Dr. Jack Hunter, Anthropology, Animism, Panpsychism and What’s Next|383|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    Great news, people! From 2018, ALL issues of the Journal of the Scientific Exploration, including the 4 newest ones, are free to read and download - for everyone:

    http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal-library

    My sincere gratitude to the Society for the Scientific Exploration for doing it! :D
     
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  2. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Thanks for that, but unfortunately, there is something wrong with the website. I tried to download the latest issue and I got:

    <Error>
    <Code>AccessDenied</Code>
    <Message>Request has expired</Message>
    <Expires>2018-07-02T19:32:39Z</Expires>
    <ServerTime>2018-07-02T20:08:05Z</ServerTime>
    <RequestId>529A7A3214DD2EEF</RequestId>
    "); vertical-align: bottom; height: 10px;"><HostId>
    Ais78/3joBKvd9XH2twgnicymXkdOeWOznSqbJLgQDwrsO4OfK+8dg/ef1GjwBYLrJjhEz3/opo=
    </HostId>
    </Error>

    David
     
  3. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    Try again some time later. Sometimes it happens for me, too, but it is transient. And I have just downloaded all new issues, successfully.
     
  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Near as I can tell, his "eternalism" means the view that it is possible to determine once and for all the truth of something, which if so, I agree is a highly dubious assertion. Even if one says that the earth definitely goes round the sun, that kind of grants the actual physical reality of sun and earth as they appear to our perception.

    However, if idealism is closer to truth, what is happening is that what the appearance is a representation of, is unknown. And maybe in due course, something closer to truth than idealism will eventuate and we'll evaluate reality in light of that... and so on. Personally, I don't think that eternalism and idealism are related, but that might not have been exactly what you meant.

    Again, near as I can tell, his nihilism is the view that nothing has any meaning. I suppose it's possible to be a materialist and a nihilist, but many materialists seem to me not to be nihilists in that they think there is meaning, but ascribe it to... I'm not sure what, maybe in the end the accidental, serendipitous result of "physical laws".
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
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  5. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    When I use the term 'relational' I mean to say that interaction is holistic as a relationship with an entity, and not merely cognitive - which usually means we have distanced ourselves from any 'fellow feeling' and are engaging purely in terms of utility. If we enter the bush asking how we might 'relate' with the community of lives, it speaks back in many tongues, and maybe there will be a singular voice. That way we have one kind of experience. If we enter the bush in an analytical frame of mind we so often tone down or switch off the heart and gut side of our awareness. We then have an experience in which all the talking takes place in our own head.

    I make a clear distinction between the 'relational' and how we presently seem to interact. I haven't a word for it, but its head stuff. Relational is way more heart - embracing, non-judging. In show 380 Phillip Watt reminded us that there are neurons in the brain, heart and gut. That tells us that the 3 have a physical link, with the brain dominant in terms of numbers of neurons. That is the physical side. If we take a 'spiritual' side there is good evidence (mystical, philosophical) for arguing that the heart is dominant on the non-physical. The attribute of that dominance is what we call Love. It is through 'Love' that we are connected. However 'Love' is not the romantic thing that we are familiar with. It is more like 'Wisdom'. In fact in the mystery tradition there is a clear Love/Wisdom connection.

    If animism has a belief component it arises from experience. However as we try to 'reverse engineer' our psyches it may be necessary to begin from belief on the way to allowing for the experience. If we have been battered around by misunderstanding love we may have to believe in it again first until we allow ourselves to experience it. Of course, there is always the prospect of the overwhelming and unbidden encounter.

    Based on may own experience and my reading on animism I do believe our ancestors were aware of their particularity as beings in an intense of community beings, some of which desired to eat them. But it was all part of the circle of life. How to engage and relate? That question gave us what we now have muddled into religion and twisted into magic.

    I think for us the primacy of individualised self-interest has caused a retreat to the head, and a focus on a distinctly utilitarian sense of relationship (subject [me] v object [other]). We have reduced the relational to the interconnection of ideas, so we think that to 'know' something is about having sufficient data. But that's not what our interaction with our intimate companions is about. Our head knowledge of a loved one is minuscule beside the heart knowledge of them. Of the potential knowledge of their physicality we know virtually nothing. Our rational knowledge of their character is a little better. When it comes to "Love" our heads are worse than useless.

    The theme of love saturates our culture (sadly rendered as commercially driven utilitarian sexuality for the most part). But from our head ivory towers we gaze out on that chaos as it is an intellectual problem, instead of seeing it as a clue. Maybe we missed the hint with the Beatles' All You Need is Love back in 1967 - but some of is did try (the lyrics are instructive).

    So I see 'relational' as experiential, and at the foundation of the human experience (we are all animists naturally). Rational culture has made a mess of it because we started forming ideas about what it meant to be human in a way that disengaged our psyches from 'Nature' so they could rattle around Culture like so many egoic marbles in a shoe box.
     
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  6. Alex

    Alex New

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    not exactly sure what the heck this means, but it just kinda feels like you nailed animism!
     
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  7. Dan_LastName

    Dan_LastName Member

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    I see what you're saying, and it's an interesting interpretation of eternalism and idealism. For me, I am thinking of eternalism as the belief that human meaning is generated by something that is beyond the human mind. In that sense, I think of idealism as an eternalist position, because in idealism that unknown piece plays a role in meaning (as above so below). That said, I am no expert when it comes to the technical aspects of philosophical terms. So who knows?

    I will probably be starting a new thread soon where I can share some of the ideas I've been trying to communicate in this thread and elsewhere. I've got it typed up to a degree, though more work is needed before it's ready to post.

    Edit: Fixed typo
     
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  8. Dan_LastName

    Dan_LastName Member

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    Also, in light of what I just typed, I would have to consider my idea about "that which is unknown" to be an idealist position. The main thing I'm trying to communicate is that the unknown really has to be unknown or undefined. And the boundary itself between human experience and "that which is unknown" has to be undefined too. And the relationship between the two has to be undefinable. And the influence of one realm to the other has to be undefined. I'm working on an amateur logical proof to at least model that.

    Edited: Fixed typo
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
  9. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    When it comes to philosophy, we're both amateurs! I wasn't countering your views, so much as offering for your consideration my impression of what the guy means -- which seems somewhat different from your impression -- by eternalism and nihilism.

    You and I both agree there's stuff we don't know, but I'm positing that we can generally describe much of what we don't know as mere appearances to our perceptions (either sensory or in a cognitive, interpretative sense). We have to acknowledge, and can't deny, the apparent reality to our perception of the earth circling the sun (or in past times, of the sun circling the earth), for example. But that's only a relative truth and is subject to change over time as our worldview evolves.

    The thing behind phenomena as they appear to us, viz. noumena or "things in themselves", remain unknown. In our current state, we can't get totally past perception; and even during NDEs and various other experiential states, we still interpret, to some degree, in perceptual terms. Will we ever apprise things as they actually are? I can't say. Anyway, I look forward to your new thread where we can maybe continue the dialogue.
     
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  10. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    Yeah, it is clumsy. I was listening to Robert Monroe's Ultimate Journey yesterday morning. He said that when you are out of the body all that brain based rationalism stops, and you have a different kind of awareness - more holistic and intuitive. I am guessing that that holistic awareness divides in the physical body and the goal of mystical practices is to put it back together while still being physical. I think the heart is the best analogue, but probably that trinity of head, heart and gut is more to the point.

    I suspect that because the brain orders sensory data so the physical body can operate in the physical world It has a primary physical function. By comparison a 'heart centred' awareness attends more to non-physical attributes. I want to say that animism is heart centred - we and others belong together - even if the interaction is perilous.

    The issue is not whether rational brain thought has any value to us, but rather whether it operates under the guidance of the heart.This is precisely the catastrophic conceit that marked 'The Enlightenment' - God is dismissed and human intellect reigns supreme. Reason becomes dominant as soul morphs into mind. Humans are naturally animistic. We are heart people first. The head/brain awareness is a good servant, but a lousy and dangerous master.

    We think consciousness is located in the brain, but why? The deeper mysteries suggest that spirit enters the body via brain and heart, so the question of balance and harmony must concern us. I seem to recall that our physical being manifests first as that pulse that becomes the heart. if we see it as primary and foundational then the attributes of the heart should be accorded the same status. I suggest that the primary spiritual connection we have is heart-based - and this has, therefore, informed our ancestors - in physical terms we are a community of shared hearts - a scant step from spiritual commonality. The other distinctions belong to the drama of physicality, and here the brain becomes a singular instrument of awareness of distinctions.
     
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  11. Alex

    Alex New

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    Richard Miller's 5 simple questions confirm this (time 2:55):
     
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  12. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    These 'simple' questions lead me to inquire whether the complex and analytical questions we love to ask are more than an essentially materialistic massaging of our intellectual egos. We seem to ask two kinds of questions - those that seek functional responses upon which we can base actions - and those that seem to have an aesthetic appeal within our intellects.

    I have been revisiting the Sirach, supposedly one of the aprocryphal books of the Bible tradition. But that word can be interpreted as non-genuine or hidden. That's the kind of reputation that will kill anybody's credibility. But the Sirach is an evocation of Wisdom, and if it is read as a text intended to shake up the psyche rather than something to be encountered in a dispassionate rational way, it's magic as a functional text may become apparent.

    I would contend that 'smuggled materialism' must be applied to any post Enlightenment thinking. That is, any kind of attempt to engage on a purely intellectual level demands that disconnect we have come to dignify as 'objective'. The idea of 'subjective' now denotes unreliable interpretation. But in fact (and this is what I found so compelling about 'Why Liberalism Failed') is is precisely the 'disconnect' that is perilous. The objective is a strange disconnected state that is proposed as a counter to a connected (subjective) state that might be ill-disciplined. Deneen (Why Liberalism Failed) reminded me that liberty once meant freedom from the base passions via the intentional development of virtues - connected and disciplined. Now it means freedom from restraint - disconnected and self-indulgent.

    The model of the mystical state is disciplined subjectivity, and the Wisdom tradition is a guide to attainment in various cultural traditions. Typically the intellect is made to sit still and be quiet. It is not in control. There is a distinct relationship between the mystical state of awareness and out of body awareness. It is awareness of being that is not of the material world - in the world at times, but not of the world.

    The paradox of Enlightenment thinking is a disconnect from the material world on the one hand, yet asserting that consciousness is entirely dependent on it on the other. If our consciousness is dependent on physical being why not embed us more in the deep matrix of materiality, rather than imagine to upload consciousness into a post-biological state? In an almost ridiculous way deep ecologists are closer to the proper materialistic model of thinking. But, in fact, that way of thinking allows for connected being in the physical world, while allowing an element of being not of it. In essence, if we are to be 'in the world', we must be deeply connected - but still not 'of the world'.

    Central to animistic awareness is knowing that the material world is one level of experience - where there is a particular representation of spirit. Knowing that the material level is not all there is requires subjective connection. This, I think, we are born with, and materialistic conditioning numbs and deflects that innate awareness.

    I don't think that brain-based rational thought is a bad thing. It is just out of context and out of balance, addictive and dangerous. If it has done us any good at all it is that the restoration of connected and self-disciplined awareness is, now, a uniquely deliberate and conscious act. Dean Radin argued that science gives us the tools to examine psi in a 'superior' way. I think the whole Enlightenment misadventure now obliges us to rethink who and what we are - a reconnecting and re-enchanting mission in which we struggle to divest ourselves of the delusion of separation. The Enlightenment spurred the shift from soul to mind. Reason became mere intellectualising, rather than rendering soul awareness as conscious thought. Now we gotta flip things and head in the other direction.
     
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  13. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    Check out how networks of fungi help trees/forests to organise and share resources.....

    https://www.newscientist.com/articl...goodies-through-a-secret-underground-network/

    Now, if that doesn't count as a kind of collective forest consciousness, and an in for animism, I don't know what does.

    Yes, Alex's video and the above have reminded me of Thomas Aquinas's statement, after receiving a vision, that all he had written was as much use to him as a pile of straw..... I sympathise.... and feel I need a break from my own knots of speculation (humble though they may be). Less thought, more practice. Thanks.

    And thanks to @Jim_Smith for suggesting I meditate.... I've had some interesting experiences since taking up the discipline (as found on Jim's excellent site) and have found it helpful.

    Goodbye for now.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
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  14. Alex

    Alex New

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    Yeah, there's a lot to unpack here with the questions thing. First off, ask any psychologist, like I asked Richard Miller, about the magic of questions and they just kind of chuckle. It seems like we have a built-in mechanism that compels us to answer questions. Most of us have experienced this. If our mind generates a command we have a natural resistance, but when the mind generates a question we feel strangely compelled to answer it. It's another one of those tricks of the mind that lends weight to the dopey materialistic/mechanistic/biological-robot neuroscience we're always dissing.
     
  15. KindaGamey

    KindaGamey Member

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    Today I thanked the new plants we bought and welcomed them into our home. I watered the soil, but I thought the leaves, stalk, and stem would all enjoy a good sprinkle so I gave em one. I sent the plant gratitude for producing oxygen and giving us a bit of color outside the usuals for this apartment. I talked to the sun peeking through our skylight this morning. *shrug* Didn't hurt. And even if it didn't amuse/help their frames of reference it probably made me feel a bit calmer and more in touch with nature?
     
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  16. KindaGamey

    KindaGamey Member

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  17. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    I don't like insults and hostility - that's why I gave up on reading extreme "skeptics" (including extreme anti-"conspiracists") long ago. Their "arguments" are as empty as they are recurrent, and there is no point to remind oneself of the attacks that were shown to be futile and misguided long ago, time and time again.
     
  18. KindaGamey

    KindaGamey Member

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    It pisses me off for so many reasons not least of which is a) there ARE conspiracies almost everywhere it isn't a freaking illusion - billions of dollars are going towards manipulating people, the markets, conversations on facebook... everything! and b) it assumes that science is RIGHT and that anyone who rejects it isn't making an informed decision when science has obviously been co-opted by capitalist forces and made to do the work of corporations justifying anything they damn well please. Ugh, it's so insulting.
     
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