnatten 2005

Friday october-14th was the day of the annual Kulturnat (night of culture) in Copenhagen.

On the Kulturnat hundreds of institutions, organisations, museeums, churches are open from 6PM to midnight.

I had planned to go several places, the first being an event at the Natha Yoga centre where they annonced that you could meet the 10 cosmic goddesses, try relaxation therapy (Yoga Nidra) and something they called the brainmachine.

After some waiting we were indeed introduced to the 10 goddesses which turned out to be what I suspect, staff members. They were posing as vedic goddesses. We were invited to meditate with the “godesses” by touching their hands and asking them questions. The “goddesses” were all beautiful, but it was indeed a strange setting.

While at the Yoga centre, I overheard a conversation, that it was worthwhile to go check out the statue of the founder of Copenhagen, Absalon, that is situated in the centre of Copenhagen. A scafolding, reaching the top of the statue, had been errected around the statue, so that you could look Absalon straight in the eyes. The statue is much larger than I thought, and it is very detailed. This was quite an experience.

Then I headed to the headquartes of The Rosencruzians. Last week I had stumbled upon their head-quarters in San Jose, California, when I was scanning Silicon Valley using Google Earth, and investigated their websites. It had all sounded quite interesting, their San Jose HQ is modelled after the Karnak temple in Egypt. When I got there, I discovered that I had lost my pass, I have no idea how that happened, but I hurried to Central Station to get an new one. I made it back, and I talked to one of the staff members for more than an hour, it was very rewarding. But I must admit that I’m confused about what the organisation is really about. I suspect that it is similar to the free masons, but much more open to different philosphical and religious beliefs as well being open to men and women alike.

I had to return to the Natha Yoga centre to try the so called brain machine. On the way I made time to visit the Keld Helmer-Petersen exibiton at the Centre for Photography, I’m glad I did, brilliant simple B/W photography at its best.

The brain machine is a combination of shades with 4 LEDs in different colours mounted and headphones. You had to lay on your back, put on the shades and the headphones, and then they started a 10 minute program. At first the light was very uncomfortable, and I had to fight an urge to take the gogles off, eventually you got used to it – which is quite strange – since it was really painful. The program was cycling through different patterns of light and sound, about halfway through the session, the sound and light started “bouncing” back and forth from right to left, after that I didn’t really notice when that effect stopped. Then all went black…As black as I’ve ever experienced…Abruptly the session was over – was that really 10 minutes, it had felt more like 2. All I could say was WOW, and that the experience actually made me cry – I don’t really know why – was it the pain?

I’m quite suspicious about this brain machine, it might be some kind of a hoax. It’s supposed to “induce different levels of consciousnes”, I’m doubtful, but it did indeed have an effect on me. I signed up for a demonstration, where I hope to get some answers. Searching the web didn’t really reveal anything, but I’m mostly inclined to believe that it’s based on pseudo science.

After this experience, I attended the Yoga Nidra relaxation therapy demonstration. And this actually worked, the idea is that you focus on different parts of your body, guided by an instructor speaking in a slow hypnotic voice, acompanied by music. It really felt like the body began to respond to the instructions given, by trembling. I’m not sure that this actually happened, but it felt good. I remembered that some of the “godesses” were “trembling” when they were meditating, I understood this better now.
All in all I was taken in by the experience at the Natha Yoga centre. But now that it has sunken in, I’m in doubt.
After this I walked down Købmagergade to Rundetaarn, I had planned to go to the platform on top, but there was a line, so I went to the exhibition above the Trinitatis church instead. This turned out to be a good idea, because I got to attend a concert with the violinist Rune Sørensen. He showed up with some friends, and demonstrated that he masters both classical music, folk inspired music and traditional reels, it was really amazing.

All in all it was a great night. Copenhagen was showing itself at it’s best, on an above average temperature for October, I’d say that it was outright hot. I have only one question, why do people litter so much?

And on this beautiful night, Denmark got a new heir to the throne, when H.R.H Crown Princess Mary gave birth to a baby boy.

Update regarding the brain or mind machine:
I’ve found out that one type of these machines, is called a Proteus Machine. The Proteus is sold on the Internet, one of them being a Danish company called brainvibe. An episode of the Danish radio show, HARDDISKEN from the 3rd of September 2005, covered brain- or mind-machines in detail. HARDDISKEN is available as a Podcast, in Danish, e.g. from iTunes or directly from the Danish Radio’s Podcast site.

It turns out that there is scientific proof, that it is indeed possible to tune the brainwaves to different frequencies, by subjecting the hearing and the sight to signals, like the one employed by the mindmachine. But according to a scientist interviewed in HARDDISKEN, a lot of the original science behind this was conducted in the first half of the 20th century, when the EEG was first invented, and that this science should be of a quality, that doesn’t meet todays standards.

The jury is still out, but at worst I believe that it is harmless, at best it might have some effect. Even though I’ve heard that strobelights can induce epeleptic conditions, some computer games that employed flashing lights, were actually banned a couple of years ago. I’m willing to subject myself to more experimentation, maybe even with bio-feedback, an enhancement of the mindmachine, where the brainwave “pattern” is feed back to you, e.g. to the palm of your hands. I’ve read a BBC report on the Internet that biofeedback has been proven to improve the performance of musicians.

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