Tim Freke & Richard Cox, UFOs, 9-11, Climate And Truth |391|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    Galileo was not different from many thinkers who accepted a reality that was divinely created. He clashed with the dogma of his Church. What we forget about this period was the development of the lens to the level of creating a revolutionary exposure to the telescopic and microscopic. It was the lens that transformed science, not some disconnected intellectual insight. Hence Galileo, and others, anticipated that the lens would let them peer into the handiwork of God. The materialists looked, and saw no evidence of God, and hastily concluded no God existed.

    The Christian dogma that Galileo got into strife with did not assume the world was only dogma. It assumed its dogma interpreted the world accurately. It is not that the world is a dream, but that the experience of the world is a dream. Getting down to 'conscious' reality was the business of mysticism (Hermetic, Kabbalistic, Yogic etc). It is also what 'science' sought to do. But the early theories of the science examining the material world in the absence of any serious spiritual element, led to theories that had no spirit. Christianity had dissed the animistic traditions so well, and replaced them with truly awful theology, it was no wonder than new devotees of science discarded any idea of spirit. If the rule of empirical experimentation prevailed there was no evidence of spirit. The fact that it has taken materialistic science 500 odd years to rediscover the prospect of spirit via quantum, complexity, chaos and other theories is not evidence of progressive scientific evolution, but of reality finally being acknowledged.

    Many scientists are religious or spiritual, but they have long been obliged to study science as if materialism is the only valid position. Richard Dawkins famously asserted that if you had a religious belief you could not do good science. That POV among materialists isn't popular these days. But there was a time, not so long ago, that such tripe could be uttered with bold confidence.

    Galileo believed in his faith. He objected to his Church's dogma, which stood against the evidence of the science he was practicing. Other opponents to the same dogma were more extreme, and they were not confined to house arrest. They were tortured and killed. They didn't think reality was a dream either. But I take your point.

    HP Blavatsky made a point of insisting that reality was objectively real. She was aware of the misinterpretations of Buddhist and Hindu teachings that mistook the idea of illusion to mean that 'reality' was the illusion. In fact it was the perception and experience of what was asserted to be reality that was illusory. A very different kettle of fish.
     
  2. Alex

    Alex New

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    hi Jack... what I was trying to convey is that policy forces a choice. we may not see eye-to-eye on the climate data, but we're forced to choose when it comes to policy.
     
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  3. Alex

    Alex New

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    I think yr way off. I've never asked Tim but have spoken to some folks in this space... it's very tough sledding.
     
  4. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    This is something that has puzzled me - not only are people flying all over the place, but there has been a fair influx of Africans into Europe in recent years. I think there is more TB than the used to be, but on the whole (and crossed fingers) there have been no real epidemics in the West. I wonder if well nourished people are sufficiently less likely to catch diseases, that diseases don't spread uncontrollably.

    David
     
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  5. Alex

    Alex New

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    one is hidden the other isn't
     
  6. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    And also, I think people need to understand that those who do science courses aren't asked to swear some equivalent of the Hippocratic oath to always aim at the truth! Once organisations get big money to study a potential danger, commercial forces come into play - they are no more likely to admit that climate change is garbage than Coca Cola is to stop selling soft drinks because they are bad for people's health!

    In addition, a climate researcher can become famous by exaggerating the problem in the media. It is notable that these people hardly ever debate with sceptics. Imagine what it would be like to debate with this physics Nobel Laureate:

    https://www.mediatheque.lindau-nobe...ver-global-warming-revisited/laureate-giaever

    David
     
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  7. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Incidentally, Richard, speaking for myself, I've had a few spontaneous experiences that I'd categorise as spiritual. Could they be described as shifting "into directly experiencing the world as arising in consciousness" as you put it?

    I don't believe so - they have been of a different nature; but I have also experienced something a little like what you describe, which for me sits on the boundary between the intellectual and spiritual. It's maybe a kind of meditative exercise. One could start it by contemplating how materialists view the brain: as a real and concrete agglomeration of chemicals organised into neurons that somehow generate qualia. However, everybody -- including most materialists -- have to admit it's a huge problem how qualia can be generated from a bunch of chemical interactions.

    There is much less of a problem for idealists, because for them matter isn't fundamental: it's just the appearance to perception of certain processes going on in mind-at-large. Chemicals aren't generating thoughts, sensations, emotions, etc; they're just how brain processes appear from a second-person perspective.

    At some point, one might notice that if idealism is correct, our notion of causation becomes inverted. Chemicals aren't causing qualia, but qualia are causing what appears to us as chemicals. We have everything upside down. It's understandable that we perceive a world that's apparently independent of our thoughts. We can't walk through apparently solid walls, decide to fly on a whim, or do any of a thousand things we might like to do.

    We think therefore that a real and concrete external world is what is placing limitations on us. Well, we're certainly limited in what we can do, but it's not by an "external world". Idealism has it that we're limited because, as alters of mind at large, we have no choice but to to fall in with certain patterns and regularities inherent in its nature -- what we usually think of as physical laws.

    Okay -- so the above is largely a brief intellectual exposition of my understanding of idealism. However, I've found it has the potential, through periods of contemplation, to become embedded in the mind. Thereby, it influences how one regards the world at the level of qualia; influences one's first-person experience of the world. The experience of idealism in and of itself becomes more of a felt quale than a dryly intellectual one.

    I don't know if you are suggesting that you can directly experience the world arising in your consciousness, without having that supported in the least by an intellectual, contemplative component. If you can, I'd be fascinated to hear your description, as best you can, of that experience.
     
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  8. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Good sanitation may have done as much for health as advances in medicine: see https://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-sauer/no-plumbing-disease_b_158567.html.

    When a country has enough resources to dedicate to sanitation systems, it's probably also a sign that it has enough resources to help ensure most people aren't starving and have a decent place to live. If your nutrition is adequate and you have a place to call home, then provided your bodily wastes are safely disposed of, I suspect your environment isn't very welcoming to disease organisms and your internal resistance to them is likely to be high.
     
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  9. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    If anyone doesn't understand the climate system, it's unsurprising since it's so very complex. That said, Richard Lindzen makes a good job of outlining it in the pdf here. Lindzen is a top-notch actual climate scientist, unlike many activists who simply don't appreciate the underlying science. He also goes on to explain what is actually happening with regard to the global warming boondoggle, and it's worth reading about that too.

    Personally, I think most people who support the global warming panic aren't conspiracists: they're just useful idiots who, through sheer ignorance and gullibility, are unwittingly aiding and abetting the real conspiracists, whose agenda is to send us all back into the stone age. Luckily, I don't think they'll succeed in any event because even if they manage to ruin the West, people in China, India and other developing nations won't let this particular flavour of insanity infect them.
     
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  10. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    As promised, here is the result of my query as to Bernardo Kastrup's nationality, answered on his forum by Bernardo himself:

    Here is the simple version: I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to a Danish/Portuguese family. 'Kastrup' is a Danish name, from my father's side of the family. I am a Dutch citizen -- no other nationalities -- and the Netherlands is the country where I've lived the longest in my life; it's my only true home. I've also lived in France/Switzerland (border region) in my youth, when finishing my education and then working at CERN. I speak Dutch, English and Portuguese fluently (well, my mother would dispute the last one, but it's still true, I think), plus a couple more languages well enough to survive. I've also spent a significant amount of time in the USA over the years, but never as a resident...

    Genetic testing revealed that my Danish side is actually German... My ancestors were probably from Jutland, where there's a sizable German minority, despite the name being from the ├śresund. The rest of me is what they call 'Iberian,' something so loosely defined as to go from Portugal to Wales in the North, and to Italy in the East.
     
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  11. Richard Cox

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    I take your point Michael, but when I say 'something like materialist science gave us flying machines', I'm not making a value judgement that that's a good thing (indeed I've certainly entertained thoughts of Western science being a Frankenstein's Monster myself). I am certainly a supporter of more idealist or animist ways of seeing the world and pursuing science, I do feel we must acknowledge however that materialism has produced more power than other ways of viewing the world, irrespective of whether that power has been a good thing or not. It has often been the power to murder anamistic cultures.

    I would love, love, to see the arising of an animistic science where we were able to recreate the flying craft of ancient India or levitate the stones of Egypt (I know someone who credibly claims to have done the latter), but must acknowledge this has not been the case thus far. I hope and suspect that in the future materialism will be looked back upon as a stage of development.
     
  12. Richard Cox

    Richard Cox Member

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    Hello Michael,

    I certainly think 'mystical' experiences can arise without having an intellectual framework for them, but then we tend to map onto them whatever context we have. My first such experience was of finding a sense of transcendent peace, it occurred when I was around sixteen and had no knowledge of spirituality. I therefore interpreted it in a loosely Christian framework.

    Some years later I'd studied advaita vedanta and started to have the experience of self dissolution into an infinite ocean of love. More recently again (and as an outgrowth of that experience) I thought much more about shifting perception from materialism to idealism and seeing the world as one would in a lucid dream. Doing exercises with David Websdell actually helped me go deeper into this.

    I'll link to some articles where I wrote in more detail about these episodes.

    On the initial experience - http://deepstateconsciousness.com/awakening

    On the advaita experience - http://deepstateconsciousness.com/depression-and-non-duality

    I don't think the shift from materialism to idealism is a particularly difficult one to make, I recorded a meditation on it in a group -

     
  13. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Note: Due to the length this response turned out to be, I'm going to split it over two posts.

    Richard, I've read the two links you provided, as well as a link from the second to your video interview with Nicole Schnackenberg, and I've also viewed the meditation video.

    You may recall that my question asked whether you'd directly (another way of putting that might almost be "literally") experienced the world arising in your consciousness. Now I'm not saying you haven't experienced that, only that the evidence from these links doesn't seem to describe that to me.

    The meditation narrative asks listeners to start off by imagining consciousness arising out of the physical, and subsequently transforming that into imagining the physical arising out of consciousness. But that seems to be only imagining the world from a more idealistic perspective rather than actually experiencing it that way. Maybe for some people, after practising that meditation exercise a number of times, imagination gets transformed by them into actual experience, but the video seems to tell me little about what that experience is actually like.

    This could be as much as anything because for whatever reason, meditation has never worked for me. The way I tend to think about issues of spirituality is through what I'd label contemplation, which, rather than starting off in imagination, starts off in intellection. Unfortunately, that word has a bad press, particularly perhaps with meditators, but my hypothesis is that either may lead to a point of transcendence. That is, a point where meditation or intellection leads, inexplicably, to the same thing, which is neither meditation nor intellection. Call it more akin to intuition if you like.

    I remember Idries Shah (who wrote about Sufism) recounting a story about someone who read (or maybe spoke) something over and over again and couldn't understand it until suddenly, unaccountably, one day he did. I feel sure that most people have experienced something similar when a hackneyed phrase (cliche) they've heard and perhaps even uttered a thousand times themselves suddenly -- perhaps when they've become older and experienced more in life -- comes to really mean something to them.

    It's not so much that intellection per se has revealed anything. Rather, it's maybe that understanding or knowledge comes when it's good and ready. Which is when you're good and ready, and maybe intellection is just one way of putting in enough effort to prepare yourself for understanding. Another way might be meditation, and yet another, just living life day in and day out, facing the same problems in a thousand different ways until a sudden leap of intuition brings a fresh perspective.

    I've always been a contemplative type. Much of what I've learnt has come this way, but not as a direct result of that contemplation; it's only come in a sudden flash when I've worn out all the thinking -- have become heartily sick of it in fact. It is this phenomenon that I've characterised as being on the border between contemplation and spirituality, and is how I experience the world arising in consciousness, though I can only describe that in intellectual terms, which isn't really up to the task.

    What I'd call more profound spiritual experiences have come to me without rhyme or reason. The most significant example was back in '94, as I recall. I was reading Doris Lessing's Canopus series of five books. At one point, I can't say exactly which, or whether it was sudden or crept up on me gradually, I became more aware of who and what I was than I'd ever been. I could see myself with great clarity; how I had become used to beating myself up over past transgressions (which actually weren't that earth-shatteringly bad).

    It came as a bit of a shock to realise that beating myself up was a predominant symptom of my ego: a way of telling myself what a good person I was because I was suffering all the time from bashing myself mercilessly about the head. And when I saw that, I had to laugh at my ego; I was able to spot the beating-up tendency as it arose and head it off for a period of two whole weeks.

    ...to be continued in next post
     
  14. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    ...ctd

    Also during that period, I felt immensely at peace with myself and others: I loved everyone, including (wonder of wonders) myself. I felt completely at one with all and everything. It was totally glorious and I thought it would go on forever. But of course it didn't -- just for the two weeks, after which I began rapidly to regress back to my prior state of mind. Or maybe not completely back: I still retained the intellectual appreciation of this predominant feature of my psyche, although couldn't effortlessly fend it off as I could during those two weeks of freedom from self-flagellation.

    Sufis might characterise the episode as a haal (state), which comes spontaneously as a gift and isn't permanent, as opposed to makam (station), which is permanent and earned by sufficient effort on the part of a seeker. As you seem to indicate that you can enter into your place of emptiness and find peace at will, it might in your case be more of a makam than a haal. You did, after all, make the effort to enter the emptiness after running away from it for a while, and what you found there seems to have helped integrate your psyche to a greater extent than before.

    Likewise with Nicole Schnackenberg: she faced her demons -- welcomed them after having done all she could for years to avoid them. This led to greater integration for her, too, and it seems like that's a permanent acquisition for her. And why on earth not? IMHO, she's very far from being ugly, as her body dysmorphia once led her to believe; and even if she were unattractive, no need for it to be so debilitating a condition. I've looked in the mirror for years and am not unduly perturbed by the truly ugly mug staring back at me.;)

    Coming back to the idea of consciousness giving rise to the appearance of physicality, and of being able to actually experience "physicality" arising in consciousness, I'd mention an example which arose for me during the Shnackenberg interview and also when you were drawing a parallel with your period of depression mentioned in your first link.

    Hearing voices is often labelled as "schizophrenia" and treated by drugs. That's how we generally deal with "illness", either physical or mental. This is the physical approach. But one can turn that on its head and say that "schizophrenia" is how hearing voices appears in the consciousness of the person experiencing it. Also, in the consciousness of doctors treating schizophrenia, it appears as a concrete model of the condition. Both are constructed narratives of conventional cause and effect. Nicole once thought in terms of "diseased" neural circuits, and her doctor probably still does. So he probably gave her "physical" treatment in the form of chemical pills to treat such mental "diseases".

    It's not so much that the pills don't have an effect. It's more that this way of thinking provides a mental model of what's going on. Instead, we could say that schizophrenia, or body dysmorphia, is the way we physicalise and label a process going on in an alter of mind at large. This process may be modified by another process usually thought of as a pill containing chemicals. But there's the possibility of a third process, which is the patient coming to terms with his or her "illness" and finding a way to deal with it, perhaps without the drugs; and it may also be so with many physical diseases.

    I'm not saying that all drugs are ineffective, because at least some of them are processes that do manage to alleviate at least some symptoms, if not always completely curing disease. But some treatments probably are ineffective or even harmful, and these are often applied in service of models that are the result of physicalist, indoctrinated thinking on the part of physicians.

    Before I digress, being familiar with, and having contemplated Bernardo Kastrup's version of idealism for a number of years now, quite often when I hear people talking in conventional terms, I find myself spontaneously translating it into idealistic language. It can happen with medicine, physics, chemistry, biology, you name it. Increasingly, I'm experiencing the world in idealistic terms; experiencing the "physical" arising in consciousness, but I wouldn't (not quite yet at any rate) call that spiritual.
     
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  15. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    So, Richard, why do you think more power is good? And what do you mean by power? Besides, let's think of the power materialism has delivered. It has raw oomph that has come at the cost of profoundly negative consequences - in the lead up via the abuse and degradation of humans and the environment, and in the aftermath in the unresolved expulsions as waste gases.

    If you apply a triple bottom line model of assessment of consequences its hard to argue that this extra power has delivered a lot of good in a physical context. But a psychical context is a different matter, maybe. The power of a rifle removes the hunter from the intimacy of a kill, and maybe makes hunting a very different 'sport'. The power of a tank can induce terror or an arrogance. Of course there are many instances of positive (alleged) benefits as well. I am not saying there is no plus side, just that it is all loaded with implications.

    All physical power functions in a physical domain - so there are always causes and effects to contemplate. This is something we do badly, because we enact physical actions to generate consequences unrelated to mere cause and effect. I drive a car to pick up a pizza. Doing does not cause the pizza alone. We generate psychical effects from physical acts, and I could argue that we also generate physical acts from psychical causes.

    I think it is problematic to attribute any moral virtue to physical acts. The Australian Aboriginal people became highly adept in living in their reality with what we call 'primitive' tools. They adapted to utes and rifles quickly - way more power than walking and spears. But that's not a moral assertion of technology so much as an inherent adaptive logic - always pick what gives you the best outcomes for the least effort. Power is arguably irrelevant compared to outcome.

    Wild parrots have trained my partner to feed them on demand. It is far less effort for them to turn up, make cute plaintive cries and get fed than forage for seeds. They have adapted to the power of our economic system to extract sustenance with very little effort and a heap of natural intelligence.
     
  16. Richard Cox

    Richard Cox Member

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    Hello Michael,

    There are two distinct experiences I described, I'll briefly reiterate the first one, then focus on the second (as I feel it's more relevant)

    The first experience being the one I described in the Depression and Non-Duality article. I experienced what felt like the material world falling away like a veil, to reveal an infinite ocean of love 'beneath' it. This had the tangible effect of ending a period of depression. At the time I wasn't actively thinking in terms of 'is this all consciousness' or not, but it certainly would fit.

    I could not replicate the above experience on demand, although it has opened up various times over the years.

    The second, and more relevant experience, is the one aimed at in the meditation. This I could shift into anytime and indeed it has become ingrained in my normal experience.

    On reading your reply I was surprised (and disappointed) that I'd used the word 'imagine' in the meditation. Reason being, imagining is exactly not what I'm encouraging people to do. I looked at the YouTube transcript and am relieved to see the word doesn't appear. Phew! Rather I'm attempting to shift direct experience, as I'll explain.

    If I think of the experience of waking up in a dream (lucid dreaming), I transition from believing that my surroundings arise externally to consciousness, to having the very direct, undeniable experience of all things arising in conscious. It's not quite accurate to say 'arising in my consciousness', as 'I' still occupy a point of perspective within the dream. Rather the dream arises in a greater field of consciousness.

    I am suggesting it's rather straightforward to experience something akin to this in the waking state. By simply placing our awareness on our direct experience and noticing where it arises. Initially we might feel that there are 'internal' thoughts and sensations as well as an 'external' experience of matter. Upon closer examination however, it will become clear that both of these are really phenomenon arising in consciousness, the distinction we are making is between different qualities of experience.

    As this process progresses the self can also be brought under examination, revealing that it is not a fixed entity, but again experience arising in a field of consciousness.

    Whilst I termed the recording a meditation, it also involves the intellect and could equally be called a contemplation or exercise in perception. David Websdell has produced some exercises along these lines which I've personally found very helpful, I'm encouraging him to record them with me and shall post them on this thread if he does so.
     
  17. Richard Cox

    Richard Cox Member

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    I'm not saying more power is good.

    I'm using the word power to point to a variety of things, from flying machines to water sanitisation to atom bombs.

    Coming into contact with spiritual philosophies in my late teens allowed me to see the world in a new (to me) way. The idea of Western Civ being at the epoch due to its development of science and technology fell apart. I came to see other civilisations or tribal societies as being in many ways superior. It was however disturbing to me to see how the underpinning philosophies of such societies gave them little to defend themselves against the European barbarians with their Gatling guns.

    I recall the Yogi Vivekananda wrote about how in olden day, when an army would invade India, a yogi would go down to the beach and turn their swords into flowers. This would be sufficient to send them packing. The Indians had lot this ability by the time the Brits arrived. I also read Patrice Maladoma Some, on how his Darga people of West Africa matched the French kill for kill using magic arrows. Whatever the truth of this, the French certainly took over.

    So what would a science and technology arising from anamism/idealsim look like? How would we receive clean drinking water? Perhaps instead of chlorine, we would use crystals and the positive intentions, I don't know. How would we defend ourselves against barbarians? How would we travel? I'd be very excited to find out!
     
  18. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Well, Richard, it may be that you don't actually use the word "imagine" in your meditation, but doesn't it require a certain amount of imagination to carry it out? At one point early on, for example, you ask people to open their eyes briefly and "experience the physicality of the room around you as if it were totally real". I doubt you think it totally real, and probably at least some of your listeners won't either, so wouldn't they have to imagine it as totally real?

    If I'm just being pedantic about the semantics, I apologise. Leaving that aside, I think I see what you're saying, and on reflection agree there's often an intellectual component to any form of mentation, including meditation.

    I see that I was wrong about your being able to return to the experience of oneness at will. I guess that for us both it's a "haal" that comes and goes without our being able to control it.

    Also, both you and I, it seems, have our own way of "experiencing" (sort of) the "physical" arising in consciousness. That said, for me at least, it's only an approximation for the real deal -- if there is indeed such a specific experience.

    I look forward to hearing David Websdell's exercises as and when he makes them available.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  19. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I have no idea how it would be for us now. We are saturated with materialism and modernity, and that brings ideas that would be unthinkable to a mind of a different culture. But we can get some dim sense of how cultures worked in the past - because prior to materialism all cultures were pretty much animistic - Roman, Greek, Egyptian and so on. They were not ideal cultures. If the animistic tradition had not been interrupted by materialism how would things be now? That's not a question we can ever answer. But it is one we should, nevertheless, ask - because it disrupts the infection that materialism represents humanity at its finest.

    Spirituality, science and morality - are bound together, so we must question not just the form of science and technology, but ask whether something is a good thing in its impact on the environment, on people and on culture. Materialism converted soul into mind, and in so doing radically transformed our sense of identity, and hence our sense of relationship. Depopulate the world of spirit and you can do stuff with dead matter you would never do with something spirit infused - so your science is different, your economics is different.

    How would we defend ourselves against Barbarians? We are who we are in part because we are the fruits of invasions - Roman, Viking, Mongol and others. What Barbarians are left? These days we imagine Barbarian foe and attack them to no profit. Hollywood spews out lurid heroic fantasies in which ET is monstrous and predatory - but defeated by plucky mad heroes using human ingenuity and courage. But why isn't ET like the Romans? Why would being taken over be a bad thing? I think I would prefer invasion by hi tech ET animists compared to rule by the present sorry bunch of largely materialistic shitheads.

    We in the West have used our technology, since the advent of that noxious fusion of Christianity and materialism, to plunder 'Barbarians'. I can't, off hand, think of a single instance when we 'defended ourselves' when we were not in places we really had no business being in.

    I struggle to see the good in materialism. I can only imagine its a kind of grand Prodigal Son kind of story (my apologies to those raised in a post-Christian era. You are going to have to Google that Biblical reference). Nothing else really makes any kind of sense to me.
     
  20. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    You can be if you want to. It has gone a bit slow right now, but there is plenty to read already, I think.

    David
     
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