Dr. Julie Beischel Clearing Up Myths About Mediums |371|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    nice one :)

    another nice one :)

    I think yr selling science short. Julie's painstaking research has answered some mundane questions about mediumship, but given how little we knew before it's still really important stuff IMO.
     
  2. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    I don't mind the scientist who explains the horse. In fact, I quite like him. What I very much hate, is the scientist who tries to explain away the horse as something ordinary or typical.
     
  3. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I was aware that that analogy had a little hair on it when I made it! I think the point is though, that to use part of SR - say time dilation - as part of an argument against the rest of the theory, you would basically have to come up with an alternative theory - otherwise the argument would appear goofy. Materialists that suddenly want to use super-psi, simply have to explain their position in more detail - are they supporting ψ, and how is that consistent with materialism. Besides, as I pointed out, they want to use the concept of super-psi to argue one part of their agenda while simultaneously arguing against ψ - which is totally inconsistent.

    David
     
  4. garry

    garry Member

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    Mike wrote: "Well I have 2 science degrees and I have had long conversations with non-physical agents -many hours. What benefit can we gain from this kind of thing? How do we know its stuff we can trust and use? This is what matters way more than the hows of it all."
    Mike you need to read "The Spirit's Book" by Allen Kardec. It's free online. The language is a bit old because it was written over a hundred years ago but the information will prove valuable to you as a learned seeker. Kind regards, garry
     
  5. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    I've been reflecting about why it is that I'm somewhat sceptical about a literal interpretation of mediumship. I think it may have something to do with free will. We are instantiated into this world as beings with perceptions which I see as limited. We perceive what are apparently separate objects, either animate or inanimate, and have an intrinsic need to explain what it all means and how all these apparent objects interrelate.

    There's no shortage of explanations -- in the past, religions played a major part in providing them, but these days, it's mostly science, at least in the West. All our explanations are at best only approximations of the truth, whatever that might be. As a species we are constantly trying to refine our understandings. It's good that science has a more prominent role to play than formerly, though I think recently it's been tending more towards scientism, back towards a kind of religiosity rather than a spirit of true enquiry.

    By and large, most people just negotiate the apparently brute fact of the world as best they can. They may mostly experience it in a "non-spiritual" way, and nothing stops them from interpreting the world in any way they choose. Even in the most repressive regimes, no one can monitor their inner thoughts. No one can censor what they believe if they choose to remain silent about their interpretations: our thoughts, opinions and motivations remain private if we choose not to divulge them.

    Nothing stops us from behaving in any way we wish except practical impositions (such as man-made laws, etc.), but even if those are extreme, nothing can prevent us from at least thinking as we wish. There is always free will in that sense. God (I prefer the term MAL or Mind-At-Large) doesn't seem to be interfering with that freedom, always of course within the framework of the perceptions and their interpretations that we were either instantiated into and/or have been influenced by others into accepting.

    If we are to believe that mediums possess a special ability to relay messages from spirit entities which aren't currently earthbound, then it seems that MAL left a back door open through which our free will decisions can be influenced. Now, I'm not saying that there aren't spiritual experiences that we may have in our lives; I've had a few myself, albeit not of the psi flavour. The question for me is about from whence they come. If they originate external to our innermost selves, then we aren't completely free; there's an element of determinism in the system over and above the practical constraints that being instantiated or incarnated can't help but place on us.

    I have this tendency to reject the idea that MAL leaves us breadcrumb trails; indeed, that it interferes in any way with our evolution; being human means that we have to accept the responsibility for our own evolution. Which sort of implies that MAL really isn't external to us; it's within us all the time, experiencing along with us. In fact, we aren't distinct from it.

    To my way of thinking, we are what MAL becomes when it restricts itself by identifying with one of its many dissociated alters. In fact, I once experienced what I now interpret in this way; it may sound egotistical, but I was aware of being something much grander than I usually perceive myself to be. Most of the time, I'm pegged at a significantly lower level, engaged by everyday concerns and general humdrum. I forget what I am and what others are; maybe that's what blasphemy truly is: not constantly being aware of what we truly are.

    When our bodies "die", we may become more (not necessarily completely) aware of what we really are. We may be more identified with MAL. Now: being closer to the one MAL, do we then seek to interfere with the progression of "others", or do we, on the contrary, leave it to "them" to have the chance of experiencing unaided something of their own grandeur? It's an immensely pleasurable experience, I found: what's the point of trying to nudge people towards it and denying them that pleasure of self-discovery?

    Maybe the aim is for everyone to be present in this awareness all of the time; when we are, we can evolve further, whatever that means. If people gradually become more aware of what they truly are, I have no doubt that, as then presently incarnated, they can influence others simply through their being what they are. No need for them to try to do so from their "spirit" form.

    I once came across a bloke back in the mid-eighties who greatly affected me by his mere presence. He was a market trader -- his appearance was nondescript; he was possibly Indian or Pakistani. I was standing with a friend at a nearby stall perusing goods when a woman came up to his stall to show him a defective item of clothing she'd purchased.

    All he said to her was something like: "Oh, that's alright, love. Do you want me to exchange it, or return your money?", but he said it in such an utterly sincere and welcoming way. My friend picked up on it too. Later I resolved to go back and find him, but I never could. Maybe he went on to trade at a market in some other town. I'd give anything to hear him speak again -- needn't be about anything earth-shattering; could be about the weather, or the price of fish for that matter. It is the sincerity and openness I want to be in the presence of again.

    Idries Shah speaks of something similar: as I recall, it was about a man who was preparing kebabs to sell, or something like that. A seeker saw him and was instantly transported into an ecstasy. It's possible we all have the potential to become like the market trader or the kebab-seller; that we all have the potential to communicate directly our grandeur, without necessarily even using words.

    Anyway, that's what I wanted to say. My opinion about mediumship is influenced by who I am and what experiences I've had. I may or may not be correct, but I do have reasons for thinking the way I do: it isn't arbitrary.
     
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  6. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I like the work Julie Beischel is doing. But the suffering the institute is alleviating is the harm done to our collective psyches by the ravages of materialistic propaganda - and that is a great service, and a healing one. I know Julie intended her words to mean the personal suffering experienced by people who think they ‘lose’ a person after death. That has its value too.


    For me anything that can change the mindset of a culture that thinks it is okay to drug a child who has heard voices, because doing so is evidence of schizophrenia, is a higher priority. That can do incalculable harm, compared to which a sense of post mortem loss is a lesser ill.

    Julie mentioned “dead people” - habituated thought is so hard to shake off. So as much as she is on the ‘right side’ the stickiness of materialist thought and language persists. Bodies die. People don’t. If ‘people’ is body plus consciousness and body dies it still doesn’t make sense to say “dead people”. Nevertheless we do it. I do it. Its habituated.

    I am not suggesting we keep the whole field of psi or extended consciousness away from scientists. There are proper roles to be played, not the least being restoration of the proper scope of human knowing in a culture confused by materialistic propaganda. Contemporary scientific investigation can bring new insights, because there are new methods to be used.


    But, if we keep on cycling back to our lust for confirmation and reassurance we will scarcely be treading water. Materialistic science has set itself as the arbiter of the real in the same way religion sought to be the arbiter of the good. In neither case did we abdicate our native capacity to make our own determinations, though many are induced to believe they have never had that right, or the ability to exercise it.

    Beischel is part of a growing community of free thinkers who do not start off in a dogmatic straightjacket and who do follow the data. In other words, doing proper science as opposed to what amounts to mere theology.
    Christian thought was tethered to pillars of faith that could not contradicted. Those pillars were asserted as a dogma to control thought and belief. They were opinions, not knowledge. Materialists also have pillars of faith. And let’s not, by the way, assume that science is the chief area of materialistic thought. It infests everything.

    Jeff Kripal mentions the American philosopher Thomas Nagel and his Mind and Cosmos. The materialists said the book was “anti science”. In Kripal’s words “Basically, they beat him up.” Nagel sought to open up thought in the face of a slowly revealing more complex reality, and so became a heretic. He sinned against orthodox materialism, and was accused of the gravest of crimes – of being anti science.


    Beischel is probably too far out of mainstream to attract much unwanted attention. Besides she is a solid scientist who won’t be easy to attack. It seems that materialists, aside from the odd intemperate outburst, are no so keen to tackle folk who know what they are doing head on these days. Sheldrake has recently noted a weakening in their ranks.


    My concern is that we do not even appear to be reliant on scientists to confirm what we have known through our own experiences, senses and traditions. Yes, of course, celebrating confirmation of the validity of mediumship and other things is a good thing to do because it is celebrating a healing of our culture as word gets out. But that is the case only because the injury has been done.


    Beischel also specifically reminded us that science is a method, not a body of knowledge or beliefs. The word ‘science’ itself is derived from Latin, and means, simply, knowledge. It is a means of acquiring knowledge in a disciplined manner – and really not much else. What we have come to call Science is really Scientism – a set of ideas and beliefs grounded in a materialistic mentality and marketed as Science.


    It is easy and convenient to talk of ‘science’ in general terms, but it is also misleading and potentially confusing – because it embraces scientism and its propaganda.


    We need, now, to distinguish between the kind research that Beischel is doing that ‘confirms’ mediumship as a thing we can safely believe in – and social science research that gathers data about its performance and function in communities. There is also useful research to be done in developing a user’s guide, as well as the metaphysics of communing with non-physical agencies. There is actually a lot of good material around. It just has to be dug out, dusted off and spruced up for a wider audience.


    We have to keep on reminding ourselves that this is normal. This okay.
     
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  7. Wander Awakening

    Wander Awakening Member

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  8. Charlie Primero

    Charlie Primero Member

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  9. Mark Boccuzzi

    Mark Boccuzzi New

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    I'm sorry that you had problems with the form. Thanks for pointing it out. I have updated the page with a link to a new form.

    Please let me know if you have any other problems.

    Best,
    Mark
     
  10. Charlie Primero

    Charlie Primero Member

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    Thank you Mark!

    I'm in.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I presume you mean that if we are incarnated here for a reason, why would it make sense to give us hints and assistance while we are here? However, maybe you meant something else.

    I think there is an analogy with anyone helping someone else to master a new skill. There is a balance between letting someone go and discover for themselves, and helping them a bit at critical points. If you teach a child to swim, you want to let go as soon as possible, but you certainly want to intervene if he starts to sink to the bottom of the pool!

    In general, it is very hard to understand what it is all about!

    David
     
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  12. Judith

    Judith New

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    If you read Michael Newton's books, spirits, or souls, have quite a lot to do on the other side.
     
  13. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    I have it. I just read it not long ago on a plane.

    "Not in the sense that they lack important things to do, but in the sense that connectedness, Love, and caring, ARE the most important things. If this is true, which the medium and NDE data (along with all the thoughts of the wise men, shaman, and mystics) tells us, then contacting us would be a high priority." Was the next part of my post that you quoted.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
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  14. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I like MAL. It connects with the notion of The One - an ultimate pervasive reality of being that is beyond classification or description. There is a rational sense that requires no theology or belief, just a sense of something more than we can imagine or define.

    Within MAL are discrete entities. If you like, MAL is an ecosystem and we operate within it - within our particulate niches. Between humans who are in physical form and humans who are in 'spirit' form there is a natural connection. When you think of what our natural form is it is reflexive for us to think biological. But our persistent nature is not that. If you play football on the weekend you know your natural state is not in a football uniform, but that is the way you may be identified and remembered. But if you think our natural form is 'spirit' you will not be surprised at all that spirit-to-spirit communication is perfectly normal and natural.

    But spirit-to-biological [and vice versa] is regarded as weird? It is still spirit-to-spirit - only filtering into a biological dimension. This is where we think our consciousness is located. But, in fact all we know is that we are aware of our biological dimension. In that dimension we think it is the primary awareness - because that is where our sense of who and what we are is located. But that is not exclusive. We are even more aware on a spirit-to-spirit level. In essence we operate on multiple levels at the same time - but we are usually aware of the level where our focus is.

    The essence of communication with other levels of human reality is the ability to function on two levels at once - the physical and the metaphysical. There are several versions of mediumship - the term is problematic. At the lowest level we have what was exemplified in The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts. This is the 'classic' medium. Higher levels are more cooperative - the 'channel' steps aside to permit a personality to express. It is not trance, but an alliance.

    The real test is the quality of content. Lower level entities cannot deliver high quality content. Some people are so entranced by the mere phenomenon of contact with discarnate that the mere fact of contact is sufficient evidence of merit. Some of the high quality content can be so challenging that there is a reflex to dismiss it. So either way we are stuck with the problem of having to assess the value of what is communicated. All we have to go on is our own sense. Even high level agencies will not offer an easy option to believe their value.

    Basically they do not want believers. They want thinkers and challengers. In short they want sceptics to work with. That is sceptics in the proper sense of the word - not some dogmatic denialist idiot. If you understand that the high level agencies have a sincere and serious interest in influencing humans in a positive way then you will appreciate that they prefer to avoid the eager believers. They prefer well educated, smart and engaged people. Not all of them publish books or work with a wide sphere of influence.

    Consider a few of my favourites - Stewart Edward White, Jane Roberts, Frank DeMarco. All deeply challenging intellectually. All demanding focused attention on the message to 'get' what is conveyed. White is a hard read these days. That 1930s style does not sit well with the modern reader. But the content is profoundly interesting. Jane Roberts introduced us to Seth - an engaging and challenging source . DeMarco isn't as well known as he should be. His communication with his associate Rita and The Guys Upstairs (TGU) merits close and open minded scrutiny.

    It is essential to be sceptical of 'mediums'. But it is also essential to be open.
     
  15. Alex

    Alex New

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    agreed... but isn't culture changing a 2 steps forward 1 step back kinda thing.


    nice.
     
  16. Alex

    Alex New

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  17. Richard Cox

    Richard Cox Member

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    Regarding the future of the research – At some point it must engage with the question of why a percentage of people have highly negative experiences with spirit communication and come away feeling like they've been interacting with deceptive spirits/demons.

    Is there a parallel to abduction experiences here and people's varied interpretations of that? Certainly Christians think so and there's no end of conversion testimony videos now appearing on Youtube of people claiming Jesus saved them from incursions by these malevolent entities. Are people with a different cultural/religious context having different experiences of warding of these beings or transforming the experience?

    Personally I'm all for the Continuing Bonds paradigm of the importance of maintaining a sense of connection with deceased loved ones – that's why I'm really keen to understand what's going on when people have negative experiences. Would appreciate anyone's insights...
     
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  18. Larry

    Larry Member

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    I found this podcast relevant to what you are addressing scanning and comparing experiences people have from benign inner voices to paranoid malevelenent ones looking cross culturally from the psychopathological to the mystical
    http://meaningoflife.tv/videos/39683?in=40:37&out=44:09
     
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  19. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    There are malevolent entities hanging around and folk are right to be concerned about them. The extent to which they are problematic is testified in a variety of sources - Baldwin's Spirit Releasement Therapy is very interesting and easily googled. Joe Fisher's The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts is a classic cautionary tale. Jane Kent's The Goddess and the Shaman recounts therapeutic encounters with invading or attaching entities.

    I think that Christianity tends to lump all discarnate entities in the general class of 'demons' to no good consequence.If we can understand that we are dealing with an ecology of complex and varied 'spirits' it is easier to comprehend there is a risk factor that in inherent simply in being - as with viruses for instance. Some folk get infected because of unhealthy or unsafe practices. Other folk get into strife by sheer misfortune.

    The presence of spirits has been long considered a natural thing in some cultures, which then have practices and beliefs that reduce risk of harm - personal acts of 'spiritual hygiene' as well as rituals.

    Richard Cox is quite right in saying that the risk element has to be researched. It is one thing to encourage more folk to be aware of the actuality of 'spirits' and quite another to convey information on safety. There ain't no point telling folks about snakes if you don't tell them how not to get bit.
     
  20. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    There are plenty of malevolent/deceptive people in daily life on this plane. Why would the afterlife be any different?
     

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