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Sometimes the seemingly most loving parents can be subtly cruel. As I read your words, Michael, I was put in mind of Thomas Szasz's famous work,'The Myth of Mental Illness'. Overt hostility is often less damaging than subtlety.

This is a very complicated issue. And yet, I suspect, not nearly as mysterious as it seems.

Nice post!

I think we are loathe to accept the readily observable fact that some people are born broken for religious and political reasons.

The born-broken hypothesis flies in the face of Christianity and the Western Myth in general: God created everything good, so if something is messed up, people messed it up. We have to accept that God creates physically and mentally handicapped people as we cannot deny what's right in front of our eyes, but the reason given is something along the lines of, "God is teaching us how to help others." Of course, such handicapped people are said to have the same moral value as anyone else, and their handicaps in no way prevent them from being close to God and going to Heaven. The idea that someone could be born evil, however, is much more problematic under this paradigm.

It's also politically incorrect to a large percentage of those on both the Left and Right. Those on the Left don't want to recognize the inherent differences between men and women, for example, and there is a rather inchoate and sloppy belief in a "blank slate" at birth for all. Those on the Right are likely to be Christians and, in any case, tend to emphasize "personal responsibility" to an absurd degree, unwilling to recognize that a certain percentage of people in society just aren't going to make it for whatever reason.

But yes, most of us are born with some type of inherent problem, and some of us are born broken beyond repair.


I hesitate to comment before others do but I would like to think that those who frequent this blog would look for explanations for a ‘bad seed’ outside of a materialistic paradigm.

I, becoming more and more of a spiritual bent don’t think that ‘God’ creates physically and mentally handicapped people (spirits) or that ‘God’ is teaching us to help others. I think that all spirits are created perfect and that what we perceive as flaws or disabilities have nothing to do with what ‘God’ has created. Often those imperfections are solely physical in nature and it could be that each spirit chooses to experience an existence in physicality that provides a learning experience necessary for that soul’s growth.

Since I think that reincarnation is a strong possibility and that spirits pick and choose their journeys in life. Who is to say that they do not return to experience a course correction at times? I tend to believe that yes, some people could be “born evil” that is, they are spirits who, in their past life did evil things and enter a new life with the same intents they had in their previous one. Probably Matt is correct when he says that most of us are born with some type of inherent problem; if we were not then why the necessity of being born into the physical again? - AOD

I don't know how relevant this is but I know a person who was born with some psychopathic traits like a lack of empathy, was raised by parents who worked with them and gave them logical rather than emotional reasons to work well in society, and now runs a support group for people who have undergone or are currently undergoing severe abuse, because their lack of empathy means they don't get burned out or emotional when hearing horrific anecdotes.

Perhaps there are people at the other end of the spectrum: born altruists.

Here's an article I stumbled across the other day on such persons, although it doesn't get into the "born" part. http://nautil.us/blog/would-the-world-be-better-if-everyone-were-a-do_gooder

"If Samantha’s brain is wired for callousness, if she fails to experience empathy or remorse because she lacks the neural equipment, can we say she is evil?"

This brings a more general problem: one can say that if we all behave as we do, it is because our brain is wired in a certain way, so that there is no room for free will or for good people or evil people. There is only room for individuals who give benefits or damages.

AOD wrote,

||I think that all spirits are created perfect and that what we perceive as flaws or disabilities have nothing to do with what ‘God’ has created.||

Insofar a spirit is a "thing," (which I think it is not), I agree that it is perfect. IOW, I think the spark of Source in all of us is perfect.

||I tend to believe that yes, some people could be “born evil” that is, they are spirits who, in their past life did evil things and enter a new life with the same intents they had in their previous one.||

I am agnostic on this point. I just don't think we understand Reincarnation enough. It could be true.

At the same time, we do see things like Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder in which cognition and behavior are very negative and very consistent, indicating a "material" cause.

I'm happy to report I was born broken. I have OCD, which was at its worst when I was about 8-13 (and now I see my daughter going through the same types of things: again, a material cause of some sort).

I don't view OCD as totally negative in nature. In my view, it produces both good thoughts and bad thoughts (words, images, etc.), and we sufferers simply don't like the bad ones. It definitely is a big part of the fuel mixture for my creativity and my work as a translator. My mind almost always super-active and swirling with stuff. It's hard to turn off.

But the real brokenness for me that has lasted (I'm not a hand-washer, rarely deal with actual compulsions any more) is that I've never really felt comfortable in my physical body. I'm prone to hypochondria, PVCs, and since 2010, outright panic attacks.

But does OCD have a spiritual component? Absolutely. And I think having it is also a big reason why I'm psychic--they're at least connected. In fact, I would say that intelligence and psi go hand in hand with mental illness. I feel that I, in a sense, "lucked out" with OCD, as it doesn't really affect my behavior (if anything, it makes me a better person).

Not to be too TMI with my own stuff, but I put it here in case it could be of help to someone.

Oh, and I also wrote about myself thus so I do not seem judgmental of others' brokenness. To me, it's a "join the club" kind of thing.

Roger Knight,

I would agree that there are natural-born altruists as well. Of course, we are not just born broken, we are also born with a variety of good stuff as well.

Totally off topic, but there are several Instant Pot fans here, including myself, so:

http://www.salon.com/2017/05/20/the-instant-pot-cult-is-real_partner/

Is Instant Pot related to Pol Pot?

Because Pol Pot may have been a natural born killer.

Matt said, “At the same time, we do see things like Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder in which cognition and behavior are very negative and very consistent, indicating a "material" cause.”

I don’t follow Matt. Why is it that if some behavior is very negative and very consistent that that indicates a “material” cause? It could just as well indicate, and actually more likely to be an ingrained spiritual cause. - AOD

Michael,

||Is Instant Pot related to Pol Pot?

Because Pol Pot may have been a natural born killer.||

I knew there was a connection!!!

That's an excellent book, Julie, Thomas Szasz's 'The Myth of Mental Illness,' and I agree with how your comments that a lot of hostility can be hidden. Alice Walker's classic "The Drama of the Gifted Child" describes in many cases how from the outside, parents can seem like loving parents, but that's not the case and a lot of abuse is hidden, as we really don't get to see everything going on.

There also seems to be some science indicating that people born with malignant narcissistic personality disorder have different brain structures than baseline "normal" people. But the science also seems to indicate that brain structure changes in response to repetitive behavior. So are these people just changing their brain structure with their repetitive negative behavior?

But in my own personal experience, I do think some people are just born with a lot of hate. Where they come from, how they're made, only God knows.

Michael said:

"Is Instant Pot related to Pol Pot? Because Pol Pot may have been a natural born killer."

What you have here is a family under a lot of pressure. As always, individuals respond differently.

"But in my own personal experience, I do think some people are just born with a lot of hate. Where they come from, how they're made, only God knows."

But how can one literally be born with a lot of hate? In order to hate, one has to have a focus for that emotion; something or someone to hate. If what you mean is that some people turn to hatred more easily than others then I certainly agree. We each possess different, innate, character traits, strengths and weaknesses and life experience brings them to the fore, in the existential sense. And while can choose to develop or strengths or give in to our weaknesses, some damage is buried so deep in the subconscious (particularly if it occurred at the pre-linguistic stage of psychological development) that the individual is rendered wholly incapable of self remedy.

We each have our own set of cards to play. Trouble is, the game isn't always fair.

'develop our strengths'.

Matt (and everybody), here's an article on the Instant Pot from Saturday's Salon:
http://www.salon.com/2017/05/20/the-instant-pot-cult-is-real_partner/

I think that if we take reincarnation as an empirical hypothesis or theory seriously, some of these children will simply be reincarnated psychopaths. Meaning that their condition may after all have been caused by experiences and psychological factors, albeit in another lifetime. I think the reincarnation perspective is extremely important for many aspects of human behavior. The extra bonus we get from it is that we can accept that something is BOTH innate AND psychogenic at the same time. That way, there is more room for hope, at least for some cases. That is better than resurrecting the kind of pseudoscience promoted by Cesare Lombrose.

Titus,
This discussion does tend to separate the materialists from the spiritualists. - AOD

I'm with Matt and Titus here. One problem with studying psychopaths is that they lie, lie well very well and they always deflect and project. They learn very early on that they are different and what they desire to do is unacceptable to society. They also learn that most people want to believe the best and in inherent good nature. So they use that to further manipulate.

The blame the parents game just doesn't cut it. Subtly cruel parent hypothesis is a ridiculous attempt to bury one's head in the sand. Really? A kid is going to choke a sibling to death because a parent was "subtly cruel". Murder, especially of a sibling, is such an extreme reaction that it doesn't make sense.

Yes. if reincarnation is true in some way, then we would expect some reincarnated people to be of the worst sort. Psychopaths refuse to accept responsibility. This is a known trait. Sure they will say, "I'm sorry" if it benefits them at the moment, but they aren't really. Why would a reincarnated person with psychopathic tendencies be remorseful of deeds from the past life? They wouldn't be.They would furiously double down.

That souls are created perfect is a belief that supports a certain mythological system. If you look at Buddhism, for example, it is said that souls are created from various pre-human karmic forces. Various desires. Given that nature has inherent cruelties and a destructive side (think Kali/Hindu beliefs), would it not be possible that some souls have an abundance of the destructive/negative predilections? I certainly do.

Eric,
I do think that all spirits i.e., individual consciousnesses are equal, that is, created perfect as a spark or portion of 'God' or 'Source' or whatever. That includes all consciousness regardless that it may be embodied in some form other than a human form. Even Lucifer was at one time an Archangel of God but fell from grace by her own willful actions (I tend to think of Lucifer as female and call her 'Lucy' at times as the embodiment of evil.)

Unless one doesn't recognize free will, then each spirit consciousness is free to choose evil over good and as 'Lucy' choose to shut herself off from the light of God, so can other spirits choose to enter into darkness. - AOD

Cruel parents have to be ruled out first; it's more common than most think. The parent(s) torture the kid (some are even stupid enough to share it with the world; see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CmS9Ujt5D8n ). The kid takes out their rage and frustration on siblings.

Julie, I don't know why some people are just born with hate. The materialists would say it's either 1) genetics and brain structure, or 2) child abuse. Non-materialists say it's karma, demons, alignment of the stars at birth, etc.

AOD wrote,

||Why is it that if some behavior is very negative and very consistent that that indicates a “material” cause? It could just as well indicate, and actually more likely to be an ingrained spiritual cause.||

And Titus wrote,

||I think that if we take reincarnation as an empirical hypothesis or theory seriously, some of these children will simply be reincarnated psychopaths.||

I think reincarnation is one of the things we understand the least about the Afterlife. Certainly its mechanics remain a mystery. But I am inclined to think that evil people are not reborn as evil people in this world, or at least not *because* they were evil in the past.

1. While some regulars on this blog do not believe in reincarnation at all (I think this is true of Art), insofar as we do, we seem to agree that after death people are not instantly reincarnated. We also seem to agree that there are two main possibilities with respect to how reincarnation occurs:

A. Linear reincarnation, in which people spend a period in the Afterlife and are then reincarnated.

B. Higher Self reincarnation, in which a different aspect of the Higher Self (per Michael, the Diamond) is reincarnated.

Neither of these possibilities in particular *suggests* that a person would be born evil because of past karma (though perhaps neither precludes it either). In the case of A, presumably the evil departed would go to a zone of the Afterlife amenable to evil people, where some change, learning, etc., could occur. In the case of B, it's not *same* evil person being reborn per se, so an evil person under the same Higher Self or in the same soul family should not affect the karma.

Further, psychopaths are more or less incapable of learning from their actions and presumably from any "punishment" (if there is such a thing in the Afterlife) for their actions, so, again presumably, the same person would be born a psychopath over and over. I don't think that makes a whole lot of sense.

Also importantly, we just don't have any real case studies of psychopaths being reborn as psychopaths. It's entirely speculative.

Finally, there are lots of mental illnesses with no moral component: e.g., people with schizophrenia, bipolar, OCD, etc., may be tough to deal with, but they don't tend to be evil. So are these a result of particular spiritual predilections as well? So why, when a mental illness has a moral dimension, such as psychopathy, we jump to looking for a spiritual cause?

I think it's simply because we don't *want* to believe that people are born morally broken. I.e., it's ad hoc reasoning based on our personal preferences.

Roger,

Great cooks think alike!

"I think it's simply because we don't *want* to believe that people are born morally broken. I.e., it's ad hoc reasoning based on our personal preferences."

Right. It's just more of that, "I don't like it so it can't be true" and "It makes me uncomfortable so I'll invent something else as truth" thinking.

No one here knows that there is a benevolent God that created everyone and everything out of Love. That's one of those happy feel good thoughts that people enjoy entertaining. It's also very Christian. A lot of people who adhere to the big guy I the sky who loves all and created all as perfection claim to eschew religion in favor of "spirituality", yet are actually preaching what is, essentially, fundamental Christianity - just less the judgment part, which they don't like because it means having to, well, be judged; which upsets many.

Again, most "Eastern" religions do not have this manager in the sky figure and they do have plenty of destructive vicious gods and goddesses. The idea of love as the unifying power is not emphasized if put forth at all. Reincarnation figures into the formula in various ways and with varying degree of emphasis. More people in the world believe these things than do the Christian-lite of the new agers and "spiritual but not religious" crowd.

In other words, there is nothing in evidence or in tradition to support the idea that there is a loving God that created everything and everyone, perfect, that based the universe on a foundation of love, with evil being merely an illusion. If you want to believe that, fine, but any hypothesis you advance based on that understanding will be, well, baseless.

It makes far more sense that human spirits formed out of primal energetic forces - as the Buddhists and Hindus say - some of which are violent and destructive and then psychopaths formed themselves as human entities, with all their lies, manipulation, etc. as tactics for wreaking the damage they desire to inflict on everyone else.

Matt,
Your post brings a number of points for discussion.

First of all I think you bring up a very good concern about the role of the 'oversoul' in the mechanics of reincarnation. While an oversoul perhaps could have different personalities developed in each physical existence, perhaps there is some unity whereby each incarnated personality, becoming part of the oversoul, thereby affects at some deeper level the developing identity of the oversoul in a similar manner that each developmental phase of human growth and development thereby affects the final or innate being in a physical existence. A psychopathic personality in one incarnation might be attenuated somewhat as it becomes a part of the oversoul and while a different personality may eventually manifest in another incarnation of the reincarnated oversoul, there remains some kernel of not only the previous personality but all of the personalities developed in various incarnations.

As I recall Ian Stevenson reported cases of reincarnation where the reincarnated spirit did not spend a long interval in a non-physical existence but reincarnated rather quickly (not "instantly") after transitioning and that interests and traits of the previous personality, and in some cases injuries, were part of the spirit's new incarnation, e.g. amputated fingers, female to male incarnations, food likes and dislikes, language, hobbies. This perhaps provides some inkling that certain behaviors and traits may be carried over from one lifetime to another.

I tend to dismiss the concept of Karma as a kind of punishment for sins of a past life and instead see Karma as a means to balance the oversoul and provide a learning experience. From a physical perspective Karma may indeed seem to be a punishment but from a spiritual perspective physical experiences whatever they may be are solely for the benefit of the whole spirit. and that Karma could be perceived as 'good' or bad' depending on one's value and belief systems, e.g., rich versus poor, male versus female,

'Evil' of course is a subjective evaluation, often defined by cultural mores, therefore to say that one is born 'evil' is to say that behaviors do not agree with beliefs of the culture into which the spirit is born. That said, it is obvious that some children from a very young age seem to be especially obtuse or even vengeful in their behaviors. To some extent this may be a result of early mistreatment of some sort but it is difficult to accept that this cause applies to all cases. Sometimes children of the most loving and caring parents turn out to be unappreciative and vindictive. That is not to say that such parents provided appropriate behavioral training experiences for the growing child. Sometimes certain kinds of love foster dependency and entitlement of children.

I don't think that those of us who may claim a spiritual bent "jump" to a spiritual cause for all afflictions in physical life. I think that spiritual causes should not be excluded however. If one is to believe reports of physicians and others who regress people to past lives thereby relieving so-called mental health issues in a present life, then perhaps that may provide some evidence, arguably debatable, that there is a spiritual cause for some aberrant behaviors. - AOD

Eric
I think the "manager in the sky" image of God is primarily a Christian one coming from the iconography of Catholicism. Additionally perhaps one can thank Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci for those images. But how other could one portray a 'god consciousness'? What image or symbol could represent a human consciousness? I think that knowledge is given to humans according to their ability to receive it and the symbolism of the great patriarch in the sky was one that most unadvanced peoples could understand. I think that few thinking people today really believe that God is an old bearded human with male genitalia.

You say that, "It makes far more sense that human spirits formed out of primal energetic forces - as the Buddhists and Hindus say - some of which are violent and destructive and then psychopaths formed themselves as human entities, with all their lies, manipulation, etc. as tactics for wreaking the damage they desire to inflict on everyone else." But it seems to me that that understanding is as "baseless" as an understanding that, "a loving God that created everything and everyone, perfect, that based the universe on a foundation of love, with evil being merely an illusion." - AOD

"I think the 'manager in the sky, image of God is primarily a Christian one coming from the iconography of Catholicism."

I'd say it dates much earlier than that, back to the image of God as the Ancient of Days, an old man seated on a heavenly throne. This image is found in the Hebrew Bible and, in its original form, probably predates Hebrew monotheism itself.

From what I've read, the ancient (pre-monarchy) Israelites worshipped several gods, among whom were Yahweh and El. Yahweh was seen as an old man on a throne, while El was a younger, tempestuous storm god. Eventually the two figures were conflated, while other gods, like Baal and Asherah, were demoted to demons.

It just so happens that Cracked has an excellent article on psychopaths up now (please don't dismiss merely because it's Cracked--it's good!):

http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2495-6-scary-realities-working-with-actual-psychopaths.html

AOD,

I agree largely with your comments, thanks.

Eric,

I think you have many good points, but I have one point of contention: NDEs and other spiritual experiences *do* seem to point to the primacy of Love in the Universe. I.e., when we peel off the "hoax" that Ebert observed, that is what we find. What I think is hard for people to accept is that there isn't a monolithic "God" that made it so from the beginning (and their scenarios then have to include all the pseudo-reasons why things started that way but haven't remained that way: the Garden of Eden, etc.).

"From what I've read, the ancient (pre-monarchy) Israelites worshipped several gods, among whom were Yahweh and El."

And the ancient Greeks had a plethora of gods and goddesses to cover every eventuality. :)

Matt,
IMO, the Cracked article is pretty good. One thing, though, it doesn't make it clear that a history of childhood abuse may correlate with a psychopath being imprisoned, but is not contributing to whether or not one becomes a psychopath - i.e. psychopaths are born as such. Add in childhood abuse and you're more likely to have a psychopath that ends up in prison. Fallon himself, a psychopath that ended up staying out of prison and developing a successful career is still a rotten person. He deceived his brother and put him at very real risk of being killed by a bullet or deadly disease. He also says he has always enjoyed getting people to do things that violate their conscience. That's evil. Fallon says it was just for fun; "goofing around". Evil all the same, but I think Fallon is lying here a bit (he's a psychopath after all). IMO, he knows that it's more than mere goofing around. He gets a rush from a sense of power over the very soul of another person when he manipulates them into doing things they would normally never do on a moral basis. So, abuse or no abuse, a psychopath is an evil lowlife that represents a physical and spiritual danger to all those unfortunate enough to enter into a relationship.

"I'd say it dates much earlier than that, back to the image of God as the Ancient of Days, an old man seated on a heavenly throne. This image is found in the Hebrew Bible and, in its original form, probably predates Hebrew monotheism itself. "

Oh, absolutely. I just meant that the version of it that we see today in our culture comes from Christianity.

"NDEs and other spiritual experiences *do* seem to point to the primacy of Love in the Universe. I.e., when we peel off the "hoax" that Ebert observed, that is what we find"

Have to disagree. I think that some NDEs that appear in books on the topic do suggest what you say. However, I think there are many that do not. I have read enough NDE accounts from non-western societies to form the opinion that the love and light as universal foundation experience is not common outside Christian countries.

IMO, the love/light experience is another illusion generated from within. It's a nice illusion, but illusion all the same.

I further think that there is a feedback loop wherein people experience then report the love/light realm and, as a result, because that concept is now out there, more people who have NDEs in the West, find themselves in that realm during the NDE. It has become part of the reality that our culture is creating. That's great, but it's not an ultimate truth.

Psychopaths may have been beaten as kids, but that in many cases was likely the result of their behaving in a psychopathic fashion then. Beatings weren't necessarily the cause of their psychopathy.

Eric said:

"I further think that there is a feedback loop wherein people experience then report the love/light realm and, as a result, because that concept is now out there, more people who have NDEs in the West, find themselves in that realm during the NDE. It has become part of the reality that our culture is creating. That's great, but it's not an ultimate truth."

You're conveniently ignoring the fact that *many* people are shocked when they encounter that light and that love.

I'm thinking about this today because I just read this account yesterday:

http://www.nderf.org/Experiences/1graca_p_nde.html

How do you explain radical turn-arounds such as hers?

Eric wrote,

||IMO, the love/light experience is another illusion generated from within. It's a nice illusion, but illusion all the same.||

Possibly! But one thing we need to avoid is suggesting that the Afterlife is just a slurry of anything and everything. I.e., we're just dumped into chaos, insofar as an "I" remains at all.

And why do we have to avoid that? Because that would not be anything worth calling the "Afterlife" in the first place. Now if that's true, then we have to recognize that. My point is only that we should not hold two contradictory ideas about what happens to us after death.

"You're conveniently ignoring the fact that *many* people are shocked when they encounter that light and that love."

"But one thing we need to avoid is suggesting that the Afterlife is just a slurry of anything and everything"

Well, we're deviating from the topic of psychopathy a bit with this, but I guess it is somewhat necessary to go here if one is too understand that psychopaths are born that way.

IMO, ^we^ are creating the conditions of the afterlife. We build it with our thoughts and emotions. The more realms are built in the next world the more likely it is for more people to experience them. Not because they read about it in a book and developed expectations, but because it is out there and it is influencing us. Like a magnet. And we, in turn, influence it.

So many people think there is going to be a massive immediate transformation upon dying. That they will see God, etc. Not going to happen. People are pretty much the same after they die as before. And no one is ready to see God or anything even close to God. Rather, they go to an appropriate afterlife environment; appropriate based on their thoughts and feelings. After a while, the realization that life has a spiritual component kicks in (after all, they died, yet are still alive) and souls may begin to seek to evolve to higher states of consciousness or they may reincarnate in an effort to help their evolution. I suspect that psychopaths have chosen to reincarnate, but then lapse into their old habits; sometimes with a vengeance.

"Psychopaths may have been beaten as kids, but that in many cases was likely the result of their behaving in a psychopathic fashion then."

Exactly.

That or they are lying about being beaten.

"I think it's simply because we don't *want* to believe that people are born morally broken."

What if we extend the idea that psychopaths are not evil because they have some altered neural wiring to all behavior? I had already raised this but no one had commented.

Eric said:

"IMO, ^we^ are creating the conditions of the afterlife. We build it with our thoughts and emotions. The more realms are built in the next world the more likely it is for more people to experience them. Not because they read about it in a book and developed expectations, but because it is out there and it is influencing us. Like a magnet."

So if I have an NDE and find myself immersed in the most profound love I've ever known (which is the typical response), I shouldn't trust what I'm feeling, because I may be visiting someone *else's* realm? Or an *illusory* one? Or both?

Either way—what a pessimistic, convoluted, conclusion.

Many of us have a different perspective, a simpler one: love is real.

I have a different, though not original, perspective on the intense love experienced in many NDEs. I believe NDE researcher Kenneth Ring suggested this idea. The Being of Light in many NDEs is not God but our own higher self. This self has infinite compassion for us, just as we might feel if we could encounter ourselves in the form of a scared, confused child. This higher self also offers total acceptance – and why not, since we are part of it?

The people who don't enter the light and meet the Being or feel the love may simply not be ready for a reunion with their higher self. They need to go to a period of purging their negative behaviors and "bad vibes." Hence their sojourn in "purgatory," a.k.a. the lower astral planes. They are never forgotten, though, because the higher self is always there waiting for them.

@juan perhaps the answer is that a person is accountable for the decisions that are able to make. The difficulty is perhaps assessing the extent to which that's true. Even then, one has to consider the danger to the wider population presented by people who are unable to control their own behaviour to the extent that they are a threat to other people.

In that sense I'm not sure that the ultimate outcome will differ much whether the person has neurological differences or not, depending on the extent to which they can be helped to control of their own behaviour.

Michael said:

"I believe NDE researcher Kenneth Ring suggested this idea. The Being of Light in many NDEs is not God but our own higher self."

I basically agree with you. But I've pretty much given up trying to define the Being of Light in precise terms. Because while it is, in fact, our higher self, our *highest* self (as I see it) is God. So where to draw the line? I'm not sure.

Bruce,

Thanks for that NDE link. I read it and it's really a good one.

By the way, I have talked about it on this blog before, but I have experienced on two occasions the transcendental love described in NDEs, including the one Bruce posted. It really is this incredible, almost unbearable feeling. One the first occasion, it *was* from my Higher Self. On the second occasion, it was from a different incarnation of "me" in my soul family (according to the interpretation I have formed). And this is in accord with Michael's last comment as well.

I don't think Eric is totally wrong, however, and it is in accord with what Bruce Moen talks about on his http://www.afterlife-knowledge.com/ site, which I read a long time before I found this blog. He talks about "foci" and the influence humans have on the Afterlife realms. I don't think anything in particular in this perspective goes against what Bruce and Michael have said here.

Juan wrote,

||What if we extend the idea that psychopaths are not evil because they have some altered neural wiring to all behavior? I had already raised this but no one had commented.||

Do you mean that psychopaths are not to *blame* for their behavior because of their different neural wiring? I think this is in some sense true.

I think this is true on some level for all of us and all of our behaviors. Nevertheless, simply because someone is not to blame for their evil doesn't mean that they are not evil.

Please let me know if I am missing anything about your comment. Thanks!

"What if we extend the idea that psychopaths are not evil because they have some altered neural wiring to all behavior? I had already raised this but no one had commented.:

That's a materialist perspective. A spiritual perspective might be that the soul is bad and that makes certain aspects of the "wiring" atrophy.

"So if I have an NDE and find myself immersed in the most profound love I've ever known (which is the typical response), I shouldn't trust what I'm feeling, because I may be visiting someone *else's* realm? Or an *illusory* one? Or both?"

A junkie thinks that the dope is all there is because it feels so good.

Bruce writes: "I've pretty much given up trying to define the Being of Light in precise terms. Because while it is, in fact, our higher self, our *highest* self (as I see it) is God. So where to draw the line? I'm not sure."

My sentiments exactly! 'God' is the highest/finest energy potential we can achieve. Where does the drop of water end and the ocean begin? And who is the 'I' that counsels us in our quiet moments?

"Do you mean that psychopaths are not to *blame* for their behavior because of their different neural wiring? I think this is in some sense true.

I think this is true on some level for all of us and all of our behaviors. Nevertheless, simply because someone is not to blame for their evil doesn't mean that they are not evil."

That is what I meant. But if we can not be blamed for our behavior, then we are not good or evil, because being good or evil implies being responsible or blameable. This idea is materialistic, since it stops considering human beings as moral agents: there are only beneficial or harmful actions, but not morally good or evil.

The non-materialistic option is that certain people have issues that prevent them from being controlled, whereas most people can control themselves and can be blamed. The problem is what is the neurological basis of that control, that is, the neural bases of free will.

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