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

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
I know you think this, David, and we'll probably just have to agree to differ. It's perhaps not so much that there may be two types of consciousness, as that when NSRC ideates SRCs (alters), they are necessarily restricted in their scope and capabilities, and experience things in terms of what they can perceive, which appear to them as more or less concrete objects.

Non-sentient entities are ideations of a different stripe in that, whilst still in NSRC's (MAL's) consciousness, they completely obey its inbuilt patterns and regularities; for them, there is no possibility for free will. At any rate, that's my understanding of what BK opines, which I agree with as being the best explanation of consciousness I've so far come across.

After all, why, if M@L's consciousness were self-reflective, would it need to ideate alters in the first place? Were it to do that, it would lead to an Abrahamic conception of God, with our being its playthings or pawns, which is probably most evident these days in conventional Islam. That's a notion I reject and that I don't believe is supported by NDE and other data.

Everything is in M@L's NSRC. We merely think of ourselves as SRC's, and in doing so create a separate category in our minds, which is probably one reason why you think I'm slicing and dicing consciousness into different types. We are what NSRC seems to become when it wills itself to be self-reflective, enabling it to experience itself in novel ways. I don't see idealism as in any sense a dualistic ontology, and multiplicity is merely apparent -- the result of the way alters like us perceive the world and express our understandings of it in terms of language.

Materialists think of the world in very literal terms: as it being only what it appears to be. Consequently, they are forced to posit that all events occur as a result of the interaction of what they conceive of as particles and/or forces. This, perhaps above all else, explains their difficulty in grokking the possibility that all we see are appearances, with the real causes being in the underlying patterns and regularities of the NSRC of M@L.

To my mind, idealism inverts the conventional view of the world and liberates one from always having to think in terms of the interaction of particles and forces -- something very useful as a model upon which to base technology, but not necessarily an accurate representation of what is actually happening. I think it is this mental block of taking everything so literally that is holding back science, and that only when it is removed do we stand a chance of making significant scientific (not to mention other kinds of) progress.
 
Non-sentient entities are ideations of a different stripe in that, whilst still in NSRC's (MAL's) consciousness, they completely obey its inbuilt patterns and regularities; for them, there is no possibility for free will.
I think that rather makes my point - what you describe sounds awfully like the operation of a computer (except that I don't know if BK thinks MAL experiences qualia). Even if MAL does experience qualia, if it can't exert free will, all it can do is sit back and watch its pre-programmed self do things!

As I said above, I think it is too easy to slip into the tortuous ways of thinking of materialist, who argue in this sort of way about, for example, free will.

David
 
I think that rather makes my point - what you describe sounds awfully like the operation of a computer (except that I don't know if BK thinks MAL experiences qualia). Even if MAL does experience qualia, if it can't exert free will, all it can do is sit back and watch its pre-programmed self do things!

As I said above, I think it is too easy to slip into the tortuous ways of thinking of materialist, who argue in this sort of way about, for example, free will.

David
Huh? It's like you haven't understood a word I said. Sorry David, but it's pointless trying to converse any further about this with you. Like I said, we'll have to agree to differ.
 
https://veilofreality.com/manly-p-hall-on-the-false-light-of-new-age-spirituality/

man is not spiritualized because he reads books, or because he studies with some famous teacher, even if that teacher is bona fide. He is not spiritual because he knows spiritual people, or because he recites a few platitudes morning and evening, or because he goes into the silence, or because he prays a formula, or because he chants Sanskrit, or because he pays dues to a metaphysical organization, or because he has been “initiated” into some mystical cult.
 
Huh? It's like you haven't understood a word I said. Sorry David, but it's pointless trying to converse any further about this with you. Like I said, we'll have to agree to differ.
Well rather than drop it, perhaps you can explain in really simple words that I am bound to fully understand, what you meant by
Non-sentient entities are ideations of a different stripe in that, whilst still in NSRC's (MAL's) consciousness, they completely obey its inbuilt patterns and regularities; for them, there is no possibility for free will.
Can a non-sentient consciousness exist?

I am sentient (I hope), and I can spawn something that "completely obeys its inbuilt patterns and regularities; for it , there is no possibility for free will", only I usually call it a computer program. I think we need to be very clear about the dividing line between computer programs and consciousness.

I think that physics exhibits the tendency to spawn fantastically complicated, non-intuitive theories based on very limited data, and unfortunately some areas of non-material thinking are going the same way. What I'd say to physicists who claim to detect particles that only last for 10^-25 sec, is to beware of escaping into a fantasy land fuelled by very shaky data, and I guess I would say the same about Bernardo's ideas.

IMHO we (everyone interested in the larger reality) really are at the very beginnings of studying non-material realms, and if we start building 'non-material string theory' we will get nowhere.

David
 
Another good thread. I just want to throw in that I feel that the quality of the forum and the posts in general have really increased since I joined about a year and a half ago or so. There’s a lot of bright minds here and I enjoy everybody’s contributions. Keep it up ladies and gents.
 
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
It’s an individual thing. Your OBEs may not be like NDEs and may not even be anything like other people’s OBEs. It appears there are NDEs which involve floating outside of the body. Just as there are OBE which involve floating outside of the body (both within our current realm). Then there are NDEs which involve apparent “transport” to another realm. This also appears to be the case for some NDE’s. Each OBE and NDE seems to capable of taking the form of a million different things possibilities. I think there’s lots of overlap between all of these extended experiences, including within the abduction phenomena and potentially including psychedelic experiences. You can find lots of common threads within all of these phenomena.

I don’t think it’s possible to get a grip on what I’m trying to get at without really evaluating and listening to this large community talk as individuals about their experiences with this “astral earth.” If we value credible first hand experiences, and this forum does as a whole, than we need to take these accounts seriously, especially as the ones which I’m mentioning are so numerous and bear the mark cross consistency. You’re experience being different really doesn’t mean anything. NDEs are even vastly different from each other. Sometimes in a striking way.

I tend to subscribe to an Idealistic position which states that consciousness is roughly everything and as consciousness we may tune into any number of other realities. One sure way to do this is die. But there are other ways. I don’t feel that being dead changes much. There may be something within our current rule set which states that being dead is required to access certain realms, but as far as I can tell it may be that these other realms may be obtained through other methods. I feel pretty convinced that we’ve all died before in some form. I don’t feel that bodily death necessarily gives us some sort of passport stamp which is otherwise impossible to obtain. Nobody is dead as far as I’m concerned. There is only life, and there are an infinite number of possibilities and visitable realms which we may partake in. Many of these realms contain “dead” relatives. And it isn’t just within NDEs where we find this common motif of dead relatives. We see it in lucid dreams, sometimes contained verifiable information, NDEs, certain special OBES (my current point, and it’s even encountered on occasion during the abduction phenomena. Aliens are seen often during psychedelic trips also etc. So, reality is big mash mash of multidimensional realms which we may partake in. Does it take death to get a special passport stamp? I don’t think it does.

I think we are still tied to this notion that this is the “living realm” and that other realms are the “spiritual realms.” But this realm is just as “spiritual” as any other realm. And the other realm are just as “alive and living” as other realms. They’re not “dead people realms.” As I mentioned, we’ve all likely died before, were just here for the moment. And we may visit or move on to some other place through death or as a temporary visitor through some other means.
 
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It’s an individual thing. Your OBEs may not be like NDEs and may not even be anything like other people’s OBEs. It appears there are NDEs which involve floating outside of the body. Just as there are OBE which involve floating outside of the body (both within our current realm). Then there are NDEs which involve apparent “transport” to another realm. This also appears to be the case for some NDE’s. Each OBE and NDE seems to capable of taking the form of a million different things possibilities. I think there’s lots of overlap between all of these extended experiences, including within the abduction phenomena and potentially including psychedelic experiences. You can find lots of common threads within all of these phenomena.

I don’t think it’s possible to get a grip on what I’m trying to get at without really evaluating and listening to this large community talk as individuals about their experiences with this “astral earth.” If we value credible first hand experiences, and this forum does as a whole, than we need to take these accounts seriously, especially as the ones which I’m mentioning are so numerous and bear the mark cross consistency. You’re experience being different really doesn’t mean anything. NDEs are even vastly different from each other. Sometimes in a striking way.

I tend to subscribe to an Idealistic position which states that consciousness is roughly everything and as consciousness we may tune into any number of other realities. One sure way to do this is die. But there are other ways. I don’t feel that being dead changes much. There may be something within our current rule set which states that being dead is required to access certain realms, but as far as I can tell it may be that these other realms may be obtained through other methods. I feel pretty convinced that we’ve all died before in some form. I don’t feel that bodily death necessarily gives us some sort of passport stamp which is otherwise impossible to obtain. Nobody is dead as far as I’m concerned. There is only life, and there are an infinite number of possibilities and visitable realms which we may partake in. Many of these realms contain “dead” relatives. And it isn’t just within NDEs where we find this common motif of dead relatives. We see it in lucid dreams, sometimes contained verifiable information, NDEs, certain special OBES (my current point, and it’s even encountered on occasion during the abduction phenomena. Aliens are seen often during psychedelic trips also etc. So, reality is big mash mash of multidimensional realms which we may partake in. Does it take death to get a special passport stamp? I don’t think it does.

I think we are still tied to this notion that this is the “living realm” and that other realms are the “spiritual realms.” But this realm is just as “spiritual” as any other realm. And the other realm are just as “alive and living” as other realms. They’re not “dead people realms.” As I mentioned, we’ve all likely died before, were just here for the moment. And we may visit or move on to some other place through death or as a temporary visitor through some other means.
Wormwood. I agree with all that you say. My point that I sought to illustrate with personal anecdotes is in agreement too. I kind of object to the idea that NDEs are telling us what the afterlife is like because, as you note well, everyone's OBEs, NDEs, etc are different. Yes, there are general categories that some researchers like to lump experiences into (e.g. Meeting the Being of Light, It's all about Love, Hellish NDEs), but there are too many that don't really fit the categories, or only marginally.

My own view, like yours, is that what we call "reality" is plastic and is created by a combination of the experiencer's focus of attention and psychic proclivities + External energies. That's why the experiences are as varied as the experiencers themselves. To the extent that people can be lumped into general categories, their experiences will also be able to be lumped - but the categories themselves are still arbitrary in the big scheme of things.

Being "dead" changes nothing about the real you. It merely permits your attention to focus on aspects of infinity other than the physical dimension. Though, apparently, many dead people, being habituated to focusing on having a physical body in a physical dimension, conjure up quasi-physical worlds in the afterlife.
 
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Well rather than drop it, perhaps you can explain in really simple words that I am bound to fully understand, what you meant by

Can a non-sentient consciousness exist?

I am sentient (I hope), and I can spawn something that "completely obeys its inbuilt patterns and regularities; for it , there is no possibility for free will", only I usually call it a computer program. I think we need to be very clear about the dividing line between computer programs and consciousness.

I think that physics exhibits the tendency to spawn fantastically complicated, non-intuitive theories based on very limited data, and unfortunately some areas of non-material thinking are going the same way. What I'd say to physicists who claim to detect particles that only last for 10^-25 sec, is to beware of escaping into a fantasy land fuelled by very shaky data, and I guess I would say the same about Bernardo's ideas.

IMHO we (everyone interested in the larger reality) really are at the very beginnings of studying non-material realms, and if we start building 'non-material string theory' we will get nowhere.

David
Okay. I'll try again. I said:
Non-sentient entities are ideations of a different stripe in that, whilst still in NSRC's (MAL's) consciousness, they completely obey its inbuilt patterns and regularities; for them, there is no possibility for free will.
The theory is that M@L is aware, but not aware that it is aware; so it's a non-self-reflective consciousness (NSRC). M@L simply is, and happens for whatever reason to manifest itself according to inbuilt, innate rules. It's a bit like us being in a state of deep sleep, when we are aware, but not aware that we're aware; yet we're still able to carry out innate internal organ functions such as breathing, pumping blood, producing urine and digesting food, etc. Psychologists might think in terms of being "unconscious", but as long as we're alive, we're never really unconscious. Rather, when in deep sleep, we're aware, yet unaware that we're aware.

Again, analogising, M@L might be thought of as having dreams. These are what I am terming its thoughts or ideations: they are wherein we exist as SRCs (dissociated alters of M@L). It seems to our perception that the non-sentient elements of M@L's dreams are concrete and real -- "things" like tables and chairs, our bodies and those of other organisms, planets, stars, galaxies, and so on. We have plenty of theories about what's going on, and the materialists think of things, ultimately, in terms of particles and forces: but that's just a model that happens to help us with our technologies -- think of scientific theories as modern versions of ancient myths, but rather more useful because based on testable notions of logic and rationality.

What M@L "dreams" seems to us, in our ordinary waking state, to be reality; these dreams are permeated by its patterns and regularities, i.e. the "things" that are studied in science, especially physics. What it dreams seems to come into being; we may sometimes think in terms of its having a conscious will, and of it purposely creating real "things".

At any rate, modern science tends to take things literally: for it, there really are particles and forces, and thinking this seems to have proved itself in so many ways in technology. There's so much consistency and predictability in M@Ls dreams: so, the thinking goes, what else could they be but actual, literal reality? What need do we have of M@L or a God?

All seemed fine, with reality being exactly what it seemed to be, until the advent of quantum theory, which has well and truly upset the apple cart and led to quite a number of physicists speaking in almost mystical terms about the nature of reality and how it seems to depend on consciousness. Does the moon exist when we aren't looking at it? Maybe not...

You say:

"I am sentient (I hope), and I can spawn something that "completely obeys its inbuilt patterns and regularities; for it , there is no possibility for free will", only I usually call it a computer program. I think we need to be very clear about the dividing line between computer programs and consciousness.

Human beings certainly seem to be able to create things, just as M@L seems to. But just because you can use analogous language doesn't mean you are talking about the same processes: you can't necessarily project your way of thinking about reality onto M@L. As an alter SRC, it's not unnatural for you to do that, or to conceive of universal consciousness also being an SRC, but it ain't necessarily so. The only way we can think seems to be self-reflectively; it's very difficult to think in terms of an NSRC apparently "unconsciously" creating something that seems to be an SRC, but nonetheless, that is my understanding of BK's thesis.

That said, if M@L were an SRC, then it would think like we do, and its creations would be just very much more limited versions of itself -- and maybe be regarded as its playthings, with which it could do whatever it wanted in a fairly arbitrary way. Which is essentially the Abrahamic conception of God around which such religions are constructed. And then, we have seemingly insurmountable problems about the nature of evil and why a good God would allow evil to exist. The thing about SRCs is that by their very nature they have to have free will: one can't be an alter with SRC unless one has free will; otherwise, one would be a completely meaningless, deterministic robot following fixed rules, just as are computers.

In the Abrahamic conception of an SRC God, He's a very much more intelligent being who has to plan out all of our destinies in an essentially deterministic way; there would be very little scope for any individual acts of free will. But to us SRCs, it seems that we do have free will: there seems nothing to stop any of us deciding to perform the most atrocious acts. What prevents that, we put down to having a conscience, an innate sense of right and wrong, a morality.

What I put having a conscience down to is the fact that at some level we are dimly aware of our origin within the NSRC of M@L. We are made of the selfsame "stuff" as it, and M@L would hardly do anything to harm itself. What we call "love" could be quite simply M@L's entirely natural propensity not to harm itself -- I mean, why would it? On occasions that we harm ourselves, most normal people can sense that they have done "wrong" and feel bad about that, or may sometimes have to suppress such a feeling to justify their actions.

M@L isn't (yet at any rate) a wholly SRC, but maybe one can think of it as being able to share an interface with SRCs: the interface provided by our perceptions, something akin to a "Markov blanket". Perhaps it is via this interface that it might be able to experience, vicariously, our SRCs, and gradually "will into being" changes in those of its "dream ideations" we think of as animate.

If so, just maybe, M@L is gradually evolving into something more than it presently is, and relies on the evolution of SRCs to do that. In effect, we could be "organs" for its own evolution.
 
Another good thread. I just want to throw in that I feel that the quality of the forum and the posts in general have really increased since I joined about a year and a half ago or so. There’s a lot of bright minds here and I enjoy everybody’s contributions. Keep it up ladies and gents.
Agreed WW. I am here learning mostly, on many of these topics. I would love to add value, but sadly cannot - and just listen. Skeptico members tend to delve into the critical path, and not the endless rhetorical blather around a subject. Which is why this forum is useful, as compared to a run-of-the-mill para-conspiracy minded forum.
 
Okay. I'll try again. I said:


The theory is that M@L is aware, but not aware that it is aware; so it's a non-self-reflective consciousness (NSRC). M@L simply is, and happens for whatever reason to manifest itself according to inbuilt, innate rules. It's a bit like us being in a state of deep sleep, when we are aware, but not aware that we're aware; yet we're still able to carry out innate internal organ functions such as breathing, pumping blood, producing urine and digesting food, etc. Psychologists might think in terms of being "unconscious", but as long as we're alive, we're never really unconscious. Rather, when in deep sleep, we're aware, yet unaware that we're aware.
I well remember the medics at university describing some extremely gruesome experiments in which rabbits were 'decerebrated' and their physiological functions were controlled by some machines (probably not computers as this was early 70's) The idea was that these creatures could feel no pain, and so could be experimented on without concern. My point is that you don't need even a primitive consciousness to do that. I'd rather assume that there is just one kind of consciousness (presumably varying in power) until there is solid evidence that that idea is wrong.
Again, analogising, M@L might be thought of as having dreams. These are what I am terming its thoughts or ideations: they are wherein we exist as SRCs (dissociated alters of M@L). It seems to our perception that the non-sentient elements of M@L's dreams are concrete and real -- "things" like tables and chairs, our bodies and those of other organisms, planets, stars, galaxies, and so on. We have plenty of theories about what's going on, and the materialists think of things, ultimately, in terms of particles and forces: but that's just a model that happens to help us with our technologies -- think of scientific theories as modern versions of ancient myths, but rather more useful because based on testable notions of logic and rationality.

What M@L "dreams" seems to us, in our ordinary waking state, to be reality; these dreams are permeated by its patterns and regularities, i.e. the "things" that are studied in science, especially physics. What it dreams seems to come into being; we may sometimes think in terms of its having a conscious will, and of it purposely creating real "things".

At any rate, modern science tends to take things literally: for it, there really are particles and forces, and thinking this seems to have proved itself in so many ways in technology. There's so much consistency and predictability in M@Ls dreams: so, the thinking goes, what else could they be but actual, literal reality? What need do we have of M@L or a God?

All seemed fine, with reality being exactly what it seemed to be, until the advent of quantum theory, which has well and truly upset the apple cart and led to quite a number of physicists speaking in almost mystical terms about the nature of reality and how it seems to depend on consciousness. Does the moon exist when we aren't looking at it? Maybe not...

You say:

"I am sentient (I hope), and I can spawn something that "completely obeys its inbuilt patterns and regularities; for it , there is no possibility for free will", only I usually call it a computer program. I think we need to be very clear about the dividing line between computer programs and consciousness.

Human beings certainly seem to be able to create things, just as M@L seems to. But just because you can use analogous language doesn't mean you are talking about the same processes: you can't necessarily project your way of thinking about reality onto M@L. As an alter SRC, it's not unnatural for you to do that, or to conceive of universal consciousness also being an SRC, but it ain't necessarily so. The only way we can think seems to be self-reflectively; it's very difficult to think in terms of an NSRC apparently "unconsciously" creating something that seems to be an SRC, but nonetheless, that is my understanding of BK's thesis.

That said, if M@L were an SRC, then it would think like we do, and its creations would be just very much more limited versions of itself -- and maybe be regarded as its playthings, with which it could do whatever it wanted in a fairly arbitrary way. Which is essentially the Abrahamic conception of God around which such religions are constructed. And then, we have seemingly insurmountable problems about the nature of evil and why a good God would allow evil to exist. The thing about SRCs is that by their very nature they have to have free will: one can't be an alter with SRC unless one has free will; otherwise, one would be a completely meaningless, deterministic robot following fixed rules, just as are computers.

In the Abrahamic conception of an SRC God, He's a very much more intelligent being who has to plan out all of our destinies in an essentially deterministic way; there would be very little scope for any individual acts of free will. But to us SRCs, it seems that we do have free will: there seems nothing to stop any of us deciding to perform the most atrocious acts. What prevents that, we put down to having a conscience, an innate sense of right and wrong, a morality.

What I put having a conscience down to is the fact that at some level we are dimly aware of our origin within the NSRC of M@L. We are made of the selfsame "stuff" as it, and M@L would hardly do anything to harm itself. What we call "love" could be quite simply M@L's entirely natural propensity not to harm itself -- I mean, why would it? On occasions that we harm ourselves, most normal people can sense that they have done "wrong" and feel bad about that, or may sometimes have to suppress such a feeling to justify their actions.

M@L isn't (yet at any rate) a wholly SRC, but maybe one can think of it as being able to share an interface with SRCs: the interface provided by our perceptions, something akin to a "Markov blanket". Perhaps it is via this interface that it might be able to experience, vicariously, our SRCs, and gradually "will into being" changes in those of its "dream ideations" we think of as animate.

If so, just maybe, M@L is gradually evolving into something more than it presently is, and relies on the evolution of SRCs to do that. In effect, we could be "organs" for its own evolution.
Well OK - believe that if you want, but personally, I prefer moving away from physical science a bit at a time, because I am acutely aware of the ease with which modern science can proliferate super-elaborate fantasies. To some extent this is exacerbated by the fact that the fantasies are usually described in excruciatingly hard maths, so most people don't have a chance to comment. The obvious example is string theory, which has been around for 40 years now, and the Columbia theoretical physicist, Peter Woit called his book about the problems with string theory, "Not Even Wrong" (a phrase originally attributed to Pauli), and now he is saying that ST can't make any real-world predictions, partly because it exists in a very large number of variants.

If the ultimate truth is Idealism (which I think you would agree seems likely) I'm quite happy to leave that until there is really solid evidence that that is true.

Of course, we don't need to fight over this :)

David
 
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Well OK - believe that if you want, but personally, I prefer moving away from physical science a bit at a time, because I am acutely aware of the ease with which modern science can proliferate super-elaborate fantasies.David
That seems a bit like a woman saying she prefers to get pregnant a little bit at a time. From my point of view, you're in a kind of limbo at the moment. Not that I feel absolutely certain about what I currently believe: belief ain't truth to be sure, but I personally see it as my preferred half-way house. As long as I'm prepared to drop or modify my beliefs in light of new evidence, I see that as affording a degree of protection against the unquestioning acceptance of woo.
 
That seems a bit like a woman saying she prefers to get pregnant a little bit at a time. From my point of view, you're in a kind of limbo at the moment. Not that I feel absolutely certain about what I currently believe: belief ain't truth to be sure, but I personally see it as my preferred half-way house. As long as I'm prepared to drop or modify my beliefs in light of new evidence, I see that as affording a degree of protection against the unquestioning acceptance of woo.
As I have said before, I don't do BELIEF. I think BELIEF (a state where I would feel fulfilled by the act of believing in something) is not for me. I'd rather flounder around with facts that are contradictory!

Getting pregnant a bit at a time might be fun - who knows?

David
 
As I have said before, I don't do BELIEF. I think BELIEF (a state where I would feel fulfilled by the act of believing in something) is not for me. I'd rather flounder around with facts that are contradictory!
But is what is confounding you at the moment the beliefs you already hold? Beliefs in what you consider fits in with your idea of commonsense? I'm not denigrating that, we all, including me, have our varying standards of commonsense.

After all, my (current and not necessarily cast in stone) belief in BK's version of idealism is based on the way I find it so coherently explains many things I have puzzled about in the past: it seems so compatible with my worldview, as well as plausible, coherent and internally consistent.
Getting pregnant a bit at a time might be fun - who knows?
Hehe. As the actress said to the bishop.;)
 
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.
I know other people like this. Strange thing how some great counsellors don't actually 'get' humans at all. I figure its because they are attuned more to spirit than 'personality' and critters are more spirit than personality whereas humans are often more personality than spirit. You could see humans as particularly stupid critters on a spirit level, but smart on the 'personality' level (you know what I mean of course). Sometimes the function of counselling might be growing empathy? Maybe its a struggle both ways?
 
IMHO we (everyone interested in the larger reality) really are at the very beginnings of studying non-material realms, and if we start building 'non-material string theory' we will get nowhere.
Completely agree. There's no point in creating a 'string theory' - which is what we call a 'Clayton's' here in Oz - what you are having when you are not having a 'real drink'. There is a heap of completely useful material buried in the Vedic/Hindu, the Qabalistic and the Hermetic traditions that haven't even been acknowledged ( apart from Don De Gracia), let alone explored.
 
I spent years confused by the notion egolessness and selflessness. It took an deeply insightful commentary on Eastern esoteric traditions to awaken me to the problem of misinterpretation by the authors I was reading. Whether they were writing from the POV of purely intellectual experience, or simply failing to convey their intended meaning because of the paucity of our language at the time, the impact was the same - misrepresentation of the original intended meaning.

It is not the loss of the sense of self, but the loss of the sense of self as separate, that matters. The use of the term 'ego' is problematic because there's no agreed definition in this case. If ego means the sense of 'I', how do we square that with the tradition that articulates the divine as 'I am that I am'?
In the bit that you quoted from my quote of Mark Vernon using the term "loss of self" it's not clear if he means loss of self in oneness (merging of self into a unity with everything - in which case you feel like you have a self, it is just that the self is everything) or loss of self in the Buddhist sense of anatta (non-self - there is nothing that can be pointed to or identified that could be called a self).

My belief, based on my experiences is that belief in anatta comes comes from a feeling produced by meditation where when the mind is quiet and you notice the absence of much of the usual mental activity, it can feel like something is missing. Like an emptiness, like no one is home. Like if someone said something unpleasant, there wouldn't be anyone there to be offended. People try to describe this feeling in words so it sounds like they are using logic, like anatta is something that is either true or false. But I think it is a feeling not a logical proposition. Something like happiness. Happiness is not true or false. If you are happy and you think the world is a wonderful place and you try to explain why, it sounds like you are using logic, but you are just explaining a feeling. I think Anatta is like that.
 
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In the bit that you quoted from my quote of Mark Vernon using the term "loss of self" it's not clear if he means loss of self in oneness (merging of self into a unity with everything - in which case you feel like you have a self, it is just that the self is everything) or loss of self in the Buddhist sense of anatta (non-self - there is nothing that can be pointed to or identified that could be called a self).
I think this idea is problematic in general and leads to a lot of confusion. I grew up reading Buddhist texts that were maybe not as insightful as the could have been. The idea of loss of self (the immediate sense of I) was not clearly accompanied by an attainable sense of 'merging into unity' - which is not something you can do on an intellectual level in any case.

Over the years it does seem to me that Buddhism has become more accessible and maybe less open to confused interpretation. But I would be informed by contemporary assessment - maybe I have just gotten to be less stupid over the years.

Telling people what they are going to get can be a problem if imagining that end result is impossible. I can now 'get' the sense of 'anatto' (more or less) because maybe I have grown sufficiently to make that idea a sensible and constructive one. But the idea of loss of self can also be catastrophic if a sense of self is all one experiences.

I am not within cooee of "merging of self into a unity with everything". This strikes me as a bit like Christians pontification about salvation - in the sense that getting there and talking about it are very different things. It is why I quit Buddhism in the first place. I find the language of absolutes to be off-putting now. Maybe I am more modest in my aspirations as I grow older. For me selflessness means no more than surrendering self interest on the most mundane level. That's a problem because the idea of 'self' is considered to be negative. Maybe we got that from Buddhism misconstrued?
 
In my view, oneness is a feeling too.
It certainly can't be a thought. I read recently that the soul connects with the physical body via heart and brain. We have scarcely touched heart intelligence but we do now know 'emotional intelligence' because we still privilege intellect over feeling. In terms of getting the idea out there the idea of EQ is just okay. But it means nothing, really. A better term would be 'empathic awareness'. But that's too advanced for head-centred folk to deal with. So we are stuck with the idea of Emotional Intelligence for now.

Oneness is a feeling - in the heart, not the brain, while we are in physical form.
 
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