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Michael,
Good observation on the default position, based on reports from NDEs, ADCs, etc, being fairly benign over all.

A few thoughts....

IMO, we are a microcosm of the universe/reality. Whatever we contain, as individuals and, collectively as a species, mirrors what the *knowable* universe contains.

There may very well be a reality beyond what is knowable to humans, but we can't talk about it because...well....we can't know about it. Imagine a radio that can pick up stations within the bandwidth it is designed to be attuned to. There are bandwidths beyond what the tuner can be set to. However, you will never hear those stations. In fact, their existence is pure speculation.

I'm not just talking about the brain as filter/receiver, but also to what is perceptually possible beyond the physical brain - i.e. what spectrum of reality available to the human spirit/aura/consciousness when disembodied.

It is a lock and key type relationship between human awareness and reality. Or, to use your model, the information processor can only read certain types of files; not all files that are out there.

Therefore, there is nothing out there - that we can perceive - that isn't already in us and vice versa.

What is in us? Well, we see that every day. Indeed, good, bad, ugly, beautiful, triumphant, capricious, tragic.....the myths of the ages have been laying it all out since the first the first story was written.

Of course mostly the myths deal with reality as experienced by flesh and blood humans. However, the religions and spiritual traditions attempt to address what can be known about reality beyond flesh and blood. Jesus talks about it. The Tibetan Book of the Dead attempts to address this directly. The Hindu religion has some great personifications of the forces that are within us and the world. There are many others.

Most people in western society - from which almost all the NDE accounts, etc come from - are basically striving to be nice people. They are trained to be polite, social and rather mundane in their conformity to basic Christian ethics. In their lives they seek comfort. Sure, somewhere inside they feel negative forces and desires, but they are good at suppressing those for the most part. So they are attuned to a rather Summerland type existence. No surprise that that is what they get post mortem! That's their vibe. Lock and key.

Some of the best evidence that the NDE experience that we always read about is culturally determined comes from the voodoo religions and cults. Much paranormal happens in those societies. They describe an afterlife that is far darker than what we have in the west. IMO, voodoo/voodun is a must study that is deliberately overlooked because it is disturbing to the western mind.

Now, pet peeve time... if one takes LSD one is NOT going to see Homer Simpson. One might be compelled to contemplate the archetype of Homer (for what reason I can't imagine) and one might get so into that contemplation that one begins to have a conversation (mentally) with the archetype, but if someone is seeing Homer and thinks he's real, that is not a result of LSD. LSD and psilocybin are less neurotoxic than orange juice. That's a scientific fact. Visions of Homer Simpson and dead brain cells are the figments of Hollywood's and the media's imagination.

Life is supposed to be hard, frustrating, and challenging. It is through life's difficulties that the soul learns the things it came here to learn. It simply learns here the things it can't learn in heaven and it has to do with the difference between the physics of where we are now versus the physics of the place we call heaven. The more emotion our experiences the more we remember them. Our lessons here have to generate enough emotion in order to overcome those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness and lack of time and space in heaven. We use what we learn here to "create" and understand the heaven that we find ourself in after we cross over. It's as simple as that.

I don't know about LSD, but a couple of people who took salvia reported meeting Homer Simpson or visiting Springfield, the Simpsons'' hometown. That's what made me think of Homer.

I seem to recall reading that during NDEs that contain both good and bad elements, the bad always comes first, can anybody confirm this?

Well written Michael, well written. Thanks for the example of an NDE of Julian of Norwich in 1373. - AOD

I think Julian's insight was more of a "cosmic consciousness" episode than an NDE. There were a few apparent medieval NDEs, but as you would expect, they were very rare, since resuscitation techniques were primitive at best.

https://www.near-death.com/experiences/medieval.html

I live in Springfield but I haven't met Homer Simpson yet although I do know a few of his clones. - AOD

Just to clarify from the last thread, although my salvia trip was positive and gave me insight, I do NOT recommend that most people try it. It is a potent drug and much could go wrong.

I think it worked for me because I have been on the spiritual path for a long time but had reached a sort of stall-pattern or plateau in my development. Salvia helped me get past that, but it is entirely possible that it could have backfired, or that I could have found help with a safer method.

Really great post. I'm largely in agreement.

Another odd example of what people see on a particular drug: read some of the accounts about datura, especially the bad ones.

https://www.erowid.org/experiences/subs/exp_Datura_Bad_Trips.shtml

People will trip for more than 24 hours, truly hallucinate in ways that seem almost paranormal in their own right (have long conversations with people who disappear, etc.). But the weird detail is that people, even nonsmokers, regularly see cigarettes appear and disappear in their hands. Are cigs some type of archetype that the drug just happens to cause to be experienced? How is that even possible? But there it is.

Two points about trips and experiences, good and bad, that do not seem substantial or real. The first is the concept of thoughtforms. What we see in dreams isn't real--but why? Well, the New Age explanation (that I think is correct) is that when we dream, we are having an OBE in the Astral Plane, where our thoughts easily become manifest to our senses. I think this is going to be true of a lot of drug trips as well: they could blur the boundaries in our brains (the reducing valve) between 3D and 4D, causing us to mix perceptions of the Astral with this world.

Another point is this: I think that, just as there is background radiation in the Universe, there is also background consciousness. Free entelechies, as it were, not bound to any particular thought system. I think that, if we again fiddle with the reducing valve, we can cause these entelechies to fit different scenarios, much in the same way that functional entities are formed in some seances. Or messing with an Ouija board could do the same thing.

I would further propose that background consciousness exists up until the 4th dimension and is purged or at least made more orderly in the higher dimensions.

I also have a pretty good argument that there is no such thing as an evil higher-dimensional being, e.g., a Satan or anything similar. If there were such beings, they would be extremely powerful and by definition would have malicious intentions to us, but we don't actually experience such effects. If one argues that we do, then I would counter: What prevents them from simply destroying reality as we know it? We would have to posit some other force, such as God, that lets Satan do evil in an amount that is "just so." Islam seem comfortable with this approach, but I don't think it is philosophically tenable.

Put simply, the fact that we are in a reality that is friendly *at all* already says a lot about reality. I think the amount of good and evil in the world is highly compatible with materialism: we are just stuck on a ball in space and things are as good and bad as nature and we allow. The problem with materialism is all the phenomena it doesn't explain. If we grant a spiritual reality, then we also need to answer why reality is not destroyed by malevolent beings. The intuitive conclusion is that malevolent beings, insofar as they exist, do not have the power to destroy reality.

We might also ask ourselves why we find NDEs, mediumship, and other controversial areas of research persuasive. I think for most of us, the answer is that the results obtained follow patterns that are reasonably consistent and predictable.

Consistency is a reason, but I do not think it has to be the most relevant reason; I believe that the most important reason to be convinced by these phenomena is the verification of data, that is, in the case of the NDEs, obtain information that could not be acquired by the known senses or by luck, in the case of the mediumship, present information unknown to those present (in addition to personality and motivations), etc.

Besides, I would continue to restrict myself to empirical research about an afterlife, because if this field is already consumed and we have to go on to discuss other things such as the simulation hypothesis, why has not the afterlife hypothesis become scientific? Why is not it widespread? In fact the ideas of this blog are minority, because out there most people still suppose that death implies annihilation and ignores the psychic evidence, which bothers me.

I also have a pretty good argument that there is no such thing as an evil higher-dimensional being, e.g., a Satan or anything similar. If there were such beings, they would be extremely powerful and by definition would have malicious intentions to us, but we don't actually experience such effects.

But it is possible that these beings have been counteracted by other similar but opposite beings, that is, angels, and our reality is the result of that conflict. Although this is getting out of the empirical of course.

Matt, "I would further propose that background consciousness exists up until the 4th dimension and is purged or at least made more orderly in the higher dimensions.

I also have a pretty good argument that there is no such thing as an evil higher-dimensional being, e.g., a Satan or anything similar. If there were such beings, they would be extremely powerful and by definition would have malicious intentions to us, but we don't actually experience such effects..."

I basically agree, Matt; albeit with a nuance. I think that "satan" is in the "background noise" and lower level intelligences, forces, etc. We call it "evil" because it is what keeps us from attaining the 4th dimension reality that you speak of. We intuitively recognize what it does to the focus of our awareness. It is energy that will never survive at the higher levels.

Datura is a true hallucinogen. Actually, it is a delirium. It induces full blown dream-like experiences (often more nightmare-like). It is an extremely dangerous plant to mess with and not a small number of careless explorers have died the first time they attempted to use it. Maybe Salvia D. leans in that direction too. Dunno.

Good points about thought forms and the reducing valve, OBEs, etc. I think that is essentially correct.

I really believe that western people greatly underestimate the impact of Christian ideology on the very core of their being - whether or not they are a professed or practicing christian. The focus on love, forgiveness, kindness, charity, etc focusses the mind on aspects of higher consciousness. Other cultures with other ideologies not so much. I think that focus greatly shapes the NDEs and related phenomena and then we take for granted that the true objective nature of the next level is being revealed to us through accounts. Rather, I think what is being revealed is a potential of the next level if one has a basically Christian outlook. It's like the next level has lots available in a nice neighborhood. We are then the architects of the mansions that Jesus spoke of.

However, there are also lots available in not so nice neighborhoods.

Matt,
I read your Erowid links to Datura experiences. Terrible and so dangerous that irresponsible young people are just taking this stuff to get F'ed up.

Natives who use Datura essentially do so to induce a state of mind that is like lucid dreaming. They know what the effects will be and are prepared. They have specific questions in mind that they want answered when they ingest the drug. In that strange state that characterizes lucid dreaming, where thought forms mingle with extra-dimensional reality, the natives are able to obtain knowledge of real events, people, places and things that they could not via ordinary senses. OBEs are a lot like that too; a bunch of "noise" combined with real perception of far away happenings or even happenings in the past or future. You have to know what you are doing to make this work right. Anyhow, the natives' use confirms what you said about how it all works.


Michael, a very good exposition of the positive, optimist view. For myself, unfortunately, I still have doubts and suspicions that the cosmic system of love and light reported by most NDEers is not the true reality. I have long had these suspicions, mainly due to some very early very negative OBE-like experiences.

Michael: "The terrifying visions brought on by psychogenic drugs may reflect a malfunction of the brain, a flood of subconscious imagery, or (if we insist that users are encountering another plane of reality) temporary access to some low-level spiritual realm – precisely the sort of murky, menacing region that the uninitiated are warned to avoid."

But, why should Salvia just happen to induce the particular kinds of experiences you gave examples of in your last post, almost calculated to appeal to and fit in with the beliefs of those who suspect that reality is a sort of vast conspiracy and is ultimately very hostile, whereas just the other kinds of brain traumas caused by cardiac arrest and other conditions and injuries produce true experiences of a good ultimate reality?

How are we to know what is the true ultimate reality? All these experiences, the true (positive) NDEs and the "cosmic consciousness" experiences, and the drug-induced experiences and "hellish" NDEs, are cases of profoundly altered consciousness but with very different causative mechanisms. Mostly, we go with the love and light version, the apparent ultimate reality that is brought back by the great majority of NDEers, because it makes us feel good and we therefore much prefer it. But why should just one class of altered consciousness (positive NDEs and "cosmic consciousness" experiences), be glimpses of the true reality, while experiences with Salvia and DMT and magic mushrooms, hellish NDEs, etc. are all false and hallucinatory?

This is to believe that the negative stuff is all just due to particular drugs messing up neural processing in very particular ways, perhaps uncovering particular kinds of deep subconscious paranoid tendencies. That would seem kind of convenient, a rather contrived hypothesis.

Actually, the realms of the possible (given our very limited knowledge) includes the one that actually, the Salvia entities are "behind the curtain" even in NDEs. Our reality is seen to be a fake scenario created by certain beings for their own purposes. We are here for those purposes not our own.

Or it is possible that the explanation is along the lines that there are many different other realities, and which one is reached depends on the particular form of brain impairment during OBE. That is, the brain is just being messed with in different ways in these different types of experiences. The way it is adversely affected in cardiac arrest and other traumatic "natural" events isn't the only way brain function can be degraded. The brain, in enabling the spirit to manifest in the physical, acts as a "filter" to exclude all these other "frequencies". In these experiences of other realities the brain is just "tuning into" utterly different, alien, not normally accessed channels (and thereby becoming vulnerable to alien, hostile beings). Just an undoubtedly oversimplified analogy for what might really be going on.

I think I would prefer this to the notion that the Salvia universe is the only "ultimately real" reality.

I guess best of all (if you can do it) is to dismiss all this other negative stuff as illusory and the true reality is the love and light reported by most NDEers. At least, the reality of NDEs is bolstered by the existence of a large body of empirical evidence from the veridical features in many NDE accounts (as documented , for instance, in Titus Rivas's The Self Does Not Die). I don't think there is anything comparable for the hallucinatory drug experiences. I think I will go with the NDEer view of reality for now, while unfortunately having to maintain a certain level of doubt or cognitive dissonance in the background.

Matt Rouge: "If we grant a spiritual reality, then we also need to answer why reality is not destroyed by malevolent beings. The intuitive conclusion is that malevolent beings, insofar as they exist, do not have the power to destroy reality."

I think the converse of this may then also be true:
If we grant a spiritual reality, then we also need to answer why reality has so much evil and suffering. The intuitive conclusion is that good beings, insofar as they exist and where good is defined as in relation to human beings, do not have the power to create a better reality.

Maybe the malevolent beings are actually quite happy with our present system.

Another, related possibility: reality is the result of a vastly complex design tradeoff study, attempting to balance human free will, creativity, breadth of experience, and the accompanying inevitable potential for suffering and evil.

Juan: "Consistency is a reason, but I do not think it has to be the most relevant reason; I believe that the most important reason to be convinced by these phenomena is the verification of data, that is, in the case of the NDEs, obtain information that could not be acquired by the known senses or by luck, in the case of the mediumship, present information unknown to those present (in addition to personality and motivations), etc."

Very good point. It's true that the factors you mention are highly evidential and, as far as I know, don’t apply to psychogenic drug experiments. Another factor is the limited brain function of many NDErs at the time of their veridical observations; often, the patients are unresponsive, even comatose, and according to conventional neuroscience they should not be able to observe anything around them or remember it later.

As for your other point, I don't think any amount of empirical evidence will convince materialists, so what purpose is served by rehashing the same data and arguments over and over? It seems like an exercise in futility to me.

Michael, "Very good point. It's true that the factors you mention are highly evidential and, as far as I know, don’t apply to psychogenic drug experiments"

With respect, that is just not true. Natives use magic mushrooms precisely because under the influence of the mushroom they are able to obtain veridical information about distant, past, present, etc events. They make this clear in their statements. Westerners who have been introduced to these mushrooms have come away also stating that there is a real psi enabling component to the. I can attest to that personally. The mushrooms especially are very well know for inducing knowledge of future events.

Being familiar with both NDE evidence and mushroom = psi evidence, I have no problem stating that the evidence for mushroom induced psi is vastly greater than for that of NDEs.

The question of evil and suffering is an interesting one. I’d say a lot of it is clearly ‘cause and effect’ as a result of decisions made or not made by ourselves, or because of ignorance or the malevolent acts or omissions of others. Sometimes perhaps acts or omissions made a long while ago.

Your Julian of Norwich quotation seems to sum it up for me.

It's worth quoting the whole passage in which it appears, because this part of Julian's NDE deals with the perennial problem of how evil and suffering can exist in a fundamentally benevolent cosmos:

<< In my folly, before this time I often wondered why, by the great foreseeing wisdom of God, the onset of sin was not prevented: for then, I thought, all should have been well. This impulse [of thought] was much to be avoided, but nevertheless I mourned and sorrowed because of it, without reason and discretion.

But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that is needed by me, answered with these words and said: ‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.'

These words were said most tenderly, showing no manner of blame to me nor to any who shall be saved.>>

It seems that it's NECESSARY that there is sin!

It's important to realise that the word 'sin' in the earliest Christian texts (a word which has taken on certain connotations under Christian Orthodoxy), is a translation of the Greek word 'hamartia' - a term from archery which means 'missing the mark'.

IOW, to 'sin' is to miss the target, to fail to live up to one's potential. This 'failure to maximise potential' appears over and over again in Jesus' teachings (the Parable of the Talents, for example) and in the light of our quantum understanding of the universe - nothing exists except in potentia unless these probability-functions interact with consciousness - seems to have a contemporary relevance.

Indeed, this seems all of a piece with the "Big TOE" (Theory Of Everything) books of physicist Tom Campbell, in which the author concludes that the meaning of existence is to 'minimise entropy', a goal which Campbell equates to maximising Love. We are here to try to hit this very particular target!

PS

Another famous NDE which reflects the underlying benevolence of All-That-Is, is the mystical experience of Maurice Bucke:

<< Among other things, I did not come to 'believe', but SAW and KNEW that the Cosmos is not dead matter but a living Presence, that the soul of man is immortal, that the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all, that the foundation principle of the world is what we call LOVE and that the happiness of every one is in the long run absolutely certain.>>

PPS

The work of Quantitative Psychologist Professor Don Hoffman has significant similarities to Tom Campbell's theories, a fact which is acknowledged on Hoffman's Wikipedia page:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_D._Hoffman

This was of great interest to me, and Hoffman's YouTube videos are well worth watching.

Overall, yes, I think we exist in a basically friendly reality.

I've been watching some interesting NDEs recently, with people stating that they went to Hell. They all describe Hell in a very similar way, and are very clear that what they experienced was "very real." The interesting thing is that, as with Hellish NDEs I've read, they were all given a "second chance." I haven't yet come across a Hellish NDE in which the person was told that even though they can go back and live again, it's permanent that they will wind up in Hell once they die. It reminds me of Jesus curing people, and then admonishing them to "sin no more." God - or the Universe for some - is benevolent and seems to be willing to giving second chances.

Juan wrote:

||But it is possible that these beings have been counteracted by other similar but opposite beings, that is, angels, and our reality is the result of that conflict. Although this is getting out of the empirical of course.||

I anticipated this point in my comment above:

"What prevents them from simply destroying reality as we know it? We would have to posit some other force, such as God, that lets Satan do evil in an amount that is 'just so.'"

I think it would be a situation like WWII: the Allies were victorious in the end, but the Axis did a lot of damage, and sometimes seemed on the verge of victory, at certain points. If the angels were to win completely, then there would be no higher-dimension evil beings, at least not active ones. If the angels won at times but lost at others, then at times the devils would have free reign. And I don't think it would be the stereotype of the devil whispering temptations in one's ear. They would directly destroy as much as they could.

Eric wrote,

||I think that "satan" is in the "background noise" and lower level intelligences, forces, etc. We call it "evil" because it is what keeps us from attaining the 4th dimension reality that you speak of. We intuitively recognize what it does to the focus of our awareness. It is energy that will never survive at the higher levels.||

Right. I'm not sure that there are actual stable lower-level intelligences, however. I think it may be a lot like static electricity: negativity sticks to one's own intelligence and can highjack it if we let our guard down. Sometimes, as with the Nazis, the dark energy can maintain flow through a system for quite some time. It's not a mastermind, however, and is not internally resonant; i.e., it's self-destructive. So it's difficult for pure evil to persist or dominate for any length of time. OTOH, it's always there in the background. I think there is good background energy as well. In this sense, I think Lucas's vision of the Force was quite on target.

||I really believe that western people greatly underestimate the impact of Christian ideology on the very core of their being - whether or not they are a professed or practicing christian. The focus on love, forgiveness, kindness, charity, etc focusses the mind on aspects of higher consciousness. Other cultures with other ideologies not so much. I think that focus greatly shapes the NDEs and related phenomena and then we take for granted that the true objective nature of the next level is being revealed to us through accounts. Rather, I think what is being revealed is a potential of the next level if one has a basically Christian outlook. It's like the next level has lots available in a nice neighborhood. We are then the architects of the mansions that Jesus spoke of.||

Yet, the interesting and unexplained thing is why Christians really don't have "Christian" NDEs: i.e., Jesus in the flesh with Saints Peter and Paul walking around, etc. Sure, sometimes a being of light is identified as Jesus, etc. I don't think you're wrong, however, and it's an example of how Christianity has genuinely raised the spiritual level of the planet. Atheists simply take the good things for granted and argue for them as if they were a priori truths (they may be a priori true, but it still took Christianity to bring them to our attention).

||However, there are also lots available in not so nice neighborhoods.||

Maybe, but the question still to be answered is why malevolence, wherever it exists, cannot control and harm all, which is surely its intention, no?

doubterdoubter (the same as "doubter"?) wrote,

||How are we to know what is the true ultimate reality?||

There are things that collectively point in a fairly consistent direction, though I will readily admit that it's all a bit of a mess. There really seems no escape from the mess, however. Materialism, which cleanly denies everything, ends up denying phenomena that require an explanation. Addressing the phenomena requires us to deal with apparent contradictions and inconsistencies.

||Mostly, we go with the love and light version, the apparent ultimate reality that is brought back by the great majority of NDEers, because it makes us feel good and we therefore much prefer it. But why should just one class of altered consciousness (positive NDEs and "cosmic consciousness" experiences), be glimpses of the true reality, while experiences with Salvia and DMT and magic mushrooms, hellish NDEs, etc. are all false and hallucinatory?||

For one thing, NDErs very consistently say that they were experiencing reality and not a dream. That is a point that is also forgotten.

Second, some trippers also claim that they have experienced reality. From what I have read, many who have tried DMT do so. I do not assume that what people have experienced in drug trips is merely false and hallucinatory. Similarly, I have had many dreams that I don't consider to be "mere dreams." In fact, dreams are OBEs; they are "real" in some sense.

I think that "real" tends to connote "reality that sticks." If I do something bad in a dream, there are no consequences later. "Whew, it was just a dream!" The same is true of drug trips: at the very least, we typically can't access that exact same reality again. (There are exceptions, as in recurring dreams.)

It may be that, say, a negative Salvia trip can be a profound peering into *some* aspect of Reality but nevertheless isn't a "reality that sticks," something that we must continue to deal with outside of making sense of our memories of it.

It may also be true that, when we die, we go to a positive "reality that sticks." I think a good reason to believe this is that NDEs, ADCs, channeled material, etc., is fairly consistent. It would have no reason to be if it were not based on *something.* (Could that something be a shared myth or set of thoughtforms that don't end up actually "happening" to us when we die? I can't entirely rule that out either.)

doubter wrote,

||I think the converse of this may then also be true:
If we grant a spiritual reality, then we also need to answer why reality has so much evil and suffering. The intuitive conclusion is that good beings, insofar as they exist and where good is defined as in relation to human beings, do not have the power to create a better reality.||

We *do* need to answer this. I think the argument from evil (God is either unable or unwilling to prevent evil) is a conclusive argument against the "God" posited by Western Civilization. I don't believe in that type of God.

My explanation, which I think fits the data (NDEs, ADCs, channeled material, etc.), is that consciousness is an emergent property of a priori reality (that which would be true in all possible universes, such as principles of math and logic). I.e., the Universe built consciousness so that consciousness could build the Universe (at least the a posteriori aspects).

Thus, if there is a Biblical God who is all-good, it really doesn't make sense that evil could exist at all. But if spirit is emergent from an imperfect Universe, then it does make sense that evil exists.

Further, one aspect of higher beings is that they are extremely respectful of the autonomy of others. It would *not* be in their nature to simply eradicate all evil on earth, though they do help people who ask for it improve and do good things.

That's my take on these very complicated matters.

As for your other point, I don't think any amount of empirical evidence will convince materialists, so what purpose is served by rehashing the same data and arguments over and over? It seems like an exercise in futility to me.

New lab or field investigations could be presented.

Being familiar with both NDE evidence and mushroom = psi evidence, I have no problem stating that the evidence for mushroom induced psi is vastly greater than for that of NDEs.

It is true, but there is something that mushroom experiences can never achieve but some NDEs achieve: present orderly experiences while the neural activity is falling apart, that is, point out that conscious activity can continue after cessation of neural activity.


Probably many of you have seen this before.

"A Chinese farmer gets a horse, which soon runs away. A neighbor says, "That's bad news." The farmer replies, "Good news, bad news, who can say?" The horse comes back and brings another horse with him. Good news, you might say. The farmer gives the second horse to his son, who rides it, then is thrown and badly breaks his leg. "So sorry for your bad news," says the concerned neighbor. "Good news, bad news, who can say?" the farmer replies. In a week or so, the emperor's men come and take every able-bodied young man to fight in a war. The farmer's son is spared.

Good news, of course."

-AOD

"Good' and 'bad' are like 'beauty'. They exist in the eye of the beholder. - AOD

Matt,
"I'm not sure that there are actual stable lower-level intelligences, however. I think it may be a lot like static electricity: negativity sticks to one's own intelligence and can highjack it if we let our guard down."

Sure. I agree. However, I think that is true of positive forces too. It just helps to give things a name and a face so people can talk about it and start to get a handle on it.

That said, forces like the "seven deadly sins" have consistently appeared in human mythology since the beginning of time. People seem to have been going awry in the same ways for the same reasons, forever. So that is stable. The forces that drive the descent into evil have persisted essentially unchanged.

I also think Lucas got it basically correct with "The Force". It is a great modern mythology.

"Maybe, but the question still to be answered is why malevolence, wherever it exists, cannot control and harm all, which is surely its intention, no? "

Well, I think that malevolence DOES harm all. Just that in most cases, the harm is kind of small. Obviously, Hitler is someone who was taken over by malevolent vibes in ways that are easily and unavoidably recognized. Your every day Joe or Jane isn't killing millions of people in a megalomaniacal rage fit, but they have their little bouts of darkness as well that impact those immediately surrounding them from time to time. Other times, it is more malevolence by omission; could have done better, but didn't. No one is without sin. ADCs and NDEs make it pretty clear that these sins are recognized and that forgiveness is possible. There are many NDEs where the experiencer meets the being of light, has a life review and convo with the being and comes back to life strongly feeling the need to do better; even though they weren't really terrible people before the NDE.

Re; Magic mushrooms and psi....

In his introduction in his book "Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World" author Paul Stamets describes his first magic mushroom experience. He learned that several species naturally occurred in his area (the Pacific Northwest), Stamets would go on to become one of the foremost experts in the field of psilocybin mushroom mycology.

Stamets and some friends found a mushroom patch and consumed a fairly large dose each later that evening. Toward the end of the trip, Stamets laid down and closed his eyes and a vision of a terrible flood with dead cows in the turbulence. He "knew" that his cabin in the mountains, where he kept his PhD papers (this was before PCs and the internet) was in jeopardy. The next morning he raced up to the cabin and captured his papers. Then there was a massive rain storm that resulted in serious flooding. He took an alternative route home, but passed by the road juncture that the usual route branched off from. There were dead cows (killed by the flood) everywhere.

This is very typical of what people who have used magic mushrooms get in terms of psi. If one understands the potential exists, one can zero in even better by asking questions while bemushroomed.

FDR Lincoln, "I think it worked for me because I have been on the spiritual path for a long time but had reached a sort of stall-pattern or plateau in my development. Salvia helped me get past that, but it is entirely possible that it could have backfired"

Right! If you read Erowid or similar venues, you see that the accounts are almost 100% from stupid kids in high school. They're always talking about their mom's basement, etc. A lot of these kids appear to have anti-social tendencies. They're just popping anything they can into their systems to get F'ed up. A terrible sample from which to draw conclusions.

These people could give anything a bad name and have their tales result in a skewed perspective on any topic. In short, they're complete idiots.

It would be like some morons watching a youtube about the 82 Airborne parachutes into battle and then deciding to stuff some sheets into a backpack with strings holding it all together and jumping off a cliff...because....it will be great kicks!...what could go wrong?

Then they tell their sad tale from the ICU and the listener concludes that parachuting is a stupid worthless activity fraught with danger. And then using the morons' descriptions as exemplary of what it is like to make a parachute jump.

Millions of mature sensible people have used psychedelics responsibly and benefitted greatly from them. There is all kinds of literature out there about that. Like parachuting, one should be prepared with training before entering into the experience. No doubt about it. That is true, however, of many practices that we rarely think twice about, like driving a car, that can be extremely dangerous and that idiots manage to screw up on a regular basis.

Too often, when we have a personal bias against something, it is all too easy to dismiss it by citing the experience with it of the far left side of the bell curve.

here is an interesting article on very positive LSD effects in a recent scientific study:

https://wondergressive.com/lsd-positive-results/

Matt Rouge: "My explanation, which I think fits the data (NDEs, ADCs, channeled material, etc.), is that consciousness is an emergent property of a priori reality (that which would be true in all possible universes, such as principles of math and logic)."

But there still needs to be an answer to the question, "Why is there Something not (absolutely) Nothing?" An a priori existence out of which Intelligence and Consciousness emerged inevitably entails an a priori existence (a background ultimate reality) with its own extremely complex set of laws and principles (for instance the basic laws of logic), with an entire meta-system of physics which govern it. The only source we know of such highly organized systems is intelligence and consciousness. So we are back to where we started, there still seems to be a logical need for a self-existent Creator outside our reality, at whose door the good versus evil buck would stop.

Juan wrote, "New lab or field investigations could be presented."

I don't see much point in presenting more studies. If something really new comes up - a true game-changer - then it would clearly be worth discussing. Otherwise, it's just old wine in new bottles. After publishing hundreds of posts on empirical evidence, I don't have a personal interest in pursuing it further. Anything gets boring after a while.

However, there's no reason that someone else can't start a blog that focuses on this kind of evidence. Or feel free to submit posts to this blog. I'd be happy to have more contributors.

Regarding mushrooms, I doubt that the activation of psi talents tells us much about postmortem survival. It seems that almost any alteration of the normal state of consciousness can trigger psi. Hypnosis, sensory deprivation, and even daydreaming and drowsiness can all be conducive to psi.

I think drug experimentation is generally ill-advised, partly because of the medical, legal, and psychological risks, and partly because (like the Ouija board) it may open the door to dark regions best left unexplored. On the other hand, people who have tried a lot of drugs are often inclined to invest their experiences with deep meaning. I don't know to what extent I can trust their judgment; people who've had ecstatic experiences typically find them life-changing and profound, yet the actual content of these experiences (when it can be communicated) often seems nonsensical or contradictory to outsiders.

Michael, "Regarding mushrooms, I doubt that the activation of psi talents tells us much about postmortem survival"

I agree. It doesn't beyond suggesting that if psi is real then we are more than biological robots and that the possibility of post mortem survival becomes more plausible. Also, difficult to communicate to anyone who hasn't been there, is the experience of shifting the dial on the receiver while fully awake and with all senses hyper activated. It usually results in the experiencer recognizing that he/she has been living in an arbitrary fiat reality . Furthermore, when one feels one's essential core energies, as psychedelics tend to bring out, one realizes who one really is. This opens the door for positive change and for celebration of one's self.

"....and partly because (like the Ouija board) it may open the door to dark regions best left unexplored"

There is some truth to this statement for sure. Referring back to my first comment on this thread, I think that the dragons and demons that you can perceive are both out there and within you (that's why you can perceive them - the lock and key relationship exists). Overcoming these dark forces usually leads to spiritual growth and wisdom. The danger is in succumbing to them out of fear, ignorance, carelessness or because you find them attractive in some way. Anyone who goes into the dragon's layer unprepared is a fool.

Some people have a need to explore uncharted territory (where dragons/monsters/demons/darkness may live) and most people are perfectly happy to not do so personally. Those that do accept the risks and those that don't, don't. It takes all types.

Michael Prescott said, "I don't see much point in presenting more studies. If something really new comes up - a true game-changer - then it would clearly be worth discussing. Otherwise, it's just old wine in new bottles."

Absolutely Michael. There is such an abundance of information (hundreds of accounts) out there already, including information from various sources. e.g., mediums, psychics, NDEs, OBEs, reports of apparitions, cases of possession, spontaneous recall of past lives in children , 'automatic' writing etc. that another 100 well-documented cases or a million similar cases would not convince a die-hard materialist or atheist of alternate realities.

What I would like to see now is a spirit who was able to type on a computer, a la "Sam" in the movie "Ghost". If any one of my many deceased family members would do that, then I have to say I would be 100% convinced. For now, I am about 98% convinced. - AOD

doubter wrote,

||But there still needs to be an answer to the question, "Why is there Something not (absolutely) Nothing?"||

There is of necessity something a priori, right? No one can create or uncreate 1 + 1 = 2. It's true in all possible universes. It would be true if there were no space or matter. The "God" posited by Western religion did not make it so and could not make it not so. (This seems to me to be a sufficient argument against such monotheism: God is of necessity subordinate to these truths.)

||An a priori existence out of which Intelligence and Consciousness emerged inevitably entails an a priori existence (a background ultimate reality) with its own extremely complex set of laws and principles (for instance the basic laws of logic), with an entire meta-system of physics which govern it.||

I'm not entirely sure I know what you mean, but a priori reality is true without any need to create it, sustain it, etc.

||The only source we know of such highly organized systems is intelligence and consciousness. So we are back to where we started, there still seems to be a logical need for a self-existent Creator outside our reality, at whose door the good versus evil buck would stop.||

And I don't think this makes sense either. Also, I'm not sure to what degree intelligent creation is necessary to produce a posteriori reality. Clearly some creation is necessary (I am required to write the words I am now writing), but some of it may be emergent as well. How things like matter, qualia, etc., arise at all is indeed a mystery.

Eric: I used salvia for a specific spiritual purpose, which I think made a big difference for my outcome compared to the typical internet report or teenage doofus experimenter.

That said, I still wouldn't recommended it for most people.

I've never tried LSD. I tried mushrooms but they merely relaxed me.

\\"He took an alternative route home, but passed by the road juncture that the usual route branched off from. There were dead cows (killed by the flood) everywhere." - Eric//
-----------------

If a person can see the future while under the influence of "magic mushrooms" doesn't that mean the future is set and predetermined and that free will is an illusion?

And people wonder why I believe in fate and predestination? - Art

Eric Newhill: have you read Pratchett and Gaiman's "Good Omens"? The demon protagonist Crowley is looked down on by his fellow demons, who follow high-ranking clergy and slowly implant sin in their hearts over decades until they become complete monsters, while Crowley prefers to cause thousands of tiny sins in thousands of people at once; he sows wrath across the whole of London by breaking the phone network, so thousands of people are angry and take it out on other people, who then take it out on OTHER people, and so on. It may be his excuse because he's actually pretty nice for a demon and may not really want anyone to go to Hell, though, but it's up to interpretation.

Why would malicious beings want to *destroy* everything, rather than leave it existing but suffering? Seems to me like they're achieving the latter fine.

Art wrote, "If a person can see the future while under the influence of "magic mushrooms" doesn't that mean the future is set and predetermined and that free will is an illusion?"

Not necessarily. It could mean that the future consists of various pathways, some of which are more probable than others. In this case, seeing the future would entail seeing the most probable pathway. "Most probable" doesn't equal "predetermined"; free will could still change the outcome.

"Not necessarily. It could mean that the future consists of various pathways, some of which are more probable than others. In this case, seeing the future would entail seeing the most probable pathway. "Most probable" doesn't equal "predetermined"; free will could still change the outcome. "

I think it's weirder than that, though the idea of probable futures is also likely true.

I think we may make decisions on other planes of reality that are unknown to our conscious mind. These other planes involve a lot of psi and interconnectivity of awarenesses.

I also think that there may be a feedback loop that at least reinforces causation. In a dream or psychedelic state you travel, via psi, to a place, say a town where you see a certain church with a certain stain glass window. You've never been there physically (which includes seeing a photo). Your psi body knows where this church is. Then, in normal waking consciousness you physically travel there. You don't know why you made the decisions to go there. In fact, you may rationalize the reason to be something totally unconnected to the visionary state. Then you get there and, lo and behold, it's the same church and same intricate stain glass window, etc, that you saw in the vision (I use this example because it happened to someone who took magic mushrooms). Was the vision a portent of the future in that case? I'd say not. It's more like your inner trickster showing you something.

That said, there are times when it does seem that the future is being seen and sometimes it goes well beyond probability, IMO because the events that are seen are so random.

chel wrote,

||Why would malicious beings want to *destroy* everything, rather than leave it existing but suffering? Seems to me like they're achieving the latter fine.||

There would probably be beings like this too. But I remember a serial killer saying he would destroy the world in one go if he could. So if there were a high-enough-level evil being with that kind of intention, then I think we would see its activity.

Mind you, as I was discussing with Eric, I do think there is a malevolent force at work in the world.

Matt Rouge: "...a priori reality is true without any need to create it, sustain it, etc."

Hawking made the same mistake in his claim that he had solved the great mystery of origins confounding atheists by proposing that the Big Bang occurred through cosmic inflation out of the infinitely small initial singularity. This was the beginning of space-time, with nothing, whatever that means, before that. Voila - our Universe and maybe also an infinite expanse of other parallel universes out of nothing.

But this attempt at all-pervasive explanation fails because he doesn’t get a universe from nothing at all; what he calls nothing isn’t nothing - it’s a quantum vacuum or something else. Whatever this was, it inherently contained a vast amount of information - the mathematical physics mechanisms through which the instant expansion, the cosmic inflation of the Big Bang, took place.

Are you claiming that this incredibly ingenious system of physics was a logical necessity not requiring intelligent creation, like 1 + 1 = 2?

Matt Rouge: "...if there is a Biblical God who is all-good, it really doesn't make sense that evil could exist at all. But if spirit is emergent from an imperfect Universe, then it does make sense that evil exists.

Further, one aspect of higher beings is that they are extremely respectful of the autonomy of others. It would *not* be in their nature to simply eradicate all evil on earth, though they do help people who ask for it improve and do good things."

I think there are several fairly persuasive rationalizations of evil in the Deistic context, which I unfortunately still don't find convincing. It's at least interesting to look these over:

(1) There is the apparent need for human free will as one of the most important "design requirements". This inevitably leads to vast amounts of suffering caused by evil acts of humans to each other. Unfortunately, there is no way to get around that one and eliminate this type of evil, except to make humans "zombies" or robots.

(2) There is the observed regularity of natural law. The basic laws of physics appear to be cleverly designed to create conditions suitable for human life and development. It can be surmised that this intricate fine-tuned design is inherently a series of tradeoffs and balances, allowing and fostering human existence but also inevitably allowing "natural evil" events like disease, earthquakes, floods, fires, etc. etc. to regularly occur. In other words, probably the best design solution to the overall "system requirements" (which include furnishing manifold opportunities for humans to experience and achieve) inherently includes natural effects that cause suffering to human beings.

This points out that there may be logical and fundamental limitations to God's creativity. Maybe even He can't 100% satisfy all the requirements simultaneously. Maybe He doesn't exert complete control over nature, because that would interfere with the essential requirements for creative and fulfilling human life. After all, human achievement requires imperfection and adverse conditions to exist as a natural part of human life.

(3) Some suffering is necessary to enable us to experience life in its fullest and to achieve the most. Often it is through suffering that we experience the deepest love of family and friends. "The man who has never experienced any setbacks or disappointments invariably is a shallow person, while one who has suffered is usually better able to empathize with others. Some of the closest and most beautiful relationships occur between people who have suffered similar sorrows."

Some of the great works of literature, art and music were the products of suffering. "One whose life has led him to expect continued comfort and ease is not likely to make the sacrifices necessary to produce anything of great and lasting value."

Of course, the brute fact is that there is an egregious amount of truly innocent and apparently meaningless suffering, that our instinct tells us is wrong. The big question: is it at all worth it, especially from the strictly human standpoint? I usually don't think so.

Good post, Michael! Nice to see your optimism shining through.

Matt said:

“There is of necessity something a priori, right? No one can create or uncreate 1 + 1 = 2. It's true in all possible universes.”

Hi Matt! I would say that it’s not valid in a framework within which there are no true subdivisions.

Think of the ocean: does one drop plus another drop really equal two drops? I say no. Because within that body of water, no drop can be separated from another.

We live in a small subset of the cosmos in which subdivisions seem real. In the larger universe, separation can seen for what it is: an illusion. How can 1 + 1 be truly fundamental, if one part of the equation cannot be legitimately separated from another?

What IS fundamental in this oceanic cosmos? Oneness. That's the abiding message of the NDE.

In the larger scheme of things, two-ness is a ploy, a game, a metaphor. Or as Roger Ebert said, a hoax.

I think that to believe in the fundamentalness of 1 + 1, is like holding on, for dear life, to linear causality. Precognition proves it’s not the whole story!

But this is more than just an analogy. Because in our oceanic cosmos, one drop can’t be separated from another drop for precisely the same reason that the past can’t be separated from the future: there are no ultimate subdivisions. Not in space nor in time.

Only One is real. Only Here, only Now.

1 + 1 = 2 fundamental? Hardly. It’s the ultimate illusion. The basis for all the others, the primal seed for what the Hindus call Maya.

doubter,

You're not understanding (it seems) my distinction between a priori and a posteriori realities.

The Universe of matter and physical laws are a posteriori reality, meaning (in my way of defining it) "that which could be otherwise." For example, the gravitational constant seems like an arbitrary number.

In contrast, π does not seem like an arbitrary number, is in fact not an arbitrary number and could not be any other number. E.g., there is not a Universe in which, ceteris paribus, π is 3.15.

Matt, here's another way to say it:

If 1 + 1 = 2 isn't fundamental, what is?

Answer: the limitless, undivided consciousness—some call it God—which endlessly creates subdivisions within itself for its own amusement. And then melts them all back to oneness, so It may know peace and repose, before beginning a new story.

doubter wrote,

||This points out that there may be logical and fundamental limitations to God's creativity. Maybe even He can't 100% satisfy all the requirements simultaneously.||

I agree with this. "God" is not like the Biblical God, a control freak.

I basically agree with the rest of what you wrote as well.

Bruce,

Interesting points!

||I would say that it’s not valid in a framework within which there are no true subdivisions.||

But here we are: subdivisions. And 1 + 1 = 2 is true in at least all perspectives except the One (and I think true there as well, though it may have no use as a fact there).

Let me ask you this. If our Universe comes from the One and 1 + 1 = 2 is true here, can the One beget a universe in which 1 + 1 = 3? I would say not with a high degree of confidence.

||Think of the ocean: does one drop plus another drop really equal two drops? I say no. Because within that body of water, no drop can be separated from another.||

It more or less means that. 1 + 1 = 2 is just a way we choose to symbolize and understand a truth that serves as a boundary for any a posteriori reality. In terms of the actual ocean, it's true that 1 mL of water + 1 mL of water = 2 mL of water (assuming the same temperature, atmospheric pressure, etc.).

I understand that in the One, where there are no divisions, that fact is useless, but it nevertheless binds the creativity the One chooses to express.

||We live in a small subset of the cosmos in which subdivisions seem real. In the larger universe, separation can seen for what it is: an illusion. How can 1 + 1 be truly fundamental, if one part of the equation cannot be legitimately separated from another?||

I think "illusion" is the wrong word. Our world is real, is it not? It may not be real in exactly the way we think it is, but here we are, dealing with it.

||What IS fundamental in this oceanic cosmos? Oneness. That's the abiding message of the NDE.||

Is it? If that were true, then why would dead relatives come to greet one?

I mean, I do know exactly what you mean, I really do. But I think the One finds truth and meaning in our world too. Any any world that it creates. I am not of the mind that none of this matters and only the One matters. And I concur with Michael in that we are both created by the One and the creators of the One. The One would not exist if not from our efforts.

||I think that to believe in the fundamentalness of 1 + 1, is like holding on, for dear life, to linear causality. Precognition proves it’s not the whole story!||

I think those are totally unrelated things.

||1 + 1 = 2 fundamental? Hardly. It’s the ultimate illusion. The basis for all the others, the primal seed for what the Hindus call Maya.||

Saying it's an illusion is to say that it is arbitrary. But my point is precisely that it cannot be arbitrary. If the laws of mathematics were "Maya," then they would shift and move and come undone, but they do not.

I don't see much point in presenting more studies.

Well, I do see the point of more studies, especially when most of Mankind does not even know these themes.

Regarding mushrooms, I doubt that the activation of psi talents tells us much about postmortem survival.

I have not said the opposite, but I value the NDEs more than those experiences with psychedelics for that reason.

There is such an abundance of information (hundreds of accounts) out there already, including information from various sources. e.g., mediums, psychics, NDEs, OBEs, reports of apparitions, cases of possession, spontaneous recall of past lives in children , 'automatic' writing etc. that another 100 well-documented cases or a million similar cases would not convince a die-hard materialist or atheist of alternate realities.

It is not about convincing die hard materialists, but that the evidence and research become more generalized and openly treated in TV, schools, universities, etc., in addition to drawing new lines of reseach, such as the one you have commented on computers.

Hi everyone. I have read this blog for many years. I need some help from all of you. I am the mother of an extremely skeptical 13 year old. She, to the point of tears, tells me there is no evidence of a life after death. She continually tells me to show her something. So, any suggestions of a book I can give her? Something well rounded and easy to read (although she reads at college level, I want her to enjoy it). At the same time, it should have scientific basis as well because she dismisses anecdotal evidence. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. She may disown me soon!

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