OK, so psi is true. Is it then also meaningful?

#1
I guess I approach this question from two directions.

On the one hand, my life has been utterly blessed with all sorts of incredible synchronicities, ones I simply cannot explain away due to cognitive, confirmation, or post-hoc biases, ones that continue to happen to me daily, some "merely" idly curious, others completely mind-blowing.

But, more to the point, the import of many of these events has also had the effect of completely altering my psyche, ever since the first one happened 23 years ago. You see, when I was a young man, I was as lost and depressed as anyone could ever be-completely hopeless in any endeavor I tried. Now, all of the darkness has been blown out of me, my psyche feels a neverending flow of joy, and I feel constantly connected to Something much bigger than my ego. [I just got a synch as a typed all that-I play my favorite songs on shuffle mode all day long, and one called Removed From Darkness came on as I finished this paragraph, whose lyrics I dovetail very closely with what I just typed. This is how my life is now, all day, every day.]

But, on the other hand, if I approach this from a Buddhist direction, am I still trifling with the bits and pieces of Maya? It may be a series of higher-level illusions, but still illusions, ultimately.

From Wikipedia:

Depending on the stage of the practitioner, the magical illusion is experienced differently. In the ordinary state, we get attached to our own mental phenomena, believing they are real, like the audience at a magic show gets attached to the illusion of a beautiful lady. At the next level, called actual relative truth, the beautiful lady appears, but the magician does not get attached. Lastly, at the ultimate level, the Buddha is not affected one way or the other by the illusion. Beyond conceptuality, the Buddha is neither attached nor non-attached.
[For me personally the metaphor of the "beautiful lady" here cuts especially close to home, to make a very very long story short, and leaving it at that for the nonce.]

At the same time, I have learned to cultivate that kind of perspective on these events-for the most part. [If I didn't, I would likely go insane at some point! When I say I get a flood of this stuff each and every day, I am not exaggerating.] So, on the spiritual path, do you need to eventually junk the quest for meaning, and just take in all phenomena, be they of apparent high or low quality or import, and move beyond them all?

And, getting back on topic for this particular forum, just because phenomena X is demonstrated to be significant, does that also make it meaningful, either in a relative (more conventional) or absolutist (esoteric perspective as outlined above) manner?
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#2
On the one hand, my life has been utterly blessed with all sorts of incredible synchronicities, ones I simply cannot explain away due to cognitive, confirmation, or post-hoc biases, ones that continue to happen to me daily, some "merely" idly curious, others completely mind-blowing.
Would love for you to share some these experiences in the Synchronicity thread!

And, getting back on topic for this particular forum, just because phenomena X is demonstrated to be significant, does that also make it meaningful, either in a relative (more conventional) or absolutist (esoteric perspective as outlined above) manner?
Jim Carpenter has suggested that Psi responds to meaning, and Bernando has suggested all reality can be thought of as metaphor, but I don't think anything can be inherently meaningful in that some fact of existence provides intrinsic sense of purpose.

IIRC both McKenna and Borges have said any knowledge of this supposed purpose would lead only to despair at the tyranny of existence.

Meaning, to me, is the search for truth by living and thus a very individual thing.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#5
Psychic Phenomena, Evolution, and Universal Meaning

However, if it turns out that psychic phenomena does have a physical explanation in some kind of developed science context, then for me psychic phenomena does not add any significant universal meaning to the universe. I see it like further properties of the universe that have been discovered—to take its place alongside gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. But the Big History explanation for the formation of the universe, with ourselves being “star stuff” from billions of years ago, would not have to change. Psychic phenomena could be properties of the universe that have always been there, but require highly enough developed life organisms to become aware of the phenomena. Thus it seems feasible to me that we could have a meaningless universe with psychic phenomena, all explained by evolution in a Big History context.

And once again this leaves me feeling rather sad.
I understand the essence of the theory—exploding stars to subatomic particles to hydrogen to helium to life forms to more complex life forms to humans—all by a combination of Big History explanations inclusive of mutation, natural selection, chance, and innate self-organizing biochemical processes. And consequently I am nothing more than a bunch of more or less intelligent chemicals—and so are you. Religious people do not like this explanation, and I must confess that I do not like it either—even though I am not “religious.” But if it is the true explanation, then I must accept it. But then I start to wonder again: what happened “before” the Big Bang?
 
#6
I don't understand why some people feel the existence of God or the afterlife is important. Whether you live eternally or just a few score years, the same things give life meaning and purpose, individual development, helping others, improving civilizaiton. If death is the end, then it is the end of suffering. I believe in God the afterlife, and ESP because of the evidence not because I hope they are true.
 
#7
To me, it's a subtle ability that humans and likely animals have too that allowed us to survive as a species.
Well, I don't think you're giving the due credit it would deserve. It would radically change the way we view time and how the mind processes information.

Remember that presentiment is not merely seeing the future; it is acting on it. That implies that minds can process nonclassically, radically changing how we view cognition.
 
#8
Well, I don't think you're giving the due credit it would deserve. It would radically change the way we view time and how the mind processes information.

Remember that presentiment is not merely seeing the future; it is acting on it. That implies that minds can process nonclassically, radically changing how we view cognition.
I agree with you. Although I was trying to word it in a way that the skeptics would find more palatable and accepting. Otherwise, they'll probably freak out.
 
#9
Psychic Phenomena, Evolution, and Universal Meaning

However, if it turns out that psychic phenomena does have a physical explanation in some kind of developed science context, then for me psychic phenomena does not add any significant universal meaning to the universe. I see it like further properties of the universe that have been discovered—to take its place alongside gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. But the Big History explanation for the formation of the universe, with ourselves being “star stuff” from billions of years ago, would not have to change. Psychic phenomena could be properties of the universe that have always been there, but require highly enough developed life organisms to become aware of the phenomena. Thus it seems feasible to me that we could have a meaningless universe with psychic phenomena, all explained by evolution in a Big History context.

And once again this leaves me feeling rather sad.
This doesn't seem to be well thought through and is somewhat incoherent. If psychic phenomena like telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psychokinesis are real their existence clearly implies that the human mind is not purely just a function of the neural structure of the physical brain. If so then the human mind may be independent of the physical body.

Further, there is a clear continuum or linkage between such psychic phenomena and psychical phenomena directly indicative of survival of physical death, such as NDEs, mediumistic communication, apparitions and other at-death communications, and children who remember past lives. NDEs and mediumistic communications all contain innumerable accounts involving a high degree of meaningfulness to human existence.

All this is completely antithetical to the claims that a neo- or post-Darwinian process of physical evolution consisting of random genetic change plus natural selection has produced all life including human beings. Such a mechanical process can only produce more and more elaborate physical/mechanical organizations, doesn't seem to be able to develop an immaterial mind, and can't explain an immaterial mind. So a "meaningless universe including psychic phenomena all explained by evolution" just doesn't seem to work.
 
Last edited:
#11
This doesn't seem to be well thought through and is somewhat incoherent. If psychic phenomena like telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psychokinesis are real their existence clearly implies that the human mind is not purely just a function of the neural structure of the physical brain. If so then the human mind may be independent of the physical body.

Further, there is a clear continuum or linkage between such psychic phenomena and psychical phenomena directly indicative of survival of physical death, such as NDEs, mediumistic communication, apparitions and other at-death communications, and children who remember past lives. NDEs and mediumistic communications all contain innumerable accounts involving a high degree of meaningfulness to human existence.

All this is completely antithetical to the claims that a neo- or post-Darwinian process of physical evolution consisting of random genetic change plus natural selection has produced all life including human beings. Such a mechanical process can only produce more and more elaborate physical/mechanical organizations, doesn't seem to be able to develop an immaterial mind, and can't explain an immaterial mind. So a "meaningless universe including psychic phenomena all explained by evolution" just doesn't seem to work.
However, the evidence for postmortem survival is compatible with naturalism: the spirit can be physical but unknown to modern science, and that there is an afterlife does not imply that there is a transcendent meaning in existence.
 
#12
Would love for you to share some these experiences in the Synchronicity thread!


Jim Carpenter has suggested that Psi responds to meaning, and Bernando has suggested all reality can be thought of as metaphor, but I don't think anything can be inherently meaningful in that some fact of existence provides intrinsic sense of purpose.

IIRC both McKenna and Borges have said any knowledge of this supposed purpose would lead only to despair at the tyranny of existence.

Meaning, to me, is the search for truth by living and thus a very individual thing.
I liked the therapists story recounted in Jim Carpenter's article. I'm not sure I was aware that dissociation might be a factor that increased the chance of having these experiences - which is an interesting observation. I like some of Jim Carpenters ideas (relationships he's noticed between things), but whenever I read him, I find he hasn't been able to fit these ideas onto any sort of structure that offers any greater insight - beyond what he has already noticed.

I might say that similar spatial patterns interfere with each other in time, and similar temporal patterns interfere with each other in space. And, that we do both of these things, indeed, one reinforces the other as a feedback loop.

Take a survivor of a horrific bomb attack in a shopping center who is suffering from PTSD. Each time they enter a shopping center they suffer from crushing anxiety. From our popular way of thinking, this behavior is almost irrational, but it's totally real to the survivor. The spatial sensory data from the shopping center is passed to the brain, activating a pattern of networks. The spatial pattern of those networks is correlated with 'meaning'. The networks interact with all other similar spatial patterns, across time and space. The networks can therefore interact with past network patterns that are similar, calculating 'meaning' from the interaction between them. The survivor experiences their own 'meaning' from the patterns of the shopping center.

I didn't understand your sentence following the Jim Carpenter link...

I don't think anything can be inherently meaningful in that some fact of existence provides intrinsic sense of purpose.
Can you flesh it out in your own words? I got a sense that you might have been talking about 'meaning', as in 'meaning of existence', because of your inclusion of the term 'purpose', but wasn't sure.
 
#13
But, on the other hand, if I approach this from a Buddhist direction, am I still trifling with the bits and pieces of Maya? It may be a series of higher-level illusions, but still illusions, ultimately.




And, getting back on topic for this particular forum, just because phenomena X is demonstrated to be significant, does that also make it meaningful, either in a relative (more conventional) or absolutist (esoteric perspective as outlined above) manner?
- So tell the " Buddhist direction" to go get a chai. lol.
My point is that like all religions it has info that relates to the actualities but it, like all religions, is not the actuality. These things are not illusions in the way we generally use the term. Just because they are not the source doesn't make them any less real or valid.
- As for "meaningful"? Is Coltrane's music meaningful?
My point is that it's all completely individual. You mention relative but your question is "absolutist" in that you are seeking to determine meaning based on the perspective of others. As example i know people who've encountered ghosts - some have placed it as a frightening experience, others view it as totally cool. There is no "one size fits all" although many seem to keep seeking that
And if you didn't want to engage with Maya you wouldn't be in physical form.
 
#14
- So tell the " Buddhist direction" to go get a chai. lol.
My point is that like all religions it has info that relates to the actualities but it, like all religions, is not the actuality. These things are not illusions in the way we generally use the term. Just because they are not the source doesn't make them any less real or valid.
- As for "meaningful"? Is Coltrane's music meaningful?
My point is that it's all completely individual. You mention relative but your question is "absolutist" in that you are seeking to determine meaning based on the perspective of others. As example i know people who've encountered ghosts - some have placed it as a frightening experience, others view it as totally cool. There is no "one size fits all" although many seem to keep seeking that
And if you didn't want to engage with Maya you wouldn't be in physical form.
Coltrane's music us superb.
 
Top