"Ground of all Being"?

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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#81  Postby Onyx8 » Oct 23, 2014 4:01 pm

the only people who can find the isla de muerta are those who already know where it is...
The problem with fantasies is you can't really insist that everyone else believes in yours, the other problem with fantasies is that most believers of fantasies eventually get around to doing exactly that.
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#82  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 23, 2014 4:03 pm

Onyx8 wrote:the only people who can find the isla de muerta are those who already know where it is...


I lack experience, so I shall simply trust that you are correct.
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#83  Postby Oldskeptic » Oct 23, 2014 7:17 pm


kennyc wrote:
Uh....no....not really. Please learn some science if you are going to spout bullshit about it.

Kafei wrote:
I'm going to assume you do not consider "M-theory" science.


You can assume all you want, but you should stop spouting nonsense about higher spacial dimensions just because it sounds mysterious and mystical. There are no 'higher' spacial dimensions, only dimensions other than up-down, back-forward, and left-right for string/m-theory to be accurate. Nothing can be said with any confidence about these other spacial dimensions other than they have to be included in string/m-theory calculations to maintain/achieve consistent results that describe physical phenomena. And for string/m-theory they have to be imagined to be undetectable in principle as well as practice.

It seems to be you that doesn't consider m-theory science or at least doesn't treat it like science.

Kafei wrote:

Yes, but at the quantum level, physics behaves quite differently than that of anything above the quantum level.


Not true. The same kinds of predictions can be made for the macroscopic as the ultra-microscopic. The most important of these is the uncertainty principle that is at the heart of quantum mechanics. At the ultra-microscopic level it is just more pronounced than at the macroscopic. The inability to determine the exact position and velocity of an object works the same for an electron in an atomic shell as it does for the car passing by on the street.

And there is no obvious line between ultra-microscopic and macroscopic. The buckminsterfullerene molecule demonstrates wave-particle duality just the same as photons and electrons or any other subatomic particle.

Kafei wrote:

Things, for the most case, can described with classical mechanics above the quantum level. However, below the quantum level, then things start to get more strange.


Only strange because parts of the ultra-microscopic realm and behavior are counter intuitive because of our familiarity with our realm of medium size objects.

You have Bell's theorem, quantum nonlocality, quantum entanglement, etc. It's these sort of concepts that are believed to be intertwined with consciousness.


Believed by who?
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#84  Postby Oldskeptic » Oct 23, 2014 8:33 pm


Spearthrower wrote:
Another very simple hypothesis would be that they're all fabrications of the over-active minds of humans, and that's the only thing that links them and provides a coherent single explanation for them.

Kafei wrote:

So, M-theory is simply the product of an overactive imagination? I'm not sure if I agree with that.


I can't understand why you would think that QM or string/m-theory have anything to do with consciousness. Neither says anything about consciousness. I can only come to the conclusion that you don't know enough about either to come to intelligent rational conclusions.

As Spearthrower pointed out, a simple, and probably more rational hypothesis is that these 'mystical' experiences are the products of over-active brains. In fact there is evidence of this. Sensory deprivation can and does produce the same kinds of experiences as psychotropic drugs. I know this from personal experience having taken hallucinogens and participating in sensory deprivation experiments in the late seventies as a subject.

Vivid hallucinations can be induced by creating overactive neural transmission. One way to do this, as demonstrated in sensory deprivation experiments, is to give neurotransmitters nothing to do so that neurons begin firing spontaneously. Basically creating sensory input where none exists. Another way to do this is to introduce excess neurotransmitters into the brain These little molecules will also have nothing to do and be received by neurons as pseudo sensory input. Again creating sensory input where none exists.

Any hypothesis for what hallucinations are that includes higher dimensions and or spirit worlds goes too far. Not only because they needlessly multiply entities in the explanation, but also because there is no evidence for these higher dimensions or spirit worlds. Note: I'm not talking about the extra dimensions of string/m-theory that cannot be experienced. I'm talking about supposed dimensions that can be entered into and or experienced.

Included in the type of explanation that I have just give is hallucinatory experiences during epileptic seizures where resistance to neural firing is diminished. Thereby letting nerotransmitters be fired spontaneously. Again creating sensory input where none actually exists.

Put simply hallucinations including spiritual experience is experiencing more unreality than actual reality, not the other way around.
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#85  Postby Kafei » Oct 24, 2014 1:55 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
Absolutely, but that provides no succor whatsoever for your claim that physicists believe that materialism is unable to account for consciousness. That's what I am contending - not how queer the universe is.


Well, it's true, however. There are physicists that feel that materialism is insufficient for a full explanation of consciousness.

Spearthrower wrote:
I have no reason to doubt that a number of physicists hold quite contrary notions, but what would matter within the remit of their authority is what they can establish via evidence. There are undoubtedly Christian, Muslim, Hindu and other denominational Physicists who believe in all manner of contradictory things in their private lives - but that's terminally irrelevant with respect to what they can establish as valid within the context of physics.


Well, I'm not sure what you're referring to that has been established as valid, but it certainly isn't a materialistic explanation of consciousness. There's no evidence for that. If you're going to rebuttal with, "Oh, well, if a brain undergoes damage, this can effect your consciousness." Sure, but 'quantum consciousness' includes that, too.

Spearthrower wrote:
What's even more irrelevant is how this connects to my point of contention. I pointed out that you have made the claim several times that 'physicists feel that materialism is inadequate for describing consciousness' and I am challenging that.


Challenge that as you may, I never posited it as true, but rather a possibility. Like I said, we don't know truly what consciousness is or how it operates or from whence it comes.

Spearthrower wrote:Well then, you've shown your hand, haven't you? You couldn't possibly know what my experiences are, and yet you lay the charge at my door that I lack sufficient experience - rather self-defeating of you, eh? Tell us again how you would know that?


Well, your attitude towards 'mystical experience' is one showing if your own hand. You see, I'm referring to a very specific phenomenon in consciousness that over the years has been come to called 'mystical experience,' but a more contemporary term for this state would be 'ego death' or 'Cosmic consciousness.' You speak as though there's nothing to be gained from these insightful experiences, therefore I would assume that it's likely that you've not had this type of experience.

Spearthrower wrote:
Further, your argument is purely authoritarian. Even if I lack experience, am I supposed to just trust your word? Is your position more credible simply because you get to allege that you possess more experience, that I possess none, and therefore you're correct by default? That would appear to be an attempt at well-poisoning.


You don't have to trust my word. Why don't you have the experience for yourself? Many people take a retreat to Peru to have such an experience. They give out ayahuasca to the tourists there. I'll give you two examples of some famous people who've done it (among many). James Scott, the actor from "Days of Our Lives" actually quit the show after having several ayahuasca experiences in Peru. He felt it was one of the most positive experiences of his life, and he came to the revelation that he was doing a disservice to humanity by being on a show that only dumbed down people.

Another interesting example is Amber Lyon, a news reporter for CNN, she was reporting what was happening in the middle east and even put herself in this very life-threatening situations to show people what was going on over there, and when she returned to America, CNN wouldn't air her footage. She felt as though she was silenced. She wanted to be a spokesperson for truth, and that's why she became a reporter and would risk her life, but felt as though CNN silenced her. She became very depressed, and sought hope in traveling to Peru and undergoing an ayahuasca experience, again several, and came back a completely changed person. I'll offer you two links. The first one is where Joe Rogan suggests that she should go to Peru, and in the first podcast, she's completely unfamiliar with psychedelics, has no personal experience with them whatsoever. Then, the second podcast takes place about a year later, and she comes back to describe Joe her experiences. Here's the links:



The next link is when she's invited back on the show to discuss her experiences:




Spearthrower wrote:
Methinks this provides ample reason to be skeptical of your claims in and of itself, even were I wholly lacking in relevant experience.

I do note, however, that it provided you with a way of not actually addressing the point I made. Almost as if that was the intention! :)


I'm not sure what you meant by all of this, but... I feel almost compelled to say why don't you try DMT? Then, we'll talk.

Spearthrower wrote:
No, that would be an example of duplicitous discourse - a bait and switch.

My comment was replying to your post in which you talked about "the so-called mysteries -- parapsychological, shamanic, extraterrestrial, and so forth" - M-theory does not fit into any of these categories, and my comment was restricted in application to those topics.


Well, I was only giving an example to tolman of how this would work if you posited an extraterrestrial with access to hyperspace. I didn't mean of that literally. That's why I wasn't trying to 'bait & switch,' if you're going to comment on something concerning 'hyperspace,' then why not M-theory? After all, that's what it's comprised of.
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#86  Postby Kafei » Oct 24, 2014 2:18 pm

Oldskeptic wrote:You can assume all you want, but you should stop spouting nonsense about higher spacial dimensions just because it sounds mysterious and mystical. There are no 'higher' spacial dimensions, only dimensions other than up-down, back-forward, and left-right for string/m-theory to be accurate. Nothing can be said with any confidence about these other spacial dimensions other than they have to be included in string/m-theory calculations to maintain/achieve consistent results that describe physical phenomena. And for string/m-theory they have to be imagined to be undetectable in principle as well as practice.


Hyperspace is precisely defined as transcendent of three-dimensional space, nevertheless intertwined with it. It is undetectable in our universe, that's why these super colliders only intend to prove it indirectly, not directly. I suppose what you could say is that if Bohm's right, and "quantum mind" actually holds some weight, then what we call 'spiritual' or 'mystical' would be simply the mind's sensitivity to hyperspace. I know that's an exotic explanation that exceeds Ockham's razor. However, if that's not the case, then Sam Harris' explanation of this experience being simply the firing of neuronal activity to the point that it gives you an impression of "having all experience at once" will have to do. I don't think this necessarily gives us the entire picture, but it's a start and it wouldn't violate Ockham's razor.

Oldskeptic wrote:
Not true. The same kinds of predictions can be made for the macroscopic as the ultra-microscopic. The most important of these is the uncertainty principle that is at the heart of quantum mechanics. At the ultra-microscopic level it is just more pronounced than at the macroscopic. The inability to determine the exact position and velocity of an object works the same for an electron in an atomic shell as it does for the car passing by on the street.

And there is no obvious line between ultra-microscopic and macroscopic. The buckminsterfullerene molecule demonstrates wave-particle duality just the same as photons and electrons or any other subatomic particle.


By ultra-microscopic, I'm going to assume you mean below the quantum level. I'm not sure if I agree with your statement of comparing an electron to a passing car. We also have virtual particles which seem to 'pop in and out of existence,' as one physicists put it.

Oldskeptic wrote:Only strange because parts of the ultra-microscopic realm and behavior are counter intuitive because of our familiarity with our realm of medium size objects.


They are strange. I mean, consider quantum entanglement or the center of a black hole. It's said that Einstein's Theory of Relativity is no longer relevant at the center of a black hole.

Oldskeptic wrote:Believed by who?
Well, David Bohm to give one name.

Oldskeptic wrote:I can't understand why you would think that QM or string/m-theory have anything to do with consciousness. Neither says anything about consciousness. I can only come to the conclusion that you don't know enough about either to come to intelligent rational conclusions.


Well, it's because I've had this experience, and it was only then that I found Bohm's concept of "Quantum Mind." David Bohm was a highly respected theoretical physicist, by the way. I mean, he wasn't some crackpot, and he believed this concept. I mean, most theoretical physicists believe in radical ideas, and some of them are even Nobel laureates. You know, Michio Kaku talks about parallel universes, an infinitude of them that exist right here, right now. In the very room you're sitting in, there's the wave function of a world where dinosaurs never went extinct, where Hitler won the war, etc.

Oldskeptic wrote:As Spearthrower pointed out, a simple, and probably more rational hypothesis is that these 'mystical' experiences are the products of over-active brains. In fact there is evidence of this. Sensory deprivation can and does produce the same kinds of experiences as psychotropic drugs. I know this from personal experience having taken hallucinogens and participating in sensory deprivation experiments in the late seventies as a subject.

Vivid hallucinations can be induced by creating overactive neural transmission. One way to do this, as demonstrated in sensory deprivation experiments, is to give neurotransmitters nothing to do so that neurons begin firing spontaneously. Basically creating sensory input where none exists. Another way to do this is to introduce excess neurotransmitters into the brain These little molecules will also have nothing to do and be received by neurons as pseudo sensory input. Again creating sensory input where none exists.


Well, this is quite akin to Sam Harris' explanation I gave earlier. I'm not denying this. It may very well be the brain, but the brain lit up to such a degree that the experiential content becomes seemingly incomprehensible, and it's this seemingly incomprehensibility that over millennia has been interpreted as "mystical," "God," "spiritual," "Brahman," "nirvana," "samadhi," etc.

Oldskeptic wrote:Put simply hallucinations including spiritual experience is experiencing more unreality than actual reality, not the other way around.


I've two links in response to this:


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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#87  Postby kennyc » Oct 24, 2014 2:33 pm

Kafei wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
Absolutely, but that provides no succor whatsoever for your claim that physicists believe that materialism is unable to account for consciousness. That's what I am contending - not how queer the universe is.


Well, it's true, however. There are physicists that feel that materialism is insufficient for a full explanation of consciousness.
.....


Only that idiot Penrose with his religious belief in quantum consciousness. He has no scientific basis for his belief any more than you do you your gods. That is NOT science. You really need to learn to see the difference.
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#88  Postby kennyc » Oct 24, 2014 2:35 pm

Kafei wrote:
Oldskeptic wrote:You can assume all you want, but you should stop spouting nonsense about higher spacial dimensions just because it sounds mysterious and mystical. There are no 'higher' spacial dimensions, only dimensions other than up-down, back-forward, and left-right for string/m-theory to be accurate. Nothing can be said with any confidence about these other spacial dimensions other than they have to be included in string/m-theory calculations to maintain/achieve consistent results that describe physical phenomena. And for string/m-theory they have to be imagined to be undetectable in principle as well as practice.


Hyperspace is precisely defined as transcendent of three-dimensional space, nevertheless intertwined with it. It is undetectable in our universe, that's why these super colliders only intend to prove it indirectly, not directly. I suppose what you could say is that if Bohm's right, and "quantum mind" actually holds some weight, then what we call 'spiritual' or 'mystical' would be simply the mind's sensitivity to hyperspace. I know that's an exotic explanation that exceeds Ockham's razor. However, if that's not the case, then Sam Harris' explanation of this experience being simply the firing of neuronal activity to the point that it gives you an impression of "having all experience at once" will have to do. I don't think this necessarily gives us the entire picture, but it's a start and it wouldn't violate Ockham's razor.

Oldskeptic wrote:
Not true. The same kinds of predictions can be made for the macroscopic as the ultra-microscopic. The most important of these is the uncertainty principle that is at the heart of quantum mechanics. At the ultra-microscopic level it is just more pronounced than at the macroscopic. The inability to determine the exact position and velocity of an object works the same for an electron in an atomic shell as it does for the car passing by on the street.

And there is no obvious line between ultra-microscopic and macroscopic. The buckminsterfullerene molecule demonstrates wave-particle duality just the same as photons and electrons or any other subatomic particle.


By ultra-microscopic, I'm going to assume you mean below the quantum level. I'm not sure if I agree with your statement of comparing an electron to a passing car. We also have virtual particles which seem to 'pop in and out of existence,' as one physicists put it.

Oldskeptic wrote:Only strange because parts of the ultra-microscopic realm and behavior are counter intuitive because of our familiarity with our realm of medium size objects.


They are strange. I mean, consider quantum entanglement or the center of a black hole. It's said that Einstein's Theory of Relativity is no longer relevant at the center of a black hole.

Oldskeptic wrote:Believed by who?
Well, David Bohm to give one name.

Oldskeptic wrote:I can't understand why you would think that QM or string/m-theory have anything to do with consciousness. Neither says anything about consciousness. I can only come to the conclusion that you don't know enough about either to come to intelligent rational conclusions.


Well, it's because I've had this experience, and it was only then that I found Bohm's concept of "Quantum Mind." David Bohm was a highly respected theoretical physicist, by the way. I mean, he wasn't some crackpot, and he believed this concept. I mean, most theoretical physicists believe in radical ideas, and some of them are even Nobel laureates. You know, Michio Kaku talks about parallel universes, an infinitude of them that exist right here, right now. In the very room you're sitting in, there's the wave function of a world where dinosaurs never went extinct, where Hitler won the war, etc.

Oldskeptic wrote:As Spearthrower pointed out, a simple, and probably more rational hypothesis is that these 'mystical' experiences are the products of over-active brains. In fact there is evidence of this. Sensory deprivation can and does produce the same kinds of experiences as psychotropic drugs. I know this from personal experience having taken hallucinogens and participating in sensory deprivation experiments in the late seventies as a subject.

Vivid hallucinations can be induced by creating overactive neural transmission. One way to do this, as demonstrated in sensory deprivation experiments, is to give neurotransmitters nothing to do so that neurons begin firing spontaneously. Basically creating sensory input where none exists. Another way to do this is to introduce excess neurotransmitters into the brain These little molecules will also have nothing to do and be received by neurons as pseudo sensory input. Again creating sensory input where none exists.


Well, this is quite akin to Sam Harris' explanation I gave earlier. I'm not denying this. It may very well be the brain, but the brain lit up to such a degree that the experiential content becomes seemingly incomprehensible, and it's this seemingly incomprehensibility that over millennia has been interpreted as "mystical," "God," "spiritual," "Brahman," "nirvana," "samadhi," etc.

Oldskeptic wrote:Put simply hallucinations including spiritual experience is experiencing more unreality than actual reality, not the other way around.


I've two links in response to this:





Spouting a plethoria of unsupported pseudo-scientific nonsense provides no credence for your ignorant claims.

Newton 'believed' in alchemy but that has nothing to do with the scientifically verified theories of motion and gravity he created.
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#89  Postby tolman » Oct 24, 2014 2:39 pm

Kafei wrote:
tolman wrote:
Why would an extra spatial dimension allow future events to be discerned, if time is not a spatial dimension?


As the good doc would say in Back to the Future, "You're not thinking 4th dimensionally." Well, I'll give an example of the fictional characters in Kurt Vonnegut's book "Slaughterhouse-Five." He speaks of an extraterrestrial race that perceives in the 4th dimension, and because they are fatalists, everything in their view is frozen in space-time and ultimate unalterable. And so if they were to look at you, they would see you at all points from conception to death. You'd appear as an undulating snake from the moment you are conceived, and every possible frame unto death. Every frame is discernable from their point-of-view.

That's fuck-all to do with there being an extra spatial dimension (in addition to the 4 dimensions of everyday spacetime) which somehow makes any claimed or hypothesised shamanic or parapsychological powers physically plausible.

Kafei wrote:Now, there's another extraterrestrial race in one episode of the Twilight Zone that could pop into any point in space-time from this higher dimension. So if you were able to do this, then one could say "locked boxes are open," because you would be able to reach into the box without having to open it, but you're not confined to the vicissitudes of ordinary three-dimensional space and time, so the box to you would be open.

No, the contents of the box would be accessible, assuming that one could materialise part of one's anatomy in the empty space inside a box and around an object.
The box would not be opened unless someone could manipulate the lock.

And, being the Twilight Zone rather than physics, I guess the story didn't have to deal with how the extraterrestrial race managed to deal with trying to materialise where there were already things, nor how they might navigate to 'here' if there are any number of other 'heres' just a smidgen one way or another in the extra dimension.

Kafei wrote:However, you asked about the shaman. I've read, and some scholars have pointed out, that there are such instances where if something goes missing in the tribe or if someone's sleeping with someone or if they're trying to predict weather, etc. shamans sometimes take these plants to find those answers. Now, I'm not sure how effective they are at doing that, but in some instancesthey find whatever it is they were looking for or solve whatever issue they intended.

And so do people looking at tea leaves, or just guessing, or consciously or unconsciously using psychology.
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#90  Postby Kafei » Oct 24, 2014 3:24 pm

kennyc wrote:
Only that idiot Penrose with his religious belief in quantum consciousness. He has no scientific basis for his belief any more than you do you your gods. That is NOT science. You really need to learn to see the difference.


I'm not sure if I'd agree with the work of Penrose. While his postulates are quite similar, I don't think he's necessarily saying the same thing Bohm is saying. Quantum consciousness isn't just one concept, it's a series of concepts that fall under this umbrella category "Qauntum mind." So, I'd look into Bohm's work rather than Penrose, I tend to agree with his outlook a bit more so than any other physicist that engages in this topic of consciousness. I don't believe any of this to be pseudoscience regarding Bohm's take, and I cannot see how you believe it is.

tolman wrote:
No, the contents of the box would be accessible, assuming that one could materialise part of one's anatomy in the empty space inside a box and around an object.
The box would not be opened unless someone could manipulate the lock.

And, being the Twilight Zone rather than physics, I guess the story didn't have to deal with how the extraterrestrial race managed to deal with trying to materialise where there were already things, nor how they might navigate to 'here' if there are any number of other 'heres' just a smidgen one way or another in the extra dimension.


As I pointed out before, this is just an example if we could postulate how this would work. The extraterrestrial, having access to any point in space and time, would be able to materialize from a higher dimension into this locked box. Just as in Michio Kaku's pond example of 2D fish. A three dimensional entity looking down at this 2D pond would be able to see the entire pond, and access any point from their 3D position. So, I wasn't referring to actual physics, and I pointed that out, I was merely giving an example of maybe how this could work if you considered an extraterrestrial with access to this hyperspace, and I say this in the very same fashion that Kaku uses this 'pond' analogy.

tolman wrote:And so do people looking at tea leaves, or just guessing, or consciously or unconsciously using psychology.


Well, I said I read about this, it could be similar to what Orsen Welles describes in this video "here." However, I'd like to look more into it, if I can. I said I felt this wasn't my experience. I felt my experience was far more profound. But if I can gather more information on this, I'll post it.
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#91  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 24, 2014 3:30 pm

Kafei wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
Absolutely, but that provides no succor whatsoever for your claim that physicists believe that materialism is unable to account for consciousness. That's what I am contending - not how queer the universe is.


Well, it's true, however. There are physicists that feel that materialism is insufficient for a full explanation of consciousness.


True, but you have yet to cite a single instance of a physicist actually supporting the contention you've made.

What is not true, regardless, is that this is a common perspective of physicists, which is what you originally inferred twice.


Kafei wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
I have no reason to doubt that a number of physicists hold quite contrary notions, but what would matter within the remit of their authority is what they can establish via evidence. There are undoubtedly Christian, Muslim, Hindu and other denominational Physicists who believe in all manner of contradictory things in their private lives - but that's terminally irrelevant with respect to what they can establish as valid within the context of physics.


Well, I'm not sure what you're referring to that has been established as valid, but it certainly isn't a materialistic explanation of consciousness. There's no evidence for that. If you're going to rebuttal with, "Oh, well, if a brain undergoes damage, this can effect your consciousness." Sure, but 'quantum consciousness' includes that, too.


I was clearly talking in the hypothetical - as scientists, anything which they could establish as valid would necessarily occur via the scientific method.

Further, as I've already mentioned - even if consciousness operates on a quantum level that is still material, and as such represents no support for any claims of immaterialism. Do you believe that quantum mechanics = not materialist?



Kafei wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
What's even more irrelevant is how this connects to my point of contention. I pointed out that you have made the claim several times that 'physicists feel that materialism is inadequate for describing consciousness' and I am challenging that.


Challenge that as you may, I never posited it as true, but rather a possibility.


Not true. You asserted it several times with no accompanying degree of possibility.

I can cite them:

Kafei wrote:Perhaps you didn't understand what was meant by that or what physicists mean when they say materialism is insufficient to describe consciousness.


Kafei wrote:The entire reason for concepts such as Quantum Mind is because physicists feel that materialism is inadequate for describing consciousness.


Kafei wrote:physicists feel that materialism is inadequate for describing consciousness


Clearly, they are all written as assertions and you have not suggested that it's a possibility, but rather a fact.

If you are now withdrawing that, or refining it to specify a couple of physicists, then fine.


Kafei wrote:Like I said, we don't know truly what consciousness is or how it operates or from whence it comes.


We have numerous ideas with varying levels of evidential support, so your claim is fudging the facts.

But what you really cannot do is say 'no one knows, therefore my quirky claims should be given free pass because they're just as good as anything else'.

It's a textbook argument from ignorance.


Kafei wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Well then, you've shown your hand, haven't you? You couldn't possibly know what my experiences are, and yet you lay the charge at my door that I lack sufficient experience - rather self-defeating of you, eh? Tell us again how you would know that?


Well, your attitude towards 'mystical experience' is one showing if your own hand. You see, I'm referring to a very specific phenomenon in consciousness that over the years has been come to called 'mystical experience,' but a more contemporary term for this state would be 'ego death' or 'Cosmic consciousness.' You speak as though there's nothing to be gained from these insightful experiences, therefore I would assume that it's likely that you've not had this type of experience.


I have exhibited no attitude nor made any such references at all. You can not possibly have arrived at that from anything I've written unless you have catastrophically failed to read what I wrote, or because you are employing a presupposition which happens to look like you're attempting to dismiss my position by poisoning the well.

Either way, no, no I haven't made any claims whatsoever about mystical experiences other than to point out that a purely materialistic account for them not only exists, but is perfectly rational. In fact, it is more rational than supernatural accounts which necessarily posit additional layers of non-evident mechanisms.

However, if pressed I will also happily engage you in stories of my own personal experiences, plus my experiences when conducting ethnographic field research on various mystical rites. Not that any of these provide any more authority than your undisclosed personal experiences, and all of which can equally be explained satisfactorily by my aforementioned materialist account.


Kafei wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
Further, your argument is purely authoritarian. Even if I lack experience, am I supposed to just trust your word? Is your position more credible simply because you get to allege that you possess more experience, that I possess none, and therefore you're correct by default? That would appear to be an attempt at well-poisoning.


You don't have to trust my word. Why don't you have the experience for yourself? Many people take a retreat to Peru to have such an experience. They give out ayahuasca to the tourists there.


One of the many psychoactive substances I have taken in the past. Once again, you are appealing to authority but it represents only a diversion. My point already accounts for the net content of any such mystical experience using only things that are already known, not multiplying entities in a manner that obfuscates explanation.


Kafei wrote: I'll give you two examples of some famous people who've done it (among many). James Scott, the actor from "Days of Our Lives" actually quit the show after having several ayahuasca experiences in Peru. He felt it was one of the most positive experiences of his life, and he came to the revelation that he was doing a disservice to humanity by being on a show that only dumbed down people.

Another interesting example is Amber Lyon, a news reporter for CNN, she was reporting what was happening in the middle east and even put herself in this very life-threatening situations to show people what was going on over there, and when she returned to America, CNN wouldn't air her footage. She felt as though she was silenced. She wanted to be a spokesperson for truth, and that's why she became a reporter and would risk her life, but felt as though CNN silenced her. She became very depressed, and sought hope in traveling to Peru and undergoing an ayahuasca experience, again several, and came back a completely changed person. I'll offer you two links. The first one is where Joe Rogan suggests that she should go to Peru, and in the first podcast, she's completely unfamiliar with psychedelics, has no personal experience with them whatsoever. Then, the second podcast takes place about a year later, and she comes back to describe Joe her experiences. Here's the links:



The next link is when she's invited back on the show to discuss her experiences:




All very interesting in and of itself, but again it absolutely fails to provide a single shred of support to any of your contentions.

They are taking a substance which interferes with the normal activity of their minds. They perceive things differently. This is a result of brain chemistry being changed by the active compounds. This all jives perfectly well with a materialist account, but offers no value in contending that there something immaterial is effecting anything.

I could likewise offer you the numerous accounts in the anthropological literature of peoples employing various other social devices in a way that is conceived of them as mystical. For example, the Healing Drum of the Minianka tribe of W Africa used in shamanic rites.

There's a wide gulf between acknowledging that these rites occur and accepting that they actually represent a contact with a mystical realm.


Kafei wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
Methinks this provides ample reason to be skeptical of your claims in and of itself, even were I wholly lacking in relevant experience.

I do note, however, that it provided you with a way of not actually addressing the point I made. Almost as if that was the intention! :)


I'm not sure what you meant by all of this, but... I feel almost compelled to say why don't you try DMT? Then, we'll talk.


I've taken it in various forms several times, but I still wonder why you think it's relevant as to whether I've taken it or not. To me, it appears you are trying to manufacture a rite of passage, only after which novitiates are permitted to inquire or be granted truths. This is anthropological jargon for 'pulling the wool over people's eyes'. It looks like you're attempting to avoid supporting any of your publicly made contentions by obliging people to jump through hoops you manufacture along the way.

And you're doing so only on your own authority,

Ok, then let's cut to the chase. I had 2 years of elective Medical Anthropology courses in my undergraduate degree, and have been on 6 separate research teams exploring the shamanistic practices and beliefs of endangered tribes in South and South East Asia. I have had my face splattered with the blood of a bull in Southern India having its throat cut by a boy undergoing a rite of passage who was trembling so much from his paroxysms of wildness that he could barely hold the knife - and no chemical compounds had been taken, he'd arrived at this point only by chanting, dancing, and ritual alone. By your argument, you are not qualified to hold a conversation with me on this topic. Go and do some study, then we'll talk.

Doesn't sound very nice, does it? Luckily, I don't behave like that because it is terminally unworthy conduct. I judge the merit of your arguments only by their value, not as a consideration of the alleged authority, or lackthereof, of the person expounding those arguments. I would suggest you do likewise.


Kafei wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
No, that would be an example of duplicitous discourse - a bait and switch.

My comment was replying to your post in which you talked about "the so-called mysteries -- parapsychological, shamanic, extraterrestrial, and so forth" - M-theory does not fit into any of these categories, and my comment was restricted in application to those topics.


Well, I was only giving an example to tolman of how this would work if you posited an extraterrestrial with access to hyperspace. I didn't mean of that literally. That's why I wasn't trying to 'bait & switch,' if you're going to comment on something concerning 'hyperspace,' then why not M-theory? After all, that's what it's comprised of.


That still runs afoul of the same switching of significance. M-theory is not equivalent to or in the same category as the others you've listed. It simply doesn't follow for me why you are associating it with these other claims.

However, the positing of extraterrestrials accessing hyperspace is same type of claim as the others you've listed - one claim which is not itself evidence rests on another claim which is also not evident. This stacking of claims, each lacking evidence, but being held as essentially providing support for the other is typical of a particular mode of human thought known as 'magical thinking' where causal relationships are attributed without reference to direct observation or empirical knowledge, but instead reside on social and cultural symbolism and frames of reference.

For example, the advent of conceiving of extraterrestrial visitation coincides with technological progress in human societies which made accessing other worlds plausible. Prior to this, very few accounts of contact with extra-terrestrial beings have ever been claimed in the totality of human history.

In terms of parapsychology - the most common form of superstition amongst humans can be termed 'animism' - the positing of eternal entities inhabiting material objects. What is interesting if you review the literature is that individuals express their experiences in terms which make sense only within their own cultural contexts. For example, the tunnel of light in Western European NDE's are not reported in S.E. Asia - in Thailand, for example, black cockerels are often reported. When seen within the context of their respective existing belief systems - their cultural contexts - it provides again, ample materialistic explanations for purportedly mystical phenomena.

The problem is that the person who wishes there to be more will always reject, on entirely spurious grounds, that materialism could hope to account for their pet phenomena. This has historically been shown wrong over and over and over again, yet it seems we're doomed to labour under these superstitions because people want there to be more, want an unobservable set of explanations which either lends them hope against their fears, or provides a comforting narrative with them / humans at the centre.
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#92  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 24, 2014 3:46 pm

You can forgive me if I am wrong, Kafei, but the way you use the word 'quantum' smacks far too much more of Chopra, than it does Bohm.

The term quantum in your posts seems to be linked with your overall contention regarding the inability of materialistic inquiry to account for consciousness. That something essential about the quantum realm is contrary to the material.

Yet in no way does the term quantum indicate this from within the context of physics.

In physics, the term is related to physical phenomena at nanoscopic scales. The term most assuredly offers no solace for any claim arguing for an immaterial realm. I don't know whether that is what you believe, but it appears so from the way you use the term.

Incidentally, to continue my pursuit of your contention that 'physicists feel that materialism is inadequate for describing consciousness' and referencing Bohm's quantum mind hypothesis, you can see below what I was saying: actually, you're arguing against the consensus of theoretical physicists.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind

The quantum mind or quantum consciousness[1] hypothesis proposes that classical mechanics cannot explain consciousness, while quantum mechanical phenomena, such as quantum entanglement and superposition, may play an important part in the brain's function, and could form the basis of an explanation of consciousness. It is not a single theory, but rather a collection of distinct ideas.

A few theoretical physicists have argued that classical physics is intrinsically incapable of explaining the holistic aspects of consciousness, whereas quantum mechanics can. The idea that quantum theory has something to do with the workings of the mind go back to Eugene Wigner, who assumed that the wave function collapses due to its interaction with consciousness. However, most contemporary physicists and philosophers consider the arguments for an important role of quantum phenomena to be unconvincing.[2] Physicist Victor Stenger characterized quantum consciousness as a "myth" having "no scientific basis" that "should take its place along with gods, unicorns and dragons."[3]
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#93  Postby tolman » Oct 24, 2014 4:42 pm

Kafei wrote:
tolman wrote:
No, the contents of the box would be accessible, assuming that one could materialise part of one's anatomy in the empty space inside a box and around an object.
The box would not be opened unless someone could manipulate the lock.

And, being the Twilight Zone rather than physics, I guess the story didn't have to deal with how the extraterrestrial race managed to deal with trying to materialise where there were already things, nor how they might navigate to 'here' if there are any number of other 'heres' just a smidgen one way or another in the extra dimension.


As I pointed out before, this is just an example if we could postulate how this would work. The extraterrestrial, having access to any point in space and time, would be able to materialize from a higher dimension into this locked box. Just as in Michio Kaku's pond example of 2D fish. A three dimensional entity looking down at this 2D pond would be able to see the entire pond, and access any point from their 3D position. So, I wasn't referring to actual physics, and I pointed that out, I was merely giving an example of maybe how this could work if you considered an extraterrestrial with access to this hyperspace, and I say this in the very same fashion that Kaku uses this 'pond' analogy.

So effectively, parapsychology and shamanic rituals (none of which seemed to have produced any demonstrable special knowledge) and aliens with special powers (which there is no evidence of) would all make sense if we made up some shit and pretended it was physics.

No doubt hyperdimensional aliens could explain the Tooth Fairy as well.
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#94  Postby Stein » Oct 24, 2014 8:27 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
Kafei wrote:

I'm not sure what you meant by all of this, but... I feel almost compelled to say why don't you try DMT? Then, we'll talk.


I've taken it in various forms several times


And what were some of the sensations you experienced?

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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#95  Postby Oldskeptic » Oct 24, 2014 11:25 pm

Kafei wrote:
Hyperspace is precisely defined as transcendent of three-dimensional space, nevertheless intertwined with it.


No it isn't precisely defined as transcendent except by Terence McKenna and people pursuing his completely unscientific assertions. People like you.

It is undetectable in our universe, that's why these super colliders only intend to prove it indirectly, not directly.


And you think that a drug can gain you access to extra dimensions that are not accessable by any means other than indirect evidence produced by super colliders.

I suppose what you could say is that if Bohm's right, and "quantum mind" actually holds some weight, then what we call 'spiritual' or 'mystical' would be simply the mind's sensitivity to hyperspace.


Well the problem is with that big if. If Bohm is right. If your reading and interpretations of Bohm are accurate.

Why would the mind be sensitive to any of the extra dimensions put forth by string/m-theory? The mind is simply one of the things that the brain does.

I know that's an exotic explanation that exceeds Ockham's razor.


So, does this mean that you admit that you are multiplying entities far beyond what is needed for explanation?

However, if that's not the case, then Sam Harris' explanation of this experience being simply the firing of neuronal activity to the point that it gives you an impression of "having all experience at once" will have to do.


It's not that it will have to do. It's that this explanation does not need addons in the form of extra-special dimensions or spirits.
You don't need mysterious quantum this or mysterious quantum that to arrive at a coherent explanation.

By ultra-microscopic, I'm going to assume you mean below the quantum level.


By ultra-microscopic I mean exactly what the definition is, and you don't have to assume anything. Ultra-microscopic means, and has since 1902, things smaller than can be observed using the visual light spectrum. Apx 500 nanometers. There is no below "the quantum level". Everything has its own quantum level.

I'm not sure if I agree with your statement of comparing an electron to a passing car.


It doesn't matter if you agree or not about whether macroscopic objects obey the uncertainty principle as ultra-microscopic objects do. There is no asymmetry in the principle. It applies to all things. It is theoretically sound and has been demonstrated by experiment.

We also have virtual particles which seem to 'pop in and out of existence,' as one physicists put it.


Look, I'm not your instructor in elementary QM. That you don't understand even the basics is evident.

Oldskeptic wrote:
Only strange because parts of the ultra-microscopic realm and behavior are counter intuitive because of our familiarity with our realm of medium size objects.

They are strange. I mean, consider quantum entanglement or the center of a black hole. It's said that Einstein's Theory of Relativity is no longer relevant at the center of a black hole.


Quantum entanglement is not strange. It may seem strange to you, but that's because your intuition based on familiarity only with a medium size objects.

It may be said that Relativity is no longer relevant at the center of a black hole, but since there is no way to probe the center of a black hole it's only conjecture.

Oldskeptic wrote:

Believed by who?

Well, David Bohm to give one name.


Wow! One name.

Oldskeptic wrote:

I can't understand why you would think that QM or string/m-theory have anything to do with consciousness. Neither says anything about consciousness. I can only come to the conclusion that you don't know enough about either to come to intelligent rational conclusions.

Well, it's because I've had this experience, and it was only then that I found Bohm's concept of "Quantum Mind."


It baffles me why some people will take experiences they've had while stoned out of their minds more seriously than actual scientific findings.

David Bohm was a highly respected theoretical physicist, by the way. I mean, he wasn't some crackpot, and he believed this concept.


Yes he was a highly respected theoretical physicist, but that does not mean that he can't be a crackpot when he strays outside of his expertise.

I mean, most theoretical physicists believe in radical ideas, and some of them are even Nobel laureates.


Most!? I wouldn't go anywhere near that statement.

You know, Michio Kaku talks about parallel universes, an infinitude of them that exist right here, right now. In the very room you're sitting in, there's the wave function of a world where dinosaurs never went extinct, where Hitler won the war, etc.


Did you miss the part where Kaku says that in principle you cannot interact with these other universes even if they exist?

Oldskeptic wrote:

As Spearthrower pointed out, a simple, and probably more rational hypothesis is that these 'mystical' experiences are the products of over-active brains. In fact there is evidence of this. Sensory deprivation can and does produce the same kinds of experiences as psychotropic drugs. I know this from personal experience having taken hallucinogens and participating in sensory deprivation experiments in the late seventies as a subject.

Vivid hallucinations can be induced by creating overactive neural transmission. One way to do this, as demonstrated in sensory deprivation experiments, is to give neurotransmitters nothing to do so that neurons begin firing spontaneously. Basically creating sensory input where none exists. Another way to do this is to introduce excess neurotransmitters into the brain These little molecules will also have nothing to do and be received by neurons as pseudo sensory input. Again creating sensory input where none exists.

Well, this is quite akin to Sam Harris' explanation I gave earlier. I'm not denying this. It may very well be the brain, but the brain lit up to such a degree that the experiential content becomes seemingly incomprehensible, and it's this seemingly incomprehensibility that over millennia has been interpreted as "mystical," "God," "spiritual," "Brahman," "nirvana," "samadhi," etc.


So, what you're saying is that drugs can fuck you up to point where people believe that incomprehensible experiences lead them to comprehensible conclusions? I think that it is the other way around: Incomprehensible experience leads some to incomprehensible conclusions.
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#96  Postby tolman » Oct 25, 2014 12:21 am

Oldskeptic wrote:It baffles me why some people will take experiences they've had while stoned out of their minds more seriously than actual scientific findings.

That's what puzzles me.

Stoned or meditative experiences (if they can be sufficiently remembered) may give someone some sort of insight into their own mind.
They might help someone think through some personal issue from a different angle
But the suggestion that they actually give access to something outside one's head or to otherwise impossible insights seem to be simply an assertion, made in the face of a lack of evidence which is surprising given the frequency of such experiences.
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#97  Postby Stein » Oct 25, 2014 12:42 am

tolman wrote:
Oldskeptic wrote:It baffles me why some people will take experiences they've had while stoned out of their minds more seriously than actual scientific findings.

That's what puzzles me.

Stoned or meditative experiences (if they can be sufficiently remembered) may give someone some sort of insight into their own mind.
They might help someone think through some personal issue from a different angle
But the suggestion that they actually give access to something outside one's head or to otherwise impossible insights seem to be simply an assertion, made in the face of a lack of evidence which is surprising given the frequency of such experiences.


This is why I'd really like to hear from someone like Spearthrower about the real sensations one has when taking something like DMT. A careful description like that could not be more germane to this whole discussion. For crying out loud!

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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#98  Postby Onyx8 » Oct 25, 2014 2:42 am

I remember doing acid once and had this experience where I finally 'understood completely/deeply/utterly/in my soul' that the world was a rock spinning in space. I was lying on a lawn staring up/out and had the impression that I was static and that the universe was spinning around me.

Wrong of course but it did teach me about the difference between the apparent movement of the sun and the actual movement of the earth, which I already knew but not so 'impressively'. I was amazed at this and bored quite a few people with it for some days afterward.

Does that count?
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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#99  Postby Stein » Oct 25, 2014 2:59 am

Onyx8 wrote:I remember doing acid once and had this experience where I finally 'understood completely/deeply/utterly/in my soul' that the world was a rock spinning in space. I was lying on a lawn staring up/out and had the impression that I was static and that the universe was spinning around me.

Wrong of course but it did teach me about the difference between the apparent movement of the sun and the actual movement of the earth, which I already knew but not so 'impressively'. I was amazed at this and bored quite a few people with it for some days afterward.

Does that count?


Of course it counts. It's an honest account of what happened to your brain under the influence of a substance that changed the way you filter reality. Thank you.

That our brains filter reality already, without any outside substance, would be no surprise at all to someone like Stephen Hawking. Likewise, that an outside substance can change the "message" being relayed to your consciousness should occasion no surprise either. It's only thin-skinned fundies who have given me blowback that I'm somehow trying to "cheapen" their faith, or thin-skinned brights who have given me blowback that brain hiccups like this are suspicious Trojan-horse propaganda, who have a problem with that.

Fact: These episodes could entirely be due to filters right inside our brain. Fact: We don't yet know how such filters operate. Fact: Scientific freedom is at peril if open exchanges on these filters are summarily disallowed.

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Re: "Ground of all Being"?

#100  Postby Onyx8 » Oct 25, 2014 3:07 am

Indeed, and that I was on acid as opposed to tea or booze is irrelevant in terms of 'chemicals affecting my brain'. They all do.
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