Mod+ 256. DR. DONALD DEGRACIA, WHAT IS SCIENCE?

I think "nothing for free" applies to relative stuff. Obviously the absolute can do whatever it wants. In this sense you are implicitly agreeing with where I was going in the interview when Alex and I had that brief moment about determinism vs. freedom. Nothing is free in the relative. Not in the energy sense you mean, and not in the normal sense the word "free" is used. Only the absolute is free. It is unbounded in every possible sense. It can even make itself relative and transiently enjoy not being free. Anyway, this line of thought gets to what I said about relative vs absolute being a better way to think than say material vs immaterial, mind vs matter, etc. Western discourse wallows in relative dualisms. There have been periods where relative/absolute was on the intellectual stage, but now is not one of those times in history. Except in math where they use the idea of infinity, which is why I am studying this stuff so closely right now (this is in reference to Alex having posted Hilbert's "duuuude" picture).

Thanks for the article, LS (It's okay to call you "LS", I mean, its not being too informal is it??? :) ). I'm gonna go read it now and will get back to you on it - Best, Don.
No problem, I get called worse. ;)

All I mean in this case is explanatory freebies. Every hypothesis has them, usually several and in some cases even more, hundreds even.
I see biological problems as both technical in the engineering sense and creative in the problem solving sense. In our similiar views all that is required is one assumption. And I certainly can't explain the explanation.

Creativity is what freedom is all about of course, and central to my differentiation between a system of constraints that is imposed by the physical laws and that of formal controls that embody choice and contigency. Why I refered to information as being separate for functional purposes. If the operational controls were derived from the physical properties of the medium then it would be bound by them. A computer is bound by physical law. But creativity comes in the form of software. Mental abstractions substantiated in matter following defined protocols. On the outside it looks deterministic, and it is, as it was determined by choice.

People talk of randomness and determinism as if that were the only two. If consciousness is the ground of all being, then we have another. Agency.
An agent can choose to initiate a causal chain of deterministic effects. Quite apparent and relevant in light of quantum effects.
 
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I certainly agree that mathematics is non-material - indeed a lot of our reality is non-material Shakespeare's plays, or novels, theories of all sorts etc. All these may use matter to hold a representation of what they are, but they are in essence non-material. However, it seems to me that these represent a passive sort of non-material entity. The dynamics of the solar system doesn't 'decide' to do anything, it is a passive construction that we can use to compute the positions of the planets at a future time. Conceptually it is no different from a huge look-up table.

If you equate your mental self with a mathematical construction, you deny your own free will, and we are back with the old question - why should X (where in this case, X is a piece of mathematics!) experience qualia? I think you need an active non-material entity to experience anything.

I feel we have to get away from the tendency to frame theories like consciousness is X, where X can be anything from an oscillation to a spreading activation, to some sort of computation, to a piece of maths! This approach just goes nowhere, and theories of consciousness of this sort just exist for a while and then go out of fashion to be replaced by another of the same sort!

We may just have to agree to disagree about this - I don't know!

David

hi David. You are correct in your conclusions about denying free will, etc. All I can do is fall back on Leibniz and say this is why he invented the idea of "pre-established harmony".

Qualia are not a particular mystery in yoga, only in neurophysiology where we need to get relatively homogeneous neurons to make blue, red, green, a continuous series of pitches, pain, smells, tastes, etc. In yoga (actually, in reality, just that yoga recognizes this reality) the qualia exist on the inner planes. Blue is a "thing in itself" on the inner planes. The right series of vibrations from the external world, through the eye, through the brain, through the etheric body serve as an address code to present blue to consciousness on the astral plane. So, the qualia problem will never be solved by only looking at the physical plane. Can I prove this? No because it involves nonphysical things. So it can't be proven via physical experiments or devices. However, one can learn to move on the inner planes and "see" how the colors and other qualia are accessed via these channels. When this happens, you will prove this to yourself.

[Side note: I have seen the source of colors in our visual awareness. I discuss it a little in Beyond the Physical, I call it the "color field" or something like that. It is very abstract how it works. All colors are present all the time when we see, only some get pushed in the background, somewhat analogous to when you look at the foreground the background becomes blurry. There is a filter system in the brain that normally only lets the main color through into awareness. Although it you stare at anything long enough, the other colors will bleed into your awareness to some extent.]

So yes, this implies that when we perceive even the physical world in our consciousness when awake, we are simultaneously perceiving (at least a very small portion of) the astral world. That is where all the qualities of perception come from. They are not present in the physical body at all. All the qualities of consciousness are vibrations (dynamical patterns) in consciousness even more subtle than the subtlest physical phenomena, such as a plasma or a photon.

I have said a few times and don't mind repeating it: consciousness is the medium in which everything occurs. It is a magical substance from whence everything arises. You cannot reduce consciousness to anything else. Everything that exists reduces to consciousness. It is the ground of being.

There is a lot of semantic confusion on this point. As humans we have very complex minds. They see, hear, etc on the sensory front, think, imagine, speak, etc on the cognitive front, dream, etc on the altered states front. These are all just patterns inside of consciousness. The patterns are made from the medium, but the medium transcends the patterns. If you listen, for example, to Searle in Alex's interview with him, Searle confuses the word "consciousness" for the patterns that appear in the awareness of humans. A yogi would not make this mistake because he uses different words for all this. The patterns are vrittis, the mind is manas, consciousness is dismatrah. The yogi does not mistake the medium, dismatrah, for the patterns in the medium, vrittis. And the vrittis make very complex structures (just like cells make complex structures called organs and organisms). A most important structure is manas, (what we would call the sum of the conscious and unconscious minds) but there is also the structure called buddhi (or ahamkara), which most here would relate to the term "ego" or "sense of I-ness".

If these ideas are new to you, they just sound like another theory, and a pretty simple-minded and dumb one at that. But as your understanding of the meaning of these terms grows and you see that these terms represent realities you can actually watch moment by moment in your own "mind", and as you learn the yogic methods to interact with and tame these aspects, these ideas shift from some weird philosophy to a new, and very effective, vocabulary for framing your experience.

And this transition doesn't happen overnight but is a gradual recognition that these words refer to real ingredients that make up your experience.

Anyway, I am happy to bet you one dollar the qualia problem will never be solved in physical terms because all the qualities of our awareness are vrittis of a finer kind happening on the inner planes.

Anyway, take this as you may. It is my considered opinion after studying a lot of different ideas and having a few really unusual experiences.

Thanks for the conversation, David.

Best,

Don
 
Mind if I cut in? Thanks.

You don't know that. And using - what I'd guess from your post is your primary method - intellectual activity ensures a continuation of what you mention - bouncing from one limited concept to another.

It may not deGracia's intent but for me, the point is to develop ways to extend science beyond the intellect
I like to use the term "spiritual science". It still uses the intellect, but it really uses the intellect, instead of this silly kids play that passes for intellect in modern learning. Intellect is really the ability to synthesize meaning. It can go way further than the way people commonly use it. Math is one really good example of how it can be stretched, and so is musical thinking.
 
No problem, I get called worse. ;)

All I mean in this case is explanatory freebies. Every hypothesis has them, usually several and in some cases even more, hundreds even.
I see biological problems as both technical in the engineering sense and creative in the problem solving sense. In our similiar views all that is required is one assumption. And I certainly can't explain the explanation.

Creativity is what freedom is all about of course, and central to my differentiation between a system of constraints that is imposed by the physical laws and that of formal controls that embody choice and contigency. Why I refered to information as being separate for functional purposes. If the operational controls were derived from the physical properties of the medium then it would be bound by them. A computer is bound by physical law. But creativity comes in the form of software. Mental abstractions substantiated in matter following defined protocols. On the outside it looks deterministic, and it is, as it was determined by choice.

People talk of randomness and determinism as if that were the only two. If consciousness is the ground of all being, then we have another. Agency.
An agent can choose to initiate a causal chain of deterministic effects. Quite apparent and relevant in light of quantum effects.
Yes, I generally agree LS(D) (hehehe). To your agency I would add a fourth that I call "creation". It's hard to explain but if you read Chapter 5 of van der Leeuw's book, he explains it way better than I can.

Also, read "Close to a miracle". Its pretty standard fare for this kind of thing. There were a few new specific ideas I learned (so thank you for that), but the context of it all is very standard. I would have guess the RNA thing as that is a common idea now and there is much evidence for it.

This cracked me up tho: " While Szostak agrees the hypothesis is elegant...". Talk about being a brown noser!! And the hypothesis is NOT elegant. The theory of relativity (both of them) is elegant. The wave equation is elegant. This guy just spits out some speculation about events we will never ever know the truth of. I hardly call that elegant. NOW you see the silly stuff I have to deal with in my line of work...sheesh...
 
Yes, I generally agree LS(D) (hehehe). To your agency I would add a fourth that I call "creation". It's hard to explain but if you read Chapter 5 of van der Leeuw's book, he explains it way better than I can.

Also, read "Close to a miracle". Its pretty standard fare for this kind of thing. There were a few new specific ideas I learned (so thank you for that), but the context of it all is very standard. I would have guess the RNA thing as that is a common idea now and there is much evidence for it.

This cracked me up tho: " While Szostak agrees the hypothesis is elegant...". Talk about being a brown noser!! And the hypothesis is NOT elegant. The theory of relativity (both of them) is elegant. The wave equation is elegant. This guy just spits out some speculation about events we will never ever know the truth of. I hardly call that elegant. NOW you see the silly stuff I have to deal with in my line of work...sheesh...
Well I am not a biologist yet. But I can certainly see that from the outside. I do read quite a bit on the subject, particulay the origin of life.
I think I can summarize the situation by saying they do not have a clue.

From my armchair research, I do believe I have recognized the precise problem for materialism, physics and chemistry.

That is the emergence of a semiotic system. For all the reasons I have mentioned. And this is essentially the chicken and egg thing in disguise. It is an irreducible relationship. As simple as sign, referent and interpretant.

As a code, language or any system of information transfer must by physical necessity use tokens representing things other than themselves. A physical disconnection between the two that in all of our known experience is only bridged by a mind. In fact this physical disconnection between them must exist to allow input of information into the system.

The immaterial meets the material. It can't be explained by physics. It is not physics. The only place we see this is in life and what life creates.

It needs an entirely different explanation to any other.

Just wanted to bounce the idea off you.
 
LS(D)

Hehe, you got me.

A good case for your point on altered states is Kary Mullis who attributes his DNA polermerase discovery from learning to think on LSD.
In a flash, while surfing down a strand of DNA in his mind.

I am not sure if it is true or not. Terrence Mckenna noted the syncronicity between the explosion of LSD and the microchip explosion. Within time and geographical location. Engineers would use it. Visualizing the circuits in their mind, test it in their mind and then go and build it.
 
BTW Don, most of my ideas came from visions and well... all I can say is entities. Manifestations of the mind or other I don't know. Only later I found out a lot that were already known. I can say nothing solid, it is completely subjective. Syncronicity, coincidence, a platonic realm of information, the absolute consciousness ?

I would like to introduce DMT to a few vocal and public PR scientists. And within the first 30 seconds they will question everything. When they are thinking they are dying and they see this world dismantle into geometric patterns as the buzzing in the head permeates the entire being changing its frequencing. The lotus flower spins forth, then if you have had enough, you will punch through and find yourself in a completely different realm, occupied with absurd and bizarre beings that will, absolutely want to interact with you. The thing is you are completely lucid, it is not like being drunk or disoriented or anything. Well it is at first no doubt as your whole world disolves. It is literally like stepping through the stargate.
 
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Well I am not a biologist yet. But I can certainly see that from the outside. I do read quite a bit on the subject, particulay the origin of life.
I think I can summarize the situation by saying they do not have a clue.

From my armchair research, I do believe I have recognized the precise problem for materialism, physics and chemistry.

That is the emergence of a semiotic system. For all the reasons I have mentioned. And this is essentially the chicken and egg thing in disguise. It is an irreducible relationship. As simple as sign, referent and interpretant.

As a code, language or any system of information transfer must by physical necessity use tokens representing things other than themselves. A physical disconnection between the two that in all of our known experience is only bridged by a mind. In fact this physical disconnection between them must exist to allow input of information into the system.

The immaterial meets the material. It can't be explained by physics. It is not physics. The only place we see this is in life and what life creates.

It needs an entirely different explanation to any other.

Just wanted to bounce the idea off you.
Do you have a programming background? or psychology? or philosophy? Just curious. Yes, it is a chicken-egg thing that will never get resolved. Chapter 2 of Experience, is a long quote from Alan Watts were he describes this thing he calls "the ennie weenie". We might consider it is the first "sign, referent and interpretant" (to use your terms). It is the core of relativity, a germ of sensitivity trying to feel itself. But it is really nothing and so when it grabs at itself, it dissolves back into itself. It seems to be the basic unit of all that exists. Watts wonders if this is what caused the first amoeba to divide. He probably doesn't go back far enough. Perhaps it was the first dissipative molecular structure formed in the primordial soup. This idea of reproduction seems to be where your thinking is bottoming out. What is the impetus of this act?

The ennie weenies seem to spontaneously emerge from the quantum foam. There is some link from that most primordial form of self-reference all the way up to the first self-replicating molecules. That impetus fills everything that makes up our human being, and our mind is made of countless of these little self-referencing things trying to touch themselves, but never quite getting there. What we do as physical human beings is simply too complex and built on structure within structure within structure of these infinitesimal ennie weenies.

No, it is not physics, at least not as currently understood. Again, I like the Hindu ideas because they have an intuitive sense and description of these things, calling them tatwas. Even the ennie weenie is pretty far down the chain from the most cosmic events described in Hinduism.

But somehow, the stuff you are talking about links reproduction to self-reference. Not sure beyond this though.

Best,

Don
 
BTW Don, most of my ideas came from visions and well... all I can say is entities. Manifestations of the mind or other I don't know. Only later I found out a lot that were already known. I can say nothing solid, it is completely subjective. Syncronicity, coincidence, a platonic realm of information, the absolute consciousness ?

I would like to introduce DMT to a few vocal and public PR scientists. And within the first 30 seconds they will question everything. When they are thinking they are dying and they see this world dismantle into geometric patterns as the buzzing in the head permeates the entire being changing its frequencing. The lotus flower spins forth, then if you have had enough, you will punch through and find yourself in a completely different realm, occupied with absurd and bizarre beings that will, absolutely want to interact with you. The thing is you are completely lucid, it is not like being drunk or disoriented or anything. Well it is at first no doubt as your whole world disolves. It is literally like stepping through the stargate.
Ugh!! you've done DMT? It sounds a lot like Salvia Divinorum, which I tried only once within the past couple years, in the smallest possible quantity (but it was 64x or something, the max strength). Yes, I felt the lotus spinning and panicked! LSD and mescaline are "gentle giants" compared to salvia. I was literally afraid to be propelled through the spinning gate. I am not used to it opening so violently. With LSD it slowly appears before you over an hour or so, then you are imperceptibly on the other side. With the salvia, I fell back and fought going through the gate and forgot who I was for about 5 minutes. My body is too old for that kind of thing anymore. But I was amazed (And scared shitless) by the potential. Yes, that is a mad fantasy of mine: take all the uptight people and let them dose just once. The world will instantly become a nicer place.

Haha, just had a funny image: can you imagine Micael Kactu or whatever his name is, the crazy Japanese physics guy on this stuff? Or Bill Nye? Wow!

Best of all would be Richard Dawkins. It would be pathetic. He would fall to the floor in the fetal position sobbing like a baby at what a complete and total ass he has been in this life. Then he would become like us and start evangelizing about the other worlds, like Huxley or Watts or timothy leary or John Lilly, or Mckenna, etc.

Fun times...sigh

Don
 
Yeah, it is not a recreational thing. It can be quite terrifying. The speed at which it happens is unlike any others, besides the colourful stories it can also be quite personal and usual is. I find it is never about what you want to know but what you need to know. And that is always uncomfortable and difficult to deal with. That is why we are here I think.

I don't have much of a academic background to speak of, only later in life I have become a nerd you could say. So I am currently working on that. I am calling it part of my mid life crisis. :) Also only after I did extensive neurochemical experiments on myself with underground alchemical lore you could say.
It is not something I do anymore on a regular basis. It is hard work. The more you do it the less you are inclined even when the experiences are beyond normal comprehension with ectastic moments of bliss that are unimaginable, beyond human. Sometimes I feel the need to touch whatever that is again just to once again get that sense that easily eludes us in a regular waking state. Even just for my own sanity.

Yes, self referential is a good term. The information from the ground up must turn about face to form systematic controls. All arrangements of matter that constitute genes and proteins are only relevant within the formal operations of a code(s). Just as words only have meaning in context with the english language or some other language, the relationships are arbitrary. In essence the symbols control the matter that embodies the symbols. It defines itself.

Yes, Alan Watts is a big influence as are many from that psychedelic era, when the east was being introduced to the west.
 
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. Yes, I felt the lotus spinning and panicked! LSD and mescaline are "gentle giants" compared to salvia. I was literally afraid to be propelled through the spinning gate. I am not used to it opening so violently. With LSD it slowly appears before you over an hour or so, then you are imperceptibly on the other side. With the salvia, I fell back and fought going through the gate and forgot who I was for about 5 minutes. My body is too old for that kind of thing anymore. But I was amazed (And scared shitless) by the potential. Yes, that is a mad fantasy of mine: take all the uptight people and let them dose just once. The world will instantly become a nicer place.
Don
Yep it's shit scary everytime. Like being on the edge of a whirpool that is going to suck you into the abyss. The thought in my mind is always holy crap I might not make it out! You just have to give in completely and assure youself you won't drown. But damm it is disturbing no matter how you prepare yourself. And you have to cross a deeply turbulent emotional sea to get there. Not an easy journey. But wow, it is not something that is easily imagined or conveyed.
 
Don, in the interview you said the following:

I gave my two cents worth about freedom in the book; I’m so steeped in yogic thought now that the idea makes no sense to me whatsoever. It literally makes no sense, we’re in a world of relative existence where everything conditions everything else, and there’s absolutely no freedom. I’m a highly deterministic person actually.

So you think determinism is true and there's no freedom at all. What does this mean for ethics and moral responsibility? Should we praise and blame ourselves and others? Should we hold people responsible for their actions? Should we teach our children that free will is an illusion? What do you think the social consequences will be if many or most people come to believe that free will is an illusion?
 
Can't determinism and choice just get along already. There does not have to be a clash. Apples and oranges I think.
I am not sure how art or creativity can be explained without freedom. That is why the mind can create information from nothing.
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
But everything we experience is maya. It is all illusion. All truth within maya is relative truth. Nothing can be said to be really true. That appears to be DeGracia's real message.
The kingdoms of Experience
In the precious winds they rot
While paupers change possessions
Each one wishing for what the other has got
And the princess and the prince discuss
What's real and what is not
It doesn't matter inside the Gates of Eden

At dawn my lover comes to me
And tells me of her dreams
With no attempts to shovel a glimpse
Into the ditch of what each one means
At times I think there are no words
But these to tell what's true:
And there are no truths outside the Gates of Eden

 
Yeah, it is not a recreational thing. It can be quite terrifying. The speed at which it happens is unlike any others, besides the colourful stories it can also be quite personal and usual is. I find it is never about what you want to know but what you need to know. And that is always uncomfortable and difficult to deal with. That is why we are here I think.

I don't have much of a academic background to speak of, only later in life I have become a nerd you could say. So I am currently working on that. I am calling it part of my mid life crisis. :) Also only after I did extensive neurochemical experiments on myself with underground alchemical lore you could say.
It is not something I do anymore on a regular basis. It is hard work. The more you do it the less you are inclined even when the experiences are beyond normal comprehension with ectastic moments of bliss that are unimaginable, beyond human. Sometimes I feel the need to touch whatever that is again just to once again get that sense that easily eludes us in a regular waking state. Even just for my own sanity.

Yes, self referential is a good term. The information from the ground up must turn about face to form systematic controls. All arrangements of matter that constitute genes and proteins are only relevant within the formal operations of a code(s). Just as words only have meaning in context with the english language or some other language, the relationships are arbitrary. In essence the symbols control the matter that embodies the symbols. It defines itself.

Yes, Alan Watts is a big influence as are many from that psychedelic era, when the east was being introduced to the west.
Two things to underline: it is not a recreational thing & It is hard work. And yes, it does reach a point of diminishing returns too. I once spoke with someone who was very deep into yoga and conceded about my psychedelic experiences. She validated them something to the effect "At least it opens the door and you learn all this stuff is real". haha, and it explains the Alex Grey avatar too! :)

And yes, it was my chemical explorations that made me hyper-curious. An effect that has never gone away.

Speaking of all this psychedelic stuff. I think I did see DNA once in a trip. These things of course are impossible to express in words, they are just too rich. But in this instance, I was deeply immersed in the hallucinations, and within them I saw these spiral things, very very deep in the hallucinations. I tried very hard to focus on them. They were moving and spinning and very colorful (as these things are). And then I managed to "get a hold" on one of the spirals. And then...it freaked me out what I saw. It was like looking through a window and I saw a fairly normal landscape! I don't remember too clearly. It was a meadow at dusk, or something like that. Can you imagine! In the throes of these psychedelic hallucinations, finding this spiral spinning thing and seeing inside it a normal landscape! That freaked me out!

At the time, I conceptualized what I was looking at, the colorful spinning spiral, as a DNA molecule. When I saw the landscape through it, I had the thought that it was like a dimensional doorway that led into the inner planes! To this day I cannot think of a more plausible explanation.

Second weird hallucination experience. If you read Beyond the Physical, I describe what I call "biological perceptions". This is an example of those, one I never wrote about before. In this one I was watching all these electric tree branch things, like I was in a forest or jungle of them. Quite obviously I was seeing neurons at some level in my brain. I focused on the branches trying to make out more detail. I couldn't go any deeper into what I was seeing. But what started happening was that I was looking at a branch, and then I could voluntarily make it move! Like grabbing a small branch and just moving it back and forth. Expect in this case, I was moving one branch in my hallucination at will, back and forth! It was like telekinesis!

Yeah, this is some WEIRD stuff. Huxley wasn't kidding when he called it the Doors of Perception.

Glad to hear you are familiar with Watts too. The world today could use a good dose of his philosophy.

Thanks for sharing LS(dmt).. hehe. - Don
 
Yep it's shit scary everytime. Like being on the edge of a whirpool that is going to suck you into the abyss. The thought in my mind is always holy crap I might not make it out! You just have to give in completely and assure youself you won't drown. But damm it is disturbing no matter how you prepare yourself. And you have to cross a deeply turbulent emotional sea to get there. Not an easy journey. But wow, it is not something that is easily imagined or conveyed.
If you haven't yet made the intellectual connection, this is the crown chakra that is always depicted in Hinduism. It is the cobra coming up behind Vishnu:


The image should be very familiar. When I did the Salvia, it was one of the last images my mind could hold on to after I thought to myself "Oh My God!..."

The rush that ascends the spine and accompanies the spinning sensation is the kundalini.

This is why in Experience I talk about being "violently thrown" into the inner planes.

It's no joke.
 
Don, in the interview you said the following:

I gave my two cents worth about freedom in the book; I’m so steeped in yogic thought now that the idea makes no sense to me whatsoever. It literally makes no sense, we’re in a world of relative existence where everything conditions everything else, and there’s absolutely no freedom. I’m a highly deterministic person actually.

So you think determinism is true and there's no freedom at all. What does this mean for ethics and moral responsibility? Should we praise and blame ourselves and others? Should we hold people responsible for their actions? Should we teach our children that free will is an illusion? What do you think the social consequences will be if many or most people come to believe that free will is an illusion?
Hi Dominic

Thanks for asking the hardest possible question you could ask! :)

I will try to answer in the few minutes I have right now, and if it's not satisfactory, I am happy to go back and forth on it. First, yes of course you should teach morals to the kids and ethics and be responsible and teach others to be responsible. These are things people need to be people.

The position I have adopted is expressed perfectly in Chapter 8 of van der Leeuw's Conquest of Illusion. The determinism is all internal. It is you that bind yourself via your desires and attachments. Of course there can be external forces that seek to hold you in place, but it is easy to rebel against that. But even the act of rebelling against an external control is a kind of determinism in itself. But the real bondage is SELF-IMPOSED. It rises up from an invisible source inside yourself. van der Leeuw gets into this well.

At the intellectual level, it has to do with understanding that we exist in a relative condition. The fact that our nature is relative is where the externally AND internally imposed determinism comes from. Nothing can be free in any sense because it depends on other things to exist. I need the air and water and all the other animals (at bare minimum to eat). I need the Earth and Sun and their gravity. These are all "determining" factors. The problem is in thinking there is some "chess master" that plays us like chess pieces. This is not true at all. Determinism doesn't manifest like this. It manifests in our myriad needs that connect us to all other things in the Universe along a spectrum from "needs greatly" (e.g. oxygen molecules) to "needed in the background" (e.g. all the galaxies whose mutual gravity support the Sun).

One cannot escape the fact that each of us is but nodes in a vast incomprehensible network of interconnection to all the rest of what exists. This is the nature of the relative.

Only the absolute is free. The absolute made the relative. It can also extricate itself from the relative if it wishes, and it is already free of the relative at some level of existence. The absolute is free because there is only one absolute and there is nothing to bind or condition it.

The very core or kernel of our consciousness IS the absolute. This is why we "feel" free because our essence IS free. But in its absolute freedom it has chosen to make little pieces of itself seem to be not free, and this is the relative condition we find ourselves in.

So, it is not that there is no freedom at all, there is no freedom for us humans in our relative existence. But our existence is ironic in that our being, our very consciousness, is the only free thing that exists. But my consciousness and your consciousness (both of which are from the same source and identical to each others) is, for the moment, frozen in ice so to speak, frozen in this ever moving form that we find ourselves in. It is, in some sense, like a dream. When we wake from it, we will find that "we" have always been free, that we are all that is, that there is nothing but us. Then we will get lonely and dive back in this cage of relativity where for the time being we can forget that we are all that exists and pretend that all the diversity and variety is our company. Then we will again feel smothered by our creation and seek to break out of it, and the cycle will repeat. Endlessly. Because, well, there is nothing else to do.

So, it is all very, very abstract. It is full of paradox from top to bottom. It has no end or beginning. When in the relative form, it is determined by the whole pattern. When not in the relative form it is free to do literally anything.

So, this is all very Eastern. You cannot shoehorn the Western views of freedom/liberty/determinism into the Eastern view. You can hold them side by side and try to make bridges between them. In doing this, I presently believe that our urge for "freedom" in the West is precisely the urge of the absolute to be free of the relative fetters it has bound itself into.

I hope this makes some modicum of sense. Again, feel free to call me out on anything that doesn't sound right to you.

Again, thanks for asking, Dominic. Best, Don.
 
If you haven't yet made the intellectual connection, this is the crown chakra that is always depicted in Hinduism. It is the cobra coming up behind Vishnu:


The image should be very familiar. When I did the Salvia, it was one of the last images my mind could hold on to after I thought to myself "Oh My God!..."

The rush that ascends the spine and accompanies the spinning sensation is the kundalini.

This is why in Experience I talk about being "violently thrown" into the inner planes.

It's no joke.
Your right, for me it has been purely experimental, and without a framework fot any of the experiences to sit on. It has been much later that I recognized some things in the esoteric schools of thought. Words don't do these things justice so it is always difficult to intellectualize. Yes the icons are very familiar.
 
have you seen:
wish she woulda followed thru with her Skeptiko interview.
Not trying to turn this into a AGW thread, rather,, just responding to the post...

Haven't watched this video yet,,, I will.

I still feel the main difference between the two sides on this issue is: one is pretty sure there's a problem and doesn't know how best to solve it, and the other is utterly and in many cases irrationally convinced there is no problem in the first place. I say irrationally because these people would rather talk about the 3-4 cases of data tampering that happened 10 years ago, than the mountains of uncontested evidence. In many conversations I've had with these folks eventually we get to the the topic of "we can't change it anyway so why bother", or "everyone else will continue doing it so why bother".

Underwhelmed would be an understatement of how I view your argument, which seems to depend heavily on the very paranoid, conspiracy- theorist based arguments, that on other topics you are (ironically) spending uncountable hours trying to debunk. For example- there seems to be an incredible amount of attention given to who pays the climate change researchers while ignoring the fact that the main denier researchers are paid by big oil.

Just curious as to why I've never heard any comments from you about who pays PSI researchers? Could it be that the PSI research happens to align with your core beliefs while Climate Change research doesn't?

I think we ALL need to watch out for how our core beliefs guide who we pay attention to or give air time to.
 
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I like to use the term "spiritual science". It still uses the intellect, but it really uses the intellect, instead of this silly kids play that passes for intellect in modern learning. Intellect is really the ability to synthesize meaning. It can go way further than the way people commonly use it. Math is one really good example of how it can be stretched, and so is musical thinking.
Okay. Perhaps a more accurate way of framing my meaning. Yes. I mean of course I'm not suggesting flushing the poor dear down the toilet. Going with the valid specifics you've raised , I'll rephrase as "moving beyond using the intellect for both translating meaning and as primary (often sole) info-gathering mechanism."
 
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