Reflections on the Peter Russell podcast (245)

#1
I liked this guy. He said something that we should all bear in mind:

Peter Russell said:
... And just another point, in coming back to science, I think science is studying the phenomenal world, what it calls the material world. And I would say the spiritual traditions are studying experience itself, the arising of experience. And the two are different fields. I don’t see any conflict between science and spirituality. Only when you think the spiritual is talking about the material world then there is conflict.
I'm not sure whether there is much " greater meaning" in Russell's message and that may leave some wanting more. With that in mind I'm surprised Alex didn't push him on NDEs/reincarnation etc (maybe that just didn't make the edit).

Also:

alex.tsakiris said:
All we ever wanted from science was who are we and why are we here
Really? This quote surprised me and may explain why Alex is so frustrated with mainstream science; he is looking for meaning where he is the least likely to find it.
 
#2
I asked Russell if he believed in reincarnation, he replied that he just didn't know enough about it to have an opinion.
 
#3
I asked Russell if he believed in reincarnation, he replied that he just didn't know enough about it to have an opinion.
Thanks Steve. Alex normally considers ignorance of these issues a very poor excuse from someone involved in exploring consciousness.

I'm just not sure that if you accept his ideas for consciousness, science and spirituality etc, anything really changes on a practical level
 
#4
With all due respect to Alex, he can think what he likes. I think Russell probably sets high standards for himself, and probably knows plenty but not enough to make a stand on it ?

I'm interested that you think anything might change on a practical level if you accept his ideas? I'm sure they change for individuals, and it may be that his journey has led him a very different path than might otherwise be the case if he had not found certain truths ? He appears to me to be a very balanced individual, and not likely to really care if no one agreed with him, fortunately many do.

I've a feeling that he would take one look at these threads and run a mile, not because he's scared, but he has moved on from such discussions years ago?
 
#6
I think Russell is being rather optimistic when he suggests spirituality is divorced from science. Given all the various arguments science has offered up to explain (positively or negatively) the feeling and reality of the Numinous it's a little late to separate the two.
I think I understand where you're going wrong: 'Science' doesn't offer arguments. Science doesn't have an opinion.

Before you come back with a rant about 'new' or 'pseudo' skeptics, that us irrelevant to Russell's position.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#7
I think I understand where you're going wrong: 'Science' doesn't offer arguments. Science doesn't have an opinion.

Before you come back with a rant about 'new' or 'pseudo' skeptics, that us irrelevant to Russell's position.
I'd agree that science is the study of structure and dynamics, as Bernardo elaborates in his Materialism is a Fairytale article.

While materialist evangelicals have received criticism from other atheists and caused us to ask "Who Watches the Watchmen?", note that I said positively and negatively. So it's not just Dawkin's "God Delusion", but also Strassman's theoneurological model or Hammeroff's quantum soul.

The Western World, or at least America & from what I've seen the UK, doesn't really accept the nonoverlapping magisteria. Part of that is due to the New Atheists pushing their religious beliefs, but it's also people like Chopra muddying the waters by throwing the word "quantum" in his spiritual talks. It's just where we are as a culture.
 
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#11
I've a feeling that he would take one look at these threads and run a mile, not because he's scared, but he has moved on from such discussions years ago?
If you're saying to "move on" we have to leave behind (ignore) the circus around NDEs, ghosts, past lives, reincarnation, alien abductions etc, etc, he may be right. I find myself increasingly feeling the same way...
 
#16
How should one understand spiritual then ?
Nowadays spirituality often refers to the mystical, esoteric and to eastern religious philosophies. Einstein would not have been familiar with such ideas in there present form I think. Instead, he would have understood himself to be religious, which he often describes himself as such. I think however, reverence might be the best description for his position.
Here are some quotes from Einstein
"My feeling is insofar religious as I am imbued with the consciousness of the insuffiency of the human mind to understand deeply the harmony of the Universe which we try to formulate as "laws of nature."
The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.

It was the experience of mystery--even if mixed with fear--that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms--it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.

I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvellous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavour to comprehend a portion, be it never so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.
My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive With our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible Universe, forms my idea of God.

— Quoted in the New York Times obituary April 19, 1955
The misunderstanding here is due to a faulty translation of a German text, in particular the use of the word "mystical." I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of "humility." This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.
Source: http://einsteinandreligion.com/o
 
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#18
Nowadays spirituality often refers to the mystical, esoteric and to eastern religious philosophies. Einstein would not have been familiar with such ideas in there present form I think. Instead, he would have understood himself to be religious, which he often describe as such. I think however, reverence might be the best description for his position.
Here are some quotes from Einstein



Source: http://einsteinandreligion.com/
Reverence , I like that. :)
 
#19
Einstein's attitude has always been an inspiration to me. He certainly did not identify with the religious, but it is clear that he did not identify with the atheists either. He displayed a large dose of humility that many of us would be wise to emulate. Some more quotes:

Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics and comes from the same source. They are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional "opium of the people"—cannot bear the music of the spheres. The Wonder of nature does not become smaller because one cannot measure it by the standards of human moral and human aims.
The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive. However, I am also not a "Freethinker" in the usual sense of the word because I find that this is in the main an attitude nourished exclusively by an opposition against naive superstition. My feeling is insofar religious as I am imbued with the consciousness of the insufficiency of the human mind to understand deeply the harmony of the Universe which we try to formulate as "laws of nature." It is this consciousness and humility I miss in the Freethinker mentality.
In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human understanding, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.
 
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