Is Westworld our world?

Discussion in 'Extended Consciousness & Spirituality' started by AryaS, May 6, 2018.

  1. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    For those of you who are watching the HBO series Westworld....I thought this was a thought-provoking review re: what might be going on in the layered, sometimes confusing series -- and in our own world. Very Gnostic concepts and relevant to a lot of what is discussed on Skeptiko.

    https://off-guardian.org/2018/05/05/westworld-does-the-door-of-perception-lead-to-the-valley-beyond/

    The article asks whether we might be living in our own version of Westworld -- where our brain serves as a programmed filter to keep us in a controlled feedback loop and filter out the larger consicousness and awareness we might otherwise have -- and where the majority of us never stop to question the nature of [this] reality. Sure seems to be the case.

    The article also suggests that those of us who are bothering to question this reality might also be going through a consciousness awakening similar to the slowly awakening "hosts" on the fantastic WW series....but are any of us getting closer to the center of the maze, and why does there have to be so much violence and suffering and misdirection to wade through -- what kind of "Mind/Consciousness" at the epicenter envisioned that this was the Game to Play to wake its ignorant/sleepwalking creations up?


    David/Mod(s): I wasn't sure where to post this, so feel free to move to a more appropriate existing thread if you think it belongs elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
  2. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Your thread is fine where it is! Possibly it is a bit too deep for me!

    David
     
  3. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    Excellent question Arya, basically the KEY question for me, ie, the nature of what lies beyond the veil, in the sense of its moral nature. Optimistically speaking, it's likely to be a-moral; or at any rate, since it has given rise (in our consensus reality) to both good and bad (and "extreme bad" at that), it cannot be entirely good. I personally hope there isn't a single consciousness behind it all, because it would mean that we are in the hands of a very dangerous psychopath.

    I wish I could watch West World, I keep getting recommendations about it!

    Certainly you're not the only one to see the similarities between our reality and that series :)
    https://www.reddit.com/r/westworld/comments/8hbm88/elon_musk_what_do_you_think_were_living_in/
     
  4. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    Unfortunately, haven't seen the WW remake yet, but....

    At the moment I consider myself to be an evolutionary pantheist and panpsychist with a transcendental Jungian bent (does that sound pretentious or just ridiculous? :)). Basically, that translates as seeing all the universe as alive, conscious, organismic, and engaged in a process of unfolding, with a Jungian archetypal realm existing (both personal and transpersonal) as a counterpoint to matter. Effects would flow between these two realms.

    So, drawing on nature's penchant for holism, I find it easy to imagine humanity as an intimate part of existence's evolution towards greater levels of complexity, novelty and transcendence. Perhaps the potential awakening you speak of is another step in that transcendent evolution: From protons and neutrons ... to helium ... stars ... planets ... biology ... complex consciousness ... imagination/abstraction ... next?

    Or maybe, to scale back the human ego a little, this is taking place on a planetary, not universal, level.

    Traditionally this problem has been solved by invoking the impossibility of individuality/free-will without evil as a potential, hopefully transient, outcome.

    Also, many NDE experiencers do report a radical shift of perspective on suffering from 'beyond the veil,' which is hopeful, I suppose.

    Ultimately, this has to be an impossible call to make from our limited vantage point, no?

    If Elon's Tesla ponzi does eventually crash, will it take the technological simulation hypothesis ponzi's popularity down with it? Here's hoping. :)

    EDIT: Please excuse the above being a little manic and rambley..... twas written in a rush.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
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  5. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Traditionally, too, the concept of heaven has been invoked: as a place where everything and everybody is good, and in which evil is impossible.

    Let's imagine that it is suggested to people in this (potentially hypothetical) heaven that they might be freer individuals if they were capable of inflicting harm upon others, and that on that basis they ought to be granted the potential - until then lacking - to harm one another.

    Do you think that any of them would accept that suggestion? And if so, do you think that it would be wise for them to do so?
     
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  6. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    My younger years are littered with "Well, it sounded like a good idea at the time" moments. :)
    In your scenario, no.

    But the bind disappears, imo, if you view humanity (and other beings) not as fallen, but as having emerged from a process within God. A God, and thus process, in which creativity, expansion and self determination are integral, maybe defining, ingredients. For this we have to re-imagine God as in some sense temporal, fluid, and evolutionary (as above, so below): God creates the world, and the world, to a degree, creates God. (As an aside, I would assume the world to include much more than our physical reality.)

    Now, despite self-determination, Creation could still fall under the pull of an inherently moral and eternal initial aim, creating both duality and inherent goodness without contradiction.

    If we look at the vast majority of NDE accounts, we find them chock-full of 'beings' impressing upon the experiencer the importance of love and compassion. From this may we not tentatively posit that God's moral omnipotence is persuasive or attractive, as opposed to coercive?

    Also, although it is perfectly good and proper for humanity to see Creation from a human perspective.... to caste the ultimate, like @hypermagda did, as a psychopath is to make God in the image of the worst of Man (please excuse the gendered term).... surely a recipe for disastrous error!

    Alternatively, maybe it's God going, "Well, it sounded like a good idea at the time." :)

    Can I ask your view on the problem of evil? Are you a Gnostic stylee kinda guy?

    Peace.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  7. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Well I suppose it could be something resembling super-VR, or some sort of a testing assault course. If indeed we all get to choose the life before living it, I guess the moral issues would pretty much blur out!

    David
     
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  8. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    Dpdown -- can you elaborate on the Jungian archetypal realm and how you see it interacting with our world -- and as a counterpoint to matter? I am having a hard time understanding that aspect. Is this a realm of disembodied spirits/astral plane entities/other dimensions? Are these Tulpas created by us?

    I do like the ideas of pantheism/panpsychism -- that we are all collectively (and individually) evolving this Creation together and that we ARE God and part of God (as is everything else living or "not" living). This certainly lets "God" as a separate identity/creative source off the hook for all the seeming "evil" in the world.

    But I suppose the "conspiracy theorist" in me -- one who sees a largely negative, information withholding, control system imposed upon us, much like the hosts in Westworld endure -- prevents me from embracing this much more forgiving view. I currently see us as being trapped in a world we know very little about, where there are others far more aware of the nature of reality than most of us are. I see those who have made efforts, however futile, to understand this reality as being perhaps on the edge of a break-through in consicousness -- again much like some of the WW hosts -- but do not trust that we are strong enough/smart enough to actually make this break-through. Nor do I trust what is waiting on the "other side" of such a break-through -- since those I presume are more in the know in this realm do appear to be largely psychopathic (at least from my humble uncomprehending human self).
     
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  9. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Would it maybe be better to conceive of it as some sort of process, but leave God out of the picture - at least temporarily. I rather feel that by the time God has morphed to this degree, it might be better to try to understand it all without Him, and then see if the resultant picture contains something that deserves the name!

    David
     
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  10. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    That's a HUGE if, David.....it's an EXTREMELY far-fetched hypothesis. But of course, it's a convenient bolt-hole to avoid tackling the reality of the problem of evil (or the violence inherent in the very functioning of the natural world). If it's self-inflicted, it's fine. So let's assume it's voluntary - problem solved. How convenient.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
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  11. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    YOU are using the word God - I spoke of "consciousness". The word God usually implies all sorts of things (creator, omnipotent, benevolent, etc) which I most definitely do not attribute automatically to such consciousness. I don't even believe in that kind of God, personally.
     
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  12. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Well I am not trying to be convenient - just trying to make sense of some of these reports. I mean, there is no doubt that people do like stories, movies, amateur dramatics, etc. These involve projecting yourself into some other situation - which is roughly what people say happens as they select a life for reincarnation!

    David
     
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  13. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Agreed - the word is impossibly overloaded, and many people will automatically think of the traditional Christian god in any case. I often think discussions on this forum seem to seize up after God pops up in the discussion!

    David
     
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  14. Laird

    Laird Member

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    I'm a dualist. I can't reconcile the degree of evil in the world with a benevolent God who could do something about it but doesn't, and I haven't yet encountered a plausible enough explanation as to why such a God would be motivated not to do anything about it.
     
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  15. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    I think this is EXTREMELY unlikely to be the case. There have been millions of lives of totally undramatic, "unglamorous" suffering and desperation, as well as extreme physical pain, which in itself invalidates this absurd theory of "being born for the thrill"; obvious examples are children born with severe birth defects, people who died of starvation, leprosy, plagues, the millions of victims of the Holocaust - but I could go on all day.

    It's quite revealing to me that this bizarre theory has come up fairly recently, and in our entitled "western civilisation", where a lot of people are so neurotically obsessed with their own, often pretty relative suffering that they do not even take the time to think this through. Of course, the belief "I chose this life" feels empowering, much more than acknowledging that we have been "thrown into existence" for reasons we are not at all able to rationally comprehend let alone prove (or we wouldn't be here discussing this - and religions are all about trying to come up with a consolatory meaning for this mystery), so it works for a lot of people (those who fall for it....). But it's truly telling IMO that in ancient times reincarnation (supposing it happens at all) was considered a process that one had to work hard in order to earn to be "exempted from" - the idea of choosing to be born for the fun of participating in some kind kind of "amateur dramatics" certainly would have seemed extremely bizarre to them.
    Incidentally, in stories, movies, acting you don't experience physical pain (you don't get maimed in battle, you don't get cancer, you don't get raped or disfigured by acid etc etc), and you are AT ALL TIMES aware that "this is not real". So there's a huge difference.

    Have you ever considered that these reports you refer to may not be reliable, in many ways? Do you believe in anything people "report"? For instance, these people could simply have projected their wishes/this "life-choosing" theory (which has become very popular in New Age circles) onto a "vision" where they imagined themselves 'selecting a life'.
    Or they were told that they could choose a life but they were lied to.
    Or millions of people do not get to choose a life - they get the shitty ones that nobody would have selected!
    Etc etc.

    Anyway. I still think you are avoiding the key question of what would be so cool in participating in such horrendous 'stories' in the first place. Some stories are simply not thrilling or fun (eg: the Holocaust; child abuse and murder) and we really have to wonder, if your theory were true (which of course I don't believe it is for a moment, but for argument's sake): why would we be supposed to participate in this bizarre, cruel material world in the first place??

    Btw do animals choose their lives, too? Like, can you select to be a specific fruit fly?
    Frankly, this is a theory which simply does not hold water.
     
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  16. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Remember that all I am trying to do, is reconcile the fact that many people talk about choosing their life by previewing it (it is a report rather than a theory). How do you reconcile that fact, or do you discount people who report this - I mean, I don't know, maybe we should discount it?

    One thing I like to try to avoid, is simply discarding inconvenient evidence, because that is what the simple materialists seem to do all the time. It isn't, I think, that they really believe they have explained NDE's, or the Ganzfelt experiments, or presentiment, or indeed Stevensons' reincarnation studies - they just ignore them because they don't seem to fit.

    I mean, I agree with the sentiment behind what you have written, but many NDEers reports on the huge difference between life here, and life 'up there'. It is very, very hard to know what to rule out.

    David
     
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  17. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    Gee, my posts in this thread come across like they were written under the influence of way too much strong coffee!
    Yes, I agree. But I was replying to Laird's hypothetical Heaven scenario, which, I felt, had a personal God baked in. That being said, I don't have a problem giving an ultimate unifying process the name God. But you're right, the word carries enough baggage as to be rendered actively unhelpful.
    Yes, I hope I didn't come across like I was trying to have a go at you. The 'God in the image of Man' thing is a metaphor for making the ultimate consciousness, entity, etc. a very large and powerful human being, and is, to me, unlikely to be helpful.
    Sorry, I should have said counterpart, not counterpoint. Ok, I believe that we exist in two realities at once - the physical and the psychic. The physical needs no explanation. The psychic is the realm of dreams, psychedelic experiences, spirits, astral travel, NDEs, etc. Although we always exist in both worlds simultaneously, our awareness follows our attention. So, when our attention is focused on embodied existence, we primarily inhabit the physical. When we dream, use active imagination, or enter a trance, our awareness begins to shift into the psychic. Presumably the psychic realm operates under laws that resemble the dream-state.

    Panpsychism confers some degree of consciousness on all matter, with the level of consciousness increasing with complexity. I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to confer consciousness on complex systems like forests, stars, galaxies, etc. Now, if plants, animals, forests, planets, etc. have relatively high-end consciousness, then they should also exist within the psychic realm. (I can't help but see this as a good fit with shamanic experience and ability.)

    Now for the Jungian bit! Literally everywhere we look in nature we see wholes made up of smaller parts that are themselves wholes. These systems within systems are transcendent, in that they are always more than the sum of their parts. I see no reason why this pattern should not carry through to consciousness. Thus we may be individually (and collectively) intimately embedded within a pyramid of greater consciousnesses.

    So, maybe, within the psychic realm, we are able to move beyond our personal consciousness and operate within the field of humanity's 'collective unconscious' - with its attendant archetypes and complexes. After all, altered states do seem to contain a strange blending of the personal and the transpersonal.

    I hope that was a little more coherent than my last attempt!

    EDIT: I should point out that I see this 'psychic realm' as being, in some way, an actual independent reality.

    Remove omnipotence, add a process involving free-will, and it kinda works for me. Process, evolution and transcendence do seem to be present absolutely everywhere we look. Not that I'm denying the existence of negative entities....

    But it does come up again, and again, and again. To describe these reports as lies or wish-fulfilment is to brush away evidence that doesn't fit with your worldview.
    Well, originally, most religions have their genesis in spiritually transformative experiences.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  18. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    If you read my post again, you will see I have suggested several reasons (incidentally, none of them imply that these "experiencers" are in bad faith!) why those reports should not be taken as "irrefutable evidence".

    I simply don't think that it is justified to take any subjective report as truthful evidence (= as revealing the actual Ultimate Truth about what we are doing here), if only because, as you know, different people report (and believe in) all sorts of mutually contradictory things.

    I mean, this Forum is called Skeptiko. This does not mean that one should reject subjective experience on principle (this is not at all what I am doing!), but that one should scrutinise reports, theories and ideas to see to what extent they actually 'fit the data'.

    And if you don't mind, the data from our real, shared experience of this material world is pretty crucial data. So until those reports can provide adequate answers to the many questions I have posed in my previous post, I will not consider that they provide a satisfactory explanation of what material existence is about.

    But of course, people are free to believe what they like and what gives them the most consolation.
     
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  19. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    Please read my answer to David. You are attacking me for something I didn't even say ("lies"). Seen it all before, sigh.....

    As I said, subjective reports must fit with REALITY, not my worldview. Please describe how the examples of the brutality of existence in the material world that I made in my post are just my worldview (the Holocaust, my worldview? It never happened? Birth defects, my worldview? They don't exist? etc)

    "Well, originally, most religions have their genesis in spiritually transformative experiences" That is a very vague statement and does not help us to ascertain which religion is right (if any is).

    Also, "personal transformation" is by no means proof that a specific "story" / theory is true, or mutually contradictory religions/philosophical theories etc in all their aspects would all be true at the same time.

    Moreover, "personal transformation" has not always been for the better in fact, for the individual or for mankind in general: think of sects whose followers did pretty bad things (child abuse) or were induced to commit mass suicide, for instance; or cases of psychosis induced by the use of substances used for "spiritual exploration". ( BTW: I am not condemning those who use these substances, just saying that there aren't ONLY positive or even meaningful/revelatory personal transformations as a consequence of "religious/spiritual" subjective experiences!! ).

    Edit: not to mention the "spiritually transformative reports" by many Islamic terrorists...in fact, I posted on Skeptiko a couple of articles about this, including about the "spiritual dreams" reported by the Brussels attacks terrorists. You can search my post. Are they lying? I very much doubt it! They were very probably in good faith. Should we therefore consider their reports truthful?
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  20. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I missed that - do you have a link please.

    Earlier you pointed out the reincarnation is seen differently - as something to be avoided if possible - in other cultures. I suppose I would say that in general I'd put less weight on religious conceptions that on subjective reports from people without a definite axe to grind.

    David
     

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