Physics and Mysticism

Where western science meets eastern mysticism—bootstrapping vs intuition

“All this was familiar to me from my research in high-energy physics, but until that moment I had only experienced it through graphs, diagrams and mathematical theories. As I sat on that beach my former experiences came to life; I saw cascades of energy coming down from outer space, in which particles were created and destroyed in rhythmic pulses; I saw the atoms of the elements and those of my body participating in this cosmic dance of energy; I felt its rhythm and I heard its sound, and at that moment I knew that this was the Dance of Shiva, the Lord of Dancers worshipped by the Hindus— Frifjof Capra, The Tao of Physics

In essence the dance of Shiva, a high speed representation of the atomic level—high energy movements, pulsations, and rhythms.

“I was particularly attracted to the puzzling aspects of Zen which reminded me of the puzzles in quantum theory. At first, however, relating the two was a purely intellectual exercise. To overcome the gap between rational, analytical thinking and the meditative experience of mystical truth, was, and still is, very difficult for me.—Frifjof Capra

Mysticism is utilizing what has been experienced, while physics is theorizing, describing, and viewing the fields behind the instruments of what is probable. They have the same descriptions of matter and energy—one through boot strapped logic and rigorous tests, the other through intuition and the meditative arts.

Yet throughout the ages these displays of the cosmic dance are interpreted differently, based on the available language, technology, and culture. How would Black Elk describe this today? “Crazy Horse went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that one—Black Elk

Or the Incas and their depiction of Alpa Camasca, meaning “animated earth”, or the Kofan and their ability to “intuitively” read the vibrations of plants and communicate their usefulness in language and practice—through a special process of seeing the cosmic rhythms.

At the same time, everything is more than it appears, for the visible world is only one level of perception. Behind every tangible form, every plant and animal, is a shadow dimension, a place invisible to ordinary people but visible to the shaman”—Wade Davis, on the people of the Piraparaná, Amazon

So there we have it (there are many more) multiple cultures and even physicists describing a world very different from our normal level of magnification, each pointing to the universe as a unified cosmic dance—a dance without a regulating force.

In other words I feel, no longer a stranger in the world, but that the external world were my own bodybut a very overwhelming feeling that everything that happens, everything that I have ever done, anything anyone else has ever done, is part of a harmonious designthat there is no error at all—Alan Watts

It is probably true quite generally that in the history of human thinking the most fruitful developments frequently take place at those points where two different lines of thought meet—Werner Heisenberg

What about when 10 lines of thought, jungles, and time irrelevant meeting at the doorstep of modern physics? Is that evidence?

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs escaping the faith trap.

242 thoughts on “Physics and Mysticism”

  1. This week I’ve been reading ‘Selling Spirituality: The silent takeover of religion‘ by Jeremy Carrette and Richard King.

    As a result I no longer believe ‘spirituality’ has ever had a coherent meaning in our society, and so arguments like the one between jim and Ark are inherently irresolvable. They aren’t even talking about the same thing.

    However I do think the term is being appropriated as a brand for the sort of shallow, disposable, fad-driven consumer commodities flogged by the self-development, corporate motivation and Mind, Body, Spirit industries, so that’s the meaning (or lack thereof) that now predominates in the Anglosphere.

    So I’m gonna cede the semantic battlefield to neoliberalism. I can’t really hope to establish my preferred definition of the word and still expect to be understood. That’s not how the English language works anyway.

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    1. These “debates” over definitions often remind me of that exchange between Alice and Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass:

      “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

      “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

      “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

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      1. Funny you mention that Ron. Carrette and King quote it in the first chapter. Mind you, I’ve seen it quoted in many semi-scholarly texts since first spotting it in Hofstadter’s Godel, Escher, Bach – which uses Through the Looking Glass as a motif.

        I found a Selling Spirituality very interesting, especially its etymological history of ‘spirit/spiritual/spirituality’. According to Carrette and King, in the pre- and early Christian usage ‘spirit’ was a sort of universalised essence, independent of circumstances, context or individuals. This was the original meaning of ‘Holy Spirit’ (not at all equivalent to ‘Holy Ghost’) and is still retained to some degree in expressions such as ‘the spirit of the law’.

        The individualisation and internalisation of ‘spirit’ developed slowly over the centuries until by the time of the Protestant Reformation it was starting to be used interchangeably with ‘soul’. But the big change occurred as the result of Enlightenment thinking, which imposed firm separation between sacred and secular (especially sacred and secular authority) and began the process of ‘spiritual’ becoming something independent of ‘religious’ or even opposed to it.

        The final step was facilitated by the emergence of psychology, which appropriated ‘spiritual’ to refer to the longing for meaning, purpose and belonging that had become endemic in response to the Enlightenment’s delegitimisation of religion and the Industrial Revolution’s push towards urbanisation, social atomisation and alienation of labour. That opened the door for consumerism – especially the neoliberal form which seeks to enclose and monetise all aspects of the human commons – to turn ‘spiritual’ into a vacuous brand which means almost nothing but can be used to put unenunciated positive connotations on everything from crystal pendants to sales conferences to designer vagina-scented candles.

        So the word has little utility for me. If I want to use it and be understood I’d need to add a long explanation of what I mean. So I might as well ditch the word and try to say what I mean from the outset.

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  2. “Mysticism is utilizing what has been experienced . . .”

    Can you please expand on that, Jim? Or provide examples of how that’s been done?

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    1. Maybe a poor word choice. I knew what I meant when I wrote it. A better choice would be proliferate, nurture, or teaches a method. This has typically been done in many ways in various cultures; vision quest, rights of passage, pharmaceuticals, or for Crazy Horse was sent alone into the mountain. Really extended quiet away from the chatter of everyday life and ideas is enough, as in my case. Now there are schools that attempt it, though not very successful.
      The purpose is to see through the illusion of matter as reality and the illusion that you are a separate entity from your environment.

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      1. I think I understand, and based on what you’ve written (both here and elsewhere) I’m inclined to argue that your definition of spirituality aligns most closely with a transcendentalist view of nature — i.e., it’s something you experience, rather than something you explain. Would that be an accurate assessment?

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        1. Maybe. Your not the first person to align me with Kant lately, although I am unfamiliar with trascendentalism.
          Until recently I had only done my own thoughts, expert free experiment. It was only when someone else said I sounded like a Buddhist did I ever look into the east at all. I don’t know what I am but interested in all the facets of life and their similarities that have spanned time and place.

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          1. Apologies. I didn’t mean to lump you into a specific box labelled “transcendentalist” — it’s just that your Thoreauvian “back to nature” references definitely create a very transcendentalist vibe. Or perhaps I’m biased into reading it that way because I tend to lean in that direction myself.

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            1. I took no offense to it. Earlier on I was called a Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins disciple. I had never read them either. It is amazing what you can do with one continuous line of thought if you have the time.

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  3. I’m intrigued a bit about your Hindu side. Do you ever blog about that?

    https://neurodrooling.wordpress.com/tag/goddess/

    Probably the most accessible ones are “A profession of faithlessness” and “Elucidating the Illusion #2”.

    The most sincere are the Vivekananda poem “Kali the Mother” and my own attempt “Touched by the dancer”, which I originally wrote on the day I first encountered Her. Excuse the puerile, melodramatic eroticism of the latter. I didn’t realise I’d just become a Tantric.

    I’d always been interested in Hindu thinking – along with Buddhism, Taoism, shamanism and the Dreaming of my paternal grandfather. I spent over 4 years in India, mostly trying to understand it (as well as a similar amount of time in neighbouring countries trying to get my head around Buddhism – I almost shaved it and took Vinaya vows).

    Becoming a Shaivite wasn’t an act of considered choice. More like being swept away in a deluge. Rawgod has taken me to task for my ‘faith’ in a deity. I don’t think he understands what faith is; but neither did I until it happened to me.

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    1. A deity such as a person-like spirit, no, I cannot accept that. I do hope I did not offend. I would have to go back over our conversations to see if I understood the depth of what it was you were saying. I do have a tendency to treat most believers in deities or especially theities as similarly based in magical thinking. The word “faith” comes to me from Christianity, with all that horrible baggage burdening it down. If I misunderstood, I ask your forgiveness.

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  4. A further similarity between the ways of the physicist and mystic is the fact that their observations take place in realms which are inaccessible to the ordinary senses and require different language to explain. In modern physics, these are the realms of the atomic and subatomic world; in mysticism they are non-ordinary states of consciousness—The Tao of Physics

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    1. A further similarity between the ways of the physicist and mystic is the fact that their observations take place in realms which are inaccessible to the ordinary senses

      Well, yeah, but you could say the same thing about economists. Their realm is inaccessible both to ordinary senses and ordinary common sense.

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          1. I think of it like, the every day common behaviors of the day. Which reminds me, these are our people. Oh god! We are all on the scale of crazy somewhere

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            1. These are your people. This is a problem IMO, of a generation raised solely on book and tv learning with little practical experience. I’m sure there’s more to it, but not much more.

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  5. Not that this matters to anyone but me, but I was halfway through writing a comment when my tablet crashed, and I lost everything I had written. What it came down to, in its simplest sense, IN MY UNDERSTANDING, is that those who only see with their egos see only physical reality, while those who can set their egos aside and look with their spirits (not souls) are able to at least conceive of a reality behind our egoistic senses. The better they are at silencing their egos, the more they can see of that spiritual reality.
    I am busy with something else at present, but once I finish that project — hopefully next week, I will write a more indepth post of what it is I want to say. I will let anyone interested know by posting the Web address on whatever post is current on the Common Atheist’s blog. (I’s that okay with you Jim?)
    Until then, except for those seeing any gods or creators in the physics of which Jim speaks above, I agree with most of the minds Jim chose to quote, the reality we see is NOT the only reality there is!

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    1. You’re always welcome to share a link.
      We know there are alternate frequencies we cannot detect, so we use instruments to pick up a few more. But that is only a fraction of what those mechanical senses can perceive.

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      1. And it’d be hubristic to assume our mechanical devices can now detect everything going on in a room. It wasn’t that long ago that no-one had a clue radio waves existed. It took longer to discover ionising radiation and longer still to deduce strong and weak atomic forces. Gravitational waves have only been confirmed over the past few years. There’s those who believe the universe is made up mostly of dark matter, though we’re yet to find a trace of that. It seems more than likely there’s forces and effects all around us we don’t even yet suspect. Personally I reckon that will always be the case.

        The more you know the more you know you don’t know. The mystery deepens as it unfolds.

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        1. Absolutely. As I see at the moment with another, he won’t even answer that because it may put into question his rigid stance that he knows everything already.

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      1. What I want it to be, though spirit is a very wishy washy word in English at this time, is the life force that gives us consciousness. In essence, it is what makes you able to think, whereas a rock cannot think.

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          1. Obviously not. Your intellect doesn’t think. Life is energy, yet more than energy. I am not trained in any science, so I doubt I will ever be able to give you the kind of answer you think you can get. Jim inundated you with the thoughts of many famous scientists who were able to see behind the curtain of physical life, but even that was not good enough for you, so there is no way I can tell you. You need to set your ego aside, but I fear you believe you are your ego. As long as you believe that, you can never believe anything else. What Jim gave you was the evidence, it has been around since time immemorial, and everywhere on our planet. It predates religion, and will outlast religion. It is told by mystics, and it is told by scientists, and now it is being told by common folk. Yeah, it sounds esoteric, but no one can force you to see it. You have to be willing to look between the lines of physical life. Nothing more can be said than that.

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            1. Your arrogance is amusing.
              Even more so because your overblown ego considers what you believe to be correct.
              May I suggest you look up the word humility and similar synonyms in a Thesaurus?
              If you are unsure what a Thesaurus is open a dictionary, start from A and work forward until you come to T.

              Have a day.

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            2. I thought so too. If I were arrogant I would not have admitted I cannot use the language of science, meaning the use of equations. I would have pretended I could.
              But I think the gist of the statement was that I feel I am superior because I can set my ego apart from whom I am, while Ark cannot. That is a common accusation by those who do not understand the process. Their own egos attack because they feel belittled.

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            3. Not really, merely a basic understanding of language and the way it is used. Like the condescending way in which you used it in your initial reply.

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            4. You are the one feeling I am being condescending. I am merely stating a condition. How you interpret it is up to you.

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            5. And there you go again…
              If you could demonstrate your belief/view with evidence rather than vague unscientific terms that would be a good start.
              Why not try?

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            6. Wouldn’t it be akin to you being moved by, for example, Hendrix?

              This is where it gets nebulous and entirely individualistic. I get a rush from crafting a good sentence. Odd to most, but not to me. Like an art auction, you can’t say what moves a person (and what they’d be willing to pay for something), but you can *see* it by the dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin flooding their brains.

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            7. ”For me, listening to Hendrix is a spiritual experience.”
              Nah … not something I would ever say, allude to or write.

              It describes absolutely nothing, but implies something … and please excuse me for writing this .. ‘godly’.

              And of course many people would simply hear Hendrix and yell: ”Turn that bloody noise down!”
              🙂

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            8. It describes absolutely nothing, but implies something … and please excuse me for writing this .. ‘godly’.

              Of course it does. Jimi Hendrix was a fuckin’ god. Dionysus unbound.

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            9. Wouldn’t it be akin to you being moved by, for example, Hendrix?

              You’ve inspired me.
              As I type this the headphones are blasting Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) through my skull.
              The hairs on my forearms are up.

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            10. Because I am not well-enough educated in the sciences. I have no way to even start to try. The thing is, Ark, we are not talking about physical reality, science does not work here. Experience does, but not everyone has these experiences.
              Millions of people in this world, probably billions, trust science WITHOUT EVER HAVING DONE THE SCIENCE THEMSELSELVES. For all we know the scientists are all lying, and never did all of the experiments they say they did. Yet you blindly trust them. Why?
              Then along come the mystics, for lack of a better word, and they describe a totally different universe — them you do not trust as far as your nose. Why not?
              To do nothing but demand scientific evidence of something that scientific evidence cannot describe is to be a blind asshole,
              I try to be nice to you, to try to describe the indescribable, but that feeling is not returned in kind. You keep asking the same questions, demanding the same answers. That is not scientific! Open up your eyes. Open up your mind!
              You want to compare mysticism to religion, go ahead. The comparison is in your head. Because you reject religion you reject everything that even remotely resembles religion in your mind. That is your privilege. That does not change anything. Whether you like it or not, the metaphysical world exists, and one day when it shoves it’s “ugly existence” in your face you are going to wonder why you were such an asshole.
              I am not putting you down because you cannot see beyond what your ego allows you to see, so why are you putting those down who can see? Live and let live. Our lives have no effect on you, yet you want everyone to believe as you do. With that attitude Galileo might as well never have looked at the skies. Darwin may as well never have travelled to South America. And Newton may as well never have tried to understand why an apple fell on his head.
              Hell, you may as well go back to believing in a God! Because that is how you represent yourself. You refuse to even take a look, yet you demand no one else look either.
              I am going to go out on a limb here, and admit not all mystics, of whom I do not include myself as my experience is not mystical to me, describe the metaphysical world the same. They interpret their experiences through all kinds of different lenses. But they all agree on one thing, there is a metaphysical world, and they have accessed it. I have accessed it. I am not about to deny my own experience just to please you.
              Until you are willing to try a different approach, stop asking the same questions over and over. You are boring us to death.

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            11. Wigner stated, “The “laws” of physics have little or nothing to say about biology, and especially about consciousness, the most baffling of all biological phenomena. When we understand life and consciousness better, inconsistencies might arise between biology and physics. These conflicts, like the incompatibility of quantum mechanics and general relativity, might imply that physics is incomplete or wrong”. — He continues—”the equations embedded in Newton’s laws of motion, quantum mechanics and general relativity are extraordinarily, even unreasonably effective. Why do they work so well? No one knows. But just because these models work, he emphasizes, does not mean they are “uniquely” true”.
              There are a myriad of potential truths or practical uses for many partial truths, as physics shows us daily.

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            12. There are, and I gladly use them, as long as they help us. When they stop helping us, it is time to look beyond. In many cases, it is already
              time to look beyond, or there will be no “now” to look at, or from.
              Good quote, Jim.

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            13. good for you, rawgod.

              i don’t know why, most often, when the intellect takes over, we often lose our simple kindness in dealing with others. like anybody on their death bed would ever say “I’m so happy I was smarter and understood better than the rest”

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            14. Like a computer, there is no humanness in intellect. If intellect is not tempered by our humanity, we may as well be robots.
              The problem being, many think we are already robots, and even more want us to be.
              Thank you.

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            15. That wasn’t the question. What is physical reality and what is it made of? Isn’t it made of non physical, theoretical particles and energy? At what point or dividing line do these make up physical reality?

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            16. What is physical reality

              We live in it.

              what is it made of?

              Small stuff.

              Isn’t it made of non physical, theoretical particles and energy?

              Is it? What to physicists say?

              At what point or dividing line do these make up physical reality?

              We live in it.

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            17. I am smarter than that and for this reason I won’t pander to your attempts at gotcha woo-drivel.

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            18. Nice try. You’re above the foray! Yay. These are science questions. It’s not gotcha woo drivel at all. Science and philosophy have addressed this problem of matter for years, yet you are afraid to address it. Why?

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            19. “In the Standard Model of particle physics, matter is not a fundamental concept because the elementary constituents of atoms are quantum entities which do not have an inherent “size” or “volume”. Does this help? You might need to unbuckle your safety belt.

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            20. I’m just quoting from the link.
              I read much of it and this struck me as important to our little chat.
              I didn’t notice the terms spirituality/spiritualism or Mystic anywhere in the article.
              Maybe they were there and I missed them?

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            21. The point Ark, which level of magnification are you willing to accept as reality? When you get down to the brass tacks, we get massless theory. No one has ever seen an electron. It’s theory. There is nothing to view as a material or “stuff” that all things are made of. There is only form secondary to the vibrations of energy. This is science, but it is also very Buddhic and Hindu, thousands of years old. In Hinduism there is only form—no matter, no actual physical stuff of any kind. That is where we are with physics. Perhaps we’ll go beyond that phase but not with the current theories.
              It it possible some people see at a different level of magnification? Certainly. Is this spirit? No. Is it complex beyond words? Evidently.

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            22. And what has this to do with Spirituality or Mystic?
              Interpretation. Generally based on the dominant culture, but each experience is described in very similar terms, art, etc.
              One of the reasons Buddhism requires a discipline of its monks is so they have a means to express what they saw, because words are dualistic and difficult to express the magnitude of the experience. The other reason is to give them character. They realize life has no meaning or gods and risk going off the chain crazy. Sometimes they do.
              If youve noticed, the author expressed what he could write, drew pictures, yet remained a physicist. His interpretation of the quantum field was not religious (that’s a bias) but based on his prior experience, which is also biased. Some have a natural ability to see this happening, others try it though methods.

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            23. So you choose to use words that you cannot accurately define, but which do have religious connotations, for something that has no need for such terms?

              How odd.

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            24. Not really odd at all. Those are the terms of the current day. I would think that it would help one be more understanding of his fellow man knowing these things actually happen and what it is. But we never really have much meaningful discussion. Or like infidel says, they are all just stupid and ignorant? I don’t believe that. I wonder how you would explain a quick peek behind the curtain? The Hindus call it Maya. That the life we see is an illusion compared to the whole.
              People all over the world at various times have seen it. Isn’t that evidence it actually happens?

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            25. Those are the terms of the current day.

              And as we have seen these terms are so ill- defined as to be effectively meaningless.

              I would think that it would help one be more understanding of his fellow man knowing these things actually happen and what it is.

              What ”things happen”?

              People all over the world at various times have seen it.

              Seen it? What is ”it”?

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            26. Ark, allow me to give you two definitions, to make your life easier.

              1. Mystical: a vision of Oneness.
              our whole universe started with big bang, from a singularity, out of which all that we see, at some point evolved out of. the mystic is the one that attempts to gain back the vision of unity behind the multiplicity.

              2. Spirituality: the opposite of physical.
              the physical is what we see, the spiritual is the unseen (the essence).
              ie the great oak comes out of a seed that is barely visible, all the human potential is contained in sperm and egg, two small cells. before any building is constructed, it starts with merely an idea (which has no physical matter, yes?)
              our whole lives are based in thoughts, ideas, emotions, desires, hopes and dreams etc, ALL of which, my friend, are UNSEEN and IMPALPABLE.

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            27. Those were pretty easy to understand concepts. Are you separate from the Big Bang and it’s effects?

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            28. You’ve asked repeatedly for someone to define those. Now you handwave a good answer. Why not add something useful? Methinks your afraid to address anything but your belief in atheism, which is obvious

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            29. Now you are being asinine once again and as per usual any credibility you think you may have gained you immediately flush it down the crapper..,

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            30. Of course you would reply in this fashion as it must be frustrating for you that there are people who think your spiritual/mystical meanderings are simply so much blather.

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            31. One synonym for atheism is unbelief. Although the word tends to be tied to the non-existence of “God” or gods, it seems it can also be tied to other areas. And perhaps this is what Jim is getting at.

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            32. It’s not what I’m saying. You’re evasive and have been for sometime to guard your belief. In atheism. No amount of scientific discovery can make you look beyond normal magnification. This is nothing new for you.

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            33. Nope. You haven’t answered the question of the day (only with you vague superficial norm) what level of magnification is acceptable reality, and where does the theoretical non existent waves and energy become matter enough to be reality.

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            34. I responded by asking what scientists assert, you posted the link, I copied and pasted the sentence from the link.

              I suggest you learn to define your terms better and also brush up on what atheism is.

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            35. You construct and reconstruct various moats of avoidance around you. Certain questions you won’t address even after YOU ask them. I wouldn’t think your belief so fragile.

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            36. As a rule I avoid nothing.
              This is your term, not mine. I will often not stoop to responding to asinine comments or idiotic requests or comments that encompass terms that are basically woo drivel trying to mask as ‘reality’.
              Or I may respond with an equally ridiculous reply simply for amusement’s sake,.

              My atheism has absolutely nothing to do with your topic or any of the comments or demands/requests made of me on this thread.

              There are many things that are currently unknown and we can call them mysterious, odd or weird but there is nothing about such phenomena to suggest we must attach meaningless terms just because some people simply cannot deal with the term:
              ”We don’t know(yet)”, leave it at that and then go off and try to fill in the blank spaces of our knowledge without speculating it must all be due to woo-drivel bullshit.

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            37. As a rule I avoid nothing
              Ok then, many moons ago I asked you “what evidence would convince you”?
              I gave mine but you blew me off like I was an idiot. So? This is where your belief in atheism overrides discovery or discussion. If no evidence would convince you, your atheism is now a belief.

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            38. At the time I believe CS was involved and I asked you what evidence would convince you about jesus. You said “nice try”
              What evidence would convince you?

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            39. Are you assuming/taking the position that the character Jesus of Nazareth as described in the bible was a genuine historical figure?

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            40. I, not at all. Simply what evidence would convince you? I gave mine along with the question, but it didn’t satisfy any Christian because the evidence doesn’t lead to that.

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            41. Convince me about what regarding Jesus? That he is claimed to be divine, is God or that he had blue eyes and blonde hair?

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            42. You choose. Is there any type evidence that’d satisfy you? Maybe a newly discovered document or a corroborating discover from another continent that recorded his missing years? Would anything at all be good enough?
              And quit dodging.

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            43. Again, your request is vague.
              Are you referring to the divine/godly claim, or that there was likely someone, an ordinary individual, crucified by the Romans for sedition who is behind the character as described in the bible?

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            44. Take your pick. Ehrman seems to think he was a real character. Is that evidence?
              This isn’t really about Jesus, it is about evidence for anything you would not see with your common senses that isn’t part of the normal everyday facile observations—something enigmatic that many people claim to see.
              The request isn’t vague but your evasive, uber-pedantic and calculated evasion of any meaningful dialog, masked to avoid the question, is. This isn’t hard, so let’s try again:
              Is there anything existing outside your normal perceptions (first dismissed question) and if there were any evidence for a different, underlying reality, not seen with the everyday senses, would that be considered evidence for you?

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            45. Is there anything existing outside your normal perceptions

              I don’t know? What were you thinking of, telekinesis? astral travelling? a cloaking device to hide aliens that may currently walk among us?

              …. a different, underlying reality, not seen with the everyday senses,

              If it couldn’t be measured how would you know it was there?
              If it could be measured/detected then we would have the evidence for it’s existence.

              Re: the bible character Jesus of Nazareth.
              The character as described in the bible is a narrative construct. A work of fiction. And contrary to the whining and pathetic pleading of Christians there is absolutely no evidence to suggest otherwise.
              What evidence would you require to demonstrate Harry Potter really exists?

              That there may have been an individual the bible character was based upon, an itinerant 1st century rabbi crucified by the Romans for sedition is quite plausible. However, on saying this there is also sufficient reason to doubt.

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            46. ”Is there anything existing outside your normal perceptions
              I don’t know?

              Really? Even science knows there are infinite colors and waves outside our normal perception range. We have instruments that can see a few, so let’s be honest here.

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            47. Okay, so there are…. And? They can be measured, yes?
              No need to label it anything that it isn’t.
              What else have you got?
              More to the point, when are you going to acknowledge that what you are trying to ‘import’ has no basis in reality.
              Go read Tildeb’s comment to me. He nailed it and you are left floundering in waffle.

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            48. Whatever. This isn’t a contest. I have to be very guarded in whatever Ideas interest me for the day (just like science). Enjoy your belief. You deserve it, just like every other believer.

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            49. And in the end when shown just how vacuous are your assertions regarding this alternate reality you are so desperate for to be real you resort to petulance.
              As I ‘ve noted before, while you try to retain a measure of credibility you always end up flushing it down the crapper.

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            50. You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.
              There is evidence of this mystical experience that spans time and geography as far back as known history allows. This is evidence.
              We have a Harvard PhD in anthropology and botany that has lived decades recording the experience. (He’s an atheist too) We have physicists that have fallen into the experience. We have unsuspecting bystanders reporting the experience. We have psychedelics reporting the experience, as well as Christians and Buddhist and hindus and shamans and nons, etc, all reporting a common theme. Is this evidence?
              If my measure of credibility is dependent on your opinions, it’s amazing I can still get along just fine in the world with or without them.
              I just find this interesting. You don’t. So what? As usual you’ve added nothing while smugly criticizing other ways of life. You are a poster child of your Intolerance.

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            51. No there is no evidence. Only claims. You are making assertions that are unsupported.

              Why would you consider I should be tolerant of unsubstantiated waffle, anymore than you would be tolerant of a religious fundamentalist making unfounded claims of their faith?

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            52. Your world is very small. I was learning about other ways of life outside of colonization. If you don’t like the topic that’s fine, but you’re being unkind over a part time hobby on a free word press site. What does it matter to you, since I have no credibility?
              No there is no evidence. Only claims
              Anthropology is a science, no? Ethnobotany is a science, no?
              Maybe you should take a trip into the shoes of another culture. The English have pretty much decimated the natural world, and that is the life you embrace. Godspeed

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            53. This has nothing to do with colonisation.
              What a dickhead thing to write?
              Stop whinging, it is unbecoming of a grown man.
              Oh, and screw your god and the donkey he rode into town on.

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            54. What’s a whinging? You essentially stated there was no donkey by saying jesus didn’t exist, so your slur is meaningless claim with no evidence.

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            55. The character as portrayed in the bible didn’t exist, obviously.

              You are whinging that your mystical fluff piece has been so easily shown up for what it is.
              Oh, and trying to bait me about the British Empire ”dontcha know, what? ” is funny, but somewhat like you pissing in the wind I’m afraid.
              Here, have a tissue. You have a bit of wee-wee on your chin there, old sport.

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            56. I have no agenda but to do a thorough and fair investigation of a major concept. I think I’ve given it a fair shake.
              Since all of this is unsupported claims, in your opinion, what are these people seeing when they have this “mystical experience”?

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            57. I have no agenda but to do a thorough and fair investigation of a major concept. I think I’ve given it a fair shake.

              And been found wanting.

              Since all of this is unsupported claims, in your opinion, what are these people seeing when they have this “mystical experience”?

              I have no idea. What does the evidence tell us?

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            58. You have no idea, but have enough faith in your atheism to criticize and badger the host? Internet troll, perhaps?
              You “don’t know”, so why all the participation without supporting your bias handwaving with evidence? Is this a threat to your beliefs?
              You are the one with the problem here. Only a true believer™️ would get so pissy over a discussion you know nothing about. This is amazing.

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            59. And there you go being a dick with your atheism nonsense.
              Are you truly so ignorant or are you merely taking the piss?

              You have no idea,

              Correct. I have no idea (what are these people seeing when they have this “mystical experience”)
              You wrote the blog post. I challenged your assertions.
              You have failed to provide evidence.
              And now all you are doing is whining.
              This isn’t my problem, but yours.
              Strap on a pair, as you Americans say,
              and present evidence.

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            60. I thought you might have an idea of your own. I was wrong and that was an unsupported claim. You don’t know, but you do know.
              Your a believer. Wow. Name calling, unsupported claims, pissing your ass all over my pages for days and say I’m whining? Hahahaha. JB, is this you?

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            61. “I don’t know” IS answer, smart arse, and an honest one to boot. Which is more than can be said for the arrogant nonsensical waffle you have been prattling on about.

              When you have the integrity to admit you have no evidence for all this then further interaction might be more productive?

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            62. Why is it you always assume the worst, as do a couple of others. I present an idea and I always defer to an eventual scientific explanation. Every time. Every one of your interactions here have done nothing to present an explanation. I don’t think these folks are stupid, Ignorant, or liars, so maybe there is an explanation? All you do is name call and criticize about something you readily admit you know nothing about—just that it’s bullshit.
              I’m certain there is an explanation, but obviously I won’t find it here.
              The evidence I presented doesn’t satisfy you. Understood, but it certainly is a compelling premise when different cultures have presented the same story again and again, even though one didn’t know the other. To me that is evidence of something I don’t quite understand.
              I guess the difference between you and me is I respect the many ways of being human. You don’t. And that’s just the only way it could be.

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            63. You have presented no scientific explanation at all. Neither have you presented evidence. Perhaps it might be better if you swot up on these terms and come back when you properly understand them?
              To recap. Spiritual/spiritualism, mystic/mystecism have no evidence to support the claims they make.

              Evidence please. It’s a straightforward request.

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            64. The burden has really fallen in your court because of your approach. I presented claims that many have made. I do not understand the physiology of it and I’m ok with that. On the other hand again, you don’t know but do know it’s bullshit. Prove it.

              Liked by 1 person

            65. People present claims all the time: the moon is made of cheese, jesus walked on water, “penis enlargement pills really work!!!” .
              Hmmm… Maybe the moon is made of cheese, hey Jim?
              The burden is always on the one making the claim. You know this so why are you whinning that the ball is now in my court?

              I realise you may feel some sort of affinity with the spirit world (sic) and
              I am sometimes intrigued by a good mystery like anyone else. Loved Daniken as a teenager.
              But in this case my ouija board is staying firmly locked in the cupboard.
              And thank the gods for that!
              😊

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            66. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m getting REALLY tired of this senseless exchange between Ark and Jim. I like BOTH individuals so the bombardment of insults being flung at each other is disturbing, to put it mildly.

              While I personally feel that Jim is censoring himself to some degree, BOTH OF YOU are acting like two little boys taunting each other on a schoolyard.

              Enough already!!

              Liked by 2 people

            67. All I want is Jim to show some integrity and present evidence for the claims he is making and the “alternate reality” allusions he continues to posit.

              None of us accept this type of nonsense from the religious crowd yet there is a tendency to bend over backwards to accomodate such woo driven ideas from others.
              And now I am reading about the English and how naughty they were as colonialists ( like this was a big shock to moi – so dreadfully upsetting as you can imagine), and my atheist “beliefs”, and why “I don’t know” won’t cut it as a reply.
              It’s like having to wade through the type of dross we were served by Mel.

              It’s all weird – yes.
              But this is no grounds to start presuming we are dealing with some sort of alternate reality beyond human perceptions.

              “Hello, Grandad, are you there? Granny wants to know where you hid her pension book and was it you that broke the pink China dog with the bone in it’s mouth and the constipated expression?”

              Sigh..

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            68. “But this is no grounds to start presuming we are dealing with some sort of alternate reality beyond human perceptions”—then why are people claiming there is?

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            69. I don’t know. People claim things all the time. Some people claimed an itinerant rabbi came back from the dead. People will claim all sorts of weird shit.
              Sometimes people will put aside all critical thinking and even believe such things. I know, really dumb. But that’s people for you.

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            70. The entire post listed many claims. At the end it posed a question. Maybe you should read the post before commenting? You are dead wrong here and blathering still…

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            71. Ark, it’s naive to rely on so called proofs. nobody knows if string theory is true yet it seems to explain everything. nobody can prove that it’s true and it seems likely that no one will be able to prove that in the foreseable future. still, it’s the most sophisticated theory ever conceived.

              in science, every theory has always been superseeded and subsumed by a larger theory with ontological consequences. ~ us, mystics, can understand a lil science too

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            72. you know what i think, Ark, i think you’re jealous that people are talking about things you have no clue about, and you wished you knew. so you’re just jumping in and creating much noise like the jealous kid who gets left out of the party! i think intuitively you know there’s more to life than meets the eye, but you can’t figure it out. why your strong reaction to 6 letters put together!

              Liked by 1 person

            73. i think you’re jealous that people are talking about things you have no clue about,

              There are probably zillions of blog posts discussing things I know zip about.

              For example: You won’t find my avatar on blogs about gynaecology, Albanian cooking, Justin Bieber, shearing sheep, cross-dressing, or fly-fishing or the mating ritual/habits of the Okapi to name a few oh-so-popular topics.
              I realise it will probably come as a big shock to you, but I actually don’t suddenly develop a jealous rage and throw a tantrum at the thought of all the fun things under discussion on such blogs that I would likely be excluded from.

              And based on your comments it is apparent that you have no clue what you are talking about!

              i think intuitively you know there’s more to life than meets the eye,

              Betcha fifty bucks you are unable to explain what this means.

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            74. right now, it’s like this, Jo’burg man: you are happily swimming on top of an ocean and then someone comes up to the surface and says “hey guys, there is a bottom down there. come and see!”

              and your repsonse is “you’re f*** crazy! there is no bottom to this ocean.
              show me the EVIDENCE !”

              capisce??

              Liked by 1 person

            75. Right now it’s throwing it down with glorious rain and after an uneventful, but relaxing day I am going to have dinner and watch highlights of Liverpool’s 5 – 0 demotion of Manchester United.

              Maybe, afterwards, I’ll watch a doccie about what it’s like to take a submarine journey to the bottom of the ocean?
              You know… With evidence?

              Liked by 1 person

            76. I have a few. I’d like to think honesty was one and while also having an open mind I retain enough of my marbles not be bamboozled with BS.

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            77. Ark, you are not here to join the discussion. you are empty of insights and empty of any wisdom. you are only here to cause disruption, because you don’t know any other way except contradiction and bully. and for all your intelligence, i never heard a smart word come out of your mouth. vacuous insipidity

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            78. Vacuous insipidity is trying to shoehorn terms for which you cannot accurately define into mainstream thought and usage in a feeble attempt to give them credibility.

              When you write a truly thought provoking, intelligent comment rest assured I will treat it with the respect it deserves and respond likewise.

              As for my involvement here. It is an open blog. I enjoy the interaction.
              Jim is free t ban me if he so chooses.

              Liked by 1 person

            79. Like the term god, spiritual or spirit is probably the terms you most ask clarification on over and over in the five years I’ve known you. Shouldn’t be that foreign to you. Maybe you should form a definition to your liking.

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            80. When atheism becomes your belief it shuts out all other possibilities, even probabilities. Just the exact same way belief in Jesus does. Real atheism is a lack of belief in gods or deities. Belief atheism shuts out even probable explanations to the point of belittling peoples comments and ridicule. Tildeb is in the same boat, as well as infidel.
              I would think you’d at least appreciate religion as it supports evolution and our current, best chance at survival. Belief makes one fight, fighting makes one strong. Makes me wonder who’s in charge here. It certainly isn’t our effort. Things are exactly as they could be, given the tools we have.

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            81. Atheism is not my ‘belief’ . Stop being a Dickhead. As Pink asked, are you smoking dope again?

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            82. Spirituality is a meaningless term.

              ‘Red’ is a meaningless term to someone blind from birth.

              But it’s funny to read this comment immediately after reading this.

              https://psyche.co/ideas/psychedelics-show-religion-isnt-the-only-route-to-spirituality

              This narrative proceeds from the assumption that spirituality is centrally about a belief in something transcendent ‘out there’ – but not everyone thinks this way. Indeed, psychedelics cast an important philosophical question into sharp relief: does spirituality require belief in a ‘supernatural reality’? Or are the dimensions of life we call ‘spiritual’ also accessible to philosophical naturalists – those who believe that the natural world is all that exists? While doctrinaire religion has traditionally maintained a stranglehold on practices that allow us to explore a deeper domain beyond the surface of the everyday, psychedelic evidence and philosophical reflection show that this monopoly is unnecessary.

              Liked by 1 person

            83. ‘Red’ is a meaningless term to someone blind from birth.

              So would the term ‘spirituality’ be more or less meaningful to a blind person?

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            84. exactly! it is all very staright forward.

              before anything appears in the physical, it exists in quantum field. no need for gods, no need for woo and hocus-pocus. it is pure POTENTIALITY.

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            85. before anything appears in the physical, it exists in quantum field.

              Does it?
              And what has this to do with spirituality and mystical?

              Liked by 1 person

            86. you have to drop your pre-conceived ideas about what these terms have to mean.
              you just create friction where there doesn’t need to be any friction.

              let harmony enter you! 😂

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            87. So would the term ‘spirituality’ be more or less meaningful to a blind person?

              Obviously if they’re blind to spiritual experience it would mean no more to them than ‘red’ would to someone who’s blind to visual experience.

              Or to use a slightly different metaphor from the article I linked to –

              As the psychedelic pioneer James Fadiman said in 2005 of his first encounter with LSD: ‘my disinterest in spiritual things was as valid as a 10-year-old’s disinterest in sex: it came out of a complete lack of awareness of what the world was built on.’

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  6. I reckon if you explore anything rigorously enough – whether through objective, subjective, rational, empirical, whatever, methods – you’ll eventually hit the limits of dualistic thinking and start reaching into the arena of non-dualistic radical monism for your answers. Symbolic language is inherently dualist, so it becomes a very limited tool.

    Without being able to use language to directly describe what they’re examining people tend to use similar devices and metaphors to try to communicate their insights and discoveries. It’s not that particle physics and Hindu cosmology are talking about the same things. They’re having the same problems with language in trying to describe them. Because Hindu non-dualism and mysticism were dealing with those problems centuries before most other fields of inquiry they developed the richest toolkits for working on them.

    Then people like Fritjof Capra and Gary Zhukov come along and reify the metaphors to fit into their own concrete, dualistic thinking modes. They end up with very similar sounding things and conclude that those fields are actually making similar discoveries. They’re not. The only things they’ve discovered in common is that dualism has its limits and language is dualistic.

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    1. I should probably put my cards on the table and admit I am a Shaivite. Kali is my Mahadev.

      I’ve also got a physicist ancestor who famously said, “In my opinion true Science and true Religion neither are nor could be opposed”.

      And I’m non-dualist. I believe in a fundamental, inexpressible unity of all.

      But I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by blurring different systems of thought and ways of knowing to the point where they become indistinguishable from each other. At best it’s committing category error. At worst it’s the sort of dumbed-down ontological appropriation that characterises much New Age thinking. So you prefix your preferred brand of woo with ‘quantum’ and pretend it’s endorsed by Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr. Chopraism.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you. I think a physicist who had a mystical experience would be as close to a culmination of disciplines as we could get. Of course we have to consider the anchoring biases as a a potential skew in the process. I don’t ask questions I know the answer to. I am very intrigued with Hindu thought and how others see the world. Thank you for your candor. Interesting background, and Sir John William Strutt? My genealogy is common outlaws and murderers. Haha.

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        1. Sir John William Strutt? My genealogy is common outlaws and murderers. Haha.

          Yeah, but I’m definitely from the dissolute side of the Rayleigh barony.

          My nearest noble-born relative was expelled from all the best schools in England before his family connections secured him a plum job on a merchant cutter. He first jumped ship in San Francisco but got his job back before jumping ship for good in Auckland. He later migrated to Australia with his new Irish-born wife who was likely a sex worker – though some in my family insist she merely shared a name with someone who had multiple prostitution convictions in New Zealand. And that’s just my Dad’s side.

          My mother’s wealthy Anglo-Australian landowning ancestor married an Aboriginal woman, which was even more disreputable than marrying a prostitute (though it seems my great-great grandma was widely respected by the well heeled whites of the colony). That side of my family makes up for what it lacks in scientists, inventors and alcoholics with artists, mystics and lunatics.

          I don’t know of any common outlaws or murderers I can claim as kin, but that’s probably down to lack of opportunity. Plenty of them joined the military and killed people in a respectable manner.

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          1. My grandma was raised in the purple gang. Both my mothers father, and next, step father were beheaded by rivals.
            There are more from the Wild West. Grandma did keep a lot of secrets until she died at 99.
            My dads side was Mormon. My great uncle was John D Lee of mountain meadow massacre fame. I have a picture of him sitting on his coffin waiting to be executed.
            It’s an interesting life we lead, all civilized now….

            Liked by 1 person

            1. My great uncle was John D Lee of mountain meadow massacre fame. I have a picture of him sitting on his coffin waiting to be executed.

              Ouch.
              I didn’t realise any of them eventually faced ‘justice’. Thought old Brigham Young kept their arses well covered.

              So did Lee dress up like a Native American and join the jolly slaughter of women and older children?

              Liked by 1 person

  7. Why don’t we let the scientists speak for themselves? Here’s a compilation spiritual insights from scientists, including some of the greatest physicists of all time. If anyone assumes that spirituality and science are incompatible, this compilation of quotes will hopefully demonstrate that is not an accurate assumption.

    “The day science will start to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence” ~ Nikola Tesla

    “Whenever I give a lecture on quantum physics, I feel as if I am talking on Vedanta. I studied matter for the last 35 years, only to find out that it does not exist!”
    ~ Hans-Peter Dürr
    (world-renowned nuclear physicist)

    “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    ~ Max Planck
    (Originator of quantum theory, which revolutionized human understanding of atomic and subatomic processes; Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918)

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.
    The total number of minds in the universe is one. In fact, consciousness is a singularity phasing within all beings.
    Consciousness is never experienced in the plural, only in the singular. Not only has none of us ever experienced more than one consciousness, but there is also no trace of evidence of this ever happening anywhere in the world.”
    ~ Erwin Schrödinger
    (One of the founders of quantum theory; developed a number of fundamental results; Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933)

    “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.
    If you look into the subatomic realm, you discover that our world consists of spiritual structures of incredible beauty.”
    ~ Werner Heisenberg
    (One of the key pioneers of quantum mechanics; Winner of the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics)

    “Thought is creating divisions out of itself and then saying that they are there naturally.
    Deep down the consciousness of mankind is one. This is a certainty; and if we don’t see this, it’s because we are blinding ourselves to it.
    The notion that we are all separately existent fragments is evidently an illusion, and this illusion cannot do other than lead to endless conflict and confusion.”
    ~ David Bohm
    (one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century; contributed unorthodox ideas to quantum theory & neuropsychology)

    “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.
    If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.”
    ~ Niels Bohr
    (Made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922)

    “Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.
    Time does not exist – we invented it. Time is what the clock says.
    Time and space are not conditions in which we live, but modes by which we think.
    The more I learn of physics, the more I am drawn to metaphysics.
    I’m not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books.”
    ~ Albert Einstein
    (Developed the theory of relativity – one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics); won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921)

    “The laws of nature are written by the hand of God in the language of mathematics.”
    ~ Galileo Galilei
    (Considered the “father of observational astronomy”, even “father of modern physics / science”; made major contributions to the fields of physics, astronomy, cosmology, mathematics and philosophy)

    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”
    ~ Isaac Newton
    (Key figure in the scientific revolution; laid the foundations of classical mechanics; formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation that formed the dominant scientific viewpoint; widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time)

    “My brain is only a receiver, there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.
    The Buddhist expresses it in one way, the Christian in another, but both say the same: We are all one.”
    ~ Nikola Tesla
    (Electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist; considered one of the greatest inventors in history; sometimes regarded as the most outstanding genius of all time; Einstein once called him the most intelligent person on the planet)

    “Looking for consciousness in the brain is like looking inside a radio for the announcer.”
    ~ Nassim Haramein
    (Physicist; Founder of groundbreaking theories, published papers and patented inventions in unified physics, which are now gaining worldwide recognition and acceptance)

    “We have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world.
    At our death the brain goes, but divine guidance and love continues.
    Science and religion are very much alike. The appearance of a conflict is a result of ignorance.
    I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity. This belief must be classed as a superstition.”
    ~ John Carew Eccles
    (Neurophysiologist who won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the synapse)

    “A bit of science distances one from God, but much science nears one to Him.
    The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.”
    ~ Louis Pasteur
    (Influential microbiologist and chemist; one of the most important founders of modern bacteriology and medical microbiology)

    “In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God.
    I may say that the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving that this immense and wonderful universe, including our conscious selves, arose as the result of blind chance or necessity, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a first cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a theist.”
    ~ Charles Darwin
    (Revolutionary naturalist, biologist and geologist; best known for his contributions to the science of evolution)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think part of the schism is imagining god as a deity or supreme being with some type of character. That isn’t what we find when we end-around Hebrew thought.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Although the above quotes demonstrate scientists can have religious/spiritual views, I would caution against drawing the conclusion that their views have any substance or lend any weight to the matter. Because being a master in one field or subject does not translate to being a master in all.

      Moreover, Newton’s Arian beliefs in a theistic God are incompatible with Pasteur’s Trinitarian beliefs in the same God and completely out of sync with Einstein’s pantheistic views of the universe. IOW, they can’t all be correct simultaneously, so their position on “spiritual” matters rests solely on personal predilections and speculation rather than empirical evidence.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. hello Ron, of course they are all their own speculative perspective of what divinity is. until one has a direct experience of That (which hundreds of spiritual masters have had across milenia) all we have is speculation.

        these quotes show that regardless how much science discovers, there is always an elusive ‘unexplained’ present in the background that cannot be touched by mere scientific method.

        there will never be empirical evidence for ‘god’ or consciosuness just as there cannot be empirical evidence for ‘Being-ness’. we know it exists only by the very fact of its existence.

        Liked by 1 person

            1. You can never find it because you is it. This is what the mystical experience in its completeness reveals. One consciousness, many apertures.

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            2. john, you pay attention to any thought that comes to your mind. you act like an “observer” of your self.

              if you are in a position to watch your thoughts… are you then your thoughts??
              if not, then, who/what are you?

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            3. First of all, you beat the game!—Neo. Secondly, it creates a level of self respect for everyone and everything like it’s your own body, which it is (even scientifically). This realization of the Self and that the world is all your doing, nothing is in error whatsoever. It also solves the problem of evil. Everything that you do is done to you (the real meaning of karma, “it is your doing”. There is no one to blame for anything whatsoever. It engenders personal responsibility.
              Even the New Testament teaches this principle of oneness. Jesus didn’t think his situation peculiar to himself, but thought it was a method to be taught—that they may realize who and what they are and bring “heaven on earth” But they decided to anoint Jesus as the only one and wrecked christianity right out of the gate. They never understood his gospel. Only him, no more!
              IMO there are two ways humanity can beat the game. One is to beat it by the methods of awakening (not beliefs) the other is to blow ourselves up. I think the latter is the most likely scenario. But either way the Tao is unaffected and life will one day return as it has in the past. No god or gods, just as it always has been.

              Liked by 1 person

        1. Ok. But if there is no empirical evidence for the aforementioned things, how are we to move forward? By that I mean, if we can’t even come to a formal agreement on the terminology being used, how are we to gain any insights into what’s actually being proposed? Because to my pragmatic mind all this talk about spirituality and mysticism never seems to rise beyond the realm of idle talk and mental masturbation.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I think in all the world and it’s varieties, that you fit Ron just right. It is the struggle that has made the world what it is (we’re improving)
            I think there is evidence as I listed common experiences over time, culture, and distance. That never happened with Christianity. If you are interested in more, look inward and take a month off the web and retreat into solitude. Life is not what it appears to be on the surface. Even the physicist knows this.
            You are your own authority. Do whatever interests you.

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            1. I think you meant to reply to John or monicat,, because I’ve not only spent a lot of time outdoors exploring nature, but firmly seek out every opportunity to do so.

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          2. Ron, when it’s only talked about, of course spirituality is useless. just like learning how to play piano, it is all about practice. that’s why monks join monestaries and spend years following very strict and rigurous routines. some wake up at 4am and cram meditation, scripture studies, chores and god knows what else in their day. telling you, it ain’t easy nor fun!

            the Buddha set down his step-by-step path, The Noble Eightfold Path, that leads to liberation and buddhists have been following this path since 500BC. (liberation means no more birth)

            of course, we can’t all become monks. but there are numerous practices that lead to transformation. some people simply want to become more peaceful or happier, whatever. others want to reach liberation. regardless of the goal, discipline is key to any spiritual practice, and the more you put in it, the more results one sees. like everything else, really.

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  8. This isn’t something that I have much insight into… in Judaism, the most popular form of Jewish mysticism is Kabbalah, and even among the most traditional religious Jews, there is a spectrum of views regarding its legitimacy… Orthodox Jews of “Lithuanian” descent tend to look elsewhere for wisdom, whereas Hassidism tends to look towards mysticism for guidance in understanding the world and all of existence.

    According to Jewish mystics, all of the Jewish commandments that we’re supposed to follow have mystical results when we do “as we’re supposed to.” The idea is that our world is full of sparks of holiness, it is incumbent upon us to “unify” these sparks by engaging in religious practices. This isn’t something that I believe.

    That said, I very open to the idea that there is something more to the world that what I can sense. I have no problem with the concept of everything being connected by some energy that I cannot perceive. My father who was a very rational and academic thinker did not believe in God as such, but he was open to the possibility that we’re all somehow connected by a force beyond our comprehension. Who know? I do like the idea…

    -David

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you David. Ilike the idea as well. What I find most interesting about this is the common thread found in cultures around the world separated by oceans and time. Core shamanism has been an interest of mine for a while.

      Like

    2. I think maybe the most developed secular version of that tradition of Jewish though came from Baruch Spinoza.

      While he didn’t equate his cosmology with mysticism and explicitly rejected some tenets of Kabbalism he still embraced substance monism and a panentheistic (rather than pantheistic as some of his critics have alleged) view of the cosmos that reflected the limitations he’d discovered in the more traditional dualistic ‘monotheism’ of the Abrahamic religions.

      “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.” – Albert Einstein

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “Religion has run out of justifications. Thanks to the telescope and the microscope, it no longer offers an explanation of anything important. Where once it used to be able, by its total command of a worldview, to prevent the emergence of rivals, it can now only impede and retard–or try to turn back–the measurable advances that we have made.”
    Christopher Hitchens
    god is not Great
    How Religion Poisons Everything.

    He reminds me that with today’s technology we have no excuse to subject ourselves to the imagination and manipulation of religious parasites.

    In the final paragraph:
    “We have first to transcend our prehistory, and escape the gnarled hands which reach out to drag us back to the catacombs and the reeking altars and the guilty pleasures of subjection and abjection.”

    I have found that most of my thoughts on these things have already been put into writing by competent men and women right through the course of history. My comments must be borrowed from these sources.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What measured advances have we made besides a few gadgets and polymers? How do you grow your hair? What seems simply is, right up until you start to investigate it. Nothing is explainable. We know a few tricks, that’s all. And it may be our demise.

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  10. The mistake being made by many is that there is a “reality” beyond what we experience. There is not. There are myriad realities, however, because each organism experiences the environment it is in differently. Jesus bugs walk on water and no miracle is claimed. It is normal for them. Dragonflies see in thousands of different colors, because their eyes are vastly different from ours. Deer are colorblind. So, we see differently, but what is seen is not the source of the difference, the mechanism of seeing is.

    Wishful thinking is involved here. I want there to be a land where everything is perfect or my dead loved ones live with neither pain nor effort, or . . . or. . . .

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Not sure how this is wishful thinking. It has nothing to do with afterlife wishes or absolving pain, but that everything is already perfect as it’s isness is. One see it through a microscope, the other is difficult to explain, but has proven very useful. Bohr, Heisenberg, Tesla, and Oppenheimer would disagree with you.

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        1. In the traditions of Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism it is generally a system of deconstructing beliefs to obtain clarity of what actually is. One cannot see through the clutter of belief. That union or absorption into the cosmic whole or the absolute, may be attained through contemplation, though it generally comes as a surprise or to anyone at all.
          While there are many methods, the results and descriptions are linked across time immemorial.
          That is my understanding of this. How it links to physics doesn’t require any special knowledge. That much is obvious

          Liked by 2 people

          1. In the traditions of Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism it is generally a system of deconstructing beliefs to obtain clarity of what actually is.

            What does ”actually is” mean, exactly?

            Liked by 2 people

            1. What actually is? What you typically see now, and the foundation of that normally observed, physical world is generally unseen to the common senses. Those electrical fields that spawn evolution and the changing rhythms of life.
              This experience did not undermine his physics, but enhanced his characterization of how knowledge is obtained.

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            2. Those electrical fields that spawn evolution and the changing rhythms of life.

              What electrical fields ”spawn(ed) evolution”?
              And what has this to do with mysticism?

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            3. This might require some reading on your part. That is a paraphrase from the book. You may have to imagine for a moment that everything you ever believed is ridiculously superficial (on the surface)
              I am not ready to easily dismiss physics, Harvard botanists, or those who employ these practices. They were intrigued at the level of expertise he encountered through the shamanism of the Amazon and elsewhere.
              They learned by tapping into this non-ordinary view behind the curtain.
              They all virtually say the same thing, and there is no boss at the top making it all happen.
              The Tao of Physics would be a good read for you.

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            4. To shorten a previous answer, it would be a method to view the sub-material world without the microscope.

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            5. I’ve been stating for quite some time that belief (it doesn’t matter what kind) is the imagery that blocks ones ability to see things as they are—a unified whole) Many have succeeded in transcending belief mode and have tried to record what they saw or see, but it isn’t by trying. Trying is using muscular strain on a neuron. It isn’t the best way to learn anything.
              For some it was a way of life. For others it’s accidental. Historically the vision quest (Crazy Horse) or the right of passage was enough time away from the chatter of civilization to see it.
              There are schools of thought and gurus if you need help, but it is a personal achievement that requires no doctrine or dogma.

              Liked by 1 person

            6. This doesn’t really answer my question; in fact it merely complicates the proces.
              Try to offer a more succinct explanation if you can. Something simple and straightforward would be appreciated
              Thanks

              Liked by 1 person

            7. Do you believe there are frequencies of light, sound, and particles of matter that cannot be seen with the common senses?

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            8. So you aren’t going to answer the question?
              Yet again you resort to deflecting. Immediately you do this one tends to wonder what your real motivation is when you post.

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            9. If you can’t answer (won’t) a quick and simple question, who is the one with “real motivation”? Part of your problem is you assume I have motivation other than the questions themselves. If you can’t participate in a reasonable fashion (refuse a simple question because you know exactly a truthful answer will put your atheism in question) shows you have no confidence nor any valid argument.
              The biggest hurdle you and Tildeb posses is you believe in quantum mechanics but live your life in the Newtonian world, yet that isn’t the way the world is, and every single physicist know this.

              Liked by 1 person

            10. You behaved in a similar manner on you farm workers / ethics post.

              I ask a simple straightforward question and to get you to offer a similar answer is more difficult than pulling hens’ teeth.

              If you cannot explain what you are writing about in a simple straightforward manner then you probably don’t understand what you are talking about.
              Or you do understand what you really mean and are being somewhat disingenuous on purpose to avoid answering (my) question.

              So, if you want me to engage in a civil manner then have the decency to answer the question I asked and I will be more than happy to answer the one you posed to me.
              Fair enough?

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            11. I did answer the question as I have done before, yet apparently you ask and want a specific answer. I can explain it again but I can’t make you understand it.
              As in the farm worker post, you consistently misinterpret statements to your own liking then accuse me of being disingenuous. I’m more careful today, and now it’s taken you several comments to gently get to where you need an upper hand. Have at it. I have no motive other than to post alternative ideas that caught my interest.

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            12. Wrong again. I asked you to simplify your answer, make it straightforward, and you replied

              with a question

              So, go back, read my question again provide a simply straightforward answer.
              It isn’t difficult.
              It is simply a question of how much you really want to clarify your view without resorting to ”strange language” as Nan wrote.

              Have a go….

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            13. I don’t trust your motives any longer. They delve into accusations time and again. You are just way too smart for me. You are the one with the motive. Yet again you’ve added nothing to the discussion.

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            14. Jim, once again, you demonstrate your lack of ‘street cred’ over on Nan’s post and Tildeb has called you on it.

              There are a great many things we don’t understand. Once upon a time we didn’t understand the mechanisms of disease.
              But there is no ‘woo’ involved merely temporary ignorance.

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            15. I don’t claim any street cred nor do I care if Tildebs one sided monotone rants effect you all warm and fuzzy. You have an agenda, I do not. That is probably why a large variety of different people and backgrounds participate here. I am all inclusive to even you. Everything is exactly as it could be, Though your “gotcha” moments are getting tiresome. Yet again, you’ve offered nothing.

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            16. The fact that I don’t hide my emotions here nor do I withhold random thoughts and things I ponder “diminish my street cred”, I hold the line on me being me which may be to open for you to handle. These are ideas that I post based on things I’m exposed to. I read this book many years ago as a believer. I have a much different opinion of it now, but it doesn’t mean anything. Next week I will write something pure atheism so you can be comfortable.
              Maybe in the future you could add a rebuttal or idea of you own?

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            17. I don’t want you to validate anything, I simply want you to be honest enough and answer the question.
              You obviously believe I have an ”agenda” so what do you think it is?

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            18. I think jim is talking about Kant’s Das Ding an sich, or ‘Thing-in-itself’. If you’re after a precise and comprehensive definition, try Prologemena to Any Future Metaphysics. It’s a bit more concise and accessible than Critique of Pure Reason.

              While Kant’s formulation is subject to strong criticism I think it’s pretty uncontroversial to assert a sizable – perhaps unbridgeable – gap between reality and our perceptions of it. If you do a youtube search on “Donald Hoffman” you’ll see some pretty strong evolutionary and cognitive arguments as to why.

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            19. I have no truck with metaphysics

              Kant had no truck with the metaphysics of his day, which is why he set out to strip down the entire discipline and put what was left on a more robust footing. Whether he succeeded is a matter for debate.

              But Donald Hoffman doesn’t even rely on metaphysics for his conclusions. He’s a cognitive scientist, neuroscientist and computer scientist who uses hard evidence from those fields alongside computer modelling of natural selection processes to demonstrate that it’s vanishingly unlikely that human beings perceive even a semblance of reality. We’re mechanisms for surviving and reproducing, not for understanding the fundamental workings of the cosmos, and neither our sensory organs nor our brains are equipped to facilitate that.

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            20. He considers consciousness separate from the brain, yes?

              No.
              He considers the physical brain to be dependent on perceptual consciousness rather than visa-versa.

              It’s simple empiricism. We only perceive things by virtue of our consciousness. Take away consciousness and there’s no longer any evidence for matter or energy. So Occam’s razor would suggest subjective conscious mind is primary and objective physical substance is emergent. Mind isn’t created by body; body is created by mind.

              That tradition of thought is called panpsychism and is present in many cultures, traditions and knowledge disciplines across the world and throughout history.

              The most prominent philosopher of consciousness in the world today, David Chalmers, also promotes panpsychism. He doesn’t hold it out as a definitive answer or basis for ontology but notes it’s one of the very few conceptual frameworks that can successfully address ‘the hard problem of consciousness’.

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            21. He considers the physical brain to be dependent on perceptual consciousness rather than visa-versa.

              My mistake. That is what I meant to write. I should have gone back to the article and copied it!

              I disagree with his view.

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            22. Mind isn’t created by body; body is created by mind … That tradition of thought is called panpsychism

              Hi cabrogal

              I’m enjoying reading your take on this thread, but I think the statement above is a bit of a stretch. Panpsychism today is rather nebulous (which is why Chalmer’s has felt safe enough to now rather reluctantly joined our little club), but nowhere is the claim that mind makes body. All panpsychists, though, would agree that everything, including subatomic particles, has at least some modicum of consciousness which is inherent to, and dependent on the physical. To this point, I agree… although I have no idea what that actually means in the larger scheme of things.

              Liked by 2 people

            23. Yeah, I did fluff that a bit; committing a sin similar to the ones I criticise by blurring panpsychism into broader empiricism and Hindu advaitism.

              Mostly I’m familiar with Chalmers’ take on it, that alongside energy and matter consciousness constitutes a third fundamental substance of reality. But I’m less than impressed by his attempts to rescue physicalism from the dilemmas raised by the problems of consciousness. At least he doesn’t close his eyes and pretend they don’t exist like Dennett. That guy has gotta be a p-zombie.

              Liked by 2 people

            24. Sounds like you’re closer to Tegmark than, say, Goff. He proposes that like a solid, a liquid, or a gas, consciousness is not just integrated information, but rather a state of matter; a fourth state that has until now eluded scientific investigation but is material, measurable and mathematically verifiable.

              “I conjecture that consciousness can be understood as yet another state of matter. Just as there are many types of liquids, there are many types of consciousness”

              I consider myself a panpsychists, but I have many questions.

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            25. I consider myself a panpsychists, but I have many questions.

              I’m sympathetic to it, mostly for its elegance in solving the hard problem. But that’s a problem of dualism and I think an exclusively dualistic view of self and reality is missing something important.

              I don’t subscribe to the view than non-dualism is more real or somehow ‘higher’ than dualism. Nor that they’re either complimentary or antagonistic ontological outlooks. Or even reconcilable. But they’re both aspects of my lived experience and any ‘theory of everything’ that fails to incorporate both does violence to my worldview. Mostly I deal with that by not having a theory of everything. Ontological anti-realism is good enough for me.

              Liked by 2 people

        1. They pointed out the connection to eastern mysticism and physics many years ago. Most of the golden age of physics was influenced heavily in Hindu thought. I forgot to add Schrödinger to the list as well and his references to the Upanishads.
          It’s interesting that they can be so revered intellectually and dismiss the marriage of the two methods without much thought. They didn’t

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          1. Again … I looked up the bios of the individuals you mentioned and perhaps I’m “dense,” but their “accomplishments” don’t line up with what, at least as I interpret it, you’re saying. Perhaps since I’m definitely not a student of “physics,” I may be missing the point. But I tend to think I may not be the only one.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks for the link. It’s a rather heavy-duty article, but it does illustrate more of where you’re coming from. As for the article contents, yes, I can go along with some of what’s presented; however, I’m not sure I can totally swallow the entire hypothesis. Nonetheless, it does stimulate the brain cells a bit. 😁

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            2. My underlying intent is to illustrate there are many more thorough and contradictory free lines of thought than monotheism, which as you know makes no sense unless one first believes it before reading the fine print.
              Steve might say this philosophy is in line with reductio ad absurdum, but it carries no contradiction and solves the problem of evil, and it’s true.
              Even during the golden age of physics they stated that they struggled with this I’ve the classical view. Trading a theory that made sense but was impractical, for an idea that seemed so impractical but made perfect sense.

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            3. Jim, considering all that’s been suggested/contributed thus far in the comments, I felt a couple of quotes from the article seemed appropriate.

              The Upanishads are a collection of Sanskrit texts transmitted orally from teacher to student over thousands of years. While the Vedas prescribe rituals to appease deities, the Upanishads are concerned with the nature of reality, mind and the self.

              To many, the fact that what you’ve presented in your post isn’t “hard science” as most of us know it immediately creates a barrier and this is why I think the discussion has gotten a bit out of hand.

              However, when one considers the “double-slit” experiment, having observed something doesn’t change anything, but the nature of how something is observed is what is causing the observer effect.

              Don’t know if this helps the discussion, but I felt it was worth sharing.

              Liked by 2 people

            4. Could I get a ref for that Nan? It’s not what I was taught about the observer effect. (i.e. It’s precisely that observing something changes it and it’s not limited to quantum effects as in the double-slit experiment.)

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            5. Cancel that last comment Nan. Bad comprehension on my part.

              It’s not the observation itself that changes things but the means of making the measurement, which is probably what you meant in the first place.

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    2. “The mistake being made by many is that there is a “reality” beyond what we experience. There is not.”

      I say, from personal experience, THERE IS a reality beyond our normal experience. Now, as you said, we all have our own myriad realities, so maybe that is the key. You keep to your reality, I must keep to mine. The difference is, I do not tell you that my reality is the only reality, while you are telling everyone yours is the only reality. If you had said, “In your reality, there is not,” I would have accepted that and moved on. But you claimed to be THE AUTHORITY on what is and what is not. That obsession of being RIGHT needs to be examined more closely.
      Other than that, Steve, I generally have no problems with your comments. Peace be with you.

      Liked by 1 person

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