Going on a big dipper
Introduction and description
Roller coasters or big dippers are amusement park or 'theme park' rides. They have an interesting place in the whole cultural collection of rides, amusements and artefacts related to the circus as the preserver of spiritual truths. Symbolically they mimic the out of body experiences of novices, physically they are designed to help you achieve such experiences. And the effects are achieved by simulating danger using a not dissimilar psychological approach to a joke – mock danger followed by relief as the danger passes. Uppers and downers, high Emotion followed by intense relief – letting go.
“roller coasters are designed to give you a thrill -- to make you feel like you're in danger, if only for a few seconds”
According to the Roller Coaster DataBase, there were 2,088 coasters in operation around the world in 2007 -- 1,921 of them steel, 167 wooden. The RCDB identifies eight main coaster types:
- Pipeline: The track is attached to the middle of the train, instead of above or below it.
- Bobsled: Wheeled trains slide down a U-shaped tube instead of being fixed to a track.
- Flying: Riders start out in a seated position but are rotated to face the ground as the ride starts, giving the feeling of flying.
- Fourth Dimension: Two seats from each car are positioned on either side of the track. The seats spin or rotate on their own axis - either freely or in a controlled motion. In 2007, there were only four Fourth Dimension coasters in operation.
All roller coasters are designed to constantly change their acceleration and position to the ground, making the forces of gravity and acceleration interact in unpredictable ways. Thus there is the constant effect of surprise to your systems and constant mock threat.
If a roller coaster accelerates downward fast enough, for example, the upward acceleration force exceeds the downward force of gravity, making you feel like you're being pulled upward. If you accelerate upwards, the acceleration force and gravity are pulling in roughly the same direction, making you feel much heavier than normal. If you were to sit on a scale during a roller coaster ride, you would see your "weight" change from point to point on the track.
At the top of a hill in a conventional coaster, inertia may carry you up, while the coaster car has already started to follow the track down. Let go of the safety bar, and you'll actually lift up out of your seat for an instant. Coaster enthusiasts refer to this moment of free fall as "air time."
"Air time" has a strange effect on your body because your body is not completely solid -- it is composed of many loosely connected parts. This is why you feel the ride with your whole body and thus it is not just your eyes that are giving you messages of threat, your body – nervous system is sending messages too.
On a roller coaster, this full-body sensation is complemented by all sorts of visual cues -- the upside-down turns, dizzying heights and passing structures. Visual cues are an important part of the ride because they tell you that you are going fast. Your body can't feel velocity at all; it can only feel change in velocity (acceleration).
The only reasons you know that you are moving quickly on a coaster is that the support structure is whipping past you at top speed, and the air is rushing in your face. Roller-coaster designers make sure to create plenty of tight fits and near misses to make you feel like you're rocketing through the structure at out-of-control speeds.
If the ride incorporates a loop the loop, as you go around a loop-the-loop, your inertia not only produces an acceleration force, but it also keeps you in the seat when you're upside down.
As you move around the loop, the net force acting on your body is constantly changing. At the very bottom of the loop, for example, the acceleration force is pushing you down in the same direction as gravity. Since both forces push you in the same direction, you feel especially heavy at this point.
At the top of the loop, when you're completely upside down, gravity is pulling you out of your seat, toward the ground, but the stronger acceleration force is pushing you into your seat, toward the sky. Since the two forces pushing you in opposite directions are nearly equal, your body feels very light.
“ The loop-the-loop is amazing because it crams so much into such a short length of track. The varying forces put your body through the whole range of sensations in a matter of seconds. While these forces are shaking up all the parts of your body, your eyes see the entire world flip upside down”.
In general, all you need to do is to find a suitably well designed ride and go on it, but it is worth me adding a little safety information.
According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, 335 million people visited U.S. theme parks in 2006. A study that year by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that around 6,500 people seek medical attention every year for injuries at theme parks (this includes non-ride injuries). Of that number, about 130 required overnight hospitalization, making your risk of serious injury -- just from stepping into the park -- about one in 25 million.
In 2003, the Brain Injury Institute of America released a study that concluded, in part, that "The risk of brain injury from a roller coaster is not in the rides, but in the rider", or to put it another way the people had been hurt because they were already ill. Of the six fatal injuries the study examined, all had been caused by previously undetected brain conditions.
The advice from those who design and promote these rides is that if you have, or think you might have brain damage, high blood pressure, heart disease or a heart condition, or you are pregnant don't get on the ride.
And they generally advise you to go on the rides with an empty stomach.
How it works
The 5 senses along with the other senses are telling it that it is in danger, that the threat is both real and enormous. Thus the Will is being told by the body to DO SOMETHING. But it can do nothing. We are strapped in, we are there for the duration and even if the Will searches Memory for a learnt function to deal with it, it will find nothing. You cannot avoid the threat and the ride ensures that you are presented with a whole succession of ever increasing mock dangers so the messages get louder and louder – THREAT ,THREAT ,THREAT – we are about to die captain we don’t want to go with you, your little cells and organs want to live.
There is little input from the Reasoning function – after all what can it do? Furthermore there is very very high Emotion being generated which has a tendency to knock out all Memory and Reasoning anyway. And the intensity of the messages being sent it from Perceptions is overwhelming – DO SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING!!!
And we get our spiritual experience.
Oddly enough it can often be invisible input rather than an OBE and it is not unknown for it to be bliss and peace, which is why people come back for more - roller coasters can be addictive.