Dr. Chris White Optimistic About Science Spirituality Crossover |402|

#61
I think that frame can be used to compare our day-to-day experience with experiences that feel like the OTHER side. I tend to think that we can never truly know the OTHER side because we're always in THIS side. In the strongest sense of this frame, the OTHER is well and truly unknowable, and any weird stuff that happens on THIS side may or may not be related to the OTHER, and if it is related, the relationship would be unknowable.
We can know then other side in a variety of ways - astral travel, lucid dreaming and other states of consciousness. But translating that experience into ways we can understand this side is a difficult matter. What we understand as time and space on this side are not the same on the other. Also, we are habituated to a physical and biological frame of reference that does not translate - so our conceptual framework is not suited to translating other side material. Part of our consciousness is interlaced into our physical being - and we tend to see that as an essential component of who we are.

There are a number of useful sources. I like Frank DeMarco's work as a contemporary writer. I also like Stewart Edward White - especially The Unobstructed Universe. Jane Robert's Seth books are also useful. There is a bunch of esoteric and mystical stuff as well.

In fact there is constant traffic between what I call then physical and metaphysical dimensions of our reality - but it is mostly not literal, and tends to be metaphorical according to the content of our psyches. This is why some dreams are absurd metaphors that require interpretation - rarely any good in my experience (unless the interpreter is psychic).

It is actually important to understand that we dwell on both sides routinely, but what comes to our conscious awareness is a small portion of what is actually going on. In fact this is essentially true on this side as well, from a biological and psychological perspective. The sense of I that we have, as the locus of our conscious awareness, is a tiny zone, compared to the physical and metaphysical processes that are fundamental to our physical and metaphysical existence. Our awareness permeates all the processes, but we mostly have no command on locating our point of conscious awareness. We can learn, if we wish, to have greater control over the location of our point of conscious awareness.
 
#62
I do believe spiritual authority exists, we just rarely hear/see it and are confronted constantly with its mimics.
Hi Mishelle, you have touch on one of the great problems here. In a sense spiritual authority is an emanation rather than assertion. It is attractive in the way that the more we are like that to which we aspire the more we are responsive to it. This is called the wisdom path. And this is why we do not see it as a thing apart to be seen - but as something that resonates with us.

As to the mimic and pretenders - they know we hunger for what is true but do not usually posses the means to identify it on our own (or so we think). So we need teachers and guides. We are thus vulnerable to predation if 'our hearts are not pure'. This is the difficult bit - the faith that comes from innocence -as opposed to the belief that comes from need. An illusion of that faith that comes from innocence can be sold to those who operate from need in facsimile form - and what they get is the conning and manipulation of predators who promote absence of critical thought and righteous passion over actual moral awareness.

There's a clue in the traditions that speak of ordeals - you don't get to the promised land without suffering. That is to say that 'enlightenment' is not attained by rational or cognitive processes - but by what wears you down and threatens to break you. Mostly its a solitary thing (but you are never alone). You don't find it in crowds.
 
#63
I dont think we have enough original thought or the right type of thinking to change much at any one time but you can see a progression and a strengthening of thought memes all around us at any time
Blaise! There is an abundance of transformative thought. But we are not going to see mass transformation, not for want of causative impetus, but because we are not at a uniform stage in our need for development.

There is certainly a growing momentum that links to many forces in our shared reality - technological developments that make the transmission of ideas easier; a shared greater sense of demand for spiritual nourishment (if you are into astrology you will see the trend); a greater capacity to connect with people of like interest (this forum is an outstanding example) - and other more complex and subtle factors.

The range of content is astonishing if you know where to find it. I have been reading and researching over 50 years now (has it really been that long? Yes! That surprises me). We are awash with ideas - some of the good and a few of them great. There's something for everybody. I really do believe in that old saying - when the student is ready the master will come. But the 'master' may not come in person - just stimulate exposure to, or awareness of, a critical set of ideas.

We get what we need, though we may not agree at the time. We are all overshadowed by higher wisdom. But its tough love. There are no snowflakes on the wisdom path.
 
#66
Hi Mishelle, you have touch on one of the great problems here. In a sense spiritual authority is an emanation rather than assertion. It is attractive in the way that the more we are like that to which we aspire the more we are responsive to it. This is called the wisdom path. And this is why we do not see it as a thing apart to be seen - but as something that resonates with us.

As to the mimic and pretenders - they know we hunger for what is true but do not usually posses the means to identify it on our own (or so we think). So we need teachers and guides. We are thus vulnerable to predation if 'our hearts are not pure'. This is the difficult bit - the faith that comes from innocence -as opposed to the belief that comes from need. An illusion of that faith that comes from innocence can be sold to those who operate from need in facsimile form - and what they get is the conning and manipulation of predators who promote absence of critical thought and righteous passion over actual moral awareness.

There's a clue in the traditions that speak of ordeals - you don't get to the promised land without suffering. That is to say that 'enlightenment' is not attained by rational or cognitive processes - but by what wears you down and threatens to break you. Mostly its a solitary thing (but you are never alone). You don't find it in crowds.
Thanks for this thoughtful reply Michael, it sounds spot on to me. “Spiritual authority is an emanation rather than an assertion.” I couldn’t agree more and you put better language on it than I could! So then, would you say that as soon as one is asserting it we can be sure it is fraudulent? Wouldn’t that then make most preachers frauds from a spiritual standpoint? And most ‘spiritual gurus’ too?

“The faith that comes from innocence—as opposed to the belief that comes from need.” Nice! I really get it, but ‘faith’ is a bit of a tricky word I find, as is ‘innocence’. It’s not the faith of the blind or the innocence of the infant you mean, right? This is something that would have stopped me in my younger years from absorbing what this is really saying. It’s a bit paradoxical, no?

“What wears you down and threatens to break you”—again, so agreed—but it’s such a fine line, hard enough to navigate individually and yet so many think they can navigate it for the entire population. I can’t help but think of the ‘Satanic Ritual Abuse’ everyone hates talking about—they have decided to take this small truth to the furthest extreme by forcing this with their own children and beyond, doesn’t it seem?
 
#67
To clarify, they existed in cultures that were certain about ancestor spirits, tree spirits, rock spirits, etc., and believed the creation myths they passed on were universally true. This animistic approach to the world, where everything is possessed of spirit, is enchantment in its most vital form.
Thanks for the reply, shapethrower. These are fascinating topics and I'm glad folks are interested in looking at the different hunter/gatherers. I am interested in suggestions for books and links that I might pursue to increase my understanding in this area.

It may be the case that the most important difference between some hunter/gatherers and some westerners is that the western worldview tends to view the world as fundamentally knowable and controllable (in the sense that we will eventually be able to control all aspects of nature, even though we're not quite there yet) whereas we might find in some hunter/gatherer groups the idea that the world and even the self are not deeply knowable or controllable. For me, a worldview that routinely acknowledges aspects of the world that are beyond "the known" seems much more enchanted than a worldview that treats everything as fundamentally knowable.

So, for me, it may be that the "active ingredient" in an animist culture is not the "belief" in deities or "belief" that everything in the world has its own spirit or the "certitude" of the campfire stories, but rather the aspects of uncertainty and capriciousness in the world; the idea that the trees or animals or wind may do something that you didn't see coming. In this sense, you don't have to look to the stars at night to feel awe and mystery. In a fundamentally mysterious and capricious world, awe and mystery are everywhere in every aspect of day-to-day life. And, for bonus points, I think we can include our own consciousness and sense of self as part of the mysterious and capricious world.

As I mentioned before, some rituals of hunter/gatherers are playful and seem to have strong elements of play-acting or role-playing in order to honor the plastic nature of the self and the sense of meaning (this also relates to Michael's comments about the role of metaphor and conceptual frameworks--which some kinds of ritual can help us see more clearly as helpful and unhelpful in different contexts). In addition, I believe that some rituals are related to acknowledging and making pleas to whatever it is that is beyond our control in the world. I suppose we could look at still other features of hunter/gatherer groups, say some kinds of shamanism, as techniques for trying to make decisions in the face of overwhelming uncertainty. But the rituals and practices in my hypothetical animist group are ongoing because the uncertainty never goes away.

Incidentally, I tend to look at a lot of western spiritual ideas as rather disenchanted because they sometimes seem to suggest that they have it all worked out. From this perspective, some kinds of certainty are inherently disenchanting. Mystery is more enchanting to me.

We can know then other side in a variety of ways - astral travel, lucid dreaming and other states of consciousness. But translating that experience into ways we can understand this side is a difficult matter. What we understand as time and space on this side are not the same on the other. Also, we are habituated to a physical and biological frame of reference that does not translate - so our conceptual framework is not suited to translating other side material. Part of our consciousness is interlaced into our physical being - and we tend to see that as an essential component of who we are.
Hi Michael, thanks for your comments. I really like some of your formulations. In this first part, I would want to push the more extreme version of my model, which would suggest that the astral travel experience, the lucid dream, and other altered states are themselves the translated experience. I think I can see now that for my model, it's vital to consider that there may be some "thing" (terrible word choice, but no word is sufficient) that is BEYOND experience. So astral travel, lucid dream, mystical experience are still experience ...

I had to smile at Alex's question to the guest around minute 26:00 of the podcast: "I guess what I’m getting at is the underlying nature of spiritual experiences ... Is there both an underlying reality to spiritual experiences ... ?" I smile because it strikes me a classic assertive Alex question.

For me, I tend to think that the question is steeped in this paradigm of "everything must exist or not exist" which is the classical-logic paradigm that Moody challenges. According to Moody, if I understand him correctly, there may be some third "thing". It could be "imaginal" or "non-conceptual" or "pre-conceptual". And I think, Michael, that some of your comments here are playing to that edge.

What we understand as time and space on this side are not the same on the other.
I agree, Michael, if there is other side. ;) I get frustrated because sometimes folks in the spiritual community are focused on other angles of these conversations, and so they skip over this idea. The result is that people talk about the OTHER in a rather casual way that doesn't make sense to me.

What we understand as time and space on this side are not the same on the other. Also, we are habituated to a physical and biological frame of reference that does not translate - so our conceptual framework is not suited to translating other side material. Part of our consciousness is interlaced into our physical being - and we tend to see that as an essential component of who we are.
I like your idea here about conceptual framework. As you know, there is talk of how physics tends to skip over the "observer effect", but sometimes I think the spiritual community also skips over the observer effect and doesn't adequately address the power of our historical, cultural, and/or physiological conceptual frameworks. I think the "spiritual community" may be well served by weighing more heavily the "observer effect" and the power of our conceptual frameworks.

In fact there is constant traffic between what I call then physical and metaphysical dimensions of our reality - but it is mostly not literal, and tends to be metaphorical according to the content of our psyches. This is why some dreams are absurd metaphors that require interpretation - rarely any good in my experience (unless the interpreter is psychic).
I'm a little leary of the casualness of your "constant traffic" but I like the non-literal piece and the strong reference to the metaphorical aspects. Thanks again for the comments, Michael. I will look into the authors you mention. I enjoy following up on references people give here.


deep down I feel things need to be understood
Hi again, blaise. In some respectss I think this piece of your comment may in some way represent THE key aspect of the secular western attitude that may be driving us further away from enchantment. I think all of us well-meaning commentors tend to fall into this trap.

It suggests to me that my personal project moving forward will be to come up with some more specific angles on which areas of interest I would consider to be profitably pursuable in terms of coming to some common understanding, and which are more profitably understood to be not understandable at this time.

EDIT: I can see that I'm also trying to make my ideas understood, so I can see the unintentional irony of my comment here.
 
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#68
A question for all of you. Do we NEED mainstream academia to come over to our “side” and drop their materialistic doctorines? Can we progress without them? Progress in what ways?What would we gain if they “joined us”? What would/could happen?
 
#69
A question for all of you. Do we NEED mainstream academia to come over to our “side” and drop their materialistic doctorines? Can we progress without them? Progress in what ways?What would we gain if they “joined us”? What would/could happen?
Well we don't need it, but we should definitely keep pushing. I mean we do have a variety of academic folk on our side, or at least holding interesting positions:

Donald Hoffman
Henry Stapp
Sam Parnia
etc etc

Like a lot of people here, I want to understand the real interface between the deterministic science - much of which is reproducible - and ψ.

David
 
#70
Well we don't need it, but we should definitely keep pushing.
I totally agree. But it is an interesting question. I wonder if it would have the impact that we all imagine that it might. And I wonder what changes it might lead to, and if these changes would be anything more than a philosophical shift. Ie-would anything tangible change? For us thinking folk, a philosophical change is a big event. But I wonder if it would effect the average Joe who just wants to live and not consider these things. I think it might, but not for a while. Eventually we could potentially merge new technologies with spiritual/conscious stuff. And to do this, it would help greatly to have the backing of mainstream academia.
 
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#71
A question for all of you. Do we NEED mainstream academia to come over to our “side” and drop their materialistic doctorines? Can we progress without them? Progress in what ways?What would we gain if they “joined us”? What would/could happen?
One the one hand, they are a political party of (fake) science-as-virtue. One cannot change the mind of a person who has conflated their viewpoint and self-identity with virtue (ethics is different). As long as you are outside their party, you are of the bad people. They perceive even a scientific argument as you as appealing for them to jump into one big seething mass of 'woo'. This is their wallow in insanity, not yours however.

Never cow-tow to arguments of agency. By attempting to impress extremists, one simply reinforces their Godness and preferred bifurcation. Ethics cites that it is better to ignore an extremist, rather than cede them power by recognition.

However on the other hand, what if they hold you hostage? - such as in the instance of owning all our means of education, and requiring that you pay them hundreds of thousands of dollars in homage, before your children can obtain a pathway to a quality life? Such an act constitutes the establishment of a Labor Union. However a Labor Union without voting rights on the part of its dues-paid Union Card holders.

Skepticism is the act of the Union Card holders - seeking the power to vote inside the very Union which they paid dues to enter into in the first place. I want new leadership in my Union, and I want them to be of higher qualified CV's than simply virtuous, celebrity or PhD - which are not very high qualifications in and of themselves.

This is my reason for creating Ethical Skepticism. Our appeal is to those outside of their club; the non-holders of the Union Card and fellow Union Card holders (with no voting rights), who are collectively their victims.
 
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#72
A question for all of you. Do we NEED mainstream academia to come over to our “side” and drop their materialistic doctorines? Can we progress without them? Progress in what ways?What would we gain if they “joined us”? What would/could happen?
I think it could make the world a much better place because more people would believe in our spiritual nature if scientists recognized it. But I don't know if that is ultimately desirable because it could ruin the earth plane as a place to have certain experiences that cannot be had in the non-physical realms. Being a materialist is one of those types of experiences. It is hard to explain why scientists have been so resistant to accepting the evidence of our spiritual nature. Maybe it is because their role is to disbelieve.

Also consider how so much bad information about nutrition has killed so many people around the globe. Do we want scientists to f*** up spirituality the way they have done to nutrition and other fields? Or politicize it? Or militarize it? Or corrupt it for financial interests? Denying our spiritual nature as they do now is probably the least destructive way for scientists to get it wrong.

Below are some excerpts from my blog explaining why I think it would be beneficial if scientists stopped telling people that spiritual beliefs are false. However it is important to keep in mind that all these unpleasant experiences caused by disbelief provide opportunities for learning - they might be unpleasant, but like medicine that tastes bad could still be good in some way.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html
Belief in religion and spirituality is beneficial.
Andrew Sims

Andrew Sims, past president of Royal College of Psychiatrists, has said: "The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land (from Is Faith Delusion)."
more

In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.
Not in the video, but apropos:
Knowledge of the afterlife deters suicide. Lessons From the Light by Kenneth Ring and Evelyn Elsaesser p.257-258:

As far as I know, the first clinician to make use of NDE material in this context was a New York psychologist named John McDonagh. In 1979, he presented a paper at a psychological convention that described his success with several suicidal patients using a device he called "NDE bibliotherapy." His "technique" was actually little more than having his patients read some relevant passages from Raymond Moody's book, Reflections on Life after Life, after which the therapist and his patient would discuss its implicatins for the latter's own situation. McDonagh reports that such an approach was generally quite successful not only in reducing suicidal thoughts but also in preventing the deed altogether.
...

Since McDonagh's pioneering efforts, other clinicians knowledgeable about the NDE who have had the opportunity to counsel suicidal patients have also reported similar success. Perhaps the most notable of these therapists is Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist now at the University of Virginia, whose specialty as a clinician has been suicidology. He is also the author of a classic paper on NDEs and suicide which the specialist may wish to consult for tis therapeutic implications. (14)

Quite apart form the clinicians who have developed this form of what we migh call "NDE-assisted therapy," I can draw upon my own personal experience here to provide additional evidence of how the NDE has helped to deter suicide. The following case
...

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/the-science-scam-is-one-of-biggest.html#harm
(8/2013)

How many billions of people suffer unnecessary grief for lost loved ones who are not really dead but are continuing their existence in another dimension? How many billions of people live in fear of death unnecessarily because they are ignorant of the empirical evidence showing there is an afterlife? How many people suffer unnecessarily from ethnic and religious conflicts that would cease if everyone knew the true nature of the soul and its evolution? How much cruelty continues to be inflicted on victims that would never be inflicted if people understood that when you hurt another person you also hurt yourself? How much selfishness continues to exist that would cease if people understood that you prepare the conditions you will experience in the afterlife by the actions you take in the physical life?
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-harm-caused-by-pseudoskepticism.html
How Pseudoskepticism is Harmful

  • People need correct information in order to be able to make good decisions about what to do in life. Anytime false information is spread, it is harmful. Pseudoskeptics are mistaken when they espouse disbelief of every paranormal phenomena. There is overwhelming evidence for ESP and the afterlife. The world's most brilliant scientists including many Nobel prize winners believed in paranormal phenomena from their own studies, their own experiences, or the studies conducted by other scientists. Magicians cannot reproduce mediumistic phenomena. Pseudoskeptics are often deliberately misleading. Real skeptics (people who believe something only when there is good reason to believe it) do believe in some paranormal phenomena because of the evidence.

  • Belief in religion and the afterlife offers many benefits. Pseudoskepticism may prevent people from experiencing these benefits.

    • Belief in religion can help people cope with adversity such as divorce and unemployment.

    • Knowledge of the afterlife:

    • People who find meaning in life are healthier but pseudoskeptics espouse materialism which holds that meaning is an illusion.

  • By denying the reality of psychic phenomena, pseudoskepticism makes it harder for people to find reliable information on psychic phenomena. As a result of pseudoskepticism:

  • There are many practical uses of psychic abilities including mediumship, dowsing, energy healing, remote viewing, induced after-death communication (IADC), past life regression, and psychic detectives. By denying the reality of the afterlife, pseudoskepticism may deter people from availing themselves of these services. (Induced after-death communication is a treatment for post-traumatic stress syndrome developed by a veterans administration psychologist. Past-life regression is an immensely helpful treatment for some psychological disorders.)

  • Pseudoskeptics persecute psychics and scientists who want to study paranormal phenomena which inhibits scientific freedom.

  • Pseudoskeptics do harm because they obscure the truth of the afterlife.

    • If the truth about the evolution of the soul was more widely known, it would reduce ethnic and religious conflicts.

    • If the truth of the afterlife was more widely known, people would be less selfish because they would understand how their actions in this life prepare the conditions they will experience in the afterlife.

    • A correct understanding of the afterlife would help people to understand the purpose of life and suffering.

    • If the truth about the life review and reincarnation was more widely known, it would reduce cruelty because people would understand that when you hurt another person you are also hurting yourself.

    • A correct understanding of the afterlife eases mental anguish because certain knowledge of a better existence in the future gives people hope. No matter what mistakes someone may have made in life they are never judged or punished in the afterlife but always have the opportunityhere or hereafter to atone and work their way up to the highest levels of the spirit realm by helping other
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/09/skepticism-big-lie-activist-skeptics.html
Research shows that belief in the paranormal and religion can be conducive to the health and well being of people. These beliefs can help people cope with grief, divorce, job loss, the fear of death, particularly in the terminally ill, and can deter suicide. Therefore, when skeptics and atheists try to convince people to stop believing in the paranormal and religion, they may be doing harm to other people. Furthermore, research also shows that having meaning in life is necessary for people to thrive but skeptics claim consciousness and meaning are illusions. When skeptics spread their philosophy of materialism they may cause harm by taking the meaning and purpose of life away from people.
...
Below I include links, quotes, and references to research that shows how helpful religion and belief in the paranormal can be to people. But I also know this from my own experience. I have been to many Spiritualist church services and I've seen what I am writing about first hand. Many people come to a Spiritualist church for the first time when they are suffering from grief because mediumship is part of the Sunday service. Some of these people are suffering from extreme grief from the death of a spouse or a child. Losing a child is one of the most difficult of all things to have to experience in life. During church services, I've seen and heard with my own senses the comfort and relief that a communication from a deceased loved one can give to another person.

Imagine a child conceived in love, who you carried in pregnancy, gave birth to, fed from your own breast, and raised from infancy. Who you taught to walk and talk and took to their first day of school and had birthday parties for. Who you loved and who loved you and trusted you completely in their innocent childlike way. Imagine your hopes and dreams for their future. Now, imagine their life is cut short, maybe by a sudden accident or a lingering illness. Actually, you can't imagine the grief and sense of loss a parent would feel in that situation. Now try to imagine what it is like for that parent to know that their child's existence has not been cut short but that their child is living with Grandma in another plane of existence, and they can still know about each other and communicate words of love.

I've been there during Spiritualist church services and seen and heard a medium provide this comfort to people suffering from extreme grief. I knew the medium, I knew the church, I know it wasn't cold reading or hot reading and I know the information the medium gave to identify the spirit was specific, detailed, and impossible to guess by chance.

So I also know the harm that can be done by skeptics who never had this experience and who don't know what they are talking about when they try to convince someone else that it is all a delusion or a fraud.
 
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#73
I totally agree. But it is an interesting question. I wonder if it would have the impact that we all imagine that it might. And I wonder what changes it might lead to, and if these changes would be anything more than a philosophical shift. Ie-would anything tangible change? For us thinking folk, a philosophical change is a big event. But I wonder if it would effect the average Joe who just wants to live and not consider these things. I think it might, but not for a while. Eventually we could potentially merge new technologies with spiritual/conscious stuff. And to do this, it would help greatly to have the backing of mainstream academia.
If nothing else it should open up a lot more money for research.
David
 
#74
But I don't know if that is ultimately desirable because it could ruin the earth plane as a place to have certain experiences that cannot be had in the non-physical realms.
This is a great point. And it’s something I’ve consideted quite a bit actually. It seems to me, based upon quite literally loads of info and the reports of hundreds (thousands...millions?) of experiencers of Astral Travel, NDErs, mediumship etc etc., that our current system has been set up as a learning tool for conscious beings who may use it as part of their learning and growing. And that part of this system involves our being quite seperated from other dimensions/spiritual realms what have you. And it seems this is for a reason. This system is supposed to be seperate. Or at least it’s supposed to BEGIN as seperate. But if we grow and learn to connect and can use Tech to explore spirituality and learn things and become more “plugged in”, would that be harmful or beneficial to this systems intended purpose? I think it could go either way. Maybe part of the collective learning process is mankind’s accomplishment in overcoming these barriers in order to obtain true wisdom through immaterial spirituality. But maybe, as you suggest, it isn’t entirely desirable.

So many experiencers and writers have written about this “veil” which keeps us blind and separate and also of our “amnesia” towards our true selves. And I fully believe we are completely aware of this when we choose to incarnate here. And, indeed, we forget and become blind. Are we to respect this veil, or are we to conquer it? Who knows.
 
#75
A question for all of you. Do we NEED mainstream academia to come over to our “side” and drop their materialistic doctorines? Can we progress without them? Progress in what ways?What would we gain if they “joined us”? What would/could happen?
Good question. I think it depends a lot a person's individual interests or goals.

If I was a graduate student in religious studies and I wanted to model my career on Jeff Kripal, then I would probably be more interested in having the validation (and funding opportunities) of mainstream academia.

For the rest of us, if mainstream academia devoted more resources to studying mystical experiences ,etc, perhaps they could come up with some common ground that would be helpful. For example, I think there's really something to the idea of "emotional truth" versus "literal truth" that could be very applicable indeed to "experiencers", but in academia, emotional truth is relegated to the rather arcane field of literary studies that doesn't generally seem interested in actually coming up with ideas that are relevant to regular folks.

One thing I think is probably more important than mainstream academia is the approach to spirituality that is adjudicated in the legal system and legislated in representative democracies. I believe people in the US live in a secular society because of the separation of church and state (and related policies) and because of the "rationalist" approach to law and justice moreso than because of mainstream academia, though I suppose they all support each other at the end of the day.
 
#76
A question for all of you. Do we NEED mainstream academia to come over to our “side” and drop their materialistic doctorines? Can we progress without them? Progress in what ways?What would we gain if they “joined us”? What would/could happen?
I should also add that there are research methods available to some disciplines that could be promising. Phenomenological research method is where the researcher doesn't have to make claims about a phenomenon that's being studied, but rather looks at the impact and meaning of the phenomenon on the people he's studying (I'm probably butchering that, but it's close I think.) Also, ethnography is a classic approach that can be used fruitfully. Less common and less mainstream are research methods called auto-ethnography and art-based research -- the interesting thing about these is that they can really be used to challenge received ideas of the nature of knowledge, which seems like a vital approach to academic study of psi, mystical experience, etc.
 
#77
I am pretty sure Idealism is the ultimate answer, but my point is that currently Idealism fails as a scientific theory because it is un-falsifiable. Science can't really operate with a theory in which anything might happen (yes I know that QM opens up that possibility, but only at vanishingly low probability). Suppose for example Mind At Large simply decided that all grass would be coloured purple for a week - just for fun. It may be the consciousness does create everything, but why is grass never purple?

David
David,
I think idealism is pretty spot on. However, there is a caveat and it answers your question about purple grass.

Consciousness is an energy and, as such, it has a sort of gravity or magnetism, that leads to the emergence of consensus realities which, in turn causes self-reinforcing feedback loops that continually make the consensus reality more concrete and more difficult to break free from. At some point people just habitually perceive the world the way consensus reality has trained them to.

So, loose analogy, if enough people, as perceptual entities, have come to decide, for whatever reason, that grass is green then it's going to be very difficult to change the color of grass. You'd be fighting the gravity of all of those people's focused awareness. But, if you could get people into a frame of mind in which the magnetic spell of the habitual focus is broken, then grass could become purple.

The focus on consensus reality is partly conscious and largely subconscious or unconscious. The focus can be relaxed or shifted due to extreme illness, certain drugs, extreme faith, a terrible emotional shock, chanting and meditation, sleep (dreams), but requires intent backed up by sufficient energy to shift in a non-chaotic manner - that is to say to new internally consistent complete worlds. You have to be a solid person. Without sufficient energy and clean intent, one will most likely experience mere hallucinations and risk insanity (even if only temporary). Anyhow, the key is, whatever technique is employed, to reach the deeper self beyond all of the perceptual training. Then what idealism says is possible, really is.

I don't think this is unfalsifiable. There are many examples where "the impossible" has occurred. Let's look at just one minor example. People have attended "spoon bending parties" where ordinary people are able to suspend their normal focus and enter into a world where they can bend spoons and other objects with the power of their minds. This is a proven. Bending spoons, keys, etc. may seem trivial, but it is a well know example of what I - and idealism - are talking about.
 
#78
A question for all of you. Do we NEED mainstream academia to come over to our “side” and drop their materialistic doctorines? Can we progress without them? Progress in what ways?What would we gain if they “joined us”? What would/could happen?
No we don't need them. How are mainstreamers stopping anyone from doing what they want to do with their own minds?
 
#79
So, loose analogy, if enough people, as perceptual entities, have come to decide, for whatever reason, that grass is green then it's going to be very difficult to change the color of grass. You'd be fighting the gravity of all of those people's focused awareness. But, if you could get people into a frame of mind in which the magnetic spell of the habitual focus is broken, then grass could become purple.
Right, but now consider that conventional science will tell you that grass is green because of chlorophyll, which absorbs most of the energy at the red and blue frequencies. In turn that absorption can be traced to the QM properties of the chlorophyll molecule (QM calculations on molecules that big are pretty approximate, but forgetting that.....) etc. Thus idealism could collapse into something almost identical to conventional science, because the underlying equations of QM have presumably been endorsed implicitly by every living thing, or it could expand to be an 'anything goes' physosophy.

I think there are a lot of interesting things to be discovered at that interface between consciousness and science, and I don't think simply postulating Idealism is the way to uncover them.

David
 
#80
No we don't need them. How are mainstreamers stopping anyone from doing what they want to do with their own minds?
They can’t. But they’re preventing a lot of good research and funding. The things we could learn with the type of HUGE funding that this sort of acknowledgement would bring forth could be grossly important towards our overall understanding. They’re also the gatekeepers of truth for many, and I think that truth matters. If a change occurred, I’m not sure it would affect us here talking on this board during our lifetimes, but who knows what the future could hold with increased scientific advancement merged with an acknowledgment of spiritual ideas. It could lead to some powerful stuff.
 
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