Materialism and Mechanisms

I think Jung would still see that example as mere coincidence, whereas something like the scarab story would qualify as a synchronicity.
Please note that the scarab story, as told in that article, is incorrect and is actually an example of what I mentioned earlier. Jung didn't see a Golden Scarab but a scarabaeid beetle which is common to the area. He would have had "continual encounters" with these beetles, but it only became a "synchronicity" on this occasion because of its notable mention in his patient's dream.

http://paulijungunusmundus.eu/synw/scarab_synchronicity_Jung.htm

Linda
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

I recall the "scarab" Jung catches as a june bug - I don't think anyone thought an actual golden scarab appeared? Admittedly the article I linked could be clearer about that, but it does list the species and provides a picture of the actual insect that isn't gold.

I have no idea how rare it is for the area, though I think it would be the precise timing that made it an example of Jung's synchronicity.

[Ah, I see Jung refers to it as being common for the area but unusual in seeking out Jung's room at that moment.]
 
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I think I see what you mean. But the point of the research is that the continual encounters go unnoticed. Until a second instance which has some emotional or other sort of noticeable impact arrives. At which point, the most recent (or apropos) of the continual encounters is recalled, while rest have been forgotten, not having had any opportunity for reinforcement. What's left is a perception of two disparate and infrequent events coming together in a synchrocity. If you remembered that you you always got a sense of unease when visiting a friend at his place of work, you wouldn't necessarily regard it as significant if on one of those occasions, your number finally came up and you and your friend were mugged,

Linda
It is interesting, my personal opinion is that what we label as say... '...emotions...' do actually have an intriguing temporal quality to them that is not generally acknowledged, and even less well understood. The observations you note above (which are no doubt accurate) still seem just as amazing to me, and just as hard for me to understand, if I restrict myself to using mainstream ideas of how the brain is thought to work.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Physicist and friend/biographer of David Bohm F.David Peat (wiki bio) has a lot of stuff about synchronicity, causality, mind/body & how it relates to mechanism on his site.

Interesting speculation, currently going through Time, Synchronicity and Evolution:

http://www.fdavidpeat.com/bibliography/essays/saur.htm

While the principles of symmetry or antisymmetry may appear rather abstract, it turns out to have enormously practical implications. It is because of antisymmetry that electrons are prevented from all occupying the same energy states and forced to take up characteristic energy patterns around an atom. Thanks to the Pauli principle atoms corresponding to each element are chemically different, matter is thus distinct and the cosmos exhibits all its wealth and diversity.

This is a truly staggering result for, up to this point, physicists would have assumed that the reason electrons, or any other particles, are kept apart, or patterned in particular ways, is because of forces operating between them. But Pauli's result arises purely out of the principle of antisymmetry. It involves no physical force but is the direct consequence of the overall forms of nature. Pauli had discovered that "an acausal connecting principle" that governs the fundamental patterns of quantum matter. Electrons behave as they do because they conform to overarching forms - a new conception that echoes that of medieval notions of correspondence, sympathy and harmony within the earthly and celestial worlds. And, according to Carl Jung, such archetypal patterns also operate deep within the collective consciousness of the human race. Synchronicities therefore indicate the possibility of deep cooperative engagements with the cosmos.1

It appears that within nature principles of pattern and form are the deepest of all, and precede physical laws associated with causality, force and energy. Perhaps we could call the Pauli Exclusion Principle "an archetype of matter". At its deepest level, synchronicity is therefore the experiential and symbolic representation, in terms of objective patterns, of mental and physical archetypes. It opens the door to the suggestion that one may be able to participate, in a direct way, with the inner workings of matter. Or suggests the possibility for the individual, and society as a whole, to enter into a cooperative relationship with the movements of nature and the cosmos.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Biologist and Mathematician Stuart Kauffman discusses how reductionism is a "dream" born from attempting to replace the monotheism of Christianity.

He discusses emergence, always a touchy subject, though I got the feeling he was talking about principles that are written into the fabric of existence rather than a "something from nothing" gambit that materialist evangelism would like to use to explain (away?) consciousness.

Some more about his ideas are discussed in this book review,

Reinventing the Sacred made me realize that a genuine (non-compatibilist) free will does not require departures from, or violations of, the laws of inanimate matter. It transcends them. It is entirely beyond their reach. In other words, I was still laboring under the Galilean spell.

Not only does Kauffman dare to think outside the Darwinian box, he even dares to think outside the Galilean box. He calls it “breaking the Galilean spell.” To labor under the Galilean spell is to believe that all that happens in the universe is governed by natural law.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

More about the separation of science from reductionism in this article:

BREAKING THE GALILEAN SPELL

....Reductionism in its strongest form holds that all the rest of reality, from organisms to a couple in love on the banks of the Seine, is ultimately nothing but particles or strings in motion. It also holds that, in the end, when the science is done, the explanations for higher-order entities are to be found in lower-order entities. Societies are to be explained by laws about people, they in turn by laws about organs, then about cells, then about biochemistry, chemistry, and finally physics and particle physics. This worldview has dominated our thinking since Newton’s time.

Reductionism alone is not adequate, either as a way of doing science or as a way of understanding reality...
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

I have the uncomfortable feeling that Stuart Kauffman is just indulging in obscuring semantics - I could be wrong.

David
That seems to be the opinion in this book review.

I think it's a bit more complicated. Braude, in his review of Sheldrake's work, has noted even when people come to the conclusion that mechanistic closure is deficient they still think in mechanistic terms.

As such, it becomes difficult for people to find their way in what would be a new frontier.

http://anti-matters.org/articles/83/public/83-76-1-PB.pdf
 
The most authentic position to adopt, is that science lacks the tools or determination to encounter such events, so they continue outside its jurisdiction. If a professional scientist tells me I shouldn't believe in the testimony, I judge it in the same light as if a member of the clergy told me I should and it is demonic in nature . . .
This pretty much nails it . . . I share the sentiment that science isn't equipped or prepared to handle most paranormal stuff . . . and might oughta just stick to studying rocks and chemicals . . . I mean, even if science on the whole accepts that poltergeists happen, how much is there to study or tell us anyway? . . . Anything more than what we already know: that it's weird as shit? I think this is pushing the limits of science, and the fact that we think it could really tell us something more just reflects how highly venerated - to use Gabriel's word - science as an establishment is held.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
This pretty much nails it . . . I share the sentiment that science isn't equipped or prepared to handle most paranormal stuff . . . and might oughta just stick to studying rocks and chemicals . . . I mean, even if science on the whole accepts that poltergeists happen, how much is there to study or tell us anyway? . . . Anything more than what we already know: that it's weird as shit? I think this is pushing the limits of science, and the fact that we think it could really tell us something more just reflects how highly venerated - to use Gabriel's word - science as an establishment is held.
Parapsychologists could shift to studying psi using hypotheses derived from theories. Then hypotheses could be rejected and the associated theories modified or dumped. This has been done a little, but not consistently.

Now, if we are going to speculate that there is no theory to explain psi, then I daresay we should just reject the entire notion. But that's certainly not my call.

~~ Paul
 
Parapsychologists could shift to studying psi using hypotheses derived from theories. Then hypotheses could be rejected and the associated theories modified or dumped. This has been done a little, but not consistently.

~~ Paul
I think that sounds great, and I hope people peruse it . . . but there seems something slippery and tricky to paranormal happenings that seems, to me, to somewhat defy our categories and understanding . . . not necessarily all of it, of course . . . But that's why I question what, specifically, science might hope to answer or be able to figure out concerning the paranormal.

I'm very skeptical of science as we know it, epistemologically, the further it moves from physics. I mean, can one say that science has truly made much progress with even psychology or sociology or cultural anthropology?
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
I think that sounds great, and I hope people peruse it . . . but there seems something slippery and tricky to paranormal happenings that seems, to me, to somewhat defy our categories and understanding . . . not necessarily all of it, of course . . . But that's why I question what, specifically, science might hope to answer or be able to figure out concerning the paranormal.
If the whole trickster thing is used as an excuse not to buckle down with some theories, then most scientists will continue to ignore psi.

I'm very skeptical of science as we know it, epistemologically, the further it moves from physics. I mean, can one say that science has truly made much progress with even psychology or sociology or cultural anthropology?
Yup, those "soft sciences" are tough to pin down. But hey, so is philosophy:


~~ Paul
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

If the whole trickster thing is used as an excuse not to buckle down with some theories, then most scientists will continue to ignore psi.

~~ Paul
I think the Trickster thing is more cultural than a genuine hypothesis, and that trying to pin down invariants would make more sense from a scientific pursuit. For a personal spiritual journey one might try to see what's up with the archetype and if it's a part of consensus reality.

I don't know if there's enough data to try and test out theories. It seems like there needs to be a better understanding of what does and does not effect quality of results in the context of paranormal manifestation before anyone should try to develop a definitive theory.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
I
I don't know if there's enough data to try and test out theories. It seems like there needs to be a better understanding of what does and does not effect quality of results in the context of paranormal manifestation before anyone should try to develop a definitive theory.
That's what hypotheses derived from theories are for. You modify an experiment according to an hypothesis and see if the effect goes away. That's difficult to do when you can't replicate the effect on demand. But Maaneli is going to fix that regarding Ganzfeld, right?

~~ Paul
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Physicist N. David Mermin on what the study of physics is about:

In my youth I had little sympathy for Niels Bohr’s philosophical pronouncements. In a review of Bohr’s philosophical writings I said that “one wants to shake the author vigorously and demand that he explain himself further or at least try harder to paraphrase some of his earlier formulations.” But in my declining years, I’ve come to realize that buried in those ponderous documents are some real gems: “In our description of nature the purpose is not to disclose the real essence of the phenomena but only to track down, so far as it is possible, relations between the manifold aspects of our experience,” and “Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods for ordering and surveying human experience.”

I’m suggesting that this characterization of physics by Bohr is as true of classical physics as it is of quantum physics. It’s just that in classical physics we were able to persuade ourselves that the abstractions we developed to order and survey our experience were themselves a part of that experience. Quantum mechanics has brought home to us the necessity of separating that irreducibly real experience from the remarkable, beautiful, and highly abstract superstructure we have found to tie it all together.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Ghosts in the Evolutionary Machinery: The Strange, Disembodied Life of Digital Organisms

Those experimenting with digital organisms seem determined to flee all possibility for real answers. Transfixed by the intrinsic force of their own logic, they have lost their investigative anchor in the world’s sense-perceptible phenomena. The world has become in their imagination a mere crystallization of their own logic, a process greatly helped by the false conviction that the world can be understood the way we understand the humanly imposed logic of a machine. It’s as if the only task of all material substance were to put the logic on display — which is much like saying that the only task of speech is to pronounce whatever logic or grammar we can extract from the speech. But just as speech always has a content setting the terms for any further play of its logic, so, too, the world has a content giving direction to the play of the laws we discover at work in it.
This goes together well with Berlinkski's critique of evopsych & computational mind.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Beauty ≠ Truth

Scientists prize elegant theories, but a taste for simplicity is a treacherous guide. And it doesn’t even look good.

Why shouldn’t scientists be allowed their own definition of beauty? Perhaps they should. Yet isn’t there a narrowness to the standard that they have chosen? Even that might not be so bad, if their cult of ‘beauty’ didn’t seem to undermine the credibility of what they otherwise so strenuously assert: the sanctity of evidence. It doesn’t matter who you are, they say, how famous or erudite or well-published: if your theory doesn’t match up to nature, it’s history. But if that’s the name of the game, why on earth should some vague notion of beauty be brought into play as an additional arbiter?

Because of experience, they might reply: true theories are beautiful. Well, general relativity might have turned out OK, but plenty of others have not. Take the four-colour theorem: the proposal that it is possible to colour any arbitrary patchwork in just four colours without any patches of the same colour touching one another. In 1879 it seemed as though the British mathematician Alfred Kempe had found a proof – and it was widely accepted for a decade, because it was thought beautiful. It was wrong. The current proof is ugly as heck – it relies on a brute-force exhaustive computer search, which some mathematicians refuse to accept as a valid form of demonstration – but it might turn out to be all there is. The same goes for Andrew Wiles’s proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, first announced in 1993. The basic theorem is wonderfully simple and elegant, the proof anything but: 100 pages long and more complex than the Pompidou Centre. There’s no sign of anything simpler.
 
Parapsychologists could shift to studying psi using hypotheses derived from theories. Then hypotheses could be rejected and the associated theories modified or dumped. This has been done a little, but not consistently.
Parapsychologists have discovered a few patterns or loose "laws" for psi and J. B. Rhine called a part of them "fingerprints of psi". For example:

The experimenter effect
The psi missing
The position effects (J- or U-curves) or influence of boredom
The decline effect
The differential effect
The displacement effect
Variance effects
The sheep-goat effect

(Irwin & Watt: An Introduction to Parapsychology, pp. 64-68)

In spontaneous phenomena there are also clear effects:

The "shyness" effect (avoidance of observation and documentation)
The effects of frustration feelings on poltergeist phenomena

Unfortunately there is not enough funding to study all the effects methodologically.

Now, if we are going to speculate that there is no theory to explain psi, then I daresay we should just reject the entire notion. But that's certainly not my call.

~~ Paul
Science has begun as a method trying to explain observed phenomena. During centuries scientists have developed very strong theories about material world. In parapsychology we don't have a good theory because we don't have enough knowledge about the psi-phenomena and many other relevant phenomena. What if the Neanderthals would have begun to contemplate about what kind of matter it is that burns in the Sun or why people soon died in a radioactive cave? Perhaps we are in a similar situation in parapsychology – much more knowledge is needed.
 
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