---Introduce yourself---

Discussion in 'Guidelines & Introductions' started by Vortex, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    Welcome to the Skeptiko forum. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

    (if you created an entry in the old Skeptiko forum please re-post it here)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2013
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  2. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    Ok, I will be the first example of the old member presenting a new invitation (I didn't introduced myself on the old forum, anyway).:)

    I live in Russia. Was born in a family of mathematicians and technicians, and was raised in a quite libertarian spirit, being allowed to search for a new information myself and debate it freely. During my adolescence, I had a short period of a devoted Christian faith first, and even shorter period of hardcore atheism second; but after all these worldview-jumps I develop an attitude of honest and intelligent agnosticism, and an interest towards social sciences, humanities and arts. I also became interested in all types of controversies - from scientific and philosophical ones to political and cultural ones.

    Formally, I have an education of a lawyer; but, honestly, I never worked as a lawyer (Russia has quite an overdose of lawyers, and finding work was hard). I found a work in a science-and-tech facility. My work is an office one - nothing special; but, thanks to the nature of workplace, I share space with a lot of scientists and technicians. Many of them are very good partners for discussion, and many are secretly interested in the anomalous phenomena and alternative science, and are eager to discuss it with me. They won't "come out" as paranormal proponents in public, however - they are too afraid for their carieers and reputations to do so.

    So, this is me. Not an outstanding person, really.:eek:ops: But I made some good (well, I hope so!) contributions to the discussions on the old forum, and going to do it again here.:D

    P.S. The butterfly photo which I used as my avatar is made by me, in the park of my hometown. It was difficult not to soo away the butterfly when making a very close photo. But now I have an exclusive sympathetic picture to avatarize me! ;)
     
  3. soulatman

    soulatman Member

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    This was originally posted on the old forum 23rd February 2013 when I originally joined :) Funny to seemwhat I wrote back then, but still true for me :)

    Hello,

    I am Jak, from England.

    I fortuitously stumbled upon the skeptiko podcasts a few weeks ago now, and have enjoyed immeasurably listening to the melodious harmonizations and tumultuous clashes of some incredibly refined and rarified minds.

    The subject matter and information covered in many of the podcasts is not only absolutely fascinating, but perspective shaping, life affirming, world changing, and a breath of sweet fresh air.

    I want to thank everyone responsible for the skeptiko podcasts for legitimising, and giving voice and validity to the instinctual sense I have carried with me all my life that life and consciousness are far more than mere epiphenomena of an essentially dead mechanical brain.

    All my life my "educators" and peers have encouraged me to swallow the materialist pill, but it always stuck in my throat. I always admitted that I "wanted there to be more" to life than mere matter, and "want" there to be a continuation of life after death, but I was always the first to admit my wanting things to be so, does not in any way make them so. I have wrestled with my own ego, and tried to force the materialist paradigm down it's throat again and again, but it does not satisfy. For me, it essentially reduces life to a meaningless and random existence, sandwiched between two solid nothingesses before and we are born, and after we die. (I will never be able to get my head around the question, how does all this wonderment of existence come out of nothingness, and return to nothingness?)

    Glad to see that true (open, non dogmatic, inquisitive) science, has found a corner of the web from which to challenge dogmatic assumptions and the life polluting and condemning philosophy of materialism.

    Immeasurable thanks,

    Jak (sorry, went on a bit)
     
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  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    I don't think I introduced myself on the old forum. Ah well, I'll remedy that here. I'm retired, having worked mainly in commercial IT and education. I have a degree in zoology with some postgraduate experience in that field (I didn't present my phD because of illness). I also have professional qualifications in systems analysis and an Mphil (masters by thesis) in education.

    As to my views, ultimately I'm an agnostic: I don't know anything for sure, and know that's the case. However, like anyone else, I have opinions or leanings, and like many, experiences of my own, though I'm about as psychic as a house brick. I think psi exists, but would like to see some evidence that would really nail it for even the most sceptical. The thing I feel most strongly in favour of is the validity of NDEs; I'm an Idealist, i.e. believe that consciousness has primacy over matter, which latter is a collection of ideas in consciousness. That is, I'm the opposite of materialist monists who think that matter gives rise to consciousness. Unfortunately, ordinary language tends to favour dualist expression, so that I can't help using terms like "matter" and "consciousness" as if they were completely different things. I don't go with non-overlapping magisteria: there's only one magisterium.
     
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  5. soulatman

    soulatman Member

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    This was originally posted on the old forum 23rd February 2013 when I originally joined Funny to see what I wrote back then, but still true for me:

    Hello,

    I am Jak, from England.

    I fortuitously stumbled upon the skeptiko podcasts a few weeks ago now, and have enjoyed immeasurably listening to the melodious harmonizations and tumultuous clashes of some incredibly refined and rarified minds.

    The subject matter and information covered in many of the podcasts is not only absolutely fascinating, but perspective shaping, life affirming, world changing, and a breath of sweet fresh air.

    I want to thank everyone responsible for the skeptiko podcasts for legitimising, and giving voice and validity to the instinctual sense I have carried with me all my life that life and consciousness are far more than mere epiphenomena of an essentially dead mechanical brain.

    All my life my "educators" and peers have encouraged me to swallow the materialist pill, but it always stuck in my throat. I always admitted that I "wanted there to be more" to life than mere matter, and "want" there to be a continuation of life after death, but I was always the first to admit my wanting things to be so, does not in any way make them so. I have wrestled with my own ego, and tried to force the materialist paradigm down it's throat again and again, but it does not satisfy. For me, it essentially reduces life to a meaningless and random existence, sandwiched between two solid nothingesses before and we are born, and after we die. (I will never be able to get my head around the question, how does all this wonderment of existence come out of nothingness, and return to nothingness?)

    Glad to see that true (open, non dogmatic, inquisitive) science, has found a corner of the web from which to challenge dogmatic assumptions and the life polluting and condemning philosophy of materialism.

    Immeasurable thanks,

    Jak (sorry, went on a bit)
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
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  6. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    Same person as the username on the old forum. I'd describe myself as agnostic. I live in the NW England. I've spent most of the last ten years or so reading about the evidence for survival (which is my main area of interest). Although not totally convinced of survival, I'm probably well on the way toward that point on the basis of my reading and one or two personal experiences.

    I'd accept it is reasonable not to accept the testimony of others as unequivocal proof of survival, but to say 'there is no evidence' is not, to me, an honest or informed position to take. I think there is a great deal of evidence of varying quality.

    I wouldn't describe myself as a proponent of psi or survival although others may see me that way.
     
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  7. Iyace

    Iyace Member

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    Guess I'll do a reintroduction.

    I've been on the skeptiko forum for three years. I'm a college student who could only self-describe myself as someone who has been caught up in the ' poles ' of life for far too long. I began my intellectual journey as an ultra-conservative from a very strict christian family. I gave up my belief in God in my early teens, which provoked a huge out outlash from my staunchly christian mother. From there, I swung to the exact opposite pole. I would take every opportunity that I could to protest and announce my materialistic worldview. I was so certain in my own disbelief, much like my former belief in God, that I was never truly open-minded about non-materialistic worldviews. It wasn't until I met my girlfriend ( soon to be fiance ), that my views were challenged by someone that could legitimately spar with my rhetoric. She encouraged me to put down all of the opinions and factoids I had in my head, shed by cognitive biases ( she's a neuropsychology major), and approach the situation from a fresh perspective. So I challenged myself to do just that; Clean my slate and start over. It was one of the hardest things I had to do in my life, but in the end, I've arrived at a much more neutral viewpoint than I was before. I don't know if there's an afterlife, but I no longer feel that it is a loony concept. If you put a gun to my head, I would probably tell you that I do believe there is, as I believe that's where the various evidences lead. I'm a skeptic of most forms of psi, but I do believe that there is a small, measurable effect that is very prominent in certain aspects of our life.
     
  8. Frank Matera

    Frank Matera Guest

    Hi I'm Frank from Australia and I am a skeptic ;)

    I was raised a Roman Catholic although stopped going to church in my teens when I was able to make my own mind up... and really had and still have no interest in religion at all.

    I've worked in Computer Science for the last 20 years as a programmer and I'm still working in that industry. I've also worked as a Psychic Medium for several years but stopped doing any readings earlier this year to focus on other parts of life as well as my own frustration with the direction the Psychic industry was going. The only readings I do now are platform events to raise money for charity and to raise awareness through education about PSI.

    I used to be heavily skeptical of any type of PSI mainly due to my upbringing and what I had been taught but I was open to learning anything new. It wasn't until I actually went in head first to learn and experience it to prove to myself whether or not there was something to this.... and it was through this, that I realised and was able to grow my own ability. Now I am 100% certain that PSI and Mediumship is real.
     
  9. Reece

    Reece Member

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    I was raised strict protestant. We went to church whenever possible.

    In my teenage years I started having doubts, and by my late teens declared myself an atheist . . . at the time I knew nothing of the distinction or lack of between an atheist and a strict philosophical materialist . . . because in truth, I've never been a philosophical materialist. The main reason for this ties in more with Art than anything else: both the appreciation of beauty and the process of trying (and most often failing) to produce it. The process isn't linear, moves in jumps and starts, involves something I believe/know to be immeasurable and is something I've never believed could be accounted for in mechanical terms whatsoever . . . Obviously, the materialists are more than ready to produce an arguement that says otherwise, but I find the vast majority of that shallow and rather crude. A second reason for my inability to be a materialist stems from hallucinogen use . . . some are receptive to this; some aren't. I consider them capable of allowing one to experience something immeasurable, something that defies the materialist worldview, and aside from this, I've also had a couple profound telepathic experiences while on them.

    I briefly majored in piano performance and then philosophy, but mistakenly ended up going with anthropology. This was my first real introduction to staunch materialism. I remember a woman who was my professor telling us the evolutionary reasons we "think we love" our children (due to evolutionary needs of passing on genes, etc.). It wasn't so much that I found it (morally) offensive, but rather stupid. I had yet to hear scientistic stuff labelled reductionist, but I certainly found it absurdly reductionistic. My professors and fellow majors all seemed to think that if we had all the info on all states of things, that we'd be capable of predicting everything, including humans and human culture. Robots, we were. I started making notes on the whole situation and felt somewhat vindicated later to find that other prominent philosophers had thought some of the same things (though had developed them much further). So, I sought out philosophy of science stuff, epistomology stuff: those tgat were critical of science. I found a few. If one would've asked me about death at the time, I would've told them that obviously consciousness, being some form of energy, survived, but I would've added that I highly, highly doubted that that consciousness would recognize itself as you/me. In other words, my plight wasn't any better than that of the aetheists because for all intents and purposes, I, as I knew and thought of myself, would die. It'd all go black and that would be that . . . even though I thought that my consciousness as some form of very subtle energy "lived on."

    Years later I found parapsychological stuff, including NDE research. I was floored. Why had I never heard of this stuff? For a while I went back and forth on whether or not the stuff was correct. I'd think so for a while, then I'd read some criticism and not really know who or what was correct. Eventually I realized that, yes, on the whole, parapsychological studies had proven hands down, time and again, that something more was going on than could be accounted for with normal materialistic thinking. For this reason, I really like "Randi's Prize," by McLuhan, because his journey mirrored my own in a lot of ways with that back and forth thing.

    I also realized a few years after college that people were rightfully critical of evolution exclusively by natural selection. My professors never mentioned that there was any reason whatsoever to be critical . . . I might also mention that while in college, I was a "good leftist." I read Chomsky and Zinn and Klein. I believed that most of what appeared to be conspiracy was really just business as usual . . . Then after realizing that 9/11 involved complicity, it became hard to see talk of politics or current history that doesn't touch on this as anything but useless. It's the same with science: if the parapsychological isn't acknowledged, then, well, they're leaving out not only the most interesting part, but the part that changes the whole situation. But as a (soft) science major, we didn't even touch on that stuff for an hour.

    I found Skeptiko about 2 and a half years ago and have listend to every episode and wished there were more. I think what Alex is doing is great: the approach, the guests, the interviews, the amount of 'push' during the interviews.

    It's an area that's wide open for anyone who'd like to join in: there's a huge shortage of those calling for attention to these views and ideas, but oddly there's almost no one out there doing it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
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  10. LoneShaman

    LoneShaman Member

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    My real name is Jason, I am from Australia and work as a digital artist for TV, films and video games as well as teaching martial arts for the majority of my life. The martial arts I was first involved emphasized the aspects of mind more than physical technique. During my first years training I fell in with a group of people practising everything from meditation through to psychic reading, psychometry and spiritualism. I had no idea what I was getting into. We were taught by an ex minister who had studied in India for some twenty years. I do not get involved in the psi debate much because for me there is no doubt. I have seen and experienced enough to know its reality. I have had many paranormal experiences.

    I have had no religious influence in my youth at all, if anything I was very anti christian but agnostic. Always rebellious with no respect for authority except who I considered my real teachers. I could have very easily have fallen into crime and almost did if it were not for my teachers in MA and meditation. It was around this turbulent time in my life were I had my first encounter with psychadelics. I was around 16, and ingested enough mushrooms to make an elephant trip. I had no idea of what to expect. It was terrifying to say the least, I literally had thought I had died. I was being visited by entities there was no escape or hiding from them one of which was my deceased mother. I forgot who I was or even what I was. I was truly experiencing what insanity is like. I was also hearing things moments before they happened. The presence of divinity was palpable, and has been repeatable. I do not know what God is but in my experience it is beyond comprehension in regular consciousness but very real. I am no longer agnostic.

    This scared me away from any drugs for around ten years, it was always on my mind. The experience was so powerful, so transformative, it changed me forever. Not long after the experience I was handed a book on the street, The tibetan book of the dead. Just like that, no questions except would you like to read this? So I did, in it I found a remarkable similarity to what I had experienced. and spent many years trying to understand what had happened that ultimately lead to an interest in indigenous cultures and shamanism. I realised the terrifying journey, the complete loss of self, the entities, the visions were all intrinsic of the shamanic experience. With the internet I came arcross the likes of Terrence Mckenna, Timothy Leary, Alan Watts etc... and felt I had finally come to some sort of understanding of what happened to me decades before.

    Now it is a way of life, the teacher plants and spirits within them are my guides. Many people including some friends consider my contact with entities, visions etc.. to be merely halucinations. I just smile and tell them I can help facilitate a potential meeting if you like and you can ask them for yourself. Fear washes over them as I explain they must first encounter the demons of their own mind, come face to face with your true self, step into the boundaries of insanity and overcome your deepest darkest unconscious secrets and fears. I don't get many takers.

    It is very much a taboo subject, I am delighted to see at least some resurgence of interest particulaly in neuroscience and phychology as well as the hidden historical influence in schools of mysticism and religion. There is also an enormous potential for investigating psi that is untapped here. I don't think it is explored enough here at skeptiko. Though the stigma attached to both hinders research of course. I believe there is no better tool than the sacred sacrements of nature for gnosis and exploring consciousness. Talking of consciousness while not experiencing these states of mind is much like speculating about the ocean from a desert dweller who has never seen it or like learning to swim without ever going into the water.
     
  11. Mannaz

    Mannaz Member

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    I'm an occultist living in the American midwest. I've been interested in spirituality and the hidden side of things since I was a young child, though it only grew as I got older. I'm a proponent, but I don't consider it terribly important to convince people of psi or an afterlife as we all find out someday, in the end. Not that if one finds it prudent to do so, nor that I'm not willing to debate another who decides to

    I know a bit about the usual occult subjects, from various forms of witchcraft, sorcery in the modern day, Ceremonial magic(I don't practice this one) and I have books about many different subjects within the occult. Though of course, not all can be recommended.

    I'm usually a lurker but I'm always interested in discussion.
     
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  12. Lenny S

    Lenny S New

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    hey folks

    just joining the new forum to see what's up, what's going down and what's inside the minds of the cultural outsiders.

    converted from atheism many moons ago, having taken up the torch of neo-shamenism.

    having assumed i knew a lot, convinced i knew enough, i discovered i knew nothing.

    i am here to learn, or to pass on what i've learnt, should that ever be sought by those seeking similar souls.

    as you were...

    Lenny
     
  13. Kamarling

    Kamarling Member

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    Hi. My real name is David and I have been a member of the old forum for a couple of years although I stopped posting a while ago. The reason was that, in my opinion, some people were deliberately spoiling discussions by using various tactics. I did not attend university and have no experience in debates so I was reluctant to expose my lack of skills. It seems a pity that when people just want to get to the truth, they are ambushed by "snipers" who seem to believe it is their duty to kill off any dissent from the prevailing hegemony. More annoying is that many of these people call themselves "Freethinkers".

    So, I am undecided but, if I were to score my doubt out of 100, I'd say about 8. My natural inclination - because I am so wrapped up in my five senses - is to dismiss it all as nonsense but my search has led me to overcome the doubts. I can't just dismiss testimony from thousands - perhaps millions - of people who have direct experience as mere delusion or deception. Nor can I understand how others can. More than that, I can't understand why people want to devote so much time and effort to telling me how gullible they think I am. What difference does it make to their lives?

    I'm not religious nor a member of any kind of movement. I don' take to gurus or New Age fads. I would probably be best described as an idealist (monist idealist, to be more precise).

    Oh, and I am English, by the way - I live near the South Coast of England in a county called Dorset.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  14. Lusikka

    Lusikka New

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    I am an engineer (M.Sc.) in machine construction and metallurgy, living in Finland, retired. I have been interested in parapsychology during all my life.

    I have worked in steel industry whole my working career. Last 25 years I was quality engineer (manager) in a rolling mill which was closed down and I became unemployed. I have always been interested in the microstructure of metals. Therefore I made tests in Geller-bending in 1974 with two boys, 8-9 years old. The experiments were successful - the boys were able to bend spoons and metal strips by merely holding them or stroking them lightly.

    I am most interested in spontaneous psi-phenomena and especially in physical cases, because they are so simple and easy to check compared with mediums and clairvoyants. Also "spirit" photos and EVP/ITC are physical phenomena and would therefore be interesting and important.

    I have a blog in Finnish language here:
    http://parapsykologia.blogspot.fi
     
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  15. Carl Jung

    Carl Jung Member

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    Hello,

    For now my real name will have to stay hidden - so I thought I'd borrow the name of one of my heroes.
    I came upon Skeptiko a few years ago after the exploration of what my naturalist science-minded friends would call "esoteric material".

    The advent of Nihilism strikes me as something untenable in modern society - and its foundational importance would, if true, rule out life as an impossible act of hopelessness.
    Life, for modern man, must seem a state of condemnation where our most cherished beliefs de-value themselves and bring on an anti-spiritual stance where our short gray smidgeon of time is spent hoping for the hopeless.
    Nothing of value can be held for true in a society where consciousness has been written out of the equation as having no "Explanatory power".

    My search for a foundation for hope led me to religions and to more spiritual practices - I'm still not convinced by anything but the most general description of religions - but I am thankful to Skeptiko for nurturing my hope.

    As Wittgenstein said: "I can't belive in the specifics of any religion - but I can't help but see all problems from a religious point of view.".
     
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  16. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    Well, after some thought, I decided to change my avatar. Now it is a symbolic Vortex, emanating from the Star of Chaos, the symbol of infinite change, unlimited potential, eternal movement, unbound energy and absolute freedom.

    Of course, one can only taste a small drop of all these infinite unboundness in a human life... But, as evidence shows, we are not limited by only one life, and always have a possibility to look forward for more! :cool:
     
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  17. Steve

    Steve Member

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    My name is Stephen Mc Kinnell, I am not Psychic nor have I any academic qualifications ( 2nd Yr Aero Engineering drop out - Glasgow Uni ). I am a proponent, I have always instinctively believed in God or a higher Source but am not a religious or new-age type . Married with one daughter.

    I had a bad stroke 2 1/2 yrs ago which brought to an end a 30yr career as a pilot,mainly flying Boeings. It has been eye opening to see the difference between life as a disabled person with speech difficulty,compared with before . It has been very revealing ! It has had a spiritual effect ,we have grown up as a family, and now I have time to research all types of topics.

    The biggest frustration has been my having to give up the bass guitar, as my right hand is affected. I think anything is possible so will keep up with physio !

    For those who don't know it is Richard Feynman's picture - not me ! I have a idea that God would be happy with his approach to life ? ( Nothing like mine !)
     
  18. Billy Mavreas

    Billy Mavreas New

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    my name is billy and i can't help but find glaring typos ... especially in the word 'consciousness.'
    can a moderator correct this because having an intelligent conversation about science and spirituality stops when two section titles are misspelled. thanks
     
  19. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    Welcome, Steve!
     
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  20. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    My name is Chuck. I've been listening to skeptiko and reading the forum for two years, I guess. I tend to get really interested in something for a year or so and then move onto something else. Previously I had been doing a lot of reading on the OBE and related states of consciousness. Now I'm immersed in UFOs and abduction subjects. Whenever I study something, I prefer a big tent approach. I try and take in all the information on a subject I'm interested in, even the most far out. Then I let everything simmer for a bit and allow myself to find a place within the subject where I'm comfortable. I don't really describe myself as a believer or a proponent or anything like that. I accept as fact that what we define as physical reality is but one sliver of the whole pie that is existence.
     
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