Is Westworld our world?

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

  1. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Well Sheldrake is a bit vague about what a morphic field is, but I think he does say somewhere or other that a morphic field must at least embody some intelligence. He uses the eye of a newt as a good example. Experiments have been done in which the lens of the eye of a newt was surgically removed. Amazingly it regrew, but by a different process from that which normally creates it! It is presumably inconceivable that the newt genome contains a second developmental pathway to cater for this surgical intervention, so Sheldrake reckons that this is an example of a morphic field tackling a repair job rather like an intelligent mechanic might solve a problem in a machine (my analogy).

    I am not sure, but I think Sheldrake's objection to ID, is the implication (real or otherwise) that the intelligence is applied at the start and then the body runs like a machine. BTW if you email him he answers, and he is an absolute mine of information - so try it!

    It seems to me that "God of the Gaps" concept is only really valid if science is getting nearer to answering the big problems (it is very good at ferreting out ever more biochemical detail). Questions like how did life start and how does matter create consciousness don't seem to advance at all. It seems to me the discovery of DNA almost sealed the fate on evolution by natural selection because it demonstrated that the code was so complicated - more like a computer program, and simple combinatorial arguments show how absurd it is to evolve the DNA codes for whole new proteins - so where did they come from?

    @Alex I really think Skeptiko should explore this issue a lot, because it seems one of the weakest parts of materialistic science.

    I have really enjoyed this thread, and it has helped me to crystallize my feeling that infinite intelligence/wisdom/insight/technical power is an absurd concept that renders more or less every reason for doing anything, pointless. I guess this is another reason I am not fond of conventional religion!

    For me at least, the whole process of reincarnation now makes a lot more sense - we are trying to fix the problems with the life on earth project! These are problems associated with filtered consciousness - it can go off the rails in so many ways - and also conventional problems with us spoiling the biosphere - or indeed the ultimate catastrophe on earth - a nuclear war!

    Why this project is important is still not clear to me, but clearly a lot of effort has been expended on it!

    David
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  2. Laird

    Laird Member

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    My tentative answer is "Yes", but I also think that this is in a meaningful sense a more abstract theory than most of those posed in the article I wrote: it could encompass or subsume most of them, in that it puts forward an amoral ground of being from which almost any local deity, deities, or other powerful (a)moral agent(s) might arise who determine the scenario of our little corner of reality - and, after all, the question addressed by my article was localised (emphasis added): "Why are we incarnated in this world?"

    But I think that you and Magda have recognised this already - for example, Magda writes:

    To which you respond:

    And similarly, this distinction is implicit in this exchange between the two of you:

    So, perhaps we ought to be asking two questions rather than one - roughly:

    1. What is the ultimate nature of reality?
    2. What is the nature of our local reality?

    The first is of course a lot harder to answer, which might (I don't remember clearly) be why I instead posed a variant of the second in my article.

    This adds some relevance, I think, to what you, AryaS, wrote to dpdownsouth in a more recent post:

    This clearly becomes more relevant when focussing on the second question; that pertaining to our own local reality.

    Also, I think that in the above quotes, you guys have highlighted another theory significant enough to be added to the list: that incarnation is a reality show (per the Truman Show, except that perhaps we are all Trumans) for the entertainment of higher level beings.

    All of that said, there are some inconsistencies in Aaron's account. I'm not saying that these alone invalidate it, but they do bring it into disrepute:

    1. On the one hand, Aaron writes, "I can sense millions of years ahead" and "The thousand voices break into conversation, telling me [...] about the future", and on the other, he writes: "This ‘place/thing/existence’ that created us and is us, doesn’t know where life will lead".
    2. And on the one hand, he writes, "I can tell there is no time or space any more. Time doesn’t make sense to me now. It feels stupid that I ever believed in time", and on the other: "She tells me that it can take millions of years until it’s your turn to return to into a ‘Being’ again, but that it doesn’t matter because you can’t feel time when you’re energy".

    The following statements in Aaron's account, though, are literally Satanic, and on that basis I reject his entire account as diabolically inspired: "I learned that there is no such thing as good or bad, right or wrong. We are meant to be free to do as we please and follow impulses".

    I agree with dpdownsouth that there is ample evidence (dare I say proof?) that NDEs are not products of the brain - most notably, the veridical OBE components of NDEs, but as for NDEs being deceptions/lies, I agree with you that that is very possible given (as you put it) "the variety of often contradictory experiences [...] even when some of the NDE accounts are stunningly detailed".

    Segueing into another exchange between you and Magda:

    But then why, given an amoral ground of being, would (as seems to be the case) the moral impact of ones actions on others be emphasised during life reviews?

    It's tempting to suggest that the reason is that our local reality is governed by a moral deity who somehow emerged out of the amoral ground of being - but then we once again encounter the problem of evil. Another possibility is per the segue: that these life reviews are staged by amoral or immoral beings for some purpose antithetical to our own, such as our control or their entertainment. It's a very difficult phenomenon to come to grips with.

    Another exchange:

    Some thoughts/questions:

    First, maybe we are told explicitly what we are doing here, and are told how to retain the memory, but upon succumbing to some sort of temptation (about which we were warned) we lose our memories - much like the allegory of the prince who, in a foreign land, forgot, after eating foreign food, that he was a prince, and had to be reminded of who he was by various signs sent by his father, the king - at least, that's the gist of what I remember of the tale. This is essentially one of the suggestions that I made in my article with respect to theory #3's accounting for "the veil", but it might apply more broadly to other theories.

    Second, what does 'merg[ing] into the "whole" again' entail? On its face it sounds a lot like the death of the individual self, but you seem to be considering a scenario in which the individual self, having merged, nevertheless continues to exist as an individual entity who is capable of further incarnations - so does "merging" simply mean "losing one's personal memories by having them transferred to the whole"? If so, then it seems on the face of it to be inimical to the ground-of-being's functional (since it has no moral one) purpose: learning. Surely, an individual is more likely to learn (and thereafter transfer to the whole) new lessons, as opposed to merely relearn already-learnt lessons, if that individual remembers the lessons s/he has already learnt (to say nothing of remembering or being taught the myriad other lessons which other individuals have already learnt!)?

    I don't think that this is sufficient as a theory of psychopathy. At least some psychopaths are not simply lacking in empathy and thereby causing suffering out of ignorance: at least some of them not only know full well that they are causing suffering but do what they do because it causes suffering.

    This to me sounds like a (localised) variation of solipsism, and the same argument as against solipsism, it seems to me, applies to it: since I (would) have no conscious intent to "create", nor conscious experience of "creating", these experiences, their creation cannot in a meaningful sense be ascribed to me (and the same argument applies to any other individual).

    I disagree based on the evidence for the design of both the universe and the life within it. Though it might not be a perfect design, it is still evidence of a remarkable intelligence and potency. (An) intelligent power(s) capable of devising and then implementing the sophisticated designs behind life and our local reality is (are) surely capable of intervention into that reality to at least prevent the grosser evils that occur within it. Most of even us mere incarnates would do as much even for our worst enemies were they to be subjected to some of the worse horrors of this reality and were we capable of extracting them from those horrors. See also my point to David below re the predictive powers of beings in NDEs.

    Assuming we accept that signals of danger are necessary (i.e. that danger and harm are themselves necessary), why would those signals have to be painful? Why could they not simply signal neutrally, such that those beings who learnt to recognise the signal and act on it survived and reproduced, and those who didn't either didn't survive or didn't reproduce?

    No offence, but that's so inane a pair of statements as to be pointless. It's on the level of: "If we have two oranges, we can consider them as a duality - of two oranges - or as a unity - a single set of oranges". Well, sure, but that does nothing to demonstrate that, or even hint as to why, pain and suffering as experienced in the here and now might simply be wished away as irrelevant according to some other purportedly higher perspective.

    So, here's my challenge to you and David: put your money where your mouths are. If you think that (your) pain and suffering in the here and now will be eclipsed by some higher perspective, then go nuts: cause yourselves all of the horrendous pain and suffering that you can think of and film it for us. Here are a couple of suggestions: blowtorch your toes off; gouge out your eyes with spoons. Be sure to record yourselves saying before and after each video: "This is all irrelevant from a higher perspective". Maybe smile enigmatically as you say that, or at least grin. A lighthearted chuckle wouldn't go astray either.

    I find it hard to imagine how at the ultimate level some sort of paradox is not involved - rational explanations sure seem to fail. But I don't think that we should get carried away by dragging the contradictions down to less lofty realms.

    Right - this point keeps on coming up in various forms, and those who advocate the life-as-a-school model continue to fail to have any answer to it: David even wrote explicitly earlier in the thread that the apparent lack of utility in the purported hereafter of the lessons learnt in this realm is a legitimate problem for the life-as-a-school model. In response to my emphasising this, David wrote:

    The first two and the fourth of these questions seem to me to point towards the significance of the distinction I noted earlier between the ultimate nature of reality and the nature of our local reality. They are in any case good questions.

    The third though seems to me though to be cherry-picking: it involves a trade-off of pain for new life, whereas not all pain is associated with a commensurate gain. Moreover, I can't see why childbirth need be painful.

    But to make this point, David, you have to ignore those NDEs in which later life experiences were accurately predicted, such as the time and means of death of a loved one.

    I also suggest (provisionally at least) that there is similarly an apparent contradiction between the apparent ability of beings encountered in NDEs to predict such future events versus the apparent inability of designing powers (presumably the same as or at least related to the beings encountered in NDEs) to perfect their designs from the get-go. Here's a provisional further suggestion to give you a sense of where I'm coming from: that kind of foreknowledge implies an independence from time (at least of the time of our particular realm) that would allow these beings the "timelessness" (unlimited time) in which to achieve perfection.

    Why would we expect that? Isn't it obvious that there are also benevolent powers? I mean, if the diabolical had decisive power in this realm (albeit that one had to appeal to it in some way to access its power), then why would there be any remaining goodness in this realm at all? Why wouldn't it be an utter hell?

    A few acknowledgments of and responses to other shared links:

    The article shared by Magda on the Tibetan Book of Dead - very interesting, thanks for sharing, Magda. I don't right now though have anything in response to add to that with which AyraS has already responded.

    The Joseph Campbell interview shared by Magda. Wow. Times two. That was a fascinating read. As you allude to, Magda, one of the very interesting perspectives (amongst many) that Joseph Campbell brings is to highlight the distinction between those religions which embrace the (evil and suffering in the) natural world and see no overriding moral imperatives with respect to "nature" versus those which distinguish between good and evil and side with good. As I think is obvious by now, I see things via the same (or at least a very similar) moral lens as you do. That said, there is value in living in harmony with the natural world versus the approach taken by the Abrahamic religions: that the natural world is the dominion of mankind to subdue and exploit for its (his, really, since this is a fundamentally patriarchal system) own benefit.

    The link to the article on the shadow tree of the Kabbalah shared by AryaS. This strikes a chord with me, and I suspect that a lot in Kabbalah would resonate with and make sense to me. I read a fair bit of the article, but ultimately the darkness was too much for me to want to delve into in the detail in which the article delved into it (even though I understand such darkness to be real).

    ----------

    Hopefully that does some justice to those who have posted such interesting contributions to this thread. Thanks to all for sharing your thoughts - this thread has been and continues to be pretty epic.
     
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  3. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I'll avoid the temptation to deal with this flippantly, except to observe that making my mouth plural looks like another grammatical error - at least as severe as my extra comma Also, since the video might start another craze of Youtube dares, I think I would have to step in as moderator and insist on no video of this exciting experiment.

    As you may have noticed, my opinion has changed somewhat over this thread - other's probably have too - which means this is a very valuable thread. I now tend to the view that the world is imperfect because it has not been designed by an infinite intelligence. Even so, your challenge seems to be based on the premise that I don't understand how severe suffering can be. Well fortunately I certainly do not have personal experience, but that might rule out many or all of the participants on this thread. What is extraordinary is that people can suffer enormous injuries - e.g. have their faces burned off, and yet somehow manage to carry on reasonably normally, whereas others can become severely depressed over something trivial (at least in comparison).
    Well as I think I said before, it is possible to imagine being a sadist - who hasn't read of some horrible crime, and imagined inflicting something even worse on the perpetrator? I get the feeling that such motivations may exist in all of us, but most control them so that they do no harm. A kid who rips the wings off flies, isn't doing that for any reason other than sadistic delight, but I presume most grow up to be completely normal. Viewed in that way, the few that do become sadists, may indeed reveal some sort of flaw in the brain that affects the filtering of consciousness. Indeed I seem to have read some claim years ago that there is a gene associated with psychopaths - but such claims come and go, so this may no-longer accepted as true.

    So the problem is probably one of understanding everyone's psychology, and I don't imagine psychology will really get very far until it is based on some reasonably correct view of the mind-body relationship.

    David
     
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  4. Laird

    Laird Member

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    You understand the serious point behind it though, right? That is, that it's very easy to mouth off about pain and suffering being relatively inconsequential according to some higher perspective, and quite another thing to live here and now as though you truly believe that to be the case: which calls into question just how serious the argument from higher perspective really is - right?

    What, really? Just when the videos were about to start flooding in? For shame...

    Yes, it is a very valuable thread - and I think there are more than just you and I who agree on that.

    My challenge is not based on the premise that you don't understand how severe suffering can be, but that you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is, thus revealing that your argument is not a serious one: it's simply an evasion you've (plural) conjured up to avoid dealing with the reality and implications of the problem of evil.

    OK, but this wasn't part of your original argument, which was that psychopaths lack empathy - now you're adding genuine sadism into the mix. Great - we agree.

    Maybe the problem is with the mind rather than with the brain? Or that the mind "finds" a brain which suits its perversions?

    [Edited to remove grammatical fault-finding plus misc minor improvements]
     
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  5. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    @Laird

    Nobody here has claimed the existence of suffering as inconsequential or meaningless.

    The existence of contradictory truths is a fact of even mundane reality. Classical physics vs. quantum mechanics is but one literal example of this. Two more examples: What makes for a healthy relationship, closeness or independence? What makes for a good educational environment, discipline or freedom?

    My perspective on the concept of non-duality was a small addendum to a line of thinking. Said line of thinking emanates from the fact that NDErs overwhelmingly report a vastly different perspective on earthly life and suffering. Somewhat less solid forms of data (channelling / after-death communication) support this, too.

    To write-off NDEs as purely subjective is a weak argument. To posit NDErs as being on the receiving end of lies is an argument with no supporting evidence.

    Taken at face value, then, NDEs imply a different perspective from which to measure the ultimate meaning or existential importance of suffering.

    Best.

    EDIT: Alternate feedback system to pain? Well, maybe. But, again, I see biological life as the outcome of an organic (in the metaphorical sense) process. And, again, I do not believe in a 'God' of unlimited power and intelligence.

    EDIT:EDIT: My punctuation must give you nightmares.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  6. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Conversely, I think it is easy to 'mouth off' about a higher reality, and to underestimate how great that change of perspective might be. We can't live here and have that perspective!
    Well we are speculating like crazy now, but if pain is only a component of physical reality - something provided to give us feedback on what we do (remember the article about the problems of people who feel no pain) then this may be something difficult for a mind to cope with. Remember that some people actually get sexual pleasure from pain (is that a form of synesthesia, I wonder)- suggesting that the whole system may not be as stable and reliable as might be desirable. Again, I think it makes far more sense to think in terms of an imperfect physical world and/or a world that really needs expert minds to run it well.

    David
     
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  7. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    Yeah, I think you can either have free-will or you can have omnipotence, but not both. Also, omnipotence is either 100% or isn't at all, y'know?

    This is really interesting. OK, but why does it have to be the encountered beings that are showing the NDEr their future? Perhaps it's the experiencers themselves having an expanded view of their embodied existence's timeline. Maybe a personal embodied perspective from which to predict the future is key.

    So, we could be dealing with an enhanced (but still limited) personal precognition.

    Okay, with my little dream diary, I've noticed that my precognitive dreams tend to occur when the future event (in my case, always mundane) carries a little emotional punch..... so perhaps the NDEr is merely receiving a greatly clearer precognitive flash as future emotive events echo backwards in time. Again, a personal embodied perspective would be important here.

    Or maybe time-scale has something to do with it.... with short blips in time (like a human lifespan) being relatively predictable.... while larger expanses could be trickier calls to make. This may explain why many psychic predictor types have great success with short term personal events, but absolutely tank when it comes to making the larger, more distant calls.

    Dunno, just throwing thoughts out there......
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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  8. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    Feeling guilty for not contributing/replying but I have been SUPERbusy workwise and familywise and have only been able to read the posts in this thread very quickly.
    I need more time to respond adequately :) Will try to do so at the weekend.
     
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  9. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    I too want to respond to so many thoughts/questions raised since my last post, but haven't had the time to formulate anything coherent! But I have been reading some interesting NDEs that I think may offer some ideas/responses relevant to some of the questions posed here. I do recognize, Dpdown, that these are experiences filtered through each individual's personality/cultural overlays/backgrounds -- combined with the often expressed inability to put into human words their ineffable experience.

    Laird, you had asked me what I meant by merging into the whole again. You asked:

    "Second, what does 'merg[ing] into the "whole" again' entail? On its face it sounds a lot like the death of the individual self, but you seem to be considering a scenario in which the individual self, having merged, nevertheless continues to exist as an individual entity who is capable of further incarnations - so does "merging" simply mean "losing one's personal memories by having them transferred to the whole"? If so, then it seems on the face of it to be inimical to the ground-of-being's functional (since it has no moral one) purpose: learning. Surely, an individual is more likely to learn (and thereafter transfer to the whole) new lessons, as opposed to merely relearn already-learnt lessons, if that individual remembers the lessons s/he has already learnt (to say nothing of remembering or being taught the myriad other lessons which other individuals have already learnt!)?"

    Of course I don't have the answers, but thought these two NDE's offered some possibilities. In this first one, Scott suggests that we might be strands of DNA-like light beings in the afterlife, where each strand contains memories of past lives/experiences, but where the strands interact with/merge with other strands, creating new lives.....

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

    "Just as I was finishing my words, the sight that I thought was the Distance Mountains came closer. As it closed in on me I could suddenly feel an overwhelming presence of others. They had no shape at first, I could only feel them. Then I could see shimmering forms of what looked like bodies. I could make out faces, people but I didn’t know them. There was no physical or emotional bond. Yet I still felt like I was part of them and they a part of me. They weaved in and around me like they were saying, 'Hello, welcome home.' They shifted, from these shimmering forms, to light, strings of light. Each spirit was an individual string and each string stretched beyond my conscious sight stretching out beyond time and space. Each string moved around and thru me and swayed in like a soft breeze. Then the sky filled with light strings. I could see inside them, through them and each of them carried a long thin strand that looked like a DNA helix. From within each Helix were memories, from the time of its conception, when the atoms became one, to the time when we became human. Each one had its own reality, consciousness, time and space. In some point of their path, they had met with another string of light and created new strings and new strings were created with other strings, each with their own consciousness, reality and time. Each a memory but it was coded within the DNA. It was all a kind of memory, past, present and future. All at once and each in its own time had its own truth, and its own reality. Yet somehow, each was connected to someone who was alive here. I was connected to my Grandma and she flowed into a string and came back to the form I could see her. Then she reached out her hand to me. We started to follow the strings then I became one of the strings of light."

    In another NDE, a woman named Mira describes her actual change from one personality to another -- within the same lifetime. It also suggests some sort of clearing and merging of other energies with the energies of the first being....

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

    "Drinking in the nectar of the Loving Presence which enfolded me, I saw with complete amazement a very interesting transference starting to happen. There was a string of atoms starting to flow out from within the left side of my electric body and they disappeared upwards into nowhere. Almost as if from thin air, a much finer frequency of atoms seemed to be appear and were entering through my right side into this same electric light body. I was watching and experiencing at the same time, again with no sense of duality. My entire Being was being totally emptied, refueled, and re-programmed with this ethereal, orderly, interchange of atoms. I saw that the new entry was made of a vastly different energy and seemed to have a much more expansive and delicate DNA energy. It had a new wave of very lightweight, subtle cellular frequencies, as they spiraled in, expanding and changing the previous electric body formation.

    All of the above was happening very fast and yet it seemed to take an eternity. Enfolded in the comforting wrap of Pure Divine Love during this cellular exchange, it seemed as though I was gradually disappearing with the atoms leaving this electric Light body. Almost as if, another ‘me’ was birthing through the newer, finer atoms entering into this Light form. My whole being was cleansed and purified, making it ready for its next role in God’s divine drama."


    Though I don't have the time yet to dive further into these experiences, both of these NDE's have a lot of other pretty interesting things to say. Scott even asks about the reason/need for evil/bad people, but unfortunately I could not really decipher the answer he got, and it seemed somewhat disappointingly colored by his own religious upbringing.

    Finally, another NDE I wanted to share -- by a woman who was raised in a physically/sexually abusive home (by her mother). I found her thoughts on why we are here very interesting. In Rachel's view, physical life IS a hell-hole, but it is also a gift from G*d (her name for it) -- almost like it is an experience to show us just how good it is in the afterlife, where we are unseparated from the Whole of Being

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


    Did you come to a border or point of no return? "I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will Curiosity. To be human is the chance: the chance of a lifetime. This is our experiment. This is our playground. This is the human experience/experiment. We get to try this out and get a whole new perspective in its gloriously perfected limits and boundaries. The ability to separate from the whole and feel all the unnatural, bad, pain, drivel, gross, that is alone and called ME. In the midst of all that, we still manage to have joy, love, unity, pleasure, and good: Such a strange and weird opportunity! I personally hate being human, but love being able to experience it. I get to have that perspective. I wanted to finish trying it out, again."
     
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  10. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    Yes, I find this puzzling/hard to reconcile. I've come across a few NDE's where some experiencers talk in vague terms about the evil of governments and/or certain dark future agendas (e.g., microchipping or more biblically inspired apocalyptic future disasters), but so far I haven't come across any that discuss what appears to be demonic or metaphysically involved evil on this planet....evil like Chris Knowles often talks about on his blog (a bit hard to read, I know, but since Alex recently interviewed him, I thought it might be useful to use an article of his....):

    https://secretsun.blogspot.com/2017/08/let-me-tell-you-story-city-of-sins.html

    Again, as someone who suspects there's some weird and possibly metaphysically-assisted stuff going on down here with the elites (e.g., Bohemian Grove/dark magick/demonic stuff), this lack of any discussion at all about such a dark/metaphysical control system could mean that the elites are far less significant/relevant than we/they think they are in the big scheme of things -- or it could mean that NDE's themselves are suspect. I disagree that it would be a "feeble niche" when compared to the more physically oriented means of control -- I mean, if you can control the astral/afterlife/bardo planes, that's pretty powerful stuff, no? And while you might not have come across much of this afterlife deception speculation material in circles that only discuss ultimate theories of reality from a spiritual/metaphysical angle, such speculation is pretty well established in circles assuming/discussing an alien agenda/presence. There's even a (very poorly acted) Star Trek episode on this possibility:



    Ouch -- ok, this looks pretty silly when watching it played out in a dated TV episode. But hopefully you get the idea. NDE's could possibly be used as a deception to keep us here -- or to keep us coming back.

    I don't know, I guess I just don't see the point for there to be a "Below" that is completely disconnected/irrelevant to the "Above." If, as part of the Process of evolution/creation, we evolve to develop consciences and awareness of good/evil, it seems pretty stupid not to have any reason for that stage of consciousness development if it's irrelevant in the next stage of the process!

    But wouldn't manipulation of the collective consciousness field via dark/negative images, globally traumatic experiences, etc... be the very definition of black magic? Clearly we are in an era where satantic/luciferian images and sexual/violent debasement is rampant throughout our world. It seems intentional to me -- but for what ultimate purpose? Control through debasement and demoralization? Is there any metaphysical aspect?

    Not in my Project Paperclip world view. Or Philip K. Dick's. ;)

    It's possible. We created evil ever since the first man-ape struck and gained power over/resources from another (2001 Space Odyssey). So evil took a shape of its own (a tulpa?). But NDE's do seem to suggest some level of middle management -- did we create middle management too?
    I agree -- but I also think there's too much evidence suggesting elite manipulation of our reality to simply ignore such manipulation and the potential metaphysical consequences/implications of that. I think it has to be accounted for.
    Thanks for asking. I did! Drank a little too much wine, ate a little too much (bad) food, but hung with dear friends and saw old ones I haven't seen in years.
     
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  11. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    I am familiar with the broad strokes.
    Well, I did say mostly ended up dead. :)
    Yeah, I was more talking about why people would be sent back with these love and light messages.

    On the afterlife control thing: I still can't get my round why such powerful entities would need to put the love and light angle on people's experiences? Why would they make it any more pleasant than a factory-farm is here on Earth? And why induce the wide variety of experience that are reflective but also often exceed the expectations of the experiencer?

    Y'know, anything's possible.... it just doesn't seem likely to me.
    No, not completely irrelevant and disconnected: I suspect 'above' and 'below' to be intimately linked in ways we can only begin to imagine.

    My current thinking/feeling is that the entirety of existence is involved in a purposeful process, with creativity and evolution as defining characteristics. A process that may be heading in a probabilistic direction, but does not have predetermined stages or fixed pathways of development.

    This view is very much based on Panentheism / Philosophy of Organism / Process Philosophy and is very elastic, leaving room, imo, for negative entities, etc.





    Anyway, I think I've pretty much tapped out my potential contributions to this wonderful thread....

    Cheers!

    P.S. Glad you had a good holiday. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
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  12. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I think one problem with exploring consciousness (where this no concrete physical evidence) is that it is possible to elaborate everything with layers of intrigue and cynical control. I mean in physical sciences you could reasonably assume that bits of apparatus were not malevolent or even playful, but the science of consciousness is far more vulnerable to speculation of this sort, but ultimately I see it as a black hole.

    When people (or other entities) manipulate a system, they presumably do so for a reason - even if it is a bad reason - but when you are postulating beings with hugely advanced powers, it is practically impossible to see what reasons there might be. If a man can obtain any kind of food with ease, why would he choose to steal a loaf of bread?

    To me, I think it is more profitable to explore consciousness assuming none of this scheming is taking place in higher realms, and only when the basic science is rock solid continue into these speculations. I think it is important to remember that we hear repeatedly that communication in such realms is telepathic - so that it is impossible to dissemble.

    By analogy, it was essential to sort out the physics of heavy bodies, or bodies moving in a vacuum before considering the physics of feathers (say) falling in air, or specially shaped objects such as propellors. There is a right order to construct theories, and if you choose the wrong order, you just don't get anywhere. Choosing to consider the possibility that NDEers are sometimes deliberately lied to at this stage seems to be exactly the wrong decision - yet there is no logical way to prove this doesn't ever happen.

    David
     
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  13. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    It's basically impossible to address all the many issues I would like to, and since I have very little time, I will just make a few, very basic and hopefully clear points.

    POINT #1: IT'S CLEARLY NOT "ALL GOOD".
    I am not going to waste any more time to labour the self-evident point (no matter how some people try to deny this - I mean, there are plenty of Holocaust deniers as well out there and I don't waste time with them either) that the EXTREMES of both evil and physical suffering that can potentially be experienced by sentient beings in this material world are intrinsically cruel as well as unnecessary and would simply not be possible if 'whatever gives rise to this material world' were entirely benevolent - whether it's an unconscious 'ground of being' which is simply 'experiencing itself', a personal God like that of the Bible who is somehow "interested" in his creatures, or the - obviously, if so, unconscious - "power" of our own minds which is somehow miraculously causing us to collectively hallucinate what seems to be a shared material reality for reasons better known to our collective unconscious etc - I am not going to start a discussion on that. My point is that, whatever this is, it is clearly not entirely good, no matter how much some insist that it's bound to be different from a higher point of view. On this Earth, in this life, even if it was some kind of dream, this is what we experience, what we feel, what we see, what we hear about when we watch the news - all fake and ultimately irrelevant? Then gouge your eyes out, as Laird rightly suggested.

    POINT #2: IF THIS IS THE PRODUCT OF THE UNIVERSE'S OR OUR FREEWILL, THEN WE ARE MOST DEFINITELY IN TROUBLE.
    The freewill thing (the Universe/"God" expressing itself/its freewill in all sorts of ways, including cruel ones, or simply us expressing this -very questionable- individual "gift") is an ill-thought out explanation, which should most definitely alarm instead of reassure us. A simple example (for those who believe in some kind of God having given rise to this mess we're in, and then pretty much left the building, apart from the odd miracle I guess): as a good parent you would wish your child to exercise his freewill to thrive, to become whatever he wishes to become, ranging, say, from heart surgeon to toilet cleaner (a most respectable and difficult job, albeit a badly paid one), even a penniless street artist maybe, as long as s/he's happy. But it is fair to say that it's pretty unlikely, IF YOU TRULY WERE A LOVING PARENT, that you would wish him to exert his freewill to become a child molester or a serial killer, right? For the sake of the victims, but also for your child's sake, frankly.
    The same would apply (and I have made this point before) if we were the unwitting joint creators of our shared reality. Because even if were "evolving" this still would imply that we have started from a far from perfect beginning (and moreover why take it for granted that evolution 'towards the better" will necessarily be the outcome?). Why is that? Well obviously because the root of all evil was in the beginning, too. The snake was already in the Garden of Eden, it wasn't Adam and Eve who put it there (to use a metaphor). So I don't see why we have to assume that all is fundamentally well, and necessarily will end well, when it is plain to see that "what is" is severely flawed/extremely dualistic. And again I am not making any specific claim about who or what has given rise to what is - I am simply making statements of fact about our experience as sentient beings, and not waving my hand towards some invisible higher vantage point which we most definitely do not inhabit. Those who count on that are taking exactly the same view of religious people, that of FAITH: 'God knows best and all is for the GOOD' is the same as 'there must be a GOOD reason for this life even if I don't get it.' It's ironic that some reject the narrative and dogma of religion but then end up with the same fideistic (= faith-based) promissory note: "On a higher level it's all good"

    POINT #3: WHY THE MYSTERY?
    When things are kept secret, there's always something fishy going on. If you have nothing to hide, you don't hide it. Even those who postulate a Universe/consciousness that is somehow "evolving" admit the possibility that there are spiritual beings out there. Some even believe in a single God. How come we get so many contradictory messages from the spiritual world then? How come mankind has been kept guessing throughout the ages? Is it not fair to assume that "someone" (be it one or many, I don't care) wishes us to fundamentally remain in ignorance, giving us confusing glimpses at best ? Take NDEs - we have seen how heterogeneous and inconsistent they are about the nature of "what is going on", really - even admitting that they are ALL real experiences. At least SOME of them very likely are (a) a way to push one's religious agenda; (b) a way to get attention/sell a book (c) some kind of hyperreal lucid dream. And even those who are bona fide NDEs appear to be considerably influenced by one's experiences/expectations/cultural background/emotional state etc etc. Please don't start arguing with me that NDEs are real!!! I don't have a dog in this fight! I don't care about NDEs at all, you can all believe 100% in all of them, they still remain useless as a revelation of what lies beyond because they would have to be CONSISTENT and give us a cogent metaphysical explanation about the nature of reality to be more significant than any other anomalous experience (of which there are legions out there). All they can tell us is that there is definitely "something more" out there. I quote from a recent post by Michael Larkin (whose opinions about NDEs are less controversial than mine in this Forum): "The experience of an NDE is something only some people have had, but amongst them, it is widely believed that it proves the existence of life after death, or at least a realm that most people haven't perceived. At best, we can accept that they've had an experience whilst at the same time being agnostic about life after death. We can't assert that their interpretation is incorrect, only that we ourselves haven't experienced an NDE."

    BOTTOM LINE: even though I am not at all into conspiracy theories, I think it is plain to see that the material reality we inhabit (and, if we are honest, this is the key reference data point by far in our lives - even when we dream at night, if there is an earthquake and the ceiling collapses over our heads, or if we have a heart attack while asleep, it is after all our shared material reality that prevails over our dream) is FAR too flawed and mysterious to justify blithely optimistic "lovey-dovey" interpretations of why we are inhabiting this "reality". I mean, if it's all ultimately about love how come we are not there already, "ultimately"? Doesn't this clearly show that it cannot be all about love, since love is CLEARLY not all there is? Did "love" have to create lack of love or even hate to show how much nicer love is? But this would invalidate its being "love" in the first place. It's a logical AND ethical contradiction in terms.

    No more time to write and apologies in advance if I won't be posting a lot. In any case I know it's pointless to discuss these things with those who do not "get" the above. As I said it's a question of taste and sensibility. For some, breaking eggs is absolutely fine if you wish to make an omelette. I (and there are loads of people like me) don't even eat eggs because I do not wish to contribute to animal suffering!

    That "all is good despite the suffering" is the Campbell view of things - the heroic view of life, which is best expressed in the works of Nietzsche. Incidentally, the guy ended his life in a state of insanity. Which is the metaphysical state of this material reality, if you ask me. But again, it's a question of taste, and there's no arguing about taste. Only - it is unclear to me why we do not all see things the Nietzsche way. How come a lot of us most definitely and radically DO NOT wish to joyously embrace this mixed reality of good and bad?

    To end with an optimistic note, the best I personally can hope for, under the circumstances, is that this material world is a place where we get to show what kind of people we are to more powerful spiritual beings of different moral persuasions. Those who don't feel that the intrinsic cruelty of nature or the existence of evil are a big deal after all, or maybe even like the way this material reality is, with all its suffering and injustice, because it makes it somehow more exciting, will be picked by like-minded spiritual beings who will take them to realms where they will enjoy more of the same, while those who could never put up with (let alone "embrace") the state of things in this material reality will qualify to be admitted to a place with no evil and suffering.
    Pretty unlikely, I know, but hey, there's no harm in dreaming :)


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amor_fati

    "Nietzsche's spirit of acceptance occurs in the context of his radical embrace of suffering. For to love that which is necessary, demands not only that we love the bad along with the good, but that we view the two as inextricably linked. In section 3 of the preface of The Gay Science, he writes:[6] Only great pain is the ultimate liberator of the spirit….I doubt that such pain makes us ‘better’; but I know that it makes us more profound."
     
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  14. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    As I pointed out here:
    http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/is-westworld-our-world.4149/page-7#post-124581

    None of those deductions apply if the physical world (including life) was designed by an intelligence that only had finite powers. I know I won't persuade you, but it seems to me to be a good explanation for what we see.

    BTW I don't think anyone here is arguing for a God of the Bible.

    David
     
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  15. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    I find myself agreeing with both you, Hypermagda, and with David in some respects.

    First, I agree that just looking at the state of the world, including the natural world, one can see that the world is clearly not "all good." And most theories people have come up with to rationalize away/justify "evil": that we have to experience the bad in order to understand the good, that we are just spiritual beings having a (fun? insignificant? purposeful?) human experience, that we are just going to school/boot-camp for some unknown future purpose, etc. -- are unsatisfying to those of us who have a healthy moral code and expect our ultimate "Creator" to at least be superior to us in the morality department! We are obviously not the only people who have struggled with this problem of evil and what this likely signifies in terms of the nature of the ultimate creator(s)/creative force. New Age "It's all Good" BS is just that -- to me.

    And by this point, eight pages in, we've all offered various pet theories: maybe the creator(s)/creative force is imperfect, maybe we are just a small part of a much greater evolutionary process where evil is necessary or inevitable as part of that process, maybe ultimate reality is dualistic, or maybe the creator(s)/creative force (of at least this particular reality) is demented. I think you raise very good points in your last post about the problems with an ultimate benevolent creator/creative force -- and I think most of us still participating on this thread tend to agree: the objective evidence just doesn't support that ultimately all-benevolent position.

    At the same time, I kind of agree with David's point that if you choose the wrong order in constructing theories, you don't get anywhere. Part of the problem I have with settling on a theory of an immoral/amoral Creator/Creative Force, despite so much wrong with this world, is it tends to make me feel helpless/backed up against the wall -- I mean, what hope do we have if the ultimate creator is a demented/amoral/immoral psychopath? Where do I go on my spiritual journey from there?

    So I continue to want to hear/learn about new theories, understand old/new spiritual practices, find a TOE that makes the most sense to me and allows all the data points to be considered. (and along those lines, although I haven't watched the videos you last posted Dpdown, I plan to, so thank you). It is also a reason I have tried -- and will try in the future -- psychedelics and other means of hopefully achieving an altered state of consciousness/STE that might provide some more satisfactory answers. (so far, I have tried or dabbled in: isolation tanks, meditation, kundalini yoga, magick, study of the Kabbalah, Shamanic rituals, etc.). I consider myself a spiritual seeker and explorer at this point -- really hoping to have an experiential understanding of the nature of reality. And I try to read a lot. ;)

    At the same time, despite my earnest desire to find answers, in the back of my mind, I also have the concern that we are all being actively manipulated in this quest to understand the nature of reality/consciousness too. Specifically, the fact that we live in a heavily stage-managed physical reality is a given for me now. Even mainstream scholars/thinkers (e.g., Carol Quigley, Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky) have revealed to us that those in power have always manipulated/deceived the masses and have always withheld key information from us in order to maintain such wealth/control. Considering the technology we have available today, and continuing along these lines, it just makes sense to me that those who have had the money/power/technological advances/black budgets to research and test various theories of reality would be much further along in both understanding the nature of such reality -- and in keeping it from the rest of us by leading us down various managed/manipulated and false -- or largely incomplete -- pathways.

    For example, as is being discussed on another recent thread on Skeptiko, there is good evidence to suggest that the once extremely popular Course in Miracles was a CIA MK Ultra project.....

    http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...cia-mind-control-experiment.4165/#post-124720

    https://inpursuitofhappiness.wordpr...e-in-miracles-a-cia-exercise-in-mind-control/

    Doesn't this make you go Hmmm? I mean, how and why did a CIA operative end up penning a "channeled" spiritual text and workbook? And as Alex has been exploring on his podcast for at least the past year, the CIM isn't the only religious/spiritual/consciousness practice/movement where the government's/military's/alphabet agencies' fingerprints are found. It isn't exactly clear what ends are being sought in these endeavors, but given these dubious and largely negative fingerprints, why wouldn't such influence/involvement extend into NDE/OBE/STE studies, research, and experiences as well?
     
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  16. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I think the point is, you never will! At least some data points will be erroneous, and others may be grossly distorted by, for example, the short duration of many NDE's. I mean, it seems entirely possible that frightening NDE's will happen just because you have an individual in fear of their life, suddenly plunged into a weird environment. I am not trying to explain away hellish NDE's, but it is obvious that other explanations are possible.

    By analogy, imagine that you are delirious with pain after a road accident - not properly conscious - and you half remember the pain inflicted by kindly individuals extracting you from the wreckage before it catches fire!

    I think it is important to distinguish between man-made political tricks that may have been performed, and developing a fundamentally evil metaphysics. New Age types should worry about revelations of this sort, but I think/hope we rely on evidence that is harder to distort.
    The other thing to bear in mind about all these MKULTRA allegations, is that it seems to me there are no solid facts here. I mean it is not inconceivable that individuals with genuine insight have been tarred with the MKULTRA accusation to make folks look the other way!

    The best we can do, is rely on evidence that doesn't seem to be easy to fake. Evidence such as reincarnation, for example, seems to come from many countries - including, but not primarily, the US. I am wary of channeled information - even Seth - precisely because it might have been cynically manufactured.

    Another interesting analogy - people used to believe that bad smells carried disease. When you think about this, the mistake was frighteningly easy to make - bad smells may make you nauseous, and they often emanate from bacterial infections - so it was hard to distinguish the effects of the bad smell from those of the microbes!

    David
     
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  17. AryaS

    AryaS Member

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    I get that, but again, I think it's pretty safe to assume that those with far greater resources/power/technology also have a far more advanced understanding of the metaphysical world too. And when you look into just about any spiritual/religious/consciousness movement -- the MIC/alphabet agency fingerprints are there. Isn't it worth trying to understand why?

    For example, the high-level military satanist Michael Aquino -- the one tied to the Presidio child ritual abuse scandal from the late 1980's -- is directly connected to various psychological operations. What is a high-level Satanist doing at the top levels of military anyway -- and in particular, psychological warfare operations?

    https://web.archive.org/web/2006082...pub.com:80/other/2005/3233aquino_profile.html

    And the connections go on and on. Indeed, I think Jan Irwin over at Gnostic Media has created a graphic showing many of the disturbing/hidden connections between New Age/Consciousness research personnel -- and the MIC/alphabet agencies. Isn't this the least bit curious?

    I'm also reading a "channeled" book now by Frank DeMarco -- the Sphere and the Hologram -- and the "scientist" conducting the interviews with him via the hemi-sync/black box tools at The Monroe Institute -- immediately mentions her husband's active practice of the Course in Miracles -- which immediately raises red flags for me. So a book now exposed as being penned by an MK-ultra scientist is then linked to the The Monroe Institute, which as you probably know, is the premiere research/experimental center for out-of-body experiences, founded by Bob Monroe. I haven't dug deeper than this, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are even more direct connections between such consciousness study facilities like the Monroe Institute -- and the deep state, just like Esalen in Northern California.

    Could it be that the military/agencies simply recruit people who are inclined towards/interested in the Metaphysical -- and try to use such people for military warfare operations? Of course. But couldn't it also mean that there's something else going on? I mean, isn't the next question: Why are all these MIC/alphabet agencies involved in either helping to create spirituality/new age/consciousness raising movements (which often also involve or devolve into cultish/ritualistic sexual abuse of children)? And also: since there are so many MIC/deep state connections, perhaps this stuff is working -- and if so, doesn't this perhaps suggest an evil metaphysics as well? As Above, So Below?

    I know we could go round and round with this, but I grow so frustrated with people just ignoring or dismissing this piece of the puzzle. It's there. Why is it there? What does it mean? I'm open to explanations! But I find it hard to understand how people who believe in a metaphysical world find all this clear involvement in metaphysical studies to be easily dismissed or irrelevant!

    Sure, it's possible -- as has been alleged with respect to all "occult" knowledge. Make it look scary/dark/sinister or even silly and normal folks just won't go there. And I know that some people "exposing" these connections may have some twisted religious/fundamentalist agenda themselves. On the other hand, I haven't seen much evidence for the MIC/alpha agencies engaging in anything good/benevolent for humanity -- so with so many tentacles into spirituality/consciousness research, I have to believe there's a reason for that. Could just be one more aspect of control of course, but then I'm back to the atheist/materialist worldview. If a metaphysical world exists, then what happens here - including the weird shit being conducted/manipulated by those with the most resources -- has to matter.

    I share your wariness of channeled information. I often find it tedious to read too. But I'll read it if someone I trust/admire recommends.
     
  18. Ricochet

    Ricochet Member

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    Fascinating thread......haven't read on here just a lot lately, but this is the good stuff.

    I haven't got to the end yet, but just had to comment on this point. I remember listening to a podcast interview (Skeptiko?) with a woman who had studied older NDEs in various cultures. One account she mentioned was from a culture that practiced human sacrifice. IIRC a girl had apparently been offered and had survived, telling the priests the spirits had told her she needed to be dressed better. She donned different clothes and was offered again. Similar experiences happened in proceeding years and the messages coming back evolved to the point where the practice of human sacrifice was looked upon quite differently and discontinued.
     
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  19. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    An interesting question perhaps, is what would 'bad' people do if they suddenly came across a set of techniques that were infinitely powerful (or nearly so - I have gone off the concept of infinity except in maths)?

    Take some seriously 'bad' people - those in the US administration who have for years promoted warlike policies, and done so much damage in the Middle East (just an example, don't let's divert into politics). I am guessing, but I suspect that fooling about with a technology that would be moderately effective would appeal to them no end - say an ability to use ψ to divert missiles, or cause populations to rise up against their governments. But imagine if they had the power to do what they liked - say just turn off everything technological inside Russia, including weapons, electrical power, transport - the lot. I have a sneaky feeling that would not attract such 'bad' people because the excitement for them lies in tipping a situation a little bit in their direction. Owning really advanced weaponry would be rather like turning up at a sporting event and just being lead to the podium without having to run the race! During the period when the US was the only power to have nuclear weapons, they did not use them except in a hot war - they didn't attack the USSR for example.

    I suppose what I am really getting at, is that we traditionally think of good people and evil ones (extended into the realms of spirits), but it is much harder to think about what these attributes really are. I think I would argue that we can all imagine doing evil things and enjoying them. Indeed we have all probably done some things that weren't very nice - stealing someone's girlfriend/boyfriend for example. As I mentioned pages earlier, there is a Buddhist idea that good and evil can't exist without each other, and maybe that idea is a big clue ....... to something!

    David
     
  20. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    I missed this. On question two, I have no problem endorsing the existence of a duality. In fact, this is what I was trying to get at with my comment on non-duality.

    Perhaps positive NDEs are experienced beyond the level of our local, dualistic realm, somewhere between question one and two.

    Yeah, anything to do with intelligence agencies smells.

    But I think we also have to be a bit careful. MK-Ultra funded a huge range of projects/research within the field of psychology, some of them rather benign. Dr. William Thetford, an early promoter of A Course In Miracles, received funding for research into developing a personality test via the MK-Ultra umbrella. Does that count as being an asset of the CIA? And does that automatically imply the book being a CIA mind control program? Personally, I'm not convinced.

    Many PSI researchers also have military-industrial-complex links coming out of their ears..... but I think this may indicate nothing more (at least mostly) than a convergence of interests. An interest in PSI on behalf of the military..... and an interest in receiving funding on behalf of the researchers.

    Also, their findings are replicated by people from all over the world with no discernable links to intelligence.

    And now I really must bow out of this thread!
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018 at 8:24 AM
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