Stafford Betty and Transcendental Materialism



Great stuff. Betty would make a great guest on Skeptiko IMO.

On the subtle body, Beyond Physicalism has looked into the idea. Personally I think at the least when we begin to question the mind/matter, subject/object divides the concept of the subtle body gains strength.

Reaching for it might have some social possibilities as well:

Like their South Asian counterparts, Platonic theurgists believed the soul mirrors a hierarchy of cosmic realities and that by nurturing these powers they could transform and perfect their lives. The sixth-century Platonist Hierocles explains that philosophy must include theurgic rites: “Philosophy is united with the art of sacred things since this art is concerned with the purification of the luminous body, but if you separate philosophical thinking from this art, you will find that it no longer has the same power” (Hadot, 2004, p. 48; modified, italics added). Philosophy in the West long ago became an entirely intellectual enterprise separated from the art of sacred things.

Philosophy no longer focuses on transforming the soul’s affective energies, aligning them to their correspondences in the cosmos or recovering the soul’s luminous body. This affective aspect of philosophy, communicated through the physical presence of sages, is no longer recognized today, which is why no one goes to contemporary philosophers for self-transformation. Yet the Platonists maintained— like yogis today— that each soul possesses a subtle body that can be transformed into an augoeides ochēma, a luminous vehicle with supernatural powers. Hierocles’ sacred art is theurgy, rituals that purify and strengthen the subtle body and allow the soul to share in the life of the gods and their creation— demiurgy. The disciplines of theurgy, like those of Yoga, include attention to diet, exercise, and the care of both physical and subtle bodies.
(2015-02-19). Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality (Kindle Locations 5312-5323). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Ian Gordon

Good continuation from Betty on this subtle body/subtle matter idea:

Yeah I watched that one just before the other one, it's a great presentation of key facets of Spiritualism. Personally I'm not convinced as Stafford is that the pattern coming through mediumistic communications and the great Spiritualist literature is an accurate and/or complete representation of "the afterlife" - I think OBEs/astral travel and NDEs offer portraits that are somewhat at a variance (again, to some degree - I find the commonalities between all greater than the differences) and sometimes a little less "rigid" (e.g. you've got such and such a character when you die and at least at that starting point that is where you'll start off when you die - other kinds of evidence point to a higher Self rather different and more complex than the personality-spirit of the incarnate "you"), but this video nevertheless reminds you of all the richness and value of this body of evidence. I'm looking forward to reading some of his books one of these days.