Mod+ 254. HOWARD STORM TRANSFORMED BY NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE

#23
For myself, the answer to this question is "Not much". I've had so many spiritual experiences in my life (While in my 20's I saw "ghosts" and "auras" on many occasions, felt incredible oneness with the universe on a near-daily basis, and had expansive clarity while meditating that seemed bigger than life itself.) At the time it all seemed amazing and undeniably legitimate, but with life experience, professional training and insight gained through research, I've come to believe these experiences were usually a combination of wishful thinking, exaggeration and depression/anxiety (oftentimes with pot and alcohol also in the mix), and not part of some bigger spiritual reality.

This is in no way to say that I don't believe that spiritual things may exist, but for me, I can't say I would absolutely trust my own judgment if I were to experience something like that now, and I certainly don't trust the many experiences I had when I was younger as being undeniably "spiritual".
very cool. thx for sharing this. I tend to give more weight to my few spiritual/paranormal experiences. they seem important, but then again have an ephemeral quality that makes them hard to hold on to. I've come to the conclusion that this is how the game is supposed to be played... we can't hold on to anything... including extraordinary experiences.
 
#24
I guess I can say I trust the fact that I've actually had the experiences I've had (such as they are). The much harder question for me is how much I trust my interpretations of them. They change over time in light of new evidence/ways of thinking. At best, I suppose they're working hypotheses that could well be wrong.
yea, I agree.

Difficult to say. Like the man said, one can only speak for oneself.
I don't quite agree... I think this what we in the West have to offer. The scientific method is about putting a little distance between oursevels and our experience.

It's a pity that we didn't hear more detail of the actual experience itself
he's covered that a lot in other places... and has some pretty over-the-top sounding ideas about "what Jesus told him" concerning how messed up we are right now.
 
#25
I suppose it would depend on what I saw. For instance, if I had, say, some transcendental dream where I encountered a deceased ancestor, and then learned information that I would have no other way of knowing, that is later confirmed to be accurate, I would trust it.
Right, but what if "trusting it" led you to totally change your belief system... what it "trusting it" meant turning your world upside down?

Might all of this have something to do with the positive part of having a guru... a spiritual teacher with a long history of being led and leading others down these very tricky paths.
 
#26
How would you decide when it stops being the experience and starts being what people ascribe to the experience? Don't we all ascribe meaning to experiences while they are happening?
The best tactics is trying to verify the veridical aspects of your experience (if there are ones).

The experience of aura vision is, at least, partly veridical. If the auras you saw was (to some exent) genuine, not just pure illusion, they should have corresponded with the physical and/or psychological condition of the aura-emanating persons. So, you might ask the persons whose auras you saw about their mood and health, and compare it with the colour and intensity of their aura. To achieve this, you might have started a diary of your studies, creating a database which, after some time, can be analysed for regularities of your experience and their corellations with the psychophysical characteristics of the persons you observed. Then, aimed with this knowledge, you would have obtained a much more evidential basis for evaluating the validity of your experinces.
 
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#27
very cool. thx for sharing this. I tend to give more weight to my few spiritual/paranormal experiences. they seem important, but then again have an ephemeral quality that makes them hard to hold on to. I've come to the conclusion that this is how the game is supposed to be played... we can't hold on to anything... including extraordinary experiences.
Just off track a little, Alex, but what about interviewing Judy Bachrach ? Also, do you think it would be possible to get to talk with Dr Robert Spetzler specifically about the famous Reynolds case. I'd love to hear you take him through the stages of the operation and nail down the facts once and for all so that sceptics can't keep twisting them to try to debunk it.
 
#28
One factor is that you have to decide if a spiritual message is a personal message just for you, is a message for some group of people, or is a universal message for everyone.
I keep coming back to it all being personal. If God/Light/Spirit wants to do more than change me, He's gonna have to do it on his own. The jagged rocks of enlightenment are strewn with the bodies of evangelists.

I think Howard Storm's NDE was a message for Christians.
Dang! I'm just not sure what this means... do you mean this in a historical sense... i.e. these Hebrews who worshiped this vengeful, demonic Yahweh thunder God character who eventually led to Jesus on the cross, or are you talking about the impossible-to-grasp, but very real Christ consciousness that NDErs encounter. I'm not saying that I have a clue as to how to process this, but I'm really uncomfortable with the "be nice to Christians" edict.
 
#29
Just off track a little, Alex, but what about interviewing Judy Bachrach ? Also, do you think it would be possible to get to talk with Dr Robert Spetzler specifically about the famous Reynolds case. I'd love to hear you take him through the stages of the operation and nail down the facts once and for all so that sceptics can't keep twisting them to try to debunk it.
I get where you're coming from... i.e. I do think we have to continue to push back against the NDE debunkers, but I don't think picking apart well-worn cases is the way to go.

I think we have to step back and fully consider the absolute absurdity of their starting point! Debunkers/Skeptics/Atheists/SCIENTISTS are saying this can't happen because YOU don't exist. You don't have real experiences... they are all illusions... you are your brain. This is on par with fundamentalist Christians claiming that Noah got all those animals on the boat.
 
#30
I get where you're coming from... i.e. I do think we have to continue to push back against the NDE debunkers, but I don't think picking apart well-worn cases is the way to go.

I think we have to step back and fully consider the absolute absurdity of their starting point! Debunkers/Skeptics/Atheists/SCIENTISTS are saying this can't happen because YOU don't exist. You don't have real experiences... they are all illusions... you are your brain. This is on par with fundamentalist Christians claiming that Noah got all those animals on the boat.
Okay, Alex, thanks for all your hard work anyway. Best recent one was the Churchland interview. Justice served at last { )
 
#31
I was shocked by that statement. Experience is paramount! The opinions/beliefs/conclusions of certain "experts" do not even come close to being as valid and vital as anyone's actual experience.

What people ascribe to those experiences is a different thing. Someone may say their experience is that they met Buddha but that's not the experience. The experience is they met someone or something. The rest is the meaning they're giving to the experience. Their translation of the experience. That meaning may, or may not, be mostly accurate.

Also, hose who haven't had a relatively similar experience will always be just speculating. Fascination with the reports of others experience is not the experience. And no. current science does not re-experience in this area. Few, if any, scientists are bringing themselves to the point of death and investigating. Collating the translations of others is no substitute. The truly valid researcher in this area is someone who, for starters, has had such an experience.
then again, this idea of "don't get caught up in your experience" is a well established among mediators/seekers.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#32
I get where you're coming from... i.e. I do think we have to continue to push back against the NDE debunkers, but I don't think picking apart well-worn cases is the way to go.

I think we have to step back and fully consider the absolute absurdity of their starting point! Debunkers/Skeptics/Atheists/SCIENTISTS are saying this can't happen because YOU don't exist. You don't have real experiences... they are all illusions... you are your brain. This is on par with fundamentalist Christians claiming that Noah got all those animals on the boat.
Heh, the materialist Rosenberg let the cat out of the bag on this one:

"Perhaps the most profound illusion introspection foists on us is the notion that our thoughts are actually recorded anywhere in the brain at all in the form introspection reports. This has to be the profoundest illusion of all, because neuroscience has been able to show that networks of human brain cells are no more capable of representing facts about the world the way conscious introspection reports than are the neural ganglia of sea slugs! The real challenge for neuroscience is to explain how the brain stores information when it can’t do so in anything like the way introspection tells us it does—in sentences made up in a language of thought."

Compare this to Tallis, who unlike Churchland's silly self-appointment as a "neurophilosopher" is an accomplished neuroscientist and philosopher:

What Neuroscience cannot tell Us about Ourselves

...Unfortunately for neuroscientism, the inward causal path explains how the light gets into your brain but not how it results in a gaze that looks out. The inward causal path does not deliver your awareness of the glass as an item explicitly separate from you — as over there with respect to yourself, who is over here. This aspect of consciousness is known as intentionality (which is not to be confused with intentions). Intentionality designates the way that we are conscious of something, and that the contents of our consciousness are thus about something; and, in the case of human consciousness, that we are conscious of it as something other than ourselves. But there is nothing in the activity of the visual cortex, consisting of nerve impulses that are no more than material events in a material object, which could make that activity be about the things that you see. In other words, in intentionality we have something fundamental about consciousness that is left unexplained by the neurological account.

This claim refers to fully developed intentionality and not the kind of putative proto-intentionality that may be ascribed to non-human sentient creatures. Intentionality is utterly mysterious from a material standpoint. This is apparent first because intentionality points in the direction opposite to that of causality: the causal chain has a directionality in space-time pointing from the light wave bouncing off the object to the light wave hitting your visual cortex, whereas your perception of the object refers or points from you back to the object. The referential “pointing back” or “bounce back” is not “feedback” or reverse causation, since the causal arrow is located in physical space and time, whereas the intentional arrow is located in a field of concepts and awareness, a field which is not independent of but stands aside from physical space and time.

Ironically, by locating consciousness in particular parts of the material of the brain, neuroscientism actually underlines this mystery of intentionality, opening up a literal, physical space between conscious experiences and that which they are about...
Amusingly enough, Tallis refers to Churchland as the "Queen of Neuromania".
 
#33
I found the interview interesting and informative but I have one thing that I need to comment about.

Alex made the statement that a belief in atheism is "absurd".

At the risk of being pedantic,, here are the definitions of the terms from Merriam Webster online...

Atheist- "one who believes there is no deity" (God)
Absurd- "extremely silly, foolish, or unreasonable : completely ridiculous"

Alex- Really? You are saying it is "completely ridiculous" not to believe in God? Actually I find that comment absolutely "absurd" in the strictest definition of the term.

I have had many of what I would call mystical experiences. I've reached the point of having no doubt that reality is much "larger" than what we all experience on a daily basis. I have reached this conclusion through years of observation and research. However I have yet not come across compelling evidence of an actual deity, a persona, an entity, that I would equate with the typical definition of God.

In that once instance, to me, you sounded as dogmatic as any born again Christian.
 
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#34
Heh, the materialist Rosenberg let the cat out of the bag on this one:

"Perhaps the most profound illusion introspection foists on us is the notion that our thoughts are actually recorded anywhere in the brain at all in the form introspection reports. This has to be the profoundest illusion of all, because neuroscience has been able to show that networks of human brain cells are no more capable of representing facts about the world the way conscious introspection reports than are the neural ganglia of sea slugs! The real challenge for neuroscience is to explain how the brain stores information when it can’t do so in anything like the way introspection tells us it does—in sentences made up in a language of thought."

Compare this to Tallis, who unlike Churchland's silly self-appointment as a "neurophilosopher" is an accomplished neuroscientist and philosopher:

What Neuroscience cannot tell Us about Ourselves



Amusingly enough, Tallis refers to Churchland as the "Queen of Neuromania".
great stuff... Tallis would make a good Skeptiko guest.
 
#35
I found the interview interesting and informative but I have one thing that I need to comment about.

Alex made the statement that a belief in atheism is "absurd".

At the risk of being pedantic,, here are the definitions of the terms from Merriam Webster online...

Atheist- "one who believes there is no deity" (God)
Absurd- "extremely silly, foolish, or unreasonable : completely ridiculous"

Alex- Really? You are saying it is "completely ridiculous" not to believe in God? Actually I find that comment absolutely "absurd" in the strictest definition of the term.

I have had many of what I would call mystical experiences. I've reached the point of having no doubt that reality is much "larger" than what we all experience on a daily basis. I have reached this conclusion through years of observation and research. However I have yet not come across compelling evidence of an actual deity, a persona, an entity, that I would equate with the typical definition of God.

In that once instance, to me, you sounded as dogmatic as any born again Christian.
atheism-as-we-know-it is absurd... just like science-as-we-know-it is absurd because it's married to this idea that you are your brain living a meaningless illusion of a life.
 
#37
atheism-as-we-know-it is absurd... just like science-as-we-know-it is absurd because it's married to this idea that you are your brain living a meaningless illusion of a life.
I'm kind of with JKmac on this one.

The fact that our society today is materialistic as it is (which allows atheism to be what it is to the extent that it is) seems to suggest it something natural about this phase of the evolution of consciousness we're going through. In light of that, rather than being something absurd, it seems a natural and expected outcome for this phase of human evolution, especially in light of the works like Erich Von Neumann's (Carl Jung's prized student) Origins and History of Consciousness, Campbell, etc.

I think it just "appears" absurd if you're one who has moved on past this phase somewhat and have to bang heads with other folks who have not. This is pretty much implied in the "as-we-know-it" part. I'm pretty sure the atheism-as-you-know-it is not the atheism-as-Steve001-knows-it, for one example.
 
#39
I don't quite agree... I think this what we in the West have to offer. The scientific method is about putting a little distance between oursevels and our experience.
I think you have this a little backwards. The East has already extensively mapped many, many different states of consciousness with rigor and these states have been achieved, maintained and written about ad infinitum for thousands of years by different practitioners.

Consider for one example only, the first four shamatha jhanas. These are objective, distinct states of consciousness that are attained all the time by relatively ordinary people. They aren't states that are relegated exclusively to enlightened folks. These are the exact same states that were used by the Buddha as a tool to achieve liberation. (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhyāna_in_Buddhism)

There are in fact objective states of consciousness. They are well documented in a manner that could be called scientific.

And I don't think it is possible to distance yourself and these experiences. You are the experience. You could measure brain waves and body temperature and all kinds of other data points, but those things are basically meaningless. We are back to the cookbook and and the cookies-->No comparison between the recipe and the experience of eating a fresh cookie from the oven. We are moving in the wrong direction to apply Western science to experience and consciousness. We only need to apply the Eastern science that is already present, already tested. We are reinventing the wheel for no reason whatsoever than to say "We did it. And we did it our way." It's already done.
 
#40
Just off track a little, Alex, but what about interviewing Judy Bachrach ? Also, do you think it would be possible to get to talk with Dr Robert Spetzler specifically about the famous Reynolds case. I'd love to hear you take him through the stages of the operation and nail down the facts once and for all so that sceptics can't keep twisting them to try to debunk it.
I get where you're coming from... i.e. I do think we have to continue to push back against the NDE debunkers, but I don't think picking apart well-worn cases is the way to go.

I think we have to step back and fully consider the absolute absurdity of their starting point! Debunkers/Skeptics/Atheists/SCIENTISTS are saying this can't happen because YOU don't exist. You don't have real experiences... they are all illusions... you are your brain. This is on par with fundamentalist Christians claiming that Noah got all those animals on the boat.
I think Pam Raynolds case is proven hard enough for anyone but the true disbelievers to accept. And for the true disbelievers, nothing would be enough. So, I think, we should allow Robert Spetzler some rest. He has been telling this story in the very minor detail for years - enough to be heard by anyone who wants to listen.
 
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