Dr. Jeffery Martin, The Finders Course Works, Sorry Haters |406|

#81
The act of initiation breaks and remakes the individual.
Yep. That's why I said in my original comment on this thread that what people need is boot camp; not fluffy promises of being a happier version of who/what you already are and doing what you already do, but better.

Dr. Martin seems to recognize that you aren't going to be happier version of who/what you already are (or at least there's a serious risk that you won't be), though he avoids the boot camp part. He thinks his program can substitute for boot camp. That's the salesmanship aspect.

Now, who wants to be broken down and re-made? Show of hands please.

Bigger question; broken down and remade into what? By whom?
 
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#82
I am an animist. I say the world is infused with spirit - as has every faith until Christianity, which excised unruly sprit from its sense of reality. In so doing ti created such a dull and dumb faith that materialists pushed it aside with ease. For me everything is spiritual, and every teaching spiritual. I work with a focus on disability and I can tell you I get schooled daily about my ignorance. I am routinely humbled by exhibitions of depth and strength of character. Disability has status in the secular sphere, rather than the religious, and in that sphere it drives and delivers more potent changes of heart and values than any religious movement. We own the spiritual as humans, and it belongs to no creed, faith or tradition that excludes the whole of humanity.
I know you are an animist, and if that works for you, it's okay by me. You display an understanding in general of other viewpoints on reality, and come to many similar conclusions to mine. What you think of in terms of animistic principles I think of in terms of idealistic principles.

"Christianity" is an ambiguous term. If one means the religious version as exemplified in Catholicism or Protestantism and a thousand other -isms, I agree. But if one means the essence of Christianity -- and I suspect you don't -- at least partially as exemplified in the NT, I don't agree. And in truth, there are a couple of Christian traditions that I think are in line with the NT -- such as Quakerism and to some extent the good old Sally Anne with its emphasis on charity.

I think you are right: everything is "spiritual", especially from an idealist perspective where there's no such thing as matter, just the appearance of matter to the screen of perception. It's no less remarkable that I can decide to lift a cup of coffee to my lips by the agency of what appears to be my arm than it is that there is consciousness and that we have an experience of being alive and doing what organisms do. That is, everything from defaecating through inventing things to searching for meaning and purpose. They're all as remarkable as one another and there's no fathomable reason why they should be experienceable at all.

People often don't see things this way; at some point, they draw a conceptual line and think of one set of things as mundane and the other as something beyond the mundane. In fact, everything is mundane, or everything is special, choose your preferred term. One can't, as materialists often do, exclude a priori from reality anything outside such a conceptual line.
 
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#83
In Christianity we have the image of Christ on the cross, suffering horribly, but quite deliberately (he had free will. He could have avoided the whole thing) - and he chose to suffer out of love for the world and humanity. If we get past the church's dogma that Christ was a special case as the one and only Son of God and that his fate somehow saved us mere mortals forever in one fell swoop - and we, instead, see it as a metaphor for each of our lives, each of us as Christ, then we have a realistic path set before us. We can recognize that in life we are all going to suffer, but that if we stay true Love and compassion and the knowledge that we are all immortal sons/daughters of God, each containing a spark of the divine, we will triumph spiritually in the end. This seems to me to be a noble and brave path (I am not a practicing Christian, BTW - though my own philosophy does have similarities to this somewhat alternative interpretation of Christianity).
You're not alone, Eric. I look on Christianity as you do, particularly in the bits I've marked in bold.
 
#84
Sufis maintain the means of attaining enlightenment change according to time, place and people. What might have worked for someone living in 10th century Baghdad wouldn't have worked in 10th century Europe, nor will it work in 21st century Baghdad or 21st century Europe.

Everything changes as time, place and people change. This isn't because the ultimate spiritual destination changes, but because the starting point, with its societal conditioning and general state of technological development, is constantly changing. Where one starts from initially in any time or place is relative and conditioned. A true spiritual guide wants help you get somewhere that has never changed and has nothing to do with where you are starting from, though the journey may be easier or harder depending on things such as cultural milieu, socioeconomic and even idiosyncratic factors of particular individuals.

In short, there's no completely prescriptive way of ensuring that you get from A to B. "A" is peculiar to each one of us. Getting to the water in the well that will save your life depends on where you start your journey from. Some paths are easier than others, and the guide is someone who can map out the one most suitable for you given your current state. There might be a few things that are useful for most or many people (a particular kind of meditation, a particular religion, a particular socioeconomic state), but no two paths to enlightenment will be precisely the same.

The guidance offered won't necessarily appear "spiritual". It may, for instance, involve psychological factors; or the guide may advise you to do a certain kind of paid work. Nor has personal happiness or contentment necessarily anything to do with the price of fish. You may need to be unhappy for a time in order to make progress; happiness might actually be a hindrance for you, perhaps especially if it's based on mainly superficial factors such as a good standard of living, having an attractive mate or worldly achievements/recognition.

The idea that one can get anything permanent from a technological approach to "enlightenment" is one I find highly dubious, particularly if the technology is constructed by someone who has no real idea of who you are/where you are starting from, let alone where you are meant to be going. It seems to me that Dr. Martin is merely providing a set of tools to help people decide for themselves which path to take based on some destination that may be irrelevant, or even counterproductive, to their needs. Even if they find contentment, so what?

Maybe technology, like meditation and other spiritual exercises can help some people in some circumstances. But any technique is merely a means to an end and not an end in itself. The question is, what is that end or aim? Only when you find that out will you know, and at that point you will no longer need techniques. Their only use will be if you are suited to be a guide and you need them to help others towards their destination. Dr. Martin doesn't appear to know what is being aimed for. It's more like he's helping people find for themselves techniques to get them to a destination they think is what they want. It might not be -- could be a complete red herring in fact.
Oh this is very good! You unpack a lot of what I was wanting to convey when trying to distinguish the knowing/feeling between authentically being in service to something greater than yourself but finding yourself continually in servitude to others. There’s a level of discernment here that’s required and missing from the education of many. I would find myself getting bitter and judgy of family members I love for being too distracted, too apathetic, too shallow and materialistic and unconcerned with the pathetic state of civilization and deplorable lack of ethics in seemingly every institution. This is also very counterproductive, isn’t it? Is it even possible to make someone care about something/someone?

Maybe well-being is more important than enlightenment actually. I do not find technology or conspicuous consumption to contribute to my personal well-being, but clearly I’m in a minuscule minority and while some on that hamster wheel might want off and go through such a course and be successful with it, as JM says, this work attracts very few.

Are they really happy? Or are they simply satisfied to entertain/consume themselves to death? And if they aren’t happy but can successfully pretend to be so, how much does that really matter to me? Does it matter enough that I should try to sell my worldview to them? This latter question is one that leads to my own lack of motivation since retiring the hamster wheel.

Sorry if I’m rambling or asking too many questions, I’m just really enjoying this convo, good timing for me!
 
#85
Oh this is very good! You unpack a lot of what I was wanting to convey when trying to distinguish the knowing/feeling between authentically being in service to something greater than yourself but finding yourself continually in servitude to others. There’s a level of discernment here that’s required and missing from the education of many. I would find myself getting bitter and judgy of family members I love for being too distracted, too apathetic, too shallow and materialistic and unconcerned with the pathetic state of civilization and deplorable lack of ethics in seemingly every institution. This is also very counterproductive, isn’t it? Is it even possible to make someone care about something/someone?

Maybe well-being is more important than enlightenment actually. I do not find technology or conspicuous consumption to contribute to my personal well-being, but clearly I’m in a minuscule minority and while some on that hamster wheel might want off and go through such a course and be successful with it, as JM says, this work attracts very few.

Are they really happy? Or are they simply satisfied to entertain/consume themselves to death? And if they aren’t happy but can successfully pretend to be so, how much does that really matter to me? Does it matter enough that I should try to sell my worldview to them? This latter question is one that leads to my own lack of motivation since retiring the hamster wheel.

Sorry if I’m rambling or asking too many questions, I’m just really enjoying this convo, good timing for me!
Enlightenment, well-being, salvation: I think they're all just words in the end. If and when you get where you meant to, you'll know without the need for words. And you won't need to justify yourself or convert anyone to anything, though you might want to help them if you can.

Are people really happy? I don't know, and I wonder if happiness is an ultimate goal. There are lots of things that seem wrong and unbalanced about the world, but maybe that's by design; maybe we can't see that everything is heading in a certain direction and that the only way to get there is by accepting things as they are whilst at the same time preserving our aplomb by not being too attached to, or identifying with, anything. I might not know exactly what happiness is, but I think I do know what unhappiness is and whence it comes: from too much attachment and identification.

One can be attached to consumerism, or conversely, too attached to the idea of non-consumerism. Fact is, perhaps a certain amount of consumerism is probably necessary for subsistence; a certain minimum of material goods are necessary if we aren't to perish before we can have the luxury of having the time and means to pursue loftier aims -- that's the old Maslovian idea at any rate.

Your lack of motivation may have something to do with dissatisfaction not with others, but with yourself because you think it incumbent on you to change them, and maybe you think that because you're a bit too attached to your idealised hopes for the world. It's a bit of a paradox, but a certain kind of selfishness might be desirable: that selfishness that says it doesn't matter what other people are like, what matters is what I am like. I should perhaps stop worrying about them and get my own house in order first. Be civil to them, for sure, try and help them if and when I can, for sure, but for now concentrate on my self -- my higher self, that is.

Just a thought. I could be wrong.
 
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#86
Men spend years studying for the priesthood in what should be an ideally conducive environment. They are then ordained in an elaborate ritual where the Grace of God supposedly enters them. And then they go out and rape children. The study is not sufficient of itself, neither is the environment and neither is the ceremonial confirmation of priesthood.

Compare that to the rigours of a Shaolin monk. I don't know what the child raping figures are for graduates of Shaolin temples but I am guessing they are low, because the training regime kinda teaches self-control and then spiritual regime teaches self-reflection. That's not to say that these guys are saints, only that they have been severely tested in ways few of us have.
Regarding the attainment of a form of happiness overcoming this self control challenge seems rather important. A few words were given by Jesus to his followers: "For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it." (Matthew 19:12) We might interpret this as another aspect of the, necessary for permanent escape, renunciation of the attractions of this fallen world.
 
#87
In Buddhism there is a six fold gradual training. The sixth step of that is the four noble truths. The fourth noble truth is the eightfold path. The last step of the eight fold path is meditation.

People think they can get Buddhist enlightenment by sitting down and meditating. But meditation is only the last part of the last part of the last part of the gradual training.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/
  1. Generosity (dana)
  2. Virtue (sila)
  3. Heaven (sagga)
  4. Drawbacks (adinava)
  5. Renunciation (nekkhamma)
  6. The Four Noble Truths (cattari ariya saccani)
    1. The Noble Truth of Dukkha (dukkha ariya sacca)
    2. The Noble Truth of the Cause of Dukkha (dukkha samudayo ariya sacca)
    3. The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Dukkha (dukkha nirodho ariya sacca)
    4. The Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Dukkha (dukkha nirodha gamini patipada ariya sacca) — The Noble Eightfold Path. The Commentaries group the eight path factors into three divisions:Discernment (pañña):
    5. Virtue (sila):
    6. Concentration (samadhi):
 
#88
Alex,

Could you post the links to the controlled, double blind, peer reviewed and replicated studies published in reputable scientific journals, or any published scientific studies, that show the Finder's Course works? That would be the best way to disarm the haters who doubt claims of scientific evidence for a phenomenon.

Thanks
If someone claims that meditation increases wellbeing, I would not dispute that.

But if someone claims that a certain method of meditation is better than another, or that certain types of meditation help certain types of people more than others then I think that needs to be demonstrated through controlled experiments using blind protocols.

And when students pay a large sum of money for a class they might want and expect to benefit from it, and if the results of the class are judged by self assessments, those desires and expectations might influence the assessments.

It is a very unusual situation in science where participants in an experiment pay for the privilege of participating and then make an assessment upon which the results of the experiment are determined.

Without controls and blind protocols it is not unreasonable to be skeptical and has nothing to do with hate. I don't know who the "haters" referred to in the title of the podcast are. But if the term is referring to people exhibiting reasonable skepticism, then it is just another psychological technique intended to sell a product and it just increases my suspicions further because marketing hype and psychological tricks are not a substitute for controlled experiments with blind protocols.
 
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#90
Here working on a national energy strategy for a South American nation. Sick as a dog with the flu. Tell me there is some kind of enlightenment or Zen or whatever in this... I have to just work though it... uggghh....
Try to see the distinction between physical sensations and mental anguish. The physical sensation is unavoidable. The mental anguish is optional. That might seem hard to realize but it is possible. That doesn't make an unpleasant experience pleasant but it can make it less unpleasant.

How you experience discomfort varies according to your mood. Physical discomfort is much easier to bear if you are in a good mood. When I had an injury in my rotator cuff it was very painful but I found after meditating my mood improved (mental anguish diminished) and it was much easier to bear. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I felt like doing things and that distracted me from the discomfort.

People who believe in prayer often find it helps to ask for help to bear their pain. If it works, it might also work for a materialist who has faith in the placebo effect. He could ask the flying spaghetti monster if he is offended by the concept of God.
 
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#91
Bigger question; broken down and remade into what? By whom?
Its not a rational thing. Its a bit like the death and rebirth image as a metaphor for spiritual initiation - this is the essence of the crucifixion image. There is no point over thinking it. Its what some Christians see as being 'born again'. There are many form of enactment of initiation that are more fantasy theatre than the real thing.
 
#92
Regarding the attainment of a form of happiness overcoming this self control challenge seems rather important. A few words were given by Jesus to his followers: "For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it." (Matthew 19:12) We might interpret this as another aspect of the, necessary for permanent escape, renunciation of the attractions of this fallen world
Hadn't bother paying much attention to this passage before. But as I look at it now I see a radical act of what amounts to 'self-mutilation as an attempt to 'escape' from (a) a social obligation and (b) natural impulses. In the context of the day that maybe meant something different than it does now. But if you had an impulse to steal you could have your hands cut off. Would that make you an honest man? I mean having your balls cut off may have the impact of curtailing activity, but I do not know if it would immunise one from lust.

I would love to know what the original text was that was translated as "He who is able to accept this, let him accept it." For some reason I don't think this was what the original intended meaning was. As it stands "accepting" can just mean you don't have a problem with the idea - yeah, so some guys to that. I am okay with that. That seems pretty weak. The original probably said something closer to 'if you are up to doing this, then do it.' Maybe the act of self denutting signals a singular commitment to a sacred life. It could've been helpful for Catholics who figured you could be celibate without having the means to sin snipped off.
 
#93
Here working on a national energy strategy for a South American nation. Sick as a dog with the flu. Tell me there is some kind of enlightenment or Zen or whatever in this... I have to just work though it... uggghh....
No, sorry. Its just crap lurgy. One day it will stop and you will be dead (if you don't wish for it) or not (if you do). Whiskey might ease your suffering in one area, but increase it in another - but its still a good idea. There is nothing worse than being struck down with dread lurgy and not being home. You havre my sympathies in that you are not at home. Nothing like one's own bed at times like this.
 
#94
Hadn't bother paying much attention to this passage before. But as I look at it now I see a radical act of what amounts to 'self-mutilation as an attempt to 'escape' from (a) a social obligation and (b) natural impulses. In the context of the day that maybe meant something different than it does now. But if you had an impulse to steal you could have your hands cut off. Would that make you an honest man? I mean having your balls cut off may have the impact of curtailing activity, but I do not know if it would immunise one from lust.

I would love to know what the original text was that was translated as "He who is able to accept this, let him accept it." For some reason I don't think this was what the original intended meaning was. As it stands "accepting" can just mean you don't have a problem with the idea - yeah, so some guys to that. I am okay with that. That seems pretty weak. The original probably said something closer to 'if you are up to doing this, then do it.' Maybe the act of self denutting signals a singular commitment to a sacred life. It could've been helpful for Catholics who figured you could be celibate without having the means to sin snipped off.
A number of religions are obsessed with sex, usually in a negative way, but honestly when you think about ID, as I have recently, you have to conclude that if we are talking about a deity doing the designing, then He designed our method of reproduction, in all its lustful detail!

If life is some sort of morality test, then I suppose the challenge is to engage in sex in a life affirming sort of way - hurting others as little as possible - not to follow a rigid set of rules or abstain completely!

David
 
#95
Its not a rational thing. Its a bit like the death and rebirth image as a metaphor for spiritual initiation - this is the essence of the crucifixion image. There is no point over thinking it. Its what some Christians see as being 'born again'. There are many form of enactment of initiation that are more fantasy theatre than the real thing.
Oh. I agree, Michael.

IMO, life will break us all down at some point (or many points). The real question is are we re-made into something victorious or are we just broken, bitter and lost?
 
#96
Hadn't bother paying much attention to this passage before. But as I look at it now I see a radical act of what amounts to 'self-mutilation as an attempt to 'escape' from (a) a social obligation and (b) natural impulses. In the context of the day that maybe meant something different than it does now. But if you had an impulse to steal you could have your hands cut off. Would that make you an honest man? I mean having your balls cut off may have the impact of curtailing activity, but I do not know if it would immunise one from lust.
Actually I think Jesus meant something else, Micheal. I have read that if a man simply abstains from sex for three months his hormone levels will gradually drop to that of a child. So three months to freedom from the addiction- for those who choose to seek release from it for the sake of the attainment of the kingdom of God, among maybe other reasons. Truthfully, were it not for relentless pressure from his possibly older, perhaps regretful, jealous coworker peers many young men would probably happily remain celibate.
 
#97
Here working on a national energy strategy for a South American nation. Sick as a dog with the flu. Tell me there is some kind of enlightenment or Zen or whatever in this... I have to just work though it... uggghh....
Ugh, sorry to hear it, get well soon wishes sent your way!!
Here’s your Zen: that which does not kill you makes you stronger.
Feel free to exaggeratedly roll your eyes. :)
 
#98
Actually I think Jesus meant something else, Micheal. I have read that if a man simply abstains from sex for three months his hormone levels will gradually drop to that of a child. So three months to freedom from the addiction- for those who choose to seek release from it for the sake of the attainment of the kingdom of God, among maybe other reasons. Truthfully, were it not for relentless pressure from his possibly older, perhaps regretful, jealous coworker peers many young men would probably happily remain celibate.
I didn't feel too much pressure of that sort, but I certainly didn't want to remain celibate!

Seriously, as a Christian, don't you feel it is a bit churlish to be given a gift like that by God, and say no thank-you?

I can't help wondering if that hormone theory came from one of those courses trying to convert homosexuals.

I am not talking about abusing your sexuality, but not using it at all, seems actually wrong.

David
 
#99
He is saying something different, but that is because he has a POV constructed from a set of assumptions he had not laid out.
I'm not sure I know what you mean by this. If we take him at his word, he simply and did detailed six our interviews with a bunch of people who claimed enlightenment and were acknowledged within their community to have achieved some kind of advanced age of development (whatever that means). he claims that this was his starting point... we take him at his word as a social scientist then we accept that he has tried to remove himself from assumptions.


Here's my problem with Dr Martin's overall notion. He seems to operate on the assumption that humans are equally capable and that the difference is motive - so a tech can be applied. Suppose he is wrong and that humans are not equally capable - and the tech is applied unevenly. A gun, for example, is a perfectly good tool for doing particular tasks. If we were all of equal capability that would be fine. But we are not.
but doesn't this all come out in the wash? take the enlightenment thing out of it for a minute... he's talking about moving the well-being needle. that is incredibly mainstream. people just can't wrap their heads around the fact that he's doing it better.


I want to observe that this show suffered from a problem of two people forgetting there was an audience. Dr Martin used jargon and acronyms without explaining them. I had to look up PNSE on his website to discover it meant Persistent Non-Symbolic Experience - which is what exactly? Also what the hell are 'locations'? I could have a guess, but it would have been better if an explanation had been provided in the show.
yeah that's on me. I should have caught more of that inside baseball stuff.
 
I think see Dr. Martin as saying something like, "Ok. You're unhappy. Here are some techniques. Let's see what works. We'll collect data and then use it to refine our processes. Repeat.".
isn't that a good thing?

question 1 - why haven't a dozen others done this work?

question 2 - how can folks claim they have the secret sauce when they haven't tested it? I haven't taken jeffrey martin's course so I can't speak to it, but from what I know about his methodology I'd say he's the only game in town... i.e. anyone who thinks they can do better is going to have to show better results with the same or better of experimental controls.
 
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