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I LUUUUUUV THIS INTERVIEW...he asks all of the deepest, most abstract problems of the Reynolds and dentures case and answers them with excellent logic!

Titus rocks! Great read. Thanks, MP.

Maybe I'm just tired, but surely I'm not alone in having difficulty reading that interview without having a dictionary at the computer desk?

A great article, although I agree with Snorkler that it can be a bit hard going and I'm not sure I got all of that!

Titus comes from a philosophy background, so uses a lot of terms from that discipline that can make it a bit heavy, but then we are dealing with a heavy subject.

The only part where I don't really agree with him is his views on reincarnation.

Titus thinks that an evolution of consciousness through animals and then progressing to humans is likely. He also thinks that a traditional linear cycle of reincarnation is more likely than the more recently proposed simultaneous theory popularized by the Seth material.

My problem with both these points is as follows:

Titus makes a lot of references to Stevenson’s reincarnation research, and rightly so. However, as Chris Carter has pointed out, Stevenson’s own case studies, as well as those of other reincarnation researchers, shows very little evidence of humans sharing past animal incarnations. Such cases are very seldom reported, whereas previous human incarnations are extremely common. At present, we can’t say that there is any good evidence for the traditional Hindu style animal > human progression as Titus suggests. It’s possible but the current evidence we have doesn’t lend a lot of weight to that.

Secondly, Titus dismisses the simultaneous theory of reincarnation quite superficially. He doesn’t say it’s impossible, but he does clearly think it’s less likely than the more traditional linear variety.

My problem with this is that we know for a fact that time is a physical property. It was created as an intrinsic part of the physical universe. It also seems likely that the afterlife must reside outside of the physical universe as we know it, and as such, is outside of time. If the afterlife is outside of time then by definition consciousness will be perceived in a simultaneous fashion. It is only the part of us that is sent into physical reality that experiences time. From the greater soul’s perspective, it is almost certain in my view that lives are experienced in a simultaneous manner.

From our perspective within time, however, they are viewed sequentially, so I guess that you could argue that both are correct, depending on which perspective you are coming from.

Apart from these points, I think he is right on the money.

Titus Rivas "Christ's 'human sacrifice' on the cross appeared to show that deep down God was vengeful and cruel (even though it was his own incarnation or Son [one of his very own 'persons'] that quenched his thirst for a bloody atonement".

I'd suggest here Michael the possibility Titus Rivas has things back to front.

The history of religion shows whenever a great teacher/avatar manifests's almost the first edict they issue's to cease commiting living sacrifices especially of humans. This was as true of Oannes as it was of Quetzalcoatl.

In fact given how whenever these teachers/avatars're invariably murdered/driven out/tricked into leaving/self-immolation their followers invariably gradually return to the old ways there's always a conspiratorial hint they're secretly glad to see the back of them.

According to the teachings of various medieval rabbis the episode of Abraham 'sacrificing' Isaac was a misunderstanding of God's instructions on his part and it certainly seems to mark the moment when the people who'd become the Jews turned their backs on human sacrifice.

But various substitution based sacrifice-like rituals quickly came into existence such as the scapegoat which after being vested with all the sins of the tribe may not've been slaughtered but was loosed into the desert with no ostensible chance of surviving.

Kabbalistic cursing methods also arose like Pulsa diNura [whips of light] sacrificing the recipient's possibility of ever knowing God's forgiveness which even in the modern era some Jews claimed to've perpetrated on 'race traitors' like Yitzhak Rabin.

My point being in the light of the above when the 'avatar' of 'God' called Jesus allowed himself to be murdered it could be said it wasn't an act of wanton cruelty on the part of 'God' but a genuine sacrifice in an attempt to teach the entire human race about our rampant hypocrisy in demanding retribution and Hell for anyone who sins against us but forgiveness and Heaven for any sins we commit against others.

For example the likes of Westerners like Tony Blair endlessly claim their actions're done with the best of intentions and're mortally outraged should anyone suggest they shouldn't be allowed to get off scot free for any 'mistakes' but're equally outraged should any Easterners such as Sadam claim the same exemption for best intentions for seeking retribution against the West.

However, as Chris Carter has pointed out, Stevenson’s own case studies, as well as those of other reincarnation researchers, shows very little evidence of humans sharing past animal incarnations.

True, but you will note that most of the remembered past lives are close in time, so that if humans have past lives as non-human animals, then would lives of thousands of years ago, something not appear in the data.

My problem with this is that we know for a fact that time is a physical property. It was created as an intrinsic part of the physical universe. It also seems likely that the afterlife must reside outside of the physical universe as we know it, and as such, is outside of time.

It is true that time is a property of the physical universe, but this does not imply that time is not a property of the plane of the afterlife, because although the afterlife is not described by modern physics, is still part of the world and may be under the influence of time. We also observed that time is a requirement of consciousness, because being conscious is a transition between states of consciousness, and transition imply time, so the plane of consciousness after death has to be temporal, even if at this plane have a conception of time other than the everyday conception of time.

Great interview, thank you for pointing it out Michael. Doubtless, we will all discover our own high spots. Mine were:

#1. “Christ's 'human sacrifice' on the cross appeared to show that deep down God was vengeful and cruel (even though it was his own incarnation or Son [one of his very own 'persons'] that quenched his thirst for a bloody atonement), and his supposed decision to punish stubborn atheists with eternal damnation reinforced that unattractive impression.”

It’s just so strange that even clever people have believed Jehovah was a god of love, for so long. Must have been cultural brainwashing – or worse.

#6. What he says about the non-necessity and objections to the idea of falsifiability is most pertinent.

#15 “Evidence is a matter of degree. Even tightly controlled experiments rarely deliver foolproof results.”

Very true. Evidence is suggestive, never conclusive.

#24. “Personally, I'm only interested in old-fashioned mediumship that concentrates on contacting the deceased, not in the channelling of supposed higher truths. For me, it is clear that reincarnation is the best explanation for paranormal Cases of the Reincarnation Type. I'm not impressed by authoritative claims from channelled entities (or anyone else for that matter) that it is not.”

Definitely. Channelled “Higher truths” have often proved false and are completely unreliable.

We also observed that time is a requirement of consciousness, because being conscious is a transition between states of consciousness, and transition imply time, so the plane of consciousness after death has to be temporal, even if at this plane have a conception of time other than the everyday conception of time
Juan
-------------

Juan, while there may be a residual illusion or seeming continuation of time in the immediate afterlife areas while individuals adjust to a permanant higher state, I don't see that it follows that consciousness itself requires a time element?

NDEs frequently speak of higher states of consciousness being 'timeless'. This same 'timeless' element is also a common recurring feature of higher consciousness described in eastern literature and in states of deep meditation.

I don't think time is required for consciousness at all. It only seems that way while musing on this from a normal state of awareness, but these timeless states are directly experienced during deep meditation during which the practitioner enters a state of consiousness higher than that of everyday physical reality. However, practitioners of deep meditation and NDEers both have difficulty translating the experience into everyday terms.

It's probably that 2d vs 3d perspective thing again...

Douglas said "I don't think time is required for consciousness at all"

How in your view can there be anything happening at all (like a sequence of events or a series of freewill choices) without some kind of time to separate? Would not everything be a meaningless, chaotic blur? Perhaps what you mean to say is that times can move at a different rate? We all experience varying psychological time.

A good question. I don't know. But apparantly it does. Many NDEs and altered states of consciousness ARE described as being experienced in a a state outwith time, but there is difficulty in translating the experience in terms that we can understand.

The fact that you or I can't get our heads around this is precisely my point. It's more than likely that we are dealing with levels of consciousness which are beyond our ability to comprehend on a purely everyday level.

Actually, I would be very much suprised if we *could* understand everything from a purely mundane, everyday level. If that were the case, then so-called 'higher states' wouldnt mean very much!


NDEs frequently speak of higher states of consciousness being 'timeless'. This same 'timeless' element is also a common recurring feature of higher consciousness described in eastern literature and in states of deep meditation.

I believe the timeless feeling of some NDEs refers to the fact that the person experiences a series of events all at once, something that can only be expressed sequentially in ordinary language, and therefore language betrays partly to experience, but I do not see that experiences are literally without time.

It's probably that 2d vs 3d perspective thing again...

I think you're right, because from our perspective what three spatial dimensions and one temporal we seem sequential, ie events happen one after the other, from the perspective of more dimensions can be given that these events all at once. But the perspective of more dimensions also have their own events that happen one after the other, so that this perspective is not entirely free of time.

Three cheers for Titus Rivas for thumbing the 'channelled higher truths' clap-trap. All those inconsistent claims (some of them decidedly lurid) about the nature of the afterlife quite discredit the survivalist position.

Very, very timely, too, is Rivas's reminder of the importance of ontology:

'Therefore, I consider ontology or 'metaphysics' (here used as a near synonym of ontology), as a philosophical discipline, to be the foundation of any theorizing within the empirical sciences, including of course in psychical research, parapsychology, and any type of survival research into an afterlife or reincarnation.'

Unless a perceived truth is expounded in an ontological framework that is capable of providing the context of the possibility of that truth, that truth is not perceived at all: it is merely blurted a-rationally. Unfortunately, the thoroughly undisciplined blurters of grand statements devoid of any ontological context will not have a clue what he is talking about. That's a pity, for there are far too many of them on the survivalist side.

Barbara, enthusiastic 'hear, hear' to everything you have said, except where you agree entirely with Rivas that 'Christ's 'human sacrifice' on the cross appeared to show that deep down God was vengeful and cruel'. To whom might God have been 'vengeful': to Jesus? Yet Jesus had not offended him. So, vengeance against whom? If 'cruel', then Jesus is himself compromised, for He and God are One, at least according some mainstream Christian positions. And there is an awkward problem here: One cannot argue that there was not a massive cruelty in subjecting the human mother of Jesus to a ringside view of His atrocious mode of death. Not much 'God of love' here, as you note.

I cant find your email address! I just read one if your books, out of order it looks like.... but i loved it! Now i must read then see Shiver! You are a great author!

Michael,

I enjoyed reading this interview. I am wondering if you have anything to say, however, about Jime's views on Christianity - particularly his thoughts about the exclusivistic nature of Jesus as Christ and Jime's arguments that Americans tend to soften the meaning of this claim due to being emotionally injured as children and seeking to "feel good."

I am personally someone whom Jime would classify as an American who had been religiously injured through fear and guilt as a child - and have an awful terror of being sent to any version of an eternal hell. I am sure this has rendered me emotionally vulnerable (as Jime suggests) to various revisions or interpretations of Jesus' sayings (as well as NDE accounts) that help to understand hell as perhaps something time-limited and instructive, as opposed to permanent. However, Jime makes short shrift of this hope as "wishful thinking" elsewhere on his "subversive thinking" blog.

Honestly, I feel rather shook up by much of what he has to say regarding these issues. I thought I had settled my issues around this matter, but now I see I simply had let myself get distracted.

I originally found your site years ago when I was struggling with issues about hell. I had hoped then that there might be a pleasant afterlife for all of us and found NDE's promising (but not entirely reassuring, as there are negative NDE's out there). However, after reading Jime's lines of argument for exlusivistic interpretations of Jesus, I'm thinking it's back to the "repent, obey, and fear the Lord" situation I started with way back when - a God I feel unable to love because I fear him so much.

Interesting piece, but a bit heavy on the philosophical stuff.

It should be kept in mind that Titus is not coming from the position of an unbiased seeker, but has, as he says "...never seriously doubted the existence of a non-physical mind or soul, an afterlife or psychic abilities and phenomena in general." I have no problem with this since he comes across as an honest seeker. However, his opinions derive from a biased perspective at a far end of the spectrum for nebulous, unknown reasons. When someone says to me "I have always felt [something]", I always wonder to myself "Why?". With materialists, I think it's pretty obvious why they're biased that way - it's the world they've experienced the most.

I have only one general area of comment, and that concerns his dismissal of super-ESP.

When Titus claims that super-ESP/super-PSI does not offer an adequate explanation for certain kinds of phenomena, this says to me that he cannot envision mechanisms by which super-ESP/super-PSI could produce those phenomena. He considers survival of deceased in an afterlife environment to be more likely, presumably because he *can* think of mechanisms whereby survivalism could produce those same phenomena. While this might appear to be true once survivalism has been invoked, the problem is getting to that point. Invoking survivalism means that you are tacitly accepting a variety of things for which no satisfactory mechanism can currently be specified:
1) persistence of personality after death (ie survival with the ability to experience)
2) persistence of memory after death (ie retention of past life experiences)
3) spirit knowledge of status of current incarnates
4) information transfer from spirits to current incarnates
5) spirit control of physical objects, including, but not limited to, voice boxes, visual apparitions, electro-magnetic signals, solid objects, etc
6) spirit access to future events (ie precognitive msgs)
etc
Thus, afterlife survival is on equivalently shaky ground when it comes to the need to specify mechanisms, at least the way I read the cards. Super-ESP/super-PSI has no need to offer mechanisms for any of the above, because there is no spirit involvement.

As I said previously, my personal opinion is that super-ESP is likely to be vastly under-rated and artificial limits placed on its occurrence and power. It is almost certainly likely to be more complex than currently understood. This is an extrapolation, most assuredly, but it's the sort of thing that we all do in assuming, for example, that modern technology will provide us with newer and better ways of communicating, visualizing, extracting oil, etc. Again, this is only my opinion, in the same way that it is Titus' opinion that the limits of super-ESP are completely known at the present time. His attempted explanation of why there might not be significantly more to be learned about ESP is IMO completely lacking.

Here's an example of the *kind* of expansion of super-ESP that could show up in the future, as more knowledge is accumulated and tested. Consider the speculative hypothesis that children might be inherently born with an abundance of potential psychical ability, but that that this potential is soon lost, say around 5 years of age as is found for the loss of reincarnational memories. (There are certainly hints of this in the literature, at least of a certain psychic sensitivity.) If so, "training" them from infancy might dramatically enhance their subsequent psychical development. This is something that could theoretically be tested someday, once we understand more about how psychical abilities are developed in adults. It's even possible that standardized training might allow adult psychics to interact with each other more efficiently to boost ESP powers. Sci-fi stuff? Maybe, but maybe not. It's a matter of vision and trying to see through the fog where the path leads.

Titus also mentions a lack of apparent subconscious motivation as important in various ways as a psychological argument against super-ESP. I simply do not agree with this insofar as we are all motivated subconsciously in subtle ways that are not well understood. The real problem here, as I've tried to emphasize elsewhere, is that we do not understand the subconscious very well at all.

Interesting piece, but a bit heavy on the philosophical stuff. I have only one general area of comment, and that concerns his dismissal of super-ESP.

When Titus claims that super-ESP/super-PSI does not offer an adequate explanation for certain kinds of phenomena, this says to me that he cannot envision mechanisms by which super-ESP/super-PSI could produce those phenomena. He considers survival of deceased in an afterlife environment to be more likely, presumably because he *can* think of mechanisms whereby survivalism could produce those same phenomena. While this might appear to be true once survivalism has been invoked, the problem is getting to that point. Invoking survivalism means that you are tacitly accepting a variety of things for which no satisfactory mechanism can currently be specified:
1) persistence of personality after death (ie survival with the ability to experience)
2) persistence of memory after death (ie retention of past life experiences)
3) spirit knowledge of status of current incarnates
4) information transfer from spirits to current incarnates
5) spirit control of physical objects, including, but not limited to, voice boxes, visual apparitions, electro-magnetic signals, solid objects, etc
6) spirit access to future events (ie precognitive msgs)
etc
Thus, afterlife survival is on equivalently shaky ground when it comes to the need to specify mechanisms, at least the way I read the cards. Super-ESP/super-PSI has no need to offer mechanisms for any of the above, because there is no spirit involvement.

As I said previously, my personal opinion is that super-ESP is likely to be vastly under-rated and artificial limits placed on its occurrence and power. It is almost certainly likely to be more complex than currently understood. This is an extrapolation, most assuredly, but it's the sort of thing that we all do in assuming, for example, that modern technology will provide us with newer and better ways of communicating, visualizing, extracting oil, etc. Again, this is only my opinion, in the same way that it is Titus' opinion that the limits of super-ESP are completely known at the present time. His attempted explanation of why there might not be significantly more to be learned about ESP is IMO completely lacking.

Here's an example of the *kind* of expansion of super-ESP that could show up in the future, as more knowledge is accumulated and tested. Consider the speculative hypothesis that children might be inherently born with an abundance of potential psychical ability, but that that this potential is soon lost, say around 5 years of age as is found for the loss of reincarnational memories. (There are certainly hints of this in the literature, at least of a certain psychic sensitivity.) If so, "training" them from infancy might dramatically enhance their subsequent psychical development. This is something that could theoretically be tested someday, once we understand more about how psychical abilities are developed in adults. It's even possible that standardized training might allow adult psychics to interact with each other more efficiently to boost ESP powers. Sci-fi stuff? Maybe, but maybe not. It's a matter of vision and trying to see through the fog where the path leads.

Titus also mentions a lack of apparent subconscious motivation as important in various ways as a psychological argument against super-ESP. I simply do not agree with this insofar as we are all motivated subconsciously in subtle ways that are not well understood. The real problem here, as I've tried to emphasize elsewhere, is that we do not understand the subconscious very well at all.

Thus, afterlife survival is on equivalently shaky ground when it comes to the need to specify mechanisms, at least the way I read the cards. Super-ESP/super-PSI has no need to offer mechanisms for any of the above, because there is no spirit involvement.

There is evidence on the mechanism that makes the afterlife, that is, evidence of the astral body, such as: Osis experiments on psychic Tanous and Durville experiments on exteriorization of sensitivity. Also may edge physics shows us some day the type of material it is made of the astral body, as in the book Our Invisible Bodies by Jay Alfred:

http://www.dapla.org/pdf/oib.pdf

On the other hand, if the survivalist hypothesis needs a mechanism to explain the survival of the mind after death, the super-psi hypothesis also need a mechanism to explain how the information gets to the psyche of the medium. You believe that the mechanism of super-psi is simpler than the mechanism of the afterlife, but the overall picture indicates that the most likely have some sort of afterlife.

Again, this is only my opinion, in the same way that it is Titus' opinion that the limits of super-ESP are completely known at the present time.

I do not think Titus believes that the limits of super-ESP are completely known at the present time, but even the super-ESP can be unlimited in the informational aspect, the more likely is that super-ESP in the motivational aspect is limited as any another aspect of human psychology.

Consider the speculative hypothesis that children might be inherently born with an abundance of potential psychical ability, but that that this potential is soon lost, say around 5 years of age as is found for the loss of reincarnational memories.

This hypothesis is not plausible because it is curious that children who seem to remember previous lives only used that potential to tune with the lives of certain deceased.

I simply do not agree with this insofar as we are all motivated subconsciously in subtle ways that are not well understood. The real problem here, as I've tried to emphasize elsewhere, is that we do not understand the subconscious very well at all.

You can always argue that we do not understand the subconscious very well at all, but at the cost of returning your position in infalsifiable, so that while it is true that we not know entirely the subconscious, the most plausible is that some of the Stevenson cases are cases of reincarnation.

"So, vengeance against whom?" -Sophie.

A good point. I assumed vengeance against the Man who claimed to be God rather than vengeance against someone who would move people away from the orthodox Jewish tradition.

"One cannot argue that there was not a massive cruelty in subjecting the human mother of Jesus to a ringside view of His atrocious mode of death. Not much 'God of love' here, as you note."

Never mind, all in a "higher" noble cause ;-)

"However, after reading Jime's lines of argument for exlusivistic interpretations of Jesus, I'm thinking it's back to the "repent, obey, and fear the Lord" situation I started with way back when - a God I feel unable to love because I fear him so much." -Kevin

There's absolutely no need to believe any Christian cultural or religious traditions at all, Kevin. The afterlife works entirely on affinities. If you have no affinity with what you perceive as unpleasant environments, you won't have to spend time in them (the same cannot be said when you're on Planet Earth, however).

Barbara,

You said: There's absolutely no need to believe any Christian cultural or religious traditions at all, Kevin. The afterlife works entirely on affinities. If you have no affinity with what you perceive as unpleasant environments, you won't have to spend time in them (the same cannot be said when you're on Planet Earth, however).

I totally hear you on this - this is what we'd sort of expect based on what we've heard through mediums. However, what do you make of Jime's embrace of Christianity as the exclusive way to eternal life? Jime states elsewhere on his subversive thinking blog that anyone who fails to accept Christianity and to then live the straight and narrow life will have made a grave spiritual error and will find themselves excluded from heaven (I'm barely paraphrasing here).

Hi there, it's Jime here.

Just a few comments:

On Titus' interview, I feel that I left out many other interesting philosophical and scientific questions about the afterlife, super-ESP and reincarnation. Some questions occurred to me only after the interview was published, and other I left out because the interview was already too long and I had a planned trip to South America (and I wasn't sure that an internet connection would be easy to have there).

I inform you that a philosopher interested in the afterlife has contacted me, suggesting some problems with Titus' answers. He asked me if I would publish his comments and criticisms and I agreed to do it.

Perhaps Titus will reply to the philosopher's criticisms, and some debate will appear there. I'll publish these exchange, if it occurs, in my blog.

Kevin:

In my posts about the historical Jesus, I've tried to answer the revisionistic versions based on my study of the scholarly literature. I've found the revisionistic case wanting, from a purely an scholarly point of view.

You mention: "Jime states elsewhere on his subversive thinking blog that anyone who fails to accept Christianity and to then live the straight and narrow life will have made a grave spiritual error and will find themselves excluded from heaven (I'm barely paraphrasing here)"

But this is not my claim, but Jesus' own claim appeared in "Q" ("Q" is the hypothetical source shared by Matthew and Luke, which is agreed by scholars to be early and hence likely to be historical).

Perhaps you're referring, for example, to this post:

http://subversivethinking.blogspot.com/2012/12/only-in-america-feels-good-spirituality.html

Note that I'm not saying there that non-Christians won't have eternal life. I don't know such a thing, only God knows for sure.

What I said in the end of that post was a purely conditional statement:

If the judgmental Jesus portrayed in the early source "Q" turns out to be right, then the people who are strong believers in New Age sources of Jesus, despite their good will, won't have any excuse.

This conditional follows from the teaching attributed to Jesus in the Q source. But it is possible that the antencedent of the conditional (namely, that Jesus was right) is false.

Perhaps Jesus was mad or delusional, or intentionally lying. But it is not known to be true, hence Jesus being right cannot be discarded either.(Here the putative historicity of his resurrection becomes crucial).

In the post, I was trying to contrast a reliable historical tradition of Jesus in the New Testament (using the criteria of mainstream scholarship), with the revisionistic, new age 20th century "higher truths" sources about Jesus, which being incompatible with the early sources, are likely to be false.

I don't know if my own position qualifies yet as "Christian". I accept the existence of God, and the historical evidence for Jesus' resurrection, and Jesus' exclusivistic self-perception for salvation. I think the evidence for these 3 claims are reasonably good and mutually supportive and more likely than the alternatives.

Others have a different reading of the evidence, which is fine.

So, I'm inclined to think that Jesus was right in his claims, but I'm not fully sure.

I'm sorry Kevin that my posts have caused spiritual doubts or problems in you, but I feel ethically obligated to write what I consider to be correct according to my best knowledge and research.

And I honestly think the purely emotional approach, wishful thinking (or wishful avoiding) approach to spiritual matters is extremely dangerous and misleading.

Best wishes to all!

"Jime states elsewhere on his subversive thinking blog that anyone who fails to accept Christianity and to then live the straight and narrow life will have made a grave spiritual error and will find themselves excluded from heaven"

Hinduism, Islam, Wicca, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity - all old-fashioned, man-made religions, none of them with any stranglehold on the truth. Take from them what you want, but please don't be enslaved by them.

Stephanie, thanks for your kind words about my book. My email address can be found by clicking on my name at the bottom of this comment. This will take you to my author website, which includes my contact info.

Re Christianity, ever since Albert Schweitzer wrote The Quest of the Historical Jesus, the conventional scholarly view has been that Jesus sought to fulfill the prophesy of the suffering servant in Isaiah. He seems to have believed that by acting out this role, he could bring about the salvation of Israel. In other words, Jesus' views were deeply rooted in Jewish culture and subject to the limitations and prejudices of that worldview. (For example, he refused to heal a gentile woman and only relented when she compared herself to a dog begging for scraps.)

I have no doubt Jesus was a very highly evolved spiritual person, but I don't think he was infallible or omniscient. Indeed, it is a common mistake for followers to attribute infallibility to a guru. I also think there are good reasons to believe that Jesus appeared to his followers after his death, but other deceased people have done the same, and we do not worship them.

tsavo, "The real problem here, as I've tried to emphasize elsewhere, is that we do not understand the subconscious very well at all."

Yes. That is *a* real problem.

One of my problems with your argument is precisely that we don't understand the subconscious. Yet, you want to ascribe to it all kinds of unusual capabilities. Not only that, but you want to use it to replace the more straightforward explanation.

My thinking is that this is a dangerous approach; take something mysterious that we don't even vaguely understand and then use it as a blanket explanation for a wide variety of phenomena.

@Juan:
"Our Invisible Bodies by Jay Alfred"

Thanks for the link. It looks interesting and is now on my reading list. From the review, I wouldn't necessarily call what's likely to be found there "evidence", but I'm hopeful it offers a reasonably plausible mechanism for survival. IMO, few things that are discussed on this or similar blogs involve "evidence" per se. Primarily we discuss plausibility.

"I do not think Titus believes that the limits of super-ESP are completely known at the present time, but even the super-ESP can be unlimited in the informational aspect, the more likely is that super-ESP in the motivational aspect is limited as any another aspect of human psychology"

I would include PK effects as part of super-ESP/super-PSI. I very much disagree that Titus isn't putting limits on future super-ESP potentiality. The degree to which something seems plausible/possible to us involves not only what is currently known, but also a vision of what we think might become known in the future. If the vision is too limited, you're driving a horse and buggy, if it's too expansive, you're lost in space. There's also the question of where you start from. Titus is very much over on one side of the spectrum in this regard. He has "...never seriously doubted the existence of a non-physical mind or soul, an afterlife or psychic abilities and phenomena in general." Hard core materialists are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Titus seems an honest seeker, but he does have bias, and that bias is reflected in terms of the readiness with which he puts limits on super-ESP/super-PSI in favor of survivalist interpretations.

"This hypothesis is not plausible because it is curious that children who seem to remember previous lives only used that potential to tune with the lives of certain deceased."

You're aware that the majority of Stevenson's cases involved violent deaths, right? Shock, vengeance, a sense of being wronged, could all be powerful triggers for a latent, poorly developed ESP capability that is not capable of being used more generally.

"You can always argue that we do not understand the subconscious very well at all ..."

[See response to no one]

@ no one:
" One of my problems with your argument is precisely that we don't understand the subconscious. Yet, you want to ascribe to it all kinds of unusual capabilities. Not only that, but you want to use it to replace the more straightforward explanation.
My thinking is that this is a dangerous approach; take something mysterious that we don't even vaguely understand and then use it as a blanket explanation for a wide variety of phenomena."

Good point, but OTOH, is ascribing inexplicable things to an incarnate subconscious fundamentally different than ascribing them to a discarnate entity? I think not.

There is the tendency by many to conceive of the survivalist interpretation as somehow "simpler" because we can think of things in ways that are familiar: living person exists/dead person exists, living person remembers stuff/dead person remembers stuff, living people speak/dead people speak, etc. But insisting on that sort of "simplicity" puts one very much in danger of adopting a flat-earther perspective. Things that appear "simple" are often not so: sun/earth, gravity, time, etc. For the reasons I outlined above (and others), I think the perception of "simplicity" as applied to survivalist interpretations is unwarranted. It is not at all necessarily "simpler".

Instead of the term "subconscious", think of the phrase "aspects of mind that are not yet well understood".

Jime is right. We can tease out all kinds of interpretations of the Gospel, but taken at face value, there are passages in the Bible where Jesus is clearly quoted as saying that He is the only way to Heaven. Matthew 14:6 is one example.

Michael is right. In the New Testament, Jesus is quoted as referring to Gentiles as "dogs" (Matthew 15:22 - 28). Although He progresses in His response and becomes more loving and politically correct as the story develops, His initial response to the Gentile woman appears to have a strong odor of ethic superiority. Man/God/Savior goes racist? Heaven forbid!

That's the problem with this stuff. Everybody's right. Everybody's wrong.
Sometimes it feels like everybody has an answer, but at the end of the day, nobody knows what they're talking about.

"That's the problem with this stuff. Everybody's right. Everybody's wrong.
Sometimes it feels like everybody has an answer, but at the end of the day, nobody knows what they're talking about."

That's gotta be just about the funniest thing I've read here.

It is not my intention to get involved in endless discussions here, but I'd like to comment on tsavo's point that in his (or her?) view it does not have to be simpler to explain certain things by the impact (and/or reincarnation) of a discarnate entity than by 'aspects of the mind that are not yet well understood'. My point (and that of countless other survival researchers, although we aren't counting noses here) is precisely that it is simpler to postulate that a discarnate entity has a psychology very similar (or even basically identical) to that of incarnate human beings. It is simpler to extrapolate from what we know of human motivation in psychology to the motivational rationale behind psychical phenomena than to postulate subconscious motives (or even mindless 'weird' mechanisms) that would go against everything we know of human motivation, including about possible deeper subconscious drives. That is the whole point. It is of course possible to postulate completely unknown, anomalous motives or even a dark 'collective soul' with (from a human point of view) evil intentions to fool all of us about an afterlife or reincarnation, but the model would get much more complex if we did so. The hypothesis of 'Super-psi without a plausible motivational mechanism' is definitely more complex than the hypothesis of 'Survival with a plausible motivational mechanism behind certain phenomena' and I don't say that just because I'm biased (in fact, from a rational point of view it does not matter whether I'm biased or not, because I will still need to make my points. Bias in this respect only explains my personal motivation, but it does not imply anything about the strength or weakness of my argumentation). There are very good (I would say conclusive) analytical arguments for the reality of a substantial, non-physical personal soul, self or experient and even for its survival through life and after death (these arguments are commonly known as arguments from the substantiality or ontological indivisibility of the soul and they have been formulated several times by ancient Greek philosophers, Christian medieval philosophers, modern and contemporary secular Western philosophers and ancient Indian philosophers, especially of the so-called Nyaya school of 'logical realism'). Granting the strength of such ontological arguments, creates a different framework for discussing issues like Super-psi than if we remain impressed by the standard physicalist paradigm in which a substantial soul is just a naive out-dated religious notion. Empirical theoretical parsimony is (at least implicitly) linked to one's larger world view.

Anyway, that's pretty much what I wanted to say about this. Thank you all for your interest in the interview and thanks again to Jime Sayaka for giving me the opportunity to express my views! If anyone wishes to contact me personally that is always possible, through [email protected] or [email protected]

"That's the problem with this stuff. Everybody's right. Everybody's wrong.
Sometimes it feels like everybody has an answer, but at the end of the day, nobody knows what they're talking about."


Probably the most intellectually honest and wisest quote I have ever heard. If Greg Taylor is reading this I nominate this as a daily grail quote of the day

Hi Titus. Appreciate your input. Feel free to comment in response here and I will ruminate upon what you say without responding further.

"...it is simpler to postulate that a discarnate entity has a psychology very similar (or even basically identical) to that of incarnate human beings."

As I said initially, to get to the point where you can even postulate a discarnate entity, you have to make any number of assumptions similar to those outlined above (1-6). These argue significantly against the idea of "simpler". You can make all the ontological arguments you want, but they will convince no one if not supported by common-sense plausibility when applied. I've seen college students fumble in terms of arguing with fundamentalist preachers because the students acceded to a few initial assumptions by the preacher without realizing the relevance and importance of those assumptions.

"It is simpler to extrapolate from what we know of human motivation in psychology to the motivational rationale behind psychical phenomena than to postulate subconscious motives (or even mindless 'weird' mechanisms) that would go against everything we know of human motivation, including about possible deeper subconscious drives."

But all motivations in support of super-PSI as an alternative to survivalism are postulated to derive from incarnate subconscious, anchoring them firmly to the kind of psychological reality you feel is most reasonable. If the incarnate psyche seems unnecessarily complex in terms of motivational context, well, sorry, that's just the way we are! Just because one can't think of a motivation that fits a particular scenario doesn't mean it's not there. Life is filled with hidden motivations. Who among us does not have them? Some people will do just about anything for 15 minutes of fame, including I'm sure, subconsciously creating and dramatizing a deceased. When a multiple personality arises in response to trauma, what is the "motivation" for the different personalities to assume their various guises? Probe deeply enough and you will probably discover some of those motivations, but I bet not all.

Lastly, there are many phenomena related to, but distinct from, survival, that involve access to supra-information or the ability to influence physical matter (eg Edgar Cayce's diagnostic capability, the Worrall's healing powers, poltergeists). Since some sort of PSI or super-PSI must clearly invoked to to explain these phenomena, isn't it logical to suspect there might also be PSI involvement in the generation of supposed deceased discarnates, since evidentiality in support of the latter involve considerations of information transfer and PK? Super-PSI is merely an umbrella term for power of mind, and every indication seems to be that the mind is infinitely more powerful than we realize.

>But all motivations in support of super-PSI as an alternative to survivalism are postulated to derive from incarnate subconscious, anchoring them firmly to the kind of psychological reality you feel is most reasonable. If the incarnate psyche seems unnecessarily complex in terms of motivational context, well, sorry, that's just the way we are!<

That is not the point. It is not a matter of complexity per se, but of what we might call motivational logic. The problem with Super-psi in certain key cases is not at all that it would require 'complex' rather than 'simple' subconscious motives, but that it would require motives that do not match the over-all motivation of humans, be it conscious or subconscious. In other words, all the complex motives needed to explain certain phenomena by Super-psi parsimoniously are only simpler as an explanation for those phenomena if they adhere to an over-all psychological logic. Motivational logic is a requirement for a good Super-psi hypothesis to be taken seriously. By me anyway! Why? Because if we accepted Super-psi even in cases in which any motive seems irreconcilable with psychological, motivational logic, it would mean that we have to radically rewrite motivational psychology rather than simply rejecting the (in itself very shaky) idea that our spirit or soul – no matter how non-physical or substantial we already know it to be – can never survive death.

>Just because one can't think of a motivation that fits a particular scenario doesn't mean it's not there.<

That's the real issue here. Super-psi proponents want us to leave any kind of motivational logic behind and accept any type of motives, even if there is no reason to suppose they could really exist. In some cases, I recognize that it is reasonable that humans could use Super-psi to achieve certain goals that make sense motivationally (for instance, in certain poltergeist cases), but in other cases I stress that it is not reasonable.

> Life is filled with hidden motivations. Who among us does not have them?<

That is not disputed by me. I recognize the existence of hidden motives, but refuse to believe that such hidden motives might embrace absolutely anything. That would go against the whole idea of an underlying psychological 'logic' of motivation! Not even Freud or Jung or the cognitivists believe that motivation amounts to 'utter chaos in which absolutely anything goes'. In fact, apart from Super-psi theorizing, I know no one (within the context of scholarly work anyway) that would believe our motivation is complete and utter chaos and that it is futile to try and make any sense of it. Please note that we're not talking about simple associative mechanisms here, but about powerful, driving motives! The kind of subconscious motives that could motivate a young child of 3 to emotionally identify for months or years with a completely unknown deceased person whose life (and death) may have been very unattractive to that child. So it would have to be a very strong, coherent and persistent type of motive.

>Some people will do just about anything for 15 minutes of fame, including I'm sure, subconsciously creating and dramatizing a deceased.<

We are talking about real, verifiable deceased people here in the stories of very young children (in CORTs), of drop-in communicators in circles which wish to remain anonymous about them, etc. For instance, fame is not a plausible motivation for a very young child that could drive him or her to identify with a completely unknown stranger whose life was pretty unpleasant, etc.

>When a multiple personality arises in response to trauma, what is the "motivation" for the different personalities to assume their various guises? <

Well, it depends on the specific theory of multiple personality, but in general it is believed that subpersonalities fulfill a role within the psyche as a whole. The subpersonalities are vessels for the psyche to deal with problematic things like trauma and frustration. They are not at all created 'at random' or something like that. So this is not a good example, because multiple personalities (starting from such a theory) really amount to an argument FOR motivational coherence rather than against it!

>Probe deeply enough and you will probably discover some of those motivations, but I bet not all.<

That is irrelevant, I'm not saying that only motives that could be discovered would count. I'm talking about the over-all psychological logic of motivation.

Sticking to the possiblity of Super-psi in cases in which motivation seems absent (not in the sense that motives are absent on a conscious level, but in the sense that even on a subconscious level, their presence would not make sense psychologically) boils down to sacrificing everything we know within psychology about possible subconscious motives to a dogmatic insistence that Super-psi simply must be true, no matter what this means for our psychological theories.

You seem to believe that the range of ESP is an important part of my argument. It is not. Like Stevenson, I only find it very remarkable that the children involved in Cases of the Reincarnation Type are not psychics, which does suggest that we're not dealing with ESP here. But this point in itself would be not enough to discard Super-psi if there could be hidden strong (psychologically plausible!) motives in the child's subconscious that would would account for his or her identification with the unknown deceased personality. Now, what is important, is the fact that in some cases (such as paranormal Cases of the Reincarnation Type, drop-in communicators, etc.) Super-psi does NOT make any psychological sense. It is not a matter of the range of power, or of motives being hidden or not, but of the plausibility of the hidden motivational forces proposed. In sum, we shouldn't ignore motivational psychology just because that would be the best thing to do for Super-psi.

That's it, tsavo, cheers!

I think Ray and his friend has summed things up perfectly.And in easy to understand non high fallutin language as well.

Frustrating enough, something went wrong with my second reply to tsavo. I had posted a lengthy reply but it seems to have been lost, even though I had filled in the right codes underneath.

I'd only saved the first part of my reply. Here it is again:

>But all motivations in support of super-PSI as an alternative to survivalism are postulated to derive from incarnate subconscious, anchoring them firmly to the kind of psychological reality you feel is most reasonable. If the incarnate psyche seems unnecessarily complex in terms of motivational context, well, sorry, that's just the way we are!<

That is not the point. It is not a matter of complexity per se, but of what we might call motivational logic. The problem with Super-psi in certain key cases is not at all that it would require 'complex' rather than 'simple' subconscious motives, but that it would require motives that do not match the over-all motivation of humans, be it conscious or subconscious. In other words, all the complex motives needed to explain certain phenomena by Super-psi parsimoniously are only simpler as an explanation for those phenomena if they adhere to an over-all psychological logic. Motivational logic is a requirement for a good Super-psi hypothesis to be taken seriously. By me anyway! Why? Because if we accept Super-psi even in cases in which any motive seems irreconcilable with psychological, motivational logic, it would mean that we have to rewrite psychology rather than simply rejecting the (in itself very shaky) idea that our spirit or soul – no matter how non-physical or substantial we already know it to be – can never survive death.

>Just because one can't think of a motivation that fits a particular scenario doesn't mean it's not there.<

That's the real issue here. Super-psi proponents want us to leave any kind of motivational logic behind and accept any type of motives, even if there is no reason to suppose they could really exist. In some cases, I recognize that it is reasonable that humans could use Super-psi to achieve certain goals that make sense motivationally (for instance, in certain poltergeist cases), but in other cases it is not reasonable.

> Life is filled with hidden motivations. Who among us does not have them?<

That is not disputed by me. I recognize the existence of hidden motives, but refuse to believe that such hidden motives might embrace absolutely anything. That would go against the whole idea of an underlying psychological 'logic' of motivation! Not even Freud or Jung or the cognitivists believe that motivation amounts to 'utter chaos in which absolutely anything goes'. We're not talking about simple associative mechanisms here, but about powerful, driving motives!

>Some people will do just about anything for 15 minutes of fame, including I'm sure, subconsciously creating and dramatizing a deceased.<

We are talking about real, verifiable deceased people here in the stories of very young children (in CORTs), of drop-in communicators in circles which wish to remain anonymous about them, etc. For instance, fame is not a plausible motivation for a very young child that could drive him to identify with a completely unknown stranger whose life was pretty unpleasant, etc.

>When a multiple personality arises in response to trauma, what is the "motivation" for the different personalities to assume their various guises? <

Well, it depends on the specific theory of multiple personality, but in general it is believed that subpersonalities fulfill a role within the psyche as a whole. The subpersonalities are vessels for the psyche to deal with things like trauma and frustration. So this is not a good example, because multiple personalities (starting from such a theory) really amount to an argument FOR motivational coherence rather than against it!

That's enough for now. In my view, for certain types of cases Super-psi does not make psychological sense and it is simpler to accept the survival of an entity which we already know to be non-physical, substantial and irreducible the brain (namely the non-physical self) than to completely revise psychological motivation theory to the extent that human motivation would not make any sense anymore.

Any additional comments should be sent to my email address. Cheers,

Titus

You're aware that the majority of Stevenson's cases involved violent deaths, right? Shock, vengeance, a sense of being wronged, could all be powerful triggers for a latent, poorly developed ESP capability that is not capable of being used more generally.

It may also be that the shock, revenge, a life interrupted prematurely are triggers that the deceased reincarnated shortly and retain some of their past memories. So, do not go anywhere from here. On the other hand, if the child has enormous
psychic potential awakened by someone died violently, then theoretically possible to train the child to tune with other deceased, etc., that is, for the child to use his psychic potential with other objectives. It is true that today we do not know how to train someone to exercise your psychic potential, but that the children seem to remember past lives show ESP skills rarely above average indicates that they are not subject with enormous psychic potential.

As I said initially, to get to the point where you can even postulate a discarnate entity, you have to make any number of assumptions similar to those outlined above (1-6). These argue significantly against the idea of "simpler".

As I wrote, the super-psi hypothesis is simpler in the sense of postulating a smaller number of entities, because in each case this hypothesis simply postulate the mind of the living and psychic powers, but the survivalist hypothesis is simpler in the sense to explain very different phenomena by the same reality, because examining all cases, there is converging evidence about some sort of afterlife.

I would include PK effects as part of super-ESP/super-PSI.

Arguably, a child acquired the memories of a deceased by ESP and made marks on his body similar to the wounds that killed the deceased by PK, but this is much more complicated than the reincarnation hypothesis, because no necessary connection between ESP and PK are two separate realities, however according to the reincarnation hypothesis, the mere fact that spirit of someone reincarnated who died violently involves remembering the previous life and mark the present body with similar markings to fatal wounds the previous life.

A second example: Karlis Osis experimented with psychic Tanous to see if something goes really out of the body during an OBE:

http://www.alextanous.org/sites/default/files/172_370278175.pdf

Osis found that when Tanous had an OBE to try to perceive a room with a sensor, the sensor detected a slight physical presence at the room. So one can argue that Tanous perceived the room by ESP and affected the sensor by PK, although Tanous had no intention of affecting the sensor. But this is extremely complicated, because there is no necessary connection between ESP and PK, however the results would be what would be expected if a physical but invisible and intangible body leaves the body for some OBEs and perceives and interacts with the environment, which would be the basis of kind of afterlife.

Super-PSI is merely an umbrella term for power of mind, and every indication seems to be that the mind is infinitely more powerful than we realize.

If the mind is infinitely more powerful than we realize, then the mind can survive death.

Juan, I ultimately reject super-psi in favor of survival. However, just to be the devil's advocate, do you see any potential for the correlation of birthmarks between deceased and new born to be related in any way to stigmata?

What I am getting at here is that if the power of the mind and suggestion can create stigmata, then a child experiencing a strong super-psi connection with information from a deceased person *could* maybe create the birthmark in the same way stigmata are created?

I have thought about this myself, but I ultimately reject it because children are *born* with birthmarks (that's why they are called "BIRTHmarks"). So if the birthmark is the product of a psychic connection, then the super-psi advocates must be asserting that a fetus can engage in psychic activity, experience the powerful emotional connection, etc.

I find that to be a very far fetched assertion.

In order for super-psi to explain cases of the reincarnation type we need to accept the extraordinarily psychic fetus, the extraordinarily psychic child whose psychic abilities are limited in range to information pertaining to just one deceased individual, the existance, however unsubstantiated and speculative, of some kind of collective unconscious/akashik records that not only contain all information about individuals living and deceased, but are also accessible by living individuals through unknown mechanisms triggered by inexplicable processes.

Just wondering what you think about the stigmata angle.

Thanks.

Juan, I only offered the idea that all children might be born with psychic potential as a speculative possibility how super-ESP/super-PSI that might be revealed in the future to be more expansive than currently appreciated. Just a possibility, nothing more. I was not trying to use it to counter Stevenson's findings on reincarnational memories. I don't know where you got that idea. It was you who brought up Stevenson because you couldn't reconcile what I was suggesting with the very specific way children with reincarnational memories display their PSI capabilities. I then pointed out that the violence aspect was a way that specificity of PSI display might be invoked against a generalized background of latency among children. Follow the thread again. I don't think there's anything incompatible or implausible being offered here.

I've stated elsewhere that IMO Stevenson's data on inherited birthmarks in children and their probablistic relationship to someone else's known history is one of the strongest cases that can be made for the survivalist point of view against super-ESP/super-PSI. Stongest, but not necessarily impregnable. It is strongest because it's rooted in a common reality experienced by all of us. The reality you invoke to explain an afterlife and toward which you feel evidence is converging is not one with which people can associate without a host of assumptions. That doesn't mean it's incorrect, just that it's fundamentally more complicated to use as foundational and and in that sense less simple.

"If the mind is infinitely more powerful than we realize, then the mind can survive death."

Indeed. And perhaps the mind has never died. Think of that.

but tsavo, you have proposed strong emotion and motivation as a trigger for super-psi.

What motivates a fetus?

as an aside, a motivated fetus would have powerful ramification around the abortion issue.

"Indeed. And perhaps the mind has never died. Think of that."

Isn't that what survival proponents ARE thinking about?

Just wondering what you think about the stigmata angle.

I had not thought of this, no one, and it is interesting, but I do not see the birthmarks of the cases studied by Stevenson may be similar to the stigmata. We noticed that people with stigmas have spent much time interacting with religion, feeling a strong emotional link with Jesus Christ and his wounds, which can lead to wounds in the body of religious that this person believes that Jesus Christ was in the crucifixion. But children who show these birthmarks in Stevenson's cases not even born to maintain a strong emotional link sustained over time with the deceased. We also noticed that the stigmatized wounds appear on the body parts where the stigmatized believed that Jesus Christ had had their wounds, which in some cases did not coincide with where Jesus really had had their wounds. Furthermore, birthmarks in Stevenson's cases are where the deceased had the deadly wound. Hence, we have two phenomena with different causes.

Juan, I only offered the idea that all children might be born with psychic potential as a speculative possibility how super-ESP/super-PSI that might be revealed in the future to be more expansive than currently appreciated. Just a possibility, nothing more. I was not trying to use it to counter Stevenson's findings on reincarnational memories. I don't know where you got that idea.

Okay, but science is not by mere possibilities, that is, logical possibilities, but with empirical possibilities, ie probabilities, so I just I said that the most likely interpretation of Stevenson's cases is the reincarnation.

@ no one:
"but tsavo, you have proposed strong emotion and motivation as a trigger for super-psi.

What motivates a fetus?"

as an aside, a motivated fetus would have powerful ramification around the abortion issue."

I assume you're asking how I consider the Stevenson birthmark case data to not be impregnable? How it could possibly be interpreted in terms of super-PSI? The most obvious possibility is that the mother provides the motivation and PK necessary to influence fetal development. This could occur if she had latent, above-average PSI ability and was subconsciously influenced by the feeling state of the victim during the violent death via a non-local mechanism. Think of her psychic powers (of which she is unaware) as a kind of radar that tuned in the violent death, associated with it, and then imprinted the child.


"Indeed. And perhaps the mind has never died. Think of that."

Isn't that what survival proponents ARE thinking about?"

Haha, I just logged on to address my own seeming non-sequitur after thinking about how it sounded. I wasn't really talking about individual minds surviving the way survival proponents do, but more along the lines of a universal mind for which there has never been an issue about "surviving" death because all of us are merely "shadows" involved in an elaborate stage play. Something like that, but such speculation was not appropriate here. I should not have thrown that comment out.

Please note that two comments by Titus Rivas have been rescued from the spam folder and appear above, at 3:59 AM and 4:53 AM (january 9).

To avoid being caught in the spam filter, comments should be kept relatively short.

"This could occur if she had latent, above-average PSI ability and was subconsciously influenced by the feeling state of the victim during the violent death..."

That's a big *if*, tsavo. I believe it is completely unsubstantiated.

Even if we assume your "if" for a moment, why this particular victim? In countries like India, where Stevenson did much of his work, young lives are cut short abruptly every day. Why would the mother not be whirling about, mentally, in a paranoid schizophrenic state picking up on a myriad of tragic deaths? Why would the child not be born with multiple personalities as a result of the mother's connection with multiple deceased individuals?

one more thing, tsavo, why is it that the child's psi results in a conscious identification with the deceased, whereas the mother's does not. The parents usually claim no knowledge of the deceased.

t: "This could occur if she had latent, above-average PSI ability and was subconsciously influenced by the feeling state of the victim during the violent death..."

no one: That's a big *if*, tsavo. I believe it is completely unsubstantiated."

Of course it's unsubstantiated, but it seems plausible and is something that could be theoretically be tested if there were a reliable way of measuring psychic potential. But actually, it's not really even necessary to postulate extraordinary PSI for the pregnant mother, it just makes the example easier to visualize. We all probably have some low level of psychic sensitivity, and the only thing that really needs to be explained is why, on a particular day at a particular hour, when someone was violently killed somewhere, it resonated subconsciously with a particular pregnant mother among all others. (I won't get into genealogical considerations here in terms of possible buried genetic relatedness with someone we "think" is a total stranger.) Everyone has their own sensitivities, and a situation that one person might be totally indifferent to, another might find apalling. We only have to imagine 1) that the mother in question had the type of personality that would be particularly sensitive to the situation of the victim, 2) that her sympathy (a part of her very nature) resonated subconsciously with the victim, and 3) that it resonated strongly enough for her to imprint the fetus.

The death of a loved one is often reported to be known to someone else when there's a strong empathic link. To arbitrarily say that there HAS to be a strong, previously established empathic link for death information to be transmitted and received telepathically seems unnecessarily restrictive.


no one: "Even if we assume your "if" for a moment, why this particular victim? In countries like India, where Stevenson did much of his work, young lives are cut short abruptly every day. Why would the mother not be whirling about, mentally, in a paranoid schizophrenic state picking up on a myriad of tragic deaths? Why would the child not be born with multiple personalities as a result of the mother's connection with multiple deceased individuals?"

Why aren't psychics driven mad by their ability? Some sort of psychological filter obviously exists and is in use all the time. It's even conceivable that most of us never realize our true psychic potential because this filter is too strong to overcome during our lifetime. Psychics might have an inherently weaker filter.


no one: "one more thing, tsavo, why is it that the child's psi results in a conscious identification with the deceased, whereas the mother's does not. The parents usually claim no knowledge of the deceased."

The mother doesn't identify because it's buried in the mother's subconscious. My guess is that the child's subconscious is very near the surface and much more accessible. In fact, "self-awareness" might well involve separation and burial of the subconscious so that consciousness is allowed to dominate, and that this usually occurs around 3-5 years.

I outlined above how I imagined birthmarking could be due to pre-natal, maternal influence using a PSI mechanism. The next question to consider is how the corresponding death memories could arise and display in the child (3-5) without needing to postulate overt motivation or discarnate involvement. What I can envision is that the child could, for various non-intentional reasons, be sporadically picking up snippets of what was recorded by the mother at the moment of the stranger's dying. The strong, traditional bonding between mother and child clearly has a mental component - it's not all olfactory/tactile or otherwise physical. To suggest that the child can be aware in some fashion about what's going on in the mother's mind at times is not hard to imagine. Awareness could clearly incorporate imagery per Ganzfeld experiments. Perhaps the mother is a bit anxious for some reason without knowing exactly why (the reason being that her subconscious is replaying the death). The child picks up on the mother's anxiousness and tunes her in (thereby tuning in to the same death replay). The child then incorporates the death scenario and death memories into its reality and believes it to be "real".

All this is clearly a complicated scenario, but the important point is that the individual components each has plausibility based on what we currently think we know. Because the PSI interpretation is more complicated, survivalism wins on points, however, and birthmarked children with death memories of strangers stands as its strongest case. But it's not a slam-dunk. Moreover, while there is little or no ability to test survivalism hypotheses, it will eventually become possible to test PSI hypotheses as we learn more and more about PSI, and develop better control over its use. A possible future scenario is that PSI knocks holes in all the best cases for survivalism and the latter dies the death of a thousand cuts.

This argument relates only to a rational perspective and does not in any way address the personal, experiential perspective.

Oh, for goodness' sakes! What is the point in laying out wildly imaginative possibilities without a governing ontology? Who says, apart from tsavo, that our better understanding of psi will see survivalism die 'the death of a thousand cuts'? Why instead, will survivalism not be greatly supported by our better understanding of psi, for instance, in our developed ability to use psi powers to visit our disincarnate loved ones at will, and converse with them freely? (Some incarnate beings can already do this. An ontology is licensed by this fact alone.) Reasoning like tsavo about psi is the perfect equivalent of positing the intensive emotional life at the centre of a golf ball, then predicting the impact of this on the taste of pumpkin soup.

Tsavo says, begging the question somewhat bare-facedly: 'This argument relates only to a rational perspective ...'. It does not. It is precisely the rational perspective that is entirely missing from it. All you produce is a luridly dizzy perspective that does a bad job of simulating rationality. This is the basic point: Anyone can advance a battery of propositions and concoct a scenario that aligns them. But that is not to conduct a systematic proof of the theory that the advanced propositions constitute, for, you will eventually realise, no theory has yet been constructed: juxtaposed wild propositions do not a theory make! (Please take as an example of this my 'theory' about emotional life at the centre of a golf ball, and my prediction that it will affect the taste of pumpkin soup.)

I wonder, tsavo, if you are just fooling around, flattering yourself that you have a handle on argumentation that can bamboozle your reader? Your 'feel free to comment in response here and I will ruminate upon what you say without responding further' is more than a little rude. You spring it even at Titus Rivas, a person of demonstrated substantial intellect who has generously taken the trouble to give your position minute consideration. Come now.

I wasn't really talking about individual minds surviving the way survival proponents do, but more along the lines of a universal mind for which there has never been an issue about "surviving" death because all of us are merely "shadows" involved in an elaborate stage play.

In other words, the Descartes's demon which would correspond to the collective unconscious. But this idea has no basis, only serves as a thought experiment, because each type of evidence for the afterlife indicates an individual survival as NDEs, the apparitions of the dead, mediumship and children who seem to remember previous lives. On the other hand, if everything is a hoax orchestrated by this kind of deceitful deity, it is expected that once the deception is discovered, for example, that in a mediumistic session talk someone who does not identify with any human being and asserting that all cases of mediumship were contacts with this impersonal being accompanying the Mankind since its origins. But this has never happened, so this global deception is not plausible.

I outlined above how I imagined birthmarking could be due to pre-natal, maternal influence using a PSI mechanism. The next question to consider is how the corresponding death memories could arise and display in the child (3-5) without needing to postulate overt motivation or discarnate involvement. What I can envision is that the child could, for various non-intentional reasons, be sporadically picking up snippets of what was recorded by the mother at the moment of the stranger's dying.

Okay, I admit the possibility of that happening. What I do not admit is that all evidence concerning the afterlife can be explained without a form of survival of deceased human beings. For example: I wrote that about Eileen Garrett, her ability to see auras and the afterlife, as shown on this page:

http://dreamhawk.com/interesting-people/eileen-garrett-psychic-superminds/

What allows us to argue strongly in favor of a form of individual afterlife for living beings.

Moreover, while there is little or no ability to test survivalism hypotheses, it will eventually become possible to test PSI hypotheses as we learn more and more about PSI, and develop better control over its use.

There are possibilities to test the survivalist hypothesis, how to train people so they can see auras and find out what those auras, what is your relationship to life, death and the afterlife, develop new tools that allow us to identify the material of that the etheric body is composed, among others.

Go Sophie!

Tut tut Sophie. I offered to let Titus have the last word only because he stated he did not want to get into a long back and forth and I concurred. This is Michael's blog, not a general forum, and therefore not really the place for him to intrude extensively out of consideration as a fellow blogger. I also offered to let you have the last word in a previous discussion because you seemed to want it. You are quite free to dismiss my arguments any way you wish. I am not really arguing with you, Titus, Michael or anyone here, I am arguing with myself. The discipline of carefully articulating what I'm thinking about in order to communicate as effectively as possible with other people helps me gain internal clarity and perspective.

You seem to be coming from a belief system where you take many things for granted and are unwilling to consider any idea or concept that doesn't match your preformed views. There's considerable irony in that that is very much the way materialist skeptics also function. In the world of basic scientific research, one takes a phenomenon and examines it as carefully as possible from as many angles as possible, with as few preconceptions as possible, in order to try and explain what's going on. The mechanism of explaining it involves forming and testing hypotheses. Testing a hypothesis is called an experiment. It can even be a mental experiment (think Einstein). One uses any line of reasoning, any approach, to try and set all this up. One might even use ontology or motivational psychology if really desperate (the horror!) - but only as a *guide* to help the thought process along or nudge it in a new direction. It would be counter-productive to force one's vision to accommodate any pre-formed notion. That would inhibit the whole exploratory process. The idea is to think in as many directions as possible. Remember what I said about vision? Too little and you're still driving a horse and buggy, too much and you're lost in space? Well, it's much better to be the lost in space sort if you're interested in discovery. If you're only interested in gathering evidence for a previously established position, go with the horse and buggy approach.

As I've said previously, I'm of many minds about all this and they're all compartmentalized (wow! is that a pun or something inadvertently profound?). Were I to go on a real science forum/blog and attempt to explain why I'm even giving consideration to the sorts of things discussed here, well, let's just say I'd really be catching it from the other direction! No problem. Goes with trying to hold a middle ground. In point of fact, I think arguments about survivalism vs super-PSI are rather puny things and subordinate to more profound considerations about the true nature of reality. Survivalism and super-PSI will eventually get together.

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