Mod+ 265. DR. GREGORY SHUSHAN ON CROSS-CULTURAL COMPARISON OF NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by John Maguire, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. John Maguire

    John Maguire New

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  2. Do spiritually transformative experiences suggest there is a universal morality?

    Yes, the information that comes through evidential mediums and NDErs is very similar, but there are some factors that can cloud the issue:

    1. Not everyone is at the same place in spiritual development and not everyone has the same needs regarding guidance on their life, so different people might get different messages. For example, one person might need to be more loving towards other people, and another person might need to stop trying to please everyone and take better care of herself. So you can find messages that seem to be contradictory when they are just messages for different individuals with different characteristics and different needs.

    2. Spiritual messages have to be constrained by what people are willing to believe. If a spiritual message is too far from what a person or group is willing to accept they will reject it. The people on the other side can't correct every inaccuracy in religious dogma because the message would be rejected by adherents and messenger would be ... you could say ... "crucified".

    3. Not everyone agrees on what "spiritual" means and what a "spiritually transformative experience" is. For example, some materialists have their own definition of spirituality and what they might consider a spiritually transformative experiences might be of a totally different sort than, for example an NDE, and it is not necessarily valid to include materialist spirituality in an analysis of spiritual spirituality.

    Also...(reposting because of its relevance here)
    From the transcript...
    I would like to hear more from the Gregory Sushan on this topic. What factors challenge metaphysical beliefs? Why do cultural differences contradict a materialist explanation? Halucinations and dreams have cultural differences don't they?
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  3. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the interview:

    Do spiritually transformative experiences, including near death experiences, suggest that there is a universal morality? That there is love as we think of it--a good that we can move towards or maybe even are drawn towards?
     
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  4. Regarding cross-cultural differences in the afterlife:
     
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  5. Alex

    Alex New

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    these are good questions. I hope you consider emailing him. pls let us know if you hear back.
     
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  6. Okay, I'll post here if I get a reply.
     
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  7. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    Well, if one ask my opinion whether NDEs and STEs have some universal moral message, my answer would be: yes and no - it depends on what you mean by "morality".

    I recognize two major - and mutually contradictory - meanings of this word; I will call them morality-1 and morality-2.

    Morality-1 is empathic lucidity, a deep trait of our psyche which allow us to feel connection with others and understand their significance. It is the need and intention of the positive transaction with other beings, to mutually reinforce happiness and to help overcome suffering. It is the will to bring the bliss of yours to the world and share it with others.

    Morality-2 is formal obedience, a docile following the rules which your tribe (whether it actually calls itself a "tribe" or uses some other name, such as "nation", "corporation", "country", "church", "societal order" or "public peace") are enforcing on you without your consent - and expects nothing but submission. Such rules may contradict morality-1 in the most obvious and shocking fashion, including demands to initiate violence in the name of morality-2.

    As Diane Corcoran, a President of IANDS, noted (and her words are echoed by other NDE researchers), NDErs have a doulbe effect on experincers: on one hand, they tend to become more compassionate and humanistic; on the other hand, they become much less obedient to formal rules and regulations - including allegedly "moral" ones - forced on them by society. They have a deeper and stronger sense of morality-1, and more liberated from the bonds of morality-2.

    Which is a desirable result, I suppose. In the fastly globalizing world, we have to develop some ethical vision which transcends tribal dogma. Otherwise we would be doomed to the cruel and meaningless cultural wars with no end in sight, since no tribal rule-set is superior to another one. And such vision, which might be loosely called "humanistic", is definitely empowered by the blissful transcendence of NDEs and STEs: if you perceived a glimpse of Ethernity, it is much harder not to see through the veil of arbitrary rules - and not to notice the living persons around you.
     
  8. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    I must confess that, because of the muddiness of the MP3, I missed a lot of this and didn't really connect with it. I'm not sure what Shushan is saying, really. But I'll definitely go with what Vortex is saying about the difference between inculcated and innate morality and the fact that NDEs seem to encourage the latter, although some people have it from birth to some degree or other.

    It kinda looks like experiencing an NDE accelerates the process of discovering innate morality: but if you already have it, maybe by not that much.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
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  9. JKMac

    JKMac New

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    The audio was so annoying (was he sitting inside a 55 gal drum?), after about 10 minutes I shut it off and moved on...
     
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  10. Alex

    Alex New

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    wow... very nice. when I talk about "morality" on Skeptiko I'm ususally juxtaposing it with this idea that we're just bilogical robots in a meaningless universe. So, while Dr. Shushan is being Oxford-careful about stepping too far beyond science's rigid boundries (understandable) I think it's good to look at how far past that NDEs take us.
     
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  11. Alex

    Alex New

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    yea sorry... he had a terrible mic. John is trying to fix now.
     
  12. Dominic Bunnell

    Dominic Bunnell New

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    According to the Skeptiko narrative, the dominant paradigm today is eliminativist materialism, and this is incredibly hard to change because it supports, and is supported by, the state and the military-industrial complex. We're the good guys and we're trying to remind people that they do actually have experiences, emotions, love and morality. If we can do this, maybe the whole evil system will come crashing down.

    As everybody here knows, I think every single part of this story is false or misleading, but a lot of people here do buy into this sort of thing.

    So how does postmodernism fit into all of this? Even though people have been talking about the death of postmodernism for years now, it's still very influential in anthropology, religious studies, sociology, history, women's studies, literary theory, and many other fields. It says that atheism and materialism are no better and no more true than any other ism. It has no time for the kind of dogmatism and closed-mindedness we hear from many of the skeptics and new atheists. Why would the powers that be allow such ideas to take over the social sciences?
     
  13. LoneShaman

    LoneShaman Member

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    Have not listened yet, a great subject.

    We also have to consider what love is. It seems many confuse it with personal desire. I can honestly say my conception of love changed dramatically after my own spiritual experiences. I saw all the problems of the world stemming from the absence of it. It is selfless, the heros journey. To my surprise, as I am not a christian, I had visions of the crucifiction that left me in tears. I understood the selfless sacrifice. Incredibly powerful.

    Changed my life, my family and friends are my riches and that to me is a true expression of sprituality. It is not about gaining magical powers.

    As for cultural perspectives, I have issues with the eastern philosophies view of detatchment. Some do have these higher selfless concepts of love like Buddhism, some even think it is an obstacle! Some seem to only relate it to desire and the spiritual goals are selfish IMO. Not just materialism but detatching from all things, relationships and even emotions has negative effects. Apathy for one. Like sticking your head in the sand, and denying your purpose here which is to contribute. You can see it in India, with all the suffering right outside supposed holy sites. Add karma and you remove compassion, as suffering is deserved from some previous wrong doing. A baby perhaps abandoned on the street would apparently deserve it. It is far too easy to lay blame this way, and removes responsibility or the moral obligation to intercede. At least a loving materialist would not abandon his or her husband or wife and children to seek selfish spiritual goals. You are doing it wrong is all I can say.

    It seems contrary to the message of NDE, and contrary to daily life. Ok off to listen.

    Edit. Some excellent points in the interview, Great job Alex!
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
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  14. Stephen Wright

    Stephen Wright New

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    The comment makes sounds like it a dating choice. My point of view is that it is deep-seeded intellectual prejudice this scholar faces. Science methodology is charged with the task of locating and mapping objective patterns. Bring the patterns forward and then let the analysis begin. "Who knows where they may lead?" -- should be the attitude.
     
  15. Judith

    Judith New

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    "I recognize two major - and mutually contradictory - meanings of this word; I will call them morality-1 and morality-2."

    As an NDE and OBE experiencer, that is definitely what happened to me....meaning they gave me a deeper understanding of Morality 1, and a general dismissal of societal "rules", many of which make no sense in light of a greater understanding of Morality1.
     
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  16. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    Well, I prefer transmodernism to postmodernism... What is "transmodernism"? A good and short explanation can be found here. I, personally, regard transmodernism as the forth, integral phase of mankind's ascension. It synthesizes the experiential unity of premodernism, social progress of modernism and intellectual relativity of postmodernism, overcoming the blunders and excesses of these three previous paradigms and harmonising their strengths and benefits.

    For an example of what I describe as "transmodernism", read a book of Robert Anton Wilson (Timothy Leary, John Lilly, Ralph Abraham, Terrence McKenna and Rupert Sheldrake are also good examples).
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
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  17. Alex

    Alex New

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    interesting... thx. I continue to feel like a lot of the Atheistic Buddhism is a misguided interpretation. You can't have karma and reincarnation without love... without a moral imperative.
     
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  18. Alex

    Alex New

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    re love... I found this interesting:
     
  19. DasMurmeltier

    DasMurmeltier New

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    Waaa.
    What are you talking about? Most people here are not suggesting that eleminative materialism is the mainstream paradigm. Materialism/physicalism is even mostly restricted to science anyways. Most of your average citizens are propably believing in god. They are not philosophical and they dont care about people like Chalmers, Dennett or whoever you want to pick. They just live their lifes and like it to be a bit mystical.
    We are mostly talking about a small part of the whole population here at all times. Like i wrote before, in science you will find materialism quite frequently since the system teaches materialistic knowledge and propoagandates it. But even among those materialists, most still believe that they have feelings, thoughts, whatever. They state that they believe in a paradigm that is stating that matter/the physical is the foundation to everything. I imagine most people would ask what the heck i actually want from them if i would ask them if they believe that their thoughts are a interaction between matter. Those guys just dont spend that many thoughts on that and i highly doubt that they care at all. Its just logical to them. Thats not because they blindly follow some sort of paradigm, its because not everyone wants to wade through the muddy ground of philosophy. They just leave it behind them at some point.

    Why do so many people here bother with elemantive materialism though? Because its the paradigm that contradicts psi and all that stuff the most. It states that even the things im experiencing now arent really there. And they state that clearly and rub in in the faces of proponents. And thats just human-like to show a reaction to that. Its also pretty common for humans to go for the enemy that seems to be the most dangerous one. Eleminative materialists are a rather small group, but they are loud and state clearly what they think. Thats all there is to that. Normal materialists that do still believe in feelings and all that stuff are still there. But they are mostly just wobbly and cant be pinned down as good as a eleminative materialist if they even care at all to discuss those things. Because most of them dont want to. They just want to live.
     
  20. LoneShaman

    LoneShaman Member

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    I think they all have some misguided interpretations. Sorry i missed the mark as far as the interview went on the religion thing. Those negative effects I mention could only happen if you deny the voice in you heart. I was really glad to hear the thoughts on the indigenous cultures as it is close to my own heart and way. I gave up looking for any answers from any organised religion, I really don't think I need it. I still am interested in them for historical and mythological reasons.

    I started listening to that show. That is an interesting style he has got there!
     

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