Dr. Mona Sobhani, Neuroscience and the Spiritual |575|

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Dr. Mona Sobhani, Neuroscience and the Spiritual |575|
by Alex Tsakiris | Oct 25 | Consciousness Science, Skepticism, Uncategorized
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Dr. Mona Sobhani is a cognitive neuroscientist with 14+ years of experience and an author of Proof of Spiritual Phenomena about her transformation from a diehard scientific materialist to an open-minded spiritual seeker, and the excruciating identity crisis that ensued.
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I’m 8 minutes into this interview and mesmerized at the interview so far. It’s late so I’m calling it a night but will pick back up tomorrow. I can tell this is right in my wheelhouse - Buying the Audible tomorrow!
 
At a few seconds before the 45:00 mark, Alex goes all "skeptiko" on Mona. No other show does this. Alex is one of a kind.

Mona - "All you can do is live your peace, live your truth."
 
Addressing Alex's closing question - "I practice generating 'the space' where that which arises is a.) sometimes noticed by others and b.) in a way they consider to be inexplicable, even miraculous."

From there, it is up to them to start asking questions. Some do, some don't. Those who do... [[p]]
 
There are many interesting things in the podcast, and in her book. One in particular is that Michael Newton's "Journey of Souls" relates to a description of the afterlife that many others have also described. This phenomenon is encountered when people are regressed under hypnosis to solve psychiatric problems. Souls apparently form groups who often reincarnate together, so your mother in one life might be your uncle in the current life!

I always like to hear of hard-nosed materialist scientists who 'see the light' and discover that there is a huge published literature that is simply hidden from anyone who isn't curious.

David
 
Alex said:
The one question I'd tee up from this interview is: What does it take to change your mind? And what does it take in your experience to change someone else’s mind?

When I was a student at Pomona College, I took a Philosophy of Religion class at neighboring Claremont McKenna College from Stephen Davis. I remember him once remarking that it pretty much was only the people who'd been raised going to church who took seriously many of the problems raised in philosophy of religion. That comment struck me even then (I was 17 and am now 55) because, setting aside the question of whether any of the supposed proofs for the existence of God have any validity, the implication was that evidence isn't a primary factor when it comes to what people believe or changing their minds. Generally, people build a conceptual framework in their childhood and add bits to it as they grow older, but mostly within the paradigm of their existing framework. (Note that this does not imply the beliefs in these frameworks are coherent. People are quite good at compartmentalizing, and the part of my framework in this compartment may be totally at odds with the part of my framework in that compartment.)

So what changes a person's mind such that she has to adopt a radical new conceptual framework? The answer seems to be: not much. Some people, like Sobhani, may have been fortunate enough in their formative years to have incorporated a certain openness to conceptual rejiggering -- sort of like the amendment mechanism built into the Constitution. This, btw, is what a liberal education is supposed to do. It "liberates" the person so they are supposedly more able to think freely about subjects. And I ask...how common is a liberal education these days prior to college? It is extraordinarily rare, and it generally comes from the parents, not the school. If I were to bet, I'd bet Sobhani's parents, one or both, encouraged her to read freely and in quantity well before she went to college, and that, along with exposure to coffee-readings and the like, is what enabled her to be open to psi when her later experiences led her in that direction.

As I've gotten older, I've become quite cynical about *why* liberal education is so rare. Not to be coy, I think the education system (at least in America) has been under conscious attack for over a hundred years, and it is specifically for limiting most peoples' ability to think freely. I'm reading Harvard historian Carroll Quigley's "Tragedy & Hope," and I'd recommend looking at this for an understanding of the full scope of what's going on. Actually, I'd recommend Joseph Plummer's "Tragedy & Hope 101" as a starter, it being a mere 190 pages, compared to Quigley's 1380! Plummer relates the story of attorney Katherine Casey, tasked in the 1950's by Norman Dodd to investigate the dealings of the tax-exempt Carnegie Foundation. Prior to the investigation, Casey believed that the Carnegie Foundation was a force for great good. What she found, however, was that in 1909, the Carnegie directors determined it would be in their interest to involve the US in a war (there's a whole story behind that) and set about doing just that by taking over the diplomatic mechanisms of the US State Dept. Once the US was, indeed, involved in WWI, the directors then memo'ed the willing idiot Wilson to ensure the war was prolonged. According to Dodd, Casey's initial conceptual framework for understanding her world was shattered. She had incontrovertible evidence that the world she lived in was one of complete, amoral thuggery. She never returned to her law practice and, ultimately, lost her mind. As Dodd says, "It's a very rough experience to encounter proof of these kinds."

So, my guess is that coming to accept psi was something latent in Sobhani's conceptual framework. Despite appearances, it was not really so far out of the way she could understand the world. She did not so much change her mind as evolve a conceptual framework that was already open to the possibility. All of which is to say (again), people mostly do not fundamentally change their minds. To REALLY change someone's mind, you must (like the Carnegie directors and others did after WWI) control the person's early education.
 
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Sobhani said:
I don’t know that much about MK Ultra, and I haven’t dug into it as much as Stargate...
Alex said:
...I think what the book points to...is you start with pretty quickly realizing it’s all about love. It’s all about the light. The light is always shining.

My concern here is that while Sobhani "changed her mind" so far as to include psi in her conceptual framework, the depth of the evil isn't fully appreciated, and that may be a mistake. Thanks to Chester, I just read Jorjani. While I'm not convinced by him on MANY points, he does make it EASILY IMAGINABLE that the "light" is perhaps not so friendly as we wish to believe. My point above was that people generally do not make radical changes to their conceptual frameworks, and that Sobhani's "change" really isn't so radical as she might think. A guy like Jorjani casts a far darker range of possibilities, and in that way, I think, raises much more pressing questions. But...his probably would not be a book to change anyone's mind, either, unless at the risk of madness.
 
When I was a student at Pomona College, I took a Philosophy of Religion class at neighboring Claremont McKenna College from Stephen Davis. I remember him once remarking that it pretty much was only the people who'd been raised going to church who took seriously many of the problems raised in philosophy of religion. That comment struck me even then (I was 17 and am now 55) because, setting aside the question of whether any of the supposed proofs for the existence of God have any validity, the implication was that evidence isn't a primary factor when it comes to what people believe or changing their minds. Generally, people build a conceptual framework in their childhood and add bits to it as they grow older, but mostly within the paradigm of their existing framework. (Note that this does not imply the beliefs in these frameworks are coherent. People are quite good at compartmentalizing, and the part of my framework in this compartment may be totally at odds with the part of my framework in that compartment.)

So what changes a person's mind such that she has to adopt a radical new conceptual framework? The answer seems to be: not much. Some people, like Sobhani, may have been fortunate enough in their formative years to have incorporated a certain openness to conceptual rejiggering -- sort of like the amendment mechanism built into the Constitution. This, btw, is what a liberal education is supposed to do. It "liberates" the person so they are supposedly more able to think freely about subjects. And I ask...how common is a liberal education these days prior to college? It is extraordinarily rare, and it generally comes from the parents, not the school. If I were to bet, I'd bet Sobhani's parents, one or both, encouraged her to read freely and in quantity well before she went to college, and that, along with exposure to coffee-readings and the like, is what enabled her to be open to psi when her later experiences led her in that direction.

As I've gotten older, I've become quite cynical about *why* liberal education is so rare. Not to be coy, I think the education system (at least in America) has been under conscious attack for over a hundred years, and it is specifically for limiting most peoples' ability to think freely. I'm reading Harvard historian Carroll Quigley's "Tragedy & Hope," and I'd recommend looking at this for an understanding of the full scope of what's going on. Actually, I'd recommend Joseph Plummer's "Tragedy & Hope 101" as a starter, it being a mere 190 pages, compared to Quigley's 1380! Plummer relates the story of attorney Katherine Casey, tasked in the 1950's by Norman Dodd to investigate the dealings of the tax-exempt Carnegie Foundation. Prior to the investigation, Casey believed that the Carnegie Foundation was a force for great good. What she found, however, was that in 1909, the Carnegie directors determined it would be in their interest to involve the US in a war (there's a whole story behind that) and set about doing just that by taking over the diplomatic mechanisms of the US State Dept. Once the US was, indeed, involved in WWI, the directors then memo'ed the willing idiot Wilson to ensure the war was prolonged. According to Dodd, Casey's initial conceptual framework for understanding her world was shattered. She had incontrovertible evidence that the world she lived in was one of complete, amoral thuggery. She never returned to her law practice and, ultimately, lost her mind. As Dodd says, "It's a very rough experience to encounter proof of these kinds."

So, my guess is that coming to accept psi was something latent in Sobhani's conceptual framework. Despite appearances, it was not really so far out of the way she could understand the world. She did not so much change her mind as evolve a conceptual framework that was already open to the possibility. All of which is to say (again), people mostly do not fundamentally change their minds. To REALLY change someone's mind, you must (like the Carnegie directors and others did after WWI) control the person's early education.

I see it like Harry Potter - there are wizards and there are muggles. Unless/until a muggle experiences magic, they remain doubtful 'till death. It can be any form of psi that fits under that same "magical" umbrella (to me). She's got the natural gift and it was only a matter of time for Mona to admit it (to herself). I'm glad she's taken the next step in coming out of the magical closet.
 
My concern here is that while Sobhani "changed her mind" so far as to include psi in her conceptual framework, the depth of the evil isn't fully appreciated, and that may be a mistake. Thanks to Chester, I just read Jorjani. While I'm not convinced by him on MANY points, he does make it EASILY IMAGINABLE that the "light" is perhaps not so friendly as we wish to believe. My point above was that people generally do not make radical changes to their conceptual frameworks, and that Sobhani's "change" really isn't so radical as she might think. A guy like Jorjani casts a far darker range of possibilities, and in that way, I think, raises much more pressing questions. But...his probably would not be a book to change anyone's mind, either, unless at the risk of madness.

Jorjani and his movement, Prometheism, helped me solidify my own ethos. That preparation has now proven incredibly important in regards to my recent "activation." The last 8 pages (435 - 442) of CLOSER ENCOUNTERS (if anyone here has the book or has read it) sums it all up for me. I'm with Promethea (the Trickster) all the way. I don't do the "good/evil" thing. I see the game as Life and the Life Force vs the combined "counter-life/anti-life forces."
 
Alex. Great overallnquestions at the end.

Paraphrasing here but, “What does it take to change your mind? What does it take to charge he someone else’s mind?”

The question is super deep and fundamental. And has no quick answer. Having read Bernardo Kastrup’s “the Idea of the World” last year I wound love to hear is thoughts. And. Having read “Maps of Meaning” by the excellent JP in 2020, there may be 300 pages on just this very dynamic with no real answer leviednupon the dear reader but many bits of homework to ponder in one’s own path. Except there are always corollaries in learning about other’s adventures and paths and life lessons. At the end of the day... It tends to be about “Meaning”. It’s gotta be personal and meaningful for something kinetic to occur in one’s own superposition, to alter one’s spiritual life path. Because changing one’s mind generally also involves changing one’s behaviors, otherwise it is just changing one’s attention or sparking curiosity if it doesn’t result in much else.

This also makes me think about moral hierarchies and orders beyond our earthly existence. Now what. And so forth.

As said before, I’m getting the book. It will be a fun read. Might even change my mind ;)
 
... I've become quite cynical about *why* liberal education is so rare.

... My concern here is that while Sobhani "changed her mind" so far as to include psi in her conceptual framework, the depth of the evil isn't fully appreciated, and that may be a mistake.

Love your point about "liberal" education... funny how it's been twisted into being the exact opposite of the original intent [[p]]

-- I get your point regarding her take on evil, but I'm not so sure she's as closed down to that as you might think. it sounds to me like she's fully engaged with taking this stuff wherever it goes.

-- I think her transformation is pretty amazing... she had to give up a lot.
 
"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." Max Planck

I have to agree with Max. It's nice to hear the perspective of a young scientist and encouraging. I have two daughters in their late twenties. One has easily adopted the spiritual ramifications of psi. I don't know about the other yet, but I think they'll get a lot out of Dr. Sobhani's book.
 
I have not yet finished her book, but Dr. Sobhani points out the sheer scale of the evidence against reality as we know it. She points out that a lot of the evidence for psi phenomena has equal or better quality than that accepted in a whole range of experiments in neuroscience and psychology.

She also explains the sheer shock she felt, as a scientist, that all this evidence exists - as well as evidence from QM of a world that is at least non-local. I was not a neuroscientist, but a research chemist, but I made a similar sort of journey, except that for me it was more gradual. I started out giving up Christianity at university because I felt it wasn't true. I then adopted totally materialistic ideas for the next decade or so.

I am starting to wonder if there is a part of every one of us (higher self?) that tries to ignore the message from all these experiments - perhaps because if we accepted them, the world would change almost beyond recognition. I mean suppose it became normal for children to be trained in psychic ability, like they are trained in math. If that happened on a large scale, Earth might not be a place where interpersonal lessons could be learned.

David
 
Very interesting. I accidently bumped into psi about thirty years ago, in an old-fashioned bookstore. Just happened to come upon one of Russel Targ's books and had enough of an open mind to check it out. Then, with a lot of digging, the buried treasures of psi started popping up. It's been quite a ride.

I've thought about your question, what happens if we learn about our psi nature en masse? My ruminations have focused on good and evil. Say we develop psychokinetic cancer cures of the variety William Bengston has worked on with mice. Will the same psi ability lead to military/espionage applications? We know they've been trying. If there is a higher self guiding us, maybe the message is to take it slow.
 
To continue my experiences. Eventually I left chemistry for software development. In those days (1974) computers seemed to offer endless prospects, and I'd already programmed computers to perform QM calculations as part of my PhD. There was a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence. Most people didn't make a clear distinction between intelligence and consciousness (I'm still not sure one exists) and the world was building up to the first decade of AI hype (1980 - 1989). The problem was that the computer manipulations that were called AI didn't seem that sophisticated, and although the media were full of AI hype, the reality seemed almost puerile.

Computers also brought the Hard Problem into particularly stark relief unless you made a serious argument that consciousness was completely distinct from intelligence. Without that serious argument, the problem to me was that consciousness would reside in the AI software itself or maybe in the actual computer hardware itself! Assuming it lay in the software, that seemed rather in the realm of ideas rather than being tied to physical matter. I also tried (and failed) to envision how a conscious computer program would feel if it were debugged by repeatedly pausing it and examining its variables or registers!

Somewhere about that time, I discovered that there was already a scientific literature on psi with papers reporting successful ESP experiments and other types of phenomena.

Then I happened to watch a TV program about psi, which ended with a scientific skeptic who explained that there was "no scientific evidence for psi". It might have been Wiseman, but I'm not certain. However to me "no scientific evidence for psi" was factually incorrect if even one paper had been accepted for publication - which meant in turn that there were people who were prepared to lie to the public to keep psi secret!

David
 
I agree there are forces shielding psi from the public. The timing and nature of ET disclosure largely sealed the deal for me. The specific individuals and their motives behind the black op are what puzzle me the most. That's why I love Alex's show. :)
 
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