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Nice review, as always.

It's true that the Titanic remains quite iconic in our culture. I can't ever remember not knowing about it, even as a little kid.

I think the reasons it remains so are those you stated, as well as one more: it really was a beautiful machine, a true work of art, that was destroyed in the most memorable way when it was first used.

What did you think of the communications from Stead as described in the book? Were they convincing?

The communications from Stead convinced people who had known him, including his grown daughter. But they might not be convincing to an outside observer, because they were generally philosophical in nature or they relied on direct voice or materialization, which can't be adequately conveyed via the printed page.

Still, the book includes many evidential cases to buttress the general argument that mediums receive detailed, verifiable info. Many of those cases were unknown to me. It seems that the deeper you delve into this area, the more you find startlingly persuasive cases that have been largely forgotten today.

I've read Michael Tymn's "Afterlife Revealed" and will buy this new one as well.But I have a serious question about mediumship now.A lot of literature has been produced about mediumship,but Madame H.P.Blavatsky was critical on Spiritualism,slaiming that spiritualists are not connecting to surviving soul,but to some "lower remnants of personality".Unfortunately I cannot provide link where I found it now,but so the story goes.But on the other hand,there are so much evidence of mediumship...can it ALL be discarded because of Blavatsky's claim?...I doubt it

I'm not sure how seriously to take anything Blavatsky said. She was debunked by Richard Hodgson decades ago; he found that the mysterious messages that were supposedly materializing out of thin air were actually delivered through a hidden passageway (which Hodgson discovered). She also claimed that thousands of years passed between each earthly incarnation, an idea that contradicts all the evidence for reincarnation that I've seen.

Just bought the Kindle versions of both Transcending the Titanic and Letters from Julia.

Yes,Hodgson found that Blavatsky was a fraud,but(copying from wikipedia) "However, in a 1986 press release to the newspapers and leading magazines in Great Britain, Canada and the USA, the same SPR retracted the Hodgson report, after a re-examination of the case by the Fortean psychic Dr. Vernon Harrison, past president of The Royal Photographic Society and formerly Research Manager to Thomas De La Rue, an expert on forgery, as follows: "Madame Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society, was unjustly condemned, new study concludes."

But anyway,I think best cases of mental mediumship are good enough to be convincing in their authentity.That's at least what I think

"Perhaps another [reason the Titanic story captivates us] is that the slow foundering of the vessel gave the passengers ample time to face the inevitability of their demise."

Good point. I vote for that. And it's born out, for one thing, by Cameron's film, most of which takes place during the period of time when people begin to suspect that they, and/or their loves ones, might well die. We see this disaster happen in slow motion.

There's that well-known 19th century book by Albert Heim about mountain climbers' falls, and what they experience on the way down. Often, they had mystical and near-death-like experiences.

With the Titanic story, that period of falling is extended not to seconds or even minutes, but hours. What can be more compelling than that state of mind when you're hovering between life and death? (Whether or not anything paranormal is going on.)

"But the book's real focus is not the tragedy itself but the paranormal, spiritual, or transcendent elements of the story"

I'm not often enthusiastic about Hollywood blockbusters. Far from it. But Titanic is, perhaps, my favorite movie. (You're trying to talk about a book, and I'm bringing a movie into this--sorry about that!) It has always struck me as a film that's profoundly spiritual.

There's that wonderful sequence where the contrast is made between the ever-so-polite but lifeless conversation of the rich folk upstairs, and the joyous, rollicking, deeply-felt party and dance below deck, amongst the poor.

The materialistic approach vs the spiritual--it couldn't be laid out more plainly.

And then there's the powerful theme, throughout the movie, of separation. It's played out in more ways than I care to detail.

Which reminds me: I agree with what you said on another thread, Michael--the final scene is not Rose's dream, but her dying and entering into the afterlife realm, and being re-united with all her people. It is, as you say, similar to the last scene in The Game--a beautiful coming-together of everyone who played a part in the life-story.

As you mentioned, I don't think the Billy Zane character (the villain) was in that final scene. Though that would have been a nice touch, and a profound one, don't you think?

By the way, I'm about a third of the way through the Moorjani book, Dying to be Me. It's a real treat, as I suspected it would be. I think it may well become a very big seller, and deservedly.

As someone said (here, I think), she offers many of the same profound insights as Nancy Danison, whose book, as you know, states my own spiritual perspective pretty accurately. Moorjani may be easier for some readers to empathize with though, because, as I was surprised to learn, some folks are put off by aspects of Danison's persona.

But does this book solve the mystery of Patrick Crawley?

"As you mentioned, I don't think the Billy Zane character (the villain) was in that final scene. Though that would have been a nice touch, and a profound one, don't you think?"

Yes, but maybe a little too complex for that film. Another movie, the Sally Field drama Places in the Heart, does do essentially what you suggested in its mystical ending.

The titanic holds a special captivation for us due to the reasons described above - it is both a perfect microcosm of western society at the turn of the 20th century, and it is a perfect microcosm of humanity in general, regardless of any particular time period - this is why the 1997 movie was so popular from America to Japan, regardless of culture.

The individual human dramas that play out in slow motion on that fateful night are incredible in their own right - all the best, and worst, aspects of human nature manifested on that night.

Added to that the setting: the largest moving object every created (1000 gross tons heavier than its near twin Olympic), and even more luxurious.

Cruise liners, even the best ones in the world today, just don't have the same class and sense of style that ships of this time had - and titanic was the cream of them all.

With all that going on, you just can't keep Titanic down!

(sorry couldnt resist).

btw when i say the largest moving object ever created, I do mean, of course, *at that time*.


Off topic. I have my reading with Georgia O'Conner today at 2:00. I will give you the details later.

I will be very interested to hear how your session goes J9. I had my second and probably last reading 2 weeks ago. My friend just lost her dad so I paid for a full hour and gave her most of the time. During my part of the session, my dad once again came through. I wasn't impressed this time with the evidence but he did mention that he has been around my house lately and asked if I noticed and I replied that I did not notice anything unusual. "He" suggested that I watch out because he wanted to make his presence known. I was furiously writing notes for my friends part of the session for her and while I was doing so, a heavy glass on the table full of water suddenly moved slowly and in a control manner about 7-8 inches across the table. All three of us sitting at the table saw it.

Naturally I tried to debunk this so I figured it could have been moisture under the glass that made it slide or the table wasn't level. I tried for 2 weeks to replicate the glass moving by using as much water that was in the glass at the time and even put some water on the table to help it glide along...nothing no movement at all in 2 weeks and I never had a glass move on that table before. The wood is sort of grainy so it would be much more difficult. I also took out a leveler and the table is perfectly level.

On top of that, my aunt called my mother the other day to tell her that something strange happened to her the other day. She said she was heading to bed and she was tapped twice on the shoulder and heard a voice which sounded like my father say, "Thank you for praying for me every night." My aunt does pray for my father every night and I never heard her have any sort of paranormal experience before this. In addition, she did not even know about my reading with my dad because the three of us did not tell anyone about the glass moving because it certainly exceeded my boogle threshold so I doubt she subconsciously made it up. She was legitametly shocked when I then opened up to her about the glass indicent after she explained what happened to her. I think my skepticism went from 25% to about 10% after this experience but yet I somehow still remain full satisfied which is good because I want to continue to do research and learn. I do not think I will use Georgia's services again because I no longer need them, but overall it certainly helped my personal belief based on the evidence provided.

Thanks Ray, I will let you know. I am a little peeved because I have a student taking a trimester exam around that time and I am going to be nervous about my privacy and where to put him and will he be wanting to ask me questions while I'm on the phone, but I'm going to try to be as calm as possible and set up the best situation I can. I'll write a little later.

@Ray, it looks like I got stood up. They asked for payment through paypal which I sent, but it's like an regular check, so I wonder whether she isn't calling because she feels like she hasn't been paid yet. She takes personal checks, so I don't see how this would be any different. She didn't write to say that she hadn't received payment. I just left her a message asking if there had been some sort of mix up.

@Ray, ok, she called late. Nothing really earth shaking except that she mentioned my daughter by name and said she felt my son also had a name that began with an e, which is true. But I'm sure you could get that much off the internet. She also said it was my mother's mother asking about them, but she isn't dead, she has demensia, but she isn't dead. Georgia said that often happens because they usually aren't in their minds most of the time.

She also said my grandfather asked "how are my numbers?" Georgia thought he was talking about dance numbers, but I teach math, so that could be it.

She also mentioned my niece by name. and my cousin who was young when she died wanted to tell us that she felt the Autopsy was a scam and that she was poisoned. There was some controversy over how she died, as it was sudden (they called it like crib death at 17). There was some talk of diet pills.

Anyway, I didn't think anything she said was too specific, or specific enough to knock my socks off. What are you gonna do?

Thanks j9 name hits are pretty good. Do you think there is any way she could have found this out via Facebook or other social networking sites? In other words is it easy to trace your relatives by looking at your profiles friends etc on these sites?

"She also mentioned my niece by name. and my cousin who was young when she died wanted to tell us that she felt the Autopsy was a scam and that she was poisoned. There was some controversy over how she died, as it was sudden (they called it like crib death at 17). There was some talk of diet pills."

That sounds pretty evidential to me. How many people have a cousin whose death was controversial and could have been resolved by an autopsy?

Totally off topic, but I thought you might be interested. On Saturday I saw a concert of Byzantine hymns sung by the group VocaMe, one of whose members, Gerlinde Sämann, is blind. On her website (gerlinde-saemann.de) she says:

"The question I'm most often asked is how I manage when I can't see the conductor."

"I feel him. That's not easy to explain. But it works. Through feeling the energy of movement, through the breath, and through the invisibility that seems to bind us together, very finely and precisely."

Now, there are lots of ways to explain this feeling she talks about, but I found her way of expressing quite touching and beautiful.

@Ray, hi, if you were to google my real name, you would find my teacher page and an article from a parenting magazine, mentioning both my children and my husbands name (that also came up), so yeah, those things easily found, especially that I teach math and that I have two children whose names begin with E. She mentioned Emma specifically, the boy she said begins with E.

@Michael,

Michael, it is hard to explain, she died with prom tickets on her dresser and an autopsy was only done on the heart and the parents refused the rest. Georgia said "she is angry about the way she died and that she was poisoned" I said there was talk about diet pills and she said "she says to tell those people to piss off" and that Denise seemed to have quite an attitude.

But I lead her to denise because I asked specifically if she saw a younger relative (although she has been dead now almost 25 years, much longer than the 17 she was alive) and I asked if she wanted to tell her sister something and she said "Denise wants to say thanks for taking care of everything after she died" and, as much as I love her, she (her sister) was 13 at the time and the only thing her sister took care of was being catatonic, sleeping with the x boyfriend a few years later and giving us all a lot of heartache trying to take care of her for about 10 years afterwards (and sometimes still)

Also, although she mentioned my niece by name, she said she felt she was disabled mentally and she is not. so what do I know? I would have like to have heard a bit more things that don't seem like guessing.

If you google me, you get my married and maiden name. Not too many of us around in the Long Island area. I don't like to think fraud, but there is no one in the US with my married name, and not a word was spoken about my husband's family. There would be nothing to be found as they changed their name when they moved internationally to several countries in the 70's.

In all, although it seems like good hits, and some solid names, I wish I was more impressed.

Oh well, maybe next time.

Why not book her under a false name to rule out cheating?

J9,

One possibility is that she could be just a mediocre medium instead of a total fraud.

Cheers,

Matt

@sbu

I tried that but you have to enter at least your real name for credit card Payment for services maybe if you could get a relative to front the money...

I would really like to go see George Anderson, as he is also local to me. But he is very, very expensive. You also have to give your name, but the say that George has no prior knowledge of you. I saw a documentary on him once and they hooked him up to all sorts of electrodes while he was "doing his thing" and they were shocked at the brain activity that was going on...something about never seeing any patterns like that before and not normal brain activity, but this was in the 70's.

Thanks for all the support and advice.

I think it is wonderful that we have a place like this to get together exchange ideas and experiences freely without ridicule. I really do appreciate the insights and sharing as it helps me to continue to learn such an elusive topic

@j9

I wonder if that level of brain activity is what causes the fatigue associated with performing readings that dr rubenstein frequently refers to in his book?

If you listen to the interview from skeptiko that alex did with the creator of the God Helmet there is a significant increase in brain waive activity during lucid dreaming, mediumship etc.

Again, for those who havent already, I really recommend you read Ian Rubenstein's book as it is from the perspective of a (somewhat skeptical) medium.

I think this may be useful because it allows us non mediums an insight into how mediums work and the problems that can arise - once thing you find out is that it isnt easy!

You need to train on a continual basis, and you have good days and bad days, like in any vocation.

I think it might be useful to get a perspective from an actual medium as it appears to be very easy to dismiss a medium just because a particular reading on a particular day wasnt good enough for you.

Unfotunately, it doesnt really work on a 100% on demand basis. Mediums try because they feel compelled to get the messages out, but they get just as frustrated as you when they have a mediocre day with low hits.

Thanks, Douglas. I will. The last medium I went to locally, if you read it here, couldn't read for me at all and told me so and didn't charge me a dime even though he spent a good bit of time with me. I'm not saying it is all fraud, I had a lot of real-time dreams in college that were happening at that moment to people I loved. So, I do think there is more going on than meets the eye in many cases when we talk about psi and mediumship (is that a word, lol), but it is disappointing when you want so badly to here something that will make you really, truly believe and it doesn't come.

I will keep searching, researching, and learning, as do we all.

xo

"One possibility is that she could be just a mediocre medium instead of a total fraud."

Or a good medium having one of her less-impressive at-bats. To make a baseball analogy here, the best hitters, who hit around .300, have a 70% failure rate.

"If you listen to the interview from skeptiko that alex did with the creator of the God Helmet "

Speaking of which, may I point out two things of interest on the Skeptiko forum? One is a brand-new interview with Ian Rubenstein posted today.

And the other is a thread I started called the "Ultimate Explanation for Psi." I'd love to get some feedback on my little essay from Michael, Matt, and others.

Bruce, you got link for that? I'll be happy to take a look.

And you are right: A very good medium can have bad days, bad moments, or just not connect with a particular sitter (or the spirits with which the sitter desires to communicate).

I act as a medium sometimes when the spirits are really beating down the door, so I know how clear or vague the impressions can be. I think there are certain people who can turn on their mediumistic abilities *most* of the time, but I think it's a gamble the majority of mediums should not take.

Here it is, Matt: http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-podcast/3327-ultimate-explanation-psi.html

"I act as a medium sometimes when the spirits are really beating down the door, so I know how clear or vague the impressions can be."

So you're saying that the strength of the "signal" is determined, in part, by how insistent the spirits are about making contact?

"I think there are certain people who can turn on their mediumistic abilities *most* of the time, but I think it's a gamble the majority of mediums should not take."

Though if you do it for a living, it must be hard to say "sorry, nothing's happening today." Or do we know of professionals who will forfeit their fee if they feel they're not making contact?

Bruce,

So you're saying that the strength of the "signal" is determined, in part, by how insistent the spirits are about making contact?

Absolutely. It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes the demand is so strong that I *have* to say something. I had not thought of myself as a medium at all. The first time it happened was when a friend's grandmother came through, and she was so insistent that I had to help her communicate.

Though if you do it for a living, it must be hard to say "sorry, nothing's happening today." Or do we know of professionals who will forfeit their fee if they feel they're not making contact?

One is mentioned in this thread by j9.

I think that's a problem if you charge money as a medium or psychic. If you're very consistent, then fine, but what if you are having an off day? Do you close up shop? I think the temptation is to "stretch" your powers or even cheat. It's pretty clear that certain materialization mediums who had genuine powers gave into this temptation.

I saw on the front page of Skeptiko when I went to look for your thread that someone was "debunking" John Edward. I think he has genuine abilities and has gotten *huge* hits, but, man, I really *really* think he's "stretching" a lot of the time.

As a psychic, I don't dig for names. They actually come to me quite a bit--something that tells me my abilities are genuine, since that's something you can't fake. I did a reading for a friend via chat yesterday, and I got that a blonde in her hospital was named Beth (I said "Betty" or "Beth") and I was exactly right, and I guessed "Danielle" or a "D name" for someone else, and I was right about the "D" (it was a very unusual name). I guessed "Carol" for someone else, and it was "Karen." I am often exactly right or very close. Sometimes dead wrong of course.

But I would be *ashamed* to go digging as Edward does: "I'm getting an R name, or maybe an M." That is crap. Sometimes the impressions *are* vague. In the case of "Danielle" above, my impression was not "Danielle" exactly but something somewhat close to that. I was not stretching to get any kind of impression but was just working with what I had.

But you're stretching when you try to leverage any vague, undefined impression that comes your way. When you're fishing and doing stuff that really does look like cold reading, even if you are sincerely working from genuine but weak impressions.

I think Edward does that a lot, and it is not good mediumship.

Bruce,

OK, I read your post on Skeptiko.

If I understand correctly, the ultimate explanation for psi is that, ultimately, we are all connected to everything via Source.

I'll tell you how my impressions feel and try to relate it to your explanation.

First my mediumistic impressions are completely different from what I'm about to describe. I feel impressions coming from the Afterlife and I "see" the energy and sometimes the person in the Afterlife. It is a bright, pure, happy vibration that is unmistakable.

For my "regular" psychic impressions, I peer into what I perceive to be the Astral medium. A kind of spiritual aether, if you will. You know how when you close your eyes and look into the darkness, you can see things. It is a lot like that, but it can be any type of impression. A sound, image, feeling, or just a sense that a particular fact is true. I often feel the connection between energies. One of the easiest things for me to see is who people's families are. I am almost *never* wrong when I start talking about someone's brothers and sisters. For example, if I start talking about someone's sister, I am almost never just told, "I don't have a sister."

When I'm in the "zone," as I was with my friend this morning, the information just comes and comes. I can get very detailed pictures and stories.

Now, how does this relate to your explanation? My feeling when using psi is that I am following paths or trails in Reality.

I think your explanation may be true, but not quite in the sense you think. I think there is Source, but Source purposely creates a void (i.e., retracts the plenum of it-Self) in which this world can exist. This void is porous, however--imagine a dike with near-infinite pressure behind it. And it is easier for certain kinds of energy to pass through it that is based on connections. For example, I am not assailed at all times by random impressions, but when I talk to a person, I am connected to him or her and the impressions start coming through.

So, to me, psi is finding the light of connection in the darkness of disconnection. To your theory I would add the vast sea of disconnection through which we must peer in order to find connection.

Bruce,

Here is where I take issue. Maybe I can explain it better. You wrote:

But if everything and everyone in existence is one infinitely large entity that is temporarily subdivided for what we might call "recreational" purposes, then psi becomes incredibly simple: I'm able to read your mind because it's MY mind, too.

Then question then also is why *can't* I read your mind?

You mentioned Plotinus in the thread too. I *do* get the oneness thing. I think of that as a New Age truism--All is One--and I mean no disrespect by calling it a truism. I believe it.

But granted that All is One, why are we not omniscient? Why aren't our minds smashed together right now, unified in perfect communication?

I think the reason is that we are Oneness that has decided to be a bunch of pieces and has very effectively accomplished that. I have a theory of why that is the case. In short, I think the Oneness of the Plenum has to come from the Oneness of the Void (and, paradoxically, vice versa), so we are Plenum, Void, and everything in between. Kindof how it is stated in the Emerald Tablet.

But we are creatures of will, and we can try to go to the Void (Buddhist meditation), or we can try to go to the Plenum. I think psi is pushing the mind toward the Plenum, but the way is difficult, and that is why these connections form circuits that make it easier.

Off topic, but I feel this movement is very important. Watch this video and you will see how amazing it is that if you get enough people organized, you can help with this trajedy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc

It's about the Uganda child killer and kidnapper Kony.

Matt, thanks for reading and responding.

I get the feeling you're stressing that we disagree, or that I'm somehow missing a piece of the puzzle, but I'm not sure why. Seems to me we're saying the same thing.

"But granted that All is One, why are we not omniscient? Why aren't our minds smashed together right now, unified in perfect communication?"

That's the same point I make at the end:

"What needs explaining is the amnesia that makes psi seem so amazing in the first place."

You say:

"I think the reason is that we are Oneness that has decided to be a bunch of pieces and has very effectively accomplished that."

Absolutely! In my article I'm stressing the oneness part, because that's what explains psi. But I do mention the splitting-off aspect by using the Danison quote:

"Source so loved itself, and that little part of itself that became me, that it allowed me to venture out and experience this illusion of having a separate identity--of being a separate person. Of having all these lives, and all these experiences, and all these wonders, and all these loves . . . . And then Source brought me back into itself."

So where's the disagreement, or the misunderstanding on my part?

Thanks for your explanation of the mediumship questions. I agree that it would be a really good thing if mediums would just come out and say when they're having a hard time, instead of using various tricks of the trade to try to cover that fact.

Bruce,

So where's the disagreement, or the misunderstanding on my part?

Indeed, had I read and responded more carefully, I probably could have stated my response more in terms of agreement than disagreement. But I also kinda wanted a debate. It's been awhile. :) (And I mean on this blog, not just with you.)

You wrote:

What needs explaining is the amnesia that makes psi seem so amazing in the first place.

I don't really buy into Danison's "Source so loved itself" (which sounds to me like a distorted version of "God so loved the world," etc.--it's her stuff like this that tends to rub me the wrong way) explication of the origin of All.

I don't think that there was this ball of light and omniscience that "decided" to break itself up to learn "separation," as our friend often likes to put it here.

Rather, I think we came from the Void of infinite potential, and we through our lives are fulfilling that potential and helping to "build" the Plenum.

Now, since the Plenum itself is outside of time, then what's the difference? The difference is that the Plenum is only the Plenum by *means* of eternity, so to speak. I.e., it uses eternity to become the Plenum, since it is dependent on everything in it *within* the scope of time to compose it.

It's a philosophical difference, but an important one, I think. What I want to avoid is the notion of an eternal God that is eternally all-powerful and managing things, including its "separateness." I want to avoid this since I think it gives people a wrong impression of how things work in the world and false expectations. For example, I think the Plenum "works out" the problem of evil through all our actions throughout history (and anything else that happens in the physical universe or in other dimensions, etc.). Whereas, I think the problem of evil *is* a real problem for the view of a top-down God who simply could have refused to let evil be in the first place.

So how does this relate to psi? I think separateness and thus the "amnesia" that blocks most psi is a similar problem in a top-down God/Source universe. I think it is much less of a problem in the bottom-up type Plenum, since omniscience is the result of our actions and not something that needs to be wiped away in order for us to be "separate."

Ugh, I could write this 50x better, but I'd have to sit down and write a book, which I may indeed do someday. Maybe in 20 years or so. :)

"I don't think that there was this ball of light and omniscience that "decided" to break itself up to learn "separation," as our friend often likes to put it here."

I don't think it's as simple as wanting to learn separation, as if it were a school subject to be passed or a moral challenge that makes us more worthy. But for better or worse, I am convinced that there is indeed a One, a Source, a God, and that it has chosen to partition itself into an infinite array of "smaller" entities.

(Smaller is in quotes, because each of those subdivisions has the potential to experience--even to be--the whole.)

And the reason I'm convinced is because the concept has been proven to me, again and again, through the one thing I myself find persuasive--experience. My own, as well as the experience of people I trust.

I know there are many people for whom this sort of argument doesn't wash, but I can live with that.

Charles Tart has a concept he refers to as "state-specific knowledge". Certain things can only be grasped, he says, while the seeker is in a specific state of consciousness. And I've had experiences, while in altered states, that have so convinced me of the fundamental truth of oneness, that it would take some equally persuasive experiences to make me think otherwise.

"Whereas, I think the problem of evil *is* a real problem for the view of a top-down God who simply could have refused to let evil be in the first place."

But God didn't refuse to let evil be. He invented it. Evil is the name we give to the universal forces that make the partitioning of God's oneness possible.

"I think it is much less of a problem in the bottom-up type Plenum, since omniscience is the result of our actions and not something that needs to be wiped away in order for us to be "separate."

I don't see why it's any more likely that omniscience is created out of nothing (which is ultimately what has to happen in what you call a bottom-up arrangement), than that it's the default state that has to be temporarily surrendered so the games can begin.

Now you might ask, is it possible that I and my fellow experiencers--the ones with whom I feel such empathy--might all be deluded?

Yes, it is. Decades spent as a committed atheist have shown me that a feeling of certainty is not necessarily to be trusted.

But there's another possibility, too--that ALL hypotheses are true (in some way that's hard to fathom while we live in the physical plane). I know this doesn't seem to make much sense on the surface, but it's a notion I've been considering of late.

Sort of like saying that both Democrats and Republicans are equally right. While at some level that's hard for me to swallow, it's also difficult to understand how the truth could be as simple as the notion that half this country is crazy while the other half is sane.

Bruce,

Cool. The debate is ON! :)

But for better or worse, I am convinced that there is indeed a One, a Source, a God, and that it has chosen to partition itself into an infinite array of "smaller" entities.

And the reason I'm convinced is because the concept has been proven to me, again and again, through the one thing I myself find persuasive--experience. My own, as well as the experience of people I trust.

Well, experience can't hand you a complete philosophy, unless you claim revelation.

I believe that you have experienced God/One/Source. But did your experiences show you that the partitioning was a *fact*, and did they show you how such partitioning *works*? Those are different matters.

Charles Tart has a concept he refers to as "state-specific knowledge". Certain things can only be grasped, he says, while the seeker is in a specific state of consciousness. And I've had experiences, while in altered states, that have so convinced me of the fundamental truth of oneness, that it would take some equally persuasive experiences to make me think otherwise.

I think the trouble is that it is quite difficult to translate those experiences into words that are useful in our world--words that really make a difference. It's to the point where "All is One" is a kind of hippie cliche. The reason that it's turned into a joke is that the hippies, being naive, thought that perceiving the truth that we are all one would change the world somehow because--well, can't everyone just SEE?

The trouble is that the knowledge that "All is One" doesn't really help us here at all.

Looked at on another level, although it is true that "All is One," it is not also true that "My computer and I are One." I am sitting here, typing on my laptop. Even though "All is One," may be a great spiritual truth, but there is no truth to be had in "My computer and I are one." There is no insight there. If my hard drive crashes, then our Oneness still can't help.

I do believe in Oneness myself, but I don't see Oneness as a "God" or "Source." I see oneness as the ultimate state of the universe in which all contradictions and incompleteness have been resolved. IOW, per Godel's theorem, in which no mathematical system can be both non-contradictory and complete. But the universe has all of infinity/eternity in which to accomplish this.

But God didn't refuse to let evil be. He invented it. Evil is the name we give to the universal forces that make the partitioning of God's oneness possible.

I'd need more of an explanation in order for this to make sense to me. The words don't really conjure an image that computes for me.

I was just reading about and watching documentaries on the Cambodian genocide. It was a reminder of how *evil* evil really is. Those guys did stuff that made the Nazis look like amateurs.

So, yes, I find it hard to imagine there is a single being that is OK with things like that. That could prevent them but has "reasons" why it doesn't.

I don't see why it's any more likely that omniscience is created out of nothing (which is ultimately what has to happen in what you call a bottom-up arrangement), than that it's the default state that has to be temporarily surrendered so the games can begin.

I don't think that there is such a thing as "nothing." The Void is not nothing--it is simple What Is without instantiations. There are still the rules of logic and mathematics which are not arbitrary creations (another reason why I think a monotheistic "God," at least in the traditional sense cannot be true, since such a God cannot alter the truths of mathematics but must be subordinate to them).

Now you might ask, is it possible that I and my fellow experiencers--the ones with whom I feel such empathy--might all be deluded?

Yes, it is. Decades spent as a committed atheist have shown me that a feeling of certainty is not necessarily to be trusted.

I think the Universe accommodates a lot of odd and incongruous things. For example, my bet is that the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima really happened and was *not* a mass delusion, and yet I sure as heck don't believe that what Catholics say about the Virgin Mary is true. Another example: for the most part, what people experience in NDEs jibes with my picture of how the Universe works, but now and again there will be someone who says stuff that makes no sense at all to me. I do not deduce that they are wrong simply because I can't fit their experience into my worldview.

As to your experience of Oneness, I don't doubt that at all. I actually think that it is one way of experiencing or feeling the Universe, and I think it's a profound and true way.

My profound experiences have not been of Oneness but have been of non-duality--more like the satori of Buddhism. Now how do I fit that into the big picture we're talking about here? I don't know. That's why it's going to take 20 more years to write my book on this.

But there's another possibility, too--that ALL hypotheses are true (in some way that's hard to fathom while we live in the physical plane). I know this doesn't seem to make much sense on the surface, but it's a notion I've been considering of late.

Yes, I've pondered along these lines. I don't like the idea, so I try to disprove it in my mind, and I do have some good arguments against it. But I don't know.

I have no illusions about having any tremendously big thoughts to offer here--yet. Many have tried to explain the big picture; many have failed. A think a Course in Miracles is worse than poppycock, and I read a bit of Ken Wilbur, and my eyes just glaze over. I think we'll know when we've succeeded in describing the big picture accurately when we've come up with something with *practical* applications. It will be a system of thought that empowers us, not just a system that feels a little nicer inside the brain.

Sort of like saying that both Democrats and Republicans are equally right. While at some level that's hard for me to swallow, it's also difficult to understand how the truth could be as simple as the notion that half this country is crazy while the other half is sane.

They are crazy. Look at the Nazis and Khmer Rouge. Bad ideas sometimes win, and there are consequences. As for the US, Sinclair Lewis wrote a book on it. :)

Oh, and in case it wasn't clear, it's the Republicans that are crazy, not the Democrats. the Democrats are a bland, boring, not particularly appealing party with few ideas to offer. But that's better than nascent fascism.

"Watch this video and you will see how amazing it is that if you get enough people organized, you can help with this tragedy."

J9, it's impressive that the Kony video has gone viral - more than 60 million hits so far - but I'm not sure how much good it will do. Kony may not even be in Uganda anymore; there are reports he moved to the Central African Republic some time ago and is hiding out in the dense, uncharted tropical forest. The US has sent 100 "advisors" into Uganda to hunt down Kony, but considering the amount of ground they have to cover, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. Kony has kept a low profile lately, and unless he reemerges in a big way, he may be able to stay hidden indefinitely.

"my iPod contains my favorite pictures, words, music, and even, you might say, people"

I just thought of a vital addition to that list: tools! Aren't apps really additional hands, legs, eyes, ears, brains?

Yes--my iPod and I ARE one. :o)

OK--I guess the universe IS a strange place after all. My previous comment somehow got posted before the original post to which it refers, which is a whopper.

Maybe I need to split it into two. I'm going to try that here.

"Cool. The debate is ON! :)"

Don't know if I'm up for a debate, but I do find it hard to resist playing devil's advocate to some of your points. :o)

"Well, experience can't hand you a complete philosophy, unless you claim revelation."

I don't even know what "a complete philosophy" would look like. Reminds me of this comment I saw yesterday on someone's blog:

"Wouldn't any complete explanation of the world have to be coextensive with the world?"

I like that a lot. Reminds me also of the notion that a REALLY good map of the world would need to be as large as the world itself. Isn't that from Alice in Wonderland?

"But did your experiences show you that the partitioning was a *fact*"

Sadly, my experiences in altered states have generally not been as replete with images as many people seem to enjoy. (At least, images that I can remember. There are brief flashes of many more that are lost as soon as I emerge from trance.)

But I'll never forget one vision in particular: I saw the mind of God explode into countless . . . and I'm pausing here because I can't remember the specifics of what emerged from God's head.

But the thrust of that vision was and is clear: the many emerging from the one.

Another image is also memorable. I saw a person playfully hiding behind the trunk of a tree. And these words came into my mind at the same moment: What do you do when there's only one person invited to the party, and you want to have some fun?

And from that visual depiction I knew that the "person" behind the tree trunk was God, and that the answer is: you play hide-and-seek with yourself.

You have to remember that these (and similar) experiences are emblazoned into my memory because they occurred at moments when I was feeling the deepest love/ecstasy imaginable. That says something to me, though I won't be shocked if it means less to others.

(continued)

"The trouble is that the knowledge that "All is One" doesn't really help us here at all."

Ahhh, but it can! It can make all the difference in the world. I know that because I know the trajectory of my own life.

"Even though "All is One," may be a great spiritual truth, but there is no truth to be had in "My computer and I are one." "

I was about to agree with you and suggest that we focus instead on living things, and then I thought of something. There are moments when I feel closer to my iPod Touch than to any living being. Remember--besides being a truly magical and beautiful thing in itself, and almost alive (in a sense), my iPod contains my favorite pictures, words, music, and even, you might say, people.

So the notion that my computer and I are one may not be quite as crazy as you suggest. I do have a relationship with it--it's almost a part of me.

(Added later): I just thought of a vital addition to that list: tools! Aren't apps really additional hands, legs, eyes, ears, brains?
Yes--my iPod and I ARE one. :o)

"I do believe in Oneness myself, but I don't see Oneness as a "God" or "Source." I see oneness as the ultimate state of the universe in which all contradictions and incompleteness have been resolved.. . . But the universe has all of infinity/eternity in which to accomplish this."

That seems to be where we differ. You see oneness as the goal, I see it as the goal AND the starting place.

"I'd need more of an explanation in order for this to make sense to me. The words don't really conjure an image that computes for me."

Instead of evil, think of amnesia. Our existence as separate selves is made possible by what we agree to temporarily forget.

Evil is an extreme form (or result) of forgetting.

"I don't think that there is such a thing as "nothing." The Void is not nothing--it is simple What Is without instantiations. "

I agree!

"My profound experiences have not been of Oneness but have been of non-duality--more like the satori of Buddhism. Now how do I fit that into the big picture we're talking about here?"

Oneness and non-duality sound pretty darned close to me!

"and I read a bit of Ken Wilbur, and my eyes just glaze over."

He's too word-dense for my taste, though one of my heroes--Grof--speaks very highly of him.

"it's the Republicans that are crazy"

No comment. I hear there are spies from the Right who hang out around these parts. :o)

OK--I guess the universe IS a strange place after all. My previous comment somehow got posted before the original post to which it refers, which is a whopper.

Signs are everywhere!

Don't know if I'm up for a debate, but I do find it hard to resist playing devil's advocate to some of your points. :o)

Good enough. :)

"Wouldn't any complete explanation of the world have to be coextensive with the world?"

I like that a lot. Reminds me also of the notion that a REALLY good map of the world would need to be as large as the world itself. Isn't that from Alice in Wonderland?

This states the problem exactly! There is not enough of "us" to pay attention to all of "us."

E.g., I was in the local art center today, and there are photographs on the wall of people doing art. Year after year, art is created. Some is crap, some is great, but there are not enough people to "pay attention" to it all.

Now, I believe in the Akashic records (i.e., that information is never destroyed), but the fact that information is accessible doesn't mean that there is an entity paying attention to it.

I do meditation. Almost every time, memories bubble up that I had not accessed in a very long time. It is weird what's in there and what comes through. Sometimes there is a lot of emotion attached to the memories, and they're hard to handle. It's even necessarily deep stuff. I remember Christmas when I was a kid and begin to travel back into that world, and it's like--sorry!--I can't handle all of the info, emotion-wise, time-wise, etc.-wise. The 40-year-old-self only has so much bandwidth for the 6-year-old self.

This is a personal experience of Void. An experience of Self reveals the non-experience of the Self.

So yes, you can try to make the map, pay attention on an even great scale, but the Void is still there.

But I'll never forget one vision in particular: I saw the mind of God explode into countless . . . and I'm pausing here because I can't remember the specifics of what emerged from God's head.

But the thrust of that vision was and is clear: the many emerging from the one.

Right.

Another image is also memorable. I saw a person playfully hiding behind the trunk of a tree. And these words came into my mind at the same moment: What do you do when there's only one person invited to the party, and you want to have some fun?

And from that visual depiction I knew that the "person" behind the tree trunk was God, and that the answer is: you play hide-and-seek with yourself.

These are both cool.

You have to remember that these (and similar) experiences are emblazoned into my memory because they occurred at moments when I was feeling the deepest love/ecstasy imaginable. That says something to me, though I won't be shocked if it means less to others.

Love *is* meaningful. It is the most powerful thing in the Universe.


"The trouble is that the knowledge that "All is One" doesn't really help us here at all."

Ahhh, but it can! It can make all the difference in the world. I know that because I know the trajectory of my own life.

Certainly, one can have an experience that inspires or helps. But I'm talking about a practical spiritual application of "All is One." I haven't seen that yet.

By the way, I prefer the formulation "All things are connected," which I find to be more literally accurate and more philosophically useful. Everything in the Universe does have some connection to everything else, but saying so preserves the respect for Void, I think. For example, I have ancestors in ancient Europe. I don't know who they are (so that is Void from my current perspective), but I know that factually they existed and that we are connected. To say that me and those ancient ancestors are "One" would seem to imply things that do not, on a practical level, seem to be so. I.e., we don't know each other, we are not in communication with each other, and so on.


"Even though "All is One," may be a great spiritual truth, but there is no truth to be had in "My computer and I are one."

I was about to agree with you and suggest that we focus instead on living things, and then I thought of something. There are moments when I feel closer to my iPod Touch than to any living being. Remember--besides being a truly magical and beautiful thing in itself, and almost alive (in a sense), my iPod contains my favorite pictures, words, music, and even, you might say, people.

So the notion that my computer and I are one may not be quite as crazy as you suggest. I do have a relationship with it--it's almost a part of me.

But there's a lot of Void even between the Self and the parts of the body. I am amazed at how my cells and organs do their work without any prompting or knowledge on my part. I don't even feel "One" with my current body! But I certainly feel "connected." The same line of thinking would apply to the iPod. Yet, as you suggest, we can become extremely connected with many different things.

That seems to be where we differ. You see oneness as the goal, I see it as the goal AND the starting place.

It's a little different, since I think the expectations we create through our words should reflect are experience in the real world. For example, I don't like Christianity's description of God as a loving father. If my child were ever in mortal danger and I could save her, I absolutely would. I'd spend any amount of money and would give up my own life without a second thought. I think any loving father would do that for his child. But God is the loving father that chooses not to save us, though presumably able. Could there still be a good God out there? Yes, but it's a God that doesn't behave like a "loving father."

And so it is with "Oneness." If we see the origin of the Universe as a unitary, omniscient, omnipotent being, then we have a lot of odd behavior to explain. So much so that it's probably easier just to think in other terms. I thus try to choose different words that reflect how we normally talk about things.

Instead of evil, think of amnesia. Our existence as separate selves is made possible by what we agree to temporarily forget.

Evil is an extreme form (or result) of forgetting.

I don't believe that, since, when I look at the depredations of Genghis Khan, Hitler, Pol Pot, and many others, I see a *positive* malice at work and not merely a "whoops! I forgot how to be nice and loving* kind of thing at work.

Oneness and non-duality sound pretty darned close to me!

In my experiences, I did not feel "connected to all things," which is what I think a Oneness experience would be like. Rather, I saw "that which exists in opposition to nothing," which is a mind-blowing thing that transcends all categories and concepts. It also transcends One/many. But, at the same time, it's a state that spits you out right away, since, in there, there is no knower to know it. I'm not even sure it has any real practical application!

He's too word-dense for my taste, though one of my heroes--Grof--speaks very highly of him.

I just haven't found anything in his writings that helps me think or live easier. Ultimately, I think that's what philosophy should do.

No comment. I hear there are spies from the Right who hang out around these parts. :o)

There are a lot of good Republicans who want good things for the country. But right now there are just too many on the right who have a negative and fantasy-based vision for this country.

Yo, is the debate OVER? :)

Yo, is the debate OVER? :)

Nope--got more to say, but I got waylaid by other stuff. And lost a whole hour to DST. :o) Maybe later today or tomorrow.

Cool man, thanks!

Hope you guys don't mind if I chip in here.

I have certainly experienced the oneness of all things - or at least that's what I would call what I experienced.

However, I don't think that it is a useful state of being for humans in their daily lives. The oneness, it seems to me, is only true at a level that is way deeper than our humaness. When we are going about our human lives i think the understanding, or the sense of, interconnectedness (separate but connected) is more useful and is more related to the occurrence of psi.

At the level of total oneness there is no psi because there is no one to send and no one to receive.

At the level of separate but connected, *I* can receive information from *you*.

Ditto the problem of evil. If all is oneness then there is no one doing anything to anyone. If separate, but connected, then I can do bad things to you and I can appreciate - even get off on in my evil way - the pain I am causing you and the effects of my evil can spread; which, being evil, I want it to.

My understanding is that we can experience many many levels of perception, with oneness being one of the possibilities. All of these experiences are "real". However, none of them are THE Ultimate reality. Rather they are option which have varying degrees of usefulness at the time and for our lives generally. As an aside there are perceptual realities that are outside of the human ability to perceive. The form of the human sould is too restrictive a lense to get at these.

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