Is Westworld our world?

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

  1. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    Sigh, no time to write but just to say that it's great to be able to engage in a discussion with people who "get" these questions on such a deep level and can provide me with valuable food for thought, so that hopefully we can all move forward rather than having to repeat the same old arguments for the umpteenth time. Laird, AryaS, nbtruthman, thank you for your brilliant posts - I will gladly contribute here when I have enough time.

    For the time being I notice that there's nobody left defending the theory whereby "we choose to incarnate for thrills, and hence pain and suffering are OK as they are self-inflicted and it's all a dream anyway so it's no big deal after all, it's the price to pay for the excitement", and the "incarnation as school" theory is now the Maginot line for those who maintain that we voluntarily choose to come into the material world.

    Just thought this may be of interest to you, although AryaS has probably come across this when researching the Kabbalah:

    http://realitysandwich.com/180037/tzimtzum_tikkun_repairing_universe/

    I think dpdownsouth will like this theory :) It's a somewhat "optimistic" view of things, in the sense that mankind is called to repair the mess caused by the creator (which, obviously, implies that the creator is NOT omnipotent or omniscient or this mess would not have happened). And it also means that we are called to work to repair something, not to learn anything.

    "The result of the breaking of the vessels is that the world, which the Ein-Sof had originally planned to be formed of the highest values – beauty, love, mercy, wisdom, knowledge – is now corrupted by their evil counterparts. And we too, who are fragments of the androgynous Primordial Man, are infected with the corruption. The klipoth that make up the universe are in us too, and we find ourselves here, separated into opposites, male and female, stranded on the Other Side. Hence our world is one of pain, suffering, falsehood, conflict, and the other evils we are all too familiar with.

    Tikkun
    This depressing state of affairs is reminiscent of the Gnostic view of ourselves as trapped in an evil world devised by an idiot god. But, as in the Hermetic account, all is not lost. Luria’s dramatic version of the creation story and its subsequent cosmic catastrophe would be a paranoid’s dream – or nightmare – if it were not for the possibility that the situation can be saved. In this man plays the central role. If in the Hermetic creation myth we are caretakers of the world, for Lurianic Kabbalah, we are its cosmic repairmen, here to clean up the mess caused by the spilling of the divine energies.

    Although the klipoth are within us, as in the Hermetic account, we also carry within us sparks of the divine energies. In fact, everything in the world has within it some heavenly spark. Mankind’s job is to free the sparks (netzotzim) from the shards, through what Luria called tikkun, or ‘repair’. Through this we will restore the shattered sephiroth, heal the rift between the opposites, and unify the polarized masculine and feminine aspects of God. "

    Or maybe, 'the creator' just wanted to have something to do in his boring existence! :

    "This being so, mankind has a crucial role to play in the world. As Sanford L. Drob, a contemporary Kabbalist, writes: ‘the restoration and repair of the broken vessels is largely in the hands of humankind.’ As mentioned, for some Kabbalists, God or the Ein-Sof shattered the vessels on purpose, precisely so that man could repair them. But in this version, our work is more than repair. ‘In freeing the divine sparks from the klipoth,’ Drob writes, ‘and restoring them to God, and re-establishing the flow of masculine and feminine divine energies, man acts as a party in the creation and redemption of the world, and is actually said to complete God himself.’ Not only are we entrusted with the responsibility of saving the universe, but, as mentioned earlier, God too."
     
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  2. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I won't concede quite that much.

    Perhaps I should just point out that surely the purpose of a discussion like this, is not that we should all aim to agree, but that we should explore other possibilities. I agree that at face value the concept of people choosing their next life seems counter-intuitive, and I tried to explore possible ways to understand that idea better.

    The problem with trying to understand human suffering, is ultimately related to the fact that we don't understand the human mind at all! Most people who comes back from an NDE are amazed by life out there, and we hear over and over again how limited life down here is by comparison. I think that that huge change of perspective may be part of the problem in understanding this.

    Maybe I am naive, but I basically refuse to believe that people are simply lied to in their NDE's, so I think we should take what they say seriously.

    I think given only a fraction of the picture, it is easy to trivialise and scoff at the concept of people selecting lives for a purpose. However, look at some extraordinary facts from right here in physical reality:

    1) I know a guy in the military, who explained to me how pleased he was that he was finally going on a tour of duty to Afghanistan to "put his training into practice". This wasn't at the start of the conflict, and he can have been in no doubt of the risks he was taking - not only of death, but also of disablement. He said that all the men felt the same excitement! Some of those going to Afghanistan were, of course women.

    2) Some men and women flock to do dangerous activities of other types. Some people and up paralysed after ski racing accidents, but that doesn't stop others taking their place.

    3) Although (thankfully) relatively few people want to do sexually abusive things, far more are willing to watch films in which this happens. Most men and women have at least watched a fair few simulated murders in the cinema and on TV. All these activities excite because the watcher is to some degree pulled into the action. I suppose VR can intensify that pull a lot further. Indeed, AryaS more or less conceded that the Westworld series was in part at least, an opportunity to place gruesome scenes on the screen, because this is popular viewing!

    4) Although I hope none of us are sadistic, I guess we can all imagine doing something sadistic if we try and are honest. I admit to watching a video of Saddam Hussein being hanged. Possibly nobody is free of such emotions, but we control them well - maybe we have had a few incarnations to learn the skill! We probably all daydream about scenarios that we would never put into action (even though Jesus taught that the thought is as bad as the deed).

    I suppose that living a 'good' life involves keeping such motivations under some sort of control, and if indeed we do choose a series of lives, the purpose is to get control of ourselves in these situations.

    Obviously that doesn't explain why we need that control (other than to lead another slightly better life!), but that infinite regress is there with just about any explanation.

    I am not claiming that the above is necessarily the explanation, but I want to point out that it makes a certain sense.

    David
     
  3. Laird

    Laird Member

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    [snark]Can we please at least agree to use commas correctly?[/snark] Honestly, I know that that's snarky but it's how I really feel. This is a forum based on the written word and when the rules of the written word are broken... well, I for one am "less than appreciative". Let me simply request: please don't be a grammatical terrorist. ;-)

    But David, that is exactly what I and others have been saying this discussion is and should be for: the exploration of possibilities!

    Frankly, I find this kind of relativism to be utterly disingenuous or at least ignorant. The suffering of sentient beings in this reality can not be dismissed or diminished simply by appealing to a higher reality in which it is less "real". The suffering in this reality is absolutely real. It cannot be excused by naive relativistic appeal, especially when the realities being appealed to are ones of bliss rather than suffering!

    Fine, that's a valid approach, but it is not without its responsibilities: primarily, to explain why a supposedly benevolent system of "learning" is based on (often ghastly) suffering. You might argue, "It was simply the best way that the higher powers knew at the time how to teach us", but then the question remains why - given that plenty of us "lower" beings have pointed it out by now - those higher powers haven't yet realised that they were mistaken. Or, you might argue, "It was and still is the best way for those higher powers to teach us", but then the question becomes, "Oh? Why is that?", because even I as an incarnate understand that the carrot approach is better than the stick approach.

    It's hard not to again be snarky in response to this, David. I mean, to be thrilled at the possibility of invading and interfering in a foreign land on entirely illegitimate grounds - well, yes, this certainly is an "extraordinary fact", but not exactly one upon which to build an ethical argument...

    But OK, the ethics of invasion aside, let's say he knew he was taking a risk. Would the risk (of suffering) have been necessary for him to be excited to participate in what I can only call in this context a "game"? There are, for example, massive, networked computer gaming contests (eSports) in which "warriors" battle it out in virtual environments, all without risk of pain or suffering (other than the pain of losing to a competitor) - so, is the risk of actual harm (other than to the ego) really necessary?

    OK, so, how many of those do you think would stop skiing if there were no risk of injury? (Hint: the answer is probably negative).

    And how is this in any way relevant? The arguments from suffering raised in this thread are predicated on actual suffering. No actors actually suffer whilst acting (at least, probably no more than in any other profession).

    Again, how is this relevant? The question is not whether one is prepared to cause suffering through sadism, but whether one is prepared to risk suffering oneself as the victim of a sadist. Sure, you might revel in witnessing the suffering of a deposed tyrant, but would you be willing to accept the suffering of and as that deposed tyrant for some supposedly "educational" purpose?

    Exactly! This is precisely the point, David. There is no need to learn how to be courageous in a world devoid of bullies, tyrants, and danger. There is no need to learn how to conquer fear in a world in which there is nothing to be fearful of. Etc etc. The question is this: if, ultimately, we are bound for such an ideal world (devoid of bullies, tyrants, danger, and fearful situations), then why would we need to learn lessons which are - ultimately - irrelevant to it?

    Here's one that avoids it. We might provisionally infer from the "fact" that we need to learn these lessons that there is a real need for them: that is, that the world is stricken by evil, that we cannot avoid it, that there is no ideal world for which we are bound - at least, without first winning it - and that we need to learn how to cope with and effectively combat evil. If the world is stricken by evil, then we need not infer that we are "learning lessons" for some higher purpose which evil is helping us to achieve and instead recognise that we are simply learning so as to better fight those diabolical forces which independently exist - not as a divine tool for our learning but as a separate and real abomination. And there's no regress in that, infinite or otherwise.

    It makes a certain sense but so does the opposing position. Perhaps you might grant as much.
     
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  4. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Or maybe it interacts in some other way. Who knows? The point is that there's no reason to assume (much less dogmatically assert) that some given substance cannot interact with some other given substance.
     
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  5. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    Just a quickie:
    It's a fair point.
    Often NDErs appear to reach their transformative conclusions via the totality of their experience.

    Why not read an NDE account from this forum's very own @Radish . It's a long, detailed and thorough telling, but is absolutely fascinating and well worth seeing through to the end. For me, it's the complexity and power of many NDEs that makes your deception/wishful-thinking/Archon-reincarnation-matrix idea way too simplistic and ultimately inadequate.

    PLEASE park your predetermined objections for a bit, read it through, and engage with the account on its own terms.

    http://www.nderf.org/Experiences/1peter_n_nde_6584.html

    Edit: I don't think Radish actually died, but, as I'm sure you know, NDEs are somewhat misnamed in that they do not only occur in literal heart-stopping situations.

    Hey, not a million miles away from my perspective!

    It's nice to feel understood (even if occasionally straw-manned :)).

    Peace.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  6. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    Thanks for the link -- I will read it and will respond after I do. It's very long (just printed out 36 single-spaced pages), so it may take a while. Just to be clear on two points, though: 1) I don't have "predetermined objections" -- I am open to data/evidence where satisfactory answers are presented about the need for so much evil in the world, if one is to presume that the creator/creators are ultimately "good"; and 2) the "archon/matrix" theory is certainly not MY idea -- it's a very old Gnostic idea that I currently find to be more persuasive than the "life is a school" and "God is ultimately benevolent" theories. If it sounds "simplistic," I would attribute that much more to my lack of ability to present it well -- and will try to find/share articles from others who may be able to present it in a way that captures more complexity. Your Process theory also has its appeal -- but for all the reasons I've already stated, still suggests an immoral Universe (to me).
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  7. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    LOL ! I have not read the account, only scrolled through it, and found this (I copy and paste):

    "During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No

    During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No "

    I think it's fair to wonder why..... "Tout ça pour ça?" as the French say ("All that...for this?")
     
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  8. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I am not sure, but I think you are the first person on the forum to pull me up for my grammar :)
    Well OK - we are each exploring different possibilities!
    What does 'absolutely real' mean. don't the other levels count? We have all woken from an occasional nightmare with heart pounding. The main difference I suppose is that the nightmare doesn't last long. From a higher level, maybe a lifetime isn't very long?
    Well I wasn't saying I liked his ethics - I don't - but the fact was, he was excited to be going to Afghanistan. I think the fact that people are sometimes eager to put themselves at risk that way, quite remarkable.
    Yes - that is the real point - I agree. It is a weak point of the 'training' hypothesis, but curiously this isn't just an hypothesis - this concept comes directly from NDE's, and the concept of reincarnation also seems to have a fair bit of research backing to it.

    I could try to speculate wildly - conceivably spirits can do more damage out there, even than we can down here, and they do need training - I don't know.
    I'd say what that illustrates, is the fact that we simply do not know the situation enough to tell. I mean, "a world stricken by evil" (a rather religious term) suggests that the good spirit in control only has partial control. One problem in general is that once you grant one or more entities infinite powers, things get a bit confused!

    David
     
  9. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    Laird, I admire you for still engaging with David's points - I think there's no hope that he's going to truly take our arguments to heart. He is basically re-stating the same ideas, ie that he knows people who enjoy watching scary movies or putting their life at risk (as if this applied to the whole of mankind btw), for instance by practising dangerous sports or going to war, and that seen from another, unknown vantage point our suffering is irrelevant (nothing more than a promissory note, and a cynical one at that).

    I very much doubt that he has met as many people who look forward to suffering and dying of a painful incurable disease given that apparently they chose to incarnate to experience that wonderful thrill - like, for example, to die of cancer/leukemia as an infant, or of starvation and/or infection in an African village; but even to die old, suffering from dementia, with hardly any money and with nobody caring for you must be truly exciting and I guess David has lots of friends who gladly opted for a specific life of misery and disease and disability to experience that kind of thrill.

    Honestly, I give up! He is welcome to continue to believe what he likes even if it doesn't make logical or ethical sense. I think probably he derives comfort from his beliefs and, contrary to what he stated, I am not at all here to change anybody's views, I wish to engage in a logical discussion which does not fly in the face of basic common sense and of our very real shared experience as sentient beings, and which tries to take into account ALL data, not just NDEs.

    In this spirit, in order to try and develop a working theory of why NDEs happen in the first place, I have thought of a few questions which maybe dpdownsouth may wish to address - but anybody is very welcome to answer of course. I am not at all an expert in NDEs, in fact I am quite ignorant about them. Spoiler alert: I am not at all denying that these experiences happen, I have doubts as to whether they give us a truthful picture of what lies beyond the veil. In other words: the experience is real, but how do we know that it is truthful?

    1) Is it fair to say that NDEs have changed through time, reflecting the culture and beliefs of the community the experiencers belonged to?

    2) Doesn't this suggest that whatever is causing these visions/augmented-reality-like experiences is tailoring them to the consciousness of that particular individual (though still infusing them with a sense of high weirdness ;-) or they wouldn't manage to fill them with awe)?

    3) Even more importantly - if we are not supposed to know exactly what happens to us after we die or why we are in this material world in the first place, how come SOME people have these experiences and come back to tell us about them? Are they meant to be intentional 'revelations' from what lies beyond? Or are they "accidents" (ie, NDErs were not supposed to remember and tell others what they experienced)?

    4) If these experiences are allowed/made to happen so that more and more people (like David) believe that "it's all good even if we don't get it", why don't we receive the same type of message via other less "controversial channels"? For instance, a number of people could be made to "rise from the dead" after having been officially declared dead in hospitals - say, a few days later, which would eliminate all sorts of doubts on the part of "mainstream scientists".

    This is all I have the time for now!
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  10. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Just a quick response: I woke up with a bad case of poster's remorse, hoping to erase that especially pedantic and uncharitable part of my post before it was quoted - but I was too late.

    More later...
     
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  11. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    First off, I said the account, not the questionnaire. Second, this sorta puts my point across: It's not so much that NDErs are given little wrote messages by some being to relay to Earth, but rather that their experiences as a whole are very, very suggestive.

    How are the following extracts from Radish's account not suggestive of a) the 'other side' is a very different existence to 'down here' and thus should carry a very different perspective. b) Love is somehow deeply important. c) Some process of evaluation (which suggests learning) is also somehow key?

    I didn't want to do extracts as it invariably diminishes the complexity of the experience....but how is the above, taken at face value, not very, very suggestive?

    Possibly, I have read accounts going back hundreds of years that sketch out similar themes.... and if you squint a bit at some very old texts, they kinda, might align with the modern experience. But conceptions of the after-life have changed, yes. First, given my penchant for process and evolution, I don't rule out that the afterlife (or the human bit of it) is also, in some way, evolving. Second, being as our perceptions have evolved under very specific conditions, I could easily believe that 'forces' coming from far outside our experience would be automatically 'clothed' in humanly appropriate terms by our cognitive totality (whatever that may be). Third, I believe it's entirely possible that, to some extent, the NDE takes place within a collective field of human consciousness. Lastly, maybe their are different heavens.
    See above.
    Well, I don't know. However, I've always assumed that everybody has one, only a few remember. Research shows that memory defects from oxygen deprivation seems to be the only medical condition likely to reduce your chance of having an NDE.... maybe that backs up my feeling. So, I would presume enhanced medical techniques would be behind any increase in NDEs. Spotting a wider purpose is way beyond my pay-grade.
    See above.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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  12. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Effectively a few have, there are accounts of people remaining without a pulse for hours (possibly even days) and then coming back with an NDE to report.

    However, I tend to feel that there is something of a celestial mistake involved in an NDE. That phrase, "No it is not his/her time" keeps on cropping up. I don't think NDE's are as simple as sending messages back from beyond, or even passing a message to the person in question. My feeling is that the transition to death doesn't always go according to plan!

    Seth keeps referring to probable worlds - suggesting that they may be multiple threads to reality here. I don't know whether to believe any of his channelled writings, but that may be another factor.

    David
     
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  13. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    LOL -- I have to admit, after I read through 36 pages and came to the questionnaire at the end with those answers, I was a little frustrated! It was an interesting account, but it didn't really address my query at post #60 regarding whether any NDEr ever challenges this "life is a school" communication -- and how/why deep suffering/evil is necessary if the ultimate end goal is bliss/love.

    Dpdownsouth, I too find the level of detail fascinating -- and I don't doubt that this person had this STE. But what does it mean? Can it be relied upon as Truth? Could it possibly have been the vivid but dream state dying/delusional thoughts of a traumatized brain? Is deception totally ruled out here? (if not by the NDE'r, then by higher beings?)

    I also have to say that this account reminded me quite a bit of the Law of One materials -- have you read them? It's a channeled series (I think there are four volumes), which discusses concepts very similar to the "star beings" and "thought-feeling" communications experienced by Peter (who I assume is the same person you called Radish?).

    Specifically, if I recall correctly (and I read two of the books a few years ago so it's a little foggy), in the Law of One (which I would classify as a variant of the "life as a school" theory -- except with evil more directly acknowledged as being both intentional and metaphysical), the idea is that we as soul fractals (or I think it's called "mind/body/spirit complexes" in the series) go through various densities as part of a very long learning process. During this process, and once a sufficient level of individual evolution has occurred (once a mind/body/complex becomes "aware" of its individual consciousness), an individual mind/body/spirit complex can choose either a basically positive polarity through which to experience its learning/evolution (known in the series as a "service to others" polarity) -- or a primarily negative polarity ("service to self"). Apparently, however, while positive polarity higher density beings generally respect the "free will" of a lower density being to choose its own polarity/learning path, the negative polarity beings are far more intrusive in trying to get lower density beings to join the dark side. (the Law of One series ultimately claims that both negative/positive beings/polarities emanate from "One Infinite Creator" at the top -- so no di-theistic dualism there -- just individual/collective fractals choosing negative/positive learning paths).

    The part of Peter's account that reminded me of this series was his description of his communications with the "star beings" once he was no longer in his physical body. Because in the Law of One series, after fractals leave this "3rd density" existence (our material/physical life as humans), we continue to evolve into and learn in 4th, 5th, 6th, etc. densities -- which are non-physical realms. In these densities, there are what seem to be "clusters" of beings who form some kind of meta-soul group ("social memory complexes"), that are (I think) dependent on the polarity chosen when in 3rd Density. So a person who was more selfish/negative as an individual would be in a negative polarity social memory complex cluster, while someone who was more of a positive polarity would join a positive polarity social memory complex. The series describes the communications of "thought-feelings" in a way very similar to Peter's account -- and also suggests that when one belongs to such a "social memory complex," one is both an individual and a collective, able to feel the thoughts of the others as if those thoughts were at once separate and part of the "whole" -- but only with members of the particular social memory cluster. Peter describes something very similar in his account of his communication with the star beings and his inability to communicate in the same manner with "other stars" that were visible but further away -- and seemingly not connected to him in the same way.

    There were differences in Peter's account, of course (no giant rolling God Rock in the series, IIRC), and I'm not suggesting that Peter made his account up after reading the Law of One materials, I'm only pointing out that that particularly fascinating aspect of his account was very similar to what is described in those books. So is this some kind of validation?

    I of course hope that his account is "true" -- and that there IS somewhere out there that is pure LOVE. But the account still left me with all the same questions and no answers. I'm really hoping there exist NDE accounts where the "tough questions" are asked, though I can understand how someone having an NDE is so stunned by their non-physical continued existence and the overwhelming feeling of love that allegedly permeates this void/light/space that they are not in a place to care or ask about the deeply flawed physical world (mind control! lol!).

    Finally, although the "judgment" (non-judgment) from the God Rock was pleasing/comforting in this account -- it was mostly b/c I assumed that Peter (a 20 year old who was immediately concerned about leaving his family behind once he realized he was probably dead/somewhere else) was probably someone with few things to worry about in terms of a judgment. But what about a serial killer? A child rapist? A genocidal maniac? Would the God Rock "judgment" be equally as loving/non-judgmental? If so, it really does seem to be a pointless system down here -- if you can choose to be evil, cause tremendous pain and suffering for others and impose upon their free will and desire to be happy -- and then have your love-filled non-judgmental life review -- well, just what is it that we are "learning" down here?
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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  14. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    Reread Laird's article -- and had to laugh! This very same conversation seems to have been going on for a long time on this forum -- and I'm sure many of the same points/counterpoints have already been made about each of these "nature of reality" theories that we've been discussing in this thread -- and yet, here we are again! ;)

    Laird, you really set out all of the theories quite well, and I agree with the "data" (below) that each theory should ideally be able to explain/account for. I wanted to list the "data" here again -- as I think this would be a useful framework within which to explore the strengths/weaknesses of each proposed theory of reality.

    My continuing frustration with any "life school" theory continues to be the inability to satisfactorily account for the #1 data point below. I also agree with your partial assessment of the "life is a prison" theory -- that it doesn't satisfactorily take into account the existence of "good" here, although I would not necessarily call that the pure "gnostic" view -- as the gnostics believe that we have a Divine Spark within us and thus this could/would explain the existence of "good" on this planet (and within us), despite it being created and largely controlled by a Demi-urge and archonic forces.

    From Laird's article -- linked above -- and also here:

    http://skeptiko.com/can-science-answer-big-questions-317/

    The key data about reality for which I have chosen each of these answers to account is as follows:

    1. The existence of evil in the fullest metaphysical/spiritual sense.
    2. The existence of “the veil”: that barrier which (generally) prevents us from knowing/recalling anything about existence prior to or outside of incarnation.
    3. The existence of psi – including telepathy, precognition, presentiment, clairvoyance, etc – as well as its (general) weakness in this realm.
    4. The evidence for reincarnation (regardless of whether or not one believes that evidence to be strong enough to prove that reincarnation is real).
    5. The many reports of encounters with UFOs and alien beings.
    6. The many reports of spiritual and paranormal experiences and phenomena that don’t fit under “psi” or “UFO/alien encounter”, including all forms of spiritually transformative experiences (STEs) – near-death experiences (NDEs), out-of-body experiences (OBEs), mystical experiences, etc – as well as mediumship and channelling, and the information gained through those means, and also such miscellaneous phenomena in this category as encounters with ghosts, answered prayers and faith healings.
    7. Both the order and apparent intelligence behind our reality (DNA, fine-tuning, etc), as well as the deviations from order (ghastly birth defects, cancer, natural disasters, etc).
     
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  15. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    Well said AryaS! Unsurprisingly :) I agree with this 100%! It seems completely pointless indeed. I would add to your examples - what about people with mental disabilities? Or infants and children (MILLIONS of babies and small children have died in the history of mankind; what was the purpose of their lives, if no judgement could reasonably be passed on their "moral learning"?)

    It seems evident that the "learning purpose" of our incarnation is a red herring. It is much more likely to be a human construct that works to provide consolation to many, and an incentive to be a law-abiding member of society: "if I make an effort to improve myself eventually I will be rewarded by God" .

    Moreover, as has been pointed out gazillions of times, if the perfection of this material dimension had been the real purpose, a truly almighty creator could have made it perfect in the first place. If it ain't broke, you don't need to fix it (via millions and millions of lives exposed to extreme, and often frankly gratuitous pain and suffering, ie: natural disasters, disease, old age etc).
    As was pointed out, freewill to be able to commit extreme evil is not desirable and was moreover not necessary at all. It only made things even more difficult for us all.
    Even more obviously, for instance, a planet where sentient beings do not have to kill each other constantly to survive would not have even reduced freewill, but made this planet a much more inspiring image of "the oneness and goodness" we are supposed to aspire to. (Btw nobody here has addressed the issue of why animals are suffering with us in this material world, too. What would the afterlife judgement be for them? What lessons is a carnivore supposed to learn, since it was born without the freewill not to kill?)

    In mainstream Christian religion, this 'moral improvement' is supposed to happen in the course of a single lifetime. In other religions (including New-Age type belief systems) this requires several reincarnations. But the idea is the same. Also, in older religions/interpretations of religions there was eternal damnation (in the sense that the final judgement could truly lead to a complete exclusion - see the eternal flames of Hell in the Middle Ages, or in ancient Egypt the weighing of the soul by Maat to see if it was heavier than a feather https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maat#The_Weighing_of_the_Heart etc). It is reasonable to assume that this reflected the harsher living conditions of mankind - in the past people were excluded from the community and punished much more harshly than today (e.g., torture and capital punishment were the rule rather than the exception)

    In more recent times, a much more forgiving approach to human error has taken hold, hence you end up with these NDE accounts which ultimately do not make ethical sense because as you pointed out, if all is forgiven then nothing we do in life really makes a difference in the end (from the "higher vantage point" some believe in); so anything goes, really - and this logical contradiction, as well as a growing reluctance to be judgemental at all on the part of more and more people today is what is fuelling the approach whereby "we are only here to experience this material dimension, both the good and the bad". This of course implies that even the bad is OK. Of course, when then people become victims of bad actions themselves (or even victims of "nature": horrible diseases, earthquakes etc), they mostly aren't so accepting..... But otherwise it's a very convenient way of not being bothered by the suffering around us - thinking that 'it's all good' surely makes life easier for New age types!

    An interesting idea here (unless I'm reading too much in dpdownsouth's post) is that the afterlife has "evolved". Does that imply that "God" has evolved, too? (I'm only talking of God because the NDE he posted mentioned this concept. It's not an idea I defend at all. "God" in the "everyday" sense of the word is not my working theory - I'm referring to that type of God, you know, an all-knowing, all-loving, "we are all one" kind of consciousness - which is a contradiction in terms, looking at the nature of his creation, which however I cannot address here obviously - just google theodicy to see how huge that can of worms is)
    Can God evolve? An eternal, supposedly perfect being? Isn't it more likely that human projections (about God and the afterlife) have evolved instead?
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  16. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    Once again I totally agree with you AryaS, Laird did an absolutely fantastic job (I told him as much both privately and in public :)) and I referred to his article other times in this Forum, too.
    At the time I felt that his points failed to be addressed here in the Forum with the precision and depth of analysis that they deserved. I am glad we are trying to do so again in this thread.
     
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  17. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    Would you please provide us with links to the accounts you mention? Do you mean that these people were actually officially declared clinically dead? I was thinking more in terms of people who had already been taken care by an undertaker and prepared for the funeral, you know, after the first signs of physical decomposition had appeared. THAT would definitely be impossible for 'science' to dispute. But anyway this is not so important since you then say that NDEs seem to be involuntary on the part of what lies beyond the veil.

    In fact what you suggest (that the transition to death doesn't always go according to plan, so that NDEs are not revelations but ACCIDENTS in the big scheme of things) would then very clearly imply that the consciousness behind the veil is not at all all-powerful - heck, our pretty primitive medical technology, which still fails to save millions of people from premature death, is able to rend holes in the veil which "God" decided to put there, so that we could continue to live our lives in uncertainty as to our condition and ignorance about the nature of reality until the very end!

    Doesn't this suggest that whatever these NDErs meet beyond the veil can NOT be the ultimate consciousness/power that has given rise to the whole of Reality?

    Gnostics would say that NDErs meet the imperfect, clumsy Demiurge and his Archons, and not the "God-above-God"!

    NB: I don't take the Gnostic myth literally, obviously! What I mean is that we could very well be the (imperfect) creatures of (other-dimensional but just as imperfect, though much more powerful than us) forms of consciousness who are trying to make us believe that they are "God".

    As some have said, it could be "turtles all the way down" for all we know!
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
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  18. Laird

    Laird Member

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    I meant "objectively real", which would have been the better term to use. That is, experiences - and their consequences - of pain and suffering exist objectively, regardless of any comparisons that can be made to other experiences (in this reality or some other).

    Sure they count, but unless those levels consist in even ghastlier pain and suffering, then there is no reason to excuse or minimise the pain and suffering in this level.

    I wonder whether you read the article to which AryaS linked a short while ago in the QAnon thread? There is a description in that article, which I won't repeat here, of some of the "enhanced interrogation techniques" used by the CIA. I wonder whether you can imagine anybody volunteering to be subjected to those "techniques" "for the thrill of it" or for some (unspecified) "learning", or because "the experience is relative" and "the nightmare doesn't last long"?

    Yes, that would be a problem. I am not sure how it is relevant though - I haven't seen anybody in this discussion grant "infinite" powers to more than one entity.
     
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  19. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Heh. Yep. It is kind of funny! One reason I referenced the article earlier is as you imply - that most arguments both pro and con in this thread have already been covered in it. New models/arguments/counter-arguments are most interesting, which is why I focussed in my first post on the novelty in dpdownsouth's view of God as impersonal, pantheistic, and evolving - a model which the article didn't cover. But then I couldn't resist responding to David, and contributing myself to the repetitive nature of this interminable debate/dialogue!

    Thanks to you and Magda for your kind words about the article, and to you for your correction re the "life as a prison" model being not necessarily pure Gnosticism.

    Ideally, we'd take a systematic approach to this whole issue, perhaps supported by a software tool more suitable than XenForo, but right now I don't have the energy to try to make that happen.
     
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  20. Laird

    Laird Member

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    This does appear to happen if the reports are to be trusted. I've bookmarked a couple of reports which I've come across, probably due to folks posting them in this forum:
    I've seen other reports too though - some of which are even more extreme.
     

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