Show suggestion: Mark Anthony - Evidence of Eternity

#1
Just wanted to make a guest suggestion for a future Skeptiko show... I was listening to Jim Harrold's Paranormal Podcast this morning and heard interviewed Mark Anthony, the psychic lawyer. He has a book out called Evidence of Eternity. Seemed like an intelligent scientifically-minded well-spoken guy and thought that with his background he might be a good future Skeptiko guest.

http://www.healgriefwithbelief.com/


Though I'm sure there would be much agreement with his views, I personally would have a few questions to ask him. In the Paranormal episode he affirmed that there is no hell and that reincarnation is the method of cosmic justice or karma. I wonder how hellish NDEs fit into his model. And although I agree there is much evidence for reincarnation, it leaves me with questions about identity. If one's personality and memories are an integral part of one's identity, and those memories are gone and personality changes in the next life, then what does it really mean to say that one had a past life? If memories and personality disappear or are lessened, then what exactly is it that carries over from one life to the next that is a part of one contiguous identity? I think "soul" is usually the term for that thing that is carried over from life to life, but what exactly is a soul?
 
#2
And although I agree there is much evidence for reincarnation, it leaves me with questions about identity. If one's personality and memories are an integral part of one's identity, and those memories are gone and personality changes in the next life, then what does it really mean to say that one had a past life? If memories and personality disappear or are lessened, then what exactly is it that carries over from one life to the next that is a part of one contiguous identity?
I think the way to think of this is to disengage what one considers one's identity from the clutter and trappings of our existence. For example during a lifetime a person may embark upon a successful career in a particular field, and be surrounded, enmeshed in the things of that venture. Years later, for various reasons, one may shift direction, sometimes dramatically, and become involved in a new career in a different field. It is the same person throughout, but if one is defined by one's occupation or lifestyle, it might appear as two completely different individuals, even within a single lifetime.
 
#3
JAnd although I agree there is much evidence for reincarnation, it leaves me with questions about identity.
You're filtering actualities - as many do - through the lens of linear time. Here's something - play around with the concept of linear time not being fundamental. Since you are using mostly intellect, it may be a way to open some doors for yourself.
 
#4
I think the way to think of this is to disengage what one considers one's identity from the clutter and trappings of our existence. For example during a lifetime a person may embark upon a successful career in a particular field, and be surrounded, enmeshed in the things of that venture. Years later, for various reasons, one may shift direction, sometimes dramatically, and become involved in a new career in a different field. It is the same person throughout, but if one is defined by one's occupation or lifestyle, it might appear as two completely different individuals, even within a single lifetime.
I agree, but in this example there are many items this person carried with him from one point in his life to the next: memories, personality, etc.
 
#5
This is an interesting guy, I've heard him interviewed several times.
He's very eloquent and would make a good guest indeed. For a moment I thought he had already been on this podcast, but I am confusing him with the British doctor who became a medium almost suddenly. (I forget the name...)
 
#6
I agree, but in this example there are many items this person carried with him from one point in his life to the next: memories, personality, etc.
I consider that one's underlying beliefs and attitudes, those things which are deeply a part of a person can carry over intact from one lifetime to another. Also one's emotions, illnesses and more can be continued.

I have some recollections of reincarnation in my own life, and such things as my attitude towards religion, towards authority, are much the same in each case, even though manifested in a completely different way. Memories can come through even in the things one says - I'm afraid to give an example as I don't want to openly discuss the full details of (one of) my past life(s) here, but I surprise myself even now by unexpectedly finding that the sometimes things I say or think were recorded as the views of my previous self. I have to put this without any proof and understand that it is right for others to ignore me when I do so.
 
#7
You're filtering actualities - as many do - through the lens of linear time. Here's something - play around with the concept of linear time not being fundamental. Since you are using mostly intellect, it may be a way to open some doors for yourself.
I try to play around with ideas about non-linear time, spiraling time, etc., but I'm still not happy with my model and require further development. :)

What is your working definition of identity?
 
#8
I try to play around with ideas about non-linear time, spiraling time, etc., but I'm still not happy with my model and require further development. :)

What is your working definition of identity?
Not model, not analyze, think about, etc. Play around with. Let ideas, concepts, etc roam freely.

In the ways I think you mean - I have no working definition of identity. But again - play around with that concept. Let go of the intellectual, sensible, rational, intelligent. Just flow with the concept.
 
#9
Like a broken record... every time I hear about "non linear time" I have to post this:


Sorry, it's my OCD thing :) but the video is cool and a thought-stretcher... ;)
 
#10
I consider that one's underlying beliefs and attitudes, those things which are deeply a part of a person can carry over intact from one lifetime to another. Also one's emotions, illnesses and more can be continued.
I can dig that... kind of like Rupert Sheldrake's morphogenetic field is a means of maintaining "habit". Those "habits" which are strengthened through repetition and emotional energy are able to persist through bodily death and bodily rebirth in the morphogenetic field... whatever that is. What is your opinion of the morphogenetic field hypothesis?

I have some recollections of reincarnation in my own life, and such things as my attitude towards religion, towards authority, are much the same in each case, even though manifested in a completely different way. Memories can come through even in the things one says - I'm afraid to give an example as I don't want to openly discuss the full details of (one of) my past life(s) here, but I surprise myself even now by unexpectedly finding that the sometimes things I say or think were recorded as the views of my previous self. I have to put this without any proof and understand that it is right for others to ignore me when I do so.
That is interesting.. I've wondered if I've had past lives myself though I have no memories. My grandfather died shortly before I was born and I've often been told that I would have loved to meet him because I'm so much like him... makes me wonder a little if I am/was him?!? lol
 
#11
In the Paranormal episode he affirmed that there is no hell and that reincarnation is the method of cosmic justice or karma.
Maybe just some reincarnate, plus Stevenson researcher found no evidence of karma in cases that he studied.

If one's personality and memories are an integral part of one's identity, and those memories are gone and personality changes in the next life, then what does it really mean to say that one had a past life?
I do not think that one's personality and memories are an integral part of one's identity, because our memory and personality are constantly changing and we are considered the same person. Memory and personality are conditions to know someone's identity but not the identity of that individual. Personal identity would be something in the line of sense of self over time, but there are many problems in this topic.

Moreover, the memory may never go away, but it is repressed, and personality changes, but our authentic personality can be the consistent summation of all personalities we have in the distinct lives.
 
#12
I can dig that... kind of like Rupert Sheldrake's morphogenetic field is a means of maintaining "habit". Those "habits" which are strengthened through repetition and emotional energy are able to persist through bodily death and bodily rebirth in the morphogenetic field... whatever that is. What is your opinion of the morphogenetic field hypothesis?
I'm somewhat familiar with Sheldrake's ideas, and perhaps there is some merit. In this context, it may be that a person is physically somewhat similar in appearance from one lifetime to the next, even though the genetic composition is almost certainly entirely different. Of course some aspects of one's appearance can be influenced by the mind, for example if one smiles a lot or frowns a lot this can affect facial appearance. But the field theory I think goes deeper, affecting such things as bone structure too, which are not so amenable to ordinary emotional influence.

That is interesting.. I've wondered if I've had past lives myself though I have no memories. My grandfather died shortly before I was born and I've often been told that I would have loved to meet him because I'm so much like him... makes me wonder a little if I am/was him?!? lol
That's interesting. Of course within families there's a tendency to put such similarities down to genetics, but I think there are aspects of character which aren't so readily explained that way. Who knows? Sometimes coming into contact with some belongings of the deceased, or visiting one of their favourite places might trigger some memories, but it's hard to be sure. When I say 'memories' here, I don't meant particularly such things as names or numbers - though that might occur, but more the emotional reaction, such as a like or dislike, a feeling of affinity or familiarity. These may be considered memories too, but they are much more in the subjective realm.
 
#14
Not model, not analyze, think about, etc. Play around with. Let ideas, concepts, etc roam freely.

In the ways I think you mean - I have no working definition of identity. But again - play around with that concept. Let go of the intellectual, sensible, rational, intelligent. Just flow with the concept.
I agree that all we can do is "play" with words and concepts... it is just that I tend to get a little competitive when I play games. :)
 
#15
Maybe just some reincarnate, plus Stevenson researcher found no evidence of karma in cases that he studied.

I do not think that one's personality and memories are an integral part of one's identity, because our memory and personality are constantly changing and we are considered the same person. Memory and personality are conditions to know someone's identity but not the identity of that individual. Personal identity would be something in the line of sense of self over time, but there are many problems in this topic.

Moreover, the memory may never go away, but it is repressed, and personality changes, but our authentic personality can be the consistent summation of all personalities we have in the distinct lives.
The root of the word identity means "sameness". I agree that memories and personality are constantly changing, but they seem to have a rate of change and the slower this rate of change, the more there is "sameness" or consistent identity. In rare cases where a person as total amnesia, the rapid rate of change reduces the "sameness" and so except for their body being the same and some core "hard-wired" aspects being the same, they seem to acquire a somewhat new identity.
 
#16
I'm somewhat familiar with Sheldrake's ideas, and perhaps there is some merit. In this context, it may be that a person is physically somewhat similar in appearance from one lifetime to the next, even though the genetic composition is almost certainly entirely different. Of course some aspects of one's appearance can be influenced by the mind, for example if one smiles a lot or frowns a lot this can affect facial appearance. But the field theory I think goes deeper, affecting such things as bone structure too, which are not so amenable to ordinary emotional influence.


That's interesting. Of course within families there's a tendency to put such similarities down to genetics, but I think there are aspects of character which aren't so readily explained that way. Who knows? Sometimes coming into contact with some belongings of the deceased, or visiting one of their favourite places might trigger some memories, but it's hard to be sure. When I say 'memories' here, I don't meant particularly such things as names or numbers - though that might occur, but more the emotional reaction, such as a like or dislike, a feeling of affinity or familiarity. These may be considered memories too, but they are much more in the subjective realm.
I think Sheldrake's term "morphogenetic" has less to do with genetics in the sense of DNA or genes and more to do with genetics in the sense of genesis or the coming into being of form. He has applied the idea of morphogenetic fields not just to the bodily growth process but also to behaviors and processes such as learning new skills or homing pigeons finding their way home.
 
#18
You might consider that memories are state specific and when we change our state to a larger frame(identity) such as in nde's, hypnosis, dreams, as well as the - in between lives state - where one is purported to choose their next incarnation in light of their karma and spiritual evolution. In our normal waking state we may only have access to a small fraction of our souls memories/experiences.
 
#19
Ouch. That isn't what I mean. :) At all. But hey . .baby steps right?
Haha... I like the model of the universe as a great drama... the universe is god at "play"... stringing together words and concepts in a fun exciting way is play. I don't mean by "play" that these things are trivial or unimportant.

Where are you baby-stepping me to? Is there anywhere to go?
 
#20
You might consider that memories are state specific and when we change our state to a larger frame(identity) such as in nde's, hypnosis, dreams, as well as the - in between lives state - where one is purported to choose their next incarnation in light of their karma and spiritual evolution. In our normal waking state we may only have access to a small fraction of our souls memories/experiences.
I like that model. I guess my working definition of identity is kind of like the computer science model where identity is a location in a database. An identity is the collapsing of consciousness to a single point of view which gives consciousness a location within the matrix or simulation. If you're going to play a game, you have to have an avatar or an identity that gives you the ability operate within the simulated environment. The trajectory of this point - both past and future - is stored and accessible through the location tag which is the identity. The connections or intersections of other trajectories form experiences and memories. As in a computer database, your access to portions of data may be restricted. While in this life, we are only accessing what is available to our User ID, but after death (or during altered states) perhaps we regain access to our Administrator ID where we can recall data from other parts of our trajectory.
 
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