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Great stuff Michael. Thanks.

Thank you so much! It's actually 6 weeks from January 5th through February 14th, and we were originally shooting for 22 guest speakers, but it looks like we might have a few more.

Thanks thanks for mentioning it! Best, Nancy & Carlos

Thank you, Michael. x

MOOC about psi - yeah! Seed the collective mindfield with good science!

Off-topic, here is a link from The Epoch Times to an article about Jim Tucker, M.D., the successor of the meticulous, respected reincarnation researcher, Dr. Ian Stevenson, M.D.

Stevenson wrote the foreword to Tucker's first book, Life Before Life: Children's Memories of Previous Lives.

Tucker's most recent book is Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives.

My take from reading Tucker is that he has embraced and extended Stevenson's work well.

@ Lynn and Bruce...I will try to down two birds with one stone. My post was also in fun. Perhaps I failed in my scope, as it was to remind all of ourselves that we should not be so arrogant as to believe that in this universe of ours, although we may have began to, possibly, understand some of the workings, that we also think to know the cause and purpose for existence and being. Your definition of reality, whether your own idea or belonging to others, is a poor one, if we are truly attempting to define reality in contrast to non-reality, such as imagination, delusion, opinions, and especially "common understanding." This last was, especially, the reason for my posting to begin with; referring to Stephen's comment of: "I think I might add: When everybody suffers from the same delusion, it is called "reality." Further, perhaps my sentence structure was poor, because I was not implying that I considered myself other than a common blockhead, because I am one, just like you, or anybody else who thinks they know about "Reality/Truth." When I stated that I had all kinds of doubts, that was exactly what I meant, and which does not imply "all doubts", as I too am arrogant to a degree, believing myself to be capable of having a few correct opinions on some things. The second part of the statement was merely a reference to Socrates; meaning that we are all blockheads, those that think they know. And as Socrates pointed out, one can begin to become a lesser blockhead by realizing that we are all ignorant of not only reality, but just about anything else.
As far as my proposed criterion of using the five physical senses, it was meant to point out just the opposite; you did not get it. The senses fool us into believing all kinds of absurdities we deem as reality. As far as the number of senses, whether just five, or nine or 21, or an infinity of them, still will do us no good in knowing reality.
As far as your deduction that my comments are implying my knowing that visionaries exist; actually I don't really know, I just think that some have been are, and will be. Visionaries, as far as my opinion goes, are those that realize that the obvious (as far as our senses tell us) sometimes is not the truth, and so they begin to use the "mind's eye" to search out what reality is. You too (two) can become visionaries, and you can, like some of the great men and woman of the past, brings us blockheads face-to-face with the truth/reality. You can begin by not relying on "Wikipedia" as your source of knowledge. Man is not the measure of all things; God is. Our Dilemma is one of old; does God exist? But before trying to find out if God exists, What is God? What does Wikipedia tell you?
Here is what a visionary would tell any of us blockheads:
Then I will tell you, said Socrates. When I was young and just another blockhead, I had a prodigious desire to know that department of philosophy which is called the investigation of nature; to know the causes of things, and why a thing is and is created or destroyed appeared to me to be a lofty profession; and I was always agitating myself with the consideration of questions such as these:—Is the growth of animals the result of some decay which the hot and cold principle contracts, as some have said? Is the blood the element with which we think, or the air, or the fire? or perhaps nothing of the kind—but the brain may be the originating power of the perceptions of hearing and sight and smell, and memory and opinion may come from them, and science may be based on memory and opinion when they have attained fixity. And then I went on to examine the corruption of them, and then to the things of heaven and earth, and at last I concluded myself to be utterly and absolutely incapable of these enquiries, as I will satisfactorily prove to you. For I was fascinated by them to such a degree that my eyes grew blind to things which I had seemed to myself, and also to others, to know quite well; I forgot what I had before thought self-evident truths; e.g. such a fact as that the growth of man is the result of eating and drinking; for when by the digestion of food flesh is added to flesh and bone to bone, and whenever there is an aggregation of congenial elements, the lesser bulk becomes larger and the small man great. Was not that a reasonable notion?
Yes, said Cebes, I think so.
Well; but let me tell you something more. There was a time when I thought that I understood the meaning of greater and less pretty well; and when I saw a great man standing by a little one, I fancied that one was taller than the other by a head; or one horse would appear to be greater than another horse: and still more clearly did I seem to perceive that ten is two more than eight, and that two cubits are more than one, because two is the double of one.
And what is now your notion of such matters? said Cebes.
I should be far enough from imagining, he replied, that I knew the cause of any of them, by heaven I should; for I cannot satisfy myself that, when one is added to one, the one to which the addition is made becomes two, or that the two units added together make two by reason of the addition. I cannot understand how, when separated from the other, each of them was one and not two, and now, when they are brought together, the mere juxtaposition or meeting of them should be the cause of their becoming two: neither can I understand how the division of one is the way to make two; for then a different cause would produce the same effect,—as in the former instance the addition and juxtaposition of one to one was the cause of two, in this the separation and subtraction of one from the other would be the cause. Nor am I any longer satisfied that I understand the reason why one or anything else is either generated or destroyed or is at all, but I have in my mind some confused notion of a new method, and can never admit the other.
Then I heard someone reading, as he said, from a book of Anaxagoras, that mind was the disposer and cause of all, and I was delighted at this notion, which appeared quite admirable, and I said to myself: If mind is the disposer, mind will dispose all for the best, and put each particular in the best place; and I argued that if any one desired to find out the cause of the generation or destruction or existence of anything, he must find out what state of being or doing or suffering was best for that thing, and therefore a man had only to consider the best for himself and others, and then he would also know the worse, since the same science comprehended both. And I rejoiced to think that I had found in Anaxagoras a teacher of the causes of existence such as I desired, and I imagined that he would tell me first whether the earth is flat or round; and whichever was true, he would proceed to explain the cause and the necessity of this being so, and then he would teach me the nature of the best and show that this was best; and if he said that the earth was in the centre, he would further explain that this position was the best, and I should be satisfied with the explanation given, and not want any other sort of cause. And I thought that I would then go on and ask him about the sun and moon and stars, and that he would explain to me their comparative swiftness, and their returnings and various states, active and passive, and how all of them were for the best. For I could not imagine that when he spoke of mind as the disposer of them, he would give any other account of their being as they are, except that this was best; and I thought that when he had explained to me in detail the cause of each and the cause of all, he would go on to explain to me what was best for each and what was good for all. These hopes I would not have sold for a large sum of money, and I seized the books and read them as fast as I could in my eagerness to know the better and the worse.
What expectations I had formed, and how grievously was I disappointed! As I proceeded, I found my philosopher altogether forsaking mind or any other principle of order, but having recourse to air, and ether, and water, and other eccentricities. I might compare him to a person who began by maintaining generally that mind is the cause of the actions of Socrates, but who, when he endeavored to explain the causes of my several actions in detail, went on to show that I sit here because my body is made up of bones and muscles; and the bones, as he would say, are hard and have joints which divide them, and the muscles are elastic, and they cover the bones, which have also a covering or environment of flesh and skin which contains them; and as the bones are lifted at their joints by the contraction or relaxation of the muscles, I am able to bend my limbs, and this is why I am sitting here in a curved posture—that is what he would say, and he would have a similar explanation of my talking to you, which he would attribute to sound, and air, and hearing, and he would assign ten thousand other causes of the same sort, forgetting to mention the true cause, which is, that the Athenians have thought fit to condemn me, and accordingly I have thought it better and more right to remain here and undergo my sentence; for I am inclined to think that these muscles and bones of mine would have gone off long ago to Megara or Boeotia—by the dog they would, if they had been moved only by their own idea of what was best, and if I had not chosen the better and nobler part, instead of playing truant and running away, of enduring any punishment which the state inflicts. There is surely a strange confusion of causes and conditions in all this. It may be said, indeed, that without bones and muscles and the other parts of the body I cannot execute my purposes. But to say that I do as I do because of them, and that this is the way in which mind acts, and not from the choice of the best, is a very careless and idle mode of speaking. I wonder that they cannot distinguish the cause from the condition, which the many, feeling about in the dark, are always mistaking and misnaming. And thus one man makes a vortex all round and steadies the earth by the heaven; another gives the air as a support to the earth, which is a sort of broad trough. Any power which in arranging them as they are arranges them for the best never enters into their minds; and instead of finding any superior strength in it, they rather expect to discover another Atlas of the world who is stronger and more everlasting and more containing than the good;—of the obligatory and containing power of the good they think nothing; and yet this is the principle which I would fain learn if anyone would teach me. But as I have failed either to discover myself, or to learn of anyone else, the nature of the best, I will exhibit to you, if you like, what I have found to be the second best mode of enquiring into the cause.
I should very much like to hear, he replied.
Socrates proceeded:—I thought that as I had failed in the contemplation of true existence, I ought to be careful that I did not lose the eye of my soul; as people may injure their bodily eye by observing and gazing on the sun during an eclipse, unless they take the precaution of only looking at the image reflected in the water, or in some similar medium. So in my own case, I was afraid that my soul might be blinded altogether if I looked at things with my eyes or tried to apprehend them by the help of the senses. And I thought that I had better have recourse to the world of mind and seek there the truth of existence. I dare say that the simile is not perfect—for I am very far from admitting that he who contemplates existences through the medium of thought, sees them only 'through a glass darkly,' any more than he who considers them in action and operation. However, this was the method which I adopted: I first assumed some principle which I judged to be the strongest, and then I affirmed as true whatever seemed to agree with this, whether relating to the cause or to anything else; and that which disagreed I regarded as untrue. But I should like to explain my meaning more clearly, as I do not think that you as yet understand me.....

If you do not understand, clearly, what was stated above, read Plato's dialogue in its entirety, along with the rest of Plato's works. I could never explain it to you, I'm still a blockhead and not much of a visionary to speak of; but I believe that in my darkened world I'm beginning to see shadows.

A bit off-topic but here is a discussion between Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon on life after death:

http://www.markvernon.com/friendshiponline/dotclear/index.php?post/2014/12/15/What-happens-when-we-die-conversations-with-Rupert-Sheldrake#comments


Apparently, I seem to have posted my last comment entry on the wrong topic page, but "perhaps not." My reply to Bruce and Lynn was meant to be posted on the "thought of the day" recent post, and not on this one, but here is the explanation for the "perhaps not." The subject matter for "the thought of the day" topic was about Michaels’s comments of a quote on "reality," and what constitutes reality, or how one goes about determining what is reality. Then, Bruce and Lynn made some comments, which were addressed to me and my initial post. Therefore, in my response to Bruce’s and Lynn’s comments, which were posted here erroneously, I utilized an excerpt from Plato's dialogue, Phaedo, just as a sample to point out Socrates view on reality (existence/being) and how to go about trying to find reality; which cannot be really know by anyone, not even by Socrates, as he himself tells us in the excerpt I provided. This excerpt was a reference to part of the earlier comment I had made. But, the excerpt, it appears to be also appropriate for this blog on "MOOC", especially for some other persons’ posted comments, referring to the work of Dr Tucker and Dr Stevenson on the immortality of the soul and reincarnation. The Phaedo dialogue, besides being an account of Socrates' last day alive, amongst other things, it has the immortality of the soul and reincarnation as the center theme.
(:-)Therefore, subconsciously, both when writing the response, and also when posting it, I must have had a notion to address both subject posts, this one on MOOC, and also the one on "thought of the day." Otherwise, if not done subconsciously, it is just another instance of proof that I'm just another blockhead, as I have always maintained, regardless of the comments, which is shown by my acting precipitously, and therefore posting my comments on the wrong post.

Sorry for the confusion.

Not strictly on topic, but I've just read 80s music icon Billy Idol's just-published autobiography 'Dancing with Myself' (2014), and in it, he relates an NDE resulting from a motorcycle accident.

It differs from the typical NDE, in that he remembers an overall, pervading sense of 'redness', like a sunset, and he did not see distinct figures during the experience, but nevertheless, he was aware that he was surrounded by beings, 'some near, some further away', who were telling him that he was loved and who were providing reassurance to him; the common NDE perception of overwhelming love was present throughout. Billy had no doubt that he was in a place, or state, where different worlds met. He was then torn from this place and regained 'normal' consciousness at the accident scene, in great pain, and serious physical injury.

Although he made a full recovery, the experience clearly had a big impact on him, and he returns to the NDE at the end of his book, musing about whether 'the red dimension of love' that he experienced is where our loved ones reside. He says that he continues to take great comfort from this contact with the other side.

From a character who has pretty much lived the sex, drugs n rock & roll lifestyle to the max, his NDE, and the effect it has had on him, really comes across all the more strongly. Billy Idol is probably not your typical example of the model Christian! The experience does not seem to have served any traditional Christian moral purpose about changing his ways, it seemed to be more about providing a sense of reassurance. It informed him that there is a realm 'of love and majesty which walks, invisible to us, hand in hand with us throughout our lives', and this is a comforting thought, no matter how bad, or crazy life gets.

PS It's worth noting that, unusually for celebrity autobiographies, Billy did not employ the services of a ghost writer, preferring to write the book himself. This is why it took him bout six years. He had to teach himself writing skills first!

Frank said:

" My post was also in fun . . . it was to remind all of ourselves that we should not be so arrogant as to believe that in this universe of ours, although we may have began to, possibly, understand some of the workings, that we also think to know the cause and purpose for existence and being."

Frank, you're right -- I misunderstood your intention.

A suggestion: your comments would be easier to read if you divided them into smaller paragraphs surrounded by white space.

Douglas thank you for sharing Billy Idol's NDE. I didn't know he had one. The part about the redness is interesting and I have no explanation. I'll have to think about it? I suspicion it has something to do with the light spectrum and how much of "him" was on the other side?

I've read NDEs where they said that they saw "more colors than normal" or "more colors than we have here" which makes me think that perhaps after we cross over we are able to see a much wider band of the light spectrum than that which our physical body allows us to see and experience. Our eyes are only able to pick up a small fraction of the light spectrum. I know that bees and some birds can see colors that we can not. Flowers don't look to them the same way they look to us, they are much brighter and more fluorescent than what we see.

Because of how our physical bodies are designed we don't see or hear or touch or feel all that there is to see and experience on this side. Our physical body actually limits what we can experience. Elephants can hear a range of sounds that is way beyond our capability to hear. Mice and cats can hear in the higher range more than we can. There may be other things that can be sensed in this Universe that we don't even have a clue exist and won't know about till after we cross over.

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