Sean Webb, Understanding Consciousness Can Lead to Happiness |425|

#21
In my post I wrote about what I didn't like, which I stand by (it is an at its root an ancient practice that is being hyped and people may feel they are being misled). But that doesn't mean Webb's work is necessarily without merit. I don't like to buy things when I don't know if they are worth the money and I don't trust marketing hype because in my experience it is often used to sell inferior products or products you don't need.
...
(Testimonials are not useful to a prospective purchaser if you don't anything about the person giving the testimonial.)
Part of the problem is that people are constantly under attack by attempts to influence them to buy something or do something. These attacks use the most modern, advanced, and powerful tricks the science of psychology can come up with to influence their victims. If you understand the psychology, you also know that knowledge does not make you immune. (Everyone knows the difference between $9.99 and $10.00 is trivial yet pricing things at $9.99 consistently increases sales.) When you identify attack after attack all day long coming from the internet, mass media, in retail stores, etc you begin to resent it and resist. People trying to make money know what they are doing and they do the cost benefit of using these techniques. If more people would raise the cost by calling them out and resisting we would suffer fewer attacks.

To me it seems to be the ultimate in hypocrisy to use psychological tricks to take money from people while claiming to be interested in the well-being of the public. When you do that it is because you are interested in your own well-being. I understand others may have different opinions, but that is my opinion.

I discussed some of the psychology involved in this post:
http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/i-need-some-help.4125/post-123025
 
Last edited:
#22
But who really understands consciousness? And by consciousness what is he referring to, thoughts, shadow work? Nietschze dug deep in to the psyche and it might of played a role in him becoming mad. Add to the fact that he had syphillis. From personal experience the more I dig in to my consciousness the more unhappy I become. That's not to say I'm never happy, happiness is fleeting as well as being unhappy, sad, depressed or full of joy
Well probably nobody, but you can understand arguments that show what consciousness isn't. I think there are compelling arguments that consciousness isn't just the dance of particles in our brains under the action of electromagnetism and QM. Realising that can put you in a position where you know for sure that science is talking BS with many of its assertions in this area.

David
 
#23
To me it seems to be the ultimate in hypocrisy to use psychological tricks to take money from people while claiming to be interested in the well-being of the public. When you do that it is because you are interested in your own well-being. I understand others may have different opinions, but that is my opinion.
Agreed!

David
 
#24
To me it seems to be the ultimate in hypocrisy to use psychological tricks to take money from people while claiming to be interested in the well-being of the public. When you do that it is because you are interested in your own well-being. I understand others may have different opinions, but that is my opinion.
I find this hilarious coming from a Trump supporter. I would ask “are you serious” but I already know that you are. If you want to move this, fair enough, but please don’t delete it.
 
#25
"Does mind equal brain?"
This question is so misunderstood. If consciousness is everything the brain is also consciousness. If the question is whether the human spirit arises from the brain the answer is - don't be an idiot!

But the brain is an organising organ for the human body living in a physical world and it must develop a 'mind' that functions effectively in that world so that it can survive and thrive. That mind is pretty impressive in its own right - but its just the physical organism on its own account.

The incarnating human soul adds something to that organic mind - fuses with it and creates a shared identity - and if we are not conscious of our soul then the whole identity is attributed to the organic being. Its an error that will persist until our evolutionary experiences impel awareness of our inherent duality as spiritual/organic beings.

Materialists ignore their spiritual dimension for reasons that utterly escape me. The idea that consciousness arises from organic being is so blindingly idiotic it defies civil analysis. I'd put it down to trolling if there was not evidence advocates of this hideous idiocy were so obviously sincere. I have been obliged to consider it a form of mental illness. It clearly is not for want of intellectual capacity or access to information. We are not dealing with stupid or ignorant people, despite their conclusions demanding we think to the contrary.

However it must be also clear that the mind we develop whilst being incarnate in a physical body is plainly influenced by our physical experiences and substantially moderated by the brain. We persistently forget the heart in this formulation and that failing has led to dire consequences. Esoteric lore has it that the soul enters the body via brain and heart. I want to add what we understand to be 'gut' consciousness to assert that what we call 'mind' is a fusion of brain, heart and gut - at the very least. More subtle thought argues that other organs contribute to the whole of consciousness of organic being in a physical world.

So let's reframe the question to ask whether mind equals body? The answer is yes if the dominant consciousness is that of organic being in the physical world. But since we know humans are more than that we know that the 'real' answer is no.

We play into the materialists hands if we deny any portion of mind has an organic foundation. Quite clearly if we are living in an organic body in a physical world we must have a level of mind that makes that work. When we die it is clearly not an aspect of mind that has any enduring value, so it is discarded. That sense of self we have as an organic being does not endure and this is unsettling if we have no sense of the soul self that does endure.

I think we need to cut materialists some slack. They are partly right and we should acknowledge that. Of course mind arises from brain - but not a lot and nothing enduring. Of course the 'self' predicated on organic being dissipates on death of body - eventually. Its not that materialists are completely wrong - just not right in the larger frame.

Let me put this in terms we can all understand. I am of an age when retirement is a possibility, but not, as yet, a prospect. I love my work and I am deeply invested in it. But when I do retire I know there is a me that is other than my work self. I have a professional persona that is essential to my success - it is not a fake me, but, I hope, an expression of my best in a work context. My work does not make me, the enduring person, but it does make me the professional persona, without which I could not survive, let alone flourish.

We are made up of an immortal soul, a mortal (evolving sense of identity) sense of self and mortal body. Absent the immortal soul component and the atheists are right. But that's an absence in perception or belief and not in fact.
 
#26
Listened to the interview on my bike ride yesterday and afterwards checked Sean's other footprints on the web. Realized I had listened to his December interview on Batgap, but forgot about it. Rick is doing an interview a week now. Hard to keep up with that guy. Forgive me Alex for giving a shout out to a couple other podcasts. I am a financial active supporter of Batgap and have probably listened to at least 400 of his 500 interviews. Significant for me because I cant help but pigeon hole Sean in the spiritual spectrum. I rate him in the apprx. middle for experience and high end for public exposure.

I also found Sean's You Tube interview with my favorite short attention span science guy Joe Scott, who elucidates complex science issues, discoveries and controversies in about 12-15 minutes on You Tube. Joe is a hard science guy who has surprisingly remained neutral on the topic of consciousness. I was a little shocked to see Joe interviewing Sean about Sean's mind hacking practices, and here is the nut of Seans popularity. Sean doesnt claim to be enlightened or awakened and doesn't really address this altered state of being. Sean is all about being less miserable and more happy, much like Dan Harris. However if you want the detailed experience Sean had, I guess in 2000 sometime its on You Tube. Sean's web site also has interviews with other folks and I saw one with Jeffery Martin, so Sean gets around.

Now, his methods really remind me of mindfulness practices, though its a more active process. One recognizes and separates from the thought, feeling, emotion. Mindfulness it seems has many proponents describing different actions. Let me just post this article about 3 descriptions from Psychology Today mag. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/.../3-definitions-mindfulness-might-surprise-you

The other thing that I noticed is that even though Sean has a popular web site and doing interviews and IONS and SAND talks. He rarely covers his own state of current experience. He had a profound kundalini, out of body episode where his conscious awareness apparently immersed into a kind of big time NDE thing, but that was 20 yrs ago. ( I did too and have mentioned it on the forum no, not enlightened. I have a crazy theory. In both our cases we pleaded for the experience. I pleaded every morning for 3 weeks, along with my assigned practices. Sean says he pleaded to the higher powers also.)

Im curious about what is Seans experience right now. Enlightenment is another bugaboo word that seems to have different meanings according to different experts. For me its encapsulized by a couple of friends on mine. One is Peter Cutler a zen monk in Sedona Arizona, the other is Harry Aalto a close friend of Rick Archer and a neighbor. Harry enjoys describing his daily experience on a blog he keeps and I think its probably as close to self realization 101 as you can get. http://www.harriaalto.com/2014/03/23/self-luminous-knowingness-2/

Sean's not there, but I support Sean and I don't think he's too crass. He's a light worker, much as Alex is. I do think society needs more Seans and Alexs showing up and taking us to the next level of self discovery.

One last observation I was on board with the first part of Sean's Skeptiko interview, but yeah Alex had issues during the 2nd half and Sean really needs to stay in his zone of expertise. One, I distinctly remember Eben Alexander writing about his own time dilation during his experience and actually delineating his experience during the brain is puss period and during his healing process. Eban experienced multiple journeys back and forth during his 7 days. Sean should have left that alone. Even though Sean's claim to briefly have access to all knowledge, 20 yrs has not been kind to his all knowing data base.
 
Last edited:
#27
But who really understands consciousness? And by consciousness what is he referring to, thoughts, shadow work? Nietschze dug deep in to the psyche and it might of played a role in him becoming mad. Add to the fact that he had syphillis. From personal experience the more I dig in to my consciousness the more unhappy I become. That's not to say I'm never happy, happiness is fleeting as well as being unhappy, sad, depressed or full of joy
this is one area where sean and I found a lot of common ground. i.e. I find it helpful to view this"work" as creating space between me and my yammering mind.
 
#28
this is one area where sean and I found a lot of common ground. i.e. I find it helpful to view this"work" as creating space between me and my yammering mind.
One of the things I have noticed is that my inner voice is just an expression of my mood. This means that although some thoughts may seem logical because they are verbal, they are not logical, they are at root emotional. For example when I am wondering about "spiritual" questions, What is the purpose of life? Why is there so much suffering? Is the Universe kind or cruel? It really has nothing to do with spirituality, it is just means that at the moment I am depressed and feel that life is pointless. When I cheer up, those questions totally vanish from my mind. Other moods (worry, anger, love) produce other thoughts and beliefs that similarly vanish when my mood changes. After I caught on to this, my "yammering mind" was not a problem because I understood it wasn't "truth" it wasn't reality (the "reality" of my thoughts kept changing how could it be reality?), it was ephemeral, an illusion, it wasn't me. As I began to notice how different things (diet, meditation, relaxation, circumstances) could influence my mood and my thoughts, it only weakened further any notion that my thoughts reflected any objective reality. Now, a bit of meditation will quiet the mind when I want quiet, but it is always there when I need it for analytical work or communicating.

This is part of why my orientation to spiritual practices is "brain hacking" (relaxation, feedback loops, diet) rather than philosophy. Philosophy is a temporary delusion produced by chaotic chemical reactions happening in the brain. In my opinion, "reality" is understanding we are surfing the brain not living within the movies it keeps switching between.
 
#29
One of the things I have noticed is that my inner voice is just an expression of my mood. This means that although some thoughts may seem logical because they are verbal, they are not logical, they are at root emotional. For example when I am wondering about "spiritual" questions, What is the purpose of life? Why is there so much suffering? Is the Universe kind or cruel? It really has nothing to do with spirituality, it is just means that at the moment I am depressed and feel that life is pointless. When I cheer up, those questions totally vanish from my mind. Other moods (worry, anger, love) produce other thoughts and beliefs that similarly vanish when my mood changes. After I caught on to this, my "yammering mind" was not a problem because I understood it wasn't "truth" it wasn't reality (the "reality" of my thoughts kept changing how could it be reality?), it was ephemeral, an illusion, it wasn't me. As I began to notice how different things (diet, meditation, relaxation, circumstances) could influence my mood and my thoughts, it only weakened further any notion that my thoughts reflected any objective reality. Now, a bit of meditation will quiet the mind when I want quiet, but it is always there when I need it for analytical work or communicating.

This is part of why my orientation to spiritual practices is "brain hacking" (relaxation, feedback loops, diet) rather than philosophy. Philosophy is a temporary delusion produced by chaotic chemical reactions happening in the brain. In my opinion, "reality" is understanding we are surfing the brain not living within the movies it keeps switching between.
No amount of information can produce a satisfying answer to questions that are caused by emotions. The solution to those questions, the thing that will "satisfy" them, that will make them go away - is something that will cause a change in mood.

This is one reason evidence of the afterlife is often useless when trying to convince a person of the reality of survival after death. If a person's doubt about the afterlife is caused by an emotional state (for example: anger at religion or fear of death), information is not going to convince them because it won't change the emotional state producing the doubt. You can give them 100% incontrovertible proof, but they will still feel unconvinced.
 
#30
I enjoyed the interview. I think Sean has a valid approach. That isn't to say it's for everyone. People are so different that what appeals to one person won't appeal to another. His approach I would think would appeal to the group of people that are still fairly attached to a mainstream scientific way of thinking.

I believe our being is a hierarchy in and of itself. First we have our conscious self which is just pure awareness. Then we have the identity body which is where our sense of who we are resides. The identity body sets the stage for the mental body where our thoughts are. The mental body sets the stage for our emotional body. Our emotional body will then set the stage for the physical.

Let us say someone in their identity body has a sense of identity of being basically an inferior, worthless person. This identity will set the stage for thoughts of being not good enough. This will cause emotions such as guilt, depression, insecurity which will cause pain. These emotions when they build enough energy will spill over into the physical in many ways. Perhaps the person will begin abusing alcohol to try to numb the pain.

So painful emotions have their ultimate root in a belief we have in our identity bodies. That is how we view ourselves, the world, our place in the world, other people, God etc.
 
#31
So painful emotions have their ultimate root in a belief we have in our identity bodies. That is how we view ourselves, the world, our place in the world, other people, God etc.
Erick[h] A lovely summation of a theosophical style of a model of our being. You remind me how useful that basic education is, and that it remains an integral part of Being Human 101. Thank you.
 
#32
his is one reason evidence of the afterlife is often useless when trying to convince a person of the reality of survival after death. If a person's doubt about the afterlife is caused by an emotional state (for example: anger at religion or fear of death), information is not going to convince them because it won't change the emotional state producing the doubt. You can give them 100% incontrovertible proof, but they will still feel unconvinced.
Yes, this is why we have to grasp that knowledge and understanding is brain + heart. Reason/information is not a magic silver bullet that can kill ignorance as if it is entirely a rational deficit.

Information about the harm cigarettes do fails to alter behaviour, not because smokers are stupid, but because the critical trigger for action is not activated by information.

The critical trigger is a heart trigger for volitional change of behaviour. Or, in my case, I needed 3 months on a respirator in ICU. That worked. I had completely forgotten I smoked until I moved to rehab and saw a woman in a wheelchair zooming out for a fag. I saw her go, remembered, and realised I had no craving. I was too stupid for the head, or the heart, remedy. I needed radical paralysis to quit. How dumb was I?
 
#33
I find this hilarious coming from a Trump supporter. I would ask “are you serious” but I already know that you are. If you want to move this, fair enough, but please don’t delete it.
I think you should realise that Jim, Eric and I don't support Trump out of perversity, or out of a secret desire to feel part of the mega-rich crowd. All three of us have (I think) watched a fair bit of the Fox News coverage of various senate hearings etc that are uncovering the origins of the Russia collusion probe. It seems quite clear now that this was based on an utterly false dossier paid for by the Democratic Party! It also seems that Comey picked Mueller to investigate all this, knowing that he was fairly senile (he performed extremely badly in a recent Congressional hearing), and would have to pass the real work on to others who had been selected to try to distort the truth. You never hear this on the BBC, nor on most of the other channels in the US, but there seems little doubt that it is true. Now think of the scale of the hypocrisy and cynicism inside the DNC, who clearly know about all this, and could challenge it if it isn't true, but prefer to ignore it and continue 'investigating' with a view to impeachment. To me, at least, this behaviour is a massive betrayal by the Democratic Party - a party that used to be so high-minded - it is gobsmacking to see all this unfold.

I went on demonstrations against the second Iraq war. I certainly do not feel that my politics have changed since then - I am extremely anti-war, but that there is an enormous effort to distort the truth.

Think further of the cynicism of calling Trump a 'racist' because he doesn't want unlimited immigration with no checks, when every single previous president, including Obama has supported controls on immigration!

Going out slightly on a limb, it seems that Epstein was a key part in the so called swamp that Trump used to discuss. The list of famous people who went to Epstein's infamous island is frightening. Trump seems to have facilitated Epstein's prosecution after many years in which he seemed imune from prosecution, and I think the real reason h is hated is that he has exposed a huge sea of paedophilia and blackmail that was used to manipulate top politicians.

Even if you continue to disagree with us, please recognise that we have good reasons to say what we do!

OK, can I please ask everyone to move this debate to one of the Trump threads.

David
 
Last edited:
#34
This is one reason evidence of the afterlife is often useless when trying to convince a person of the reality of survival after death. If a person's doubt about the afterlife is caused by an emotional state (for example: anger at religion or fear of death), information is not going to convince them because it won't change the emotional state producing the doubt.
I know what you mean, but I think it helps to point out that the evidence doesn't support a particular religion. I agree there is a lot of hatred of religion, but a non-religious story is, I think, far more positive.

David
 
#35
I know what you mean, but I think it helps to point out that the evidence doesn't support a particular religion. I agree there is a lot of hatred of religion, but a non-religious story is, I think, far more positive.

David
"a non-religious story is, I think, far more positive"

I'm with you up to a point. Generally I'm in agreement, I don't follow or adhere to any religion. At the same time, I think we need to beware of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. There are some uplifting ideas which don't seem to have a natural home anywhere at present, there are important aspects drifting, detached from any particular narrative now. We need to be careful not to neglect these positive aspects just because they are homeless.
 
#36
"a non-religious story is, I think, far more positive"

I'm with you up to a point. Generally I'm in agreement, I don't follow or adhere to any religion. At the same time, I think we need to beware of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. There are some uplifting ideas which don't seem to have a natural home anywhere at present, there are important aspects drifting, detached from any particular narrative now. We need to be careful not to neglect these positive aspects just because they are homeless.
So much depends on what we mean by religion. In the west that negative perception is stimulated by our reaction to Christianity and its manifold offences against good sense. But that's like defining food based on a trip to MacDonalds. Michael Pollan came up with the term "edible food-like substance" to describe manufactured edible products. Our sense of religion falls into a similar problem - a believable faith-like system - which does not really do the spiritually nourishing job of a proper religion.

I think that humans are naturally religious, in the same way we are naturally sexual. So I think it is possible to have a community of religious without constituting a religion - a thing. Religiosity has nothing to do with beliefs in God/s or creeds, rather it has to do with an existential engagement with reality as a complex conscious agent, with which we interact - as individuals and as communities.

We can look back to the Egyptians and others to see that this engagement was so important it was the mission of a whole culture to be involved. The same is true in archaic indigenous communities.

These days the religious impulse is expressed through individuals and accidental communities [like this one]. There is a nexus between Christianity's origins and rise of the individual as part of human spiritual evolution. Larry Siedentop's Inventing the Individual is a useful text on this theme. I also like Australian Sociologist John Carroll's works - among others.

If these ideas you value are homeless, create a home for them. I see an emerging sense of religiosity arising from substantially 'secular' ideas - intellectually strong ideas from the sciences [human and material]. That sense will not willingly describe itself as religious, because it has no affection for the term - and that does not matter.

One of the things that increases the risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater is attaching labels to things when there is no good sense in doing so. We are hung up on religion, and we have defined it in negative terms. I use the term 'religiosity' because it is a transitional term, and I have no doubt that a future religion will be called that or recognised as that - except by some pedantic scholar.

At the moment things are in chaos - a flurry of passions, sentiments and ideas. It is a time to seek out the Big Ideas and argue for their inclusion in the evolving mix of passions, sentiments and ideas. This is, along with other forums, an incubator for the emergent new religiosity.
 
Top