Is Westworld our world?

Discussion in 'Extended Consciousness & Spirituality' started by AryaS, May 6, 2018.

  1. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    A good explanation of Gnostic beliefs...

    http://gnosis.org/gnintro.htm

    "All religious traditions acknowledge that the world is imperfect. Where they differ is in the explanations which they offer to account for this imperfection and in what they suggest might be done about it. Gnostics have their own -- perhaps quite startling -- view of these matters: they hold that the world is flawed because it was created in a flawed manner.

    Like Buddhism, Gnosticism begins with the fundamental recognition that earthly life is filled with suffering. In order to nourish themselves, all forms of life consume each other, thereby visiting pain, fear, and death upon one another (even herbivorous animals live by destroying the life of plants). In addition, so-called natural catastrophes -- earthquakes, floods, fires, drought, volcanic eruptions -- bring further suffering and death in their wake. Human beings, with their complex physiology and psychology, are aware not only of these painful features of earthly existence. They also suffer from the frequent recognition that they are strangers living in a world that is flawed and absurd.

    Many religions advocate that humans are to be blamed for the imperfections of the world. Supporting this view, they interpret the Genesis myth as declaring that transgressions committed by the first human pair brought about a “fall” of creation resulting in the present corrupt state of the world. Gnostics respond that this interpretation of the myth is false. The blame for the world’s failings lies not with humans, but with the creator. Since -- especially in the monotheistic religions -- the creator is God, this Gnostic position appears blasphemous, and is often viewed with dismay even by non-believers.

    Ways of evading the recognition of the flawed creation and its flawed creator have been devised over and over, but none of these arguments have impressed Gnostics. The ancient Greeks, especially the Platonists, advised people to look to the harmony of the universe, so that by venerating its grandeur they might forget their immediate afflictions. But since this harmony still contains the cruel flaws, forlornness and alienation of existence, this advice is considered of little value by Gnostics. Nor is the Eastern idea of Karma regarded by Gnostics as an adequate explanation of creation’s imperfection and suffering. Karma at best can only explain how the chain of suffering and imperfection works. It does not inform us in the first place why such a sorrowful and malign system should exist.

    Once the initial shock of the “unusual” or “blasphemous” nature of the Gnostic explanation for suffering and imperfection of the world wears off, one may begin to recognize that it is in fact the most sensible of all explanations. To appreciate it fully, however, a familiarity with the Gnostic conception of the Godhead is required, both in its original essence as the True God and in its debased manifestation as the false or creator God."
    **

    I have some issues with Gnosticism and the gnostic philosophy -- but much of it resonates. I do see the theories we are all exploring on this thread to be divided into two primary camps - those that blame humanity for its flaws (we "chose" our life; original sin, etc.) and those that blame flawed creator/creators.
     
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  2. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    Brilliant post! I don't have a lot of time to participate in this exchange but I guess I don't even need to because luckily AryaS is around :) and she is making the points that I didn't have the time and energy to make myself, and moreover she's doing so much more eloquently than I could have done myself. Many thanks also to nbtruthman for his post.

    I must admit that I kind of lack the motivation to fully engage in this kind of discussion with people who are not sufficiently like-minded because I feel I am wasting a huge amount of time explaining things that are simply obvious. I mean, if people cannot see the difference between what is felt in a dream and what is felt in physical reality, how can one have a fruitful conversation that will lead somewhere? I've said it in so many ways, and this is truly the last time I'll say it: in dreams we do not FEEL the pain of an amputated limb, we do not FEEL the prolonged physical and psychological suffering that we would feel if spending months fighting against a painful, incurable disease etc etc.

    Moreover, in the example made in some previous posts, we are not even talking about just LOOKING at a child being tortured to death, we are talking about BEING THAT CHILD. That's a big difference (although even just being forced to "experience by looking" something like that is a horrific thing and there's no "lesson to be learnt" (???) that would justify it).

    What exactly would be the lesson that that tortured, murdered child would be learning - or , even more interestingly, what would the "exciting experience" be in being tortured to death (since some believe that we come here for the thrills!) ?? And how come all these "lessons (supposedly) learned" throughout the centuries have hardly had any impact, since acts of violence happen all the time?

    But, perhaps more importantly, the horrors of this world are by far not just due to human beings doing bad things - because as always, human cruelty is routinely discounted as a "side effect of freewill", as if freewill to do bad things was a wonderful gift! Laird made some very good points about this in post #5 in this thread: what is the point of being given enough free will to be able to torture a child? In what way was it necessary to design human being as creatures capable of even conceiving such evil? Who ever would have asked for such extreme latitude in their "freedom", so as to be able to have the potential to commit horrendously evil and violent acts? Would you not gladly renounce the potential for such extreme evil in yourself, so that it would be impossible for you to ever commit an act like this?? So in what way is 'complete freewill, including to do evil' a wonderful thing?

    Thing is, it's nature itself, the very way this world functions that is deeply violent and hence morally flawed, and I don't see how "lesson learned" by humans could change this reality in any way. But of course, those who blame mankind for all that's wrong in this material reality conveniently forget to consider this - they say "nature is just nature". But given that there obviously is a "source" for the material world (including us), that source must in itself contain the "seed", the potentiality of what is, including the evil and the cruelty and the violence in it, and even if "all that is" was undergoing a development process it is a process which requires an incalculable amount of suffering, and the idea that "it will all be good" is just a promissory note, no more valuable than when scientists purport that one day "science will explain everything".
     
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  3. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    I do think we choose our lives. But I dont think its as simple as choosing every single detail and accepting the fact that "you are being tortured because that's what you chose." The majority of the pre-birth narratives seem to echo this, it also comes up in the re-incarnation and between life regression data etc. In reading all of these accounts and in studying the works of Michael Newton and Tom Campbell etc, Ive come to believe that we do pick a general narrative. But probabilities of certain events are just that, probabilities, and free wills cause things to go awry. From what the majority of the data shows (as far as I can tell), we do choose a life, but we also have life reviews after death. A life review, of course, would be totally meaningless if everything was pre-determined. But we can choose scenarios and we try to learn and grow. But the system is not perfect, nor are we perfect. Tom Campbell wrote of an out of body experience where he encountered a guide (whom hes had several experiences with) where he was told of several events which would unfold, and he said that several happened, but a couple did not. He reasoned that the ones that did not come to fruition, did not come to fruition due to "changes in probability waves." Being a physicist, its not surprising he would speak in terms of probability waves. We cannot, of course, just accept all of these different accounts without being skeptical. But what conclusion do we draw when so many point in the same direction?

    I posted this elsewhere, but as an example, here is a pre-birth memory of a friend of mine whom I have known for a couple of years now. I'll dump it below. If you read through other pre-birth accounts, the "life selection" meme comes up over and over again. There are several here (http://www.oberf.org/prebirth.htm) , and here is my friends below.

    "I remember a previous incarnation attempt where after the “veil” came over me I reacted in fear and forced myself “back out” again, which killed the fetus. Having returned to the other side I remember being back in bliss, and knowing nothing was truly wrong, yet recognizing fully the grief and negative impact I had caused not only the poor mother (her human experience) but many others who were affected by the mother. I couldn’t believe that despite my good intentions, my own fear was so strong that I could have such a negative effect. I vowed to not let that happen again. So I “trained” in something like a “veil accepting simulator” for awhile.

    Eventually I ended up being presented with my current life potential (which was not as optimal for my specific purposes as the last one but still not bad). I remember very excitedly reviewing a huge vast “flow chart” of millions of possibilities about what “being” that life would be like, all at once. I remember reviewing it with a guide, requesting certain things, and reviewing aspects of it. For instance I knew how important the confidence my father would nurture in me would be for my purpose, I knew the body had challenges that other bodies do not, and many other things. I remember being excited (excitement was the key feeling!) that I would have the opportunity to re-engage a very old very low vibration / fear that I deeply desire to integrate, I knew an experience in my early adulthood would likely occur that would allow me to re-confront that (and it did). I do not remember actually accepting the life, but I do remember suddenly the moment when being instructed to accept the veil, needing to “dive in” with all my intent and focus, allowing it come over me (but leaving a small “window open” so I would retain some awareness of it, even though I was told that doing so would make my experience more challenging).

    The “veil” coming over you is like (and again words are just so inadequate!) a drop in vibration of such magnitude that suddenly you feel like you are existing in a vacuum rather than being connected to everything. Your “knowing” is cut-off, and suddenly you feel isolated and alone, in the body. I held on as long as I could, allowing the veil to “sink in,” eventually sending a message back through the window: “Is it done? Did it ‘take’?” and being told “Yes.” I held on as long as I could… but the vibration was so low, that after awhile I again responded in fear. I started fighting and pushing once again to leave- I had already had enough! (and I was still in utero)- but then this incredibly powerful “I Am” presence of God coming over me and showing me all the galaxies, reminding me “this is still what you are.” It was bliss. It calmed me, and I remember “relaxing” into the very simple (yet confining!) existence of dwelling in the womb. I have one visceral image memory then of the day I was born, which was after what I just described. These pre-birth memories are very dissimilar from my waking childhood and adult physical memories- they are “timeless” in feeling, vast, not restricted to single ideas or images, and filled with great feeling."
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  4. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I think this debate is slipping into the pretence that we here (or others like us) are in the business of deciding what the true reality should be. Of course, we have no say in that, we are merely discussing the evidence for various theories!

    I wish those who oppose the theory that we choose our lives, would address the evidence from a variety of sources that that is what happens, more or less, rather than (IMHO spuriously) attacking the messenger!

    David
     
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  5. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I am curious as to why your friend remembers all this - presumably without hypnotism? Is it because he was so cautious about re-entering another human body, do you think?

    Is he a stable sort of person - how reliable would you say this account is?

    I noticed this sentence: "Eventually I ended up being presented with my current life potential (which was not as optimal for my specific purposes as the last one but still not bad)."

    That whole issue of what exactly the whole process is for, always seems to be covered in a sort of veil - I wonder if that is the part that we are not allowed to know.

    David
     
  6. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    I wish those who insist that we choose our lives would provide logical explanations as to what's in it for sentient beings to experience the pain and suffering inherent in a material world if there is "perfect bliss" in some realm outside it, for starters.

    I have produced plenty of evidence in terms of logical arguments and clear examples of the many absurd implications of the "life choice" theory. Subjective reports are not conclusive evidence per se, just data. I have also provided plenty of examples of incompatible subjective reports which, then, would have to carry the same weight. I have not read any satisfactory AND direct answers to my very straightforward, logical questions.
     
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  7. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    It appears to be part of a learning process. Nowhere is it stated that the process is perfect or without hardship. Nor can we be certain that the hardship is not part of the learning process. And remember, our inability to understand or explain something isnt direct evidence of its non-existence, particularly in the face of mounting testimonials suggesting its existence. If numerous credible people kept coming up to me from the other side of a hill stating that, "on the other side of this hill people celebrate their date of conception rather than their date of birth." I could sit and think, "well that's weird to me, how can they really know what day they were conceived, and why not just celebrate the day of birth because thats when they actually came into the world and the date is certain, not projected and guessed at." But my inability to understand the phenomenon, doesn't make it less likely when all sorts of people are stating that it is so. This is even more true when we are discussing a topic which is really beyond our level of understanding. Also, we can only see one act of the play. We can't see the setup of the play, we dont know the exact purpose of the play, we dont know what happens after the play. Setting up logical arguments from our limited perspective, particularly when it contradicts a great deal of data from various sources is not evidence at all. It's contrary to the idea of what evidence is. We are much better served actually listening to what people say.

    With regards to the "whats in it for sentient beings", For all the testimony that we have of "choosing a life", there is FAR far more speaking to the apparent reality that this is a learning process. That we are here to learn and grow. That is virtually a universal philosophy coming from the NDE's, OBE's, Re-incarnation data etc. We are only privy to one act of the play right now. Our philosophies are extraordinarily limited. It is actually the philosophies which claim to have everything figured out and pegged which should be discarded as incomplete and, likely false.

    We cannot expect to begin to fathom all the different ways in which spiritual growth might occur and proceed. But one way to do it might be to create a virtual reality full of constraints and obstacles (ie-our physical universe).
     
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  8. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    He claims that the memory has always been with him and that, since a young age, he has had it written down. He is a little weird, but not over the top weird. He's very intelligent. He seems very sincere about it. I believe him or, at LEAST, I believe that he believes it.
     
  9. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I am not insisting about anything - just discussing a fairly large mass of evidence - as Wormwood explains.
    The "life choice" idea isn't mine, or Wormwood's, we are simply echoing what a lot of NDErs say.

    Regarding logic, it is really hard to apply that rigorously in this area. For example, I have seen it suggested that earthly life in multi-stranded - following various possibilities (presumably linked to the QM basis for everything material), so perhaps people flit out of one strand if it becomes too hard?
    Well as I have said before, I grew sick of materialist arguments that flew in the face of a lot of evidence - I grew tired of that way of arguing. I mean we could just shrug and give up, but I would say most evidence on this matter is pro "life choice" - so maybe it makes sense to think harder as to what this might really mean.

    David
     
  10. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    Interesting, and I really appreciate you sharing your friend's retained memory. I admit that every time I have read a "before life" or "between life" purportedly recalled/retained memory (I tried, but couldn't make it through Michael Newton's books), I have a hard time not immediately assuming that that person is some privileged new ager from a middle class upbringing making stuff up or wishing it to be true, using whatever religious background/researched theories of reality they have absorbed/found pleasing. I haven't read too many accounts though, so I am open to persuasive evidence to the contrary, but here are my questions/thoughts:

    1. In the existing "life choice" literature, are there many people who come from severely traumatic childhoods -- i.e., those who have been sexually or physically abused as children, who have watched or experienced severe violence in their immediate surroundings, or who have experienced severe deprivation (lack of food/water/shelter) as a child? Or are most "life choice" advocates coming from average first world upper/middle class/working class homes? It would be far more persuasive to me if there were quite a few persons claiming that they "chose" particularly traumatic lives to "learn" something.

    2. Related to this, your friend suggests that he was given "flow charts" of millions of possibilities about what "being" in that life would be -- so let's assume that these "beings" providing the flow charts, whoever/whatever they are, have some superior knowledge about the personal backgrounds/histories of the parents with whom this eager soul fractal will soon be stuck with for the basic necessities of early life? If that's the case, it seems like "you will be repeatedly raped and beaten by your father -- and shared with other pedophile sickos until you can run away and end up in the streets" might be a BIG DIVULGE that these "veil accepting simulator" beings/operators might want to include in the flow chart of possibilities for a particular life -- given the information available re: the parents? If this type of information is NOT divulged by these beings/operators, then the nature of such entities seems pretty malevolent/immoral/deceptive. If the information is divulged to the soul fractal, it's pretty hard to believe someone would say: "Eh, I've had worse.....let's go!" Let's be honest here: there are just some lives that no one can imagine being excited about living -- and there are just some lives that are so horrendous that the "learning" through such a life seems to be wholly unfathomable and not worth the severe trauma of the life. (the only potential "learning" that makes sense in any way to me would be if, say, a child sex abuser were to come back and be an abused child -- but this is troublesome on so many levels, including again the horror of who/what might design this repeated cycle of horror/karmic payback -- and the likelihood that the mind wiped child would be completely unaware of his/her past life crimes requiring such a stint as the victim).

    3. It seems that your belief that this world is a school of some sort still presumes an ultimate benevolent entity or entities -- and a benevolent purpose to this repeat incarnation cycle. But to me, having people "train" in "veil accepting simulators" -- sounds a hell of a lot like Mind Wiping or Mind Control -- exactly like the hosts experience in the Westworld series this thread is about. So why presume benevolence? Couldn't malevolence disguised as benevolence be equally plausible here? Clearly fractal beings do NOT like experiencing reincarnation, if there's a need to "train" in "veil accepting simulators" and to "instruct" someone to "accept the veil" against their clear desires and gut instincts! And doesn't this alleged memory seem a little too human created? Do you really think there are other dimensional benevolent training academies somewhere, where higher level beings are processing the new arrivals and making sure they get mind wiped in simulators and sent back? (and David, is THIS recalled memory scenario more plausible to you than "energy harvesting" beings -- or even a negative version of this mind wiping/factory scenario, a la WW? If so, why? Is it just more comforting -- the thought that there's a benevolence to it all?).

    4. You (Wormwood) are someone who has posted quite extensively here about negative entities/demonic forces. How do these negative beings/entities figure into this "life learning school," in your opinion? Are they ultimately helpers of the Big Creator, despite presumably causing quite a bit of pain/suffering here? Or do they emanate from something else entirely - like party crashers?
     
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  11. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Well, as others have written, another way of looking at it is as a process of assessing which of several competing models best fits the data (along the lines of the piece which Alex invited me to produce for episode #317).

    I'm especially interested in any light this fascinating thread sheds on the relative strengths/weaknesses, given the data points, of each of the models outlined in that piece, and how the models might further be (reasonably/plausibly) adjusted as necessary to better fit them.

    In that respect, one interesting suggestion ("adjustment") in this thread has been dpdownsouth's: that there might not be a perfect(ly good) or even a personal God, but rather, an evolving, impersonal, pantheistic God of which we are parts.

    This would explain the apparent imperfection in the world, but, as AryaS asks, would/could it explain the extent of evil and suffering in it? In the course of dpdownsouth's apparent defence that it could, he uses something of a free will defence, writing:

    Curiously, though, I think that the opposite view might also be reasonably taken. Here's how:

    When negative action is possible, then person A might self-determine to live a happy life engaged in benevolent activity X, whereas person B might self-determine to be a sadist and torment person A to the point of utterly denying person A his/her self-determination to be happy doing X.

    If, though, negative action was impossible, then no person would (could) ever deny via violent imposition any other person his/her right to self-determination, and that right would be to a meaningful extent guaranteed. Of course, this is not to say that conflicts of interest would never occur, but they would be sorted out with mutual goodwill and cooperation rather than by selfish imposition.

    Also interesting to me in your defence, dpdownsouth, is this:

    Fair enough, but what, then, do you make of the apparently exquisite fine-tuning of the universe for life? Can you see that this apparently careful crafting might seem to require or strongly suggest a designing - even an engineering - personal intelligence with a personal will? And if engineering as a discipline is possible to the extent that it is within our reality (i.e. given the coherence and reliability of its "laws"), do you see how this might suggest the strong possibility (likelihood?) that our reality itself was engineered?

    Also, a general question: how do you (if at all) differentiate your pantheistic panpsychism from idealism (e.g., as advanced by Bernardo Kastrup)?

    And one final question if you'll permit: what relationship (if any) do you propose between the impersonal, pantheistic God of your paradigm and the Being of Light experienced in some NDEs as a telepathically-communicating, personal Being?

    Along these lines, you might like Nicky Case's enlightening and wonderfully-designed game, The Evolution of Trust (hat tip to Rome Viharo for putting me on to this).

    Very good questions, as are the four numbered questions which AryaS asks in her latest post, as are those asked by dpdownsouth in post #33 (to which I thought AryaS offered some good answers)... generally, good questions from all involved!
     
  12. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    Thanks for the great answer.... you're really forcing me to brush-up on my thinking. :)

    Well, I definitely think, taken together, interdependence, interconnectedness, a balance between habit and novelty, the possibility of transcendence and the right to individual self determination suggest purpose, and do kinda hint at an implicit moral message. If a mystic has a peak experience and comes back saying, "We are all connected. We are all interdependent. We have purpose. Diversity makes us stronger. We can transcend our limitations...." doesn't this have moral implications? It's very ecologically sound thinking, anyway. But I did say "do seem to hint".

    Yes, ultimately unanswerable.

    It's rather abstract, but some hold even the basic building blocks of matter as having consciousness. Consciousness in that they have a perspective from which they react and remember the past. They are also held to have a tiny degree of indeterminacy in their actions. I don't think complex consciousness was conferred, but rather evolved under these 'cosmic attractors' that seek to maximise certain characteristics. As systems/beings gain complexity, their ability for complex consciousness does too.

    Well, yes, maybe, but it does contradict the seeming preference for diversity and transcendence. We could also posit a moral attractor being in play. If so, this attractor could take the form of the 'still, small voice' or even Viktor Frankl's Will to Meaning. Perhaps this is why the vast majority of people are pretty decent....

    Anyway, this is, I think, a good time to restate my position: I am only arguing that existence could be ultimately moral. To me, it's just not on to suggest that existence is either amoral, immoral, has equally matched duelling super morals, but cannot be moral. I'm attempting to sketch out ways that the cosmos could be both purposeful and moral.

    Ah, but you are still inescapably a culmination of your past experiences and processes, whether you remember them or not.

    Sure.
    Yeah, first, I can see them as having easily emerged as independent entities under the process I've previously described. They could also be psychic counterpoints to material processes (like, maybe the Grey aliens are Zeta Reticuli, man), or even reflective apparitions of human archetypes or behaviours.

    I haven't given this too much thought, but I don't rule them out by principle.

    This is a wonderful and fascinating idea, but I can't even being to imagine how one could think about it. Add the retrocausality that some physicists and others theorise (that events echo backwards in time), and we've gone off the cliff for ever (maybe not a bad thing)!

    Finally, I really don't believe that it's doable to completely write off the reports of countless mystics, NDErs, etc. as wish fulfilment/lies/whatever, and just leave it at that.

    Thanks again!

    @Laird Totes interesting questions, man. I must give them the time they deserve, so, I'll only be able to reply this weekend sometime. Peace.
     
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  13. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I guess one thing I keep coming back to (rather boringly) is the fact that theoretical science had to proceed via a series of steps - starting with very simple theories, and gradually becoming more complex and general. For example if Newton had had had a flash of inspiration and come up with the equations of General Relativity, that would not have represented a great leap forward - quite the opposite. At a time when people were only just getting to grips with simple calculus, what would they have done with a theory that requires Riemannian geometry? The whole theory would have collapsed into vagueness and been lost in time. Something similar applies to QM - IMHO Newtonian physics simply had to be in place before QM could even be discussed. Arguably Idealism may also be true, and yet simply act as a sink hole for thought at this stage of development.

    OK, now my feeling is that we are talking about an area of science which has long been pushed aside, and hasn't been developed generally at all, even though certain groups - such as serious meditators - have pushed further. It seems to me there is a danger this discussion (like many others before) can go down the same plug-hole as would have opened up if Newton had come up with GR! Interestingly, it may be that physics itself is sinking down a similar plug-hole with string theories!

    The only possible way to proceed, is to start with a very minimal theory - such as Substance Dualism - and then try to use the facts as we know them to begin to understand the mental 'substance' rather better. The immediate response will be that Dualism doesn't make sense because there clearly has to be some interaction between the two substances. However, physics has managed perfectly well with two theories - QM and GR - that are inconsistent.

    The fact that it is possible to see the ultimate limits of a theory shouldn't stop us adopting it as a useful step forward - just as physicists (and chemists) do!

    Clearly the border between the mental world and the physical world is a good deal more complex and interesting than people usually acknowledge. We have OBE's, NDE's, death bed visions, other mystical visions, and maybe hypnotic regression - though Let's Eat is wary of those because of his experience in hypnotism. It is also distinctly possible that reincarnation is real. It seems to me, that the most interesting conclusions will come from thinking about those phenomena, and what they mean.

    My preference is also to think about everyday observations of mental phenomena, rather than dredge up concepts like Archons. I think religion distorts, exaggerates, and mythologises phenomena that may or may not have a grain of truth buried somewhere. I don't think any of us trust religion enough to actually belong to a faith (I am only guessing) - so why try to build their ideas into our understanding?

    David
     
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  14. Laird

    Laird Member

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    This supposed "problem" with substance dualism has never seemed problematic to me. It is often asserted as a problem, but I haven't seen the supposed problem itself described in any detail. Why shouldn't or couldn't there be an interaction between two different substances?

    It is an especially strange criticism coming from materialists and physicalists, because it is rarely (if ever?) suggested (by physicalists/materialists) that it is problematic for there to be an interaction between electrons and protons, even though these, too, could in a meaningful sense be described as "two substances". Or, if not (my physics is rusty), then take your pick of any two fundamental particles which interact (via fundamental forces or whatever).
     
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  15. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Well I think the problem is that it would seem that the mental substance would need some physical properties - such as electric charge - in order to interact with the physical - so it isn't a distinct substance. I don't really deny that argument, but the point is that science often makes progress using theories that obviously have their flaws. For example, logically chemistry would have no laws other than Schroedinger's equation - except that it is utterly insoluble beyond trivial molecular systems (the approximations get more and more drastic). However obviously chemistry does have laws - for example the concept of valency bonding, which in some cases gets violated, but it is still useful.

    Predicting whether A would react with B to give C, using Schroedinger's equation may be rather like trying to draw conclusions from Idealism - in principle it is a good idea, in practice an awful one! That is not to say that nobody has ever tried to use QM this way, but they have to butcher the Schroedinger equation to have a chance. Typically they treat the inner electrons round each atom as if they just created a potential gradient rather than as quantum mechanical creatures in their own right. Then they compare with experiment, and adjust the approximations if the match doesn't look too good! That is why chemistry labs are still very necessary!

    I think looking at what science really does, is more useful than looking at what it claims to do!

    David
     
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  16. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    I find your answer to be a frustrating dodge of my numerous direct questions, David. I just do not understand your willingness to give credence only to "positive" spiritually transformative experiences and benevolent theories of reality that seem to have very little connection with our actual physical reality. If you are going to open your mind to the idea that "life is a school" and that "reincarnation is real," I don't see how you can simply ignore evidence of negative NDE experiences or centuries of reports of demonic interference/possession -- all of which seems to lead to at least the possibility that the ultimately benevolent creator(s)/creation theories are severely wanting.

    .

    Well, this is a thread about the Westworld series -- which has particularly Gnostic ideas about the nature of reality. The possibility of negative "archons" interfering with/controlling our reality is far more relevant to this particular thread than a pivot to thread-killing dry discussions of scientific formulas/theories. It appears that you do not like to contemplate theories of reality that make you uncomfortable.
     
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  17. nbtruthman

    nbtruthman New

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    This thread has become a brilliant exploration of one of the most profound questions of human existence. On this topic I thought I would repost something I offered for consideration on another forum. It doesn't represent any sort of final conclusion on my part - just some points to consider in pondering these profound and troubling matters:

    This short essay by Granville Sewell is I think one of the best deistic rationalizations of the reality of evil I have encountered. Of course there are other rationalizations, in particular the New Age "life is a (self-chosen) school" reincarnational approach, and of course the materialist view that no rationalization is possible, so "suck it up".

    A vast amount of suffering is caused by evil actions of human beings. Second, there is a vast amount of "natural evil" caused by the natural world by things like disease, floods and earthquakes. Any proposed deistic or other solution to the ancient theological problem of suffering has to explain both categories.

    The basic approach in this essay was to combine various arguments that mankind's suffering is an inevitable accompaniment of our greatest blessings and benefits.

    Why pain, suffering and evil? Main points that are made:

    (1) There is the observed regularity of natural law. The basic laws of physics appear to be cleverly designed to create conditions suitable for human life and development. It can be surmised that this intricate fine-tuned design is inherently a series of tradeoffs and balances, allowing and fostering human existence but also inevitably allowing "natural evil" to regularly occur. In other words, the best solution to the overall "system requirements" (which include furnishing manifold opportunities for humans to experience and achieve) may inherently include natural effects that cause suffering to human beings.

    This points out that there may be logical and fundamental limitations to God's creativity. Maybe even He can't 100% satisfy all the requirements simultaneously. Maybe He doesn't have complete control over nature, because that would interfere with the essential requirements for creative and fulfilling human life. After all, human achievement requires imperfection and adverse conditions to exist as a natural part of human life.

    (2) There is the apparent need for human free will as one of the most important "design requirements". This inevitably leads to vast amounts of suffering caused by evil acts of humans to each other. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way to get around that one, except to make humans "zombies" or robots, or to propose that humans could have been granted limited but not absolute free will. This would be such that it would be impossible for them to wilfully commit truly evil acts. Don't know the answer to that one, except to observe that this might be another one of those inherent "tradeoffs", where maybe there is no way to engineer just limited free will - it's either whole hog or none from some neurological standpoint.

    (3) Some suffering is necessary to enable us to experience life in its fullest and to achieve the most. Often it is through suffering that we experience the deepest love of family and friends. "The man who has never experienced any setbacks or disappointments invariably is a shallow person, while one who has suffered is usually better able to empathize with others. Some of the closest and most beautiful relationships occur between people who have suffered similar sorrows."

    Some of the greatest works of literature, art and music were the products of suffering. "One whose life has led him to expect continued comfort and ease is not likely to make the sacrifices necessary to produce anything of great and lasting value."

    Of course, the brute fact remains that there is an egregious amount of truly innocent and apparently meaningless suffering, that our instinct tells us is wrong. Is it at all worth it?

    Sewell concludes:

    "Why does God remain backstage, hidden from view, working behind the scenes while we act out our parts in the human drama? ....now perhaps we finally have an answer. If he were to walk out onto the stage, and take on a more direct and visible role, I suppose he could clean up our act, and rid the world of pain and evil — and doubt. But our human drama would be turned into a divine puppet show, and it would cost us some of our greatest blessings: the regularity of natural law which makes our achievements meaningful; the free will which makes us more interesting than robots; the love which we can receive from and give to others; and even the opportunity to grow and develop through suffering. I must confess that I still often wonder if the blessings are worth the terrible price, but God has chosen to create a world where both good and evil can flourish, rather than one where neither can exist. He has chosen to create a world of greatness and infamy, of love and hatred, and of joy and pain, rather than one of mindless robots or unfeeling puppets."

    Overall, it all may be a vast engineering tradeoff, and some people might conclude it isn't a good one from the human perspective.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
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  18. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I don't discount negative spiritual phenomena, but the fact remains that most NDE's are positive, as are most deathbed experiences. Some people begin with a negative NDE, which then changes direction part way through.

    My real point is that it surely makes sense to respond to the majority of the data as a first stab at understanding what is going on. A lot of science has exceptions of one sort or another, and sometimes those exceptions herald some new discovery, but other times they are just a distraction - so surely it makes sense to start with what it would seem usually happens when people die.

    David
     
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  19. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    .
    I wanted to highlight this link to your brilliant article again here, Laird, in the hopes that everyone participating here will take the time to read it. I had read it a while back, but am going to review it again now, as I think it provides a great jumping off point for continuing discussions in this thread. Would love to explore the strengths/weaknesses to each theory, given the data available.
     
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  20. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    But even if you start with the (allegedly) mostly positive NDE's/STE's as the "first stab at understanding what is going on," you still need to take that data further. Specifically:

    1. You first would need to consider the possibility that the reports are inaccurately skewed towards the positive experiences because those who experience negative NDE's or terrifying encounters with negative entities are likely not as willing to report/record what they experienced. For example, in my one experience with ayuhuasca, the few people who had terrifying/negative experiences were so shaken by what they had seen/experienced that they didn't want to talk about it -- and mostly sat sobbing and clearly deeply spooked. (I did not have a negative experience -- but didn't have a particularly spiritual experience either). And then you would have to take into account these negative experiences that do clearly happen -- and try to figure out how they fit within the bigger picture. It seems that you just toss them out as irrelevant "minority" views or claim that they all end up becoming "positive" after further reflection by the experiencer, which isn't always the case.

    2. Even assuming that the majority of NDE's/STE's have been positive/blissful experiences, you would still need to come up with some satisfying explanation as to why such positive STE's/NDE's simply do not align with the physical reality here -- at least for a large majority of the population. Again, in my opinion, and as Hypermagda wrote, you really have to twist yourself into a pretzel to explain the need for such traumatic/severely negative experiences "down here" if there's some afterworld/other dimension where we all reside in absolute bliss and keep returning to after our repeat traumatic or mundane experiences here. And even if the majority of NDE'ers are claiming that they were told we are here to "learn" or "evolve" -- should we just accept that explanation, even if it makes little sense to us? Are we going back to the "take it on faith" or "it's beyond our puny human ability to understand" explanations given to us by most traditional religions?

    I have yet to read a satisfying account from an NDE'er where the NDE'er challenged this rather unconvincing platitude. Thus, I find it necessary to explore alternative options to explain these alleged/allegedly positive experiences -- e.g., the possibility of deception -- whether by the NDE'ers themselves, or the "beings" on the "other side" giving these unsatisfying "life is a school" explanations. You seem unwilling or unable to explore this possibility - but that's what (I hope) this thread is about: exploring all potential theories and their strengths/weaknesses.
     
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