Mark Vernon, Christianity and the Evolution of Consciousness |415|

Jurgen seems to go to an extreme which makes me worry a bit - I go hot and cold as to what he is revealing. I suppose it is the extreme ease with which he has OBEs and LD's.
I see what you mean. The claims are incredible. But they line up fairly well with some of the other OBE practitioners, at least the more successful ones. It might help to understand the Herculean effort he puts into his OBEs. He has a strict regimen which he’s been following for decades. He mediates for sometimes hours per day and meditates on having and achieving out of body lucidity. His main technique involves waking up very early AM, meditating for an hour or more on achieving OBE, and going back to bed in order to (hopefully) achieve a lucid dream which (as many attest to) may act as a springboard to achieving full out of body lucidity. Of course we can’t just take all claims like his as absolute gospel. But I’ve read both his books, I’m Facebook friends with him, and interact with him sometimes on a couple of pages/forums. The wisdom and sincerity coming from that guy is quite profound. I do believe that he has achieved “enlightenment.”
 
The problem I have with OBE's is that they very rarely produce verifiable information. It is actually worse than than that because when they try, they usually produce wrong information. So I am reluctant to trust a source of information when there is good reason to believe it is wrong. And when you look at the induction techniques for OBE's they are often similar to hypnotic induction and techniques for producing lucid dreams. That could explain why they think they are out of the body when they are not. Some OBEs produce verifiable information, but so do some dreams and most people do not consider that a reason to believe all dreams are true.

With many NDEs the experiencer is conscious when their brain is not functioning so you have a reason to believe they are experiencing something without the use of their physical body, ie that they are really out of their body. And there are also cases of shared NDEs where multiple people near death share an experience, or a caregiver of someone near death shares the NDE. Some NDEs occur when there is no abnormal physiological condition that could explain a dream or a hallucination.

You have to look at the specifics of each individual experiencer but it seems to me that there are better reasons to believe NDEs provide reliable information than OBEs.

I’d say they produce verifiable information with the same general level of frequency that NDEs do. Which is to say, very rarely. But as you mentioned, of course it comes down to each individual person and circumstance with regards to pulling good data from the experience.

When several of the leading authors and speakers in the area speak of things during their experiences in a fairly consistent manner and I watch them speak with the same level of sincerity and emotion as any NDE’r, and when it this info lines up with a lot of good channeled information and data from mediums, I do take notice. Namely what I’m speaking of, is the existence of a multi-dimensional reality, with the experience of a “hyper-real physical realm” (just as physical as this one), being a common motif. This is known as “Astral Earth” in many spiritualist and OBE communities, and a lot of afterlife researchers such as Roberta Grimes, and Craig Hogan etc refer to as “The Summerland.” In my opinion, they’re calling the same “place” a different name. It’s a consensus physical reality which a great deal of us may go to after death. Much like Earth. I also feel that many NDErs visit this realm, or realms like it at any rate as far as I can tell based upon the stories. When you have somebody like Jurgen or Cyrus Kirkpatrick or William Buhlman who may be experiencing these things periodically(who seem very credible), and make a habit of it to record these things immediately in a journal, it may start to paint a picture for us. Particularly when similar “locations” or “places” are repeatedly visited, dead relatives and friends are encountered in these places, and the experience is “hyper-real and more lucid than waking reality.” Which is also what NDErs similarly report. Of course you really have to interact with these people on a consistent basis in order to get a feel of the genuine nature of the reporting. I wouldn’t expect anybody to believe anything I’m writing unless they thumbed through their books, watched them speak and interacted with them. I didn’t believe in the abduction phenomenon until i watched a couple dozen people relay their accounts on YouTube a few years ago.

But I also feel that NDErs often visit the same or similar realms. So I don’t at all feel that the NDE and OBE data are at odds with each other at all. But I do feel that NDEs are “one off” experiences. Some OBEs are “one off” experiences too. But I was referring more to the repeated experiences and recordings of several OBE practitioners which I consider credible. These experiences aren’t at odds with the NDE data as a whole, and also match up very well with some of the best channeled/medium info.

What I see from the NDE community frequently is somebody will have an NDE, and they then assume and sometimes demand that their experience is directly representative of an all encompassing afterlife state which everybody experiences. I think this is an easier mistake to make when you only have a single experience, which NDErs usually have. Single experiences also make data collection more difficult. Of course many OBErs probably erroneously make similar conclusions, so (as you said) you really have to view each individual report similarly. What I look for is credibility and sincerity while trying to find similar threads. If through discernment and research one comes to BELIEVE that a significant number of individuals are having repeatable experiences and contact with the dead which they are carefully and honestly recording, then you value these sorts of experiences very highly. It’s reaching that belief which is the matter in question. For me personally, I’m very satisfied that these men and women are legit. Even if what they write can’t be taken as absolute gospel. I personally find it invaluable in formulating afterlife ideas.

If you want proof of survival of consciousness, I would point at NDEs. But for somebody who is already accepting of the survival hypothesis and wants to learn what an afterlife MAY be like, I would recommend the works of afterlife researchers like Victor Zammit and Dr Hogan etc. which I feel lines up pretty well with what guys like Jurgen report. That’s where I’m at now. A year from now, I may have a different opinion.

I want to add that this physical “astral earth-like” realm comes up a lot. But so do more “ethereal” type experiences. I just don’t want anybody reading my post to think that I’m claiming that everything in other dimensions is always physical. Also, I want to avoid sounding certain.
 
Last edited:
Well I was pretty much told from the outset that this wasn't about me being told stuff, I was to learn how to think and learn. I won't discuss the details in a public forum. You are free to contact me off line.

The contact is ongoing, as is the education. I think, under guidance, I am becoming less stupid - but it is taking an awfully long time. But that's maybe because I have a benchmark now. There's nothing more sobering than being put in your place by an agency that makes you feel like you are a 2 year old talking to Einstein about his theories.

We think we are an 'advanced' intelligence? We have no flaming idea!
Michael,
I must say that I am impressed by your last several comments. I feel that I understand what you are saying implicitly. I think you and I are coming from the same outlook and for similar reasons.

I too felt my first sense of gaining a measure of understanding once I dispensed with the idea that there is some objective "enlightenment" to be achieved.

I am also a serial experiencer of non-ordinary reality; sometimes deliberately accessed, though I have never been contacted by aliens nor seen a UFO. As I have mentioned previously, there was a period of a few years in my life when I could induce OBEs at will (after having a couple of spontaneous ones). I have talked to spirits via a medium and, since then, I still receive information on my own from spirits (I recognize what it is now). If I am quiet (inside and out) and open to receiving, I can absorb what they are telling me fairly clearly. I am very sure that these communications are not my own thoughts and emotions. The communications are very instructive as to how to improve my soul, how to learn, what to learn, what it is like to be a spirit, what potentials exist. However - and this is a huge "however" - I am certain that I am in the equivalent of grammar school (grades 1 - 5 as we Yanks call it). It's very humbling, but humbleness is also one of the key lessons. I cannot imagine the overblown arrogance of someone who accepts the label of being "enlightened" - or even someone who thinks he can achieve knowledge of everything.
 
I’d say they produce verifiable information with the same general level of frequency that NDEs do. Which is to say, very rarely. But as you mentioned, of course it comes down to each individual person and circumstance with regards to pulling good data from the experience.

When several of the leading authors and speakers in the area speak of things during their experiences in a fairly consistent manner and I watch them speak with the same level of sincerity and emotion as any NDE’r, and when it this info lines up with a lot of good channeled information and data from mediums, I do take notice. Namely what I’m speaking of, is the existence of a multi-dimensional reality, with the experience of a “hyper-real physical realm” (just as physical as this one), being a common motif. This is known as “Astral Earth” in many spiritualist and OBE communities, and a lot of afterlife researchers such as Roberta Grimes, and Craig Hogan etc refer to as “The Summerland.” In my opinion, they’re calling the same “place” a different name. It’s a consensus physical reality which a great deal of us may go to after death. Much like Earth. I also feel that many NDErs visit this realm, or realms like it at any rate as far as I can tell based upon the stories. When you have somebody like Jurgen or Cyrus Kirkpatrick or William Buhlman who may be experiencing these things periodically(who seem very credible), and make a habit of it to record these things immediately in a journal, it may start to paint a picture for us. Particularly when similar “locations” or “places” are repeatedly visited, dead relatives and friends are encountered in these places, and the experience is “hyper-real and more lucid than waking reality.” Which is also what NDErs similarly report. Of course you really have to interact with these people on a consistent basis in order to get a feel of the genuine nature of the reporting. I wouldn’t expect anybody to believe anything I’m writing unless they thumbed through their books, watched them speak and interacted with them. I didn’t believe in the abduction phenomenon until i watched a couple dozen people relay their accounts on YouTube a few years ago.

But I also feel that NDErs often visit the same or similar realms. So I don’t at all feel that the NDE and OBE data are at odds with each other at all. But I do feel that NDEs are “one off” experiences. Some OBEs are “one off” experiences too. But I was referring more to the repeated experiences and recordings of several OBE practitioners which I consider credible. These experiences aren’t at odds with the NDE data as a whole, and also match up very well with some of the best channeled/medium info.

What I see from the NDE community frequently is somebody will have an NDE, and they then assume and sometimes demand that their experience is directly representative of an all encompassing afterlife state which everybody experiences. I think this is an easier mistake to make when you only have a single experience, which NDErs usually have. Single experiences also make data collection more difficult. Of course many OBErs probably erroneously make similar conclusions, so (as you said) you really have to view each individual report similarly. What I look for is credibility and sincerity while trying to find similar threads. If through discernment and research one comes to BELIEVE that a significant number of individuals are having repeatable experiences and contact with the dead which they are carefully and honestly recording, then you value these sorts of experiences very highly. It’s reaching that belief which is the matter in question. For me personally, I’m very satisfied that these men and women are legit. Even if what they write can’t be taken as absolute gospel. I personally find it invaluable in formulating afterlife ideas.

If you want proof of survival of consciousness, I would point at NDEs. But for somebody who is already accepting of the survival hypothesis and wants to learn what an afterlife MAY be like, I would recommend the works of afterlife researchers like Victor Zammit and Dr Hogan etc. which I feel lines up pretty well with what guys like Jurgen report. That’s where I’m at now. A year from now, I may have a different opinion.

I want to add that this physical “astral earth-like” realm comes up a lot. But so do more “ethereal” type experiences. I just don’t want anybody reading my post to think that I’m claiming that everything in other dimensions is always physical. Also, I want to avoid sounding certain.
Wormwood,
From my personal and numerous OBE experiences, I am not sure that they are the same thing as NDEs.

First, I know that I obtained verifiable evidence that OBEs do - at least sometimes - represent an excursion to aspects of an objective reality beyond the physical - and sometimes, temporal - location of my physical body. I wanted to accept the null hypothesis; that these experiences were some kind of bizarre dream state, but my skepticism was overcome by imperial evidence e.g. being able to report in detail idiosyncratic activities engaged in by others at distant locations, knowing in detail unusual future events and reporting what the event would be to others before it occurred.

However, while my OBE states sometimes involve(d) enhanced colors and scenes illuminated by some kind of inner glow, I would never really say that they are "realer than real" as NDErs do. There is always a kind of "vision" or "mirage" quality to them. Now, the knowing is realer than real. I don't go through the normal rational inner discussion or debate with myself. In fact, that aspect of myself doesn't even exist in those states. It only kicks in after I have "returned to my body". In the OBE state, I simply know exactly what is going on or going to happen and it is unquestionable.

Also, some not insignificant proportion of my OBEs have a dark gloss to them. Words like "underworld" and "voodoo" come to my mind. There are dark shadow like images, dull lighting. These are usually involving very earthly matters and/or journeys. Maybe someone would say that involves a low astral plane (whatever that means exactly). I think that is very different from NDEs.

BTW, I used to think that OBEs involved something - consciousness? Soul? - leaving the physical body and traveling. I now think that nothing "leaves" as we understand leaving. It's merely a matter of change of focus of consciousness that appears/is interpreted, to the rational mind, as something leaving
 
Many evidential mediums don't have problems routinely obtaining verifiable information.

Leslie Flint is probably the best source of information about the afterlife. He was a direct voice medium. The spirits made a voice box out of ectoplasm that they used to speak through. There were many recordings made in which you can hear him and the spirits speaking at the same time. The spirits routinely gave verifiable information and they discussed what it is like in the afterlife to a great extent.

https://www.leslieflint.com
Thanks for this. It's been my distraction for the past couple days.
 
What I see from the NDE community frequently is somebody will have an NDE, and they then assume and sometimes demand that their experience is directly representative of an all encompassing afterlife state which everybody experiences. I
I think this is a reflection of how, outside monastic settings, the west is unmoored from it's spiritual traditions. The move toward simulated spiritual experience (eg. Modern Catholic mass post-vatican II) in traditional Christian orthodoxies, at the expense of direct connection to source, and conversely, a move towards direct connection in evangelical circles, which is then siloed post-experience to fit a cultural/political narrative, is a sad state of affairs.

From my knowledge of eastern thought there is the practice of voiding the void. You've looked beyond the veil, great, now go make your bed. There seems to me an eligant sanity to approaching direct spiritual experience in this way. The concepts you bring back to this reality from beyond will be limited to intellectual discourse, which is an empoverished way of communicating direct experience. Describing the roller coaster ride is not the same as being on it.

EDIT: of course, the same impoverished thinking extends to the new agers and those that seek to limit transcendent experiences to their preferred brand of cola.
 
Last edited:
There are dangers in death as the spirit is released from the flesh. Those dangers are subjective, which makes them more potent than supposedly objective dangers. A subjective danger can trap us for a whole lifetime - and beyond. A hellish NDE should be seen as a blessing. Its what some folk need.
Though those dangers be subjective, Micheal, It is important for any subject to remember the phrase, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." In other words a person after reflection may change their ways during subsequent time granted by the Creator to cause a redirect of their destiny.
 
Wormwood,
From my personal and numerous OBE experiences, I am not sure that they are the same thing as NDEs.

First, I know that I obtained verifiable evidence that OBEs do - at least sometimes - represent an excursion to aspects of an objective reality beyond the physical - and sometimes, temporal - location of my physical body. I wanted to accept the null hypothesis; that these experiences were some kind of bizarre dream state, but my skepticism was overcome by imperial evidence e.g. being able to report in detail idiosyncratic activities engaged in by others at distant locations, knowing in detail unusual future events and reporting what the event would be to others before it occurred.

However, while my OBE states sometimes involve(d) enhanced colors and scenes illuminated by some kind of inner glow, I would never really say that they are "realer than real" as NDErs do. There is always a kind of "vision" or "mirage" quality to them. Now, the knowing is realer than real. I don't go through the normal rational inner discussion or debate with myself. In fact, that aspect of myself doesn't even exist in those states. It only kicks in after I have "returned to my body". In the OBE state, I simply know exactly what is going on or going to happen and it is unquestionable.

Also, some not insignificant proportion of my OBEs have a dark gloss to them. Words like "underworld" and "voodoo" come to my mind. There are dark shadow like images, dull lighting. These are usually involving very earthly matters and/or journeys. Maybe someone would say that involves a low astral plane (whatever that means exactly). I think that is very different from NDEs.

BTW, I used to think that OBEs involved something - consciousness? Soul? - leaving the physical body and traveling. I now think that nothing "leaves" as we understand leaving. It's merely a matter of change of focus of consciousness that appears/is interpreted, to the rational mind, as something leaving
Most of what you say makes sense, I can relate to the mention of "underworld" and "voodoo" too, it echoes something I experienced. Though I'm not nowadays a practitioner of OBEs, it was something I explored with first hand experiences, a long time ago.


I'm less convinced by your assertion that nothing "leaves" the body. I'd say that is directly at odds with the feeling, the experience of leaving the body, a feeling of motion. If we cannot accept this, then it would pretty much invalidate the entire experience. Perhaps another way to express it is the more usual statement that we remain 'attached' to our body. Some mention a silver cord, though it isn't reported by every experiencer.
 
Most of what you say makes sense, I can relate to the mention of "underworld" and "voodoo" too, it echoes something I experienced. Though I'm not nowadays a practitioner of OBEs, it was something I explored with first hand experiences, a long time ago.


I'm less convinced by your assertion that nothing "leaves" the body. I'd say that is directly at odds with the feeling, the experience of leaving the body, a feeling of motion. If we cannot accept this, then it would pretty much invalidate the entire experience. Perhaps another way to express it is the more usual statement that we remain 'attached' to our body. Some mention a silver cord, though it isn't reported by every experiencer.
Typoz,
Yes it feels like something leaves. I still think that is an interpretation. I'm coming from the stance that we are aware entities dreaming we have a body as opposed to physical bodies dreaming we are an aware entity.

I also am not so sure there is a meaningful distinction between inner and outer awareness. Again, it feels like there is and it's convenient to talk that way, but I think it's another case of getting it backwards.
 
I see what you mean. The claims are incredible. But they line up fairly well with some of the other OBE practitioners, at least the more successful ones. It might help to understand the Herculean effort he puts into his OBEs. He has a strict regimen which he’s been following for decades. He mediates for sometimes hours per day and meditates on having and achieving out of body lucidity. His main technique involves waking up very early AM, meditating for an hour or more on achieving OBE, and going back to bed in order to (hopefully) achieve a lucid dream which (as many attest to) may act as a springboard to achieving full out of body lucidity. Of course we can’t just take all claims like his as absolute gospel. But I’ve read both his books, I’m Facebook friends with him, and interact with him sometimes on a couple of pages/forums. The wisdom and sincerity coming from that guy is quite profound. I do believe that he has achieved “enlightenment.”
I recognise what you say - breaking my sleep to meditate for an hour, regularly, would drive me crazy - maybe that gives him this ability.

So far I have only read "Vistas of Infinity". Is "Multidimensional Man" significantly different, and do you know if it is available in a digital format?

David
 
BTW, I used to think that OBEs involved something - consciousness? Soul? - leaving the physical body and traveling. I now think that nothing "leaves" as we understand leaving. It's merely a matter of change of focus of consciousness that appears/is interpreted, to the rational mind, as something leaving
How exactly can you tell, and is there a clear distinction (particularly if one assumes an Idealist perspective) between those two possibilities?

David
 
Hi Jim

I am working on the premise that to be 'enlightened' triggers a deeper awareness, and hence would express in some modification of conduct. I know I am less of a dick as I awaken to deeper insights as I respond to my acquired disability. I know that because people I know and love tell me this is so.

I would say that genuinely 'enlightened' entities are remote from us in terms of empathy with the human condition. But they are close to us in love and compassion.
For me, "enlightened" refers to personal realizations of pre-existent knowledge. "Anamnesis"-- not forgetting but remembering; not learning but remembering. In the Gnostic Gospel, those who are "enlightened" are called "Those of the Remembrance." They are remembering how things really are in the bigger picture, as in "Oh, yeah. I am in this material plane but that's my home "up" there."

Personality traits are another thing, as you both rightly observe. I am still the same person I have always been--quick, bright, impatient, energetic... did I mention impatient? Apparently I am very annoying to most people, and I can understand that because I am no more satisfied with my personality than they are. But it seems to be what it is. I try to modify it, tone it down, but enthusiasm bursts out unbidden. And 65 years of critical self-examination, counseling, seminars, education, prayer, meditation, and more than my fair share of satori's have not put a dent in it. I am familiar with a vast armamentum of "how-to-be-nice" prescriptions, having served as a counselor from time-to-time and a college teacher of interpersonal communication (Build Bridges Not Walls, etc), and yet, the personality underlying it all is what it is, unfazed by how-to's.

I keep thinking that what I lack is sufficient empathy for my fellow humans. That the enlightenment still lacking is the satori that will cause me to regard people with kindness and gentleness, as I do with other animals--I love critters and have great patience and cuddly warmth toward them. I would like to feel that way toward humans, but I hardly ever do. I generally feel annoyed by people and their problems, and frustrated by the holes they dig for themselves. Not a good trait in a counselor, I fear. And yet I can be easily touched and moved to tears by sweet stories on the television. Go figure.
 
Last edited:
How exactly can you tell, and is there a clear distinction (particularly if one assumes an Idealist perspective) between those two possibilities?

David
David,
Maybe that's my point - there is no clear distinction because there really isn't a distinction.

I wanted to understand what my OBEs are. I took the null hypothesis - that they were just some kind of weird dream experience type or a strange hallucination. My approach was, that when OBE, I would attempt to "go" to a location or to a person and gather information about what is occurring that I would not be able to know via normal means. The information would have to be detailed enough and unusual enough that it couldn't be due to guessing, subconscious cues, coincidence, etc. If I couldn't do that, then the OBEs were in the realm of dreams and hallucinations.

A couple of times I was able to obtain accurate detailed verifiable information about what was happening at/with a distant location or person at the time I was visiting OBE. What really blew my mind though was when I was getting accurate detailed information about future events. To illustrate, I was in my apartment and laid down flat on my back, arms at my side and began allowing my consciousness to center on my solar plexus until it felt like that's where my consciousness was seated; rather than the usual sensation of it being in my head. Soon I felt my awareness rocking, like a boat on gentle waves, out of my body. Once fully OBE and, by this point, more or less able to control some aspects of the experience, I proceeded to float out of my second story apartment, down the one flight of stairs and into a common area. I began looking around for some unusual event or item that I could go out and verify by normal means post-OBE; something that wasn't occurring when I was last in the common area earlier that evening.

I spied an exotic tropical house plant, maybe two and a half feet tall, in a nice clay pot lying on the ground, on its side, on almost exactly the same spot where I had practiced some chi gung exercises earlier in the day. Perfect! I knew the plant hadn't been there. It would have been impossible to miss it earlier and it was weird to see such a thing. The common area was shared by 6 units and was usually spotless. I was really the only one who ever spent time there. I didn't know my neighbors and had never been in their apartments. I had never seen the plant before. I couldn't imagine where it would have come from or why someone would have discarded it as they did. The plant was perfectly healthy looking.

I "returned" to my body and eagerly walked out to the common area. There was no such plant. I had to accept the results. At least this OBE was a dream/hallucination. I told no one of my experiments at this early phase.

However, three days later, in the evening, I was returning home after being gone all day and I stopped in the common area to do my chi kung and....there it was! The plant, the pot in the same place I had seen it OBE. It was exactly what I had seen, only three days later! That shattered all of my paradigms. That was the first of several similar experiences. While it was mundane, later ones were to be profound and one involved the death of a loved one in an unusual accident.

Getting back to your question - if something is leaving the body and traveling around, how does it travel to, say, the common area of my apartment, but the common area the future? I don't think it can if we stay with the simple model of body and mind and an OBE being the mind (or an aspect of it) leaving the body, albeit still attached in some way. The whole idea of body, out of body, time and space breaks down completely if you really think about it.

That is why I lean toward the idea that body, mind, time, space, etc are just representations or interpretations that we have agreed upon and that, because of habitual use, become limiting paradigms that we no longer question. I don't think any of it is real - or, more correctly, it's real because we created it and it is in operation as a consensual reality, but it is an arbitrary and very narrow slice of the range of perceptual potentials available to us.
 
Last edited:
The questions Alex asked were:

i. Is consciousness evolving?
ii. If it is, does Christianity have anything to do with it?

In a previous post in the four questions about the future of skeptiko thread, I posted this:

One point could be that there may be at least two kinds of consciousness: non-self-reflective consciousness (NSRC), and self-reflective consciousness (SRC). As many of us know, Bernardo Kastrup opines that M@L has NSRC, but not SRC. NSRC is posited to have always existed, and to be fundamental, whereas SRC could be emergent, could arise from what is pre-existent, due to "laws" or latent predispositions/potentials in M@L's NSRC.

It may not be so much that M@L is omnipotent, as that anything it is capable of creating comes to be if it "wants" (a word that belongs only in the realm of SRC, but it's the nearest I can get to the concept) it to be so. There may be things that it is incapable of creating; that it would never "occur to it" to create in the first place. "Creation" in this context is, again, a notion occurring only within SRC. I am always bound by the means available to me for expression of concepts, viz. language.

Necessarily, as SRCs ("souls"), we are limited, can only interact with that which we seem to perceive. If we can't perceive something either directly through our senses or indirectly through instrumentation, then for all practical purposes, it doesn't exist. Maybe sometimes we can change this; maybe sometimes it's not that it doesn't exist, but more that we haven't yet been able to perceive its existence, and as soon as we can, the sphere of our knowledge and potential influence increases somewhat. But we can never go outside this sphere, whatever its ultimate extent might be, because there resides the NSRC of M@L, to which we have no direct access.

We use words like "deception", "evil", and so on. Words arise within SRC, and have a range of meanings influenced by our perceived experiences within it. I posit that such words are insufficient to describe the NSRC of M@L. By our very use of language, we, in effect, unwittingly circumscribe our idea of what M@L might be. Put another way, we project onto M@L our own limitations. We get to very difficult problems about how a good God could have created evil, forgetting that "evil" is a concept within our SRC that might be totally inappropriate within the NSRC of M@L.

Did M@L create "evil"? Did it create "deception"? Or are these things that we have given names to, and which are characteristic only of SRCs?

Maybe more later...
So: is consciousness evolving? Well, first I think one needs to bear in mind the difference between non-self-reflective consciousness (NSRC), which may be what M@L has, and self-reflective consciousness (SRC), which human beings certainly have, and other organisms probably also have, albeit to lesser degrees.

I think that SRC is evolving, in the sense of changing over time, but not necessarily M@L's NSRC: which in turn doesn't necessarily mean that M@L isn't experiencing new things, vicariously, through alters like us. And, of course, it could be a mistake to think of SRC as some kind of advance over NSRC. For a start, M@L is presumably immeasurably more powerful and creative than us, with SRC coming at the expense of severe restriction of our own power and creativity. At the same time such restriction means that we are capable of evolving, or at least changing. In this sense, the universe we perceive, with its inanimate and animate entities, could be viewed as a kind of "thought experiment" that for whatever reason M@L is intensely "interested in" and/or "involved" with.

We can't really grasp the NSRC of M@L. It may have something analogous to will, i.e. an inchoate impulse to create things, among which are beings like us, with SRC. And, what M@L "wills", comes to be in the "physical" world, i.e. the world which is apparent to our perceptions, and is populated by other instances of animate beings with SRC as well as yet other, inanimate creations/thoughts such as stars, galaxies, and so on.

I'm acutely aware that I'm attempting to describe NSRC in ordinary human language, which perforce is how we SRCs have to express ourselves -- hence the scare quotes in the previous paragraphs. At best, any words I might use are mere approximations, and at worst, could be way off the mark, but they're all I've got.

At any rate, it might be true enough to say that in a sense we create the reality we perceive, and our perception is influenced by the particular cultural milieu we inhabit. In prior ages, we were confronted by a universe that must have seemed vast and both beautiful and threatening, but we didn't have as much of the understanding that SRC requires to come to terms with it. So we created our gods and our myths and our religions and eventually our science; and at any particular instant, we couldn't even conceive what would happen in the future, proceeding as if our present understandings and interpretations were the final word on the matter.

We're still proceeding in this manner. Materialists think they've cracked it all, when in fact all we "know" is just our current best guess, and there are doubtless still many surprises in store for us. But to be fair to materialists, plenty of non-materialists also think they've cracked it all. Just read some of the posts here by people who are convinced they know what's really going on. Sometimes, there's quite wide agreement, but there's also quite a lot of disagreement, so it behoves us to remain sceptical in the best sense of that word, and to avoid expressing ourselves in overly confident terms.

We all have our models of reality, without seeing reality as it actually is. Why do we prefer some models over others? Perhaps because whichever ones we prefer seem to make most sense to us, to satisfy our particular flavour of SRC. There may be elements of both hard-nosed empiricism and surreptitious (even to ourselves) emotionalism involved in the models we choose. But maybe we make a mistake if we commit ourselves too hard to preferred models. Can we rely on our own experience? Some might argue that we can hardly rely on anything else, but between a phenomenon and its explanation there's always interpretation, which is heavily influenced by world views -- by preferred models of reality.

Has Christianity changed consciousness? To me, it seems self-evident that it has; I find it hard to see how anyone could argue otherwise. Did the sentiments expressed in the NT originate with Jesus? Quite possibly not, but I don't think that anyone could argue that the NT hasn't had an enormous effect on the consciousness of human beings, quite probably more since the time of Jesus than at any time previously. The Jesus narrative, even if partly mythical, disseminated to a wide audience the "golden rule" (shorthand for Jesus' overall message), even if prior to that the rule was known in some times, places and religions.

Does the widespread adoption of the golden rule constitute a noticeable change in consciousness, evidenced in morality and law? I think it probably does, and it's plain enough to see the effects on societies where it's poorly developed or was never an explicit theme, even today. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, they say. Was Jesus a special person come to bring a new message to humanity? Or was he a man who felt a certain way about the world and found himself in circumstances favourable to the propagation of his message, albeit that he may not have exclusively originated it?

It's interesting to speculate whether changes in collective human consciousness is something permanent and independent of cultural influences. Were some dire catastrophic event to occur that wiped most of us out, would the ethos of the golden rule still be "hard-wired" into some of us, so to speak? Once learned, would it ever be entirely forgotten, or like rats with mazes or sparrows with milk bottle tops, would its morphic field still be in operation in significant numbers of individuals even after generations?

Who can say, and it's not easy to test. Sure, there are riots and lootings in some localised circumstances, but do the majority in Westernised societies ever descend into complete chaos? Is this happening in, say, Venezuela at the moment? Or do the majority of ordinary citizens still employ the golden rule at the interpersonal level? Have individuals become completely self-centred and uncaring about others? Search for "life in Venezuela" on YouTube and make your own judgement. My sense is that many still attempt apply the golden rule. Without that, who can say how much worse things would be?
 
Last edited:
David,
Maybe that's my point - there is no clear distinction because there really isn't a distinction.

I wanted to understand what my OBEs are. I took the null hypothesis - that they were just some kind of weird dream experience type or a strange hallucination. My approach was, that when OBE, I would attempt to "go" to a location or to a person and gather information about what is occurring that I would not be able to know via normal means. The information would have to be detailed enough and unusual enough that it couldn't be due to guessing, subconscious cues, coincidence, etc. If I couldn't do that, then the OBEs were in the realm of dreams and hallucinations.

A couple of times I was able to obtain accurate detailed verifiable information about what was happening at/with a distant location or person at the time I was visiting OBE. What really blew my mind though was when I was getting accurate detailed information about future events. To illustrate, I was in my apartment and laid down flat on my back, arms at my side and began allowing my consciousness to center on my solar plexus until it felt like that's where my consciousness was seated; rather than the usual sensation of it being in my head. Soon I felt my awareness rocking, like a boat on gentle waves, out of my body. Once fully OBE and, by this point, more or less able to control some aspects of the experience, I proceeded to float out of my second story apartment, down the one flight of stairs and into a common area. I began looking around for some unusual event or item that I could go out and verify by normal means post-OBE; something that wasn't occurring when I was last in the common area earlier that evening.

I spied an exotic tropical house plant, maybe two and a half feet tall, in a nice clay pot lying on the ground, on its side, on almost exactly the same spot where I had practiced some chi gung exercises earlier in the day. Perfect! I knew the plant hadn't been there. It would have been impossible to miss it earlier and it was weird to see such a thing. The common area was shared by 6 units and was usually spotless. I was really the only one who ever spent time there. I didn't know my neighbors and had never been in their apartments. I had never seen the plant before. I couldn't imagine where it would have come from or why someone would have discarded it as they did. The plant was perfectly healthy looking.

I "returned" to my body and eagerly walked out to the common area. There was no such plant. I had to accept the results. At least this OBE was a dream/hallucination. I told no one of my experiments at this early phase.

However, three days later, in the evening, I was returning home after being gone all day and I stopped in the common area to do my chi kung and....there it was! The plant, the pot in the same place I had seen it OBE. It was exactly what I had seen, only three days later! That shattered all of my paradigms. That was the first of several similar experiences. While it was mundane, later ones were to be profound and one involved the death of a loved one in an unusual accident.

Getting back to your question - if something is leaving the body and traveling around, how does it travel to, say, the common area of my apartment, but the common area the future? I don't think it can if we stay with the simple model of body and mind and an OBE being the mind (or an aspect of it) leaving the body, albeit still attached in some way. The whole idea of body, out of body, time and space breaks down completely if you really think about it.

That is why I lean toward the idea that body, mind, time, space, etc are just representations or interpretations that we have agreed upon and that, because of habitual use, become limiting paradigms that we no longer question. I don't think any of it is real - or, more correctly, it's real because we created it and it is in operation as a consensual reality, but it is an arbitrary and very narrow slice of the range of perceptual potentials available to us.
I wish I could induce an OBE so easily, I will certainly try your technique but I think I know what will happen - I'll fall asleep. I have never had an OBE and only one extremely brief LD as a teenager.

The one thing I have against your ultimate conclusion - and against Idealism in general - is that it seems to devalue everything we see or otherwise sense - they are just part of a data stream coming from a simulation, or consciousness stream! I know Idealism is not the same as the simulation hypothesis, but it has that same quality of reducing all experience down to one thing.

Another way of interpreting your OBE experience - particularly if you think about modern concepts of space-time - might be that the OBE involves a motion through space-time, and you are experiencing a space and time shift.

Do you have other OBE's that fit that pattern?

David
 
Thank you for clarifying. Personally I think Buddhism suffers from excessive rationalisation, and those 21 definitions are an instance of such. I read a lot of Buddhism a long time ago. You can turn a fairly simple premise into an industry. Christianity became an industry that somehow managed to weave around the essential message of Christ - by making it conditional on bunch of bullshit requirements to conform to rules that had nothing to do with the core message.

The same problems were evident in Hinduism when Buddhism was developed. For me none of those definitions of enlightenment are worth a bean. I have a more Zen approach, personally. Strive for existential authenticity persistently - and use whatever means will get you there. But always remember that some of those 'means' are no more than a justification for staying put. That's okay. That is what we need sometimes. We don't have to bullshit about it.

I think we get sucked into the delusions and conceits of enlightenment because cultures become comfort zones and nobody is honest about it. We are not on all the time. Its okay to indulge in being a decent person for a time and enjoying the fruits that brings. It is when we are filled with guilt that we become vulnerable to predation by 'enlightened' liars and frauds. Somehow our aspiration to be good allows predators and abusers to flourish amongst us, often as leaders.
I 100 percent agree with the buddhism 100 percent rationilzation
 
I wish I could induce an OBE so easily, I will certainly try your technique but I think I know what will happen - I'll fall asleep. I have never had an OBE and only one extremely brief LD as a teenager.

The one thing I have against your ultimate conclusion - and against Idealism in general - is that it seems to devalue everything we see or otherwise sense - they are just part of a data stream coming from a simulation, or consciousness stream! I know Idealism is not the same as the simulation hypothesis, but it has that same quality of reducing all experience down to one thing.

Another way of interpreting your OBE experience - particularly if you think about modern concepts of space-time - might be that the OBE involves a motion through space-time, and you are experiencing a space and time shift.

Do you have other OBE's that fit that pattern?

David
David,
Yes. I have had a number of OBEs that fit that pattern.

I don't understand why you think that idealism devalues experience. I don't know that much about idealism. So I could be missing something that they say. I'm not into philosophy, generally. My view about my outlook - which you seem to think is related to idealism - is that the value of experience is actually enhanced. It is enhanced because you are creating it (you and other souls who have joined your consensus world). What you experience is a reflection of you. What could be more powerful, in all its ramifications, than that? The universe provides building blocks, basic elements of energy that you, in turn, use to build a reality by focusing your intent, energy and consciousness.

Re; OBEs. I think that if you use my method and keep trying, it will eventually happen. Just don't give up. If you fall asleep, you fall asleep. Even if you only set the stage for 5 minutes before losing it, it doesn't matter. Try every early morning and every night. But relax. Don't try too hard. Just set the stage. Eventually you'll get there. Don't be afraid. I'm pretty sure nothing bad will come of it.
 
The questions Alex asked were:

i. Is consciousness evolving?
ii. If it is, does Christianity have anything to do with it?

In a previous post in the four questions about the future of skeptiko thread, I posted this:



So: is consciousness evolving? Well, first I think one needs to bear in mind the difference between non-self-reflective consciousness (NSRC), which may be what M@L has, and self-reflective consciousness (SRC), which human beings certainly have, and other organisms probably also have, albeit to lesser degrees.

I think that SRC is evolving, in the sense of changing over time, but not necessarily M@L's NSRC: which in turn doesn't necessarily mean that M@L isn't experiencing new things, vicariously, through alters like us. And, of course, it could be a mistake to think of SRC as some kind of advance over NSRC. For a start, M@L is presumably immeasurably more powerful and creative than us, with SRC coming at the expense of severe restriction of our own power and creativity. At the same time such restriction means that we are capable of evolving, or at least changing. In this sense, the universe we perceive, with its inanimate and animate entities, could be viewed as a kind of "thought experiment" that for whatever reason M@L is intensely "interested in" and/or "involved" with.

We can't really grasp the NSRC of M@L. It may have something analogous to will, i.e. an inchoate impulse to create things, among which are beings like us, with SRC. And, what M@L "wills", comes to be in the "physical" world, i.e. the world which is apparent to our perceptions, and is populated by other instances of animate beings with SRC as well as yet other, inanimate creations/thoughts such as stars, galaxies, and so on.

I'm acutely aware that I'm attempting to describe NSRC in ordinary human language, which perforce is how we SRCs have to express ourselves -- hence the scare quotes in the previous paragraphs. At best, any words I might use are mere approximations, and at worst, could be way off the mark, but they're all I've got.

At any rate, it might be true enough to say that in a sense we create the reality we perceive, and our perception is influenced by the particular cultural milieu we inhabit. In prior ages, we were confronted by a universe that must have seemed vast and both beautiful and threatening, but we didn't have as much of the understanding that SRC requires to come to terms with it. So we created our gods and our myths and our religions and eventually our science; and at any particular instant, we couldn't even conceive what would happen in the future, proceeding as if our present understandings and interpretations were the final word on the matter.

We're still proceeding in this manner. Materialists think they've cracked it all, when in fact all we "know" is just our current best guess, and there are doubtless still many surprises in store for us. But to be fair to materialists, plenty of non-materialists also think they've cracked it all. Just read some of the posts here by people who are convinced they know what's really going on. Sometimes, there's quite wide agreement, but there's also quite a lot of disagreement, so it behoves us to remain sceptical in the best sense of that word, and to avoid expressing ourselves in overly confident terms.

We all have our models of reality, without seeing reality as it actually is. Why do we prefer some models over others? Perhaps because whichever ones we prefer seem to make most sense to us, to satisfy our particular flavour of SRC. There may be elements of both hard-nosed empiricism and surreptitious (even to ourselves) emotionalism involved in the models we choose. But maybe we make a mistake if we commit ourselves too hard to preferred models. Can we rely on our own experience? Some might argue that we can hardly rely on anything else, but between a phenomenon and its explanation there's always interpretation, which is heavily influenced by world views -- by preferred models of reality.

Has Christianity changed consciousness? To me, it seems self-evident that it has; I find it hard to see how anyone could argue otherwise. Did the sentiments expressed in the NT originate with Jesus? Quite possibly not, but I don't think that anyone could argue that the NT hasn't had an enormous effect on the consciousness of human beings, quite probably more since the time of Jesus than at any time previously. The Jesus narrative, even if partly mythical, disseminated to a wide audience the "golden rule" (shorthand for Jesus' overall message), even if prior to that the rule was known in some times, places and religions.

Does the widespread adoption of the golden rule constitute a noticeable change in consciousness, evidenced in morality and law? I think it probably does, and it's plain enough to see the effects on societies where it's poorly developed or was never an explicit theme, even today. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, they say. Was Jesus a special person come to bring a new message to humanity? Or was he a man who felt a certain way about the world and found himself in circumstances favourable to the propagation of his message, albeit that he may not have exclusively originated it?

It's interesting to speculate whether changes in collective human consciousness is something permanent and independent of cultural influences. Were some dire catastrophic event to occur that wiped most of us out, would the ethos of the golden rule still be "hard-wired" into some of us, so to speak? Once learned, would it ever be entirely forgotten, or like rats with mazes or sparrows with milk bottle tops, would its morphic field still be in operation in significant numbers of individuals even after generations?

Who can say, and it's not easy to test. Sure, there are riots and lootings in some localised circumstances, but do the majority in Westernised societies ever descend into complete chaos? Is this happening in, say, Venezuela at the moment? Or do the majority of ordinary citizens still employ the golden rule at the interpersonal level? Have individuals become completely self-centred and uncaring about others? Search for "life in Venezuela" on YouTube and make your own judgement. My sense is that many still attempt apply the golden rule. Without that, who can say how much worse things would be?
Michael,
I think you are 100% correct.

I mean we all recognize something as simple as taking two kittens from the same litter when very young. Leave one in the wild and put the other in a home with cat lovers. A couple years later the one in the wild is going to be a sketchy paranoid thing that runs from humans. It's emotional range will be flight or fight and hunt and kill. The one raised in the loving home is going to have hunt/kill going on, but is also going to have a much wider range emotions; emotions the feral cat never expresses, like love and affection, playfulness. The cat raised in the good home is going to have a more evolved consciousness because it has learned to attend to human emotions. The humans and the cat share a consensual reality in which love and playfulness are a feature.

Materialist psychologists would just say that the cats have been "trained" in Pavlovian and Skinnerian fashion. But what does it mean to be "trained". It's a non-explanation that takes living, aware beings as being robot machines. It doesn't address the experience of consciousness that the cat is having.

Humans that share a consensual reality based on the teachings of Christ are going to have a range of perceptions and emotions that include agape, the golden rule, etc.; something that non-Christian humans tend to not do (think Aztecs slaughtering thousands ruthlessly as human sacrifice). I think this is pretty obvious.

But I guess the key to understanding what should be obvious is getting past ignorant social justice political BS that has all humans being basically good and all basically the same, from birth - and religion as bad, always.

Anything you focus is going to change your consciousness and cause a perceptual emphasis to arise. That should also be beyond dispute. Christianity asks us to focus on some important ideals
 
Well, first I think one needs to bear in mind the difference between non-self-reflective consciousness (NSRC), which may be what M@L has, and self-reflective consciousness (SRC), which human beings certainly have, and other organisms probably also have, albeit to lesser degrees.
Are you sure something like NSRC is even logically possible? Think about the debate about free will - materialists endlessly argue about various flavours of free will, in order to argue that although we all seem to have free will, we don't really!

I suspect that trying to dice up consciousness into different types may be fundamentally meaningless.

David
 
Top