Tim Freke on the Science of Evolving Souls |355|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Early on in this interview, I started wanting to know the answer to the question, "What is Tim's ontology? Does it have a known label, or is it original? If original, how does it differ from known ontologies?"

    Tim explicitly denied that he is a panpsychist and gave a hint at his actual ontology with this: "What I'm suggesting is closer to panpsychism but different: not that consciousness is all the way through, but that subjectivity is all the way through".

    This confused me somewhat, because, to my mind, subjectivity implies consciousness - so how could the one be all the way through without the other? I then started wondering, given that Tim says he's trying to tread a middle ground between idealism and materialism - saying that not only is everything individuated but that everything has both a subjective and objective aspect - whether his ontology is best described as neutral monism (about which I know very little).

    (And in all of this, I think that I identify somewhat with Steve, who's just posted re his confusion).

    I understand if folks want to say, "Quit trying to put people in boxes", but understand me, too: I'm very happy for the box to have a knitted cover and a personally crocheted badge - a box can be as individualised as you like! I just want to know: how is your box different to the next guy's, and comparing with "standard" boxes makes that process easier.

    A few other things got me curious. Tim talks about the evolution of the universe, and the emergence of consciousness, which immediately made me wonder to what extent he holds these processes to be "deterministic" (necessitated) and to which extent he holds them to be "free". In other words, I would have liked to have heard Tim hold forth on free will - whether or not he believes in it, and, if he believes in it, then how it fits with the rest of his views (e.g. is free will the driver of evolution, and if not, then how did free will "emerge"?).

    I sort of know the answer to the above: Tim talks about a time before consciousness, which, I think, implies there was a time where free will was not operative - because (in my view) free will implies consciousness - and, potentially, then, that free will emerged (crazy as that seems to me). But how do we square this with his claim that everything has both a subjective and objective aspect? Of course, to answer this question, we would need Tim to explain how he differentiates subjectivity from consciousness, as he seems to do (as I noted earlier).

    I think beyondmortality makes a good point that Tim effectively redefined "the soul" as "consciousness", but I'm not too fussed about that - I'm more concerned that it's hard to pin down exactly what his ideas on being (the mind/body problem) are.

    There's more that I could say, but that's more than enough for one post.

    Alex, you did a good job of raising interesting questions, and probing Tim's views. Thanks for sharing this discussion with us!
     
  2. Charlie Primero

    Charlie Primero Member

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    Good summary.

    The second half of the interview went nowhere. Despite Alex's heroic efforts to wring something useful out of the guy, Freke said nothing.

    Freke bills himself as a Philosopher. He is not. Actual competent Philosophers know how to boil things down to core Ontologies fast and efficiently.

    Freke just blathered meaningless word salad like he was grinding out a feel-good pep-talk gig to a room full of old hippies at a Glastonbury retreat.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
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  3. Steve

    Steve Member

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    This maybe explains why I felt as I did. :)
     
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  4. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Don't worry it certainly wasn't your stroke - I felt exactly the same!

    I wondered if you published this interview to put everyone on their guard regarding New Age wishy-washy thinking!

    David
     
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  5. ChadWooters

    ChadWooters New

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    As someone else said, if someone wants to talk about metaphysics then he or she really should give you a basic idea of where they are coming from. Philosophical nomenclature contains many terms of art. No one really agrees over the exact definitions of realism/idealism/materialism but coming out and saying, "I consider myself a realist/idealist/materialist," at least gives everyone some context for understanding the more subtle points being made. Then again, sometimes I think people tell you that they don't like labels, not because their ideas are so unique; but rather, because they don't have sufficient breadth of knowledge to know where they might fit in.
     
  6. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    A good healthy non-GMO word salad is full of indigestible fiber that benefits the gut bacteria in your small and large paradigms.
     
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  7. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Goodness - that is such a multi-layered metaphor that it will take me a while to digest it :)

    David
     
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  8. Alex

    Alex New

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    I think we're being too hard on Tim... not that I need to defend him... he's a very smart cookie. But I do think he's a little weighed down by his audience. he was trying to talk to an atheist/scientific crowd and a "spiritual but not religious" crowd at the same time... impossible... not his fault.
     
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  9. ChadWooters

    ChadWooters New

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    I read his Jesus Mysteries and was underwhelmed, but it was well written and a decent summary of the skeptical arguments I hear from atheists all the time, arguments that do not hold up to serious scrutiny. Nevertheless I will agree that he seems intelligent as are pretty much all the guests. So I'm willing to listen, but he wasted his opportunity to convince me to buy another of his books.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
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  10. beyondmortality

    beyondmortality Member

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    Freke's work is centered on new age concepts, mainly personal spiritual growth. The fundamental question for New Agers, "why am I here?" seeks purpose as a means of understanding how to interact in their communities and what causes/positions to rally behind. For New Agers all actions in life are meaningless unless they are of benefits to others. While they claim to embrace free will, they want none of the unpredictability and chaos at the essence of free will. They demand an ordered, controllable universe of which they can manipulate at will.

    He rejects quantum theory's immaterial perspective of consciousness because it does not address the purposeful meaning of life. His work speaks to the intention of life, rather than what is life.

    Freke makes his living by addressing these desires of the New Agers. If you look at the titles and subtitles within his chapters you see it's really about giving new agers the language to articulate their purpose in life--their intentions in life. It's about personal enlightenment and living a meaningful life. And there is certainly nothing wrong with that. It's just not the conversation I was looking for here.

    And frankly, his "new" terms are redundant to Buddhist and Hindu ideology. His term "deep awake state" reflects eastern religious ideology and sums up the his objective with this book:

    Deep Awake State: the experience of spiritual awakening that arises when we become conscious of our essential identity as spirit.
     
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  11. Alex

    Alex New

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    agreed... his "newness" thing just doesn't ring true. his best part are all Buddhist and Vedic.
     
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  12. Charlie Primero

    Charlie Primero Member

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    I admit. That does irk me a bit.

    A literal mountain of books have already been written on the enternal questions of "Why is there Evil" and "Why am I here" over the last 5,000 years. The best ones are even FREE on http://archive.org

    Yet, people seem desperate to avoid talking about all this work that has already been done.

    I mainly know Freke from listening to his interviews by Miguel Conner at Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio over the years. http://thegodabovegod.com He wasn't as New Age nonsensical in those interviews.

    There exists a weird market segment of old Hippies nearing death who are desperate for spiritual meaning, but can't abide Christianity because Jesus might be legend, and Timolthy Leary and Aldous Huxley told them ridiculling the thousand year-old traditions of the ancestors was progress.

    I suspected, but did not know Freke specialized in exploiting that market segment.
     
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  13. beyondmortality

    beyondmortality Member

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    Exploitation of the market is probably an accurate description. As Deepak Chopra proves, enlightenment is a highly lucrative business.

    Tim Freke is part of a "science and non-duality" new age industry that repackages eastern philosophy and resells it at a premium. They swap out words like "enlightenment" for "self-realization". And it's not just marketing to aging hippies, they write their messages to appeal to the masses.

    Freke promotes his work in part through a group called Science and Non-duality (SAND). SAND describes itself as an organization that explores "a new relationship to spirituality, free from religious dogma, based on timeless wisdom traditions, informed by cutting-edge science, and grounded in our own direct experience."

    What they bill as "timeless wisdom tradition" is repackaged eastern philosophy. Insofar as "cutting-edge science" goes, I haven't seen any. An example of the "science" based works they promote is Rupert Spira's book, The Nature of Consciousness: Essays on the Unity of Mind and Matter. Robert Spira is a ceramicist, with a lifelong interest in eastern philosophies. Like Freke, he claims his work structured to address both the science and spiritual concerns.

    They use "science" as a marketing strategy in the same vain as corporate processed food manufacturers label a box of crackers made from enriched wheat flour as "natural." Just as some consumers buy "natural" crackers, some consumers will buy "science" tagged enlightenment.

    Freke is a speaker at SAND's conferences in the US and Italy. His other events focus on his teaching of his concept of "deep awake state". No question that he actively markets under the science and non-duality umbrella.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
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  14. beyondmortality

    beyondmortality Member

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    Apologies for the strikeout text. I don't know why it posted that way. It did not show up on my iPad screen that way.
     
  15. Laird

    Laird Member

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    It's the editorial square brackets around the "s" in "explores" that did it - that's BBCode for "begin strikethrough". You can get rid of it by editing your post, switching to the BBCode editor (the button top-right of the editor), and changing it to something like {s} instead.
     
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  16. beyondmortality

    beyondmortality Member

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    Oh thank you so much. I'll fix that now.
     
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  17. Charlie Primero

    Charlie Primero Member

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    This is the part that really irritates me, because I fell for it.

    I come from an Atheist/Materialist background. I loved Science as kid. I didn't know The Mysteries even existed for the first quarter of my life. I thought they were just a bible-thumpin' hillbilly money scam designed for ignorant old women.

    After discovering spooky stuff was real, the offer of a scientific, logical way to evaluate and make use of it held great appeal.

    After diligently digging in and investing the "work" they said was necessary, boy was I disappointed.

    It was like the time when I was 8 years old and saved a month of allowance to buy the Sea Monkeys offered in the back of my Spiderman comic book.

    Every day my friends and I sat on the curb waiting for the Mail Man. I was genuinely embarrassed when I tore open that packet of dried shrimp in front of them. I felt like Fool. "Never Again" I vowed.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. beyondmortality

    beyondmortality Member

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    Charlie, I'm busting a gut here laughing about the sea monkeys! My brother fell for the Magic Rocks scam. Being of practical mind, my pennies and nickels went toward tootsie rolls and bazooka bubble gum.
     
  19. Daniel Day

    Daniel Day Member

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    Evolution works on the premise that all things improve. If those that champion evolution would sit back and ask, does it go backwards, as in "if you are evolving, that you might evolve into a more primative species."
    Maybe a good example is that of the Giant Panda. It's dumb, it's picky and by all account and according to the theory of evolution, that is improving upon improving,, in the case of the Giant Panda, that clearly isn't the case.
     
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  20. Alex

    Alex New

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    I get yr point. the other problem for Tim is that he doesn't want to totally embrace what he calls "biological evolution" and at the same time hold onto the undefined "evolution souls do."
     
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