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"As far as I know, EVP and related phenomena do not occur in optical, as opposed to magnetic, storage media, such as recordable CDs or DVDs."

That may be true, but apparitions do appear and emit photons that enable them to be seen, photographed, and video recorded. And light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

I'm not really sure what Beichl is trying to accomplish, but if it's an explanation of how consciousness arises, then I don't think microtubules and electromagnetism are going to get the job done. That's because talking about your physical 5th dimension, microtubules, and magnetism has the same problems that materialism has had in explaining consciousness from the beginning:

What has to be answered is WHY anything has a subjective feel at all. THAT is the hard problem. If Beichl is merely accepting it for what it is without attempting a reductive explanation, and he is merely trying to account for paranormal phenomenon while accepting mind as a given, then okay.

If Beichl treats consciousness as an emergent feature, then a true explanation of consciousness should somewhere have a simple "..and therefore consciousness with its subjectively realized aspects naturally arises or emerges..." And once someone makes that claim we go back to look at the premises and evidence which lead to that conclusion and evaluate them. So far, I haven't seen that conclusion or anything that leads up to that conclusion.

But I haven't read the book. And I don't believe consciousness is emergent, which has a lot to do with why I don't try to explain how it comes to be.

And yes, for some reason, I keep forgetting the er at the end of Beichl's name. Sorry Mr. Beichl.er.

What has to be answered is WHY anything has a subjective feel at all. THAT is the hard problem.

If the system gets complex enough, with sufficiently elaborate feedback mechanisms, could self-awareness arise spontaneously?

I don't know, of course, but I wouldn't rule it out.

“If the system gets complex enough, with sufficiently elaborate feedback mechanisms, could self-awareness arise spontaneously?”
“I don't know, of course, but I wouldn't rule it out”

Of course maybe it is the other way around. The system is so simple with its feedback mechanism based in love (i.e. selfless thoughts and actions?) that self-awareness arises spontaneously.

I have this hunch, theory, or intuition that Reality is really very very simple. So simple it goes right over our heads.

If the system gets complex enough, with sufficiently elaborate feedback mechanisms, could self-awareness arise spontaneously?

The problem is that complexity, as such, doesn't seem to explain subjetive properties. Why should "emergent" properties of an objective system give rise to subjetive properties?

If a system is objective (in any dimension), highly complex, with much feedback, etc. it's not an explanation of why subjetive properties may come from it. In some point of chain, you'll have to make a jump and say "Well, so self-awareness was born"

The only explanation seems to be that subjetive states exist as a potentiality in the system, and given a certain level complexity, such potentiality is actualized. But it would implies that subjetivity is a primary (and potential) reality, not an emergent property (the "emergence" would be only a question of degree, according to certain complexity of the system)

Not having read Beichler's book, I can only speculate. But I agree with dmduncan that Beichler's emergent conception face the same problem of emergent materialism: What has to be answered is WHY anything has a subjective feel at all. THAT is the hard problem.

Calling something simply "emergent" doesn't resolve the problem, only distract the attention from it.

"If the system gets complex enough, with sufficiently elaborate feedback mechanisms, could self-awareness arise spontaneously?"

Michael, I think you have hit it on the head. There is another theory of Consciousness out there, derived from digital physics and gaming simulation that stipulated just that. The whole purpose of physical existence is to develope self awareness and lower conscious entropy by the "iterating" of experience via the brain. The holding of a mirror to itself if you like. Watch a child discover himself in a mirror. Same process simplified. Was this self awareness existing in potentiality? Sure. Can we explain that? No. At the most basic first cause level we must make some assumptions. There is always a metaphysical beginning point in any "creation" system.
Maybe the magnetically derived 5th dimension itself carried a crude consiousness that, via evolution, developed a basic self awareness in the physical system. This self awareness benefits the overall system and continues to evole more complexity, us.
Where did the 5th dimensional field come from? Unexplainable. The book seems like a good read, good recommendation.

Yup, good read, good recommendation. We've gone from a universe that just spontaneously appeared out of absolutely "nothing"...to a universe that spontaneously appeared out of absolutely "nothing" and complex systems that arose out of "nothing" and then gave way to conscious beings with souls/spirits...and everything came about as a result of spontaneous bursts...out of absolutely nothing.

Boy, does this ever make sense. Good read. Materialism has gone one step up...and it all came from "nothing"..and the so called intellectuals are applauding this conclusion. People who are too "intellectual" for a creation to actually have a creator are so amusing.


"Michael, I think you have hit it on the head."

Well, if he has then I'd like to hear an explanation of how you get something out of absolutely nothing, including conscious, intelligent beings!

Does this honestly make sense to any of you or are you just being "intelligent"?

Sorry I forgot, an add on to my post: All of this arose out of absolutely nothing...AND with no purpose and for no purpose. Guess what you intellectuals...we'ver hit the nail on the head..there really is no point for your existence (even though you might survive death). Just because you might survive death doesn't mean there is any purpose for your existence. After all, it all just came about out of nothing.

Such wisdom to be found among the intellectuals.

"Yup, good read, good recommendation. We've gone from a universe that just spontaneously appeared out of absolutely "nothing"...to a universe that spontaneously appeared out of absolutely "nothing" and complex systems that arose out of "nothing" "

I don't quite understand your comments, but who said there was "absolutely nothing" and no purpose? My own comment, if you are referring to me, was about a digital physics theory that stipulates that prior to individuated consciousness there existed an "absolute unbounded oneness" which is further evolved by self reference derived from some of its iterations in a "physical" reality. This unbounded oneness, might possibly be the 5th dimensional field of the book. Some may refer to this "Absolute Oneness" as "God" or the "Creator" , but within this digital theory we are actually evolving the "creator'", so we too are part of "God". I mtself prefer to leave such terms as "God" and the "Creator" out though, as it can lead to much emotion,
angry display and polemics

Why should "emergent" properties of an objective system give rise to subjective properties?

Well, I may be wrong about this, but ... let's stipulate that some level of awareness is present even in simple organisms. An amoeba, for instance, is aware of its environment to some degree - it can sense the presence of nutrients, etc. More complex organisms have more awareness. A horse or a lion is clearly aware of many facets of its environment.

None of these creatures is self-aware, as far as we know. But self-awareness would seem to be the next logical step. It is the experience of being aware that one is aware. Or to put it another way, it's the awareness of oneself as an entity distinct from one's environment. A lion (presumably) does not think, "That's an antelope, and I'm me, and the two of us are different." But a young child reaches a stage of development where she can think, "There's Mommy and Daddy, and there's me, and I'm different from them." (This recognition gives rise to the Terrible Twos, when the child decides to assert her individuality as loudly as possible.)

I used to think there was some deep mystery in subjective self-awareness, but I'm no longer sure this is the case. It seems to me that it's at least possible, as Greg L says, that subjectivity arises spontaneously when a system attains a certain degree of complexity. We might even be able to create artificial intelligence in this way, though our machines would have to be considerably more complex than they are now.

As I say, though, I could be wrong. I haven't read much about this topic, and I'm aware that the issue is highly controversial.

All of this arose out of absolutely nothing...AND with no purpose and for no purpose.

This conclusion need not follow from Beichler's theory. In fact, the last chapter of his book is titled "A Universe of Purpose."

Besides, a physical theory doesn't rule out a guiding Mind. The Big Bang theory, for example, has led many people to see evidence for a cosmic Mind in the series of "cosmic coincidences" necessary to "fine-tune" our universe.

Michael, emergentism isn't the position that self awareness has emerged from non self awareness but that consciousness has emerged from non consciousness.

The hard thing to explain isn't the progression from awareness to self awareness, but from what the materialist assumes to be non-conscious matter to conscious matter.

The argument that it just spontaneously arises is a hand waving argument. It's not an explanation at all. It's the same type of argument that evolutionists regularly criticize the ID movement for making all the time.

Here's another way of looking at it: Physicists try to explain why the universe looks to us the way it does now, but I do not recall any physicist or any other type of scientist trying to tackle the question of why there is matter doing anything in the first place.

Matter is taken as a given, and they try to explain from that given. They do not try to explain why there is a given.

But they have assumed that consciousness is NOT a given. In your own answer I would suggest there is the hint of the materialists own premises at work. Consciousness is not a given, but something that arises and must be explained, and how else can it be explained but from within the materialist's own perspective?

There is another possibility: That consciousness, like matter, is itself a given. That it's existence cannot be explained anymore than matter can be explained as the result of something else. It just IS.

And while consciousness may evolve from a lower order form to a higher order form, it would not ever be something that suddenly appears, anymore than matter itself suddenly appears.

Thus, the Big Bang and the evolution of life is not accidental but what the universe wants to be.

Nor is this necessarily dualistic. Consciousness may be a subjective feature of matter that is impenetrable to the objective assumptions of the scientific method. So matter and consciousness may be the same thing that has two modes of being experienced: the non-perceptual what-it's-like-to-be and the perceptual that's-what-we-sense (which doesn't ever tell us what it's like to be), which in turn leads to the distinction between subjective and objective, inner and outer, which in our age seems to have gotten reduced to science (the objective) and everything else is junk (the subjective).

Nor is this necessarily dualistic. Consciousness may be a subjective feature of matter that is impenetrable to the objective assumptions of the scientific method. So matter and consciousness may be the same thing that has two modes of being experienced:

I believe this viewpoint is denoted "property dualism". It has a lot of supporteres in contemporary philosophy.

To help to clarify the problem of emergence related to the origin consciousness, I'll quote this paper by neuroscientists Jeffrey Schwartz, Mario Beauregard and physicit Henry Stapp:

"The core ideas of the arguments in favour of an identity-emergent theory of mind and consciousness are illustrated by Roger Sperry’s (1992) example of a ‘wheel’. A wheel obviously does something: it is causally efficacious; it carries the cart.

It is also an emergent property: there is no mention of ‘wheelness’ in the formulation of the laws of physics and ‘wheelness’ did not exist in the early universe; ‘wheelness’ emerges only under certain special conditions. And the macroscopic wheel exercises ‘top-down’ control of its tiny parts. All these properties are perfectly in line with classic physics, and with the idea that ‘a wheel is, precisely, a structure constructed out of its tiny atomic parts’.

So why not suppose mind and consciousness to
be, like ‘wheelness’, emergent properties of their classically conceived tiny physical parts?

The reason that mind and consciousness are not analogous to ‘wheelness’, within the context of classic physics, is that the properties that characterize ‘wheelness’ are properties that are entailed, within the
conceptual framework of classic physics, by properties specified in classic physics, whereas the properties that characterize conscious mental processes, namely the
various ways these processes feel, are not entailed within the conceptual structure provided by classic physics, but by the properties specified by quantum physics.

That is the huge difference-in-principle that distinguishes mind and consciousness from things that, according to classic physics, are constructible out of the
particles that are postulated to exist by classic physics.

Given the state of motion of each of the tiny physical parts of a wheel, as it is conceived of in classic physics, the properties that characterize the wheel (e.g. its roundness, radius, centre point, rate of rotation, etc.) are specified within the conceptual framework provided
by the principles of classic physics, which specify only geometric-type properties such as changing locations and shapes of conglomerations of particles and numbers assigned to points in space. But given the
state of motion of each tiny part of the brain, as it is conceived of in classic physics, the properties that characterize the stream of consciousness (the painfulness
of the pain, the feeling of the anguish, or of the sorrow, or of the joy) are not specified, within the conceptual framework provided by the principles of classic physics. Thus it is possible, within that classic physics framework, to strip away those feelings without disturbing the physical descriptions of the motions of
the tiny parts. One can, within the conceptual framework of classic physics, take away the consciousness while leaving intact the properties that enter into that
theoretical construct, namely the locations and motions of the tiny physical parts of the brain and its physical environment. But one cannot, within the conceptual framework provided by classic physics, take away the physical characteristics that define the
‘wheelness’ of a wheel without affecting the locations and motions of the tiny physical parts of the wheel.

Because one can, within the conceptual framework provided by classic physics, strip away mind and consciousness without affecting the physical behaviour, one cannot rationally claim, within that framework, that mind and consciousness are the causes of the physical behaviour, or are causally efficacious in the physical
world. Thus the ‘identity theory’ or ‘emergent property’ strategy fails in its attempt to make mind and consciousness efficacious, insofar as one remains
strictly within the conceptual framework provided by classic physics. Moreover, the whole endeavour to base brain theory on classic physics is undermined by the
fact that classic theory is unable to account for behavioural properties (such as electrical and thermal conductivity, and elasticity, etc.) that depend sensitively
upon the behaviour of the atomic, molecular and ionic constituents of a system, and brains are certainly systems of this kind, as will be discussed in detail later
"

http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/PTRS.pdf

Some observations:

-The paragraph includes some considerations regarding the causal efficacy of consciousness (this is important, because you have to explain how "emergent properties" can have causal efficacy, so avoiding an epiphenomenalist implication)

-For the purposes of this discussion, I think the key point is when the authors say "the properties that characterize ‘wheelness’ are properties that are entailed, within the conceptual framework of classic physics, by properties specified in classic physics, whereas the properties that characterize conscious mental processes, namely the various ways these processes feel, are not entailed within the conceptual structure provided by classic physics, but by the properties specified by quantum physics" (Note: in the last sentence, the authors originally wrote "but by the properties specified by classical physics", and it's an obvious involuntary error; the context shows they were refering to quantum physics, so I corrected the typing error)

-Another key point "classic physics, which specify only geometric-type properties such as changing locations and shapes of conglomerations of particles and numbers assigned to points in space"

If it's true, then Beichler's electromagnetic theory of consciousness seems to be in serious problems. You won't find in electromagnetic theory anything that explain how an objective system can develop, as emergent property, a "subjetive" or "conscious" property.

All the "real" emergent properties of physical objects can be reduced to the "geometric-type properties" (changing locations, moving of particles, etc.) and this is why they're entailed by their constituents, but such geometrical properties can't explain subjetives states of consciousness, including the primitive ones (e.g the consciousness of a lower animal)

If we granted the premises of materialism (and in my view, Beichler's theory is a sort of emergent materialism with trascendental transdimentional properties) we're forced to explain and resolve the problem: how subjective consciousness comes from non-conscious objective entities (matter, systems, etc.)?

“Such wisdom to be found among the intellectuals.”

Nothing can come from nothing. That is wisdom the atheists continually miss. What many call nothing is really everything. Now as far as a creator and wisdom and intellectuals granted many of these discussions are indeed intellectual but as they say the devil is in the details. But one must be very careful when writing and thinking about a creator because it is easy to fall into the trap mark twain wrote when he stated the following.

“God made man in his image and then man returned the favor.”

“that subjectivity arises spontaneously when a system attains a certain degree of complexity.”

Ok now I get what you are stating if the synonym for system is organism. My view of a system was more in line with method. As consciousness evolves or unfolds indeed it appears that an awareness of self becomes a reality. From an awareness of self as separate and unique to self-awareness as an aspect of this Oneness most call God to self-realization that we are that that is.

With this greater awareness come greater powers (abilities) to create.

Nature may very well be the “system” that is the incubator for this evolution of consciousness to evolve. As consciousness evolves the soul becomes more god like and this suggests to me that awareness is primary and consciousness is secondary. As consciousness evolves awareness awakens.

“If we granted the premises of materialism ………. we're forced to explain and resolve the problem: how subjective consciousness comes from non-conscious objective entities (matter, systems, etc.)?”

They don’t call it the hard problem for nothing.

The paragraph includes some considerations regarding the causal efficacy of consciousness (this is important, because you have to explain how "emergent properties" can have causal efficacy, so avoiding an epiphenomenalist implication)

I think Beichler would say that consciousness, being a fifth-dimensional extension of our four-dimensional material bodies, is causally efficacious inasmuch as it is directly tied to our material bodies, interacts with them, and influences them.

It is harder for substance dualism to address this point, because it assumes that mind and matter are two entirely different things, raising the question of how either could interact with or influence the other.

In Beichler's system, mind and body are both physical things, and the only difference is that the body resides in four-dimensional space-time while the mind resides at least partly in the fifth dimension. But the fifth dimension is a macroscopic extension of the other four dimensions, not separate from them.

the properties that characterize conscious mental processes, namely the various ways these processes feel, are not entailed within the conceptual structure provided by classic physics, but by the properties specified by quantum physics"

I'm not sure I see how subjectivity or "qualia" are entailed by quantum physics - unless the authors are assuming that consciousness "collapses the wave function" (the Copenhagen Interpretation). Maybe in this sense subjective awareness is implied by quantum mechanics, but of course the Copenhagen Interpretation remains very controversial and is not the only way of interpreting the data.

All the "real" emergent properties of physical objects can be reduced to the "geometric-type properties" (changing locations, moving of particles, etc.) and this is why they're entailed by their constituents, but such geometrical properties can't explain subjective states of consciousness, including the primitive ones (e.g the consciousness of a lower animal)

You may be right. Then again, if consciousness is a fifth dimensional construct, it wouldn't be limited by four-dimensional "geometrical properties." Would five-dimensional geometrical properties open the door to awareness? I have no idea. I can't begin to imagine what five-dimensional geometry would be like.

The three spatial dimensions are perceived very differently from the fourth dimension (time). Could the fifth dimension be perceived in yet another way, and could that mode of perception be (or give rise to) what we call awareness or subjectivity?

I really don't know. It may be that any purely physical theory will fall short in trying to explain consciousness. That's certainly what I used to think. But then we seem to be left with some form of dualism, or with pure idealism ("it's all in your mind"). Both of those positions have difficulties of their own.

As William says, "They don't call it the hard problem for nothing."

"There is another possibility: That consciousness, like matter, is itself a given. That it's existence cannot be explained anymore than matter can be explained as the result of something else. It just IS."

This is what I was trying to say in a less clear way. A primordial consciousness just is. It is the individulaized self awareness that evolves thru physical experience and also increases self awareness in the "big" consciousness. It would seem more likely, to me, although apparently opposite Beichler's veiw, that our individuated reality, material reality, is an extension of this consciousness field into our own three dimensional reality. This would also "explain" the Big Bang" and it's amazing coincidences.

It may be that any purely physical theory will fall short in trying to explain consciousness. That's certainly what I used to think. But then we seem to be left with some form of dualism, or with pure idealism ("it's all in your mind").

My understanding of idealism is not that it’s all in your mind – that would be my definition of solipsism. Rather, pure idealism suggests that all is Mind, or that “your mind is in the All.”

Williams’s hunch that the answer lies in simplicity is dead-on. No one wants to consider that, though. We want the answers on spiritual matters to reconcile with the answers on physical matters. We want complexity. We want to accept space, time and causality as absolutes, because they sure appear to be absolutes. So the divine joke just carries on, with few the wiser.

The answers will never be found in the manifestations. They can only be discovered at the source. The other aspect of the divine joke is that in order to discover the source, we have to stop looking for it. The keys everyone is searching for are already in their hand.

I mentioned in an email to a friend recently that the bulk of my contributions here have focused on the intellectual, perceptive and cognitive components of realization. These all have tremendous value, but they do not lead to the understanding. Arriving at the understanding involves finding the deep, warm, unconditional, positive feelings first. Those who do so will arrive at the perceptive and cognitive aspects they need through personal insights, which will arrive accompanied by more positive feelings. Those insights will then lead to a period of entertaining even warmer, deep, positive feelings, which will lead to more insights. One will build upon the other, and the person will feel their personal spirit ascending, like a helium balloon. If they allow their balloon to ascend high enough, they will inevitably arrive at insights that they will find impossible to accurately express to another.

To this end, I’d simply ask if the speculation regarding SOFT leads anyone to experience deep, warm, unconditional positive feelings. Is the emotional experience of considering these ideas elevating one’s spirit, personally, on a deep level? Do things look fresh and new somehow? Does this feel, intuitively, to be leading to something important and inspiring? The answers to these questions also contain the answer to whether these ideas have genuine validity.

In my case, all of the philosophical meanderings regarding SOFT lead me directly away from a positive feeling state. I don’t know much, but I know enough to trust my feeling state - even if I forget to actually do so more often than I’d like.

If the end result of all this speculation doesn't end with me being reunited with my deceased mom again after I die then its all just so much hot air.

If the end result of all this speculation doesn't end with me being reunited with my deceased mom again after I die then its all just so much hot air.

On the weekend I had a conversation with a young woman who committed suicide last year. She desperately needed attention while she was alive. Dying didn’t result in an end to her pain; she is more alone now than ever before. Her family and friends can’t see her trying to reach out to them. She has found her own personal hell.

She isn’t as alone as she thinks she is. There are people where she is that want to help her to move on and be OK with things. But she can’t see them. I’ve tried pointing them out to her, but she just refuses to see them. I find it strange that she can’t see other ghosts, she only sees living people. But I guess that sometimes I find it strange that most living people can’t see ghosts. Her mom can’t see her, and she can’t see the people who are trying to help her. If people could just look and see what is right in front of them, they would probably be OK.

Art, chances are that in some way your mom is with you right now. Maybe it isn’t so much a matter of being reunited as a matter of someday being able to see what has been there all along.

“This would also "explain" the Big Bang" and it's amazing coincidences.”

Those amazing coincidences I suspect have more to do with intelligence that we can only fathom as this point of our evolutionary of consciousness process that leads to progression and unfoldment. But I suspect that is what you meant by amazing coincidences were not coincidences at all.

“The keys everyone is searching for are already in their hand.”

I had to smile in fact I am still smiling as I write this statement. I spent six years looking here and there and almost everywhere for an answer to a question and all that time I was carrying that answer within my own mind from a revelation that lead to a realization I had had five years earlier. I thought that realization only had to do with my consulting career and spiritually was a separate issue.

It is all connected. I suspect in the future consultants will be teaching spiritual laws and how they impact business improvement processes. That will be fertile but fragile ground. And yes the answer to my question was simple so simple it staggers the intellectual mind. I.e. the ego. To think I spent six years on one question and the answer was so simple it still staggers my intellectual mind.

“If the end result of all this speculation doesn't end with me being reunited with my deceased mom again after I die then its all just so much hot air.”

Not so fast art reality does not center around if you are going to be reunited with your mom or not. But it sounds like you and your mom had a very close relationship and there was much love between you and her and my research indicates that indeed you will not only be reunited but she will be there to greet you as you cross over. Loved ones there to greet us and we are reunited with them in these other world dimensions cross validate very well.

Almost 100 per cent art. In fact some research suggests she is around you now but of course not in a physical form. Some mediums have been able to see these astral forms and identify them to the satisfaction of the sitter.

Oh I just read Sandy’s comments to you and I agree with her comments with one exception we must not assume that all suicides meet with the same conditions on the other side. There appears to be some variation as to the conditions they experience but sandy did not say there was not variation. Just wanted to add my two cents worth.

“These all have tremendous value, but they do not lead to the understanding.”

The Buddhists have “a knowing beyond knowing” and “a knowing”. The first is understanding and the knowing is knowledge. I suspect there can be a causal correlation between the two aspects of knowing.

I have admitted several times on this blog most of what I write is at a knowledge level not at a knowing beyond knowing level. I rely on research but that can be very misleading as we often find what we want to find. That is the great challenge of doing research to allow new information into the mind in spite of our paradigms. Anyone that does not think they are being affected by their existing paradigms does not fully understand the paradigm effect.

“We want to accept space, time and causality as absolutes, because they sure appear to be absolutes.” Amen I know it well. Jesus statement do not judge by appearances was profound teachings. But oh it is so difficult not to judge by appearances. Just tune in to the world news to see this phenomenon in action.

“So the divine joke just carries on, with few the wiser.” God I hate to think it is a joke but God (pure awareness) did hide this profound wisdom in a very secret place. I.e. within us.
How could it not be within us there is only Oneness and we are an aspect of that Oneness. Even the word aspect is misleading.

I’d simply ask if the speculation regarding SOFT leads anyone to experience deep, warm, unconditional positive feelings. Is the emotional experience of considering these ideas elevating one’s spirit, personally, on a deep level? Do things look fresh and new somehow? Does this feel, intuitively, to be leading to something important and inspiring?

I don't think this is the right way to evaluate scientific theories, but if we're going to use it, I'd say that Beichler's ideas do make things look fresh and new to me (which is not to say that his ideas are correct, only that they provide a new and refreshing perspective). Intuitively, I feel that Beichler could be pointing the way to something important - "important if true," as newspapers used to say when they printed a story they couldn't confirm.

Whether it's inspiring, I don't know. Some people may find his chapter "A Universe of Purpose" inspirational. Personally, I find the philosophy/religion of Spiritualism more inspiring. Beichler has little interest in Spiritualism or in the studies of early mediums like Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Leonard; this is the one part of psi research that he downplays, though he does not dismiss it entirely. I disagree with him on this - especially regarding his conclusion that researchers like Hodgson and James ended up with only a collection of anecdotes.

Anyway, something can seem inspiring simply because it resonates with childhood beliefs or beloved myths, or for many other reasons. Its inspirational quality is not evidence that it's true. For instance, I find the story of the empty tomb in the Gospels very beautiful and inspiring, but I would not insist that it really happened.

Oh I just read Sandy’s comments to you and I agree with her comments with one exception we must not assume that all suicides meet with the same conditions on the other side. There appears to be some variation as to the conditions they experience but sandy did not say there was not variation. Just wanted to add my two cents worth.

William, I’m very new to all this. You probably have much more experience and information than I do, so your two cents worth is quite valuable to the likes of me. I don’t think I would have ever talked back to the ghosts if a very sensible parapsychologist hadn’t made it seem OK to do so. That was only last summer. I still keep thinking that soon enough I’ll find a cure for this, and I won’t see the ghosts any more. Until I find my cure, I have discovered that it is better to be helpful than it is to run away. From what I’ve seen, every ghost is an individual, just like living people are. Not every ghost sees things the same way, just like not every living person does.

Look, it takes a special person to seriously consider this stuff as an academic, so Beichler should get some applause for having the bravery to take the paranormal seriously enough to try and explain how it could be real. Because he risks being called a quack, being laughed at, not being taken seriously, being accused of "falling off the deep end."

Like Frank J. Tipler who came up with Omega Point theory.

So right or wrong he's exceptional in that regard, and I hope he doesn't suffer too much ridicule. Of course, he may be an old fella past his teaching or research days who has nothing to lose by publishing such ideas.

"Like Frank J. Tipler who came up with Omega Point theory."

Some people posit that we have already reached the Omega Point aeons ago and are currently living in the postulated reality simulation. This theory would also cover all the of paranormal bases and explain away most if not all, of the Quantum mechanics mysteries.

"Beichler has little interest in Spiritualism or in the studies of early mediums like Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Leonard; this is the one part of psi research that he downplays, though he does not dismiss it entirely. I disagree with him on this - especially regarding his conclusion that researchers like Hodgson and James ended up with only a collection of anecdotes." - Michael Prescott
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Like pretty much everything else in life, some of it's true and some of it's not. I tend to believe that some of the Medium's own ideas and beliefs gets mixed up in the message (especially the preachier parts) but some of the more validative stuff is probably real. Just like religion, I sift through all of it and decide what I find useful or resonates with me and I toss the rest away.

I don't think this is the right way to evaluate scientific theories, but if we're going to use it, I'd say that Beichler's ideas do make things look fresh and new to me (which is not to say that his ideas are correct, only that they provide a new and refreshing perspective).

I don’t think this is the right way to evaluate scientific theories, either, MP. But I also don’t think that Beicler’s speculations are a scientific theory in the first place. When one is postulating the existence of a fifth dimension, I seriously doubt that there’s any way for three-dimensional beings to test it as a hypothesis. It’s similar to Bohm’s speculation on the “implicate” and “explicate” orders. Since neither Beichler’s or Bohm’s speculations can be tested as a working hypothesis, (because each suggests the existence of aspects of existence that precede or extend beyond the physical universe), I don’t think either can actually be regarded as a scientific theory. I think it’s more accurate to say that these examples are each of the nature of metaphysical speculation with spiritual implications couched in scientific language.

I do agree with dmduncan that Beichler deserves a great deal of credit for having the courage to publish his ideas. I’ll also say that if anyone finds these ideas leading to a new and refreshing perspective, then by all means give them appropriate consideration. As Sandy mentions above – not everyone sees things the same way, and although I’m using her phrase in a different context, I think the ultimate objective is a “matter of someday being able to see what has been there all along”.

I also don’t think that Beichler’s speculations are a scientific theory in the first place. When one is postulating the existence of a fifth dimension, I seriously doubt that there’s any way for three-dimensional beings to test it as a hypothesis.

I don't think theories like this can be empirically tested, but they can be evaluated in the same way that, say, the Copenhagen Interpretation is evaluated: Does the theory fit all the known evidence? Is it consistent with the equations? Does it resolve problems left unresolved by competing theories? And is it "elegant"?

The last criterion is somewhat subjective, but seems to be important to cosmologists, who are always looking for an elegantly simple explanation.

Whether Beichler's theory meets any or all of these criteria, I don't know. He says his five-dimensional model resolves the tension between quantum theory and relativity theory. If this is true (and it's a big "if"), then that might be one reason to take his theory seriously, since integrating quantum mechanics and relativity has been the elusive goal of physics for decades.

As I understand it, at least in a Popperian framework, the key to assessing a theory is not whether it is empirically testable but whether it is (in principle) falsifiable. Of course, normally we do falsify theories by empirically testing them. But with a cosmological theory like this, I would imagine falsification would require showing that it leads to mathematical dead ends or paradoxes, or that it fails to resolve the tension between QM and relativity, or has some other conceptual defect. In other words, the attempt at falsification would be made through mathematical analysis rather than through laboratory testing.

In fact, this is why the Kaluza-Klein model was rejected by Einstein - not because it had been disproved by new data, but because it entailed mathematical problems that seemed insoluble. Beichler claims to have solved these problems.

Anyway, if SOFT isn't a scientific theory, what about Kaluza-Klein? Or string theory? Or brane theory? All those theories require five or more dimensions. Does this make them unscientific?

“William, I’m very new to all this. You probably have much more experience and information than I do,”

As far as experience I have very little when it comes to ghosts. I have seen a ghost a few times in a house I lived in many years ago. Two people did cross over in that house so maybe it was one of those guys still earth bound.

And in another house something, someone was making so much noise I had to yell at “it” to stop. It was like pots and pans banging together. Kind of scary. Ok real scary. After I yelled at it the noise stopped. My son and his girl friend at the time now his wife swear they saw ghosts in that house on a regular basis.

I have never had a great interest in ghosts. My comments were more about suicides and what people say on the other side after they have committed suicide and what some spirits say about suicide that I consider an advanced spirit.

The just of what they report is don’t do it. There have been a couple of exceptions but most regret taking their lives as a way out of this life. Of course it depends on so many factors.

It appears to me with what little I know of ghosts you are able to see what most refer to as earth bound spirits. It also appears that time is not an issue with them like it is here in this physical dimension so they can stay earth bound for years or even decades and not realize how much time has passed.

Unsolved mysteries used to have some interesting ghost stories. You May want to find a way to view those old TV shows. Maybe they are now on reruns.

Anyway, if SOFT isn't a scientific theory, what about Kaluza-Klein? Or string theory? Or brane theory? All those theories require five or more dimensions. Does this make them unscientific?

I'd say, yes, these are unscientific theories. I regard these examples, as well as many of today’s widely accepted theories - such as Big Bang cosmology – as more accurately described as highly complex metaphysical theories that have arisen from the scientific imagination.

I agree with Ulrich Mohrhoff’s comments, found in his recent review of Berlinski’s The Devil’s Delusion at AntiMatters, original emphasis:

The theories that we possess — such as Maxwell’s electrodynamics, Einstein’s theories of relativity, and quantum mechanics — comprise a “tantalizingly inconsistent scheme of things,” the distinguished mathematician Roger Penrose observed. I would add that they comprise a tantalizingly inconsistent scheme of things if and only if we try to straitjacket them into a naturalistic framework of thought. In any case, Berlinski is certainly right that “[t]hese splendid artifacts of the human imagination have made the world more mysterious than it ever was. We know better than we did what we do not know and have not grasped.”

We may allow ourselves in the early twenty-first century to neglect the Red Sea and to regard with unconcern the various loaves and fishes mentioned in the New Testament. We who are heirs to the scientific tradition have been given the priceless gift of a vastly enhanced sense of the miraculous. This is something that the very greatest scientists — Newton, Einstein, Bohr, Gödel — have always known and always stressed. (207) No scientific theory touches on the mysteries that the religious tradition addresses.

The answers that prominent scientific figures have offered are remarkable in their shallowness. So much is obvious. What is less certain is that “what the religious traditions of mankind have said forms a coherent body of thought.” It seems to me that what these traditions have given us is glimpses of a coherent and experientially accessible reality quite beyond the ken of rational thought.

As I wrote earlier, I admire Beichler for finding the courage to publish ideas that challenge the mainstream and leave room for a spiritual dimension of existence, if only from the standpoint of reinforcing that the emperor of scientism is naked. At the same time, several popular writers over the years have proposed that quantum mechanics can be interpreted in a manner consistent with various eastern cosmologies. Still, my contention is that all of these approaches are hampered because they assume the “naturalistic framework of thought”, they grant the metaphysical assumption that reality can be understood through the application of the “scientific method”. Mohroff again, from the same review (italics in original, bold added):

How does the [scientific] method fare in an actual scientific context? Take quantum mechanics, the fundamental theoretical framework of contemporary physics. Its mathematical formalism is a collection of computational tools. You may think of them as machines with inputs and outputs. You insert (i) a mathematical representation of a measurement M that you intend to make, (ii) the time of M, and (iii) mathematical representations of relevant measurement outcomes previously obtained, and out pop the probabilities of the possible outcomes of M. Now why is the fundamental theoretical framework of physics concerned with measurements of physical quantities rather than the physical quantities themselves? Why does it let us predict the probabilities of the possible outcomes of a measurement but not the actual outcome? Few physicists or philosophers of science believe that they have the answers, and fewer still believe the answers that have been proposed. So much for the scientific method.

What is missing in all this is the insight that science operates within an interpretative framework that formulates questions and interprets answers, and that this interpretative framework is not testable by any means that would qualify as “scientific.” Yet philosopher Michael Devitt, to mention but one, continues to proclaim that “there is only one way of knowing, the empirical way that is the basis of science!”

As I wrote earlier, my position is that the answers will never be found in the manifestations. The difficulty encountered in this proposal is that it is perceived as “anti-intellectual”, and my earlier suggestion that one has to learn to entertain a positive feeling state in order to arrive at truth is more likely than not going to be perceived as advocating a sort of vacuous, drifting mental approach to life. Yet, those who actually learn to cultivate a quiet mind will discover not only the deep, warm, unconditional positive feelings I mentioned in my first comment in this thread; they will simultaneously discover a sense of heightened acuity, an intellectual clarity quite beyond anything they’ve known before.

I suppose it all goes back to what I’ve suggested consistently in these threads: we can’t think our way to the truth because what we’re thinking with is one of the manifestations. I think there’s always been just one way to arrive at the answers, and that is to discover the source. The divine joke is that the source isn’t something else that exists somewhere else – it’s always been right here and right now, and the way to find is exceptionally difficult in its simplicity, not to mention the very thing no one wants to do: we have to stop looking.

“not to mention the very thing no one wants to do: we have to stop looking.”

I suspect there are many paths to the awaking process. One of those paths I suspect is to stop looking and live in the now. Maybe it is the fastest path, maybe not. Other paths exist as there is much variation in the universe and every soul is unique just as every path taken by a soul will be unique. Some of us have to learn what does not work before we can learn what does work.

“The answers that prominent scientific figures have offered are remarkable in their shallowness. So much is obvious.”

This one small statement has such brilliant insights probably because I agree with it. Look at a rose as it unfolds and tell me it is here due to chance. Watch a baby as it grows and unfolds it uniqueness and tell me it is here due to chance. “So much is obvious”.

Now shallowness we are all shallow to a degree depending on our level of consciousness we have “realized” in our soul’s evolution of consciousness process.

The atheists who believe they are the only ones with a rational mind believe we are here due to chance and the Christians believe without a sacrifice of blood they have no chance of getting into heaven. The human mind is a fascinating phenomenon capable of convincing itself of just about anything.

Ok lecture over. Sorry if it sounded like a lecture just some random thoughts this morning.

I suspect there are many paths to the awaking process. One of those paths I suspect is to stop looking and live in the now. Maybe it is the fastest path, maybe not.

While I entirely agree with Krishnamurti’s observation that truth is a pathless land, it’s interesting to note that whatever path one takes eventually arrives at a moment where one stops looking and lives in the now.

I suppose that everyone is free to wander around indefinitely before they get there, but I can’t imagine a quicker path than to just stop looking and live in the now. Again though, that’s too simple for most of us. We want complexity, so we go looking for it. Those who want complexity will never find material lacking.

You’ve commented before that you suspect that both time and space are illusory, William. If true, that means that there’s no time to waste. Not to suggest there’s some sort of urgency involved, but because there’s literally no time to waste: we just think there is.

By the way, congratulations on the book news!

I suppose that everyone is free to wander around indefinitely before they get there, but I can’t imagine a quicker path than to just stop looking and live in the now.

Does that mean that if I now start looking for enlightenment on purpose and try really, really hard to find it that I will go back to sleep and be normal? Did I mess up by not trying to wake up in the first place and then by enjoying the butterflies too much?

“You’ve commented before that you suspect that both time and space are illusory, William”

With infinite there can be no time or else it would not be infinite.

Now as for space that is only unawareness in action. Pure awareness knows no space. Only unawareness knows that which we call space. There can be no space in Oneness.

“Does that mean that if I now start looking for enlightenment on purpose and try really, really hard to find it that I will go back to sleep and be normal?”

The short answer: no> and besides what is normal. One of the most destructive forces in any society is the concept or belief in normal or average. Example: performance appraisals (merit raises) are based on normal or average and this is absolute insanity and total lack of understanding of variation as it applies to system performance and human behavior.

Sandy take the time to read ena twigg’s book called ena twigg medium. You may have just discovered latent abilities that have the opportunity for you to be a beneficial presence in the world. Or not.

Thanks for the kind words Michael H about my news of now having a published co-author to help me with my book.

Does that mean that if I now start looking for enlightenment on purpose and try really, really hard to find it that I will go back to sleep and be normal?

Probably not. It seems to me that anyone who wakes up even briefly can never manage to entirely fall asleep again. On the other hand, I do think that “looking for enlightenment on purpose”, as you aptly put it, might be the best way to keep it at bay. A day will eventually come when what is “normal” will be the understanding that our age genuinely believed that “enlightenment” was something one needed to acquire. That age will regard this age to be quite amusing.

Did I mess up by not trying to wake up in the first place and then by enjoying the butterflies too much?

Probably. Even fewer understand that awakening from the dream doesn’t mean that everything’s perceived as perfect indefinitely from then on. There’s still a tendency to experience frustration at times. It seems to revolve around either the irritation of no longer being asleep - a sort of grumpiness about being awakened abruptly - or conversely, annoyance that one isn’t awake enough. There’s also a sort of loneliness involved, which has to do with the frustration of knowing most everyone else is still sound asleep. (“Why can’t all these other people see the salamanders? They’re right there!!”)

These are all just part of the direct experience of the psychological dichotomy, though. Just because one’s experienced the stirring of the authentic self doesn’t mean that the inauthentic self remains entirely asleep. I think it all goes back to simplicity. The entire purpose of existence may just be about going from the experience of the authentic self in deep sleep, to the experience of the inauthentic self in deep sleep. I think everyone experiences both selves to varying degrees throughout their lives, yet most don’t appear to recognize that there are two selves. The authentic self hides within and behind common sense – so we rarely notice it. It's too obvious to notice.

Butterflies again, Sandy? The reference reminds me of http://www.vibrationdata.com/tao.htm>Chuang Tzu’s parable, which may be the most succinct effort to capture the essence of this issue yet to be expressed. Noticing the butterflies is always a good idea, but can we become the butterfly? We can’t try to become the butterfly, though. We can only allow the metamorphosis to occur naturally, and when it does, it'll seem as if we’ve always been the butterfly.

“Wu Wei”.

Michael H., looking for enlightenment on purpose was much harder than I thought. I went to the park on my usual walk figuring that instead of just letting things happen, I would look for “enlightenment on purpose”. I found my favorite bench overlooking the pond and was going to try meditating. I’ve never really tried it before because I thought it might encourage anomalous experiences, but I figured it would be the way to do the whole “enlightenment on purpose” thing.

I had some meditation instructions written down on a piece of paper. I found a comfy spot in a place I like and I tried following the instructions. But then I was distracted by a blue heron flying past me, and I couldn’t help but watch it. Then a sparrow started singing. A chipmunk started chattering at me, so I had to dig some sunflower seeds out of my jacket pocket to share with her. Then I saw my first butterfly of the spring.

We still have patches of snow in the shade here, so I wasn’t expecting butterflies yet.

I don’t know why I can’t ignore the butterflies. I just get lost watching them. Everything changes, as if I’m suddenly very far away from where I started. The colors around things become brighter and noisier. Even with the hum of colors, everything feels very quiet in a funny way. It felt like it was just me and the butterfly, even though I know the chipmunk was still there eating seeds.

I finished my walk, but I never did manage the meditation thing. I feel a bit lost, like part of me is still with the butterfly. I’m a little mad at myself for not sticking to my “enlightenment on purpose” plan. I’d be annoyed at the butterfly too, but really, who can blame butterflies for being butterflies?

I do feel lonely because of the way I am. I want to belong to this world because this is where my family is. My husband is still asleep. Maybe it isn’t the most enlightened thing to say, but quite frankly, I don’t want to wake up. It is too much fun sleeping with my husband.

I think, in a sense, you did find enlightenment at the park, Sandy. The way nature convened around you.

I don't think enlightenment is about going off to other levels of consciousness or planes of reality. It's in the hear and now - people laughing, good food, a heartfelt song.

Sometimes I worry that people who are interested in a spiritual approach to life tend to disappear a little. If we're here for some reason, then we might as well be here.

Just a thought.

Dear me. 'The here and now' not 'hear and now'.

That was beautiful, Sandy.

All I'd say is that rather than hoping that you can fall asleep again, maybe you can help your husband wake up. That's tricky too, though, in that I suspect it also involves not trying, although if you can love him enough it probably increases the odds that he'll wake up on his own.

One comment especially jumped out at me - the bit about the colors around things becoming brighter and noisier. A friend of mine (who's also experienced anomalous, transcendent perceptions) has lately been experiencing something that sounds similar, which she describes as everything seeming brighter/sharper - like she's "upgraded her television to high, high definition or something".

Sometimes I worry that people who are interested in a spiritual approach to life tend to disappear a little. If we're here for some reason, then we might as well be here.

I couldn't agree more, Major. I think this all goes back to the common conviction that the "spiritual reality" is something else that's somewhere else that we'll eventually arrive at sometime else. All the striving to get there can easily keep someone from recognizing that they're already there.

BTW, the typo may not have been as accidental as it may have seemed.

:)

I'm very impressed with your latest analysis here, MP. I have to agree with you.

Sandy, have you seen the recent books on Orbs which sound a bit like the ones you’ve been seeing? For example:

http://www.cygnus-books.co.uk/orbs-speak-william-bloom-p14938.html

The idea seems to be that they’re come to help. Have you tried telepathically communicating with them?

I tried the mediation thing again, just to make sure I didn’t give up too easily. As soon as I sat down on the park bench, one of those naughty butterflies landed on my nose and made me laugh. The butterflies were everywhere today. They kept landing on me every time I stopped along the path. I had a nice walk. A Downy Woodpecker let me get within less than a yard of it in the forest. I had to step over a bunny on the trail. And the chipmunk asked for seeds again. But I never did manage to meditate.

Ben, I haven’t tried to communicate with the orbs. I’m looking for a cure and somehow I don’t think that they are here to give me that answer.

I haven’t tried to communicate with the orbs. I’m looking for a cure and somehow I don’t think that they are here to give me that answer.

Manly P. Hall, in The Secret Teachings of All Ages has a take on this issue:

The salamanders were the strongest and most powerful of the elementals, and had as their ruler a magnificent flaming spirit called Djin, terrible and awe-inspiring in appearance. The salamanders were dangerous and the sages were warned to keep away from them, as the benefits derived from studying them were often not commensurate with the price paid.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta25.htm

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