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I ordered Chris Carter's and Raymond Moody's books a few days ago. Moody's book was sent out to me a couple of days ago and I got an email today saying that Chris Carter's book was sent to me today. I should be recieving them in a few days and I am really looking forward to reading them even if Chris's book doesn't mention the holographic universe!

I finished reading Ken Wilber's book Eye to Eye a couple of days ago. I bought Eye to Eye used from a used bookstore in Nashville, TN. I didn't like it at all. It was difficult to read and it didn't make that much sense to me. Ken Wilber seemed very skeptical to me and he has his own theories which I thought were pointless and too complex. It was first published in 1983 so perhaps he's changed his ideas some?

I have also been slowly reading Heaven and Hell by Emmanuel Swedenborg and while it's a bit wordy some of it's very positive and every now and again I find something in it which I find useful.

Great Post Micheal, thanks for all the info.

I had never heard of a shared NDE! So amazing! I have been trying to learn the evidence surrounding things like life after death for about two solid years and I still learn new things everyday!

Sorry to hear Ken Wilbers book was lame. I have been wanting to read something from him for awhile. I am an avid meditater so I figured he would have great pointers since he knows how to stop his own brain waves...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFFMtq5g8N4

I'm new to Michael's blog but am enjoying it very much. In response to the two comments above, I'll say I've been reading Wilber for a lot of years now. I think he is making an important and truly brilliant contribution. He is having a serious go at synthesizing all knowledge domains into one map, and this map also involves a practice, which he calls Integral Life Practice. That being said, though, I do have some major disagreements with him, one of the many being that he does not embrace things like the scientific study of NDEs.

Like the saying says, "your mileage will vary" or "one man's milk is another man's poison" - referring I suppose to lactose intolerance? Some people might enjoy Ken Wilber's book Eye To Eye. I didn't and found it almost completely useless. I found it difficult to read and he makes up his own words which I found distracting. I spent a good deal of time just trying to understand the language. I will never buy another Ken Wilber book - it was a waste of time for me. I'm glad that I bought it cheap at a used bookstore and I have every intention of trading it back in for store credit.

Robert,

I think it is important to integrate the most empircal knowledge when trying to create a spiritual practice. At the same time with any philosophies and spiritual practices, I think an individual will have to sort out what seems right and what seems wrong.

a philosopher named "Glodel" stated that; a single system of thought will always have paradoxes if it is of high quality and it will have contradictions if it is of low quality. You can never fully check the validity of all claims within a system of thought using principals from that same system of thought. There will always be paradoxes within a good system of thought.

Therefore, if we only use one system of thought in our view than we will suffer from a lack of a complete understanding of reality....

But who has that anways!

"a single system of thought will always have paradoxes if it is of high quality and it will have contradictions if it is of low quality."

Matthew, here's another thought I've always liked. It's from a book called Muddy Tracks by Frank DeMarco:

"The most valid system is one that reconciles the greatest number of seemingly irreconcilable beliefs by showing that each was a partial view of something now seen whole. Or at least more whole than before."

That last sentence leaves room for those paradoxes you were talking about.


"I spent a good deal of time just trying to understand the language."

Have to say I agree with you about Wilber, Art. I've got a pretty good vocabulary, but I find his writing style overly dense, and generally unpleasant to read.

"a philosopher named 'Glodel' stated that ... you can never fully check the validity of all claims within a system of thought using principles from that same system of thought."

Do you mean Gödel's incompleteness theorem?

One website says:

"The Incompleteness Theorem is a pair of logical proofs that revolutionized mathematics. The first result was published by Kurt Gödel (1906-1978) in 1931 when he was 24 years old.

"The First Incompleteness Theorem states that any contradiction-free rendition of number theory (a branch of mathematics dealing with the nature and behavior of numbers and number systems) contains propositions that cannot be proven either true or false on the basis of its own postulates. The Second Incompleteness Theorem states that if a theory of numbers is contradiction-free, then this fact cannot be proven with common reasoning methods.

"Some mathematicians found Gödel's proofs disturbing when they were published. Today, serious students of mathematical logic find them fascinating. Some people have seized upon Gödel's results and attempted to apply them to nature in general, to social science, and even to theology. Many of these extensions of Gödel's results are inappropriate; a few are, by scientific standards, ridiculous."

Source: tiny.cc/j8tnb

But I agree with the general point that paradoxes or anomalies are likely to be part of any worldview, since the things we understand are vastly outnumbered by the things we don't.

About that Frank DeMarco quote: "The most valid system is one that reconciles the greatest number of seemingly irreconcilable beliefs by showing that each was a partial view of something now seen whole. Or at least more whole than before."

...that is really the whole point of Wilber's enterprise. He is trying to include everything by showing each thinker and each knowledge domain had "a partial view of something now seen as whole." His term for it is "transcend and include."

Also, to really appreciate him, you need to read his later works. Eye to Eye is way too early to really get a sense of where he has gone. I would recommend Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality. It's about 15 years old, but no matter how many things in it you disagree with, it will stay with you and quite possibly permanently reshape your head.

Yes, he loves his own jargon and in my mind he gets increasingly flippant in tone over the years. But there is a reason why he commands a towering respect among a lot of very serious people.

That being said, I argue the "con" side in relation to Wilber with equal intensity.

Just wanted to say thanks. Chris Carter's book on NDEs is by far the best I have read on the subject. If it hadn't been for this blog, I wouldn't even have heard about it.

Thanks for the comment, Weedar!

"Also, to really appreciate him, you need to read his later works. Eye to Eye is way too early to really get a sense of where he has gone. I would recommend Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality. It's about 15 years old, but no matter how many things in it you disagree with, it will stay with you and quite possibly permanently reshape your head". Robert

I agree with you Robert.SES is Wilber's magnum opus. Wilber's ideas have been built up over 30 years and for the uninitiated he can be a tough read. As a psychologist, I have been influenced by two of his later works Integral Psychology and Integral Spirituality.

Wilber cannot be read as a "how to" manual nor is his work particularly comparable to some of the books on psi, NDE's, or the afterlife that are discussed here.

Wilber is not "appreciated" by much of academia because of his flippant style,broad breadth of ideas that highly specialized academics pick apart, and his nonacademic publishing history.

I find him provocative, cocky, very interesting and courageous or narcissistic....take your pick.

Yeah Micheal that is what I was referring to. I did not get the information from the source, it was refined before I gathered it. I got it from a book by Russel Targ called "the end of suffering." He really tries to weave many different philosophies in that book and depends many different philosophies into plain English. I found is paraphrasing of Kurt Godel quite fascinating. It somewhat explains the evolution of the western philosophical system. A new system always seems to attack a preexisting systems ideas in western philosophy. This may be because of the evolution in knowledge in general but I think its also because of "The Incompleteness Theorem."

Syncronistically,my uncle gave me a Wilber book and said borrow this and read it, I think its called "a theory of everything."

Is it possible to synthesis a theory of everything from the perspectives of one person?

I am not sure if our abilities of perception will ever allows to have a "theory of everything."

Weedar I second that!

sorry for the typo's guess this cold is frying brain cells!

I am not sure if our abilities of perception will ever allows to have a "theory of everything." Mathew X78


Wilber actually gives it a good try with his 4 Quadrant Perspective. It's been developed over the past twenty years and is actually quite interesting and inclusive. He synthesizes ideas from Evolutionary Theory, Spiral Dynamics, Developmental and Transpersonal Psychology, Philosophy of Science,Eastern and Western Philosophic Traditions, the Esoteric and Hermetic Traditions, modern science,and the kitchen sink.

The breadth of his work is unusual in our current intellectual climate which is dominated by narrow specialization.

I've read a lot of Ken Wilber's stuff as well - have been a paying member of his Integral online community - and agree with most of the above - he's a genius, without any question, BUT - I've always found it very, very ironic how his focus always seems to come back to the EGO and it's ills....yet, you can have a Fred Flintstone understanding of human psychology, and see that he is so egocentric...that's it's almost cartoonish..:-)

A Brief History of Everything is a great place to start - and yes - there ARE "a-ha" epiphanies from reading Wilber's stuff - although he borrows liberally from Telliard De Chardin, Sri Aribindo, etc, etc.

What IS very interesting though - is Wilber almost died a few years back (he has some chronic illness, I forget what's it's called) and had written, in very specific terms, about his OWN NDE -described seeing himself from a point outside of his body - the NON-identification of personal "I", and interpreted the whole thing through the prism of his own beliefs. (which are decidely Mahayana Buddhist) and DID clearly state that the experience of "dying" corroborated his already well formed view that conciousness is separate from brain states - and transcends and includes ordinary waking awareness, etc.

He def DOES believe in a very discrete afterlife - but of a more non personal nature - i.e. - pure awareness - and has written about this a lot. (and one of the reasons his theories are generally considered new age by other academics, peers and philosophers, etc - who don't have his intellectual gravitas and gifts) He also treats psychic research VERY sympathetically.....and has stated he believes there are REAL - but not the domain he chooses to explore. (I've heard him speak to "psychics" and meditators who speak about spiritual entities - he endorses a meditative process - BIG MIND - that refers to both of these)

Not to write an essay on Wilber here - but I've actually tried to mediate and reconcile some of what I've learned about a potential afterlife - including my own exceptional experiences, et al - against some of what I've enjoyed per his writings - the primary thing I've taken away from Wilber is pretty simple, not original to him....but still very personally powerful for me:

The MORE persectives you can hold - the more points of view you can identify with - the more "awakened" you become.

Free of dogma - it's something that I try to do - usually badly - but I know it makes me feel like a better, happier and more likeable human being when I do..:-)

Ultimately - if you strip away all of the fancy words - he's not saying anything different than the NDE'r who comes back and realizes it's all about being loving, kind and more accepting.

Rick49,

Thanks for that. I cracked that book open and read the intro and you are spot on with your description. I think I will give it a read. He did make a couple of "jumps in logic" in his work but I am sure there is much of value in his work!

I would agree that developmental stages are not necessary stacks of brings but more like interweaved strings which continue to progress.... It is an inconvenient model perhaps but is a better representation of how this truly progress.

Felipe

I used to be Mahayana Buddhist myself Felipe. I feel like those who try to master so many different subjects end up being jacks! But if Wilber can genuinely pull that off than that would be awesome.

Mahayanist do not believe that our incarnations are guided in purpose. Through the lens of empirical evidence I have changed this view personally and there was a lot of friction between me and the monks at the temple etc when my views begin to change. They did not like some of my ideas...

I am glad I have developed my own ideas even though its tougher to have spiritual practice and ideas on your own.

I'm always being turned on to interesting stuff here by Michael and others, so I though I'd do my part today to share two things I just ran across.

http://www.nderf.org/amy_c_nde_4720.htm

Haven't read any NDE's in a long time, but this long and detailed one really got through to me. I trust it completely for a variety of reasons, but most importantly, because it jibes with everything I've come to know and believe about life and death.

The experiencer gets an interesting validation for the event, as she meets someone on the other side—a newly deceased young woman—and then, when she returns to her body, meets (by "chance") this person's mother. She is able to console her and provides specific and meaningful information.

The account is also notable for the details it offers about a Purgatory-like space (she calls it a waiting room) where she spends time with others who have just died. I also enjoyed reading about the profound changes in her life, so typical of NDE'rs, but always such a pleasure to hear.

I also want to share this new book.

http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Ghosts-Not-So-Catholic-Believer/dp/1585428191/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Haven't read it, but it seems unusual for books about hauntings. Rather than a sensationalistic approach, it seems to be one person's honest attempt to come to grips with what is happening in his house, and how that affects his own spirituality and world-view. I get the impression the book is also somewhat scholarly and well-researched.

I thought Sandy, in particular, might enjoy this one!

Thanks, Bruce! :)

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