Being a Creative Agnostic

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Sciborg_S_Patel

#1
CREATIVE AGNOSTICISM

...“Real” Universes make us puny, however, because they are governed by Hard Laws and we are small compared to them. This is especially true of the Fundamentalist Materialist “Real” Universe, and explains the helplessness and apathy of materialist society. Vaguely, we know that we are hypnotized, and we do not even try to act anymore, but only re-act mechanically.

Since the criminal mentality derives from such hypnosis by a “Real” Universe and the helplessness and rage induced by such metaphors, the criminal becomes, more and more, the typical person of our age. When the “Real” Universe becomes politicized—when the hypnotic model is based on “Us”-versus-“Them” Aristotelian logic—the criminal graduates into the Terrorist, another increasingly typical product of the materialist era.

Against all this mechanized barbarism, existentialist psychology and humanist psychology—aided, perhaps not coincidentally, by the metaphors of quantum physics—suggests that other models of human existence are possible and thinkable and desirable...
 
#2
Hey Sciborg_S_Patel,

It's sometimes difficult to see where you're coming from. Could you just explain exactly what your belief system is a bit?
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#3
Hey Sciborg_S_Patel,

It's sometimes difficult to see where you're coming from. Could you just explain exactly what your belief system is a bit?
I think there's something interesting happening with the paranormal. What that is, or even if it really exists, I couldn't tell you.

Additionally, I think the idea that the majority of the world will be happy to adopt compatibilism as opposed to fatalism to be woefully naive.

Really, I think Robert Anton Wilson has the right idea in the essay above:

When I speak of The “Real” Universe being created by self-hypnosis, I do not intend anything else but psychological literalness. In the hypnotized state, the existential “reality” around us is edited out and we go away to a kind of “Real” Universe created by the hypnotist. The reason that it is usually easy to induce hypnosis in humans is that we have a kind of “consciousness” that easily drifts away into such “Real” Universes rather than deal with existential muddle and doubt. Everybody tends to drift away in that fashion several times in an ordinary conversation, editing sound out at the ear like Bruner’s cat. As Colin Wilson points out, when we look at our watch, forget the time, and have to look again, it is because we have drifted off into a “Real” Universe again. We visit them all the time, but especially when existential concerns are painful or stressful.

Every “Real” Universe is easy to understand, because it is much simpler than the existential continuum. Theists, Nazis, Flat Earthers, etc. can explain their “Real” Universes as quickly as any Fundamentalist Materialist explains his, because of this simplicity of the edited object as contrasted with the complexity of the sensory-sensual continuum in which we live when awake (unhypnotized).
 
#4
I think there's something interesting happening with the paranormal. What that is, or even if it really exists, I couldn't tell you.
This I agree with and it pretty well reflects my view. Something interesting is going on with all this stuff.

As for the essay you linked in the OP: I started reading it but gave up as I'll be honest I couldn't make heads or tails of what he was saying. I haven't done much hard philosophical reading in over 15 years so I'm not sure if its just technical philosophical lingo I'm not getting, if he's just not a clear writer, or if he's writing gibberish!

Along the same lines as bishop Sciborg could you just state what you took from the article and we can talk about that?
 
#5
As for the essay you linked in the OP: I started reading it but gave up as I'll be honest I couldn't make heads or tails of what he was saying. I haven't done much hard philosophical reading in over 15 years so I'm not sure if its just technical philosophical lingo I'm not getting, if he's just not a clear writer, or if he's writing gibberish!
I'll share my view, because I found this to be quite a valuable writing. It has even motivated me to start looking for Wilson's books. I identify closely with what he writes, and I have never seen it articulated in this way before. Also, I have to agree that some of the terms he uses are not fully explained when he uses them.

For example when he talks about the Real universe, with a capital R, he is describing an individual's simplified model of the universe. Most people believe completely in their simplified model, which is necessarily smaller than the true universe. It may not even reflect true reality - it is necessarily an interpretation of what is received by the senses and then processed by the intellect. Understanding this fact alone will (I think) lead one to be less dogmatic in their views. This quote is a good example:
Every “Real” Universe is easy to understand, because it is much simpler than the existential continuum. Theists, Nazis, Flat Earthers, etc. can explain their “Real” Universes as quickly as any Fundamentalist Materialist explains his, because of this simplicity of the edited object as contrasted with the complexity of the sensory-sensual continuum in which we live when awake (unhypnotized).
This ties into Timothy Leary's idea of the "Reality-Tunnel" - so now an individual has created an internal model of the "Real" universe, which is usually believed completely without question. This belief system creates a subconscious set of filters through which new sensory input will pass. This becomes their reality-tunnel, although they are almost never aware of its existence. They only see the "One True Reality", and often don't understand why someone else can't see the obvious truth. So we can talk about, for example, a Christian reality-tunnel, a Hindu reality-tunnel, a materialist reality-tunnel, a flat-earther reality tunnel, etc.

Our ability to communicate effectively is due to there being a large overlap between our reality tunnels. Even so, Wilson describes each person's reality tunnel as being a unique creation of that individual, as he describes here:
Nonetheless, the process of socialization or acculturalization—the Game Rules by which Society imposes its group reality-tunnel on its members—is only statistically effective. Every individual seems to have a few eccentricities in her or his private reality-tunnel, even in totalitarian states or authoritarian churches. The alleged conformist—the typical “bank-clerk,” say—will reveal some astonishing creative acts in his or her private model, if you talk to such a person long enough.
Another term that needs defining - the idea of the Right Man, described here:
Elsewhere in The New Inquisition, Wilson describes “The Right Man” and one variant, “The Violent Male” as one who “seems to be a man who literally cannot, ever, admit that he might be wrong. He knows he is right; he is the total psychological opposite of the agnostic, in claiming absolute gnosis, total certitude about all things.”
Wilson describes someone fully committed to their model of the universe as "modeltheistic"
A “modeltheist” is a person who is completely committed to a single model of the “Real” Universe, and for whom all other modes are, by definition, false. According to Wilson, “modeltheism underlies the intolerance which perpetuates most of the violence and wars on this backward planet and creates the violent Right Man personality.” A modeltheist has all but stopped thinking and perceiving, whereas a model-agnostic encourages continual thought and perception.
His vision is that as a society, we have largely accepted materialism as our reality-tunnel. That is the accepted paradigm of our time. Like most accepted paradigms, it isn't seen by its adherents as a reality-tunnel. It is accepted as the One True Reality.
This is the self-image of modern humanity: of the Right Man in particular, but also of masses of ordinary men and women who have internalized the Fundamentalist Materialist3 metaphor and made it the New Idol.

Footnote 3. Wilson thinks of “matter” as a metaphor. He defines a “liberal materialist” as “one who holds that materialism is a ‘relative best bet’ among competing philosophies, or the most plausible model around, whereas the fundamentalist materialist—either out of ignorance or philosophy or out of sheer bravado or out of blind faith—proclaims that materialism is the One True Philosophy and that anyone with doubts or hesitations about it is insane, perverse, or a deliberate fraud. This One True Philosophy is the modern form of the One True Church of the dark ages. The Fundamentalist Materialist is the modern Idolator; he has made an image of the world, and now he kneels and worships it.”
I hope this helps to parse the essay, I think it is quite insightful. Or maybe it just fits into my reality tunnel ;)
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#7
MysticG covered it better than I could.

I'd say it's good to maintain a sense of skepticism about things, as doubt makes you more respectful toward other views. Outside of the skeptical vs proponent debate, we often encounter different moralities and beliefs from our own. Recognizing that a political opponent can be sincere, as well as have other beliefs in common besides the one in contention, can perhaps smooth one's interaction with them.

Not to mention there are times after watching a horror movie or reading some "creepypasta" that I'll find great comfort in materialism's denial of the supernatural. ;)

Surely if it turned out to be purely a whole series of mistakes/ fraud/ statistical flukes etc, it really wouldn't be very interesting!

David
Really? Think about things like possession or experiences like UFOs or NDEs that multiple people witness. Researching possession, I read a lot about how it could be seen as a stress relief mechanism. I had a professor who'd been initiated into Santeria, and he told me there were things that he'd seen which defy explanation* - That could all be shared hallucination which is still mysterious.

Lots of mysteries to the human mind no matter what paranormal phenomenon are. Just look at all the people on DMT who experience Carnivale/Trickster phenomenon.

*Basically people wounded themselves during rituals and healed instantly.
 
#8
Really? Think about things like possession or experiences like UFOs or NDEs that multiple people witness.
Well NDE's seem to me one of the best reasons to believe that materialism is false. UFO's re altogether odder - particularly where abduction is involved. I mean, to be clear, I am arguing that the case against materialism is pretty nearly overwhelming.
Researching possession, I read a lot about how it could be seen as a stress relief mechanism. I had a professor who'd been initiated into Santeria, and he told me there were things that he'd seen which defy explanation* - That could all be shared hallucination which is still mysterious.
Well I don't think the concept of "shared hallucination" makes sense from a materialistic standpoint - because from that standpoint a hallucination is supposed to be something gone wrong between your ears!

Lots of mysteries to the human mind no matter what paranormal phenomenon are. Just look at all the people on DMT who experience Carnivale/Trickster phenomenon.

*Basically people wounded themselves during rituals and healed instantly.
I think you are describing various forms of additional evidence that materialism is false. I think it is good to remain skeptical within reason about specific instances of possible ψ, but by now, I would be very surprised if EVERY purported supernatural phenomenon was false. Once we accept as given that at least some strange phenomena are genuinely paranormal, I guess the probabilities change and the likelihood is that these phenomena are quite common.

Maybe we are talking slightly at cross purposes however, because I think you too are pretty certain that materialism is wrong/incomplete.

David
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#9
Maybe we are talking slightly at cross purposes however, because I think you too are pretty certain that materialism is wrong/incomplete.
I go back and forth but it is hard for me to see materialism encompassing all the phenomenon out there, not least of all consciousness itself.

Idealism, or some form of Neutral Monism, seems more likely to me. I do accept I have a bias to the immaterial but Alan Watts helped me come to terms with at least some of my existential horror at being part of a clockwork universe. So even seeing things with an acceptance toward the possibility of materialism I'd still choose Idealism.
 
#10
I go back and forth but it is hard for me to see materialism encompassing all the phenomenon out there, not least of all consciousness itself.
Yes, it is very important to remember that ordinary consciousness is hardly explained at all from the materialist perspective.

Idealism, or some form of Neutral Monism, seems more likely to me. I do accept I have a bias to the immaterial but Alan Watts helped me come to terms with at least some of my existential horror at being part of a clockwork universe. So even seeing things with an acceptance toward the possibility of materialism I'd still choose Idealism.
I am always struck by the way successive scientific theories have formed stepping stones for the next one, and I think dualism might be such a stepping stone to an ultimate idealist position. People find idealism hard because they forget that there can be other conscious components to the universe - ones that are not even human, and certainly not under our control. Maybe DMT reveals some of them!

David
 
#11
I go back and forth but it is hard for me to see materialism encompassing all the phenomenon out there, not least of all consciousness itself.
I could somehow grasp brains producing normal waking consciousness. I find it untenable to explain away all of the phenomena as fraud/wishful thinking/statistic flukes. And I find it nearly impossible to accept that brains alone could produce that phenomena.

Cheers,
Bill
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#12
I could somehow grasp brains producing normal waking consciousness. I find it untenable to explain away all of the phenomena as fraud/wishful thinking/statistic flukes. And I find it nearly impossible to accept that brains alone could produce that phenomena.

Cheers,
Bill
Check out the dream thread in C&S!

=-=-=

Maybe Logic: The Lives & Ideas Of Robert Anton Wilson (2003)

Guerrilla ontologist. Psychedelic magician. Outer head of the Illuminati. Quantum psychologist. Sit-down comic/philosopher. Discordian Pope. Whatever the label and rank, Robert Anton Wilson is undeniably one of the foundations of 21th Century Western counterculture. Maybe Logic - The Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson is a cinematic alchemy that conjures it all together in a hilarious and mind-bending journey guaranteed to increase your brain size 2 - 3 inches! From the water coolers and staff meetings of Playboy and the earth-shattering transmission of the Illuminatus! Trilogy, to fire-breathing senior citizen and Taoist sage, Robert Anton Wilson is a man who has passed through the trials of chapel perilous and found himself on wondrous ground where nothing is for certain, even the treasured companionship of a six-foot-tall white rabbit. Featuring RAW video spanning 25 years and the best of over 100 hours of footage thoroughly tweaked...
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#13
Seems like Prescott does a good job threading the line between the gullible vs the cynical

Why I'm Not a Skeptic

If Benveniste's work yields life-saving medical breakthroughs, will the "fraud squad" apologize? Don't count on it. After the reproduction of Benveniste's results in 2001, James Randi quickly organized a counter-experiment, which yielded negative results. On his Web site, Randi reports only the negative findings, which he calls "definitive," and he makes no mention at all of the positive results from Europe (Randi, 2003). As noted in an online article by Rochus Boerner, a search of Randi's site turns up only one reference to Madeleine Ennis, and "it mentions Ennis' name in the context of discussing a disconfirming study, and calls her a 'pharmacist from Belfast.' Relying solely on Randi's site, a reader would never know that the women is a professor of Immunopharmacology at Queen's University, Belfast, and that she and others have produced a ground-breaking replication of Benveniste's work (Boerner, undated)."
Now I'm a skeptic

If Zammit wants to convince the world (most of whom are far more skeptical of these things than I am) that discarnates are materializing in a darkened seance room, he must first ensure that the protocols are airtight. This would involve taking steps to eliminate the possibility, however remote, that one of the sitters impersonated the spirits. There are obvious ways of doing this - put luminous tape on the sitters, Velcro them to their chairs, place bubble-wrap on the floor so no one can walk around silently, make all the sitters hold hands with each other continually throughout the seance, etc. Such precautions have been used in other such experiments; why not here?

Zammit's approach is unfortunately illustrative of what happens when one's ego gets invested in one's positions. Any critique then is seen as a personal attack, and the only possible response is a counterattack. The critic becomes the Other, the enemy, a nonperson...
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#14
MAYBE LOGIC: THE LIVES AND IDEAS OF ROBERT ANTON WILSON -- ILLUSTRATED INTERVIEW

We all have our own reality tunnel, and in our reality tunnel we pick out some things and ignore other things. And we got 10 billion cells in our brain receiving hundreds and hundreds of millions of signals all the time. We just pick out the ones that fit into the established grooves in our brain, the reality tunnel that's been laid down by past experience. We all have our own belief system, and the signals that fit our belief system get in. The signals that don't fit our belief system get ignored, or if they keep coming back we go to a psychiatrist to get cured and make them go away.

Once you get used to thinking in terms of whether we're tuned in or not tuned in, then all of the problems in philosophy about being and non-being and so on, seem absolutely nonsensical. We don't know what is or what isn't, all we know is what we tuned in or what we didn't tune in. If you keep track of what you tuned in, that's what you can talk about meaningfully; what you didn't tune in, you can only make guesses about, or noises or garbles, or frantic hand gestures, but you can't really know anything about them, you only know what you've tuned in.

What you haven't tuned in isn't necessarily nonexistent, it's just not tuned in. That takes care of the whole problem of being and non-being, which philosophers have been debating for the last 2,500 years. We don't know anything about being or non-being, all you know is what you've tuned in.
 
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