Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Dec 12, 2017.
Didn't the Russians already swap some heads? Honestly, some of this seems fake.
Gosh, I hope you can wrangle him in sober, b/c 2 minutes in and I can hardly stand to continue to listen to slurred speech anymore. At least it sounds like his 'consciousness' is oozing all over the walls and floors!
I agree, and unless he has some sort of medical problem, that way of presenting a video is an affectation, and I gave up on him rather quickly.
That's too bad. I noticed the same thing and he also seems to have some gastro-related problems. That said, I powered through and am presently about half way through the video. Glad I did. A lot of what he talks about is right up this forum's alley. Indeed, some wild ass shit.
I'm not so sure he wasn't sober.. that's how he sounds in every video! He did say he had just returned home from Shanghai and it was after midnight... maybe he was tired.
The interesting part begins at 2:45, so I'm sorry that you didn't quite make it there.
Try this one:
OK - that interview was better to listen to, but to be honest I wasn't taken by his idea.
I mean I don't really believe in Panpsychism for two reasons:
1) The rather trivial reason that people like Koch seem to latch on to the idea as a way of dodging all the problems with materialist consciousness, but then do nothing with it!
2) I don't see that you can attach consciousness on to bosons or fermions because within each type (electrons say) they are all quantum-mechanically identical - so do they all have the same consciousness?
I also think that since neural nets are supposed to store memories as statistical patterns (built up after long exposure to example patterns), everyone's NN for an apple (say) will be different - therefore how could data of that sort be transmitted materialistically.
Maybe the guy has a speech defect, or has had a slight stroke, so I may have been too hard on him regarding his way of speaking!
If one defining aspect of consciousness is self-reflection, and if all electrons can be considered the same electron, then an electron encountering another electron and experiencing a force could be thought of as the most rudimentary form of conscious experience: self-reflection -> similarity/difference -> experience, repeat ad infinitum.
Circularity is part of consciousness. Or as Goertzel said in that other video, consciousness can be modeled as a "non-foundational recursion".
So think of consciousness as a loop. The loop can be very large and involve many transformations before returning to unity. Or the loop can be very small and involve basically no transformations. When someone meditates they are shrinking the size of the loop: I am aware that I am aware that I am aware that I am aware.... Normal waking consciousness is a very big loop so a lot of complexity is added before making the return, but observing the observable universe is still an act of self-reflection which is why an observer can "decide" quantum indeterminate outcomes.
When an electron encounters another electron (or a clone of itself bouncing back in forth in time), there is a similarity and a difference. The comparison is an experience which results in a transformation (new velocity / momentum / position). Nobody knows what qualia might arise from this rudimentary form of consciousness, but then nobody knows how anyone experiences qualia. It could be that qualia is always present whenever there is a self-reflection and transformation of any kind at any scale and that the resolution and complexity of the qualia can increase on a spectrum along with the complexity of the pattern or self-referential looping transformation.
Hah, his voice is unique, but not that weird! He just sounds like a nerdy Jewish hippie surfer-dude who might indulge in a little weed from time to time...
Back when I was a materialist, I was rather keen on Douglas Hofstadter's "Gödel, Escher, Bach". He wanted to explain consciousness in terms of recursion and strange attractors (from Chaos Theory) but never seemed to manage to do so!
Where does the Hard Problem come into that explanation? The modern world is full of loops and transformations - there is a box on my desk for that!
I tend to take quantum identity seriously because it plays a huge part in the world we encounter. Without it, all the electrons in every atom would drop into the lowest orbit - goodbye chemistry. If every electron in the universe is identical, they attributing some degree of consciousness to them is more like attributing consciousness to the universe - which is back to square one!
I don't think it makes sense to 'explain' qualia in terms of some arbitrary other things - such as transformations. Self reflection is a deeply slippery concept because reflection as in a mirror is no more than a metaphor for the process that may go on in someone's mind when they contemplate themselves.
I wonder if anyone has started reading Antti Savinainen's free book about these mystic visions of the afterlife. I am part way through, but I must say, they seem rather confusingly detailed - I started to feel that maybe some of this was made up afterwards.
As always with accounts of the afterlife, I never feel I understand the ultimate aim of all the whole process!
could you clarify what you mean by "made up afterwards"? For what it is worth, I can assure you that all the Ervast's accounts in the eBook are indeed original dating from 1904 to 1934 (Ervast died in 1934). These sources are online in Finnish (http://www.pekkaervast.net), and most of them have been in print form starting from Ervast's days. We referred in our eBook to editions which are currently available as the book is also available in Finnish.
At any rate, I'm delighted that someone reads the book! Criticism as such is fine...I don't expect anyone to take the book as face value (I know I wouldn't ).
Antti Savinainen, PhD
Antti, thanks for joining the forum - it is always good when Alex's guests take the time to come online!
Well of course, I haven't finished the book yet, but I suppose I was expecting a mystical revelation - perhaps similar to Eban Alexander's, whereas Ervast's account seemed to be almost bureaucratic in places - what sort of behaviour in this life would give rise to precisely what sort of 'punishment' in the afterlife. That was why I started to wonder if some of the details had been filled in later - I mean, would a revelation contain so much detail?.
I have read a number of accounts of the afterlife, and I never seem to get any clear idea of what the aim is. What happens when everyone has had their consciousness refined by multiple lives on earth- what exactly are they going to do with it?
Maybe I felt that the account seemed too much like the Christian story -but of course that is not necessarily a fault - maybe the Christian account is closest to the truth?
now I understand what you mean by filling in the details, thanks! I'll try to explain how I understand the issues you brought up.
First, Ervast's accounts are not really revelations. Rather, they are results of spiritual investigations conducted in an OBE type of state. Rudolf Steiner might be the closest point of comparison: he talked about spiritual science. In order to do spiritual research, one must go through rigorous training. Ervast described this path using Christian language in his book "The Divine Seed" ( published by Quest Books) whereas Steiner's detailed description can be found in "How to Know Higher Worlds". However, an enlightenment experience (i.e., conscious connection to the higher self) is the foundation in gaining spiritual knowledge about the invisible world in both aforementioned descriptions. All people have potential for this as we are essentially eternal spiritual beings; well, at least in the theosophical framework .
What is the aim of all this? In Ervast's view as well in other theosophical views the aim is to become a helper in the spiritual evolution of humankind, fuelled by compassion and love. The Buddhists have a similar ideal in the Bodhisattva stream: Bodhisattva vows that he will reincarnate until every sentient being has reached the state of enlightenment.
Finally, it is true Ervast framed his accounts mostly using Christian terminology (he also used expressions from the Kalevala and Theosophy). However, the exoteric Christianity does not have dogmas which would cohere with Ervast's view, except for the notion of purgatory which is part of the Catholic teaching but plays no role whatsoever among the Protestants.
These explanations are just my takes for the questions you raised. Still, they might help to understand the context of Ervast's accounts of the afterlife states.
Thanks for that clarification!
I guess this still leaves the ultimate aim unclear - what will happen 'after' everyone becomes spiritually fully evolved. I put the word 'after' in quotes, because some studies of the afterlife report a timeless realm - which is a very difficult concept to handle!
The emphasis on purgatory, and the suggestion that the pleasant portion of the afterlife revealed by NDE's is short-lived and is followed by purgatory for most humans doesn't sound pleasant (though once again that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't true). Michael Newton's "Journey of Souls" presents a rather different picture, where people study their past lives in preparation for their next reincarnation, with far less emphasis on punishment.
Found a video on youtube yesterday about a guy who was Bhuddist and practiced for many years. He eventually found it to be too Stoic. The premise of the video was about unattachedment, and how humans needs to feel instead of unattaching.
This is why I am of the believe of taking a bit from each culture and also adding your own to carve out your own path
you raise an interesting point regarding what happens after the nde. Yes, Ervast and many other sources claim that there is such thing as purgatory. However, purgatory is not about punishment. Rather, it is a state of purification, healing and learning. It is in a way easy to see why some purification is necessary: all our thoughts, emotions, acts and habits leave their marks on our psyche or soul. Some of them are good and some not so good. We will enter the other side with all this which prevents our true nature from shining, and hence from living in the heavenly realm. Does this make any sense to you?
The question on the ultimate aim is quite far reaching. My take is that evolving is an ever lasting process. It is a journey in bliss, just what many nders are telling us.
Having had several OBE's and one NDE, I agree with his statement about there being no devil or evil entities...these are only thought forms. Also, this correlates with the movie "Astral City", where the person first wakes up in a "hellish" environment and after asking for guidance, is escorted out of this area into a "hospital" environment.
I appreciate your effort! I made it to 7:35 this time. Perhaps 3rd time will be the charm?
Seriously, don't give up on me just yet, except . . .
I get a sense, real or not, of those who are acting, which makes it hard to move beyond once it strikes. I got that from Mishlove, first thing, tried 3 times since to listen and cannot get past it. And now with Ben, I get that same vibe. I also get that with the quite popular 'black goo' dude, Kautz-Vella I think he's called.
But wth do I know! Time will tell and when nothing else I am patient!
The "understanding" is that you will never "under-stand" because there is nothing on which to stand underneath it all. It is a loop of structure floating on nothing. It is a self-contained self-existent structure. To explain it would be to frame it within a larger structure which will put you back to square-one trying to develop the ontology of the larger structure.
It could be that every kind of transformation is associated with qualia, but only sufficiently complex coordinated transformations result in qualia that we can relate to.
Suppose there is nothing in existence but your own awareness. Then there is nothing to be aware of except your own awareness. If you are aware of your own awareness, represent that as a "1". If you are not, represent that as a "0". Now suppose your meditation your awareness drives you a little mad, so you oscillate randomly between being aware and not aware. Now be aware that you are oscillating between being aware and not aware and this 2nd order recursion can observe the string of 1's and 0's pouring out of your existence as the first order recursion oscillates.
Perhaps this is analogous to an elementary particle's level of qualia. When an electron encounters another electron and changes momentum, this transformation could be like the switching of 0 to 1. From the electron's perspective time doesn't pass in a regular manner except that it interacts with itself off and on again endlessly.
The hard problem is resolved if everything is a pattern, because pattern by definition integrates subjective experience with objective reality. There is no pattern without subjective pattern overlay onto objective reality. There is no objective reality without patterns. So from a patternist viewpoint, it is axiomatic that subjective experience and objective reality are coexistent and interdependent.
Are you the same person now as when you were 5? What level of similarity is required to be considered identical? Saying that the universe is full of many identical electrons is just another way of saying the universe is full of a single electron looping in time so as to be instantiated at many different locations in space-time.
Have you got a better idea to explain qualia?
If reality is circular in nature, then its explanation will be circular and any linear explanation is just a clipping out of part of the circle. Then we point at the ends of our clipping and say beyond those points, it is all a mystery. All I am saying is... re-attach the clipped out line to the circle. Perhaps a circular explanation is kind of a let-down because it is a logical fallacy. But I believe logic can only exist within a self-contained and self-referential bubble floating on the abyss of chaos. We encounter the abyss of chaos when we follow an infinite regress or recognize the circularity in the loop.
However, this leaves the Hard Problem unsolved because changing momentum is a purely physical event, and there is no way to translate that into any sort of awareness.
I am not sure if your last post is somewhat tongue in cheek - should I try to pull the rest of it to pieces?
Well, he/you does go on at some length about the intensity of the pain experienced while in purgatory!
It seems to me that people may learn to control themselves better in successive incarnations, but that this would not be a matter for punishment - you don't punish a child for falling off his bike! For example, suppose a 'new' soul arrives in a body and becomes overwhelmed by sexual emotions that he never conceived of. Well, he didn't invent the forces to which he is exposed, and if he errs as a result, he may need instruction but not punishment. Something similar applies to the issue of lust for power. The whole set-up seems uncomfortably close the Christian concept of sin and hell for my liking. Some other accounts report that between lives, souls can view the life that they are about to enter in its entirety (that concept of no time again) and choose to accept it (or not?). That seems to mean that even Hitler was exploring a role that taught him something, rather than going wildly off the rails!
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