Jonathan Robinson, can technology help spiritual seekers? |320|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    Jonathan Robinson, can technology help spiritual seekers? |320|
    by Alex Tsakiris | Jun 28 | Spirituality

    This psychologist believes technology can be used to assist spiritual seekers.
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    photo by: Martin
    When Jonathan Robinson contacted me about doing an interview for his new book, The Technology of Joy, my first reaction was — where’s the consciousness science in joy gadgets. But I dug a little deeper and discovered Jonathan to be an impressive author who’s serious about his pursuit of “joy,” spiritual enlightenment, and even psychokinesis:

    Alex Tsakiris: I don’t think you can get to the ultimate goal by quickly saying, here are some meds that made me feel better for five minutes and I was able to get up off the couch. It’s great to get up off the couch and not feel stuck, and not feel depressed. But maybe looking deeper at what is the real meaning [and] purpose of life–maybe that’s ultimately a better way to treat the underlying cause than to treat the symptom of just how can I feel more joy right now? How can I feel better right now?

    Jonathan Robinson: I agree with you that it’s always important to be seeking greater depth and truth. That’s one wing of a plane. The other wing of the plane is that you always be seeking some way to find peace and love as quickly and as easily as possible. So when you put those two wings together you can really fly. For people who just focus on feeling good, they have one very strong wing, and they don’t have the other wing that you mention which is seeking truth. If you have one wing of a plane that’s very strong and one wing that’s very weak, that plane flies around in circles and then crashes.
     
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  2. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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  3. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's questions at the end of the interview:

    What do you make of the idea of using technology to "amp up" spiritual pursuits? Is there an inherent contradiction, a kind of back door materialism in that?

    Is it like saying saying: "it's not about gaining and getting more, except that if we can get more of this, that'd be really good"?
     
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  4. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    To be absolutely honest, I didn't feel I came away with much from this interview :(
    David
     
  5. Philemon

    Philemon Member

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    I enjoyed the fairly pragmatic approach Jonathan brings to achieving happiness in one's life. Certainly, clarifying our values and goals and examining whether our behavior is in alignment with our values and goals is a straightforward and sensible way to making sure we achieve what we want out of life - to the extent things are subject to our influence (likely more often than we'd like to admit, considering how unhappy many people are).

    I have to say, I nearly got carried away and ran off to buy the Thync device that he plugs in his book and on his website. Then, after some stalking through the Amazon reviews, I found a concerning comment about not being able to use the device if you have dental fillings. I'm waiting for a response from the company to determine if this is the case. However, further sleuthing around came up with more and more concerns about transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and unintended effects it might have on users. This is the mechanism by which many people suspect the Thync device operates. My enthusiasm went from sky high to meh in about two hours.

    I feel similarly about all the various supplements that he mentions. Are they safe? I haven't Googled about them yet, but I imagine doing so will take me down a rabbit's hole of proponents and opponents duking it out with enough scary claims to make me think twice about using much of anything Robinson suggests. Could I use some more JOY in my life? Hell, yes! But, I really want to do it safely. Claims from the sellers of various devices and supplements - the people who have a profit motive to sell me their wares - just don't quell my fears.

    Is anyone else out there having a similar reaction? I would suspect many people must be having similar thoughts and concerns. I always struggle over things like this because it causes a double bind where I'm trapped between my hedonist side that wants to feel great and then my more protective side that is terrified of messing up my life (too bad that side didn't develop fully until my late twenties).

    Just some thoughts,
    P.
     
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  6. Small Dog

    Small Dog New

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    I am generally very skeptical of people who get on Oprah, but this guy was nice to listen to. Very balanced view of reality. Very Buddhist in fact: reality has many layers, and depending on how you look at it you can see different things. Like in the analogy at the end of the interview: Van Gogh's painting is the mix of oil and pigment on one level and a piece of art with an intangible value on another. We are robots (one cannot deny there is a significant mechanistic part in everyone's character) and not robots - if we manage to get to the uncluttered layer of that part of our psyche that connects to everything and eve body else in the Universe. Actually, I am going to buy his other book, The Experience of God.

    In terms of safety of supplements and gadgets - come on guys, this forum is positive about LSD and DMT, how extreme can over the counter products get?
     
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  7. Small Dog

    Small Dog New

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    One thing that was mentioned during this and other interviews that I am curious about, the claim that drugs produce extended consciousness. Would you get in a car with someone who just took a load of LSD? They supposedly should have extended consciousness and be much better drivers, shouldn't they?
     
  8. I deny it. :)

    Well I don't think Randi ever had the million in an account?

    Also, it doesn't exist anymore (or last I heard the prize was gone).

    And, finally, even if the million was in an account and applying for the prize was still available...it's not clear the prize was ever going to be fairly rewarded.
     
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  9. Imperial Philosopher

    Imperial Philosopher New

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    Probably because that whole thing got shut down.
     
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  10. Philemon

    Philemon Member

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    Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I don't think many people who frequent this site would give a blanket endorsement of entheogens or substances of any kind. Regarding the Thync device, I received a voicemail back from a Thync representative stating that "it depends on the kind of fillings used" whether this device would be safe for a person. They asked me to call back, so maybe I will tomorrow to discuss it further. I'm interested in buying the device, but the warning on their site says that using the Thync device while having metal in your body can result in severe injury, even death. I don't even hear those kinds of warnings for LSD!
     
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  11. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Oh no, you don't get to hide behind that couch, buddy. Stand up in front of it and say it with a straight face... :D
     
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  12. Judith

    Judith New

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    No. Because then you are dealing with a different kind of reality...requires different rules (don't drive off into the space you see in front of you, for example).
     
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  13. north

    north Member

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    There are a wide variety of "technologies" used in entry level up to very advanced forms of spirituality. These might be drums, substances, specific forms of music and so on.

    In some forms of spirituality there can be a level beyond in which consciousness alone is transforming consciousness. But most forms use a variety of approaches at the beginning, middle and even further.

    Key is motivation and approach. At some point it is ideal to remove the training wheel. But for the right time that training wheel is helpful.
     
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  14. Alex

    Alex New

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    agreed, and that's the pragmatists/materialists dilemma. those looking thru the spiritual lens might ask what all the striving/struggling/desiring is about :)
     
  15. Alex

    Alex New

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    good point!
     
  16. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I think I remember Timothy Leary recounting a trip in a car where the driver was on acid, and claimed to get an areal view of the traffic situation!

    That aside, the idea of extended consciousness is that the brain normally constrains it, and that that is useful for most tasks. I think moderate amounts of alcohol produce a distinctly different state of consciousness, that many people think has value - but it too isn't really useful if driving a car!

    Incidentally, many years ago, I discovered that an intense focus on a scientific/computing problem can also be dangerous while driving a car - I escaped without a collision, but with a lesson learned:)

    David
     
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  17. Small Dog

    Small Dog New

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    David, what you're saying is very much a Buddhist view. Reality is here, now, and being somewhere else - either with the help of drugs or simply daydreaming - takes you away from here.

    Drugs or anything else, consciousness invariably, always returns to the mundane state of "here and now". I think it means that this state must be quite important.

    As to the argument that LSD produces different reality - besides begging the question as to how many realities are there - being in the moment is useful for absolutely every task, from driving a car and doing brain surgery to pursuing spirituality or developing extrasensory abilities.

    What I am saying is that I don't believe drugs are useful for having fun and improving sleep. Not developing spirituality. JMO.
     
  18. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    What is wrong with being in the "here and now" of an alternate reality induced by LSD?
    Are you not in the "here and now" of a movie you're watching? A book you're reading? A videogame you're playing etc...?
     
  19. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    This sounds more like a declaration of belief or a creed, than a substantiated fact. I can think of dozens of exceptions - none of which require the taking of drugs of any kind.
     
  20. Small Dog

    Small Dog New

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    Typoz, I think you misread me. I cannot think of any activity that benefits from taking drugs. Except for having fun.
     

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