Dr. Penny Sartori, Are NDEs All Light and Love? |374|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Like you I see no issue at all with the notion that improved medical intervention to halt the dying process and resuscitate people will lead to more NDE reports.
    Maybe the people who do see some mystery in it are interpreting the nature and significance of NDEs differently than you or I....?
    I know that some of the regular contributors here are idealists and have a different understanding and approach to these issue than I do.
    So maybe that monistic approach is at the root of it?
    Maybe?
     
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  2. nbtruthman

    nbtruthman New

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    Apologies for entering this thread so late. The following is ultimately an exercise in (slightly informed) speculation fuelled by a certain amount of circumstantial evidence.

    I have a few doubts and suspicions that the cosmic system of love and light reported by most NDEers is the true reality. One major problem (in my mind at least) is that very different ultimate realities are reported from OBEs under various hallucinogenic drugs, in particular Salvia.

    The Salvia reports, in particular, are disturbing because they suggest that there is an overall plan behind the scenes carried out by higher-level entities who often apparently have absolutely no compassion for us, are even cruel, and they seem utterly remote.

    One account:


    Admittedly, there are Salvia reports of beings with some sort of aloof compassion, but they are still remote from human needs and desires. Our world is seen to be a fake scenario created by these beings for their own purposes. We are here for those purposes not our own.

    Then there are the DMT entities, not usually as remote and cruel, but also not exactly predictable from the New Age love and light model. And the entities reported by Robert Monroe from during some of his OBEs, where he apparently wasn't under heavy hallucinogenic drugs.

    There are also the "hellish" NDEs.

    How are we to know what is the true ultimate reality? Do we just go with the love and light version brought back by the great majority of NDEers, because it makes us feel good? So, are we to believe that NDEs are the only valid glimpses of Truth, while Salvia and DMT and magic mushrooms, hellish NDEs, etc. are all false? That would seem kind of convenient.

    Or could it be that actually, the Salvia entities are "behind the curtain" even in NDEs?

    Or is it possible that it is just that there are many different other realities, and which one is reached depends on the particular form of brain impairment during OBE? That is, the brain is just being messed with in different ways in these different types of experiences. The way it is adversely affected in cardiac arrest and other traumatic "natural" events isn't the only way brain function can be degraded. The brain, in enabling the spirit to manifest in the physical, acts as a "filter" to exclude all these other "frequencies". In these experiences of other realities the brain is just "tuning into" utterly different, alien, not normally accessed channels (and thereby becoming vulnerable to alien, hostile beings). Just an undoubtedly oversimplified analogy for what might really be going on. I think I would prefer this to the notion that the Salvia universe is the only "ultimately real" reality.

    I guess best of all (if you can do it) is to dismiss all this other stuff as illusory and the true reality is the love and light reported by most NDEers. At least, the reality of NDEs is bolstered by the existence of a large body of empirical evidence from the veridical features in many NDE accounts (as documented , for instance, in Titus Rivas's The Self Does Not Die). I don't think there is anything comparable for the hallucinatory drug experiences. I think I will go with the NDEer view of reality for now, while unfortunately having to maintain a certain level of doubt or cognitive dissonance in the background.
     
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  3. David Eire

    David Eire New

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    Why not both? Why not that there is light & love and compassion and there is evil too?
    All the world's traditional esoteric teachings say the afterlife realms can be heavenly or hellish
    and the specific place an individual ends up is determined by themselves; by their own level and state of consciousness
    In other words just as in this world where our level of consciousness and personal characteristics and attitude determine how our lives unfold
    just so in the afterlife
    I think dying and transition into the afterlife is an intensely individual process and I have no doubt it can be frightening and scary

    Personally I would be wary of putting much stock in accounts of drug induced experiences; and I say that as someone who has personal experience in that area
     
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  4. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    I don't know how you could study any area of human experience and not draw the conclusion that both are real. Negative NDE's do not contradict positive NDE's any more than my donating money to the Salvation Army negates The Boston Strangler.
     
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  5. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    You mean I donated all that money for nothing? I feel so used.
     
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  6. Mishelle

    Mishelle Member

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    If we are to follow the 'love and light' NDE experience, whether that is mimicked in the drug-induced world, or the dream world or not, there still remains the core issue that all the New Age thought has a cornerstone assumption--as above, so below.

    So how is it we have created a hell on earth while above remains some great heaven, and why aren't more folks anxious to get there? Why is suicide considered an escape from the hell of one's reality rather than a welcomed transition into love and light?
     
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  7. Radish

    Radish Member

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    Mishelle, I'm not so sure that there is a cornerstone assumption in New Thinking that says "as above, so below" Though I have seen that in some New Age writings. I have though also seen that pronouncement in old occult literature that was written long before the New Age tag was dreamed up. Where I see it I think it is mostly wrong - though in some scenarios it might be right, but only in a very restricted sense. By that I mean that it is a mistake to think that there is one heaven. My own experience, and reading some of the writings of channelled works from people that are 'dead', is that there is indeed more than one heaven. There is, it would seem, a hierarchy of them -- as one goes up, successively more brilliant than the 'heaven' below. Personally I think these heavens are really related to 'states of being' or 'states of consciousness' -- when your state of consciousness changes, and stabilises in the change, you get admittance to the associated heaven in a stable way. Of course in saying this I'm being fast and loose in the use of the term 'heaven'. Most of the literature that I've read does make the point that there is only one 'ultimate' heaven, so to speak -- so the lower ones aren't really heaven at all.

    My own favourite books that cover this in some detail are by Geraldine Cummins, channeling Frederic W.H. Myers, -- The Road to Immortality and Beyond Human Personality. In both of those Myers does make the point that people who land in what he calls The Plane of Illusion -- which is where most souls go fairly quickly after death (at least to begin with, though some bypass it completely) -- is very Earth-like in appearance. (So to that extent it is an example of 'as above, so below'.) He also says that at least in the higher spheres of Illusionland many of the inhabitants do mistake it for heaven -- and that, he says, from a spiritual development point of view, is a trap. In other spiritualist literature these lower spheres are often referred to as 'Summerland'. For an extended description of what life in Summerland is purported to be like Helen Greaves, channelling Frances Banks, Testimony of Light is a good read. For good insight into how one's state of consciousness affects where a soul can live in the afterlife Emanuel Swedenborg's Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell (sometimes titled just Heaven and Hell, or variations on these titles) is a good read.

    Having said the above Gary Renard's writings on A Course in Miracles (ACIM) outright claims that there is only one heaven and everything below that is just all a state of ego-driven, ego-generated, body-associated, illusion. So, until you get to the point of ditching the ego -- and subsequently, in ACIM's view, a body of any form -- you are doomed to constant illusory and less than satisfactory existences.

    Why do we have hell on Earth? Well I would say capitalism. Alternatives wouldn't be perfect either, given people's, it seems to me, inherent propensity for acquisitiveness, but I'm sure the world would be a better place if capitalism was done away with. Something along the lines of Peter Joseph's Zeitgeist Movement type of society would be a place I'd prefer to live in.

    I'll steer clear of your suicide question other than to say in the literature I've read, though it is nearly always said on the whole to be a wrong choice, that individual circumstances have mitigating effects on it being condemned outright. Personally, I look forward to dying and, if I have choice in the matter, I will never again opt for material existence -- it's the pits. :0)
     
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  8. nbtruthman

    nbtruthman New

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    It's tempting to put credence in this, but I am cautious about Geraldine Cummins' writings. In her channeling of Frederic Myers in Beyond Human Personality, Myers makes many scientifically, factually false claims. For example, in chapters 10 and 11 he says souls (in bodies of some sort) inhabit the Sun and other stars, and also the solar planets Mars, Venus, Mercury, Uranus, Neptune, Saturn, and Jupiter. And he describes solar atoms as fundamentally different from terrestrial atoms. Of course, other parts of this material from "Myers" could still be spiritual truths. I certainly would prefer to look at it that way, but doubt has been introduced by such an admixture of quaint fantasies grounded in the science of the 1920s and 1930s into otherwise apparently very deep writings.
     
  9. Radish

    Radish Member

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    Yes, nbtruthman, I agree to some extent, I don't take Myers all at face value. His view of Christianity Vs Buddhism rubs me up the wrong way -- bias all that way there (Swedenborg does the same with Protestantism Vs Catholicism).

    Nonetheless, I do try and look in the direction being pointed towards, rather than at the finger doing the pointing. All of the spiritualist writings I've ever read strike me as being a product of their times and culture -- but that doesn't, at least for me, lead me to instantly dismiss what is being said. Also I have to take into account that, currently, I'm possessed of human personality which includes psychology (though I do have some NDE experience of moving a bit beyond that) and that possession of that personality will colour my view of things when reading the likes of Myers -- so we're not free of our own assumptions either, and it's folly to think they won't place constraints on what we are willing to accept/reject.
    I would see that as the equivalent of pulling the rabbit out of the hat. "Dah, dah! Science!" With respect to Myers claims of life on, or in the locale of, other planets in our solar system and indeed life inside suns. Well, I guess I would just say why not. Life like us, certainly not. But life that is vibrating at a higher level than we are, and that we can't actually see -- okay, I would take that as being very possible. And for his 'solar atoms' -- why not. What would make us so damn cock-sure that what we can't see, or measure, automatically means it doesn't exist. I am a hundred percent sure that the immaterial (in our sense of what counts as 'material') universe is fantastically more complex and fantastically more subtle than we will ever be aware of in our material incarnations. Also I wouldn't place much hope on our current 'science' being right in what it is saying in every respect. Look at past 'science' -- a field riddled with corpses that intellectuals were cock-sure about at the time, in what way can we be sure that the same situation doesn't exist today.

    In any case, I do think reading Cummins/Myers worth the effort. After that I'm happy to agree/disagree according to individual proclivities.

    P.S. I'm not anti-science by the way. In its current incarnation it's given us a lot that is hugely to our benefit -- but it does have limits.
     
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  10. Mishelle

    Mishelle Member

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    Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Radish! I appreciate you also naming some of your preferred books on the topic, it's helpful.

    Do you think it's more about capitalism rather than materialism? I understand the appeal of the Zeigeist movement, but I don't think socialism is better than capitalism and would not solve our social ills, but would exacerbate them. I'm also still rather skeptical of channeling though I realize how popular this concept is in New Age culture. I guess the question for me on 'channeling' would be, what is the imagination exactly?
     
  11. Raimo

    Raimo New

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    If your theory is true, then life is meaningless. The Source will annihilate us all. We are nothing but mere fragments of some evil being.

    Fortunately, the evidence gained from psychical research negates your theory. Moreover, your theory is illogical and there is zero evidence to support it.
     
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  12. Radish

    Radish Member

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    I think we live in a material world and hence we are stuck with that restriction -- irrespective of any kind of social system we might construct. Nowadays 'materialism' is frequently taken to be synonymous with 'consumerism' and capitalism sure as hell likes to fire up consumerism, it's how the rich get increasingly richer because, under a capitalist system, they are always skimming profit off the top of every sale -- whatever you pay for is worth less than you pay, because the capitalist always wants a cut, the bigger the cut the better. Peter Joseph's conception of things is different because in that kind of society money doesn't exist. Bang goes the profit motive to be replaced with an equitable sharing of goods and services to all. I don't see how that would exacerbate social ills. (Maybe you could explain how it would.) Quite the reverse. I think that people would be happier in such a system, except for wanna-be capitalists, of course. I'm not saying it would be perfect, just fairer and saner. At the end of the day, commonly owned and for free energy supplies and water, free health care for all, free travel, free food and housing and clothing is a benefit to all. And in that kind of society I'm pretty sure people would be very happy to contribute to its maintenance and creative flow. How we get to that kind of a society is another matter.

    The USSR tried moving in that direction and failed. However, they were surrounded by a so-called (capitalist political and economic system) 'free-world' that was utterly hostile to its existence and did everything in its power to bring it down. There is a really good Youtube video lecture on the history of this: Michael Parenti: Reflection on the Overthrow of Communism

    I'm not advocating an attempt at a re-run of Soviet Communism. Zeitgeist society does away with money and the Soviet system still used money so the two aren't comparable. To recap on what Peter Joseph's vision is then the ever brilliant Abby Martin did this interview with him: Empire Files: Peter Joseph & Abby Martin on Abolishing Capitalism Again I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on how you think any of that would exacerbate social ills.
     
  13. nbtruthman

    nbtruthman New

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    This is a huge subject and really another debate, but I have to at least make a couple of comments. For all the evils of unbridled capitalism, it seems to me to be the system that best fits basic human nature and the basic human condition. The kind of socialism you describe really only can work at all in modern technologically/scientifically advanced societies, where there is already an abundance of food and other resources.

    The problem is that in order to reach that stage of development, there were long ages of slow advancement during which there was mostly poverty and disease and even slavery, for the masses. This prevalent human condition was necessitated by the primitive level of scientific knowledge and technology, not just evil social systems concentrating all the wealth at the top.

    The only way we have gotten where we are economically and in life style so as to even be able to consider such Utopian social structures is through advances in science and technology and centuries of the desperate and determined efforts of innumerable inventors, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists motivated by the supposedly evil force of desire for profit (if not just the desire to survive). Innovation, discovery and the concomitant improvements in the conditions of life are necessarily fueled by the profit motive of individuals.

    I would suggest that such a society as you have outlined would have little innovation and advancement beyond the present state of science and technology.
     
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  14. Mishelle

    Mishelle Member

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    Yes, so this is exactly where I think human nature trumps theory or wishful thinking. Here's the bottom line: I'm a hard worker who had the common sense to marry another hard worker and our experience is very similar. Others take advantage wherever they can. Others, who are not as conscientious 'glom on' to those who are, and this is not 'capitalism' or 'socialism' it is human nature. Why work hard when you can parasite off another? 'Equitable' should mean 'equal opportunity' not as has it is coming to mean, which is 'equal outcome.'

    The reason the Soviet empire failed had to do with corruption, the same reason capitalism will fail. No one wants to work to make sure their neighbor's life is as good as their own if their neighbor's habits are not as good as their own. Maybe I'm not 'spiritual advanced' enough to understand why a one would sacrifice his own life, liberty and pursuit of pleasure to make sure his opioid addicted neighbor gets his next fix is truly beyond me. The issue here is one of motivation--how to get the most diligent, potentialed, hard working folks of the culture to work for 'the common good' when the common man is corrupt and pathetic and taking advantage of this truth.

    So, harsh as it may sound, that's where I'm at.

    What are you producing right now to contribute to this collectivist utopia? If there's no money, you have something of value to trade with me for the food I produce, what is it?
     
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  15. Radish

    Radish Member

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    nbtruthman, I think I would agree -- what Peter Joseph envisages is dependent on current technology, he says that himself. However, he also makes good points that capitalism isn't the innovative power-house it presents itself to be. Open-sourcing so-called intellectual property rights (where did they come from?) would allow lots of people to contribute to innovation and would I would think, once it was established, make innovation swifter and better. In any case, much of what capitalists capitalise on comes from research in public institutions universities and so on. The capitalists rip off the fruits of that research, at no cost to them, and then they palm-off the products of that research to the public as their own work.

    As to enslavement, well people nowadays are as enslaved as they ever were. Labour, for most folks, isn't a voluntary act. They need to do it to get money to survive. And, again, the capitalists rip off the workers over wages -- pay less than the work is actually worth.
     
  16. Radish

    Radish Member

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    Well yes, I wouldn't for one second say that corruption didn't exist in the Soviet Union (but I don't think that was the reason why it failed). And I'm glad we also agree that capitalism is corrupt and will eventually fail.

    However, I'm wondering in what way 'equality of opportunity' exists for you or me as compared to the 'equality of opportunity' that exists for the son/daughter of a billionaire. What is so wrong with 'equal outcome'? I would think that desirable -- everyone gets broadly same by virtue of being born human, everyone gets valued that way. What is so wrong with that as a desirable goal?

    As to your point on opioid addiction I would assume then that you would agree that the capitalists that create some of that problem for profit should be jailed: Empire Files: Death & Biostitutes - The US Opioid Crisis

    In any case, I do think your position is harsh.
     
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  17. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    Yo, I'm not on team 1 + 1 = 3 = 1, but I think you're being a bit too harsh here. Imagining a return to some kind of unitive state at the end of time has a decent philosophical pedigree, and some physicists apparently believe the building blocks of existence are constantly rising up from, and sinking back into, a realm of undifferentiated potential. Also, I don't think anybody is in a position to judge whether or not this would imply meaningless, let alone evil.

    All the best.
     
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  18. Raimo

    Raimo New

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    Any being that tries to destroy my individuality is evil. Whether you call this being Source, oversoul or God, it is an evil being that tries to murder us all. I don't believe in such a being, and I think that the evidence gained from psychical research negates all oneness theories.
     
  19. Radish

    Radish Member

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    Raimo, I'm thinking that you need to look at this from a different angle. Personally, I do have a suspicion that completely merging with (let's call it 'God') God is the ultimate spiritual state that we can get to develop to. Whether that means entire loss of our individuality I don't know and don't think anyone else knows for sure, that's at a level of spiritual development that is beyond the grasp of the human mind. There will be things happening there that might seem contradictory to human reasoning but in the spirit realms apparent contradiction can, and is, overcome.

    For example, look at what (on average) NDErs say about time. They claim that either time doesn't exist, or is in some way fundamentally different, for themselves and the environment in which they have the NDE. To folks that haven't had that experience that can read like a huge contradiction -- after all, in the NDE, things are changing and that, to our human minds, implies time. Yet still the NDErs insist that time as we know it doesn't exist in the environment they are in. So this is an example of the limitations of the incarnate human mind.

    In my own NDE (can be read here Peter N -- NDE) I did have experience of 'merging' with other minds and that didn't in any way compromise my sense of identity, in the sense that I was losing something. Far from it, my sense of identity grew exponentially in ways that isn't easy to describe, but it really was very, very beautiful (I would much rather be that than be what I am now). So here there is an example of merging with other minds and not losing individuality, but also becoming more than your individual sense of self in ordinary human life. See, what counts as 'individuality' is quite malleable in the spirit realms -- so you can't really look at the issue from a restricted human mind viewpoint, trying to approach it that way just doesn't work.

    There was a point in my experience when I completely merged with the 'light'. At that point I just disappeared. What humans would regard as 'me' just wasn't there any more. This was a very brief phase of the experience but wasn't in any way frightening, quite the reverse it was beyond belief astonishingly beautiful to just be that 'light'. (I wouldn't object to being that even if the cost was my human identity.)

    As to psychical research negating all oneness theories I don't think that is a correct view. Most of the channelled literature that I've read at the very least points in that direction. Some specifically imply that this might be the 'end game' (so to speak). Geraldine Cummins, channelling Frederic W.H. Myers, in The Road to Immortality and Beyond Human Personality strongly points in that direction and I'm inclined to agree with Myers. In particular his description of the gradual removal of human personality from a soul ascending the spiritual realms does strike me as pretty well spot on. The human mind -- as a restricted individual identity -- gives way to the Group mind and on and on it goes as one moves upward. I think this is the bit that you are missing in your thinking. It's like you're reacting, as a human being, against the loss of that identity (I do get that, I think I see where you're coming from) but what makes you so sure that you will always possess that identity -- as it gets eroded in its restrictive-sense, and expanded in other directions, you might well be open to other possibilities that for now, with a human identity, you would reject.

    Likewise A Course in Miracles (ACIM), Helen Schucman self-purportedly channelling Jesus, quite explicitly states that the end game is complete merger with God. However, it doesn't say that means you lose all sense of identity -- Jesus says that explaining what that merger is like in terms that a human mind could understand is outright impossible. And that's the point, whatever it amounts to it will be well beyond the grasp of the human mind. ACIM also says that when you get to the point of complete merger God will do it gently, no murder, no evil. Very gently and only if you are ready, not before. (Though if you're not ready that will have consequences too.)

    So in all the points I'm trying to make are:

    (1) If complete merger is the 'end game' then there is no way that we can know what that really means. Extinction of individuality, maybe yes, maybe no, maybe some, in our terms, apparent contradiction in between.
    (2) When it comes to the merger it is very likely that you won't be possessed of what we would regard as a human mind -- so it really isn't possible to any of us in possession of a human mind to say what kind of decision we would make when that human mind (identity) is gone, to be replaced by something else, very likely expansive beyond what a human mind can visualise.
    (3) In that state your understanding will be different, and so your ultimate decision might well be different too.

    Personally, if I had the option, I'd go for merger whatever the consequence. To be one with God would be some prize and I'm pretty sure it would be a state utterly breathtaking in its beauty and magnificence -- even if 'I' wasn't there to realise that (damn contradictions :0) ). I'd just have faith that what God would do would be for the (an) ultimate 'good' and I'd be happy to trust in that.
     
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  20. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I have read a number of accounts of this sort - and puzzled over how to understand them. One problem is that a lot of verbs (maybe all verbs) don't make much sense without time - for example if A learns X then surely that means there is a time when A does not know X, and a later time when he does know X!

    I wonder if the real state of affairs, is that time has more than one dimension, so that you can view individual incarnations - in their entirety, and there is no sense of future and past that relates to incarnate time, but there is a second time axis along which it is possible to 'learn' or do many other things.

    I guess that sounds a bit like unrestricted telepathy?

    David
     
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