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Hello Michael.

I agree with you, but I think that we should not use the term "materialism" when we refer to the manipulation of matter for certain purposes (technique and technology). Materialism is usually understood as a metaphysical position about what exist in reality, not a methodology or a tendency to manipulate matter of the environment. Although there may be a connection between these two things, because putting too much emphasis on manipulating matter has led to the imposition of materialism.

Finally I see two errors about technology and materialism in modern societies. A error is to believe the most important is the manipulation of matter, that is, technique and technology, where personal relationships are much more important than technology. The other error is to consider paranormal phenomena cannot be compatible with materialism, because maybe the psi abilities can be explained in physical terms in the future at least partially, and in the future may be discovered that there is a material vehicle for the consciousness that separates from the body at death. So materialism is insufficient because there are things more important than the manipulation of matter, but materialism may be sufficient to address certain phenomena which at first sight are in conflict with this position.

Very good post Micheal. Under extreme stress we can choose to wallow in pity, or we can allow the difficulties we face to trigger our most inspiring insights and motivate us into action. I'm glad to see you ignored the first option and chose the latter two. Reading your reactions to your situation inspires and motivates me. Thank you.

Good to see you blogging again, Michael, and giving me something to chew on.

"I realize that there are objections to this position. One of them is that science and technology have done as much harm as good – atomic weapons, global pollution, overpopulation, et cetera. These are problems, but in my opinion they pale before the ills of yesteryear"

But in making that evaluation you're at precisely the same disadvantage as those who romanticize the past: you weren't living 10,000 years ago, so you don't know how it felt to be alive then. You don't know if the minuses outweighed the pluses, you're only guessing.

You too are fantasizing.

The way I see it, progress is real, but it is temporary, and it exists in balance with its opposite--loss.

Isn't that the message of spiritual study and experience? We move towards the Light so that we can know ecstasy and perfection. But it's equally true that we move away from the Light, so that we can know limitation.

Over the long haul, do you really think progress is possible without an equal measure of its opposite? If you think it is, then you view the universe as a technological product rather than as what it more precisely resembles--the ultimate art form.

There is no progress in art--only change.

Michael, a great post. I mostly agree, except to observe that your lauding of the modern material quality of life applies mainly to the "developed" world, not to the billions living in poverty, overcrowding, disease and war. And most importantly, this wonderful modern human condition of the minority is almost certainly temporary and unsustainable. It is arguable that a confluence of overpopulation, pollution, exhaustion of resources, global warming and resulting war and/or pandemics will result in a collapse of our modern system, sometime in the upcoming century. Our descendants may look back at this period nostalgically as the golden age. Look at the movie "Soylent Green" as a glimpse of one possible stage of that process. The triumph of science and the industrial age may ultimately bring on a catastrophe that returns conditions to a medieval or worse level after a huge dieoff. Of course this is a very pessimistic view, but it is justified by many factors and trends going on right now.

By the way, Michael, once again I've been quick to jump in with an opposing viewpoint, but I'm really not as far apart from you as I may sound. I completely agree with you on this important point: technology is wonderful. I love my computers!

And I'm especially fond of my new TV. I bought it two months ago to replace the one I bought in 1980, which was my first color TV (no remote). I'm amazed at how much better the technology is now, and I'm delighted with how much I'm enjoying it--especially when combined with my Apple TV. (Which, when I bought it, made me think of your excited post, a few years back, about your new Roku. That was a completely foreign concept to me back then.)

RabbitDawg, rest assured that I'm devoting a good part of my time to wallowing in self-pity!

Bruce, you may be right about life 10,000 years ago, but when I look at the historical era (roughly the last 4,000 years) I see very rough conditions for the vast majority of people, who were slaves, serfs, peasants, starving beggars, etc. I'm sure there were some compensations, but life was generally "nasty, brutish, and short." BTW, Howard Fast's novel Spartacus paints a very vivid picture of the life of a Roman slave. It makes for great reading. He conceived of it while in prison during the McCarthy era.

David, you're right about underdeveloped countries, but maybe what they need is more materialism, in order to take better advantage of their natural resources. There is really no reason why Africa has to be poor. In terms of material abundance it may be the richest continent on Earth. Still, I take your point that our civilization may prove transient. It certainly feels that way right now, with the economy stagnating, natural disasters exposing the weaknesses of our infrastructure, and terrorism and nuclear proliferation on the rise. Possibly the apex of our technological culture will eventually be seen as the short period when we were putting men on the moon. I'm not sure we still have the ambition or the dedication to do that today, which is rather sad. Sometimes I think we're turning into the future humans of the movie Wall-E - doughy slugs mesmerized by TV, accomplishing nothing, bored and useless.

How's that for self-pity? ;-)

Oh, and congratulations, Bruce, on your new TV! The wide screen and high-def resolution make quite a difference, don't they?

Michael,

I applaud the spirit of this post, but the argument itself lacks precision while supporting the *incorrect* position of modern materialists that atheism specifically is the foundation of modern science and technology?

I could ask in reverse, Who were the atheist/materialist scientists who have made these contributions?

Among the ancients, there were a scant handful of atheists or near-atheists, such as Epicurus. You have a few rationalists such as Pliny the Elder. But beyond that. Not Copernicus or Kepler. Newton was occultist! Most Enlightenment intellectuals who resisted religion were at least deist, Hume and a few others excepted. Not most 19th century scientists, including Darwin.

I just don't see it. Moreover, even in times of great superstition and, frankly, crap thinking, there were great technological strides. Such as in the Middle Ages.

Your point about being grateful for what we have is well taken, however. Reality can change for the worse in an instant.

You did a great job on your *phone*, Michael, while I just did a wee comment with a ton of mistakes. SHEESH!

"Bruce, you may be right about life 10,000 years ago, but when I look at the historical era (roughly the last 4,000 years) . . . "

Well, if you agree that you can't say much about the quality of life 10,000 years ago, then that's also true of 20,000 years ago, 100,000, and so on.

So if this represents the timeline of human history

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

your argument, at best, pertains to this much of it:

>

In terms of whether progress is real, it' s the larger picture that particularly fascinates me, which is why i also brought in the spiritual context.

"Howard Fast's novel Spartacus paints a very vivid picture of the life of a Roman slave. It makes for great reading."

One of my favorite movies, ever!

"I see very rough conditions for the vast majority of people, who were slaves, serfs, peasants, starving beggars, etc. I'm sure there were some compensations, but life was generally "nasty, brutish, and short."

I think we mislead ourselves when we suppose that we can compare our own quality of life, to that of people from another era. Especially since every time we drop a prozac, we kid ourselves about the status of our own well--being, and the emotional price we pay to be alive today.

Is it possible that the external enemies that threatened our ancestors, have become internalized and less easy to see, though just as distressing, and perhaps more chronic?

"Oh, and congratulations, Bruce, on your new TV! The wide screen and high-def resolution make quite a difference, don't they?"

Thanks! The vividness of the color, in particular, knocks me out. I find myself enjoying even the commercials. :o)

By the way, Michael--I'm still looking forward to your reply to my last comment (October 29, 2012 at 10:42 AM) in the "Image Swiped" thread.

Michael,

You wrote,

||Still, I take your point that our civilization may prove transient. It certainly feels that way right now, with the economy stagnating, natural disasters exposing the weaknesses of our infrastructure, and terrorism and nuclear proliferation on the rise. Possibly the apex of our technological culture will eventually be seen as the short period when we were putting men on the moon. I'm not sure we still have the ambition or the dedication to do that today, which is rather sad. Sometimes I think we're turning into the future humans of the movie Wall-E - doughy slugs mesmerized by TV, accomplishing nothing, bored and useless.||

I don't buy this, but I've worked in technology, in a semiconductor company (2002-2004) and in the ad industry (writing about technology a lot). Just as a quick examples, what about the rise of hybrids and EVs over the past decade? There are a lot of smart people working on a lot of stuff now.

We have not put a man on the moon since 1972, but we have put probes on Mars, Titan, etc. We've launched and retired the Space Shuttle. We probably haven't put a man on the moon since then because it's difficult, dangerous, and expensive and we don't have a lot more to learn from that relative to the difficulty, danger, and expense.

I also think people were probably more the slugs back in the 1970s than now. People just used to watch television unreflectively for hours and hours. They didn't understand the importance of exercise, not smoking, etc. I see people today as much more autonomous and in control of their lives. People spend more of their free time doing interactive activities, such as posting on great blogs like this one. :) At least, this is my impression.

The economic problems are real. Our legacy economic system is not up to changes in the world. My quick and dirty theory is that the current economic system is based on continuous and significant population growth. That's the only thing that can provide the big returns that keep the debt/investment-based system solvent. You see the economic malaise that struck Japan in the late 80s--well, its population was already on the path to stagnation. Regardless if that's a main cause, a small cause, or not a cause at all, once the "returns" stop coming in, for whatever reason, the system just collapses. It needs to change, and it will change. Sorry if that does not sound Conservative. ;)

Bruce,

I'm inclined to agree with you.

There have been people who have lived on nice islands in the South Pacific with really nothing to do but hunt/find food and sleep, with no worries about famine or even the weather.

For most people throughout human history, it's been a matter of handling the very basics--food, water, and shelter--then engage in community activities.

Even after civilization as we more or less know it came into being, there was something that the vast majority of people were free of: chronic pressure. Gotta get up, gotta punch the clock. Gotta pay that credit card bill on time or get a ding on the credit report. Gotta renew the passport. Modern people deal with a million "gottas" and "sub-gottas."

Of course, in the past, there were a lot of problems that people wanted to get rid of. Toothaches. Infant mortality. Famine. Disease. These problems were real. They wanted to solve them. Then there was new stuff they wanted. You try candy once and you want some more. So, inexorably, we have built up technology to push away what we don't want and pull towards us what we do. But then we have put ourselves in the trick bag of all the "gottas." That's the tradeoff.

So yes, I do think it is tough to say whether we are better off or not.

A review site is a website on which reviews can be posted about people, businesses, products, or services.http://www.whatsrank.com/

Nicely said, Matt!

"Even after civilization as we more or less know it came into being, there was something that the vast majority of people were free of: chronic pressure."

A lot of people think the big change was brought about by the introduction of agriculture. Farming has certain advantages over hunting and gathering, but involves infinitely more drudgery.

Bruce,

Right, I think agriculture was one big shift, and the next was with the rise of factories and offices in the 19th/20th centuries. And I think it's been steadily increasing since then. The pressure thing.

A materialist does not necessarily have to believe in consumerism or growth capitalism. But it helps.

Bruce, we CAN get a nice picture of how someone well off lived 2000 years ago at the height of the Roman Empire, simply by reading some of their works.

The Letters of Pliny the Younger (with a recent good English translation) paints a detailed portrait into the life of Pliny, living it large on his Tuscan estate in the 1st century AD. His life appears to have been most pleasant, as were those of his servants and slaves (not all masters were brutal as other sources portray). In fact, he took great care of all his staff, freed many of his slaves and clearly held great affection from many of them.

He also comes across as a decent chap all round, always ready to help a friend and enjoying the countryside and the finer things in life, abhors vulgarity and crassness, applauds modesty, and enjoys the company of friends and family over dinner.

Reading him from a modern perspective, he lived a great life, cultivated and sophisticated, but at the same time, enjoying the simpler things in life also.

Of course, he's rich, and I don't put up Pliny as an example of an average Roman on the street, but if you had money, things good be good.

Medicine, although not as good as modern standards, was still pretty good, and we have plenty of accounts of Romans living into their 70s, 70s and 90s and being reasonably healthy overall; Augustus lived into his 70s. And Romans, of course, were into personal hygiene in a big way – it was actually elevated to a way of life. This was not restricted to the rich by the way, as the great public bathhouses were open to all.

An old joke goes that a barbarian once asked a Roman why he washed twice a day. The Roman replied, ‘only because there isn’t enough time to wash three times a day’.

It is only recently that we can see the entire scope or panorama of human history. Most folks lived simple little isolated lives framed by their current surroundings. They only knew what was around them. What they did hear about the outside world was oftentimes made up embellishments. In fact the vast majority of people were illiterate and all they knew was what the literate scribes and monks told them about the world which was oftentimes wrong.

They ate, slept, made love, reproduced, urinated and defecated just like we do. And I'm sure they laughed and joked and loved their families just like we do too.

Because death was a family thing people who died, died at home so they were surrounded by family and friends and those loved ones got to see what happened as people moved from life into death. They witnessed death bed visions and believed that the veil between this life and the next was thinnest at that time so if they had any questions or requests that was the time to ask. They listened to the whisperings of the dying and believed what they heard.

Another words they thought about life and death and the afterlife quite differently than we do. It was more real to them. They were closer to it. They knew how fleeting life is.

The truth is that everything that happens here has something to do with preparing us for the other side. Everything happens for a reason. Everything.

The education of the soul is too important to leave up to chance.

When we get to the other side we will look back on this life like it was the blink of an eye.

And it is irrelevant whether anyone believes it or not. We can't stop time. Our time here on Earth is like a vapor or a mist. It passes by faster and faster the older we get. Soon it will be our turn to join our family and friends that have all ready crossed to the other side.

Michael, why do you think that your post has more to do with the value of modern conveniences than with your dependence on them? (I’m not criticising; I wouldn’t last long without them either)

I get the impression from your writing that you are lumping together aboriginal lifestyles and those of our classical/medieval ancestors. The reality is that the lifestyles of our more recent ancestors are in many ways more similar to ours than to the aborigines’ ones. This is especially true when it comes to servitude. As someone who admittedly romanticises the lifestyles of aborigines, I don’t do this because I hate technology and want to live without it, but because I see that they have something precious that we have lost, and lost it so long ago that we by-and-large don’t even realise that we have lost it. My dream lifestyle would really be a fusion of the two.

That aside, I really like the tone of your post. There is much in our society to be grateful for. :o)

"Bruce, we CAN get a nice picture of how someone well off lived 2000 years ago at the height of the Roman Empire, simply by reading some of their works."

Autobiographies are fascinating, but what I'm really saying is this. Not only can't I measure Pliny's quality of life against mine, I can't even judge the quality of my *own* life as a younger man, to what I'm experiencing now.

You tell me--was your life better as a kid than as an adult? Do you really remember how it felt to be young? Can you put your whole experience into context and somehow quantify it, balancing the "good" against the "bad," and then come up with an answer as to which part of your life was more meaningful overall, or more enjoyable?

Think about it.

And if you can't even do that, how can you measure your own quality of life against someone else's?

"I don’t do this because I hate technology and want to live without it, but because I see that they have something precious that we have lost, and lost it so long ago that we by-and-large don’t even realise that we have lost it."

Nice, Hrvoje!

Here's another thought on this question of comparing quality of life. What exactly is it we're comparing? How *easy* a life is? How *safe*(whatever safety means)? How much pain we're able to avoid?

Or do we want to know how much pleasure we experience? Or how much love we know? Or how peaceful we feel deep inside?

How can I possibly answer those questions in regards to your life, much less a life lived thousands of years ago?

"The truth is that everything that happens here has something to do with preparing us for the other side."

On the other hand, let's not forget the other part of the equation. Many of us are convinced that we also spend considerable "time" on the other side preparing to come to Earth.

Wise words, all of them, Bruce!

Thanks, Matt. Michael has a way of choosing topics, and writing about stuff, that gets me thinking. And this notion (or myth, as I see it) of progress, is one of the more interesting topics I know.

It really is.

I will, add, however, that I think humankind is evolving spiritually. Technological progress may or may not be a necessary condition for this evolution. It may be both a help and a hindrance. Or the spiritual evolution may drive technological change. Or they may be mutually reinforcing. Anything is possible, but I do think that they are connected in some way!

Douglas.I'm going off on a tangent here simply because your post re personal hygeine gave me a much needed smile. I am an Ex Pat Englishman living in Australia.The average Aussies I think irrational opinion of Brits is that they are frightened of soap and water.If I were a true Ocker (Aussie Chav) I would ask what the hell happened to the Roman influence on British bathing habits? Did a couple of hundred years of Roman occupation count for nothing?

"I will, add, however, that I think humankind is evolving spiritually."

But isn't that a huge presumption--to claim to know how "spiritual" we are today, as opposed to mankind centuries or millennia ago? Would it even be sensible to say that a man lives a more spiritual life than a frog or a tree?

And here's another angle on this. Doesn't the evidence point to the fact that we humans move closer to God, and then back away, in endless cycles? We evolve spiritually as we move closer to the Light (as epitomized in an NDE), but we also LEAVE the Light to experience limitation.

Seems to me that in order to keep the game going, evolution has to be balanced by an equal measure of DEvolution.

Though I'm also open to the possibility that Source (of which we are all a part), does in some sense continue to evolve, to change, even to grow.

In that sense, you may be right.

Snorkler, yeah, reminds me of Life of Brian!

What did the Romans ever do for us? Apart from personal hygiene, roads, baths, education, medicine, art, architecture, games, free bread, concrete, window glass, central heating, adminustration, logistics, literacy...

Yeah but apart from that, What did the Romans ever do for us???

;-)

Bruce,

I think humans as a group are evolving spiritually. I think that that's ultimately why we are here. And since I'm bottom-up (*not* a sexual term!), I think that, yes, Source evolves through our evolution. Source/Result, in other words.

I would say that a human lives a more spiritual than a frog, sure. There has to be *some* value to intellect and the ability to feel and understand on a high level, or else there would be no difference in value between a planet full of plants and a planet full of people. And presumably no difference between something and nothing at all (the Void is so spiritual!).

"I would say that a human lives a more spiritual than a frog, sure. There has to be *some* value to intellect and the ability to feel and understand on a high level, or else there would be no difference in value between a planet full of plants and a planet full of people."

Of course there would be a difference, and of course that difference is important. But different doesn't necessarily mean better or worse.

In what way, precisely, does complexity contribute to spirituality?

And please tell me exactly what it is that makes people more spiritual than frogs.

Bruce,

Lest we be plagued by equivocation... If you want to say, "Everything hums with the same vibration of Spirit; thus all is equally spiritual!" I mean, maybe, maybe not. I wouldn't choose to argue that here and now.

But when we talk about why one person cares about spirituality more than another, or is more spiritual than another, we know what we mean.

A frog does not care about spirituality and has no spiritual life. It is a sentient animal that just does what it does. That's fine. But it's not "spiritual" in the sense I'm talking about.

I think people (and other conscious animals) evolved to be "agents of spirit." Of course frogs are part of the ecosystem and advance this program in their own way. But they do not actually consciously advance spirit, appreciate it, etc.

There is a major flaw in this argument and that is between dualism and materialism. Dualism requires a mental reality and a physical reality. Materialism says this physical reality is all there is. You could operate on dualism and still have technology we have today and all the other things we have and still embrace the evidence for an afterlife and psi or not so.

Operating on Materialism as a worldview however ignores well over 100 years of evidence for an afterlife, psi phenomena as well as other evidences that don't fit in with that view. So in my view accepting dualism gives a lot of benefit to mankind as a whole. I could be wrong of course.

Good points, all. I don't know if prehistoric lifestyles were irenic or awful or somewhere in between, though a case could be made that the Garden of Eden story recalls an idyllic period of a hunter-gatherer culture in which people felt a mystical communion with animals and spirits. OTOH, maybe it was more like Lord of the Flies. Maybe some communities were peaceful and others were warlike; if so, I'd expect the warlike ones to dominate eventually.

Leo, I agree that dualism is more correct than materialism, but materialism may have been a phase that civilization had to pass through.

Matt, many leading scientists of the past were strict materialists. That's why Lodge and Crookes took so much heat for taking psi and spirits seriously. Helmholtz and Faraday are two well-known examples of scientists who dismissed all claims of psi. Helmoltz said he would not believe any testimony in favor of telepathy, not even the testimony of his own eyes! Isaac Newton, Einstein, and other rare birds were exceptions, not the rule, during most of this period.

Michael, it would be interesting to do some research into the proportions of major scientists at any given time who believed what. Certainly today materialism dominates. In the past, there were probably a lot of scientists who were materialists while paying lip service to the dominant religion of their culture. Then others were actual believers of this or that. It would be interesting to sort it all out. Probably not too hard. Go through the major names of each era and put them in the right column, although vigorous debates could be had over a lot of them.

I learned a new word: irenic. Thanks, Michael!

"A frog does not care about spirituality and has no spiritual life. It is a sentient animal that just does what it does."

Matt, in one sense I think you're right that spirituality doesn't apply to animals.

As we usually use the word, to be spiritual implies *choice*: choosing to align oneself, to the best of one's ability, with the values of spirit or God.

In that sense, animals (or infants, for that matter) can't be spiritual, because they have no behavioral choices to make. They remain, at all times, in perfect alignment with the highest good.

So animals may not be spiritual, but ironically, it's only because they have no spiritual challenges to overcome.

But the larger point I'd like to make is this: I've pretty much stopped thinking in terms of who's spiritual and who's not. There's virtually no way to categorize people (or other living beings) in that way without implying a value judgement, without suggesting that one is living a better, nobler, or more Godly life than another.

And I don't think any of us is qualified to do that!

'I am an Ex Pat Englishman living in Australia. The average Aussies I think irrational opinion of Brits is that they are frightened of soap and water. If I were a true Ocker (Aussie Chav) I would ask what the hell happened to the Roman influence on British bathing habits? Did a couple of hundred years of Roman occupation count for nothing?
Posted by: snorkler | November 05, 2012 at 02:28 PM'

G'Day mate! Ow'dja loike A'straya? (Oh, come home, why don't you?) :) But good point, well taken!

I think humankind is evolving spiritually. Technological progress may or may not be a necessary condition for this evolution. It may be both a help and a hindrance. Or the spiritual evolution may drive technological change. Or they may be mutually reinforcing. Anything is possible, but I do think that they are connected in some way!

Posted by: Matt Rouge

---------------

Doesn't the evidence point to the fact that we humans move closer to God, and then back away, in endless cycles? We evolve spiritually as we move closer to the Light (as epitomized in an NDE), but we also LEAVE the Light to experience limitation.

Seems to me that in order to keep the game going, evolution has to be balanced by an equal measure of DEvolution.

Posted by: Bruce Siege


How about "humankind is Revolving spiritually"?

"I learned a new word: irenic."

It's because I've been thinking about hurricanes.

(Hurricane Irene, get it?)

Actually I originally wrote edenic, but then decided to switch to irenic, because how many opportunities are there to use that one?

Another good word: chiliastic. It has nothing to do with chili.

I feel animals understand a complexity of not only human emotion and behavior, but vocabulary also. And suggest they have compassion and a sense of spirituality in that way, mirroring humans.
Families that have a close and loving relationship with dogs, come to understand this.
I remember reading of a researcher who had been teaching chimps the meaning of words by using computer generated pictures. Who found one day that when listening to them from her office, recognized their special vocalizations for bananas at feeding time.

Similarly recently in India, they suggest that the monkeys can comprehend the speaker announcements for train arrivals, and raid the trains on arrival. Habit you would think. Well they say, they comprehend.

My dog used to eat our food, veges, fish etc, go camping, out in the boat, almost everywhere with us. As teenagers one day, we decided to take his hot water bottle. He was a maltese and had a jacket, coat and hottee in winter. We knocked on the front door as he would normally rush down to see who was there. The idea being to knock, then grab his hottee when he was done. He quickly realized what we had done and went looking for us, and bit us, as a reprimand.
One year camping at the northern tip of New Zealand, the animal inspector came along the beach front to talk to my mum sitting on the sand. We were not supposed to have a dog there, so she threw him under a towel and told him not to move or make a sound. Now normally that dog would protect. He talked for half an hour, and my mum said it was probably 40 degrees under there, and was worried he would expire. He didn't budge and the guy was none the wiser.

If as a teenager I was crying quietly, he would come down the stairs, jump on the bed and snuggle into me to comfort me.
One year when my grandfather was dying, my mother stayed for the week to nurse him. My dad rung her and said he wont eat. So he brought him in and my mum picked him up and said " I'm here, now go home and be a good boy", and that was it. He went home happy. Now if we left him with friends, he would refuse to eat, and so he ended up coming with us on holiday.

Now that dog had gas, along with a few family members. If he was to blame, when asked if he did it he would slink off to the corner. If he hadn't he would just look at us as if to say, I didn't do it". And we would know straight away, who was the culprit.

I feel animals who live closely with humans, understand a complex vocabulary. I have talked to elephants here in Thai, now I don't accent the words correctly, but they understand me. We humans underestimate the complexity of animal behaviour and what they are capable of I think. Off subject, a bit of fun. Lyn x.

Lynn, ask your elephants if they have a phrontistery.

Tonight (Wednesday) on Coast to Coast radio:


1am - 5am ET
10pm - 2am PT
Science of the Paranormal
Wed 11-07
Computer scientist, specializing in artificial intelligence and neural networks, Maureen Caudill, has worked on such advanced projects as DARPA. She'll discuss anecdotal and empirical evidence to prove the existence (and power) of psychokinesis, remote viewing, energy healing, telepathy, precognition, survival after death, and reincarnation.

I remember a news story about a man who helped save the lives of African elephants. He died, and almost immediately afterward, the elephants began a trek to his home, across many miles. They had never done this before, and they had no normal way of knowing their friend and protector had died. It was as if they were psychically aware and were paying tribute.

You might be forgetting that the same technology that propelled us into civilization also "enslaved" us in a new way. People are now dependent on cellphones (as seen in aftermath of hurricane ravaged New York) and computers where vast stores of information can be hacked and misused at any time. In a way modern materialistic science both improved our lives and forever destroyed us at the same time. Sure, we have drugs for every disease under the sun in 2012, but that may keep us from looking at other possible affective, safer, and less expensive ways of treating disease.

I admit that I fantasize too about a more primitive lifestyle, however, my idea would be the use of approcriate technology such as a wind farm to power communities. The "back-to-land" movement in the 1960s as part of hippie days was about returning to the simple country life, but it largely failed. Humans clearly need to move beyond "progress for sake of progress" and make way for limited technology that still allows us a quality of life.

Bruce,

Yes, the thing about a judgment is that, at best, it resides in its own spectrum whereas the fuller Invitation may be from outside that spectrum, even with respect to the same object of judgment.

Matt,

Translation, please? :o)

Bruce,

For example, I can judge the music of Journey in terms of "music" and say it's crap compared to Beethoven, or I can judge it as "pop music" and say it's OK, or I can create a category in my mind called "cheesy rock," put it in that and say it's great.

Another example from real life. My friend had tickets to see "Rock of Ages," a show based on cheesy 80s rock. I went into it thinking it was gonna be stupid. Well, my friend couldn't make it, so, just to give him hell, I pretended to really like it. I was praising it via text to him. The thing is, I DID end up really liking it--a lot. And I have no idea whether I would have liked it had I not artificially took that stance.

The point, however, is not that things can be anything we want them to be but that they can be seen from so many different angles that absolute judgments are difficult. They only apply within the system of standards we are applying at the moment (what I meant by "spectrum"), where as we may be invited to go outside that spectrum and see the thing we are judging in a new light and find our previous judgment superseded by a greater understanding.

"we may . . . see the thing we are judging in a new light and find our previous judgment superseded by a greater understanding."

Ahhh--now I understand. Nicely said!

I think anyone who takes NDE accounts seriously finds it harder and harder to make judgements, because what you just described is exactly what happens in the life review.

I don't see why progress has to stop. That said I would argue that we haven't actually been using science for progress.

It's perfectly possible to have "limited technology" that actually does useful things (farm equipment, factory hardware, computers) applied in a humane way, instead of applied in a way to remove jobs and maximize profit. I've been philosophizing for quite a while that there's no reason we can't have machines handle the tedious things, while the humans focus on what we're actually good at: Thought and creation.

Not to mention spacefaring tech is something the species will need for survival, and there is a two-way street between immediately useful techs coming out of NASA/DARPA and future prospects coming up.

I'd say "progress in the name of money" is more the problem, because isn't spiritual research a form of "progress for the sake of progress"?

spirituality
Can a "silicon man"(i.e a robot) be spiritual?

Ray Kurzweil " the age of spiritual machines"
or
Asimov's the "last question"

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