Mod+ 256. DR. DONALD DEGRACIA, WHAT IS SCIENCE?

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. Don DeGracia

    Don DeGracia New

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    Hi David

    Thank you for taking the time to plow through BP. That is very kind of you to put up with my ramblings from 20 years ago!

    I have enough of a background in physics that I do not dismiss string theory. It is a very complicated situation and statements that it has no evidence are just not appropriate to the situation. It emerges from the need to unify the math of relativity with the math of quantum mechanics. The approach has been around for almost 100 years. Klein (of the Klein bottle fame) was the first to use "compactified dimensions" to model unified forces back in the 1920s, and even Einstein was okay with what Klein did (with a fellow named Kaluza).

    However, the problem is pretty much unchanged from when I wrote BP. Physicists simply cannot access the string energy scale to directly test the model. The energies required are greater than what the Earth can produce (at least with respect to what we know about making energy today). That is how small strings are. The one development since then is the possibility to use cosmological phenomena that occur near these energy scales to test string theory. That was not known when I wrote BP (astronomy has grown massively since BP was written). So, in spite of what you may hear, string theory is a legitimate part of physics. As Smolin contends, it may have garnered disproportionate resources in the past, but that seems to be working itself out naturally.

    The idea that the compactified dimensions of string theory may actually be the occult planes is not my idea, but is the idea of Stephen Phillips, the man who explained Occult Chemistry in terms of quarks. I wrote Dr. Phillips back in the 1980s and even then his thinking was beyond my capacity. Now, he has progressed even farther, and I am not capable of judging the validity of his work over the years. Nonetheless, it is still the most plausible place to link modern physics to classical occult teachings of the planes of nature. So in short, yes, I still take this view, although I am perhaps more wary to rigidly advocate it than when I wrote BP, which is true in general about a lot of ideas, just because I have matured a lot since then.

    The term "plane" as used in occultism is unclear as to the geometric significance (it does not refer to a plane from geometry). They are "spaces" certainly, and they do have more spatial dimensions that the physical world. I have directly experienced this in my lucid dreams. Time is also different. I have recently been in contact with a fellow Philip Carter who is pursuing this issue. I have not yet had time to read his stuff closely, but in talking to him it sounds like he is trying to tackle this head on.

    I do envision that the occult planes must somehow be continuous with or an extension of 4D space time. If they manifest via the compactified dimensions of string theory, that would be one possible means of how they relate. It is also possible that 4D space time is like an atomic ground state, and that some type of "quantum jump" is required to access the inner planes which could then be thought of as analogous to excited states of atoms.

    The issue has mostly sat all these years until relatively recently when I really began to study yoga and came to understand that they have a theory of how we move from plane to plane. That theory has geometrical (or more generally, space-time) implications. I am half thinking about the link between the yogic theory and our modern theories in physics, but my main focus is if it is possible to use the yogic means of moving amongst the planes apart from the rest of their methods. In a way it is, because it is the same methods I describe in DO_OBE. But the remainder of the yogic methods provide a type of control over the inner planes not possible to achieve if you use only traditional lucid dream methods.

    So yeah, it still floats around in my mind. It is a hard problem. By the time you finish BP, you will see the range of ideas I had about it back then, but there has not been any major developments over the years, just small little tweaks here and there when that was possible.

    Again, thanks for asking, David. Best, Don.
     
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  2. Don DeGracia

    Don DeGracia New

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    I just read a book about this very topic: where does the unexpected come from? I review it on my recent blog post if you are interest. -Don
     
  3. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Do you have a link to Philip Carter - there seem to be quite a lot of them!

    OK - so it would be better to think of each plane as a separate high dimensional space.

    Does it make sense to talk of distance in such spaces?

    Another feature that puzzles me, is that I find it very hard to imagine my mind split into an emotional part, a calculating part, and a part devoted to physical sensation. I mean if I dream in the emotional part (which is how you describe it), that fits roughly, but I still see things, and probably even think in the dream state.
    Do you make any distinction between OOBE's and lucid dreams? My only lucid dream lasted just a few seconds when I was a boy. My mind seems to insist on being very physical!

    I see what you mean about Stephen Philips:

    http://www.smphillips.8m.com/web.html

    Does he have an academic post of some sort?

    David
     
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  4. Don DeGracia

    Don DeGracia New

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    Hi David

    I linked to Philp's web site in my previous post. Please look again. :)

    I imagine the planes as related like the book flatland. Imagine going from a line to plane to a volume (1 to 2 to 3 dimensions). Then, go to 4, 5, 6 etc. So, its not like each one is a separate higher dimensional space; each one results from opening up a new spatial dimension.

    Yes, I too struggled with the idea of "split" into the different parts, but its not like that. Its more like how waves can nest inside of waves, like the way a radio or TV broadcast works. You have the carrier wave and nested in that is the wave the radio or TV decodes to give the signal. So, they are all superimposed simultaneously, and are, in some sense, nested one within the other.

    No, I do not distinguish. OBE, lucid dreams and astral projections are all the same thing. I discuss this in some articles on my web site and in DO_OBE.

    As far as I am aware Phillips does not have an academic position. I don't know anything about his life actually.

    Ok, take care, David. Best. Don.
     
  5. LoneShaman

    LoneShaman Member

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    https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/what-does-quantum-physics-have-do-free-will
     
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  6. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    You are right - I clicked on them before and nothing happened. Firefox sometimes seems to malfunction after it has been open for a while - I suspect that is what did it.
    The only problem with that, is that it doesn't sound as if it makes sense to talk about someone moving to a specific plane - wherever you were you would need some of the other planes. I can certainly think of dreams that were primarily emotional (astral) but they had to have other qualities too. If the dimensional concept is valid, it would seem perhaps to think of a rotation in the space that would mix in more or less from these dimensions.
    It is just that the internet is littered with alternative physics, and it would be great to know that he writes with some authority.

    David
     
  7. Don DeGracia

    Don DeGracia New

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    Hi David

    Thinking of all this in terms of 4D geometry is very tricky. That is why Flatland is a good primer if this is new to you. For example, our 3D world is an infinitely thin cross section of a 4D (hypothetical) astral world, the way an infinitely thin square is a 2D cross section of a cube. So, a 4D world would completely engulf our world, the way a cube engulfs one of its cross-sections. Just thinking of space and time and movement in terms of a 4D (spatial) world is abstract enough. Adding in the old theosophy idea that "astral = emotions" and "mental = thoughts" and so on, complicates things very much and doesn't lend itself easily to a geometric interpretation.

    However, if you can gain some intuition for the idea that our 3-space is an infinitely thin cross-section of a 4-space, then we can imagine our mind is somehow extended into the 4-space outside of the 3-space that holds our physical body.

    In fact, the very structure of the brain supports an interpretation along these lines. But you need to know fractal geometry and know about fractional dimensions to appreciate the idea. Imagine an infinitely thin square (a bounded area of a plane). This square has dimension 2. But imagine crinkling it up like a piece of paper. If you crinkle it just a little, you change the dimension to say 2.2. But if you crinkle it so much that it balls up like a waded up piece of paper, it may have dimension 2.9, which is to say it is almost a 3D object.

    When you look at the structure of our brain, specifically the cerebral cortex, you can see it is a crinkled 3D structure. That means its real physical dimension is greater than 3. It might be something like say, 3.5. [Okay, just spent the last 2 hours looking this up in the literature. I've attached the main result, which as you see in Table 2, last row, the total cerebral cortical volume has been estimated as 3.3 dimensional - As you see...I guessed 3.5...close! :)]. Anyway, what this means is that specifically the cerebral cortex, as a physical object, is greater than a 3D object, 3.3 in fact. So, we are pointing 0.3 in the direction of the 4th dimension already just based on the physical structure of our cerebral cortex!

    Now, be aware, I am probably the only guy who would interpret this fact in this fashion. People like the author of the attached article do not think about things in the terms we are talking. But I can't see any logical reason why we can't think this way.

    I guess to conclude...these issues are pretty abstract. The better you know math, the better you will be able to appreciate the stuff because math has a lot of the abstractions required to formulate the problem.

    Just real quick about Phillips: I agree with you completely. I know he has a PhD in physics, but beyond this, I just don't know. So, as with any of this stuff...caution is in order.

    I'll close here. Thanks, David.

    Best,

    Don
     

    Attached Files:

  8. LoneShaman

    LoneShaman Member

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    There is something outside the realm of culture and the three-dimensional surfaces of things. That there is a hidden dimension to reality. Call it a plan. A purpose. A loving God. A cosmos instead of a chaos. And psychedelics, I believe, reveal a greater order than the order of the human world.This is why the way I do them is either in darkness — which means surrounded by the body (my body, which is part of nature) — or in nature itself. In the mountains, at the beach, in the jungle. Because what we are lacking, existentially, is any sense of order meaning and beauty in the world. Because the society we are living in has no order or beauty or meaning. It's just a scam in a rat race. But if you take the psychedelics in these contexts where the culture and its artifacts are suppressed then you connect up to the greater whole...

    Part of the package of being a living, thinking being is that you get a universe inside of you. You get a galaxy sized object inside you that you can access. And there there are the mountains, the rivers, the jungles, the dynastic families, the ruins, the planets, the works of art, the poetry, the sciences, the magics, of millions upon millions upon millions of worlds.And this is apparently who we each are. We're a little bit of eternity sticking into three-dimensional space and, for some reason, occupying time in a monkey body.But when you turn your eyes then inward you discover the birth right. The existential facts out of which this particular existence emerged. And it's a great secret. A great secret and a great comfort. Because it means mystery didn't die with the fall of Arthur or the fall of Atlantis or the fall of anything. Mystery is alive in the moment, in the here and now. It just simply lies on the other side of a barrier of courage. And it isn't even that high of barrier, it's just is a barrier high enough to keep out the insincere and the misdirected. But for those who will claim it, in midst of the historical chaos in the late 20th century they become the archaic pioneers. They become the first people to carry the ouroboric serpent around to its own tail, and to make a closure. And to the degree that anyone of us has this connection back to the archaic in our life, it makes were we have been make a lot more sense and it makes were we're going seem a lot more inviting." ~Terence McKenna...

    Emphasis added.
     
  9. fire

    fire Guest

    Some beautiful McKenna. Thanks LoneShaman.
     
  10. fire

    fire Guest

    We have a student from China living with us in our home this year. He has been here a little more than a week. Sometimes I ask him to tell me what he knows about things like the cultural revolution or about specifics like Falun Gong. I have come to realize that he lives in a world we can call the China Truth. His world of the China Truth is of a whole cloth. It is a complete truth for him and for hundreds of millions of other Chinese people. Even if he "does not agree with the party" or if he "doesn't like the way the party controls what people can think" those are still part of the China Truth. To truly move beyond the China Truth he would need to stop being Chinese.

    We live in a similar bubble of truth we can call the Space Time Truth. Ultimately it is no more "true" than the China Truth is "true" as it relates to the larger global historical/political system.

    When you ask people to consider this very simple fact they sputter something about the absolute, or holler about relativism or call you a neo-advaitist.

    But you needn't zoom all the way out to the absolute to falsify the "truth" that is our Space Time Truth. You only need to zoom out one notch--turn the microscope from 50X to 100X.

    I think about the kind of horror my new friend would feel if he were forced to sit down and face the fact that his China Truth is an illusion. Some part of him would die and something new would be reborn.

    It is a black horror to face the fact that the Space Time Truth is utter illusion. But it is the only truth that can be possible. What is on the other side? No one knows. Turn away. Go back to sleep. No one will blame you one bit.
     
  11. Vault313

    Vault313 New

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    Hopefully this thread isn't completely dead!

    Don and Alex,
    Thank you for a very thought provoking podcast! Don, your writings have really opened my eyes to different possibilities and the past few days have been a bit of a thought adventure for me. I don't necessarily agree with everything you have to say, but that's ok. =)

    I do have a question though, and please bear with me because I sense a wall of text coming on.

    My general intuition regarding THE BIG QUESTIONS (life, death, consciousness, purpose, etc.) is of the, I guess you would call it, Earth school view. I like to think of it as some kind of super-duper, extreme virtual reality. Sort of like a video game of sorts. Where our higher self sort of made up a loose life plan geared toward what it is we want to accomplish in this life (or others!) And that we do contract with others here, to help us all fulfill these goals.
    It has been the sharing of others' near death experiences that has truthfully influenced me the most. (I know, I know, anecdotal evidence but it resonates for some reason) I've been looking for answers to the "why" of life nearly my entire existence here and have run the gamut from growing up (weak) Lutheran, converting to Mormonism for a time (2 years) to atheist, to just plain old agnostic. The Earth school idea just seems to make the most sense to me (which may very well be my downfall, if true reality doesn't follow logic as we know it). I have a tendency toward Nihilism (which is a very sad place to dwell) and the Earth school idea helps me see some meaning to life. It's the only way to reconcile all the truly horrific things this existence here on Earth is seemingly full of.

    A lot of people have a really hard time with some of my ideas, but the idea that we contract with others to accomplish whatever it is we came here to do helps me understand why something like rape, murder, genocide, even war have some sort of purpose in the large scheme of things. People have a hard time understanding why someone would ever want to experience being a victim of these things, or even the perpetrator, but to me it grants it a whole other level of purpose that we otherwise wouldn't have. Putting myself in that place, I can stand back in awe of what these spirits have chosen to experience. And who am I to question what another see's as best fitting for the evolution of their higher self anyway? This also seems to make sense too in the whole grand design. That from the beginning of time as we know it here, billions upon billions of souls have experienced, grown and evolved and for each one that does, not only do we humans here tend to learn something, but it seems as though this reverberates throughout all realms, planes, dimensions, whatever you want to call it. Such as the holocaust. We are all well aware of the reverberations throughout our space-time this event has caused, but what about beyond that? Millions of souls were involved with this event. The orchestration and performance of such a massive event boggles my mind and makes me think there was even far more to it than we humans want to give it credit for. It changed the world. It changed the progression of history. Perhaps it did more throughout the other worlds, dimensions, planes, what have you, than we know. Moreover, what would it have been like to be Adolf Hitler? I imagine myself in his place, as an eternal being knowing that you will do these things, have done those things. How did that change him as a being? If some of the near death experience accounts are to be taken as some truth, is he off in a dimension all his own absorbing, working through or perhaps punishing himself for what he helped precipitate? Is he evolved enough to know that this was for some greater good, even if we cannot see it that way from our tiny little immature perspective? Or did he come back as a dung-beetle?

    My question for you Don is this, what do the Yogic teachings have to say on the subject of serial killers, rapists, war lords, etc.?
     
  12. Hi Vault313!

    As someone who has experience with Hindu culture, I'd keep in mind the questionable role of yoga-"science" in dealing with the caste system as well as the pervasive misogyny in India today.

    That said, Hinduism does have an advantage in its diversity and open-endedness with regard to scripture. So you can find a powerful social justice current within its confines...though I suspect you might say the same of many religions.
     
  13. fire

    fire Guest

    If you are being attacked in a dream, what is your attitude while in the dream? What is your attitude when you have awoken and realized it was only a dream?
     
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  14. Vault313

    Vault313 New

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    Fire,

    Right! If all we experience is a grand illusion, then the all the fear, pain and worries are also illusions. But then would we not have to accept the flip side of that which is that all the good is as well? That's even harder to accept in some ways.
    So while I can somewhat easily pull my thoughts out to see the big picture and the illusory nature of the bad, it's harder to do the same for the good. I don't want to think that the beautiful moments of life were all illusions as well. But just like economics, there is no free lunch.
    One possibility that makes me feel a little better about that is the idea that those I love are much, much more than we are capable of perceiving in this reality. That their connection not just to me, but all of creation is far more extensive and maybe far more beautiful than I could ever imagine.

    Just as we all know only the tiniest bit of who we really are, we know infinitely less of these other souls that surround us.

    I find comfort in the idea that maybe upon the death of my physical body, I will see and know these beautiful souls as they fully are.

    Then again, maybe I am merely wishing for the beautiful dream after making it through this nightmare known as human existence.
     
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  15. Don DeGracia

    Don DeGracia New

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    Hi Vault 313. That wouldn't be your area code would it? :)

    Yeah, those are serious questions. Short answer: I don't know anything for sure. Am here like you and others trying to figure it out too. But overall, I agree with your general assessment. In Beyond the Physical, I present the idea that our souls are like atoms that form "molecules". I talk there about "social molecules", but you can apply it across all the realms. We all travel with a pack of souls in some kind of bond. And it is a "thing within thing within thing" arrangement. Our local group of souls is part of a greater group which is part of a greater group to God knows how far it extends. According to Leibniz, it encompasses all infinity.

    As to yoga and social injustice, it is taught to be compassionate to those less fortunate than you, to be friends with people at your level, and to look up and admire (and not be jealous of) those who are greater than you. As to should one get involved with "saving the world", they are pretty clear: no, you need to save yourself first. One can't help a drowning person if one is also drowning. The urge to be a social "do-gooder" can sometimes just be arrogance and "holy than thou" in disguise. Who is wise enough to know for sure? So, the idea is, don't be a source of bad stuff in the world yourself. Do what good you can do in your small little part of the world.

    I think it is practical advice, low key, not grandiose.

    As to what happened to Hitler. Based on my small travels in the inner planes, he is probably in their living out his grotesque fantasies. I agree with your "Earth School" view. Ol' Adolph will keep recycling until he cleans up his karma. He made a hell of a mess. But there is obviously something powerful about his soul. Who knows, maybe in his next life he will be the guy that figures out how to cure cancer, short circuiting much of the evil he generated in the Adolph life. Again, I have no idea!

    Also, thank you for the nice comments about the interview, and taking the time to read my stuff. That is very kind of you. And of course, I hope you do not agree with everything I say. That would make for very boring conversation! :)

    Anyway, nice to meet you Vault313. Thanks for popping in and sharing your ideas.

    Best,

    Don
     
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  16. Don DeGracia

    Don DeGracia New

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    That was a great rant, fire! Very befitting of your handle!

    Hehe, reminds me of a cynical thing me and my friends used to say in college about "sleeping people". We'd say: "Wake up! Wake up! Oh wait...go back to sleep, we're all better off..." It was a very cynical thing how we meant it. But funny in a cruel way too. Ah...found memories of my ignorant youth! :)

    You should check out my ebook Experience, I think you will find it highly consonant with the sentiments you express.

    Again, nice to meet you, Agni (hehe)

    Best,

    Don
     
  17. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I have to say that I think some sections of your book could do with some editing to crystallise what exactly you are saying. When you aren't sure yourself - as most of us aren't n this subject - it is better to say so clearly, and remain clear in presenting alternatives.

    David
     
  18. Don DeGracia

    Don DeGracia New

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    Well taken, David. I've gotten this comment from more than one person. I probably won't go back and redo BP though. I'll probably pursue the various topics in a more sophisticated manner going forward. Again, it's awesome that you had the stomach to read through it!

    Best,

    Don
     
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  19. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Thanks - I wondered afterwards if I had been a bit sharp! You have, of course, given us a lot of interesting ideas to mull over - including Philip Carter.

    I think you should have another go to describe total reality as you see it - whether in an updated BP or some other format. Perhaps you should also take into account a few other concepts - such as Rupert Sheldrake's morphic fields - and maybe think hard about how some of these ideas can be tested (bear in mind I am only half way through BP right now).

    David
     
  20. Don DeGracia

    Don DeGracia New

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    Hi David. Thanks for all the kind and supportive comments. It really does help. Well, I would consider Experience to represent my view of "total reality as I see it" right now. In contrast to BP, Experience may not seem as detailed in the particulars, but that is because I now have what I think is a better understanding of the whole picture, something I intuitively understood when I wrote BP, and is expressed in section 3 of BP, but was only a germ of understanding back then. Section 3 of BP has grown into Experience.

    As to the detailed particulars, that is why I am now emphasizing yoga. I believe their framework very effectively captures the particulars (the particular details of the inner realms), much as the periodic table of the elements is a structured way to capture the particulars of chemistry. Going forward, what I think would be most effective is try to find ways to expose and make more clear, in some sense that is only nebulous to me at the moment, the yogic methods. I think that would be most effective because, if the methods were more widely used, then more and more people would be in a position to study the nature of the inner planes.

    Anyway, that is kind of a summary of where my head is at currently.

    Again, David, thanks so much for the very thoughtful and helpful comments.

    My best wishes,

    Don
     

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