An Inconsistency in Experiences

#1
After many months of catching up on the literature regarding mediumship, OBEs, NDEs, and etc. I was surprised to see a fair amount of consistency among all the accounts, especially concerning out of body experiences. After having experiences of my own, I have no doubts that these anomalous phenomena occur.

I've finally gotten around to Tom Campbell's work with his "My Big TOE" and how everything can be explained in terms of virtual reality. In this framework, most of the anomalous phenomena can be explained somewhat well. However, there are some inconsistencies that do occur in the theory that I have not seen addressed elsewhere when the theory runs into other accounts of out of body experiences and perceptions other than Campbell's own.

Namely, in Campbell's idea of a "saved entity." Essentially, what a "saved entity" is, to my understanding, is the universal database (same idea as the akashic records) mimicking a deceased/discarnate being (could be a relative, spouse, etc.) in the afterlife realms. Campbell believes that during NDEs, mediumship, and OBEs, it is not actually the consciousness (or the essence, soul, of a person, same thing) communicating or interacting with the individual experiencing the OBE/NDE, but is in fact the universal database creating a mechanistic replica, or an illusion, of the discarnate to provide comfort. Campbell claims in his experiences the entities he encountered in his OBEs (his deceased relatives) were mechanistic, soulless beings and illusions, rather than the real consciousness of the individual.

Cyrus Kirkpatrick's (OBEr) critique of Campbell's view can be found here (http://afterlifetopics.com/tom-campbell/ ).

In other out of body experiencer's accounts, they are sure they are communicating with the actual consciousness of the deceased and frequently report how they have checked in on them over the years to see how they have "progressed" on their journeys (Robert Bruce, Jurgen Ziewe, Graham Nicholls, etc. all report this phenomena), which would seem to me at least, in contradiction with Campbell's idea of saved entities (why would they do this? why not just stay the same?). Additionally, Julie Bieschel's mediumship research strongly suggests (from the medium's own accounts) that retrieving psychic information from the living (which they likened to retrieving information from the akashic records) is starkly different from communicating with the dead in their experience (they insist that they really do communicate with the deceased's consciousness).

To be fair to Campbell's theory, some NDE accounts do support his view, where the NDEr will say that the deceased relative (typically greeted by a singular relative, not a family) is "God" in disguise and takes on a form comfortable to the person. However, there are other NDE accounts where the person is positive it was their deceased relatives and in some cases sees people that they have no idea were dead at the time of their NDE, which seems to refute the latter (if the goal is to make the NDEr more comfortable, you'd think it'd be best to not shock them with the recent death of their friend they haven't talked to in a few years).

So the question comes down to, is it the universal database replicating the deceased or is it the real consciousness of the individual interacting in NDEs, OBEs, mediumship, etc.?

An even better question to contemplate and discuss, I think, is where the heart of Campbell's real interpretation lies, which is that these "afterlife realms" do not have objectivity to them in the sense that they do not hold a "consensus reality" similar to the physical world. They are in fact, subjective experiences (but real to the individual nonetheless) that are generated by the universal database to facilitate "evolution" in the individual experiencing it. I have heard how OBErs sometimes can meet each other in the astral and discuss what happened after the experience in the physical world together, which would negate the viewpoint of "subjective experience" entirely, but I have not personally seen any accounts of these myself to say one way or the other.

Do these realms really do have a "consensus reality"(meaning communities or worlds that the authentic consciousness of individuals or "souls" come together and reside in for however long they wish) or is it all an illusion generated by the universal database/akashic records for the individual, ultimately for Campbell's "evolutionary purposes"?

While it may seem clear to some, to avoid any confusion on the concept of what a "consensus reality" is, what I mean is what Jurgen Ziewe (http://www.multidimensionalman.com/...r_death_-_a_description_of_the_afterlife.html "consensus environments") and other astral travelers and mediums assert; that there is objectivity in these realms and consensus environments where the deceased entities come together in these realms (exactly as how our world works, but in an extended consciousness realm), in the sense that the deceased entities are indeed the authentic, irreducible consciousness or souls of the individuals whom are deceased (their "self"in their entirety) and not an illusory machination put together by Campbell's universal database (akashic records). Hope that clarifies what the contextual definition is!

Thanks for any input and discussion! :)
 
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#2
After many months of catching up on the literature regarding mediumship, OBEs, NDEs, and etc. I was surprised to see a fair amount of consistency among all the accounts, especially concerning out of body experiences. After having experiences of my own, I have no doubts that these anomalous phenomena occur.

I've finally gotten around to Tom Campbell's work with his "My Big TOE" and how everything can be explained in terms of virtual reality. In this framework, most of the anomalous phenomena can be explained somewhat well. However, there are some inconsistencies that do occur in the theory that I have not seen addressed elsewhere when the theory runs into other accounts of out of body experiences and perceptions other than Campbell's own.

Namely, in Campbell's idea of a "saved entity." Essentially, what a "saved entity" is, to my understanding, is the universal database (same idea as the akashic records) mimicking a deceased/discarnate being (could be a relative, spouse, etc.) in the afterlife realms. Campbell believes that during NDEs, mediumship, and OBEs, it is not actually the consciousness (or the essence, soul, of a person, same thing) communicating or interacting with the individual experiencing the OBE/NDE, but is in fact the universal database creating a mechanistic replica, or an illusion, of the discarnate to provide comfort. Campbell claims in his experiences the entities he encountered in his OBEs (his deceased relatives) were mechanistic, soulless beings and illusions, rather than the real consciousness of the individual.

Cyrus Kirkpatrick's (OBEr) critique of Campbell's view can be found here (http://afterlifetopics.com/tom-campbell/ ).

In other out of body experiencer's accounts, they are sure they are communicating with the actual consciousness of the deceased and frequently report how they have checked in on them over the years to see how they have "progressed" on their journeys (Robert Bruce, Jurgen Ziewe, Graham Nicholls, etc. all report this phenomena), which would seem to me at least, in contradiction with Campbell's idea of saved entities (why would they do this? why not just stay the same?). Additionally, Julie Bieschel's mediumship research strongly suggests (from the medium's own accounts) that retrieving psychic information from the living (which they likened to retrieving information from the akashic records) is starkly different from communicating with the dead in their experience (they insist that they really do communicate with the deceased's consciousness).

To be fair to Campbell's theory, some NDE accounts do support his view, where the NDEr will say that the deceased relative (typically greeted by a singular relative, not a family) is "God" in disguise and takes on a form comfortable to the person. However, there are other NDE accounts where the person is positive it was their deceased relatives and in some cases sees people that they have no idea were dead at the time of their NDE, which seems to refute the latter (if the goal is to make the NDEr more comfortable, you'd think it'd be best to not shock them with the recent death of their friend they haven't talked to in a few years).

So the question comes down to, is it the universal database replicating the deceased or is it the real consciousness of the individual interacting in NDEs, OBEs, mediumship, etc.?

An even better question to contemplate and discuss, I think, is where the heart of Campbell's real interpretation lies, which is that these "afterlife realms" do not have objectivity to them in the sense that they do not hold a "consensus reality" similar to the physical world. They are in fact, subjective experiences (but real to the individual nonetheless) that are generated by the universal database to facilitate "evolution" in the individual experiencing it. I have heard how OBErs sometimes can meet each other in the astral and discuss what happened after the experience in the physical world together, which would negate the viewpoint of "subjective experience" entirely, but I have not personally seen any accounts of these myself to say one way or the other.

Do these realms really do have a "consensus reality" or is it all an illusion generated by the universal database/consciousness for Campbell's "evolutionary purposes"?

Thanks for any input and discussion! :)

Hi Nos,
I think you ask a great question - and I think that the honest answer is that we could never know the difference between pure info in the Akashic record (if there is such a thing) versus living souls individual identities, intent, personal memories, etc. . In fact, what would the difference really be? It seems it would be a matter of nuance only. Furthermore, the question is really getting at the nature of being alive and who we really are. Very tough to answer and many assumptions that need to be parsed out. These are questions of the ages.

My own personal OBEs have convinced me that my consciousness can be very much aware and processing info separate from my physical body - and even separate from the time matrix I usually inhabit. I came to this conclusion after proving beyond what could be coincidence, subconscious cues, subconscious memories or other normal means that I had obtained detailed accurate information, while "out of body".

Therefore, I am convinced that it is possible for a soul/consciousness/personality to survive bodily death. I realize that it could be argued that having a valid OBE while "alive" doesn't mean that one survives death (i.e. the living physical body is still necessary for awareness, even if it is temporarily separate). But it sure makes it a heck of a lot more probable.

Also, I am not convinced at all that anything leaves the body when experiencing an OBE. I think that is an inappropriate paradigm. To my mind, it is all about the focus of awareness. This would be something of an idealist position. When awareness is focused on this world, we have a body. When it is focused on some other dimension, we don't have a body (or have some other form of body).

Then there is my own highly evidential sitting with a top notch medium (went in totally masqued as to identity, no fishing, no cold reading techniques, medium just began firing off a conversation from the deceased as if she was the deceased. Lots of highly personal details of actual events in the past that no one could have known about via normal means, etc).

In this séance, my father came through. he had passed away approximately six months prior to the event. His idiosyncratic personality was very much as it was in life. He was concerned about some things he was observing in my life and he told me what he thought about it in no uncertain terms. He accurately described some of these things in detail. He stated that he intended to set me straight. Now, one could say that the medium was employing some kind of psi to tap into Akashic records and, again using psi, correlated those records with my own inner sense of things. However, it sure didn't feel like impersonal information being delivered to me. There was an urgency and intensity to the delivery. There was agency in my father's persona (he was a prize fighter, Marine and then trial lawyer - a tough no-nonsense guy with strict codes of honor and demeanor - and that is definitely what came through. He was busting my balls over a few matters. Something he was wont to do in real life).

After my father had his say for a bout a half hour - my mother's spirit came through (I think as a counter balance to my father - something she did in life). My mother had died in a tragic and unusual accident when I was still relatively young. She had been deceased a long time (25 years) by 2012 when this séance happened. Her personality was a little less like her as I remember her. When she first came through, the medium stated, "Your mother is here now and wants to say a few things to you, but she says she really doesn't know how to do this". I am sure that it was my mother, though. She also provided some detailed statements containing personal information as proof of who she was. So, why would an Akashic record say that it didn't really know how to do this (this = communicate across the veil)? I don't think it would. My mother only spoke for a few minutes at the end of which the medium began crying; tears pouring down her face. I got worried and the medium assured me that she wasn't crying, it was my mother that was crying because she knew what a profound life changing event (some of it not good) her death was for me (true for reasons I won't get into). Would an Akashic record be that emotional.

I swear on her grave that what I am reporting here is 100% true with no embellishments (actually, I'm holding back on a lot).

Of course, it is possible that when having these experiences, that sometimes you get living souls and sometimes you get Akashic records. It need not be all one or the other.

IMO, it is mistake to think that the other dimensions are of a type. What if we are co-creating the world; this one and those beyond it? Then what we find is limited only by our focus, energy and imagination.
 
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#3
Hi Nos,
I think you ask a great question - and I think that the honest answer is that we could never know the difference between pure info in the Akashic record (if there is such a thing) versus living souls individual identities, intent, personal memories, etc. . In fact, what would the difference really be? It seems it would be a matter of nuance only. Furthermore, the question is really getting at the nature of being alive and who we really are. Very tough to answer and many assumptions that need to be parsed out. These are questions of the ages.

My own personal OBEs have convinced me that my consciousness can be very much aware and processing info separate from my physical body - and even separate from the time matrix I usually inhabit. I came to this conclusion after proving beyond what could be coincidence, subconscious cues, subconscious memories or other normal means that I had obtained detailed accurate information, while "out of body".

Therefore, I am convinced that it is possible for a soul/consciousness/personality to survive bodily death. I realize that it could be argued that having a valid OBE while "alive" doesn't mean that one survives death (i.e. the living physical body is still necessary for awareness, even if it is temporarily separate). But it sure makes it a heck of a lot more probable.

Also, I am not convinced at all that anything leaves the body when experiencing an OBE. I think that is an inappropriate paradigm. To my mind, it is all about the focus of awareness. This would be something of an idealist position. When awareness is focused on this world, we have a body. When it is focused on some other dimension, we don't have a body (or have some other form of body).

Then there is my own highly evidential sitting with a top notch medium (went in totally masqued as to identity, no fishing, no cold reading techniques, medium just began firing off a conversation from the deceased as if she was the deceased. Lots of highly personal details of actual events in the past that no one could have known about via normal means, etc).

In this séance, my father came through. he had passed away approximately six months prior to the event. His idiosyncratic personality was very much as it was in life. He was concerned about some things he was observing in my life and he told me what he thought about it in no uncertain terms. He accurately described some of these things in detail. He stated that he intended to set me straight. Now, one could say that the medium was employing some kind of psi to tap into Akashic records and, again using psi, correlated those records with my own inner sense of things. However, it sure didn't feel like impersonal information being delivered to me. There was an urgency and intensity to the delivery. There was agency in my father's persona (he was a prize fighter, Marine and then trial lawyer - a tough no-nonsense guy with strict codes of honor and demeanor - and that is definitely what came through. He was busting my balls over a few matters. Something he was wont to do in real life).

After my father had his say for a bout a half hour - my mother's spirit came through (I think as a counter balance to my father - something she did in life). My mother had died in a tragic and unusual accident when I was still relatively young. She had been deceased a long time (25 years) by 2012 when this séance happened. Her personality was a little less like her as I remember her. When she first came through, the medium stated, "Your mother is here now and wants to say a few things to you, but she says she really doesn't know how to do this". I am sure that it was my mother, though. She also provided some detailed statements containing personal information as proof of who she was. So, why would an Akashic record say that it didn't really know how to do this (this = communicate across the veil)? I don't think it would. My mother only spoke for a few minutes at the end of which the medium began crying; tears pouring down her face. I got worried and the medium assured me that she wasn't crying, it was my mother that was crying because she knew what a profound life changing event (some of it not good) her death was for me (true for reasons I won't get into). Would an Akashic record be that emotional.

I swear on her grave that what I am reporting here is 100% true with no embellishments (actually, I'm holding back on a lot).

Of course, it is possible that when having these experiences, that sometimes you get living souls and sometimes you get Akashic records. It need not be all one or the other.

IMO, it is mistake to think that the other dimensions are of a type. What if we are co-creating the world; this one and those beyond it? Then what we find is limited only by our focus, energy and imagination.
Hi Eric,

That is quite an incredible experience! Thank you for sharing that, it really paints a picture of how the deceased act and how it seems to be very different from any type of akashic record.

Indeed, it would be quite odd for a universal database to act as if it did not have the information to know how to talk across the veil.

The nuance I find would be the concept of individual agency (free will, intent, etc.) I suppose, as opposed to a "hive mind" collective consciousness field. If its an akashic record then there would not be the "conscious agent" or the "soul" performing the act, which in my mind at least implies that the consciousness is in a way, dissolved or merged, or at the very least, lost individual agency.

It seems to me based on your mediumship experience combined with OBE experience (consciousness is independent of the body or fundamental), that it makes more sense that it would be the deceased communicating rather than the collective. After all, we know consciousness survives physical body death, so it seems likely it is that authentic individual expressing themselves. As aforementioned, the point stands as to why a record that knows "everything" would fail to know how to effectively communicate across the veil. The only real argument one could make is that it was the record employing manipulation so well it was acting as if it lacked that information to seem more credible.

Personally, that argument makes no logical sense to me as the universal database (akashic record, etc) is commonly known to show unconditional love, etc, so why would it do something that is seemingly sinister? It seems more of a handwave rather than a real argument as one could put literally anything under that umbrella much like "super-psi".

I suppose the question would be to ask then is if these individual consciousness agents, or really the very same irreducible "essence" of a person we interact with here in the physical (what we refer to as the "self"), can truly interact with each other on the "other side" and what that consensus reality might look like and why Campbell's model fails to account for that (instead proclaiming it is all subjective and illusory ultimately, that those on the other side are not authentic).
 
#4
Hi Nos,
You're seeing it like I am. But, like I said, that is just my experience. A single data point for you.

But yeah, as you intelligently ask, why would Akashic records do some of the things that spirits do? Akashic records and super psi seem like the less parsimonious answer. Where is the proof that these records exist? I mean, I happen to have reason to believe that everything is knowable via psi, but that doesn't mean that there are these "records" that behave the way people want them to; imitating dead people, etc

About that séance - I only went to a highly recommended medium because I thought I had to. My opinion was that mediumship is real based on what I read about research, but that most mediums are frauds, quacks or just kind of lame. After the experience I described, w ith my interest piqued, I tried out some other mediums, and they stunk. But this one medium is the real deal and others, whose intelligence and integrity I respect, had had similar high quality sittings with her.

The reason I felt that I needed to see a good medium was that after my father died - a couple months after - there were strange happenings in my house. Loud bangs and knocks, loud footsteps, objects disappearing, objects being found in odd places. I was pretty sure that my father's passing had something to do with the phenomena. It had never happened before and it stopped a little while after the séance; never to happen again over several years since. Would Akashic records bang around one's house? My father's spirit said, with no prompting or questioning from me, that he had been trying to get my attention and had been doing these things. He was very specific about the objects that had move or disappeared. He wanted me to know for sure that he had done it. Again, no questions from the medium and me not offering clues. My wife, who was an ardent skeptic with regards to ghosts, spirits, mediums and even OBEs (she'd always roll her eyes when I talked about it) was with me and she became an instant believer. This was in 2012. She is still a believer and has done a lot of research to understand these matters better. She's a well educated smart woman with a definite suspicious side when it comes to human claims of anything unusual. She has learned to OBE since then.

I never encountered entities or spirits while OBEing. I did have convos with living people - psychically - which proved to contain true info. Like I was talking to their soul and they were telling me what they were really up to (secretly) and then came to be revealed because I knew what to look for by way of evidence. When confronted, they confessed. For example, someone was using drugs. I knew where they were obtaining them and where to look for the hidden paraphernalia. I knew why they were using the drugs. I was able to assist that individual to stop using the drugs and to stay out of trouble. In one case, for sure, the person knew I was accessing him while OBE and could later tell me the "dream" convo we had, which matched almost perfectly with what recorded in my notes. That said, I cannot speak to conversing with spirits/souls of deceased people while OBEing. I have heard/read all kinds of wild reports from others on that topic. Seems like a mixed bag to me.
 
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#5
In this séance, my father came through. he had passed away approximately six months prior to the event. His idiosyncratic personality was very much as it was in life. He was concerned about some things he was observing in my life and he told me what he thought about it in no uncertain terms. He accurately described some of these things in detail. He stated that he intended to set me straight. Now, one could say that the medium was employing some kind of psi to tap into Akashic records and, again using psi, correlated those records with my own inner sense of things. However, it sure didn't feel like impersonal information being delivered to me. There was an urgency and intensity to the delivery. There was agency in my father's persona (he was a prize fighter, Marine and then trial lawyer - a tough no-nonsense guy with strict codes of honor and demeanor - and that is definitely what came through. He was busting my balls over a few matters. Something he was wont to do in real life).

After my father had his say for a bout a half hour - my mother's spirit came through (I think as a counter balance to my father - something she did in life). My mother had died in a tragic and unusual accident when I was still relatively young. She had been deceased a long time (25 years) by 2012 when this séance happened. Her personality was a little less like her as I remember her. When she first came through, the medium stated, "Your mother is here now and wants to say a few things to you, but she says she really doesn't know how to do this". I am sure that it was my mother, though. She also provided some detailed statements containing personal information as proof of who she was. So, why would an Akashic record say that it didn't really know how to do this (this = communicate across the veil)? I don't think it would. My mother only spoke for a few minutes at the end of which the medium began crying; tears pouring down her face. I got worried and the medium assured me that she wasn't crying, it was my mother that was crying because she knew what a profound life changing event (some of it not good) her death was for me (true for reasons I won't get into). Would an Akashic record be that emotional.
Good stuff. Thanks Eric! ;;/?
 
#6
After many months of catching up on the literature regarding mediumship, OBEs, NDEs, and etc. I was surprised to see a fair amount of consistency among all the accounts, especially concerning out of body experiences. After having experiences of my own, I have no doubts that these anomalous phenomena occur.

I've finally gotten around to Tom Campbell's work with his "My Big TOE" and how everything can be explained in terms of virtual reality. In this framework, most of the anomalous phenomena can be explained somewhat well. However, there are some inconsistencies that do occur in the theory that I have not seen addressed elsewhere when the theory runs into other accounts of out of body experiences and perceptions other than Campbell's own.

Namely, in Campbell's idea of a "saved entity." Essentially, what a "saved entity" is, to my understanding, is the universal database (same idea as the akashic records) mimicking a deceased/discarnate being (could be a relative, spouse, etc.) in the afterlife realms. Campbell believes that during NDEs, mediumship, and OBEs, it is not actually the consciousness (or the essence, soul, of a person, same thing) communicating or interacting with the individual experiencing the OBE/NDE, but is in fact the universal database creating a mechanistic replica, or an illusion, of the discarnate to provide comfort. Campbell claims in his experiences the entities he encountered in his OBEs (his deceased relatives) were mechanistic, soulless beings and illusions, rather than the real consciousness of the individual.

Cyrus Kirkpatrick's (OBEr) critique of Campbell's view can be found here (http://afterlifetopics.com/tom-campbell/ ).

In other out of body experiencer's accounts, they are sure they are communicating with the actual consciousness of the deceased and frequently report how they have checked in on them over the years to see how they have "progressed" on their journeys (Robert Bruce, Jurgen Ziewe, Graham Nicholls, etc. all report this phenomena), which would seem to me at least, in contradiction with Campbell's idea of saved entities (why would they do this? why not just stay the same?). Additionally, Julie Bieschel's mediumship research strongly suggests (from the medium's own accounts) that retrieving psychic information from the living (which they likened to retrieving information from the akashic records) is starkly different from communicating with the dead in their experience (they insist that they really do communicate with the deceased's consciousness).

To be fair to Campbell's theory, some NDE accounts do support his view, where the NDEr will say that the deceased relative (typically greeted by a singular relative, not a family) is "God" in disguise and takes on a form comfortable to the person. However, there are other NDE accounts where the person is positive it was their deceased relatives and in some cases sees people that they have no idea were dead at the time of their NDE, which seems to refute the latter (if the goal is to make the NDEr more comfortable, you'd think it'd be best to not shock them with the recent death of their friend they haven't talked to in a few years).

So the question comes down to, is it the universal database replicating the deceased or is it the real consciousness of the individual interacting in NDEs, OBEs, mediumship, etc.?

An even better question to contemplate and discuss, I think, is where the heart of Campbell's real interpretation lies, which is that these "afterlife realms" do not have objectivity to them in the sense that they do not hold a "consensus reality" similar to the physical world. They are in fact, subjective experiences (but real to the individual nonetheless) that are generated by the universal database to facilitate "evolution" in the individual experiencing it. I have heard how OBErs sometimes can meet each other in the astral and discuss what happened after the experience in the physical world together, which would negate the viewpoint of "subjective experience" entirely, but I have not personally seen any accounts of these myself to say one way or the other.

Do these realms really do have a "consensus reality" or is it all an illusion generated by the universal database/consciousness for Campbell's "evolutionary purposes"?

Thanks for any input and discussion! :)
I agree with Eric N that you are asking great questions here, and I like the way you set it all up. It is helpful for me to jump into these discussions as a way for me to experiment with my own little ideas.

An even better question to contemplate and discuss, I think, is where the heart of Campbell's real interpretation lies, which is that these "afterlife realms" do not have objectivity to them in the sense that they do not hold a "consensus reality" similar to the physical world. They are in fact, subjective experiences (but real to the individual nonetheless)
For me, this is a really important idea. I think we could use words like "consensus reality" versus "spiritual truth" or even "emotional truth". Or for "consensus reality" we could say "literal truth" or "material truth" or take your pick.

They are in fact, subjective experiences (but real to the individual nonetheless) that are generated by the universal database to facilitate "evolution" in the individual experiencing it.
Here is where I would part ways with the kind of model Campbell is laying out. It sounds to me like in the first sentence above, the model is all about how this other "realm" is not objectively real. And then this next sentence proceeds to talk about this other realm as if it IS objectively real and has some volition, purpose, telos, or whatever you want to call it.

For me, spiritual truth is something different than literal truth, and there doesn't seem to be much profit in talking about them as if they're the same thing.

So Campbell wants his free miracle to be this universal database. Everybody has a free miracle. I have been experimenting with using my meaningful, day-to-day existence (which includes mystical experience) as my free miracle. Personally, I don't think human beings have the language or conceptual ability to understand or describe existence or meaning. In my opinion, existence can't be adequately explained, understood, or accounted for. Meaning can't be adequately explained, understood, or accounted for. That's why, in my view, it's a free miracle to be having a meaningful existence.

In my research I have come across an interesting formulation: Most folks who are spiritual or religious believe that we have meaning because something beyond us gives it to us (eternalism). Most folks who are on the opposite end of the spectrum believe we are "biological robots in a meaningless universe" (nihilism). Perhaps meaningful existence is between those two polarities, which is a contradiction in logical terms. But everybody gets a free miracle, so why not take this "meaningful existence" (which includes mystical experiences, OBEs, NDEs, etc) as the free miracle?

For me, there doesn't seem to be much benefit to coming up with free miracles that are some other realm: universal consciousness, mind-at-large, extended consciousness, universal database, etc. These days, it seems to me that those kinds of free miracles are just kicking the philosophical can down the road, and where does that get us. If the answer is that it's infinity all the way down, I would say that is just another free miracle.

Do these realms really do have a "consensus reality" or is it all an illusion generated by the universal database/consciousness for Campbell's "evolutionary purposes"?
As I describe above, I think ideas like consensus reality, illusion, universal database, consciousness are too weak to adequately address the great mystery that is meaningful existence.
 
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#7
I agree with Eric N that you are asking great questions here, and I like the way you set it all up. It is helpful for me to jump into these discussions as a way for me to experiment with my own little ideas.



For me, this is a really important idea. I think we could use words like "consensus reality" versus "spiritual truth" or even "emotional truth". Or for "consensus reality" we could say "literal truth" or "material truth" or take your pick.


Here is where I would part ways with the kind of model Campbell is laying out. It sounds to me like in the first sentence above, the model is all about how this other "realm" is not objectively real. And then this next sentence proceeds to talk about this other realm as if it IS objectively real and has some volition, purpose, telos, or whatever you want to call it.

For me, spiritual truth is something different than literal truth, and there doesn't seem to be much profit in talking about them as if they're the same thing.

So Campbell wants his free miracle to be this universal database. Everybody has a free miracle. I have been experimenting with using my meaningful, day-to-day existence (which includes mystical experience) as my free miracle. Personally, I don't think human beings have the language or conceptual ability to understand or describe existence or meaning. In my opinion, existence can't be adequately explained, understood, or accounted for. Meaning can't be adequately explained, understood, or accounted for. That's why, in my view, it's a free miracle to be having a meaningful existence.

In my research I have come across an interesting formulation: Most folks who are spiritual or religious believe that we have meaning because something beyond us gives it to us (eternalism). Most folks who are on the opposite end of the spectrum believe we are "biological robots in a meaningless universe" (nihilism). Perhaps meaningful existence is between those two polarities, which is a contradiction in logical terms. But everybody gets a free miracle, so why not take this "meaningful existence" (which includes mystical experiences, OBEs, NDEs, etc) as the free miracle?

For me, there doesn't seem to be much benefit to coming up with free miracles that are some other realm: universal consciousness, mind-at-large, extended consciousness, universal database, etc. These days, it seems to me that those kinds of free miracles are just kicking the philosophical can down the road, and where does that get us. If the answer is that it's infinity all the way down, I would say that is just another free miracle.


As I describe above, I think ideas like consensus reality, illusion, universal database, consciousness are too weak to adequately address the great mystery that is meaningful existence.
Dan,
I love everything you say. Well put.

I think that at some point we have to acquiesce that there are no answers. There is simply being; which, as you say, is a miracle. Only an simpleton or shallow person would start out at that conclusion, but only a neurotic or person with an overriding power agenda would fail to conclude with it, in my humblest opinion.

Like you I engage in these discussions because I'm working on finalizing some aspects of my exploring. The discussion helps me tune my thinking and, I hope, helps others do the same.

I am not sure that there is an objective reality. I don't think there is ample proof that there is and there is some proof that there isn't. Maybe the paradigm that gives rise to the idea of an objective reality is just an arbitrary selection. Within the paradigm objective reality is damned important. Enter a different paradigm and you're free from that little paddock. If there isn't an objective reality, then other people's conclusions shouldn't mean much to you. Maybe what you feel in your heart is more important. Your heart.
 
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#8
I agree with Eric N that you are asking great questions here, and I like the way you set it all up. It is helpful for me to jump into these discussions as a way for me to experiment with my own little ideas.



For me, this is a really important idea. I think we could use words like "consensus reality" versus "spiritual truth" or even "emotional truth". Or for "consensus reality" we could say "literal truth" or "material truth" or take your pick.


Here is where I would part ways with the kind of model Campbell is laying out. It sounds to me like in the first sentence above, the model is all about how this other "realm" is not objectively real. And then this next sentence proceeds to talk about this other realm as if it IS objectively real and has some volition, purpose, telos, or whatever you want to call it.

For me, spiritual truth is something different than literal truth, and there doesn't seem to be much profit in talking about them as if they're the same thing.

So Campbell wants his free miracle to be this universal database. Everybody has a free miracle. I have been experimenting with using my meaningful, day-to-day existence (which includes mystical experience) as my free miracle. Personally, I don't think human beings have the language or conceptual ability to understand or describe existence or meaning. In my opinion, existence can't be adequately explained, understood, or accounted for. Meaning can't be adequately explained, understood, or accounted for. That's why, in my view, it's a free miracle to be having a meaningful existence.

In my research I have come across an interesting formulation: Most folks who are spiritual or religious believe that we have meaning because something beyond us gives it to us (eternalism). Most folks who are on the opposite end of the spectrum believe we are "biological robots in a meaningless universe" (nihilism). Perhaps meaningful existence is between those two polarities, which is a contradiction in logical terms. But everybody gets a free miracle, so why not take this "meaningful existence" (which includes mystical experiences, OBEs, NDEs, etc) as the free miracle?

For me, there doesn't seem to be much benefit to coming up with free miracles that are some other realm: universal consciousness, mind-at-large, extended consciousness, universal database, etc. These days, it seems to me that those kinds of free miracles are just kicking the philosophical can down the road, and where does that get us. If the answer is that it's infinity all the way down, I would say that is just another free miracle.


As I describe above, I think ideas like consensus reality, illusion, universal database, consciousness are too weak to adequately address the great mystery that is meaningful existence.
Well said. I would agree that it does seem like attempting to make sense of the seemingly ineffable mystery of existence or consciousness leads us in circles philosophically. It is certainly entrenched in the western paradigm that there has to be an objective, physical reality or a "theory of everything," but perhaps it is ultimately a pipe dream. I believe many academics and scientists are beginning to realize that as well, which leads to ideas like Campbell's (which is essentially just labeling everything from esoteric texts and Hinduism in computer terminology.)

It is a paradox, what separates us from a computer and makes Computational Theory of Mind (CTM) fail is ultimately meaning (Chinese Room argument) and yet we cannot grasp the meaning of meaning, as you said. Personally, I find it incredibly ironic that Campbell's explanatory model is essentially we are in a VR simulation program and that somehow accounts for consciousness, but we are clearly different from computers since CTM does not work for meaning or what makes a human a human really. Nevertheless, even if it is ultimately ineffable I believe we can come somewhat closer to a better understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe through open discussion of it though like we are now; and thus, in the process put to rest explanatory models (whether that be Campbell's, Newton's, etc. or religion) that claim to know it.

Dan,
I love everything you say. Well put.

I think that at some point we have to acquiesce that there are no answers. There is simply being; which, as you say, is a miracle. Only an simpleton or shallow person would start out at that conclusion, but only a neurotic or person with an overriding power agenda would fail to conclude with it, in my humblest opinion.

Like you I engage in these discussions because I'm working on finalizing some aspects of my exploring. The discussion helps me tune my thinking and, I hope, helps others do the same.

I am not sure that there is an objective reality. I don't think there is ample proof that there is and there is some proof that there isn't. Maybe the paradigm that gives rise to the idea of an objective reality is just an arbitrary selection. Within the paradigm objective reality is damned important. Enter a different paradigm and you're free from that little paddock. If there isn't an objective reality, then other people's conclusions shouldn't mean much to you. Maybe what you feel in your heart is more important. Your heart.
It seems to definitely be the case in regards to there being no concrete answers in this subject, and I think most people would agree with that. However, I believe through mutual understanding and critical discussion of exceptional phenomena we can come to a better understanding of our role in what we call existence and what lies ahead for us, even if we may never have a solid explanatory model.

I would concur with you in that power agendas play a big role here; consequently, I think everyone should be very skeptical of anything that claims to have a theory of everything, whether it be from (in Campbell's VR case) science or religion. Religion and science play a big role in how we view ourselves and certainly provides a framework for how most people live their lives and how public policy is created (among many other things I am certain all you intelligent people are aware of), so it is crucial we critique and understand the models they (individuals or institutions) present to us, despite the fact the models they assert are ultimately inconclusive in the grand picture.

In regards to my original question, it seems we have gone into a discussion versus literal truth(Campbell's interpretation being it is illusory) and spiritual truths (the heart says it is not). My own thoughts on this matter, especially after Eric's detailed experience, is that ultimately cataloged experience and "empirical" evidence is all we have to go off of and it seems that in the case of the deceased on the other side interacting through mediums or with each other on that side there definitely seems to be more evidence pointing to that assertion being both a spiritual and literal truth (that it is indeed those individuals in their entirety and not illusory); consequently, (while I do not like to jump to conclusions this soon) it seems to me that at this point in the discussion that a rejection of Campbell's explanatory model of this phenomena, based on the current evidential experiences we have discussed, is the most parsimonious conclusion we can make and makes the most logical sense (the many accounts outweigh the few).
 
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#9
Dan,
I love everything you say. Well put.

I think that at some point we have to acquiesce that there are no answers. There is simply being; which, as you say, is a miracle. Only an simpleton or shallow person would start out at that conclusion, but only a neurotic or person with an overriding power agenda would fail to conclude with it, in my humblest opinion.

Like you I engage in these discussions because I'm working on finalizing some aspects of my exploring. The discussion helps me tune my thinking and, I hope, helps others do the same.

I am not sure that there is an objective reality. I don't think there is ample proof that there is and there is some proof that there isn't. Maybe the paradigm that gives rise to the idea of an objective reality is just an arbitrary selection. Within the paradigm objective reality is damned important. Enter a different paradigm and you're free from that little paddock. If there isn't an objective reality, then other people's conclusions shouldn't mean much to you. Maybe what you feel in your heart is more important. Your heart.
I like what you're saying about paradigms here. In David Chapman's "meaningness" material, he talks a lot about always considering even our most favorite "truths" to be context-specific and insufficient to explain all of the different questions we may be tempted to apply them to.

So, my way of thinking about paradigms related to what you're saying--I like to think about all the different "frames of mind" I have in my day to day life. If I'm at a dinner party with friends, I may be very "in the moment", "spontaneous," "boisterous", etc. Sometimes when I'm alone, I get kinda day-dreamy and reflective and my mind wanders here and there. Sometimes I get into reading some highly technical philosophy articles and I feel really compelled to read fast and hard and UNDERSTAND, DAMNIT! There's a million different frames of mind, and they all feel like they have there own kind of energy and vibe (and history, for that matter). When I think about mystical experience, psi, NDEs, etc, my favorite frame of mind for thinking about those things is that kind of loose, day-dreamy vibe. It's satisfying in a way--the mystical experience feel really compelling and "enchanting" or "magical" in that frame of mind ... It's not ultimately satisfying, though, because that frame of mind doesn't hold much "intellectual" weight. I think most of us who come to sites like Skeptiko want that intellectual weight, so we listen to podcasts, do our researching, come on to the forum to bounce theories around, etc. There is a certain kind of pleasure I get in these activities, that is different than the pleasure I get from the day-dreamy paradigm. Though this intellectual approach is also limited in a different way, and I suppose will never be ultimately satisfying either--it tends to be missing the "enchanting" "magical" less intellectual vibe.

Even within more intellectual paradigms, there are a million different contextual approaches we can provisionally use to examine different topics. We can take the view of "provisional" models, etc to try to stay kind of "loose" with ideas. There is the danger of sliding into relativism, which Chapman says is a form of nihilism, and so should be avoided. I will be attempting to understanding the nuances of that piece going forward. Chapman's meaningness website can be very annoying.

Well said. I would agree that it does seem like attempting to make sense of the seemingly ineffable mystery of existence or consciousness leads us in circles philosophically. It is certainly entrenched in the western paradigm that there has to be an objective, physical reality or a "theory of everything," but perhaps it is ultimately a pipe dream. I believe many academics and scientists are beginning to realize that as well, which leads to ideas like Campbell's (which is essentially just labeling everything from esoteric texts and Hinduism in computer terminology.)

It is a paradox, what separates us from a computer and makes Computational Theory of Mind (CTM) fail is ultimately meaning (Chinese Room argument) and yet we cannot grasp the meaning of meaning, as you said. Personally, I find it incredibly ironic that Campbell's explanatory model is essentially we are in a VR simulation program and that somehow accounts for consciousness, but we are clearly different from computers since CTM does not work for meaning or what makes a human a human really. Nevertheless, even if it is ultimately ineffable I believe we can come somewhat closer to a better understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe through open discussion of it though like we are now; and thus, in the process put to rest explanatory models (whether that be Campbell's, Newton's, etc. or religion) that claim to know it.



It seems to definitely be the case in regards to there being no concrete answers in this subject, and I think most people would agree with that. However, I believe through mutual understanding and critical discussion of exceptional phenomena we can come to a better understanding of our role in what we call existence and what lies ahead for us, even if we may never have a solid explanatory model.

I would concur with you in that power agendas play a big role here; consequently, I think everyone should be very skeptical of anything that claims to have a theory of everything, whether it be from (in Campbell's VR case) science or religion. Religion and science play a big role in how we view ourselves and certainly provides a framework for how most people live their lives and how public policy is created (among many other things I am certain all you intelligent people are aware of), so it is crucial we critique and understand the models they (individuals or institutions) present to us, despite the fact the models they assert are ultimately inconclusive in the grand picture.

In regards to my original question, it seems we have gone into a discussion versus literal truth(Campbell's interpretation being it is illusory) and spiritual truths (the heart says it is not). My own thoughts on this matter, especially after Eric's detailed experience, is that ultimately cataloged experience and "empirical" evidence is all we have to go off of and it seems that in the case of the deceased on the other side interacting through mediums or with each other on that side there definitely seems to be more evidence pointing to that assertion being both a spiritual and literal truth (that it is indeed those individuals in their entirety and not illusory); consequently, (while I do not like to jump to conclusions this soon) it seems to me that at this point in the discussion that a rejection of Campbell's explanatory model of this phenomena, based on the current evidential experiences we have discussed, is the most parsimonious conclusion we can make and makes the most logical sense (the many accounts outweigh the few).
I agree that we can and will poke and prod at the questions of ourselves and the mysteries of the universe. I reckon there will be continuing changes related to technology and medicine, ethics, sociopolitics, spirituality, philosophy, etc that come out of those explorations.

I don't think I'm following what your conclusion is in your last paragraph. For me, personally, I prefer to leave psi experiences such as Eric describes as a question mark in my mind. My day to day existence is a question mark (though, in my day to day life, much of my experience doesn't feel like a question mark in particular), and mystical experiences, psi, etc are also question marks. I don't think it's important to me to nail down exactly how or why psi or mystical experience happen. One of my favorite commentators lately is David Chapman. He makes a compelling case for considering the interplay of mystery and meaning in our activities (he uses terms like nebulosity and pattern), and so I suppose I have been doing some work to try to come to terms with the mystery aspect.
 
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#10
Campbell believes that during NDEs, mediumship, and OBEs, it is not actually the consciousness (or the essence, soul, of a person, same thing) communicating or interacting with the individual experiencing the OBE/NDE, but is in fact the universal database creating a mechanistic replica, or an illusion, of the discarnate to provide comfort.
Then it is an elaborate deception because sometimes spirits unrelated to the sitters or medium communicate through mediums for purposes of their own.

Some of the same evidence that contradicts super-psi ( hauntings, drop-in communicators, cross correspondences etc, see below) also contradicts Campbell's speculations:

But people will believe what they want, they will interpret the evidence in whatever way best fits their preferred belief system. All each of us can do is to assess for ourselves what we think the best explanation of the evidence is and understand that other people will make different assessments according to their own preferences. Just because one person has a set of preferred beliefs doesn't prove he is right.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2009/06/survival-and-super-psi.html

  • Spirits have to learn to communicate through certain forms of mediumship and some spirits are better learners than others. Super-psi is not a good explanation for this phenomenon.

  • Other characteristics of spirit communication vary with the spirit not the medium or the sitters.

  • Some haunting phenomena are not dependent on the presence of any single person, some of which are ended through spirit communication. Guy Lyon Playfair, William Roll, and Ian Stevenson all thought some poltergeist phenomenon were caused by spirits.

    ...
  • Sometimes drop-in communicators who are unrelated to the sitters or the medium communicate through a medium. They do this for reasons of their own which have nothing to do with the sitters or the medium. This shows they are independent of any living person. Because of this, there is no identifiable unconscious motive or psychological need being fulfilled upon which to base belief in unconscious impersonation by the medium. Furthermore, the identity of the spirit is verifiable and they give accurate information about their life that is not known by the medium or sitters.
...
  • Cross Correspondences: When more than one medium spontaneously, without being prodded by an investigator, brings through parts of a message, and the message only makes sense when the parts are put together, this indicates that spirits are independent of any medium. This also shows that spirits have initiative and the ability to organize complex tasks. Super-psi cannot explain this.
 
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