Mod+ 263. ALBERT LACHANCE AND REBECCA GOODWIN ON THE THIRD COVENANT

#61
I guess what I mean here is that I probably agree with about 80% of what the LaChances are saying, but it's that key 10-20% that is a total game-changer and the difference between agreement and endorsement, and vehement critique. I guess it's a question of who gets to define this "totally new thing" (or whatever you call it- Third Covenant just doesn't really have a lot of pizazz for me). I'm not sure if I'm saying that being divisive is a good thing, but real unresolvable difference seems to get thrown under the rug a lot and I don't think that difference forecloses certain similarities in whatever new frames of reference are being hinted at.
well said :)
 
#62
I find it a bit odd yet intriguing that NDE evidence suggests we retain this ego identification in that realm, at least for a while it seems.
great point and raises many questions. makes me leery of... well, of everybody... including Wilber. He says, "the point is that these are authentic spiritual experiences, but they are culturally molded". can we really say this? can we really pretend to know what "authentic spiritual experiences" are? His confidence about impossible to define/understand concepts is hard for me to endorse... then again, he's been a real pioneer in this area and maybe this comes from a different cultural angle.
 
#63
great point and raises many questions. makes me leery of... well, of everybody... including Wilber. He says, "the point is that these are authentic spiritual experiences, but they are culturally molded". can we really say this? can we really pretend to know what "authentic spiritual experiences" are? His confidence about impossible to define/understand concepts is hard for me to endorse... then again, he's been a real pioneer in this area and maybe this comes from a different cultural angle.
Could we agree that there are unusual experiences that seem to be influenced by personal and cultural conditioning--NDEs, for example? I suppose I'd have to agree it's conjectural to say that they're the result of filtering of "authentic spiritual experiences", whatever that really means. That said, if they're not spiritual, i.e. not evidence that there's more to existence than what we usually think of as the physical, what else might they represent? What might an inauthentic spiritual experience be? I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say: not dissing it, but genuinely trying to parse it.
 
#64
Could we agree that there are unusual experiences that seem to be influenced by personal and cultural conditioning--NDEs, for example? I suppose I'd have to agree it's conjectural to say that they're the result of filtering of "authentic spiritual experiences", whatever that really means. That said, if they're not spiritual, i.e. not evidence that there's more to existence than what we usually think of as the physical, what else might they represent? What might an inauthentic spiritual experience be? I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say: not dissing it, but genuinely trying to parse it.
I'm just saying that we might be getting back to the dogs discussing algebra thing. as soon as we acknowledge that there appear to be different level/dimensions of this and other realities we start to get a clue about how clueless we probably are.
 
#65
I'm just saying that we might be getting back to the dogs discussing algebra thing. as soon as we acknowledge that there appear to be different level/dimensions of this and other realities we start to get a clue about how clueless we probably are.
Maybe there are other levels/dimensions. On the other hand, maybe there's just a 1-level continuum that is perceived differently according to the state of consciousness of the perceiver, which is in turn influenced by the conditioning arising during period(s) of being in the ordinary state of consciousness we are familiar with--and, who knows, during period(s) of being in unusual states?

I don't know about dogs discussing algebra, but much beyond quadratic equations, I'm a woofer when it comes to maths, so I take your point. OTOH, isn't your show all about at least acknowledging that the physicalist view fails to explain a number of verifiable phenomena? It's inevitable I suppose that we tend to make hypotheses, and highly probable that we are still groping in the dark.

That said, there's utility even in the physicalist view: for some things, it can generate very good models. It'd be a bit harsh to say that there was no utility in formulating possible models to account for the non-physicalist viewpoint. As long as one doesn't become too attached to them and doesn't take them as gospel: just working hypotheses...
 
#66
great point and raises many questions. makes me leery of... well, of everybody... including Wilber. He says, "the point is that these are authentic spiritual experiences, but they are culturally molded". can we really say this? can we really pretend to know what "authentic spiritual experiences" are? His confidence about impossible to define/understand concepts is hard for me to endorse... then again, he's been a real pioneer in this area and maybe this comes from a different cultural angle.
I can definitely relate to the leery of everybody sentiment.
I guess we're stuck with the problem that we can't 'prove' any subjective experience - 'spiritual' or otherwise. All we have is that notion that because our own subjective states seem to reflect other people's subjective states so consistently, we generally allow ourselves to deduce that those subjective states are 'real' or authentic. I know that Wilber argues(particularly in his book The Marriage of Sense and Soul)that this applies to 'objective' science too, since science is ultimately experienced subjectively. This is where he makes his case that there is valid 'empirical' evidence for subjective and 'spiritual' realities.
First he argues that all 'empirical' evidence is experiential evidence. Then he posits three essential aspects for scientific inquiry:

1. Instrumental injunction."This is an actual practice, an exemplar, a paradigm, an experiment, an ordinance. It is always of the form "If you want to know this, do this."
2. Direct apprehension. "This is an immediate experience of the domain brought forth by the injunction; that is, a direct experience or apprehension of data (even if the data is mediated, at the moment of experience it is immediately apprehended)."
3. Communal confirmation (or rejection). "This is a checking of the results—the data, the evidence—with others who have adequately completed the injunctive and apprehensive strands"

His argument is that the contemplative spiritual traditions adhere to these same rules for validating truth claims as much as the physical sciences. You could easily extend that to NDE experience, too.

Of course, as I'm sure you are already thinking, that's a nice shot but the materialists like Dawkins etc. will have already dismissed all of this as unworthy of their consideration just by seeing the word "soul" on the cover of the book.
 
#67
Maybe there are other levels/dimensions. On the other hand, maybe there's just a 1-level continuum that is perceived differently according to the state of consciousness of the perceiver, which is in turn influenced by the conditioning arising during period(s) of being in the ordinary state of consciousness we are familiar with--and, who knows, during period(s) of being in unusual states?
maybe. I'm struck by the fact that so many come back and say, "I was able to ask any question and immediately know the answer." Seems like we're dumbed down over here, but that's pure speculation.

[/QUOTE]
That said, there's utility even in the physicalist view: for some things, it can generate very good models. It'd be a bit harsh to say that there was no utility in formulating possible models to account for the non-physicalist viewpoint. As long as one doesn't become too attached to them and doesn't take them as gospel: just working hypotheses...[/quote]
agreed... seems like it's what we are wired to do :)
 
#68
I can definitely relate to the leery of everybody sentiment.
I guess we're stuck with the problem that we can't 'prove' any subjective experience - 'spiritual' or otherwise. All we have is that notion that because our own subjective states seem to reflect other people's subjective states so consistently, we generally allow ourselves to deduce that those subjective states are 'real' or authentic. I know that Wilber argues(particularly in his book The Marriage of Sense and Soul)that this applies to 'objective' science too, since science is ultimately experienced subjectively. This is where he makes his case that there is valid 'empirical' evidence for subjective and 'spiritual' realities.
First he argues that all 'empirical' evidence is experiential evidence. Then he posits three essential aspects for scientific inquiry:

1. Instrumental injunction."This is an actual practice, an exemplar, a paradigm, an experiment, an ordinance. It is always of the form "If you want to know this, do this."
2. Direct apprehension. "This is an immediate experience of the domain brought forth by the injunction; that is, a direct experience or apprehension of data (even if the data is mediated, at the moment of experience it is immediately apprehended)."
3. Communal confirmation (or rejection). "This is a checking of the results—the data, the evidence—with others who have adequately completed the injunctive and apprehensive strands"

His argument is that the contemplative spiritual traditions adhere to these same rules for validating truth claims as much as the physical sciences. You could easily extend that to NDE experience, too.

Of course, as I'm sure you are already thinking, that's a nice shot but the materialists like Dawkins etc. will have already dismissed all of this as unworthy of their consideration just by seeing the word "soul" on the cover of the book.
Good points. And I agree with your point and Wilber terrific contribution in this area. He brings a certian clarity to things that is very appealing.

But I'm not sure how far we can extend Wilber's model beyond our reality. As Michael and I were discussing above, when the data you're getting back starts telling you there's stuff over there that you can't understand from over here it may be best to look at the limits of your model. The whole thing about Godel and incompleteness comes to mind.
 
#69
We can see how it goes. The problem with the old transcripts were the errors. I went thru a couple of different folks who did a pretty good job but there we always mistakes. I noticed this even more when I was writing the book. So, I decided to shift the transcript to more of a highlighting of key points and let the audio be the full interview. We're shooting for 30 of transcribed material... BTW I think this will free me up to have longer conversations.

Again, if it doesn't work we can change, but so far I like it better... i.e. it's what I would want as a listener.
I disagree with this but I can understand your points. Key reasons for complete transcripts:
-They are Google searchable (bringing more listeners to Skeptiko).
-They give you a resource to refer to without having to listen to the whole podcast again.
-They are useful for quoting.

So, I vote full transcripts even with errors though I can definitely see it is more work for you.
 
#70
LaChance says (quoted from the transcript)

That vision, the first vision was a cosmic Star of David.
-Some may recall that Nick Bunick's experience involved a piece of paper with 444 and other things written on it. If you read Nick's book, you will also learn that it also contained two intersecting tetrahedrons (star tetrahedron) which is a 3 dimensional Star of David.
See (http://www.skeptiko.com/122-reincarnation-of-apostle-paul-nick-bunick-scrutinized/)
-I have a friend who has had at least 2 visions. One was of a star tetrahedron and the other I can't share but I can tell you it was mighty interesting.
 
#71
This seems contradictory to what I understand about traditional notions of reincarnation like in Buddhism, where that sense of a personal, historical 'me' is dropped with the physical existence.
If Buddhists talk about the 14th Dalai Lama, then clearly some history is being retained. Can you point to a specific Buddhist text from which you are getting your opinion as to their views of reincarnation?

Generally on Skeptiko there is an absence of deeply informed views on specific religions.
 
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#72
As there is no permanent, unchanging substance, nothing passes from one moment to the next. So quite obviously, nothing permanent or unchanging can pass or transmigrate from one life to the next.
Walpola Rahula What the Buddha Taught

Buddhists believe in a concept called anatta or no-self. According to this concept, when you examine the activity of the mind you see constant change - there is nothing permanent so there cannot be anything like a self. If you take a car apart you have a pile of parts but no car-ness can be found anywhere. They assert the same is true for a person. While there is no self in a living mind, that stream of constant change that we call a mind can continue into the afterlife and be reborn into a body. It is explained by the analogy of one candle being lit from another. There is nothing in the new candle that has anything to do with the old candle except a transfer of energy that continues a stream of cause and effect.

http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/buddhism/third_patriarch_zen.html

The Third Patriarch of Zen
Verses on the Faith Mind

Do not search for the truth;
only cease to cherish opinions.
do not remain in the dualistic state.
Avoid such pursuits carefully.
If there is even a trace of this and that,
of right and wrong,
the mind-essence will be lost in confusion.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.059.than.html
Pañcavaggi Sutta: Five Brethren
(aka: Anatta-lakkhana Sutta: The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic)

...
But precisely because consciousness is not self, consciousness lends itself to dis-ease.
...
"Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'
Buddha taught that attachments and aversions are the cause of problems in life. Giving up attachments including attachment to self is part of the way to eliminate these problems. The concept of anatta was how Buddha tried to get people to give up their attachment to self. Why should anyone take pride or feel ownership in an impersonal stream of cause and effect?

Anyone who gets frustrated debating on this forum has experienced the type of problem Buddha was trying to eliminate with the concept of anatta. If you are not attached to self you have no emotional attachment to being right. You can still debate if you like to, but without attachment to self it would not be frustrating. To take effect these teachings often have to be learned through experience in addition to intellectual understanding. Meditation, watching the activity of the mind, is helpful in experiencing the truth of the teachings.
 
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#73
<snip>

The main topic I wanted to raise here though, is this issue of detail. The positions are pretty clear when skeptics come on the show, really firmly identified people like McCormack, or researchers who mostly address their work. But when there's this more nuanced sense of overlap in beliefs, the real challenges begin as a listener. I guess what I mean here is that I probably agree with about 80% of what the LaChances are saying, but it's that key 10-20% that is a total game-changer and the difference between agreement and endorsement, and vehement critique. I guess it's a question of who gets to define this "totally new thing" (or whatever you call it- Third Covenant just doesn't really have a lot of pizazz for me). I'm not sure if I'm saying that being divisive is a good thing, but real unresolvable difference seems to get thrown under the rug a lot and I don't think that difference forecloses certain similarities in whatever new frames of reference are being hinted at.
A bit slow, but I've just got around to listening to this interview!
I am a little surprised that so few have commented on the details of this interview: mainly David Eire, Michael Larkin, Saiko and Tola Brennan (above).

But, I agree, the real content seems to be missing here.
What exactly IS the Third Covenant? What IS the 'totally new thing'?
Maybe they say it is all the basis of experience, but surely they can use SOME symbols to explain what they are talking about?
Is the way to unity really to remove all cognitive content so that there is nothing to disagree about?
 
#74
If Buddhists talk about the 14th Dalai Lama, then clearly some history is being retained. Can you point to a specific Buddhist text from which you are getting your opinion as to their views of reincarnation?

Generally on Skeptiko there is an absence of deeply informed views on specific religions.
I just noticed that Jim Smith gave references in response to your question, but here is another from the 19th century compilation from a variety of Buddhist texts by Paul Carus:

The Tathagata meditated deeply on the problems of transmigration and karma, and found the truth that lies in them. "The doctrine of karma, he said, is undeniable, but the theory of the ego has no foundation. Like everything else in nature, the life of man is subject to the law of cause and effect. The present reaps what the past has sown, and the future is the product of the present. But there is no evidence of the existence of an immutable ego-being, of a self which remains the same and migrates from body to body. There is rebirth but no transmigration.

"I observe the preservation and transmission of character; I perceive the truth of karma, but see no atman whom your doctrine makes the doer of your deeds. There is rebirth without the transmigration of a self. For this atman, this self, this ego in the 'I say' and in the 'I will' is an illusion. If this self were a reality, how could there be an escape from selfhood? The terror of hell would be infinite, and no release could be granted. The evils of existence would not be due to our ignorance and wrong-doing, but would constitute the very nature of our being.
 
#75
The doctrine of karma, he said, is undeniable, but the theory of the ego has no foundation. Like everything else in nature, the life of man is subject to the law of cause and effect. The present reaps what the past has sown, and the future is the product of the present. But there is no evidence of the existence of an immutable ego-being, of a self which remains the same and migrates from body to body. There is rebirth but no transmigration.

"I observe the preservation and transmission of character; I perceive the truth of karma, but see no atman whom your doctrine makes the doer of your deeds. There is rebirth without the transmigration of a self. For this atman, this self, this ego in the 'I say' and in the 'I will' is an illusion. If this self were a reality, how could there be an escape from selfhood? The terror of hell would be infinite, and no release could be granted. The evils of existence would not be due to our ignorance and wrong-doing, but would constitute the very nature of our being.
Jim_Smith said:
Buddhists believe in a concept called anatta or no-self. According to this concept, when you examine the activity of the mind you see constant change - there is nothing permanent so there cannot be anything like a self. If you take a car apart you have a pile of parts but no car-ness can be found anywhere. They assert the same is true for a person. While there is no self in a living mind, that stream of constant change that we call a mind can continue into the afterlife and be reborn into a body. It is explained by the analogy of one candle being lit from another. There is nothing in the new candle that has anything to do with the old candle except a transfer of energy that continues a stream of cause and effect.
Michael, I think Jim's quote and your quote show that in Buddhism it is not that the 'me' is dropped with physical existence, rather the ego is an illusion, even in your current existence.

I believe that certain Buddhist principles require advanced meditative experience beyond intellectual reasoning.

There are also different schools of thought in Buddhism. Theravada does not recognize the Boddhisattva of Mahayana, so they maynot agree with multiple incarnations of an enlightened being (i.e. of future incarnations following enlightenment).
 
#76
To extract useful information from NDEs you have to consider all of them not just one, and you have to understand that any one in particular may be tailored for an individual and not necessarily contain information that should be applied by everyone. But, just as it is rude for religious fundamentalists to go around trying force their views on other people, it is also rude to for a student of NDEs to try to force his analysis of multiple NDE reports on any particular experiencer. It is hubris for us incarnated people to think we can give someone spiritual knowledge that is superior to what the people on the other side tell him.
http://drmaryneal.com/about-dr-mary-neal.html
Dr. Mary Neal is a board-certified orthopaedic spine surgeon who drowned while kayaking on a South American river. She experienced life after death. She went to heaven and back, conversed with Jesus and experienced God's encompassing love. She was returned to Earth with some specific instructions for work she still needed to do. Her life has been one filled with the miracles and intervention of God. Her story gives reason to live by faith and is a story of hope.
http://drmaryneal.com/faq.html
I believe Jesus was holding me, comforting me, and reassuring me when I was drowning. I also believe that it was with Jesus I was conversing when sitting in the beautiful field during my out-of-body experiences.
...
I believe Jesus was holding me when I was still underwater. At that point, I heard him speaking to me, but did not see him. I believe it was Jesus with whom I was conversing when in the sun-kissed field during my later out of body experiences. He was sitting on a rock while I was sitting on the ground and, like the people who led me down the path to Heaven, he was wearing some sort of flowing robe and exploded with beauty and brilliance. His hair was long. His features were indistinct. I don’t know how to describe this but my greatest impression of his appearance was that of love (yes, I realize we don’t typically “see” love, but like I said, I don’t know how to describe this phenomenon of “seeing” something we would normally “feel”). He conveyed the impression of complete love, compassion, kindness, and infinite patience.
...
The absolute knowledge that God is real, has a plan for each of us, and that there really is life after death changed the way I experience each day.
...
I also know that God loves all people deeply and unconditionally…even those people who I may not like or agree with. It motivates me to try to see the beauty in them that God sees.
...
Not everyone has a profound spiritual experience such as a near-death experience, but taking the time to really look at the patterns of your everyday life and noting how events seem to unfold in a manner that is unlikely a result of chance allows any person of faith to begin to see God working in their own life.
...
Complete trust that God has a beautiful plan that is one with a hope and a future allows me, and each of us, to face challenges with confidence and courage, even when the plan and its beauty seems hidden.
"Complete trust that God has a beautiful plan that is one with a hope and a future allows me, and each of us, to face challenges with confidence and courage, even when the plan and its beauty seems hidden."
 
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