Mod+ 266. RICK ARCHER, CAN CONSCIOUSNESS CHANGE CULTURE?

#41
We can make things awkward for ourselves in future lives - by our present thoughts and actions to be sure, no question of that.
What drives evolution (more refined material forms) is the unfoldment of consciousness (more refined spiritual awareness).
Perhaps a key distinction is that evolution, as it comes to us through Darwin and his successors in science, is grounded in dualism. Natural selection functions through sexual reproduction which is the ultimate expression of duality. Thus, scientific evolution would follow along a biological lineage. Whereas, reincarnation, as presented in Hindu philosophy and recast by Rick Archer is grounded in non-dualism. In this sense, "Ourselves in future lives" may or may not be related to our parents, ancestry or lineage.

Rick was referencing consciousness evolution in non-dual terms. While Alex kept pressing him to contextualize it within the scientific paradigm and its presupposition of dualism.

This distinction may seem trivial or like splitting hairs, but I see it at the core of Skeptiko's message. Alex has said many, many times that "consciousness, in some way we don't fully understand, survives death." In every interview he is asking his guests to explore the implications of this finding in terms of their own work and research. Rick did not seem interested in relating his message to this core question outside of how it is answered in Eastern philosophy, and BATGP neo-Buddhism and neo-Hinduism.
 
#42
Reincarnation doesn't necessarily involve a linear progression of personal evolution. I could be more of an exploration... thousands of different experiences, maybe some are interconnected between lives and others aren't. As most of the evidence suggests.

This world may not be exactly a school as purported by new-age philosophy... To quote Bernardo Kastrup it seems more akin to a laboratory. And we're all just experimenting :)
 

AlexT

Administrator
#44
I'm simply acknowledging that changes are already happening right before our eyes. People aren't saying "we should," or "we shouldn't" MAKE a shift happen, they're just speculating whether these changes will some day hit a critical point, and a paradigm shift will happen. Based off of history, paradigm shifts usually happen when enough momentum has been built off of cultural/technological/philosophical changes.

Not sure what your counter-argument had to do with my other comment.
I think Rick is doing a lot of hoping re consciousness shift.
 

AlexT

Administrator
#45
Alex: (sorry- a bit off topic)
Have you interviewed William Buhlman? (probably the premier OBE guy on the planet)

If not, you should. He has a very nice way of removing the religious and even spiritual overtones from an OBE discussion.

Also- do you have a search feature on your site? (I couldn't find it) It would be really handy, esp considering that the interview text is on-line.
noted.
 

AlexT

Administrator
#46
Alex is not an easy interviewer and there are times when he pushes his viewpoint in such a way that it impedes his guest's narrative flow. Such was the case with Rick Archer. However, I have to applaud Alex in this case because Archer was mostly pedaling a lot of tired-out New Age platitudes that have lost their edge.
thx for this, but let me again praise Rick and his fantastic show. To use Rick's own words "if you don't like an episode just go on to the next." I think that applies here.

re the other stuff, pls keep in mind that I have no idea what I'm doing... I'm just trying to make all this stuff fit the best I can.
 

AlexT

Administrator
#47
In this interview Alex couldn't fully agree with Rick's story because isn't based on hard ground, but rather soft squishy somewhat spiritual notions. Nor could he disagree because what Rick was describing was symptomatically similar to Alex's world.
I disagree... I'm still grinding on #234. Big blindspots like this trouble me... make me question what else the person is missing. At the end of the day I know Rick will figure it out, but his "Republican v. Democrat" paradigm makes me question some of his underlying assumptions.
 
#48
re the other stuff, pls keep in mind that I have no idea what I'm doing... I'm just trying to make all this stuff fit the best I can.
Of course, and just because we can criticise, doesn't mean we could do better ourselves :)

However I think you can let interviewees put forward ideas that are probably wrong without necessarily correcting them. You have a sophisticated audience, and they do recognise the difference between your ideas and those of your guests!

Re evolution of consciousness - it is very hard to tell because the differences I see compared to when I was young, are undoubtedly partly due to the internet - it is hard to know if some of the change reflects something deeper.

David
 
#49
I disagree... I'm still grinding on #234. Big blindspots like this trouble me... make me question what else the person is missing. At the end of the day I know Rick will figure it out, but his "Republican v. Democrat" paradigm makes me question some of his underlying assumptions.
You should assess a person's statements on their area of expertise differently than you assess their statements on subjects outside their area of expertise. If you ask a movie star about making movies she will tell you something she knows about from direct experience, but if you ask her about politics she has no more authority than you do and will give you answers that are no more right or wrong than anyone else. Most people don't see their own ignorance, because ignorance is like a blind spot, you don't even know it's there.

This is why spiritual teachers should never comment on politics. It leads their followers to the idea that people who hold one belief are good and people who hold another belief are evil. A spiritual teacher should only ask his adherents to pray for the "highest good" - or something equivalent in their belief system - never for any particular outcome. This way everyone on all sides ends up with their intention supporting each other rather than pulling in different directions.

You can work for social change and political causes, but do it separately from your practice of spirituality.

Spiritual teachers are no different than any other person. They have an area of expertise and may have a lot to tell others about that subject. But they are not ethically or morally superior to other people (look at all the sex scandals involving spiritual teachers) and they are no authority in fields outside their area of expertise. When students get hurt by careless spiritual teachers, some of the blame usually belongs to the student as well as the teacher because part of the problem is that people like to fool themselves into worshiping idols. The student mistakenly cedes power to another equally fallible human being. This is one reason I think the enlightenment movement is fundamentally misguided. It elevates the teacher on a false pedestal. What does it tell you about enlightenment when an enlightened teacher misbehaves sexually?

Buddha taught meditation to the monks but when he spoke to householders, he spoke on morality and ethics. If they heeded his words, householders would be protected from enlightened teachers.
 
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#50
thx for this, but let me again praise Rick and his fantastic show. To use Rick's own words "if you don't like an episode just go on to the next." I think that applies here.

re the other stuff, pls keep in mind that I have no idea what I'm doing... I'm just trying to make all this stuff fit the best I can.
Alex,

That seems like a very good way to do it, to not have a preconceived idea of where you are going, but to learn from each interview as you go along and follow the data to wherever it leads.
;;/?

When you find contradictions, pointing them out clearly might be helpful to the rest of us. They might be clear to you because you are immersed in all the interviews but we are not necessarily in that deep nor do we all have the same level of interest in the exact same issues. You seem to have some opinions or questions but you don't necessarily like to state them explicitly. I wish you would because doing so would help us to understand the interviews better. You very often seem to try to make a statement by asking a question and I am left wondering what you are trying to say - because even though we agree on many points I think we have very different approaches to the issues - having a different perspective, I have difficulty following when you are being subtle.
 
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AlexT

Administrator
#51
Alex,

That seems like a very good way to do it, to not have a preconceived idea of where you are going, but to learn from each interview as you go along and follow the data to wherever it leads.
;;/?

When you find contradictions, it might help if you would clearly point them out to the rest of us. They might be clear to you because you are immersed in all the interviews but we are not necessarily in it that deep nor do we all have the same level of interest in the exact same issues. It seems to me that you have some opinions or questions but you don't necessarily like to state them explicitly. I wish you would do so, because it would help us to understand the interviews better. It seems to me that you very often try to make a statement by asking a question and I am left wondering what you are trying to say - because even though we agree on many points I think we have very different approaches to the issues - because I have a different perspective, it is hard for me to follow when you are being subtle.
I'm open to this feedback but would need some examples other than Rick's interview... which I think is rather unique given that we've formed a pretty close relationship over the last few years.
 
#52
I'm open to this feedback but would need some examples other than Rick's interview... which I think is rather unique given that we've formed a pretty close relationship over the last few years.
Alex,

How do you define enlightenment?

Why are you interested in the enlightenment movement?

Does enlightenment relate to other topics you've covered in the podcast? If so, how?

At the end of every podcast you ask one or more questions. Why don't you post your own opinions on those questions here in this forum?

At the end of a podcast, why don't you summarize the "take home lesson(s)" from the interview, what you think the interview shows, what you want the listener to "get" out of the podcast? How the podcast might relate to other skeptiko podcasts. Before the podcast you might say why you want to interview the person what points you think will be demonstrated by the interview. You might think all this is obvious, but when I read some of the transcripts I don't always understand why you would want to interview the person. But you seem to be doing interviews not just to fill air time like, for example, they do on coast to coast. You have a plan you are trying to follow - you ask questions not about the expertise of the person being interviewed but on subjects that interest you - and a plan like that that is very interesting, but I don't always follow what you are trying to do.

In most podcasts, the information being conveyed by the person being interviewed is the point of the podcast. A listener hears the podcast and he understands the point. But skeptico podcast is different. The point of a skeptiko podcast is how the views of the person being interviewed fit into a larger picture of the social phenomenon surrounding the issues covered in the podcast. And that is a bit subtle for the average listener, including me, to pick out on his own.

In your book, you explain the significance of the interviews you include in the book and explain how they fit into the bigger picture. Some of that type of insight would be helpful at the end of the podcast. I think you are trying to direct our thinking along those lines by the questions you ask at the end of the podcast, but it would be more helpful if you would state your own views.
 
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#53
me! Exposing the fact that our culture, and especially our science is enmeshed in this paradigm is a big part of my journey. And I think I have a long way to go.

For example, I just interviewed Michael Shermer -- he's defiantly one of "them" -- but I learned a lot from the interview and feel really excited about following up on some of the stuff that came out of it.

That's what's cool about Skeptiko... I get to follow the stuff I'm interested in.
Me too! One of my particular grouches about materialists is how they take the high "adult" ground and paint themselves as stoic pragmatists fronting up to the raw reality of a meaningless universe while painting any other viewpoint as feeble minded childish wishful thinking. I was recently reminded of this watching Brian Cox in his 'Human Universe' when he, talking directly into the camera passionately relates the wonders of the material universe (and it is) but then in the same breath equally passionately exclaims "..and its all meaningless!". As though one of the wonders of the universe is that it is meaningless to the humans that inhabit it. Makes me wonder why he called the show "Human Universe".
 

AlexT

Administrator
#54
How do you define enlightenment?
skeptiko definition: mind>brain
my personal definition: MIND>mind

Why are you interested in the enlightenment movement?
because it shows the many paths to MIND.

Does enlightenment relate to other topics you've covered in the podcast? If so, how?
once we get past Materialism it's the only game in town :)

At the end of a podcast, why don't you summarize the "take home lesson(s)" from the interview, what you think the interview shows, what you want the listener to "get" out of the podcast?
I usually don't figure this stuff out until later (if at all)... and interacting with you guys on the forum is a big part of my figuring out process. that's why I've toyed with the skeptiko 3.0 idea of getting more feedback sooner.
 

AlexT

Administrator
#55
Me too! One of my particular grouches about materialists is how they take the high "adult" ground and paint themselves as stoic pragmatists fronting up to the raw reality of a meaningless universe while painting any other viewpoint as feeble minded childish wishful thinking. I was recently reminded of this watching Brian Cox in his 'Human Universe' when he, talking directly into the camera passionately relates the wonders of the material universe (and it is) but then in the same breath equally passionately exclaims "..and its all meaningless!". As though one of the wonders of the universe is that it is meaningless to the humans that inhabit it. Makes me wonder why he called the show "Human Universe".
I feel ya... how is this any different than the kind of Jimmy Swaggert mesmerizing hucksterism that these guys rail against (wait... I guess Jimmy has passed the torch to his son... what's his name?).
 
#56
I feel ya... how is this any different than the kind of Jimmy Swaggert mesmerizing hucksterism that these guys rail against (wait... I guess Jimmy has passed the torch to his son... what's his name?).
Exactly.
As for the Swaggerts - like father like son is I suppose inevitable there. As a Christian Brother once said, 'Get them before they are 8 years old and you have them for life'. Chilling.
 
#57
Alex,

Why are you so parsimonious with words? You reply to posts like your modem is attached to a pay phone. This is part of my complaint. I don't mean to be arrogant but ... are you a slow typer, or posting from your phone/tablet ... because that might explain my confusion?
skeptiko definition: mind>brain
my personal definition: MIND>mind
Is everyone who read this now enlightenend?
What is MIND and what does mind>brain and MIND>mind have to do with enlightenement? It might be obvious to you but it isn't to me.
mind>brain, every one who believes in the afterlife is enlightened?
MIND>mind, everyone who experiences psi is enlightened?
because it shows the many paths to MIND.


once we get past Materialism it's the only game in town :)
What is the only game in town? mind>brain, MIND>mind, MIND?

I don't see enlightenment necessarily has anything to do with spirituality. If you are talking about MIND then I suppose even though you don't want to say it you mean enlightenment occurs when a person realizes through experience and observation that consciousness is the only thing that is real. Is that what you mean? Mostly this comes from observing mind during meditation.

So why do you think enlightenment is not explainable by materialism? How does one get enlightened and how does that process go past materialism?

A lot of people think enlightenment just means you are not selfish and you try to help other people. So it is important to explain your beliefs about enlightenment, your definition, how you get it, what happens when you have it, etc if you are going to try to make a point that it contradicts materialism.

I usually don't figure this stuff out until later (if at all)... and interacting with you guys on the forum is a big part of my figuring out process. that's why I've toyed with the skeptiko 3.0 idea of getting more feedback sooner.
Okay but you must have your own opinions on the questions you ask at the end of the show and you seem to have a plan when you invite someone to be on the podcast. You might get more out of our feedback if we knew what your perspective was.
 
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#58
Me too! One of my particular grouches about materialists is how they take the high "adult" ground and paint themselves as stoic pragmatists fronting up to the raw reality of a meaningless universe while painting any other viewpoint as feeble minded childish wishful thinking. I was recently reminded of this watching Brian Cox in his 'Human Universe' when he, talking directly into the camera passionately relates the wonders of the material universe (and it is) but then in the same breath equally passionately exclaims "..and its all meaningless!". As though one of the wonders of the universe is that it is meaningless to the humans that inhabit it. Makes me wonder why he called the show "Human Universe".
I wonder what would happen if someone asked him for a reference to the work which shows that the universe is meaningless!

David
 
#60
Credit to Alex for trying to keep Archer's utopianism in check.

Archer seems to think that in a world where most people are enlightened, or at least on the path to enlightenment, there'll be no need for government or laws. He agrees with the Daoists that in such a world people will just spontaneously, organically, intuitively and naturally do the right thing.

There are lots of things I hate about Christianity, but one thing I like is that it tends to have a pessimistic (I would say realistic) view of human nature. People will always be tempted by sex, wealth and power, and the dark side of human nature will always be with us, or at least until Jesus comes back or whatever.

True wisdom comes from recognizing this fact and not from denying it.
 
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