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Yes, confimation bias is powerful. Rupert Sheldrake suggests we feed first from our own past morphic fields.

As you say, Michael, only by becoming aware of our own habitual thought-fields or 'attractor patterns' can we hope to rise above (or evolve beyond) them.

R.A. Wilson called these thought systems "reality tunnels." When there is widespread agreement on a certain set of tunnels, they become "consensus reality."

[Thinking is] what a great many people think they are doing when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. - William James

Brain, n. An apparatus with which we think that we think. - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking. - Albert Einstein

Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once a week. - George Bernard Shaw

Some people get lost in thought because it's such unfamiliar territory. - G. Behn

Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won't come in. - Alan Alda

What luck for rulers, that men do not think. - Adolph Hitler

"Materialism is the cause of all the ills of the modern world and is leading us to destruction”

If materialism were not needed to advance the progress of the soul it would not exist. At this stage of human and soul development materialism may be the perfect belief system to learn the lessons of life and attain insights into the mysteries of life.

I like the way Emmanuel states it: “the world is perfectly imperfect”. And then he asks the question “where would you go to school if your world were perfect”.

Our imperfections are necessary for multiple souls to exist as separate entities that have unique thoughts. How else could the Absolute express itself in an infinite variety of expressions without our “imperfections”?

“We of limited awareness see imperfections whereas those that have the awareness of gods see innocence”. William.

When I have been very unsure of myself and feeling very vulnerable, I have been known to engage in monologues on various topics important to my ego. Unless those around me quickly and fervently agreed with my conclusions, I would feel even more vulnerable and unsure of myself. Once I became aware of this tendency in myself, I knocked it off -- realizing what it was that drove me to do it.

It took a long time to realize what I was doing. What is odd is that, having become aware of this in myself, I am now capable of spotting it with others. A close friend of mine became irritable when I would lukewarmly agree with him on things he said that, truthfully, I disagreed with. His irritability mounted over time and, when I finally did come out and disagree with him on something (creationism) he stopped talking to me altogether. I think it was a relief for us both!

“It took a long time to realize what I was doing. What is odd is that, having become aware of this in myself, I am now capable of spotting it with others.”

This is interesting because we tend to be able to see ego behavior in others but not in ourselves. The course in miracles helped me with this one as I attended weekly study groups and the ego was for the most part the main topic of conversation.

As I love quotes I felt a need to include some of mine as I collect quotes.

Mark Twain in Huckleberry Finn: "Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And hain't that a big enough majority in any town?"

“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public”. Henry Mencken.

Mark Twain: “God made man in his image then man returned the favor”.

Scott Simon: “A supporter once called out, ‘Governor Stevenson, all thinking people are for you!’ And Adlai Stevenson answered, ‘That’s not enough. I need a majority.’ "

Jefferson: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

Winston Churchill: "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

“What did God do before he created the universe?” “He created hell for those people that would ask such questions”. St Augustine.

"The old joke is that "War is God's way of teaching Americans geography."

And one of my all time favorites.

“The ways are but two: love and the want of love”.
Chinese sage: Mencius 300 BC

I need to get a copy of this book. Thanks for mentioning it and the enlightening quote. The comments so far have been spot on and interesting to read. I love quotes too. Righteous Indignation: Just remember when you get on that high horse to look at the animal and make sure it doesn't have long ears and brays instead of neighs.

Mindful thoughts offered by Dr. Carlson. Interestingly, these ideas have surfaced repeatedly throughout recorded thought, psychological insights reappearing down the millenia in varoius and widespread religious and philosophical systems. Dr. Carlson's observations could just as easily come from, for example, The Enchiridion and The Discourses of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus (A.D. 55-135 approx.). The wisdom of accepting that over which you have no control, no choice, no option, can be very liberating. It removes the personal need to convince others. No matter how well reasoned or skillfully presented the rhetoric, it will fail to persuade when deflected by what Dr. Carlson describes as the thought system. I often reflect on the changes in my own thought system I've been compelled to make over the years, changes always precipitated by personal experiences rather than persuasion. Like Sandy, I've had a number of "interesting" experiences which forced upon me a radical change in my worldview, causing me to seek out whatever information I could find which would help me better understand and accept these unavoidable realities. Were it not for those beyond-the-everyday occurances, I'm sure I would have been unmoved to alter my convictions of the moment, and can thus regard the skeptical viewpoint with more detachment. Something more than the arguments based on observations and experiments will probably be necessary for most people. Equally, I've noted that my experiences don't conform well to the structures of systematized mysticism, reinforcing my conviction that assumptions and expectations are too often mistaken and misleading. All of which has allowed me to become quite comfortable with the uncertainty and ambiguity of it all, even when contemplating these omnipresent mysteries and all the questions I have no reliable answers for. But this blog of yours, Michael, helps make the contemplations pleasurable.

"I've noted that my experiences don't conform well to the structures of systematized mysticism, reinforcing my conviction that assumptions and expectations are too often mistaken and misleading." -Kevin W

Interesting, Kevin. Would you care to share any new theories you might have with us?

“I often reflect on the changes in my own thought system I've been compelled to make over the years, changes always precipitated by personal experiences rather than persuasion.”

The relative phenomenal world does give us personal experiences that can change our view of reality. The walk a mile in my shoes appears to have some validity.

“In fact, one can make a case that certain developments in modern science make it easier to accept the evidence for the paranormal”

I was watching a documentary on TV about the universe and they have come up with the idea that there are infinite universes that continually create other universes. The many universes theory. That allows the materialists not to have to deal with the origin or creation of life. Funny how our “thoughts systems” can influence our theories and I have always suspected our thought systems also deeply influence our research data.

Ben: I wish I could post a comprehensive theory here which would explain the various anomalistic experiences I've had but, unfortunately, I've only suspicions and tentative suppositions. I've had such a wide range of experiences since childhood, physical as well as mental, solitary and with others, changing in character and presentation, that attempting to account for all (including those similar events reported by various experiencers) seems beyond my present ability. To attempt listing all of my experiences here would take up far too much space ( and I always try to be brief and to the point here). However, I will note that the nature of consciousness appears to be the "core" mystery within which my list of occurances are positioned like subheadings (precognitive dreams, death apparitions, poltergeists/ghosts, night visitations, missing time, ecstatic raptures, UFO sightings [far & fairly close-up], physical effects [scarring, optical & audible "displays"]): a real Mulligan's Stew (or just a miasma) of "paranormality". Most of the fear has dissipated over the years: no visitations by "whatever" since my thirties (I'm presently 54), but the precognitions are fairly regular and still a bit disconcerting, even when they consist of fairly trivial matters. Having researched the concept of time for literally decades, I know that our brightest physicists cannot define what it is, so the idea of a mental look into the "future" doesn't seem nonsensical so much as indicative of the deeper actuality we've yet to understand. No visitations claimed any religious status, and the media reports and photographs of the final Fatima are suspiciously technological rather than "supernatural". Just so many curiosities, so many questions, and the answers may turn out to be quite uncomfortable. Or perhaps not. But, taking a hint from quantum physics, we all appear to be "entangled" in this together.

"the precognitions are fairly regular and still a bit disconcerting, even when they consist of fairly trivial matters."

I get premonitions pretty often, and they are almost always trivial. Here's a recent one. I was walking on the boardwalk and saw some people playing whiffleball on the beach. I thought, "I should put down my water bottle so I have both hands free to catch the ball when it pops up and lands on the boardwalk." Then the "rational" (critical) part of my mind took over and said, "What makes you think the ball will land on the boardwalk? The batter isn't even hitting in this direction." So I did not put down my water bottle. Not ten seconds later, the ball did pop up and flew onto the boardwalk, bouncing directly in front of me. Since I was hampered by the water bottle, I couldn't catch it, though I did track it down and toss it back.

Obviously a very trivial event and not, in itself, "proof" of anything. But when enough things like this happen, you start to accept them. I used to find them disconcerting, but I no longer do.

I find that these premonitions almost always occur when I'm daydreaming in a relaxed, unselfconscious, unfocused state of mind. It's not something that can be forced, which may be why it's hard to capture the phenomenon in a laboratory.

One of the most obvious premonitions (or synchronicities) I experienced was recounted in my essay "Unusual Occurrences". Quoting from the essay:

One day, for no apparent reason, I found myself wondering, “Is Katharine Hepburn still alive?” That night I went to dinner and out of the blue someone asked, “Is Katharine Hepburn still alive?”

http://snipurl.com/qgqk6

The question occurred to me while I was lying down in a half-asleep state. At the restaurant, I went to the restroom, and when I came back to the table someone turned to me and asked this question, apparently in reference to a conversation that had begun in my absence. There had been nothing in the news about Hepburn, and I had not brought up the subject. I would not ordinarily think about Hepburn; I don't even particularly like her as an actress.

Audrey Hepburn, on the other hand - va va voom!

:-)

I'm with you there, Michael. No separation there!

Having researched the concept of time for literally decades, I know that our brightest physicists cannot define what it is, so the idea of a mental look into the "future" doesn't seem nonsensical so much as indicative of the deeper actuality we've yet to understand. -Kevin

Yes, Kevin, time is fascinating, isn't it? I quite like the idea of spacetime being an inverted timespace (where there are 3 time dimensions and one spatial dimension). But one thing I've never been able to get my head round is this: if (as mystics sometimes say - and synchronicity like yours and Michael's suggests) time is an illusion, then how in other, higher realities does one event (or experience or thought or interaction or feeling or anything) become distinguishable from every other?

Currently (sic), I tend to think that time runs at different rates in different realities; but I'm open to persuasion, as always, that this is untrue.

“Obviously a very trivial event and not, in itself, "proof" of anything. But when enough things like this happen, you start to accept them. I used to find them disconcerting, but I no longer do.”

The same for me almost everyday but I only listen about half the time. Working on that one. I think I related this story recently on this blog. Many years ago during the morning hour thoughts kept coming into my head to go to the used bookstore that I visited often. I did not want to go and kept trying to put those persistent thoughts out of my mind but with no success. So I went to this store and a person was there in the spiritual section and had just read Conversations with God.

She was so excited to tell me how much she enjoyed that book and wanted more books like that one. She was a traditional Christian and had been raised thinking she may end up in hell for eternity. She had done some stuff in her life that concerned her so she was full of fear of hell. So I clued her in on some other books of a spiritual nature rather than religious dogma.

Without those persistent thoughts I would not have been there for her and to listen to her about her newfound discovery of a spiritual world. I have never forgot that experience.

I recall reading with interest J.W.Dunne's recountings in his "An Experiment with Time", wherein he, too, found his precognitive dreams to be about rather pedestrian matters. Michael's recollections are further indication that the subject matter of precognitions are often not significant, but the significance lies in the reality of the experience itself. Entanglement notwithstanding, the mind seems not to be bound to "honor" the temporal sequence which physical events and processes are subject to. And perhaps, in the higher realities, it is the focused attention of the mind which creates the illusion of individualized moments or events. This may help explain the Life Review so frequently reported during NDEs, in which the entirety of the lifespan (even, apparently, television commercials, waiting in queues & dental appointments) seems to be replayed. The notion of having full access to an entire lifespan of experiences at any subjective point of any person's life strikes me as the basis of a novel, either horror or comedy or both (Michael?).

And perhaps, in the higher realities, it is the focused attention of the mind which creates the illusion of individualized moments or events.

Yes Kevin, I've seen it compared to a torch shining on one of innumerable objects in a darkened room. This is understandable for past events (as in a Life Review), but not for future unrealized possibilities, since we have not yet decided to act to make them real (assuming you believe in free will).

And there is still the point that looking at one object at a time with a torch or in fast action replay amounts to a sequence of events, taking time to unfold (albeit less time than originally occurred).

M.P. I know what your talking about,
"I get premonitions pretty often, and they are almost always trivial. Here's
a recent one....."

Me too; always have, my whole life; though rarely not so trivial and a few
times intensely serious and life changing and, in each of the rare
instances, a sad/tragic event foretold.

This could come in the form of a dream, out of body experience or passing
thoughts such as you described.

Upon careful consideration, some instances could be due to coincidence and
some to conscious realization of subconscious - though otherwise "normal" -
processes. Some defy the laws of probability (I work in the actuarial field,
BTW).

Agreed that taken in whole there is no doubt - in my mind at least - that
there is something "paranormal" occurring. Again some of the experiences
defy any plausible normal explanation.

Where I disagree with your take; my sense - and it is only a sense - is
that, at least to some extent, the seemingly precognitive thought really is
not totally a view into the future. Rather, that the thought causes the
event to happen. Had you not thought that you would have to catch the ball,
it would never have been hit to you.

Not that you willfully caused the thing to happen as we usually would mean.
More like some kind of connection between your awareness or life force and
the ball players' spontaneously developed (the environment was right) and
the result was that you created all created a reality together.

Something to consider anyhow........and maybe, per the title of your post,
thinking makes it so?

Hi Mr. Prescott,

I was wondering if you have read an article by Massimo Polidoro called 'The Lost Messiah: Secrets on Psychical Research Emerge from a Stack of Forgotten Documents (Skeptical Inquirer Vol. 27. N. 5).' It's about a prediction that the Cross Correspondence mediums made - that there was going to be a future "messiah." They said it was going to be the son of so-and-so (can't remember). Though the Cross Correspondences are very compelling evidence for mediumship, this gargantuan miss is a little off-putting.

I haven't read it, but I'm skeptical of anything Polidoro writes after his ill-conceived attempt at explaining some physical mediumistic phenomena. See this post:

http://snipurl.com/ql69w

As the post makes clear, Polidoro's article ignores key facts that would have disproved his explanation. He could not have been unaware of these facts, so his decision to omit them casts doubt on his reliability.

At any rate, long-term predictions made by mediums are notoriously inaccurate. Many mediums predicted a golden age of peace and harmony after the First World War; in the run-up to World War II many also predicted that the war would not happen. I suspect that the mediums' subconscious minds strongly influence their predictions.

A strain of utopianism persists in New Age thought even today. Look at P.M.H. Atwater's ramblings about "indigo children" who will usher in an age of higher consciousness.

(I wrote about Atwater here: http://snipurl.com/ql64l )

The heavy misses of predictions by mediums makes it seem as though the spirits are lost in a dream world (utopia) of their own making. I wonder why they bother.

Does anyone know of modern day mediums who are accurate in their predictions?

“The heavy misses of predictions by mediums makes it seem as though the spirits are lost in a dream world (utopia) of their own making. I wonder why they bother.”

Mediums and souls both have egos and often believe something that they do not know or cannot know. This idea that when we cross over we become instantly enlightened does not cross validate with my research. Sorry art.

Found this link last night; it may be of interest to some. Or not.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HayY1yyXnn0

There are eleven videos this is the first one.

“Does anyone know of modern day mediums who are accurate in their predictions?”

We live in a relative phenomenal world with a whole host of significant variables and an almost infinite number of other variables. To try and predict the future in such an environment I would think is next to impossible. Now what I have noticed in my research is that is appears that a spirit or even a relative coming through a medium often is able to tell the sitter the exact time and date someone is going to cross over.

I am now thinking of a case where a relative came through a medium and the sitter had a father and the mother came through and I think stated that her husband would cross over on sat and this was like wed. The sister called her sister where the father was living and told her and even drove to her sister’s house. They sent the father to the doctor and he checked the father out and said he as strong as a horse.

Well of course the father passes the exact day his deceased wife said he would in spite of what the doctor stated. But making predictions on a worldly scale I doubt even advanced spirits can do that. I am not an advanced spirit but I will make one prediction this country will be deeper in debt this time next year and I will give great odds.

Oh one more predication please, both parities will be blaming the other party for our debt. Kind of a human thing I think, blaming others that is. Of course blaming can also be a soul thing if one finds themselves in a temporarily Hades environment after they cross over.

RE: Mediums

Due to people's natural skepticism, incorrect information from the media and not taking the time to investigate on their own, spiritualism gets tarnished with a bad reputation. Most mediums within the spirtualist movement do not normally predict future events. They are concerned with passing on accurate information that will help people in their spiritual development. "The Medium's Book" by Alan Kardec tells of warnings from communicators not to believe everything that is said and to validate all information. By the way, I am not a practicing spiritualist.

If one accepts what Carlson says as true, then one must see his take on the relativity of viewpoints as one more "thought system," or bundle of assumptions. That is, logically, one must relativize the relativizer. So long, Carlson.

“The notion of having full access to an entire lifespan of experiences at any subjective point of any person's life strikes me as the basis of a novel, either horror or comedy or both (Michael?).”

Can words accurately describe a life review especially one that the person not only reviews the significant events in his or her life but also those experiences that he caused pain or joy in others individual lives.

People that experiences NDE’s come back and those that have experienced a life review cannot with their best effort describe that experience in mere words. Even those spirits that come through a medium and try to explain their life review, struggle to explain the love and compassion in those life reviews.

"That is, logically, one must relativize the relativizer."

I know what you're saying, but I don't think Carlson is trying to proffer a philosophical theory so much as give us a different way of *experiencing* our thoughts. Also, he's not suggesting that the contents of our thought systems are necessarily wrong, only that it's easy to get caught up in a thought system, to the detriment of our emotional well-being.

He probably overstates the case when he calls thought systems "arbitary," though.

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