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Just curious - Can we be sure that the level headed journalist actually proved that Dean was dead? Is the evidence very strong and convincing (you know I don't trust journalists at all)?

Not that it matters much to me, personally. I am realizing that awareness abhors a vacuum. If there's a real spirit out there wanting to communicate, a gifted medium will make contact and pass the message along. However, if the real spirit is not available for some reason, the consciousness of the medium and the sitters will create one - sometimes convincingly with super psi and/or PK and sometimes by purely meaningless confabulation.

One of the best ideas - from an explanatory standpoint - that was ever proposed on this blog is that of the "functional entity".


What I'm thinking is that there is only one mind and we are all functional entities arising from it. We can create new functional entities in the same way we, ourselves, were created. This is a little disconcerting, but I think it is pretty much how it is.

Here's another summary of the Dean Bridgman Conner case:

http://tinyurl.com/jvsxbrk

The author offers a possible explanation for the spirit controls' fallibility, in terms of the trancelike, half-asleep state that controls are said to enter in order to interface with mediums.

Here's a book about the case, called "The Quest for Dean Bridgman Conner":

http://tinyurl.com/k4zxc4e

This book appears to have been written by the journalist in question.

Both books are available as free downloads; the second one in particular would give a lot of detailed info, for those who are interested. (I'll try to give "The Quest ..." a read when I have the time.)

"What I'm thinking is that there is only one mind and we are all functional entities arising from it. We can create new functional entities in the same way we, ourselves, were created."

That's essentially what I'm suggesting, too.

"What I'm thinking is that there is only one mind and we are all functional entities arising from it." - no one
----------------------------

That's the message many near death experiencers bring back also.

excerpt from Michelle M's NDE:
"I remember understanding the others here.. as if the others here were a part of me too. As if all of it was just a vast expression of me. But it wasn't just me, it was .. gosh this is so hard to explain.. it was as if we were all the same. As if consciousness were like a huge being. The easiest way to explain it would be like all things are all different parts of the same body."
http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experiences/michelle_m%27s_nde.htm

"That's essentially what I'm suggesting, too."

That's what I thought.

I'm still interested the mechanics of what keeps a functional entity glued together as such. I guess Myers was intrigued by the same question.

This seems like an interesting theory on the origin of spirits. They exist in a persons dreamlike imagination and then graduate from abstract to physical form, then physical form to mature spirit.

The problem with this theory is that we tend to imagine idealized people, over the top characters, absurdly evil characters, etc - read any work of fiction (right Michael??) i sense there is such thing as old and new souls, and not characters born with pre existing traits like this.

There would be a lot more Julius Caesars (like the medium dreamt up) and imaginary, funky people running around if this were true.

A very good post. The discipline of physical reality would be required to bring thought-imagined spirits into line. Without it, they would have to feed on other spirits with a firmer centre of being or wander terrified and vulnerable in the void.

In his book “Psychics, Prophets and Mystics: Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources”, Jon Klimo discusses so-called channeled subpersonalities including Seth and Ramtha, and suggests 85% of the information comes straight from the personal unconscious of the individual in question; similarly, in cases of different voices coming through a medium in séances. He also suggests that unintegrated subpersonalities are responsible for our artistic talents.

What cannot be accounted for as being already part of us is speculated as coming to us from external sources (perhaps higher selves as Ken Wilber has it). We are not unitary, and it is reasonable to believe that any higher self would also have to be multiple – we might access the personality and archetype we need from the net of Indra according to our state of development and our environmental needs.

Wilber himself asserts that Atman is ultimately One Being, but this is surely illogical in terms of any meaningful manifestation – multiplicity is unavoidably the result of self-expression and in any given environment, apparent consistency of individuality in an evolved, sentient being would surely have to be by the domination of some of its personalities by the fittest one.

As for the Philip tulpa you mention, it gets much worse that this, doesn’t it? Terry Pratchett’s “Small Gods” for instance, is a satire which demonstrates only too well just how gods proliferate and are sustained by those who believe in them.

Nice one, Elevated.

No one - there's a forum for functional entities or tulpae:
http://articles.tulpa.info/

"Here's a book about the case, called "The Quest for Dean Bridgman Conner":

http://tinyurl.com/k4zxc4e

This book appears to have been written by the journalist in question."


I scanned the book. The reporter Anthony Philpott comes across as a keen observer, very familiar with and by no means unfriendly to the work of the Society for Psychical Research. He was initially convinced of the validity of Mrs. Piper's communications on Dean Bridgeman Conner, but on further research in Mexico he concluded that all of her information about Conner being kidnapped was false, but interlarded with considerable amounts of verifiable information derived by telepathy from the family and friends of Conner and from the mind of Dr. Richard Hodgson. The reporter felt the episode only made a case for telepathy and unconscious confabulation, not survival.

Apparently Hodgson put an awful lot of faith in Piper's communications on this case, and was crushed when it fell apart. In his desire for proof of spiritism Hodgson lost any objectivity as a researcher, according to Philpott. Hodgson made some accusations against the reporter, which he later retracted according to Philpott.

From page 242 of the book:

"I talked with the people who had known him (Conner) and worked with him, with those who had tended him in his illness, with the woman who had closed his eyes in death, with one of the men who had carried the body to the grave, and with the superintendent of the cemetary who saw that the grave was closed on the mortal remains of Dean Bridgeman Conner.

Then I faced the professional men who had examined the hair and teeth (of the exhumed body) and broke down their testimony (that the body was not that of Conner)."

Great post, Michael! I am constantly in awe of your posts. I could not write a blog on this topic at this high level of quality, consistency, and frequency.

||"What I'm thinking is that there is only one mind and we are all functional entities arising from it. We can create new functional entities in the same way we, ourselves, were created."

That's essentially what I'm suggesting, too.||

I think this is correct.

Averroes (Ibn Rushd) had great insights in this area, I believe (http://www.iep.utm.edu/ibnrushd/#H7)

||A number of other problems remain in Ibn Rushd’s doctrine of the soul and intellect. For instance, if the material intellect is one and eternal for all humans, how is it divided and individualized? His immediate reply was that division can only occur within material forms, thus it is the human body that divides and individualizes the material intellect.||

and...

||In the Tahafut, Ibn Rushd speaks of the soul as a faculty that comes to resemble the focus of its intention, and when its attention focuses more upon eternal and universal knowledge, it become more like the eternal and universal. As such, when the soul perfects itself, it becomes like our intellect. This, of course, has impact on Ibn Rushd’s doctrine of the afterlife. Leaman contends that Ibn Rushd understands the process of knowing as a progression of detachment from the material and individual to become a sort of generalized species, in which the soul may survive death. This contradicts traditional religious views of the afterlife, which Ibn Rushd determines to be valuable in a political sense, in that it compels citizens to ethical behavior.||

I've now read most of Philpott's book and agree with Doubter's assessment and summary. It's an interesting read, though padded out with some rather tedious travelogue material about the colorful characters and scenic vistas Philpott encountered in Mexico (I skimmed or skipped over those passages).

It certainly seems clear that Mrs. Piper's communications in this case, while having some paranormal components, were off-base in their continuing insistence that Conner was alive. Exactly how to explain this in light of her undoubtedly correct communications in other cases is an open question.

Cyrus, "There would be a lot more Julius Caesars (like the medium dreamt up) and imaginary, funky people running around if this were true."

I don't think so because I think the creation of a functional entity depends on the intent of the creator. If we don't realize the ability to create these things then we are going to be focusing our intent on very normal personalities. If we think we are going to be contacting our deceased Uncle George we are holding in our thoughts the image of old Uncle George and the entity we create will be very much like him. Theoretically, we could focus on a Count Dracula or a Superman and create entities with those personalities and attributes, but who goes into a sitting looking to do that; or even believing/knowing it possible?

Some investigators hold that demon possessions are a result of the focus of creational intent (quite subconsciously) being placed on the demonic - meaning that the possessed person and/or those tied to her has created a functional entity of a demonic nature that has taken over her body/mind. I am thinking this is probably, indeed, what happens.

" Leaman contends that Ibn Rushd understands the process of knowing as a progression of detachment from the material and individual to become a sort of generalized species, in which the soul may survive death."

Castaneda echoes this perspective; only a "man of knowledge" can achieve life after physical death by virtue of having learned to fluidly shift his awareness across all bands of reality within the human realm of potential.

My personal perspective on all of this has evolved dramatically over the past few months. I am no longer so sure that mediums - good ones/non-fraudulent ones - are talking to actual distinct disincarnate entities. Or they are, but they aren't.

I am thinking that our way of understanding this stuff is too dichotomous and too mechanical. Functional entities, super psi, spirits of the deceased, persistent information storage in some sort of universal database may all be useful analogies that are each accurate enough and yet not accurate enough at the same time.

The problem starts with how we understand and think about ourselves. That concept that extents to how we think about everything else.

We are always erecting dichotomies - real/not real, me/not me, etc where there really are not such clear cut divisions.

>> If "Caezar" was a fictional persona of Mrs. Piper's subconscious, couldn't G.P. (George Pellew) be equally fictional? <<

Or, some "spirits" like to lie? Why is this possibility rarely mentioned? Why assume that all spirits are "nice"? Look at all of the living manipulative a-holes. Why couldn't they stay that way (for a while) after death?

I don't usually pay much attention to spirit mediums but it seems to me kind of odd to suspect that, if there are spirits, that they would all be perfectly 1. honest, 2. accurate, 3. consistently accurate or honest. Some might be, as has been reported, malevolent, wishing and trying to cause harm. Some might be like blog trolls playing some kind of game that we don't perceive. It's in the rare and, unquestionably, instances in which information is given that can not possibly be explained any other ways that evidence for this can be obtained. The misses could be due to many other things but, when the hits couldn't be explained any other ways, force a conclusion that something else is happening.

no one,

Great comment!

I think the "spirit = information" perspective can be relevant here.

I think sometimes mediums are accessing the Akashic Records *about* the person but are not talking to the person. Is this like super-psi? Absolutely. But the error of super-psi lies in not understanding the spirit AS information.

There is a lot of information about a person that is *not* the person.

For example, Michael Prescott is a living, breathing person. But he is not the only source of information about himself. I can read his books, read his blog, talk to his neighbors, perhaps even look back in time to access things he said in the past.

That is why the one spirit mentioned above could be confused about the communication that was going on supposedly with him. The medium was probably accessing information about him that was mostly accurate but was nevertheless not having a conversation with him.

Similarly about "Cezar." The medium could be looking at information *about* J. Caesar but not actually talking to him.

The line between *about* and *to* can be extremely thin, I believe, per no one's comment.

Of course, there are also pure functional entities, such (as seems to be) the Phinuit control.

I need to correct myself:

||There is a lot of information about a person that is *not* the person.||

It *is* the person but not the person qua conscious (or trans-conscious) entity.

The things I said in the past *are* me but not what I am saying currently. Keep in mind that karma literally means "action" in Sanskrit. That which is *about* us *is* us in one sense but not necessarily in all senses.

The Buddhist perspective on self is fairly well stated in the following quote

"Buddha declared that it is neither the exact same person nor a completely different one who experiences the results of karma. Just as one cannot step into exactly the same river twice, since the flowing water is always changing from one moment to the next, so too are we never exactly the same person, because the conditions and processes which constitute our lives are also always changing from moment to moment. On the other hand, neither are we completely different, because, like the stream whose currents fall into consistent patterns depending upon the consistency of their supporting conditions, so too the continuity of individual "mind-streams" depends upon the continuity of their causes and conditions."

William S. Waldron (2007-03-16). The Buddhist Unconscious: The alaya-Vijñana in the Context of Indian Buddhist Thought (

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