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Great post, Michael. I'm still on your wavelength with this!

BTW, I have continued to ponder the debate that has unfolded over your past two posts and will surely unfold further here.

A lot of regulars and some new faces (well, we can't see their faces, but, anyway) were twisting the ol' knickers about whether information or consciousness is primary/foundational/etc.

Let's just grant for the nonce that NCC (Nice Comforting Consciousness) is the font and foundation of all things. Fine. The reality-as-information concept works just as well because it helps us organize what we experience and observe more efficiently, elegantly, and parsimoniously.

Lot of things just tie together better, as you continued to observe in this post.

So maybe we can focus in the debate on whether this conception of things helps our thinking or hurts it. I think that is the interesting question. YMMV, of course!

"Let's just grant for the nonce that NCC (Nice Comforting Consciousness) is the font and foundation of all things. Fine. The reality-as-information concept works just as well because it helps us organize what we experience and observe more efficiently, elegantly, and parsimoniously."

I like that and it is harmonious with my outlook; a melding of ideas I can live with.

Clever post, Michael. But I can't figure out where this computer's memory resides. Does it have an imaginary hard drive, too?

Intriguing thoughts. Doesn't today's physics state that matter vibrates at the sub-atomic level? Vibration suggests energy. Maybe some people can tap into this energy? Jesus seemed to suggest that others could perform his miracles when he said, "You are gods." On the other hand, would we really wants this - imagine how many lawns would be blasted because of feuding neighbors.

The million dollar question here is how do adjust your vibrations? And then comes the test.

Yes, this is why vibrators are such important tools for... oh, never mind.

I guess I have selected a mind blowing and interesting blog.

Indeed you have.

@Matt Rouge
As long as the "information" which composes consciousness can survive bodily death in the form SPR's texts detail, I don't much care if the universe is a giant Twinkie cake and we're the cream filling.

Oh my dear Josh,

Then surely we would eaten in the Afterlife.

Someone once translated a Modern Greek expression for me. (I wish I could remember it.) Its literal translation was 'I didn't eat what you said'. It meant: 'I don't believe you'. Michael and Matt Rouge, I'm not eating your Twinkie information. :)

Thanks for this quite delightful review of the Elliot book, Michael.

"Abandon All Twinkies, Ye Who Enter Here.

--The Management"

"One weakness of the holographic analogy is that a hologram typically begins with a physical object, which is translated into a series of wave-interference patterns by two intersecting beams of coherent light." - Michael Prescott

As Sir James Jeans said, "The Universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine." (or something to that effect.

Everything is made of information. If our universe is a holographic projection as some physicists believe it is, and from what I can glean from near death experiences, then even when we make a hologram here in this life it is little more than a projection of a projection. Waves and interference patterns.

By the way, the Museum of Science and Industry in Oak Ridge, TN has a real neat holographic projector up on the second floor that projects a ball out into space. When you try to grab it your hand just passes right through it. It reminds me of descriptions I've read in NDE's where the people said that when they tried to touch somebody their hand just passed right through the people. So who is "real" and who is the projection? Perhaps we are really the holographic images and not the other way around?

This blog was bound to draw me in. How could I pass up something about holograms and holographic universe stuff?

Excerpt from Arthur W's NDE description:

"Three things came to my thoughts. 1) That if the vehicle was to hit me again that would be it! 2) That my wife was in danger again. As she was standing in front of my body with her hands waving to the automobile in a fashion as to flag them down. Only they were going way to fast to stop and way to close to miss. 3) My 6 month old son was foremost in my mind. I remember sensing a presence, nothing visual but I knew I was Not alone! I said, "Please Dear God, No! Not Now!" I saw the car pass through the scene, it did not swerve, it did not turn. It passed directly through, leaving my wife and my body untouched. Instantly after that I found myself laying on the ground, back inside my body writhing in pain. This story can be confirmed! Teresa, who was my wife at the time can confirm it. We are no longer married. But she recalls this event as well as I do. She also claims that the car passed directly through the scene, there was No way for it not to, it was going way to fast and was too close to either miss or swerve out of the way. But miss it did, and left everyone untouched. In my experience this was nothing short of miraculous."

http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experiences/arthur_w's_nde.htm

Neat story from the near-death.com website:

"Robert Blair Kaiser is an author and a former correspondent for Time magazine. Reviewing a book about miracles he wrote: "In 1994, behind the wheel of my Mercedes, I lurched out of my driveway and was awakened from my dreamy preoccupation by the sight of a speeding car bearing down on me, not five feet away on my left. I knew I was a dead man.

"All of a sudden, that car was on my right. The driver weaved a bit, braked for a moment and then drove off, shaking his head in disbelief, as I was. For it was clear to me, there was no way he could have missed crashing into me, no way he could have steered aside. His car had flashed through my car, his steel and glass and rubber passing through my steel and glass and rubber like a ray of light through a pane of alabaster."

Kaiser ends his anecdote with a reflection: "This miracle moment was a turning point in my life, for I took it as a sign that God wasn't finished with me yet and that I had some new business to attend to."

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/atheists01.html

Art,

I agree with a lot (most?) of what you have to say, but I think the hologram analogy--for that's what it is, an analogy--gets old after awhile. So my suggestion would be to drop the analogy and get down to the nitty gritty of how things work in your view.

For example, in a hologram, the entire image is in each part of the plate. That's cool, for sure. But I don't feel that each part of the Universe is in me. I feel limited and to some extent separated from the rest. Now you also talk about separation a lot. It's the separation part that makes life here on Earth *not* like a hologram.

OK, remove the separation. Let's say All is One. Such a transcendental merging of all things isn't really that much like a hologram either. In fact, I don't really see where the value-add of the analogy comes in.

I can see how, *at first*, the analogy could stimulate the brain cells of people who are new to spirituality, but most people who have done any study at all *get* the "All Is One" trope pretty easily.

Dunno. Am I missing something?

"For example, in a hologram, the entire image is in each part of the plate. That's cool, for sure. But I don't feel that each part of the Universe is in me. I feel limited and to some extent separated from the rest. Now you also talk about separation a lot. It's the separation part that makes life here on Earth *not* like a hologram." - matt
-----------------------

Sigh! What we have here is a failure to communicate. This is the "place of separation" and the other side, Heaven, is the place of oneness and connectedness. This side is the holographic projection and the other side, heaven, is the original holographic film that our side is a projection from.

This means the physics of heaven will be very different from this side. We come here to experience and learn the stuff that we can't learn in heaven because the physics of heaven will be so different than this side.

Our Universe exists to teach us the things that can't be learned in heaven, i.e. what it means and how it feels to be separate, what time and space look and feel like, and make memories of what it was like to live in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe.

We will use this information to "conjure up" a reality on the other side. Before coming here we were pure consciousness, we didn't exist as separate, unique, individuals. We were part of the whole, part of the collective consciousness. It's like a little piece of that consciousness broke off and came to this Universe and was born and learned the things it needed to learn, i.e. what it feels like to be separate.

Excerpt from Rosemarie's NDE:
"I was going backward as if I was going away from that place of separation."
http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experiences/rosemarie_w_nde.htm

Excerpt from Peter's NDE:
"I learned that I am here to become complete in some way, then is when I can graduate so to speak. If I don't gather this completeness I will have to return until I'm ready it seems!"
http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experiences/peter_h's_nde.htm

Art,

OK, I get that, but I don't really see how it's anything like a hologram. But I don't disagree with you on the basics there.

But Art (or Matt) - do you think some of our individuality is retained even though we return, after death, to the collective consciousness?

@Sleepers If there is an external soul component, I don't see what the point of it incarnating is if you didn't retain anything. I guess it leaves the question if that soul component can be demonstrated, and what component of life it retains.

Mediums suggest some spirits are still what we would consider alive; I'm curious how Windbridge research is going to go. They got a grant from SPR this year, and they seem to have found a way to shake out whether a medium can perform under experimental conditions or not.

"but I think the hologram analogy--for that's what it is, an analogy--gets old after awhile."

Yes, as do all analogies, all attempts to pin down or intellectually grasp ultimate truth. And that includes likening the universe to a computer, or saying that it's an information-based scheme.

(The computer explanation is going to look really old, I think, at some point in the future, when we look back on the computer as an outdated machine from the distant past, and laugh to think that mankind was, for a while, enthralled with the notion that the universe was basically a glorified version of one of man's own inventions.)

Which is why some of us prefer words like Source, or Oneness, or better yet, Wakan Tanka--the Great Mystery--as the Lakota called it. It's a way of referring to the foundation of all things without claiming to be able to explain the unexplainable.

I like the name of the book Irreducible Mind. I take it to mean that mind (or Mind or God) cannot be broken down into its constituent elements, because there *are* none.

And if that's true, how can something called information--however you define it--be the fundamental building block?

"But Art (or Matt) - do you think some of our individuality is retained even though we return, after death, to the collective consciousness." - Sleepers
---------------

yes, that is the whole point of life. Life is one big long lesson in what it means and how it feels to be separate. From the moment we are born and separate from our mothers and the umbilical cord is cut in two till the day we die and our deaths become a lesson in separation to the loved ones we leave behind. Religion, politics, race, culture, language, dialects, gender, sexual orientation, wealth, I.Q., education, socio-economic status, country of origin, etc. are all ways we experience separation in this life. Even generation gaps, moving away from home, divorce, losing friends, breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, ... there are a million ways to experience separation in this life.

It's like leaving the Borg collective. We come here to become separate unique individuals, something that we can't learn in heaven. I remember reading one NDE description where the woman said something to the effect of "we here in the physical universe can't begin to comprehend the feelings of oneness and connectedness in heaven."

Regardless of whether you are bored or frustrated with the holographic analogy, or you just don't understand it, many physicists and near death experience descriptions depict our Universe as some kind of strange holographic projection, and that means that somewhere (heaven, another dimension, etc.) there is a somewhere our universe is being projected from.

I have read through most of the previous posts as far back as 2007 to see if the subject of suicide has been covered, but haven't found anything.
My Bi Polar wife took her life just on 5 months ago, and I'm endeavoring to find out what becomes of her spirit, should existance of the afterlife be a reality.
Compared to some other sites I have visited,the host and commentors here seem refreshingly intelligent, objective and unpatronising, so I would appreciate any replies.

Snorkler, it was discussed on December 8 2011 (and in the comments afterwards) in Michael's blog "School Project".

I'm sorry to hear that Snorkler.

I suppose you must come to your own conclusions as to whether there is an afterlife or not.

If you read through this blog, you will be able link to various other sites and pick up various works that suggest the current available evidence certainly points in the direction of an afterlife, despite what skeptics claim. The reason skeptics feel they must explain away or ignore the available evidence is because that evidence does not fit into the current scientific world view as it stands at present - for this reason, it's best that the contrary evidence simply disappears - not very scientific!

Regarding your question, the vast majority of NDE evidence strongly suggests that nobody is judged by some outside god-like figure, handing out reward and punishment in appropriate measure - this is a concept rooted in human culture, but it doesnt appear to play a role in the afterlife.

NDEs suggest that people have to work through their various issues and that they must do this in their own time so to speak, but everyone eventially does, and held is available, so ultimately there's not need to worry.

The vast majority of Mediumship and channeled sources suggest the same, but really its the NDE evidence that points most strongly in this direction.

@Art
I often wonder what exactly "oneness" entails. I've seen it referenced both as spiritual extinction (there is a soul, but the "you" as you are is not retained) which seems no more desirable than material extinction, and as being a conscious entity that just has the feeling of being connected to everything it could want.

Hi Snorkler

Sorry to hear of your situation.

Good advice from Douglas imho. I would recommend reading around the subject and forming your own view. I found a book by Jon Klimo interesting, it is called "Suicide: what really happens in the afterlife". I am not saying that I agree with everything in it but it has many references to follow up. You may also find the writings of Silver Birch useful.

Where you start depends on your own beliefs about survival I guess. I don't think you will find a straight answer to your question that all sources agree on for all cases of suicide. I am inclined to think that our motivation, for anything we do, is what determines our experiences in the afterlife (not that I am personally convinced beyond reasonable doubt about survival at present).

"My Bi Polar wife took her life just on 5 months ago, and I'm endeavoring to find out what becomes of her spirit, should existance of the afterlife be a reality." Snorkler
-------------------------

I am so sad for you. I literally got a tear in my eye when I read your post. I can't imagine the pain you must be feeling. I think mental illness is a problem in the hardwiring in the brain. Another words, it's a "here" thing and not a "there" thing. When the soul leaves the body all those physical issues are left with the body. The duality that we experience in this life doesn't exist in the next.

We experience separation in this life to teach the soul what it feels like to be separate. Period. The emotion generated has to be powerful enough to overcome the feelings of oneness and connectedness in heaven.

We don't lose our uniqueness after we cross over. Snorkler your wife will be waiting there in the light for you and she will be healed and whole.

Art
"I often wonder what exactly "oneness" entails. I've seen it referenced both as spiritual extinction (there is a soul, but the "you" as you are is not retained) which seems no more desirable than material extinction, and as being a conscious entity that just has the feeling of being connected to everything it could want." Joshua
------------------------------------------

We don't lose our uniqueness after we cross back over. Once we have become unique, separate, individuals, we stay that way - even though we get reconnected to the whole. It's sort of like being connected to the internet. You're still you, but you also have access to all that knowledge and information.

Excerpt from my most favorite NDE description, Mark Horton's:

"I was unique yet I was the tiniest part of the whole."

http://www.mindspring.com/~scottr/nde/markh.html

Hi Snorkler. Very sorry to hear about your wife. I agree with Paul's suggestion to take a look at the book Suicide, by Jon Klimo, which addresses the subject by looking at mediumistic communications.

Also, I'd point out that when suicide is the result of factors outside the person's control, it does not seem to have any adverse consequences for postmortem existence. If bipolar disorder precipitated your wife's action, then she was not really responsible for it.

Another book that may be of some interest is Carl Wickland's Thirty Years Among the Dead, which can be found online for free. Wickland was a psychiatrist whose wife was a medium; together they successfully treated many seemingly incurable patients by coaxing an obsessing spirit out of the patient.

The relevance to your situation is that typically the patient's behavior (including self-destructive acts) was entirely due to the obsessing spirit. I am not, of course, suggesting that spirit obsession was a factor in your wife's illness; my point is that anything that interferes with a person's free will, whether a biological illness or spirit control, mitigates that person's moral/spiritual responsibility.

BTW, I don't think it's quite correct that every part of a holographic record contains the whole image. Each part contains the whole image as seen from one particular perspective, but it does not contain information about the image that can be seen only from other perspectives. Also, the level of detail deteriorates as you look at smaller pieces. A really small slice of the holographic plate would yield only a blurred smear that vaguely suggests the image.

Michael,

Quite right, which further limits the applicability of the hologram analogy, I think.

I think I'm in 90% agreement with what Art says. I just don't think the hologram analogy is the best way to say it.

Snorkler,

So sorry to hear about your tragic experience. I pray that healing will come to you and your family.

Bruce,

You wrote...

||Yes, as do all analogies, all attempts to pin down or intellectually grasp ultimate truth. And that includes likening the universe to a computer, or saying that it's an information-based scheme.||

As far as Michael and I are thinking (if I may speak for him too), it's *not* an analogy per se but a hypothesis about the nature of material *and* spiritual reality--one that can help bridge the gap between the two. But it could also be applied just to just material reality if one were a materialist.

Just as atomic theory is not an analogy, this framework is also not an analogy.

Michael's conception is more computer-like than mine. I don't think mine is at all. More like updated and expanded Platonic realism. (Though I think the core ideas are the same.)

||Which is why some of us prefer words like Source, or Oneness, or better yet, Wakan Tanka--the Great Mystery--as the Lakota called it. It's a way of referring to the foundation of all things without claiming to be able to explain the unexplainable.||

I think this is totally arguing beside the point. If I explained to you atomic theory at a time when that theory was not a proven fact, would it make sense to respond by saying, "I think everything comes from Source"? No. This is about the mechanics of reality, not its foundation. Now I have some *additional* ideas about how information relates to the ultimate foundation of things, but if you disagree with those that doesn't necessarily invalidate the rest.

||I like the name of the book Irreducible Mind. I take it to mean that mind (or Mind or God) cannot be broken down into its constituent elements, because there *are* none.||

Your mind doesn't have constituent elements?

||And if that's true, how can something called information--however you define it--be the fundamental building block?||

I don't get this question. That seems like asking how atoms could be the fundamental building blocks of matter.

"Your mind doesn't have constituent elements?"

Maybe not.

"A really small slice of the holographic plate would yield only a blurred smear that vaguely suggests the image."

Actually, this comment resulted in an "aha" for me. The holographic analogy never really held any appeal for me, but now it does (despite the mechanical shortcomings Michael points out in the comment I took the above quote from).

So you've got the oneness of the hologram. And you've got individual's separated from it here on earth, but containing a fragment of the hologram in their core awareness. It's like you have a hologram fragment and you plop some carbon based organic matter on it (physical incarnation). Now the information stored in the hologram fragment does not read so well. The image - the memory - of the whole is completely blurred.

Wipe the organic matter off (death), though not perfectly, and there is still a smear of organic residue left (astral body) and the hologram information reads better, but still imperfectly. The image of oneness remains at least partially obscured (the afterlife that we have communicated to us via mediums, Tibetan Book of the Dead, etc where individuality and old habits still exist to some extent, albeit within an expanded consciouness).

Remove the remaining smear completely and oness with all things (the goal of Buddhists) is achieved.

However, the hologram was created by the source and the information on it obtains meaning only when interpreted by awareness (which is the source).

There! I have melded Art's theory with the information theory with Bruce's outlook.

Thankyou all for your considerate replies.
My question that you have anwered was.What happens to them if the persons suicide was a result of mental illness, and not an act of free will ?

Personally I have yet to form any firm conclusion as to the reality of survival.
Emotions are still very raw and the complete absense of 'signs'despite the extreme closeness and mutual dependance of our union does give me cause for scepticism.
If one was given a choice, I would oblivian for myself, but because my wife didn't get a fair deal in her physical existence I wish her all the happiness and peace that the afterlife can provide for her.

Of course that was meant to read,"I would prefer oblivian for myself"

As to the possibility of spirit possession being a strong influence in the act of suicide, I believe there could be something in that.My wife made 4 serious attempts on her life over 5 years, and on the 3rd occasion I clearly heard her talking calmly to herself just prior to leaping out of the car onto the highway.

@snorkler
According to the modern idea of it (channeled texts, NDE reports), suicide victims can get help if they accept it.

@Matt Rouge
Irreducible Mind is a very large book that as I understand it, presents holes in materialism by making references to 1930's era psychial research and some modern psi.

If those research programs were still functioning on that level today, there would be a case for kneecapping the materialist paradigm. Unfortunately our "star mediums" today seem to suck, and the scientific reports have been showing no result (Wiseman, Arcangel, Rob-Roy, ...) Beischel seems to be getting positive results, but the data point is too small to begin to mount anything more than the tired old call for "more research."

'the scientific reports have been showing no result (Wiseman, Arcangel, Rob-Roy, ...)'

Wiseman can hardly be taken seriously as a researcher. Robinson and Roy have, I believe, obtained some significant results. I don't know about Arcangel.

The best results are usually obtained from trance mediums, who are rare today.

"Snorkler' I'm sorry to hear of your wife's passing. Depression is crippling, and as a part of feeling suicidal, people are usually emotionally detached from others. This does not change when they pass, and can interfere with contacting loved ones for some time.

People who take their lives go to a place of "redemption", I am told.

Sometimes sitting quietly at night when our mind is still and allowing thoughts to wash over us, may help. Although these subjective feelings may not be the conclusive signs you ask for.

The journey is also part of the process. When my father died, I was told my mother would not believe any sign given to her, but six years have now passed, and she has slowly come to believe.

I hope this site brings some answer for you. Lyn x.

Snorkler,

We often meet our departed loved ones in dreams. If you've seen your wife in a dream and she's been smiling and seemed OK, that would indicate the reality Over There.

"Snorkler", I need to qualify that. I particularly got that your wife has gone to a "place of redemption". All the best Lyn x.

Sorry about your wife, Snorkler. I do not know if you know this blog, but maybe it helps you:

http://www.channelingerik.com/

In case comments on this page is closed before I get back I would like to thank those who have provided condolences, advice and links to other sources of research information.I have a lot of reading to do. As I personally have very little wisdom to share I will mostly lurk in the background and not post very often.
Thank you all once again.

Hi Juan, thats a great link! I've bookmarked it as there's so much info, however from what i've read alrwady, it chimes with a lot of my own experiences, in particular how the deceased can communicate via dreams or by manipulating reality/circumstances somehow to produce amazing synchronicities.

@Michael

I've been referring to these:

http://barenormality.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/modern-mediumship-research-kelly-and-arcangel/

http://barenormality.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/modern-mediumship-research-robertson-roy/

during the interim of me finding copies of the papers to review.

I've only read the Beischel papers so far, and there's an active discussion at the mind-energy forums over those posts. One of them links back to one of your prior posts (http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2011/01/mediums-rare.html) saying that while some statements seem too good to be guessed, there were also data points that people claimed were "very accurate" when they were for someone completely else's.

From what I've combed over so far, Rob-Roy also confirmed that there is a bias for which readings people accept as theirs largely based on if they are told which one is theirs (confirms known psychological effects.) Discussion also goes on that in both Rob-Roy and Arcangel cases, mediums perform very badly with no information; Arcangel gets better results with a picture, Beischel gives a first name. Beischel's papers also show that giving no information on which paper is yours or the decoy, seems to result in the actual result being chosen. I'm not sure if this has to do with the dichotomous target scenario or not, since they try to make the reports as different as possible.

"The readings were held over telephone, with Emily Kelly standing in for the actual sitter. She only knew the first name and birthday (but not year) of the deceased person that was to be contacted." (from Joshua's link)

Personally, I don't think this kind of control is conducive to mediumship. Yes, I recognize that the mediums themselves stated that they could perform under those conditions, but, as is noted in the link, they may have overestimated their abilities and/or the stand-in sitter may not have been a good intermediary. Some of the controls could be operating as confounds.

I think mediumship works best - or most reliably at least - in person (sitter and medium) with the sitter not being a surogate. Of course this approach also introduces confounds, especially in the form of cold reading cues.

My own bias, from a spiritual/believer perspective, is to not have the sitter tell the medium who (the deceased) is to be contacted. For one thing, the desired contact may not be available e.g. essentially unconscious in a "swoon" period that some recently departed may experience as described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead or transitioned beyond concerns with earthly matters and attachments or just plain busy with some development issues on the other side. Afterall, how many times do you call someone on the phone and they don't answer because they're busy or cell phone connection is not optimal and there is static and then a dropped call. Should would conclude from these experiences that phones are not real? Or that the carrier has sold you a fraudulent contract?

Another issue with naming who is to be contacted is that they may be working to break ties with earthly concerns so as to move further along in spiritual development and they do respond to the medium, but that response distracts them from their learning and they fall into a downward spiral of earthly focus.

These are serious matters sometimes and not necessarily should be triffled with for some rational satisfaction.

Something to think about, perhaps.

Any how I may write up and post in comments my recent experience with a medium. My approach, in conformity with the above, is to not name a person to be contacted, just, "Tell me, good, bad or ugly, who wants to communicate with me and what they have to say". Also, I do not use my real name. Finally, I refuse to respond to leading questions concerning who has passed away that is close to me. Joshua (or anyone) I'd be interested in your comments. I am just hesitating to comment on the sitting because I need time to figure out to include some personal material that is important as far discerning accuracey is concerned, while maintaining personal privacy as well.

@no one
"Personally, I don't think this kind of control is conducive to mediumship. Yes, I recognize that the mediums themselves stated that they could perform under those conditions"

Beischel's work has a proxy sitter call the mediums over the phone, so some mediums appear to be able of performing under those conditions.

"For one thing, the desired contact may not be available e.g. essentially unconscious in a 'swoon' period"

Beischel requires a period of one year to have passed to allow the sitter a grieving period. Would this not be adequate when accounting for an average case for a 'swoon period'?

"These are serious matters sometimes and not necessarily should be triffled with for some rational satisfaction."

But the dawn of mediumship research and its channeled texts indicate that it is allowable for us to peek beyond the veil in such a way, and suggest that a minor amount of peeking for certainty ("rational satisfaction") actually does pose a benefit for one's spiritual development.

"Joshua (or anyone) I'd be interested in your comments. I am just hesitating to comment on the sitting because I need time to figure out to include some personal material that is important as far discerning accuracey is concerned, while maintaining personal privacy as well."

Unfortunately, the ones I know who would be greatly healed by talking to a genuine medium can't find one. How will we find who is just preying on the lost ones with parlor tricks (frauds), the sincere but misguided (ones unaware that they are using classical methods but not mediumship), and the ones who actually can teach us (the real mediums)?

Keep in mind that hardcore skeptics are often born of those who were dealt with by the first two, until we can devise a way to figure out who's in the third, we can't help them.

Hi Joshua,

"Beischel's work has a proxy sitter call the mediums over the phone, so some mediums appear to be able of performing under those conditions."

I didn't say it *couldn't* work; just that I don't think it's optimal and that the proxy sitter becomes another variable that could confound the experiment, ditto other aspects of the design.

"Beischel requires a period of one year to have passed to allow the sitter a grieving period. Would this not be adequate when accounting for an average case for a 'swoon period'?"

I truly don't know.

"But the dawn of mediumship research and its channeled texts indicate that it is allowable for us to peek beyond the veil in such a way, and suggest that a minor amount of peeking for certainty ("rational satisfaction") actually does pose a benefit for one's spiritual development."

Well, right there in your statement is something that I think is important, "...the dawn...." - our culture's understanding of these things is in its infancy and suffers from contextual issues as well perpetual developmental delays.

I tend to reconcile my own experiences, thoughts and feelings as well as current trends in the same with the accumulated wisdom of much older cultures that have a long established tradition of belief and practice. Due to the fact that my own experiences tend to correlate much better with what the older cultures have to say, I tend to think they had it more correct than what comes out of our own new age and/or commercialized and/or scientific approaches.

Which brings me to,"the ones I know who would be greatly healed by talking to a genuine medium can't find one. ...."

I've noticed a meme in popular media and medium's advertisements that suggests that the spirits that are contacted are going to provide messages of love and forgiveness 100% of the time. I really don't buy that. This is another area where older cultures with established mediumistic activity agree with me. Some spirits remain angry, vengeful, desperate or lost. Death does not bring about instant total enlightment or even substantial enlightment in most cases. So I am not convinced that a potential for healing is the predetermined outcome of even the most successful sitting. This may be particularly true for some who need the healing the most, say a bad relationship with a abusive parent, or a parent who abandoned them, or someone who died mentally/emotionally disturbed or someone who died violently and in shock.

I think healing should be something that the individual finds within him or herself and, if the deceased are ready and willing, the survivor will get a sign or communication that makes sense and is healing, but the survivor must also be at a place in the heart that is right. All things in due time and setting.

"How will we find who is just preying on the lost ones with parlor tricks ...."

I think it's like anything in life, you do your research, make the best rational choice you can and go for it. Word of mouth from reliable sources is invaluable.

People in legal trouble need good lawyers. A lousy lawyer will leave you many dollars short and in a bad spot. How do you find a good one? You don't just open the yellow pages. You ask around. Then you select a few of the recommended lawyers and you have an initial consult. You go with the one that seems to have a good track record in the area of law you need assistance with and who inspires confidence. Ditto a good doctor. Ditto (more or less) when deciding on a girlfriend/boyfriend or husband/wife.

"Keep in mind that hardcore skeptics are often born of those who were dealt with by the first two...."

Oh, I don't know. I think that's a cop out. Reminds me of men I've known that have gotten divorced and end up hating women and becoming miserable lonely drunk guys at the end of the bar at "happy hour". They can't even believe that anyone has a solid marriage. In fact, they bristle at the very concept. I mean, really? A relationship didn't work out - and yeah, maybe she screwed you over - but no good women out there for anyone? But that's the hardcore skeptical mindset, of the variety you describe, as I see it.


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