What is Allowed as Evidence?

Nothing is more evident than the existence of one’s feelings and experiences

“I take it for granted that empirical data, which is the data of normal sensory observation and experience, should inform our best guess at what reality is like. But are there any other sources of data that must be taken into account?”—Phillip Goff

Nothing is more evident than the existence of one’s feelings and experiences”. If a supposedly complete theory of reality can account for all of the data of observation and experiment, but cannot account for the reality of consciousness, it can be falsified.

In the law of non-contradiction (LNC), it states that there aren’t, and cannot be any contradictory states of affairs. This law is known with a kind of certainty, similar to that with which I know my own feelings exist. One can perhaps debate whether our knowledge of LNC is more or less certain than our knowledge of the reality of consciousness, but it is clear that both are known with much greater justification than anything known on the basis of the senses—Phillip Goff

So if feelings and experiences are real and empirical evidence is real, how can a lack of empirical evidence for those feelings be dismissed by science? Or, is it consciousness that’s not real, but an illusion? Logic tells us one, or the other, is not real if they appear in a contradictory state—but both seem to exist. Which is it? Maybe it’s matter (the seemingly obvious) that is not the underlying reality of the universe…

Complete Paper HERE

Metaphysics—a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being

Panpsychism—a theory that all nature is psychical or has a psychic aspect and that every physical happening participates in the mental

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

144 thoughts on “What is Allowed as Evidence?”

  1. I don’t think it is wise to give up suffering. I think there are many myths that tells us very clearly that to truly live, to live an honest and authentic life, we must accept suffering. To reject suffering is to reject that which makes us human. I won’t go into the various myths that demonstrate this universal truth – life IS suffering – other than to urge you to see what compassion means: ‘com’ meaning with or shared, and ‘passion’ (pati) meaning suffering and/or enduring. To be compassionate is to share the suffering. To avoid suffering, I think is the height of human folly… although it’s true that to give up suffering will free one from… well, life.

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  2. One of the best positions I ever had was teaching adult ed… literacy and numeracy necessary to gain a high school diploma for laid off workers and new immigrants. The most common question I was asked after teaching some math concept was, “Why wasn’t I taught this way in Grade 2?” Because I went to school in several countries and was exposed to many different kinds of algorithms especially in math, I could tailor my teaching of math concepts to the wide variety of adult students I had. Every single student passed their math component and few got any answers wrong! I also taught math to the 5 worst students from every class of 3,4,5,6,7 at the second lowest ranked school in the Province (out of many hundreds of schools); they tested in the bottom percentile before receiving my 40 hour program and in the top 5% after. They went from being considered ‘stupid’ to being held in regard as ‘smart’. It’s absurd math has this aura about it (rather than, say, spitting or singing) but, hey. So I know that communication with each and every student is necessarily different but absolutely key to transferring information successfully, revealing meaningful connections, and fostering a shared love of learning. I am particularly poor at doing the same thing in writing but its importance is something I recognize.

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  3. So if feelings and experiences are real and empirical evidence is real, how can a lack of empirical evidence for those feelings be dismissed by science?

    We generally dismiss claims from Christians who claim they have a personal relationship with Jesus or similar pithy platitudes.

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    1. Yes of course, but is that entirely fair to dismiss everything over a few, cursory armchair studies with no attempts at belief yourself? Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you every applied the way, you yourself might get caught up in jesus, then you would know by self analysis what the believer faces? You’d look great in a tunic and robe, btw—Jajaja

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      1. ….with no attempts at belief yourself?

        I have been informed more than once that attempts at belief are useless as it is God himself that ”chooses”.
        This strikes me as even more left field.

        As for the tunic etc ….If I were so inclined, I’ve always considered myself to be a simple, yet ravishing, black off the shoulder, with matching heels type to be honest.

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        1. There are a myriad of reasons to not believe, and one just as valid as the other. I tried every angle and it all requires one thing. To leave your integrity and let jesus come inside you.

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  4. I think that popular science has painted itself into the proverbial corner by meddling into areas that are none of its purview. Not science per se, of course, but people misusing science just like religious people misuse discoveries and misquote ancient writings. The problem, as always, is corruptible people, misusing so-called evidence for personal ends.

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  5. I think one short answer to your inquiry is that anything could count as evidence provided there is some agreement on what’s being discussed. For example, experiences and feelings might be “real” if one is talking about stimuli and the chemical response it engenders in a person’s brain. Others might be willing to say that the ideas people attribute to these stimuli and chemicals are real.

    A big problem will always be finding agreement on where the line gets drawn. If all experiences are treated as real, how does one account for hallucinations? And if no feelings are real until they are described and tested through experimental rigor, how is anyone supposed to deal with perceiving them in the meantime?

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    1. It certainly is a big part of the human experience. Were not dealing with fears in the dark, but maybe some evolutionary trait we no longer have use for, that is overactive with nothing to do? The radar for danger is certainly overactive and is in full gear even when there is nothing to be afraid of.

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  6. consciousness cannot be studied by ordinary means anymore than the knife can cut itself, or the eye can see itself. what we are looking for is That which is looking.

    a.by definition, empirical data implies an observer and a measurement, so it’s de facto dual.
    b. in common usage empirical date invokes the reductionist paradigm of modern science.
    each of these points automatically negates the knowing of consciousnesses which is non-dual and holistic (non-reductionist).

    looking at it in another way, from the perspective of the world, matter is real.
    from the perspective of consciousness, nothing is real. welcome to the paradox!😉

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    1. “each of these points automatically negates the knowing…” yet you are some able! Funny, that. It’s ;like religious believers telling us we cannot know anything about a god beyond time and space and matter… but somehow they do!

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        1. Of course it does. I would expect you to say this. This is how you interpret your experiences and not evidence for what you are experiencing. There’s a world of difference between these two understandings.

          The problem, however, remains: putting the cart before the horse… assuming that consciousness has a nature to demonstrate the nature of consciousness you say you experience. This is what Galileo demonstrated is a broken method of inquiry because it doesn’t produce new knowledge about the world. All it does (and by ‘it’ I mean this metaphysical method of presuming natures and then justifying these natures by applying the imported nature to inform an explanatory model) is to lead one straight back to the assumption already made. It’s circular. It’s an assumption. It’s not evidence; it’s subjective self-affirming testimony. You have a preconceived notion. You experience something. You interpret it using the preconceived notion to justify the preconceived notion. That’s why it is a methodological problem.

          The reason why this matters is that such testimony is the weakest kind of evidence and so granting it likelihood should shift it lower on the probability spectrum of being the case. The stronger the independent evidence that supports an explanatory model (the less subjective interpretation used), the greater the likelihood the explanation is correct. That’s all I’m applying here.

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          1. it never ceases to amaze me how people find it perfectly reasonable that one should spend years learning and studying music before he can properly play piano, that one should develop the skill to draw before he can become an artist, that one should spend 20 yrs preparing for a PhD. however, they expect to grasp the sublime with the same mind that makes up grocery lists.

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  7. Panpsychism is another term for a faith-based belief about the universe as a conscious thing but disconnected from having any means to know if it’s true. It is a rabbit hole of metaphysical assertions that inevitably draws on misunderstanding quantum physics to give it the patina of respectability of a ‘model’. The problem is, everything is considered part of model so there literally is no way to examine it further or of any practical use whatsoever… other than to presume it makes sense to claim inorganic material (like rocks) has as much ‘consciousness’ (because it is material, you see) as organized organic material undergoing replication. There is no evidence in its favour except more metaphysical assertions. That’s why it’s a rabbit hole. It’s a, “Let’s keep digging to see if we can find the bottom of this hole” kind of model.

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    1. Panpsychism is another term for a faith-based belief about the universe as a conscious thing but disconnected from having any means to know if it’s true.
      First if all exploring this is not really faith based, but a shot at logic to discover who and what we are. Which begs the question, whatever is the one thing humans are unable to identify is this concept of self identification of consciousness. Why, its almost logical to conclude the one area we cant discover is actually what it is. Like seeing your own eye, or I, that is the small point of conscious attention—that part we pat attention which is just a fragment of our subconscious. Or should I say, supra-consciousness, that runs all the human system without even thinking about it.

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      1. Logic, like math, is dependent on an axiomatic framework… in this case true/false premises followed by a coherent conclusion. The problem lies with figuring out if the premises are, in fact, true… true in the sense of meaning accurate descriptions of reality. Every great religious thinker has depended on logic to ‘deduce’ metaphysical nonsense. That indicates a methodological problem. So just because something is logical and logically valid doesn’t make deduced claims about reality true… unless the premises can be known to likely be the case.

        I’ve taken enough philosophy to understand the issues of replacing every plank of a ship while in transit and being asked whether or not it’s the same ship that arrives at the destination as set sail. I understand that the identity I think of as ‘me’ is not the same thing as when I was younger or in vitro. I am constantly changing every plank in both body and chemistry and I have no good reason to presume that stops at the neck or doesn’t effect the brain. I know my mind changes all the time not just with changes of position and attitude and opinion but with learning and forgetting and forgiving. That’s why any claim about my mind I think of as a snapshot in time fully subject to whatever affects my brain. That’s why I have come to the conclusion that my mind is what my brain does. It’s not one thing but a veritable host of all kinds of processes out of which emerges something I think of as a (relatively stable) personality that follows a (relatively stable) set of principles that I have concluded are virtuous and worthy of being exercised. I think of aligning my actions with these principles as an indication of my character.

        But note that all of these terms are simplifications of very complex neurological, chemical and physical processes. I control none of these even though I recognize I can some effect on some of them. To try to explain all of this by exporting them to something even more vague out there I think is looking in the wrong direction.

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  8. The Scientific Method:

    1. Make an observation.
    2. Ask a question.
    3. Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
    4. Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
    5 .Test the prediction.
    6. Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

    Source: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/high-school-biology/hs-biology-foundations/hs-biology-and-the-scientific-method/a/the-science-of-biology

    So the question is: does any other method meet or surpass this method of assessing our assumptions about reality?

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  9. How is ‘science’ ‘dismissing’ feelings and emotions? I’ve never encountered any such thing nor have have I ever come across a scientist who dismisses feelings and emotions. Ever. So I wonder why you are doing this? Why make this absurd claim?

    Well, like many religious apologists who don’t like the fact that reality doesn’t align with an imported religious belief about it, then pretend the problem lies with reality. To accuse ‘science’ which is a method and not a thing of any such action of ‘dismissal’ is entirely imported by you.

    In the field of neuroscience, thoughts and feelings – like consciousness itself – are understood to be emergent properties that present as one thing when in fact the property is brought about by a series of individual local biological units obeying local rules. The analogy is a flock of birds in a murmuration or school of fish operating as what appears to the outside observer as a single entity with direction and discrete borders. But looks can be deceiving, in the same way we know our sense can be fooled. That’s why empirical evidence means far more than sensory data and our nouns – used for OUR convenience – do not make multiple things into one by fiat.

    There is no ‘lack of empirical evidence’ for the property we call a feeling or the property we call emotions; what there is is an understanding that these ‘things’, these nouns, are not specific biological units but a vast array of neurology and chemical secretions that look like a single ‘thing’. But these nouns are no such ‘things’; they are the products of a complex system of local units obeying local rules.

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    1. Science:noun—the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
      ”– are understood to be emergent properties that present as one thing when in fact the property is brought about by a series of individual local biological units obeying local rules”. Is this a faith statement?
      Explaining how something as complex as consciousness can emerge from a grey, jelly-like lump of tissue in the head is arguably the greatest scientific challenge of our time.
      The brain is an extraordinarily complex organ, consisting of almost 100 billion cells — known as neurons — each connected to 10,000 others, yielding some 10 trillion nerve connections.
      Explaining how something as complex as consciousness can emerge from a grey, jelly-like lump of tissue in the head is arguably the greatest scientific challenge of our time. The brain is an extraordinarily complex organ, consisting of almost 100 billion cells — known as neurons — each connected to 10,000 others, yielding some 10 trillion nerve connections.

      Even a cursory exploration really defeats the passion of your comment.

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      1. “Even a cursory exploration really defeats the passion of your comment.”

        Passion? That’s a strange interpretation.

        As for your quotation, no, it doesn’t defeat squat, Jim.

        The mind – and everything we attribute to it – is what the brain does. Not knowing how the brain produces these emergent properties doesn’t mean – as you presume it does – that we don’t know what it does. This is not a faith statement I am asserting but an evidence-adduced conclusion.

        We know what the brain does in a variety of ways… and wee know this most notably by decreasing or affecting or altering physiological and chemical function. These consistently produce the same results, indicating that the brain is in all ways a physiological organ. Our interpretation of experiencing the brain in operation is to simplify what is an incredibly complex operation with simple words like ‘feelings’ or like ’emotions’ or like ‘consciousness’. None of these terms accurately describe what is actually going on but offer us a false sense of knowing that we have a pretty good idea. We don’t. We don’t know much when we experience the affects of brain operations and so personal experience is a very poor method for justifying our simplistic explanations. And Ron has laid out a pretty good definition of science as a method and not a product.

        You use science to find your house keys. You allow reality to arbitrate their location. You don;t pray for guidance and you don;t sacrifice a chicken or read its entrails or make a burnt offering to successfully find them. You go look. No faith is required. It’s a method that works.

        Science as a noun didn’t find your keys or produce knowledge about them; it requires action and this action is what describes science to be: a method that involves empirical data. Without the use of empirical data, you have no firm connection to reality, no means to link the real world with our beliefs about it. That’s why independent data from reality – and not our subjective interpretation about it – is so important to the method of science.

        When you drop this requirement of empirical data, you move into meta physics. That’s why historically humanity produced so little knowledge about it when metaphysics was the mainstay of natural philosophy. Our knowledge about the world and how it operated remained very low. The metaphysical assumptions and assertions brought us models of the world that were, to be blunt, wrong. (Body humors, earth centered celestial movement, dualism, things had natures, and so on. All wrong.) Metaphysical models divorced from reality’s adjudication of them allowed models to remain severed from reality and yet to hold great sway (like religious belief and other superstitious nonsense).

        And we see the same inhibition of gaining knowledge about reality where metaphysics – most notably from religious belief – remains firmly entrenched. (More books are translated from Spanish to English every year than are written in all Islamic countries combined. Religious belief that turns faith-based belief into a virtue kills honest inquiry but continues to support the maintenance of ignorance.)

        So the role of empirical evidence in the method science produces one thing: knowledge about reality. That is not something to pretend is worth maligning to make room for woo and these claims about other ways of knowing. There’s only one way and that way is the method of science if knowledge is what you seek.

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        1. Can I point out you that Goff is a philosopher, but Penrose and Tegmark are very much hard scientists who’re looking into consciousness? It’s the feeling and perception of “things” that is dismissed, and you know that dismissal is real—just introduce this topic in a physics forum to see what happens? It is readily discounted just because it can not be seen in a microscope. Just like you are doing here! Yet these are a part of the human experience in all corners of the world in all known scenarios, all saying the same thing. Is that not evidentiary?
          Even transcending physics in this universe, logic would apply in every universe. LNC points that you have the contradictory evidence, but refuse to look at it from a different angle

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            1. The order is wrong: mathematics describes constrained parts of the universe by importing an axiomatic system. It doesn’t create the universe. This is why we have different kinds of math to describe different aspects of reality being studied. Max has the order wrong.

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            2. Possibly. Maths and me aren’t friends, so I’ll have to sit on the sidelines here. I did watch a longer video earlier (too long to post here) and his central point seemed to be the emergence of pattern (in non-living systems) which (according to IIT, I’m guessing) denotes consciousness. Now, of course he’s not talking human-like consciousness, nor even worm-like consciousness, but some modicum of it, which he seems to think is a 4th state of matter.

              Right or wrong, worth a look. Something piqued his curiosity.

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          1. Once you start poking around in the muck of consciousness studies, you will soon encounter the specter of Sir Roger Penrose, the renowned Oxford physicist with an audacious—and quite possibly crackpot—theory about the quantum origins of consciousness. He believes we must go beyond neuroscience and into the mysterious world of quantum mechanics to explain our rich mental life. No one quite knows what to make of this theory, developed with the American anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, but conventional wisdom goes something like this: Their theory is almost certainly wrong, but since Penrose is so brilliant (“One of the very few people I’ve met in my life who, without reservation, I call a genius,” physicist Lee Smolin has said), we’d be foolish to dismiss their theory out of hand.

            http://nautil.us/issue/47/consciousness/roger-penrose-on-why-consciousness-does-not-compute

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            1. How is this any different, JZ, from claiming because the universe is complex, it must therefore come from a mysterious creator god? QM is often used exactly this way, to create room where our knowledge is thin for all kinds of woo. It doesn’t lend the woo any further legitimacy by covering it with complexity any more than QM lends consciousness further legitimacy as something uniquely different than any other emergent property.

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            2. Not saying I’m behind Penrose (I’m honestly a little confused by his ideas concerning the physical properties), but you mentioned QM somewhere, so I figured it only fair to show that there are some true geniuses (people who developed QM, like Penrose) who think there’s more to it. Sounds like Woo, but his is a mind we should not dismiss so easily.

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          2. If you’re referring to panpsychism as ‘it’ , “It is readily discounted just because it can not be seen in a microscope. Just like you are doing here!”

            If you’re referring to panpsychism as ‘it’ (I think you are referring either to panpsychism OR consciousness so I’ll start panpsychism), I explained why: it cannot be verified or refuted because everything is consciousness. That’s not a explanatory model; that a unverifiable claim no different than saying, “god did it.” It answers nothing.

            If you’re referring to consciousness (or the ‘it’ I asked Rawgod to describe), then your argument is using a term as a ‘thing’ in and of itself that does not relate to reality; consciousness is a property and not a product. Just because it’s not a product does not mean it cannot be real as a property. Again, we talk about a flock of birds as if it were a single thing when it’s not but no argues if it’s made up of local units obeying local rules to create the appearance being a thing that therefore some one is denying birds congregating isn’t real. Consciousness is term we use for simplicity’s sake, but that doesn’t make it a real concrete thing; we use the term for convenience. When we look, we find local units obeying local rules from which this consciousness then arises in the same way the flock arises by local units obeying local rules.

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          3. You can’t put a flock under the microscope, either, but no one is pretending that, therefore, birds congregating and murmurating isn’t an emergent property to create the appearance a whole greater than its parts.

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            1. I concur. But on the other hand, what are birds made of other than emergent properties? Its not a stretch from what i can see to think all elements contain emergent properties, ie, panpsychism? It seem the potential is en everything. Rocks contain a lot of energy as form. Is there a difference? And thank you for you excellent explanations.

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        1. yes i do. many outputs come before inputs. there are numerous examples where test subjects display statistically significant precognitive neural activity. check Dean Radin’s “Supernormal” ch 9.

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          1. Have you ever heard the term, statistically significant? This is an important concept for those who use statistics for arguing about cause and effect. What it means is the likelihood that a relationship between two or more variables is caused by something other than chance. Chance means equal possibility; likelihood means potential outcomes. The flipping of a coin repeatedly is, actually, a good example. The possibility isn’t just two outcomes; it’s three (the side of the coin). There will always be a chance – as small as it is – that the coin will come to rest on its edge. When we automate the chance to be binary (by getting rid of the third edge possibility) and run a statistical analysis on the results – we do not usually get P=.5 especially in large numbers. We get very, very close to it but there’s always a tiny variable – first favouring one result, then favouring the other as the flipping continues. To point out the variable as Radin argues to suggest an effect precedes a cause to demonstrate preconception is using the variable that is NOT statistically significant. This is why this test has been thoroughly debunked. To be statistically significant, the demonstration has to connect the outcome to the presumed cause – preconception. In other words, this would be evidence IFF (meaning If and Only If) if a preselected statistically significant result could be accurately and consistently predicted.

            Those who understand statistics and request such evidence are called names by Radin. They are presented as biased and unreasonable and fixated on denying the real evidence Radin has mistakenly assumed supports his argument. That should be a red flag to anyone not already committed to believing what Radin is supporting. That’s why the vast majority of ‘evidence’ for preconception is so thin; the likelihood based on such thin evidence is correctly shifted downward in confidence. That’s not bias; that the lack of robust evidence in its favour.

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            1. Radin is well versed in statistical analysis. you are right to say that his book ‘Supernatural’ is light statistics and p-values. i suspect he chose to minimize the math in Supernatural for the benefit of the lay reader. however, his work has been endorsed by many scientists, including including two Nobel Laureates.

              i find your attitude overly conservative, given the fact we are in the era of ‘spooky actions’, ’delayed choice’, and ‘quantum erasers’ which challenge all notions of causality and locality.

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            2. Chalk it up to having schizophrenic family members whose tenuous grasp on reality caused me to understand the importance of it and motivated me to find out as much as I could about how we come to know anything.

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            1. we’re not talking about ‘differential’ (whatever he means by that).

              We’re talking about precognition — i.e. physiological knowing something before they’ve occurred or showing a physiological reponse (brain wave) before the stimulus.

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  10. He looked at me and said, “You are an enigma.” I looked it up and liked the word ever since.
    Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get ya.
    And, shouldn’t it be “Birth (you are here – life) Death”? Maybe I’m missing the point of the meme.
    Of course, there’s that whole born again unreality that has nothing to do with this. Or does it?

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    1. I think the point of the meme is that life is between two unknown voids. It can be argued that death is your more natural state, for you have been (and will be) “dead”, far longer than you will live a “physical” existence, whatever that is.

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          1. Yes. Life has time.
            I just never gave a thought to anything else having time. This whole topic is way too far beyond me, one reason I struggle with Sam Harris and his consciousness stuff.
            Maybe I’m using the wrong drugs. 🙂

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          2. Sorry to interject into this conversation, but your question, “Does life have time?” can be more correctly asked “Does life have experience?” I think that is the more important question. Life can have all the time in the world, but if it does nothing with time, what was the use.
            But when life has experience, that is a whole nother matter. Experience is something you can measure time against, some that gives the present “now” value. Are you experiencing something new, or just the same old same old. Everywhere around you, life is change. Change can occur in microseconds, or in decades or centuries. But as sure as I live and breathe, life will change. It is impossible not to.
            But that is why there is no such thing as reality. Every time you look at a scene, something has changed. Reality has changed.

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      1. This use of the term ‘you’ presumes something there prior to and after a life. Remove that assumption and you have a ‘you’ book-ended not by woo but by ‘not you’. Why isn’t this okay to have a ‘you’ that is finite?

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        1. Sure it would be fine to have a finite you. But that’s not really what all the evidence says. I’ve asked this question before but it gets dodged a lot—What is it the shamans, zen buddhists, gurus, and occasional accidentals, see during the meditative and sometimes normative experience? There are various methods, yet all tell the same story. Reddit has some pretty interesting threads on it as well. Are they all just crazy? Or is there an underlying illusive reality we just don’t see, like a fish knowing he’s in water, theres a background behind the canvas, and when they see it its so obvious it creates a laugh. What is it?
          Maybe its so elusive because it is so fundamentally who we are we’d never know it. That life is an illusion or dream state, and waking up comes from a little nudge in the right direction—all over the place. Not by belief or faith or woo, by a method.

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          1. As much as you may to do so, when the brain is studied during these deeper meditative states, the same thing happens: areas of the brain – for lack of a better term – shut down. When these areas shut down – be it through damage, stroke, impairment, or conscious effort – the same kind of claimed profundity emerges that, when examined in a fully operation brain, is not profound at all. What also happens is a release of hormones and dopamine that are calming, soothing, relaxing, and cause reports of satisfaction and acceptance… in other terrific at reducing stress. And the advantages seem to have a lasting effect when diligently practiced. But the positive effects do not mean this method reveals a hidden world… other than in the brain that believes so.

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            1. Not entirely true. I do concur on the meditation scans and monks, but there are different techniques that achieve the same result. A good percentage of shamanistic practice were and are drug free as well. It seems that chanting, resonance of the drum, and repetition can achieve it too. And then there’s the accidentals, like Susan Segal, although a few years later she had a brain tumor and died, leaving the question, which caused which.
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzanne_Segal
              Scroll down a few bars and read the synop of her experience. Its weird

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            2. It reminds me of some study I did a while back about phantom limbs, shadow figures, and astral projection. These projections from self is likely a communication between left and right brain.
              I recall one important review of an outer body experience. The guy came home from work late that night and left the lights off in the bedroom when he went to sleep, so he wouldn’t wake up his wife. He could see himself sleeping and the color of the bedspread, the dog at the foot of the bed, etc. What he did not know was the dog slept in the garage that night and his wife had changed the bedspread. It was all in his head. His description of his o.b.e. was a memory.

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            3. The thing about the brain is that this organ and not the eyes is what sees, this organ and not the nose that smells, and so on. Everything comes to the brain and so the processes by which it navigates the outer environment is highly complex and constantly tested. One of the great disrupters of mental health is holding on to certain maps and guides we develop that doesn’t accept reality’s arbitration of them as inaccurate or lacking or insufficient. When this happens the brain seems to go into overdrive creating sometimes massive new worlds into which the inaccurate map can then fit… causing even greater disruption and further disconnect reality in other areas until a complete break is achieved. This defense mechanism is truly remarkable and reveals just how far we can go to maintain a vital but false belief. This in turn reveals the scope of the disruption when a false but vital belief is abandoned and the courage and fortitude needed to stay the course. It really screws with the brain… as anyone who has gone through something like this (like a religious de-conversion or a vitally important but betrayed trust) can attest.

              So it in no way surprises me that intelligent and capable people can believe all kinds of stuff that can seem truly batshit crazy to others similarly intelligent and capable. It’ really is a brain thing.

              When one grows up inside a home with schizophrenia, one quickly learns to ask two really important questions regarding claims made about reality: is this claim true, and (this is the important part) how can we know? That’s why I am dismissive of claims where we cannot know AND why I tend to explain my reasoning because I appreciate more than many that how we know something is far more important than what we claim to know. If the ‘how’ respects reality’s arbitration of it, I have learned that such claims are far more trustworthy than claims about ‘what’ that may or may not be accurate… especially if the ‘what’ claims are designed to avoid reality’s arbitration of them. I know just how deeply the brain can determine ‘what’ people believe… far, far more than reality would allow.

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            4. This is a great response and a real testament to why we should be understanding and tolerant of each other. While you’re consistency and positions are sound and profound (maybe a little over-drived due to necessity) I’m not totally convinced the hard, cold truth represents the whole human experience. There are fundamental flaws at the root of how we raise our kids in deception and force them to conform to very specific ways to fit in society, but that is not who they are. It is not reality, but a construct that creates a constant inner conflict.
              Thanks for all your explanations though. Somehow you are one of those I don’t mind losing a few points to. 🇺🇸

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            5. Much easier in person where communication can be suitably tailored to suit the audience and facilitate the transfer of meaning without the baggage of questionable tone and possible intent versus my tendency in explanation to revert to a very stiff kind of academic writing that often is presumed to be arrogance and/or hostility that simply isn’t meant to be there.

              Thank you for having the patience to read and not dismiss but take points that may appear disagreeable into consideration. That’s an admirable trait, Jim.

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            6. Most of my life I was trained quite religiously to ignore any doubt, not to peek outside the box because therein lies sin and the devil. After my awakening (simply the realization you’ve been had) I started to read and investigate all kinds if things that I had left off the burner. I have no guile, so sometimes that translates into beliefs when I am merely exploring other points of view, and putting myself in their shoes. These are questions many people have but are wont to discuss, but should be explained openly lest they fall victim, so its wonderful to have good dialog within a framework that accepts discussion with understanding. I’ve lost fellow atheist friends over my open inquiry which bothers me quite a bit, simply by presenting different philosophies. Language is a barrier enough, and try explaining something outside of western thought permeated by christianity at an amazing depth that even the atheist cant recognize, in english no less, where beliefs are regarded as normal, is a challenge. You can cut off the tree, but the shoots still sprout from the same root.
              Thank you for the compliment and the points of view.

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            7. your story is inspiring. it takes courage to break away from what has been ingrained in you, to venture into the unknown.
              don’t ever feel bad for losing people along the way- you can never lose what is truly yours. as the false goes, the real can make its way in.

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            8. Well, the first thing I realized is anyone that will embrace you over belief will abandon you over unbelief. I lost many, many “friends”. Science is the same way—and there is a difference between a scientist and a believer in science. To simply know the words puts you in belief category. It is (I think) important to apply science, take science, do some experiments in a lab at some advanced level or at least read through to the end so you know the process is secure—and not just bias highlights, other than that you are in many ways a believer, and that can be problematic when dealing at a human level. It messes with the hormones. Tis one way you can tell. Nobody will fight like that when they have knowledge (science), only faith and belief does that.

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            9. Quote: “there is a difference between a scientist and a believer in science. To simply know the words puts you in belief category.” I’ve been saying essentially the same for decades, the difference between real science and popular science. Most of what I come across as being “scientific” is popular science reinforced by word of mouth thus forming an encrusted belief system, i.e., a religion becoming a system based on what “we” accept versus what “we” reject. No more room for intelligent discussion, only disagreeable disagreement. Full circle, back into faith.

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            10. I tried to explain this a bit ago on another post. Perhaps you saw it? Our culture is so inculcated with Hebrew influence she could not see how science was influenced by western thought. Scientists, not as much, but belief as you could see from the virulent responses, this was a popular belief, not knowledge.

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            11. The funny thing is real scientists do not indulge popular science – they’re much too busy and serious looking for knowledge, answers and solutions. I doubt there’s any of them on Facebook or even Ted Talks. That’s for the show and the show offs. So many speak of science as some great panacea that replaces religion without realizing that whatever you use to replace something else becomes that something else. If a piece of wood is missing on grandma’s old antique dresser you use wood filler to fill in the space. That becomes part of the cabinet, it doesn’t make the cabinet something else. Not a great analogy but business is calling!

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            12. true, that’s why they call science the ‘new religion’. people will put their faith in it blindly. and let’s face it, it doesn’t have all the answers, and it changes all the time.
              i might have mentioned, my husband Ricc is has a PhD in physics (particle physics, but did lots of work in quantum mechanics)
              and he was a hard-core scientist for most of his life. when he found meditation his outlook changed completely, because he got in touch with an aspect of himself that he wasn’t aware of before. so there is no question of doubt, it’s a matter of direct experience.
              he’s still passionate about science and follows updates closely, but his perspective has changed forever. we can actually make much more sense of physical universal events and phenomena now that we have that ‘esoteric’ knowledge. let’s say. they are absolutely not separate, one mirrors the other. “As above, So below”😉

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            13. One might mirror the other, monica, but both mirrors are empty. Neither religion nor science exist beyond physical reality, if such a thing can be said to even exist. I have been arguing against science almost as long as i have been arguing the existence of any superior supreme being. Everything that lives changes, and while science itself is alive, even it does not look like anything that existed a millennium ago, or what it will look like a millennium from now.

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            14. I know you won’t be surprised by this, monica, but I hate that “truism” no matter how it is stated. Nothing ever belongs to anyone, especially a living being. Even we only belong to ourselves for as long as we are between birth and death, before and after only spirit exists, where no one and everyone is one.

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            15. “Much easier in person where communication can be suitably tailored to fit the audience…” Would not tailoring the communication be an act of lying or dishonesty or superiority/inferiority. When a person tells a thing one way to one person, and a different way to another, he is ignoring the equality of beings, or else judging his audiences as to what level or plane they interact on. Forty years ago, when i did my deep-search of my reality, I realized I was not being fair to anyone, including myself. To be as honest as possible for your own sake, I THINK to have to treat everyone fairly. Whether you are speaking or writing, you owe it to your audience to show them all one face, one you, and damn the torpedoes.
              This is how I at least try to face the world around me. If nothing else is real, at least I can try to be.

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            16. You’ve obviously never been a teacher! Of course we tailor communication to suit the audience before us not to be deceptive but to find and use the best means available to facilitate clearer communication. This is why writing is not speaking; it’s a different form of communication and one that is much more difficult to craft and creates a much wider scope to communicate poorly with individual readers.

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            17. I’ve been a presenter for addictions services in middle school, and yes I treated them as I would adults. I did not talk down to them, I gave them the real story as far as my forced ciricculum allowed, and told them when there was more to be said and where to find it. That was quite awhile ago, but I still have people coming up to say Hi, young adults now. I remember one girl whose boyfriend drove drunk or high every time they went out together. She hated being so scared and nervous. She asked me if there was any way she could help him not to get so drunk. I told her honestly that he had to find his own way to sobriety, nagging him just made things worse. “So what can I do, i love him.” First love, no doubt. I asked her why she rode with him, and she said because he was her boyfriend, and only he could drive her home. I asked her, “Who said that?” She answered quietly, “He did. He said boyfriends have to drive their girlfriends home, they were responsible for the girls.” So I asked her, does drunk driving sound responsible? You can guess the rest of that story. She is now a women’s libber, and much stronger than she was back then. All I did was ask her to think. She did the rest herself.

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    1. Is it possible that your question is backwards? Maybe it’s whether matter is a state of consciousness, and not the other way around. We are so accustomed to looking at things a certain way, that is what is so refreshing about Philip. Question everything? Really, everything. Or am I freaking crazy?

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  11. My thought is to question this LNC? Who discovered it? Who made it empiracal by confirming it in a separate experiment. To me, it is verbal mumbo jumbo, and has nothing to do with physical reality, or metaphysical reality. Maybe the problem is the word contradiction.
    I know that I am drawn to the earth by a force called gravity. At the same time, I watch lighter than air balloons sail upwards from the earth, pushed there by centrifugal force. But lighter than air does not really mean lighter than air, as a person sitting in the basket of the balloon is obviously not lighter than air. If they were to climb out of the basket while in the air, and let go, they would definitely lose the centrifugal force, and succumb to the force of gravity. I do not know, but is this or is this not a state of contradiction?
    We know we are physical beings, who will surely die if our bodies die. We cannot physically exist without our bodies. Yet we can leave our bodies behind in the dream state, and the meditative state, and even in a medically-charged or drug-induced state. When we are in a dream state, and dream we are flying or weightless, etc., we are out-of-body. When we are in a meditative state, we are capable of intentionally or accidentally leaving our bodies in a process known as astral flight. I have experience leaving my body in both the above states, not just once, but many times. As for the third example above, different people have different experiences. Some people merely hover over their bodies and look down at themselves. Others will have what is called a Near Death Experience, where they are away from their bodies completely, and seemingly encountering beings according to their beliefs. Everyone has heard of people seeing angels, or a being they believe is Saint Peter (even if they are not Catholic), or Buddha, or who knows what. In my first drug-induced NDE, I visited a place for the recently dead, and started to become absorbed into a pool of bodiless living beings on the way to being reincarnated in new bodies. During those experiences, for I had two such NDEs, the second intentionally to prove the first, I was made of what seemed to be pure energy, a type of lifeforce. Are those experiences any less real than physical reality. Again, I believe those to be states that contradict each other.
    Anyone who wants to can show me where I go wrong.

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    1. I think you have missed the point. If anything, this supports your position. If feelings are real and matter is real, they cannot contradict each other (logic is the friend here). Therefore, for physics to have a genuine, complete theory of everything it must account for feelings and experience, ie; consciousness (which everyone has and seems awfully real) or either matter is not real or feelings are not real. But the two are completely compatible in a genuine theory, we just have to find the words.
      Its funny, words are merely symbols. Sometimes we haven’t created the correct symbol yet (lack the language) to fully explain anything. That is where math also comes into play. Had Einstein not been able to label his observations with words and an equation, his theory would not be known today as truth.
      Science, in its attempt to explain away everything by the sum of its parts, misses the mark. It can turn a beautiful mountain into a pile if minerals, rocks and time. There is great value in this, but it deconstructs what is, into symbols and equations which are always grossly inadequate to fully explain anything.
      Phillip Goff is a panpsychist which also supports your position. Do not fear LNC, for in this case it is your friend.

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      1. This is the purpose of my final sentence. I knew I didn’t understand this Law of Non-Contradiction, so I spoke to what it sounded like to me, hoping I could talk myself into understanding, but it didn’t work. And to be honest, Jim, your reply still doesn’t get me any closer. It is gobbledyguk to me. How does any of this help to understand the universe?
        (Word Press is driving me up a wall. There is supposed to be a paragraph break here, I typed it and I can see it worked properly.) Yet, when I hit the send button the breaks disappear. So do series of spaces. I am about to type 4 spaces. Do you see any of them. Probably one, but not more. Why? Why does WP hate me so much? (lol).
        PB– But funny you should mention not having the proper symbols in our languages to clearly express what we want to say. In these times of BLACK LIVES MATTER, I was ranting about the fact Cristopho Columbo committing a heinously racist action when he called the “original human inhabitants of the areas now known as the Americas” by naming people like myself and your wife Indians. We are not Indians and never were, but because one man at one time thought he was in India, he condemned us for all time to be someone we are not. Even when he decided to call these new land masses America after his good buddy Amerigo Vespucci, he did not correct his “First Mistake”! He left us being called Indians, even though he was not in India.
        PB–A certain person asked me, “Then what should we call you?” I thought about it, went through all the labels we have been given over the years, and decided none of them fit the bill, not even calling us First Nations people as we are called in Canada. Asians are from Asia, Africans are from Africa, Europeans are from Europe, etc. And Indians are from India! So should we call ourselves Americans? Sorry, that name has already been taken, by the residents of a small piece of the Americans called the USA. Most of the people living in the Americas are not Americans! So, what can we do?
        PB–It is not too late to correct these mistakes! So, in case you did not notice the phrase above, I did put it in quotation marks as a hint, I made an acronym of the phrase: Ohiotankata. This solves both probems stated above, giving our continents a new name, and giving a group name to all the people who lived here before Columbo decided we are Indians. Check it out. We, all people carrying the blood of our red and brown ancestors, are Original Human Inhabitants Of The Areas Now Known As The Americas. The land masses could be called Tankata, and the people could be called Ohiotankata. Does this not make sense? Ask your wife, please.
        PB– This is not to be set in stone. Right now it is just a suggestion to give the continents a name of their own, and give the people who have resided here for thousands of years and more before being invaded and overrun by white Europeans a name we can be proud of.
        PB–My real purpose is to spark a new conversation about correcting 1492, and bringing our world into the 21st Century., I can live with being Ohiotankata, but it is a long word and still comes from the English language, the only language I speak though I have no English blood in me that I know of.
        PB–Should we still even keep the Americas as one land mass, or should we give North and South America, and the land bridge between them called Central America, separate names? in particular, should we not use names from our own ancient languages? I think we should. But until we do, I am no longer an Indian, I AM OHIOTANKATA.

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    2. Rawgod, your understanding of atmospheric buoyancy is incorrect. It’s not about centrifugal force at all. It’s about weight displacement… the same reasons steel ships float (they displace more weight in water than they weigh… so they float) or hot air balloons with a bucket and people displace more weight in the chemical soup we call ‘air’ than they weigh so they float… which is why the ‘hot’ part of that matters so much and how the balloonist operates going up or down (hence, the burner)! Cool the captured gas, increase its weight, no more floating. It’s the same principle at work how submarines submerge and surface, by changing its internal weight to be greater or less than the weight of water it displaces.

      As for out-of-body experiences, what is ‘it’ that is ‘leaving’? The ‘it’ seems to emerge through physiological development to self awareness and higher cognitive functioning later along with a presumption that ‘it’ operates the body. This looks identical to the physiology currently developed. So the claim that this ‘it’ is in any way, shape, or independent of the physiology is lacking because no one has been able to capture any empirical evidence for this model, but we know that to operate physiological mechanics requires a physiological connection to have physiological control and/or effect over that physiology. So what’s missing in this model is independent evidence for this ‘it’; but there is strong evidence that when you influence the brain, you influence the ‘it’ so the connection HAS TO be there if the ‘it’ is independent of the brain as you suggest it is to account for these out-of-body experiences. Either the ‘it’ is physiologically present with connections that have to be there or your explanatory model is wrong.

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      1. I was never trying to be accurate with the gravity and centrifugal force discussion. i just choose them because they act in different direction to each other. Yes gravity pulls more or less straight down, and something being thrown off the planet by centrifugal force would appear to rise in an angular direction creating a curve, but who cares. As for the physics lesson, thanks, but I learned all that in about 6th grade.
        And as for the “IT” that leaves the body, I would call that the spiritual force of consciousness that represents us. When I was “out-of-body” I did not feel solid, in fact passing through walls and other barriers as as nothing, but my consciousness was still held together by something beyond my ability to describe in English, the only language I can use fluently. And while “I,” meaning my consciousness, was out-of-body, there was no control of my body, the brain I left behind was taking care of that for me. This does not mean I was disconnected from my body, just that I was not consciously aware of the connection. Do you want to call it ether, or ectoplasm, or whatever, but the connection was not physical as I experience physical. Was it mental, maybe. Was it spiritual? Most definitely. Spirituality for me IS connection.

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        1. I just find it interesting you use this example because this is a key understanding of gravity (one that Galileo dared to question and we know how that turned out for him). Why, he wondered, when you dropped stuff from great heights of non moving towers or from masts of moving ships did the object always fall straight down with zero curvature? If he dropped a stone one arm’s length from an edge, why did the stone hit the ground or deck one arm’s length for the base?

          He talked to gunners about cannon balls and their arcs; what if you shot a cannon ball straight up and the earth rotated beneath it, the ball should land some distance away from the cannon. Nope. Straight up, straight down… no matter how far the shot went up. But why?

          He talked with hunters and asked how they were able to hit a moving target (the finest hunters aimed at the target and followed the trajectory exactly but slightly elevated to compensate distance).

          This is why I love Galileo’s inquisitive mind. He is giant upon whose shoulders Newton latter claimed he stood, coming up with his three laws that changed our understanding of the universe and the forces it contains and enabled me to type this and you to see it. It’s astounding. And all because he wouldn’t go along with explanations that didn’t match his testing by reality! We can ALL do that!

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          1. If it hadn’t been for Galileo and Newton, I probably wouldn’t have been able to make those statements, though I noticed as a kid that things fell straight down, and watching rocket launches in the 60s demonstrated the effects of centrifugal force. However, seeing and explaining are two totally different things.

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            1. Well, the rockets followed a curved trajectory in order to achieve the circular orbit necessary to go around a globe (shh… don’t tell ColorStorm who knows the earth is flat)(a curve is easier trajectory to use to join the orbiting circle and does so smoothly and with the least amount of energy needed than a straight line to orbital distance and the having to undergo a sudden change in direction. Clear as mud?).

              Seriously, the centrifugal aspect is absolutely negligible within the (relatively) very thin atmosphere versus a gravitational field like the earth’s and it would be in reverse to the planet’s spin. Remember, the object lifting at the surface already has the greatest momentum from the earth beneath it because both are travelling at identical speeds. As the object lifts, it loses a very tiny amount of momentum, so small as to be almost immeasurable, compared with the forces and density of the atmosphere. Even the slightest breeze will entirely negate this effect. For all intents and purposes, momentum is not a feature of lifting into the air travel any more than it is a factor when descending under water. And maybe that will help clarify things for you if place something underwater when you think of stuff going on in the atmosphere (it’s just another kind of medium subject to the same kind of planetary forces).

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            2. Ah, Tildeb, you just don’t get it. I am not giving a lecture on physics, I am trying to understand this LNC Jim gave us. Very tedious. Rekminds me of me.

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            3. I will explain it in my own words. There is ultimately only one right answer when it comes to the ultimate reality. If you encounter a contradiction, even if you like it you must abandon it and go a different direction. Getting out of the maze can’t be that hard since there’s only one right answer. IMO, that may be the one thing that cannot be discovered or refuted. Sounds odd, but after all the soul searching and winding roads of conjecture and contradictions, there is only one thing I know —I am that I am. Sound familiar? Hahaha
              In truth, there is no subtlety at all—it is merely an endless maze of confusion.

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            4. Is there only one right answer to reality, Jim. I don’t believe you. Twenty-five people witness an accident, and after the police take their statements, the cops end up with 25 different scenarios. There is a common event between them, but no two are the same. Who is to tell 24 witnesses their version of events is wrong, while one person’s version is correct. Even seeing a video of the accident, the video shows only one perspective of the accident.
              Now let ys look at the witnesses themselves. They come from various economic classes, and that class affects what they see. They come from different racial and social groups. That colours their perceptions.
              That should be enough for now. You can see where I am going. Everything is relevent to something. All 25 people saw the same thing, and “seeing is believing.” But yet, no one can trust themselves to see the same images.
              What is ultimate reality? There doesn’t have to be such a thing. In my mind, an ultimate reality would lead to a god/creator. I can see no evidence of there being eiher. Therefore I do not believe in gods–I have NEVER seen any evidence of one.

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            5. Who are you and how this universe is done? What “it” is? there is only one answer, found on the path of least contradiction. Follow the evidence, not the beliefs. Beliefs are barriers. Perceptions are barriers. Hanging onto a past experience is a barrier. Clearing out all the junk is the only way to identify reality.

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            6. Along this point of view, rawgod can legitimize his truth only by holding on to “I” and my experience as my truth. Unless there are two universes here with different sets of rules, there is only one baseline reality. His truth is his perception of that—mine is mine. But if the whole show is one thing—what is that?

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            7. there is only one watcher- awareness is only one. the feeling “mine” is the illusion. you… as a separate individual/entity is dreaming. you, as awareness, are ALL. what can exist outside awareness??

              the body is experienced within awareness, not awareness in the body. I am That I am. the ‘space’ in which all can exist.

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            8. you see, that’s why awareness or consciousness (i use them interchangeably) is sooo difficult to grasp, because it is always colored (or conditioned) by either senses, perception, thoughts, emotions. just like space, by itself it is nothing- it cannot be observed or sensed. we only know space by the objects within it.

              the power of meditation is that when one sits still, the thoughts are ignored or quieted completely, all senses are withdrawn in, all that remains is pure awareness. sitting quietly and just paying attention without participating. only then can pure awareness come to the surface and becomes known.
              when you sit in pure awareness long enough, you effortlessly come to know all its qualities.

              the painting analogy works so well. because without the canvas, no painting can exist. we take the colors as real, but if you scratch underneath the colors, you know the canvas has always been there, enabling the painting to exist. it is perfectly disguised! consciousness is like that. and once you recognize yourself as pure consciousness (as the canvas that supports the whole painting) what is there left to do?? even god cannot exist without you, heheh

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            9. Well Monica, daring to disagree, sort of. If pure consciousness is a tabula rasa, the permanent canvas, it seems obvious to me that that isn’t the intent of the exercise. I see the intent to be creating a picture of reality. OK, so the canvas is real, but it is of no practical use until it is painted upon. I’m an artist, I paint, sometimes with gusto, throwing all caution to the winds of chance. I love chance, the unknown, the unpredictable, the picture that gets added to… forever! Yes, I’m thankful for the canvas, for providing something real, solid, for my paints, but my focus remains on my paints and my ability to develop new and ever expanding skills upon Life’s canvas (capitalized on purpose).

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            10. I would use different terms than blank canvas. As those who have described this process, it is timeless life of full awareness when you look backstage. Everything that makes this illusion possible, is there in full function. This expression of earth and physical reality is just a small bit of it, a stage, if you will, for the drama. Backstage is where the production happens.

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            11. Sorry, disagreeing again… I was in theatre a very long time ago, not acting or singing, which I would have loved (but my ESL status prevented it), but doing the backstage work. Costumes, make-up, even lighting, sound and props. Backstage is the support for what goes on up front. What matters isn’t what we do backstage, but up front. People don’t pay to inspect backstage work, or cheer when the lights fade on cue but to watch and listen to actors, singers, performers. No matter how much effort is put into the backstage work, if the performance sucks, there goes the whole deal. I think that as ISSA beings (intelligent, sentient and self aware) we are both, the backstage events and performers. The “canvas” is perhaps the building, or the space provided for the event to take place. When I interact with my Teachers, they aren’t pointing me to those few who seek Nirvana, they point at the performers whom, ignoring little children and Nirvana seekers, the number would be around 5-6 billions? These are the ones who determine the fate of the planet, are they not? One massive predatory civilization made up of primarily assenters and millions (at least) of dissenters. Unless we are speaking of something else, something irrelevant to day-to-day happenings, it’s “lights, cameras, action” and we are the actors. Life isn’t a static picture in a gallery, it’s alive! It’s moving! It’s looking at us and depending on the times and surroundings, it’s either idyllic or monstrous. But it’s never neutral. There is an option to opt out of life at the end of a physical run. It’s called annihilation and I think many Earthians choose that, but that would never be my choice. I like being alive too much. I like swimming in life’s crazy and unpredictable currents.

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            12. i paint too, watercolors 😀 i also love the unpredictable, and do a lot of free-style, abstract stuff, mostly led by intuition. i often found that my paintings will parallel something in the outer reality, and that’s always exciting. i had a lil showing once, and a woman who bought one of my paintings said “it reminds me of when my husband passed away”. funnily, i had my father’s death in mind when i painted that.
              it was just a golden abstract, somehow symbolic of his soul going back to… wherever it came from, hehe.

              but yes, i see consciousness as our tool and that which allows us to create whatever we want in life, which is our own work of art. if we build with love and kindness, we’ll have a beautiful thing. we are always the only creators, don’t you agree?

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            13. Sorry I misled you on the painting imagery. I’m no artist as such although I have done a lot of drawing and cartooning (and my avatar is my creation). I was writing metaphorically or figuratively. Imagining your canvas and me running all over it! In my mind everything is unfinished and calls for endless exploration and creativity when we get to that 13th floor. The question near the end of the movie, Pleasantville, is “What happens now?” and the answer is, no one really knows but regardless something is always happening and will continue to happen. I choose to be a part of that happening, consciously and mindfully, knowing of the pitfalls, the dangers, the troubles and also of the fulfillment, the bliss, the joy and the power of my imagination allowed to run wild amidst the as-yet undetermined. I choose to be a part of that as “me” and not as bits and pieces of some particular universal reality. A quote from Dune (Frank Herbert): knowing of the existence of a trap is the first step in avoiding it. What is the most dangerous trap an ISSA being can fall into? Belief in annihilation; eating of the lotus flower (drugs and religion) and choosing the physical, mental and spiritual status quo. How to avoid the trap? Becoming fully self-aware and just keep moving, never stopping except to periodically smell the roses, i.e., incarnate for an infinitesimally short life as on this world. Learn to grow up, fall in love as many times as possible: learn to possess, to lose and to let go; learn to become happy when making others happy; learn to live vicariously; experience bliss and joy, pain and sorrow; learn to die long before the actual day comes. Some of those lessons are difficult but a necessary part of the tapestry which has no beginning and no ending.

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            14. i see. i took it literally 😃 all that you describe occurs in consciousness.
              consciousness is not inert, it is the fabric of creation. it is what we are. yes, movement can never cease.

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            15. Yes, it is only one reality, but which one is correct? If we cannot trust our own eyes to see without prejudice, how can we trust anything other people tell us about their reality.
              If I remember most of your comments on Jim’s blog, you see reality through a god lens. God does not exist in my world. Therefore, nothing you say is real to me, and nothing I say can be real to you. We do our best to communicate, but the gap is wide. We each have our own reality–they do not match, and probably never will. Is there an ultimate reality. We will never know.

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            16. you like to build walls where there are none, and so see only differences. my reality: i wake up, i wash, i eat, take care of things around the house, i check out jim’s blog. you do something much more different?

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            17. Yes, I spend much of my day thinking, about all kinds of things. I’m sure you do too. But as for building walls, Monica, I contemplate the universe as I see it. Breaking boxes is what I am all about.We live in so many boxes it is hard to know where we end and where the boxes begin. Forty years ago I took myself apart, looked at all my beliefs, and determined where they came from, and whether or not they aided or hindered myy being. I threw away so many beliefs that had nothing to do with me, including nationality, religion, social mores, the list is endless and mostly forgotten now. But I know myself a lot better now, I know what “I” believe, and what does not apply to my life.
              For example, one of the largest boxes we as a species encounter is being human. Before anything else, it is important that we be human, and superior to all other species. After all, we are conscious of ourselves, and no one else is. So we believe. But we have no way of knowing for sure. We are so busy being superior to everything and everyone else, we don’t realize there can be other kinds of consciousness that we can never imagine.
              I do not have that box. Before everything else I know about our reality, which really isn’t very much, I am a living being. Anything that is alive is a living being. And at that level there is no sense of superiority or inferiority. We are all alive and filled with life, equal in every way. How is that a wall? The only thing I can see is not knowing if something is alive, like a star, or a planet. I can argue either condition. I need more information.
              This is who I am, Monica, and even though my eyes and ears are weak, I still see and hear a lot more than many people in this world. This is not my ego speaking, it is my spirit. I am nothing like the person i was born as. And I like the person I am. But I still have a lot to learn.

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            18. that was very heart-felt, and i can feel your honesty. it’s wonderful that you can say “i’m nothing like the person i was born”, it shows change occurred, you did not remain rigid, and that’s what the whole thing is about. i guess. many people remain stuck in some sort of identification with nationality or race, or having some fancy degree.
              you’re right, it’s never about that. when we connect with people simply on a heart level, we discover we are made of same stuff. see, not so different, you and i? i’m sure we could have a great chat over a cold beer, about this that or the other☺🍻

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            19. Except that I don’t drink alcohol. But I’ll have a hot chocolate, or a glass of cold milk.
              For as much as it would be neat to talk in person, though, I actually think better on paper than I do in person. I trip over my tongue too much. But as far as you and I, I felt a spiritual connection with you from the first comment of yours I read. I’ve been struggling to find common ground ever since, but we seem to be in different shipping lanes, going in opposite directions. Now, maybe it is starting to click. Time will tell.

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            20. My understanding of what you have discussed, is that you had an an experience that put you on a journey to find life. This tells me that your experience was a varying level of the entire thing, incomplete (hence the search) Now you are a bit set in your conclusions, yet never achieved a full awakening (hence the search) It puzzles me sometimes that you disagree so much, when from my viewpoint you are very close indeed, in ideology.
              Is there a chance you read from a defensive standpoint?

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            21. Well, my father did accuse me of everything under the sun, but I don’t think it bothers me that much anymore.
              But saying the search is incomplete is merely a statement of fact. That search will never be finished, not on our level of reality. Yes I am a bit set in my conclusions, though they are not conclusions, they are just a new starting point.
              When you say “you disagree so much,” are you using the plural “you,” meaning myself and Monica. Do you see how much time I spend having discussions with her? I know we have a lot in common. That is why I take the time. I am trying to find a place we can agree, and then grow from there. So far I haven’t found it, as far as I know.

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            22. rawgod, i also had a father who never complimented anything i did. and it affected my decisions for the largest part of my youth. (I am still in my youth 😋) but i had to dedicate some time to healing that part, because it stayed buried in my subconscious and i knew it would always affect me. being an only child, i guess it was important for me to have my dad’s approval. well… it never came.
              one day a friend asked me “do you Really, really need your dad’s approval? you need food water air. you don’t NEED anyone’s approval”. that made me look at things from a different angle. i understood that he didn’t know any better himself. he also had a father that wasn’t the most affectionate or expressive. he did not how to express that part.
              and i found it much easier to let go of this ‘thought’ – that my father never approved anything. i found it easier to forgive him, and furthermore, to extend my love to him. as i knew he did the best he could. of course he loved me, i was his only daughter! he just had no idea how to show it.
              we are part of our ancestors, it’s important to not carry on hurtful feelings, negativity, etc. when we make peace with the past, we can create something new and better.

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            23. Being an only child makes the mental abuse you suffered way worse than what I went through. I was the ninth of ten children, so I had some support from my older siblings who were going through the same abuse process. Only my oldest brother never thought he was abused (not the word we used then), but his life showed he was. My sisters had it hardest, they were sexually abused as well as physically and mentally.
              I cannot even imagine going through this on my own. I probably would either have killed him, or killed myself. I am so glad you had someone to ask you that question, and that you had the strength to answer it as you did.
              How my father, and his siblings, were raised, no one can be sure. My paternal grandfather was a man on the run, shacking up with my grandmother, giving her a bunch of kids, then disappearing when the police came looking for him. Grandma never even knew his real name.
              But such is life. We deal with it in the best way we know how, or we give in to it.
              You call yourself a youth, but I don’t believe you. From the way you write I would ,put you at least in your 30s. If I am wrong, I apologize, but really it is a compliment to you. “You are “more mature” than a lot of people older than me, and that says a lot. Whatever you are doing, you are doing something right. Keep it up.
              BTW, keep maturing, but don’t ever become mature. It’s not what it’s cracked up to be. Maintain your youth, which is how I am taking your statement above.

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            24. that’s a terrible thing to go through, and it leaves scars for life. it’s not surprising we have to spend most of our lives just healing what occurs in childhood. sometimes it almost feels absurd to say “well, you gotta let it go and move on”, when wounds go so deep. but the healing can only occur within our own self, and it is for our own benefit. it has little to do with the abuser. trust me, whether this life and another life, we all have to face our our deeds. each action comes back with its equal potency (and this is true in physics, too). but i had another wise friend who told me “Monica, don’t worry about wishing karma for this person. let the universe deal with that”.
              i could keep a clean consciousness, and focus on love, not revenge.

              in this cases, karma comes back not to punish, but because there is no other way for us to learn how not to hurt another, except by experiencing on own our skin. you inevitably find yourself placed in a similar situation. everything leads to learning lessons in love, because the universe (and i’m not the only nutcase supporting this) is held together by this power/force.

              ps i’m 45. and not a day over 15 😅

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            25. Lol over the age.
              I know people love to believe in karma, but karma requires an organized cosmos, some ultra-super being in charge of everything, and I know you look at life through that lens. People love to keep score–as long as someone or something is keeping score, life has justice, and meaning, and probably even an a priori purpose. I used to look at life that way. The older I got, the less sense it made. Now it makes no sense at all. Let me start from the position of reincarnation, which I think you believe in. Reincarnation in the Buddhist sense requires that a lifeforce/being/spirit moves as a whole from incarnation to incarnation to incarnation. Look at the present incarnation of the Dalai Lama. I don’t remember how many incarnations he has gone through, but the spirit is ever the same. Therefore, we have the spirit-beings running all over the universe, with some one keeping track of every action they take or do not take. Whoever the scorekeeper is, the individual spirit itself or an actual disassociated scorekeeper, or “god,” that “spirit” would be spending its whole life keeping track. Joe Blow did this in his last life, so I have to arrange for a similar event to appen to him this incarnation. Perhaps think of a guardian angel. While the angel is busy doingthat, someone would have to be doing the same thing for the angel. You end up having a series of angel-spirits infinitely long, watching over one incarnate being, including while that being is disincarnate. Hundreds of officers watching over 1 soldier.
              I am of course exaggerating for emphasis, maybe, so what is another possibility. The next most rational would be for the individual spirit to keep track of itself. But that means it would have to know beforehand if a certain action or inaction is helpful or harmful. I screwed up here, or I did a god deed there. For the screw-up, I have to arrange for someone else to do that for me. But I already know it was wrong, and why it was wrong, so is there a real need to punish myself for screwing up last life. Naw, makes no sense. And he or she is right, it makes no sense–punishment and reward make no more sense in other levels of life than they do in our reality. I’ll leave that there for now.
              So what do I believe? I believe in chaos. Things happen when they happen not because anyone made them happen, but because events came together that causedthem to happen. When looking for the answer, look at the simplest answer first. Things are seldom as complicated as we humans try to make them. Chaos is simple. An ordered universe or cosmos is extremely complicated.

              Sorry, gotta go. More later, if you are interested.

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            26. Fair enough. And true enough. IF karma is real the next incarnation my spirit is involved will tell the tale. Not that it matters, our lives will be what they will, yea or nay.
              Till next time.

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            27. this is Newton’s third law, for every action there is equal reaction. it applies to everything in the universe. karma literally means ‘action’.
              no-body is keeping score. the action itself activates a response. why reincarnation happens in the first place.

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            28. Again, have to disagree with you. Reincarnation is the embodiment of spirits, providing opportunities to learn how to live a better life, and be a more complete being. If humans are subject to karma, so would be every living being. To evolve through all the varieties of life without life, and then suddenly encounter it as a human, does not seem reasonable, or whatever word you want to use. Remember, all life shares some DNA, so it would be strange if only humans are affected by karma.
              As for Newton, where is the action in karma. You can hate someone without anyone hating you. Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion requires motion, and describes a physical or material world. There is no physicality in the spiritual world, or we would see it here on earth. The best we can do is sense it, In my opinion.

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            29. Simply another time zone. Its 11am here. Your such a modern… Using an artificial measurement on something that doesn’t exist, are we?

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            30. Hi Monica, dismissing the body as nothing but a bag of flesh and bones is a bit harsh, like dismissing one’s car as nothing but a pile of steel and plastic. There is purpose involved and without that “nothing but” you could not have communicated your thoughts here. I agree that “spirit” is omnipresent, I consider it the “force” that animates life. What it is, I don’t know; I don’t think it’s possible to know, perhaps ever and that’s fine by me. Suffice that it is also outside the physical realms, like an ocean surrounding a string of islands whereby one may travel from one to another. There may be “disturbances in the force” like storms upon the ocean, but the ocean remains even if some islands are wiped out by the storms. Hope that makes sense.

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            31. i can be a lil extremist sometimes. in yoga, the body is the tool used to get you to liberation.
              but as we already identify so much with the physical body, the only way to break this illusion is to start to know yourself outside the body, as the consciousness/spirit (whatever name you want to use) that we are.
              repeating in your mind “i am not body, i am not the mind” is a great way to break this illusion. then the real can start to surface by itself

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            32. Why should anyone think of having a body as living in an illusion? It’s real enough. Awareness demands that we see the entire picture and realize it hangs in the gallery and it had a creator. You can’t have a picture made of nothing hanging on nothing. I see my own life as made of spirit, mind and currently embodied in an aging Earthian body. At the end of the body, the mind carries on with its knowledge and if it is self empowered it will retain that knowledge and continue to quest for more, add to it, perhaps reincarnate (in my case once again on Earth) and remember. That’s the key to my kind of life: remembrances which flow into past and future. The real evolution takes place in the mind, not in the physical world or in divinely ordained realities, and I don’t care a whit if this contradicts all of man’s science and religion. As a mind being I don’t need man’s science nor his religious enterprises.

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            33. The illusion is we think we are separate from the whole. The guru would see you as Shiva in drag, searching for your identity lost in the play. That you’ve even convinced yourself you’re not it. He then uses a little chicanery to trick you in to waking from the dream

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            34. I feel like I’m hogging your page here… but, who’s more in the dream? The one who sees things as they actually are, or the one who does not recognize, or does not credit, a part of his reality? If you love someone, sometimes you enjoy hugging them. Have you tried it without your illusory body, Jim? The problem here as I see it is there are those of us who accept the fact that to get from point A to point B 150 miles away, she needs a car. That’s the body. It isn’t an illusion, it’s transportation. How else do you get there? I know I’m not “a” body of course, I’ve always known that, as much as I know that when I’m in my vehicle I’m not the vehicle, just the driver. The assumption seems to be that “I” believe I’m a body. Can we put that to rest? As to being part of everything else, that is also a partial truth, and not very useful at that. Yes, I can recognize that I am in some way part of everything else – but that ends where the self empowered, self aware, self-motivated individual comes into force. I am, independently of any other “I am” that may exist. That’s the beauty and the power of it all, the ability to go it alone, anywhere in the cosmos. “All of it” says it’s all going to the right. I say, I am going to the left. Lo and behold, I go left and the sky doesn’t fall and I’m not terminated for my dissention. It’s the programming and subsequent brainwashing and sundry belief systems that have pushed individuals to give up their power to the “all that is” thinking that to oppose it is to live in dead end misery. It’s quite the opposite. “All that is” is totally dependent on independent, individual thought for its raison d’etre. We can see this happening more and more within Earthian civilization: the more joining, acquiescence and subservience there is, the more things are going to hell.

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            35. the idea of ‘illusion’ exists in many eastern traditions. it reflects the presence of a higher reality which is eternal and outside time, but which remains obscured by this transitory, ordinary state where all things are always changing. that is why this is said to be like a mirage, or illusory.

              this is called ‘maya’ in hinduism and buddhism. not every philosophy abides by this idea, though

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_(religion)

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            36. To each their own, I suppose. I see no point in living in denial of one kind of reality people are familiar with and exist within, while emphasizing another most people have no idea exists and even if they did, would do them no good at all if they replaced their adherence to their physical reality with this ??? one. While “maya” has many meanings, even contradictory, perhaps the best use of “maya” would be for that esoteric “spirituality” that insists on denying this one. It makes no sense to push “maya” against the changing reality of this universe and against those who accept and understand (to a point) the spiritual aspect within life and its, should I say, counterpoint, the physical aspect. Those of us called the walkers between worlds understand the necessity of giving full credence and credit to these aspects of the great and eternal duality inherent to life. Acceptance, not rejection, is the key to understanding life and that key will open an infinite number of doors into infinity. To make it more interesting, some of those doors we recognize as those we once closed against ourselves as we chose the path of reincarnation. Have you ever traveled to a strange new world only to discover that you were known there; that you had family and even possessions and titles you had completely forgotten about? Have you ever been taught to walk between worlds (realities) and the reason for doing so?

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            37. you’re right to say it makes no sense to deny a world you know for a mere idea. maybe i didn’t express that well, either. the purpose (and buddha’s only goal) is the cessation of suffering. desire and ignorance of one’s own true nature are at the root of all suffering, buddha thought, and he came up with his eight-fold path, an almost scientific-method for liberation from suffering.
              i mean, most people develop an interest in spirituality looking for more peace, or happiness, or they feel something isn’t quite right about their picture of the world. but the desire to know truth beyond what we’re being taught is always there.
              hope this helps a bit.😊

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            38. Not sure I was looking for any “help” in these matters, Monica, LOL! If anyone would choose to live the compassionate life, a concept and condition as simple as it is difficult, they would soon realize how it is innate (i.e., constant) selflessness that wipes out pain and suffering. We can engage our own pain and suffering as if that was all important and live in blame and denial, protecting the boundaries of our personal hell – binder dundat! – or we can engage, through compassion, the suffering of a world and live in a kind of freedom of mind that exists beyond the ability to express in any words or languages. It is the “universal” language and few speak it or care to remember it.

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            39. well absolutely. the benefit of ‘awakening’ can be anything from becoming more compassionate towards all beings to liberation from the wheel of birth and death. or whatever one may seek.
              in any case, such figures like the Buddha, Krishna, the Bodhidharma, Lao Tsu are only there to serve as light houses. they have walked the path and left invaluable wisdom. it’s there for all humanity.

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            40. Semantics, Monica. I thought we were going to drop this conversation, I have my ideas, you have yours. Can we not agree to disagree? We found one point of commonality. I’m hoping we can find more.

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            41. it’s just a discussion, rawgod, certainly not a ‘disagreement.’ it’s not necessary for people to agree on things in order to like each other or even love each other.

              but we can certainly drop this topic.

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            42. Feeling somewhat better this afternoon, but still cannot keep food or liquids down. I don’t see how I can have covid, there isn’t a case within a hundred kms of town, and the few times I have had to go out I wore my mask. Still, weirder things have happened. Time will tell. Thanks for caring, Nan.

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