IMG_2361
Blog powered by Typepad

« Sally forth | Main | Splinters of truth »

Comments

Hi Susan,

For a readable overview, I recommend Greg Taylor's Stop Worrying: There Probably Is an Afterlife. The title and cover are lighthearted, but the book is serious.

A more challenging book is Steven E. Braude's Immortal Remains.

Another good option is Chris Carter‘s Science and the Near-Death Experience and its follow-up Science and the Afterlife Experience.

However, my (limited) experience with children suggests that the more you try to convince her, the more she will resist. It might be better just to suggest that she make the most of life. After all, she’s very young and has a long time left to go.

Another option is the old philosophical argument that if death means nonexistence, then there is nothing to fear, because you will never know it. “Wherever death is, you are not,“ as some Greek philosopher put it.


Juan,
You are so right! I got too narrow in my comment. -AOD

Hi Susan,
My daughter went through the same thing at about the same age. I always tried to instill a sense of spiritual awareness and values in my daughter and son - as did my wife; not that we had major family discussions of these things on a regular basis. Just that when an appropriate opportunity presented, we would try to explain things from a spiritual perspective.

I was very surprised when my daughter suddenly became an outspoken materialist atheist. She was absolutely strident about her ideas. Seemed to me that it had something to do with what she was learning in school, pubescent angst and maybe a couple other factors.

She remained stuck in that mode all through high school. Then she went off to work for Uncle Sam. A couple years later she was visiting home and we went for a walk one day and out of the blue she confided in me that maybe I was right about spirituality being real and that she was starting to entertain those ideas as valid. Pleasant surprise for me.

A couple more years later and she had some sort of experience when my mother-in-law passed away (her grandma) that seems to have bought her more solidly into the spiritualist camp.

So, people learn/accept in their own time. You can't force children to adopt your ideas. They have to get it on their own. All you can do is present the possibility of another way of looking at things. That's my opinion, of course. Your mileage may vary.

Hi Susan,
I think you are asking for the impossible when you want something easy to read but having a scientific basis. And if your daughter dismisses anecdotal evidence, then she will miss some of the most convincing evidence there is.

As I see it one of the main problems of convincing anyone of alternate realities is that they will not, let me say it again, THEY WILL NOT take the time or make the effort to research and read the voluminous information that is available about alternate realities.

I am currently reading a book by Alastair Bruce Scott-Hill titled "The Paranormal - Is Normal: The Science Validation to Reincarnation, the Paranormal and Your Immortality." This is an excellent book in which the author discusses from a scientific perspective many issues related to what reality may be. (Unfortunately the copy I have has many editing problems.) Probably this book is 'too deep' for a 13 year-old even if she reads at a "college level."

I think it might be more appropriate for your daughter to look at the YouTube presentations of Dr. Keith Parsons. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5RpbveVC_4

Dr. Parsons has several videos now in which he discusses issues like reincarnation, possession, mediumship and other topics related to survival of consciousness after death. They are relatively short and nicely presented. If they pique her interest she can go from there to investigate on her own. - AOD

Susan wrote,

||Hi everyone. I have read this blog for many years. I need some help from all of you. I am the mother of an extremely skeptical 13 year old. She, to the point of tears, tells me there is no evidence of a life after death.||

I liked Michael's answer, both the books and the advice not to try to convince her.

My best friend is basically an atheist, and my daughter says she is one. As a New Ager, I'm fine with people being atheists (or anything), and I don't try to change their minds. I would say, respect her autonomy, and eventually she will figure it out for herself--or not.

Not that this does not mean that I do not put out my opinions in the public sphere, such as here, since that is simply an opportunity for someone to read and agree or disagree, not an attempt to influence an individual.

Good luck!

Bruce wrote,

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

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

To me, that implies that undivided consciousness can arbitrarily change the laws of math and logic. I think this is false on the surface.

You wrote a book, a good book, called "Dreaming the Future." You had a thesis and made arguments. Now what if I sad that all those arguments are irrelevant and have no weight... because Oneness?

Further, in order to argue that I am incorrect, you have had to use the principles of logic to make your argument, thereby reinforcing them.

I have had this argument with both at least one atheist, who claimed that the laws of math and logic were merely things we discovered and found empirically to be useful but not necessarily "true"; and with at least one Christian, who argued that God did indeed have the power to change 1 + 1 = 2 into 1 + 1 = 3.

I don't think either side of that argument works.


I think the distinction Matt is making is essentially between analytic and synthetic propositions. Analytic propositions are purely logical constructions in which the conclusion is ineluctably drawn from the premises, while synthetic propositions are not inherently unfalsifiable. Analytic propositions are tautological; synthetic propositions are not. Analytic propositions are deductive; synthetic propositions are inductive.

"All bachelors are unmarried" is an analytic proposition. I don't think we can imagine a reality in which there are married bachelors, since this would be a self-contradiction according to any system of logic that we can conceive of. Somebody might argue that there are other systems of logic that do allow for contradictions, but we have no way of knowing this and no way of making sense of it, so the suggestion is basically meaningless.

"One plus one equals two" would be the equivalent of "all bachelors are unmarried," since the conclusion is implicit in the premises. On the other hand, the gravitational constant or the speed of light could conceivably be any value. There might be all kinds of *empirical* problems with positing a different speed of light, but there is no *logical* necessity, as far as I know, for asserting a certain value a priori, just as one might (in theory) posit any value for the circumference of the earth or the number of blades of grass in a meadow.

A related philosophical issue involves the distinction between necessary and contingent truths. Necessary truths (or facts) could not logically be otherwise. Contingent truths (or facts) are dependent upon other factors and would be different if the other factors were different. The circumference of the earth might have been different if the circumstances involved in its formation had been different. But "one plus one equals two" could not be otherwise regardless of any outside considerations.

Thanks everyone! Very helpful.

Matt said:

“But I think the One finds truth and meaning in our world too. And any world that it creates. I am not of the mind that none of this matters and only the One matters.”

Of course. Multiplicity is deeply meaningful, or the One wouldn’t have dreamed it up.

“And I concur with Michael in that we are both created by the One and the creators of the One.”

I would say this differently: We ARE the One. Acting as though we are two, three, four, and more.

In other words, two isn’t real—not in the same way One is. That’s my point, and there I’ll have to leave it for now.

'One male human plus one female human sometimes equals three (or more).'

So sorry! I couldn't resist. Sometimes a little levity is needed in a serious discussion. - AOD.

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

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

My point was essentially that whatever the "a priori reality" preceding the Big Bang was, it must have included the potentiality and "blueprint" of the process of the Big Bang and cosmic inflation leading to our present Universe. This potentiality and blueprint therefore contained the immense amount of specified information constituting the mathematical structure of the quantum physics underlying the "posterior reality" of our present Universe.

This means that whatever this "a priori reality" was, it couldn't have been constituted of only absolute logical truths that could not be otherwise, like 1 + 1 = 2 or pi.

To say this potentiality and blueprint existed simply because of absolute logical necessity with no intelligent origin is like claiming that a portrait by Rembrandt had no creator, that the work of art was like a fundamental logical truth.

Michael,""One plus one equals two" would be the equivalent of "all bachelors are unmarried," since the conclusion is implicit in the premises."


I was just about to post something similar to what you said about what Matt said...I think. Not sure because I was never very good at philosophy and didn't pay attention when I was supposed to be learning.

Anyhow, what Matt says about Pi and circles seems, to me, to be...well.. circular logic. A circle is round, by definition. If an object is round, then Pi applies to it as an inherent characteristic (aka by definition) of roundness. Pi/diameter/radius are all just alternative ways of talking - meaning synonyms - about circularity.

This is just like bachelors being unmarried men. Unmarried man = bachelor.

So, while what Matt says is true enough (caveat below), I'm not sure it means anything.

Matt says, "To me, that implies that undivided consciousness can arbitrarily change the laws of math and logic. I think this is false on the surface."

True enough. God cannot create a circle to which Pi doesn't apply because such an object wouldn't be a circle. However, I suppose God could create a world in which there are no circles.

Caveat; this line of reasoning presumes the world is based solely on material mathematical realities and no other.

Many people realize, when they are perceiving through the lens of the soul, as opposed to that of reason/logic, that 1+1 = 1 (for example two people in love joining to form One marital entity). Or 1+1 = 10 or more (as in synergies where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts). People talk about these kinds of situations all the time.

In fact, it is these kinds of understandings that psychedelics tend to make obvious to users. That is one aspect that is so amazing about them. They take users to parallel worlds where rules of material logic are often suspended and new rules apply that make at least as much sense, because the "new" rules are the rules of the heart that we feel, often deeply, but that are largely suppressed by the necessities of material existence. People under the influence say that it is as if they are really seeing the world for the very first time. That is a bit of a mistaken perception, IMO. They are getting in touch with a neglected world that is always there and that is not exactly the same as the everyday world in some important ways. One finds that poets spend a lot of time in such parallel worlds. That is why they write poetry as opposed to technical manuals, history, non-fiction, etc. They need to tap into the language of the heart and soul. Metaphor, simile, allusions, etc become key. The poet struggles to convey the ineffable experience of the soul and our language is not set up to do that very well.

So I would say that God can and does have universes in which 1+1 /= 2. Matt's statement would be more accurate if it held that that God cannot create a world based on *material mathematical logic* wherein 1+1 /=2. But at that point we return to what I have been calling "circular logic".

Probably clear as mud.



Susan: "I am the mother of an extremely skeptical 13 year old. She, to the point of tears, tells me there is no evidence of a life after death. She continually tells me to show her something. So, any suggestions of a book I can give her?"

Several very good books have already been suggested. I could also suggest Titus Rivas's The Self Does Not Die, on the veridical empirical evidence from NDE accounts. Of course, if she (irrationally) rejects any and all kinds of witness reports because they are "anecdotal" and not objective physical laboratory measurements, then this work will be useless to her.

I went through a similar phase when growing up, and early rejected the religious faith of my parents (it happened to be Bahai). I had a tendency toward science and engineering and was greatly influenced by reading various science books and much science fiction. Of course science fiction is in part fundamentally reductionist materialist propaganda.

Ultimately in my case, great vicissitudes in life forced a reconsideration of these views and a search for some other Truth. Ultimately I think your daughter will inevitably enounter a lot of challenges, and may also be forced to reconsider. Hopefully it will be a more gentle and natural process with her. Also, hopefully, she will not end up a defiant, adamant, and unhappy materialist. Another possibility is that like many, after a while she might bury these matters and just live her life without much conscious consideration of these issues.

I think change can't be forced by persuasion no matter how logically convincing - it ultimately requires living life.

The process can be complicated. Within one person different segments or aspects of the psyche may be warring over just these issues, where psychological needs dictate a sort of search for new beliefs contrary to the existing ones. Someone may have a deep need for belief in Spirit and an afterlife, with the dominant materialist belief system scientific and logical side of the personality tending to dismiss this as pathetic irrationality. The two sides can be battling inside the one person, where in order to attempt to relieve the tension and satisfy the "right brain's" needs, the "left brain" is compelled, regardless of it's prior committment to materialism, to assiguously look for concrete acceptable evidence for the paranormal.

This sort of uncomfortable inner conflict still essentially consitutes in essence a search for truth, complicated by a lot of psychological issues. This process may ultimately result in a sort of uncomfortable truce between the conflicting belief systems, with one side provisionally dominant but only maintained by consideration of the empirical evidence in combination with certain remaining doubts or cognitive dissonances. This would be especially when the intellect is dominant.

AOD, you want a bit of levity in the "1 + 1 = 2" discussion? Check out the views of actor Terrence Howard, who is convinced that 1 x 1 = 2. He's going to revolutionize mathematics! He's even invented a new language in which to express his complex thoughts. It's called Terryology.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/terrence-howard-thinks-1x1-2-has-a-secret-system-called-terryology-and-spends-17-hours-a-day-making-10502365.html

My 19 year old son is a skeptical agnostic. He does not dismiss the idea of an afterlife completely, but says the evidence is sketchy at best. He has completely rejected all traditional form of religion. The only one he says makes any sense at all is Buddhism, and with that he is mainly attracted to the ideas of detachment and ethical behavior.

My wife (who shares my beliefs) and I have not pushed him on this. He'll figure out his own path.

Thanks Michael for the link to Terrence Howard. I think it is best if I do not comment.- AOD

"In fact, it is these kinds of understandings that psychedelics tend to make obvious to users. That is one aspect that is so amazing about them. They take users to parallel worlds where rules of material logic are often suspended and new rules apply that make at least as much sense, because the "new" rules are the rules of the heart that we feel, often deeply, but that are largely suppressed by the necessities of material existence."

Nicely said, Eric. It's the same for NDE's and other mystical experiences. And it is from this perspective that I speak of the One, and the illusionary nature of two.

Bruce, also...

I didn't use the term "fundamental" in my original comment relevant to our particular discussion. I said:

||This seems to me to be a sufficient argument against such monotheism: God is of necessity subordinate to these truths.||

Note that I was talking about the Christian context at this point: the Biblical God is unable to create 1 + 1 = 2 so is not really omnipotent in the sense the Western tradition typically gives to the word.

I would also say that Source or the One is also not omnipotent in this sense. It doesn't need or want to be so, since it transcends all categories, including Oneness itself. ("The way that can be named is not the constant way...")

If something really new comes up - a true game-changer - then it would clearly be worth discussing. Otherwise, it's just old wine in new bottles.

I do not see it that way, because sometimes skeptics make arguments and do not seem to be answered; for example: Susan Blackmore's objections against veridical and extrasensory data during near death experiences, which we can read in this article:

https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc799266/m2/1/high_res_d/vol20-no4-233.pdf

Or discuss cases of apparitions, as in this article:

https://notendur.hi.is/erlendur/english/Apparitions/JP2009rl2_Haraldsson.pdf

Matt Rouge wrote:

it's an example of how Christianity has genuinely raised the spiritual level of the planet. Atheists simply take the good things for granted and argue for them as if they were a priori truths ....

Canadian psychology professor Jordan Peterson issued a YouTube video soon after his debate with Sam Harris making that point. I think its title was "Why I am no longer an atheist."

mp said:

a couple of people who took salvia reported meeting Homer Simpson or visiting Springfield, the Simpsons'' hometown.

I just watched a 20-episode collection of the best Simpson's videos on my Kindle. In one of them it was revealed that their "Springfield" (of which there are over 100 in the U.S., IIRC) was located in southern Missouri.

BTW, I suspect that "Homer Simpson" was based on a reference to a long-standing joking definition of man as "homo simp," not "homo sapiens."

Of course, the brute fact is that there is an egregious amount of truly innocent and apparently meaningless suffering, that our instinct tells us is wrong. The big question: is it at all worth it, especially from the strictly human standpoint? I usually don't think so. Posted by: doubter | March 27, 2018 at 03:53 PM
Here’s a recent book in that vein: Better Never to Have Been: The harm of coming into existence, on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Better-Never-Have-Been-Existence/dp/0199549265/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1522330940&sr=1-1&keywords=better+never+to+have+been&dpID=41fVUAbzypL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch
psychedelics tend to make obvious to users. That is one aspect that is so amazing about them. They take users to parallel worlds where rules of material logic are often suspended and new rules apply that make at least as much sense, because the "new" rules are the rules of the heart that we feel, often deeply, but that are largely suppressed by the necessities of material existence. … The poet struggles to convey the ineffable experience of the soul and our language is not set up to do that very well. Posted by: Eric Newhill | March 28, 2018 at 05:26 PM
Here’s my attempt:

Purloined Spirit

It is a secret
Hidden uncovered
No one’s ever-found;

Undetectable
Uninspectable
Un-underground.
~~~~

(Now . . . Here . . . This . . .)

Eric wrote,

||So I would say that God can and does have universes in which 1+1 /= 2. Matt's statement would be more accurate if it held that that God cannot create a world based on *material mathematical logic* wherein 1+1 /=2. But at that point we return to what I have been calling "circular logic".||

Thanks for the interesting response!

But what does "material" mean here? The laws of math are not "material." They are not even things per se, as our conception/perception/understanding of them (via mathematical notation) is not the things themselves. Further, they are not multiple things, either. I.e., it's not as though there is a Platonic ideal of π that is in some way a distinct object from the number 2.

I have read quite a few books about deathbed visions and there is just something about them that strikes me as being true. Like they are believable. I find death bed vision stories to be endlessly uplifting and comforting, even more so than NDE stories.

Books like: Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan, and Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms, by David Kessler, One Last Hug Before I Go by Carla Wills-Brandon, Deathbed Visions by Sir William Barrett, At the Hour of Death by Dr. Karlis Osis and Erlendur Haraldsson Ph.D, Going Home - Irish stories from the edge of death, by Colm Keane, In the Light of Death by Ineke Koedam, The Art of Dying by Dr. Peter Fenwick, Parting Visions by Dr. Melvin Morse, Glimpses of Eternity by Raymond Moody, etc.

Matt, "But what does "material" mean here? The laws of math are not "material." They are not even things per se..."

I disagree. The laws of math refer to physical (aka material) realities.

We only care that Pi = 3.14.... because it is describing the characteristics of a circle. We only care that 1+1 = 2 as it relates to physical transactions. If we decouple mathematical laws from physical reality, then no one cares - or even notices - mathematical laws.

Someone living in Flatland has no concept of, nor need to know about mathematical formulas concerning volume. I'm not even sure that a Flatlander could conceive of volume. Someone living in 3D land does need to know about volume, but they are on a totally different plane of existence than the Flatlander.

Someone in 4D land is focused on laws of existence different than what either Flatlanders and 3D dwellers can conceive of. It is possible that none of the laws that apply to the others even apply at all to 4D land (e.g. perimeter and volume respectively).

\\"Earthly life – both human and animal – often entails pain and suffering. The world can be a cruel place." - from Michael's blog//
------------

Life isn't supposed to be a "bowl of cherries" to quote my mom. Life is supposed to be painful, frustrating, challenging, and difficult. It is through these experiences that the soul learns the things it came here to learn. This Earth life is a school and we learn here what can't be learned in heaven. That is the answer to "why we are here."

The things we experience in this life have to evoke enough emotion in order to overcome those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness and lack of time and space in heaven. It's not that complicated. Duality and separation seem to be inherent and inescapable properties of the physical universe.

Why? Because how could the soul know what it means or how it feels to be separate if it had never experienced either of those things? Or how could it know what it was like to be in a body if it had never been inside one and in control of a body?

The alternative would be to be this floating cloud of consciousness, existing everywhere at once and connected to the collective consciousness, and essentially know nothing? You wouldn't be an individual but instead be just part of the collective consciousness. It is similar to being part of your parents bodies before you were born.

We only existed inside our parent's bodies as potential individuals but we weren't really individuals until we were born and separated from our mother's. At that point we became separate unique individuals; and then that baby spends the rest of its life exploring the physical universe, what it looks, feels, tastes, smells, and sounds like. Using all of its senses to learn about what it was like to exist in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe.

And after we transition to the place we call heaven we remember all those lessons we learned here and so are able to maintain that sense of separateness and are able to remember what it was like to have a body and control that body, what time and space looked and felt like, and what it means and how it feels to be separate and unique.

http://memory-key.com/memory/emotion

Erik wrote,

||I disagree. The laws of math refer to physical (aka material) realities.||

Sorry, you're just wrong. Not in my opinion. Just factually incorrect.

||We only care that Pi = 3.14.... because it is describing the characteristics of a circle.||

Pi has many applications beyond this, and perfect circles aren't found in nature anyway. π is a calculated number, not one discovered through empirical measurement.

||We only care that 1+1 = 2 as it relates to physical transactions. If we decouple mathematical laws from physical reality, then no one cares - or even notices - mathematical laws.||

Umm...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pure_mathematics

"Broadly speaking, pure mathematics is mathematics that studies entirely abstract concepts. This has been a recognizable category of mathematical activity from the 19th century onwards,[1] at variance with the trend towards meeting the needs of navigation, astronomy, physics, economics, engineering, and so on."

||Someone living in Flatland has no concept of, nor need to know about mathematical formulas concerning volume. I'm not even sure that a Flatlander could conceive of volume. Someone living in 3D land does need to know about volume, but they are on a totally different plane of existence than the Flatlander.||

Well, Flatland is about 2D beings coming to understand the existence of 3D. We have all the maths for 4D, 5D, and beyond. Trust me, I've looked at a lot of tesseract videos on YouTube.

||Someone in 4D land is focused on laws of existence different than what either Flatlanders and 3D dwellers can conceive of. It is possible that none of the laws that apply to the others even apply at all to 4D land (e.g. perimeter and volume respectively).||

Oh no, mathematicians have explored all of this stuff on a deep level. And I've talked a lot about 4D and 5D right in this blog--the concepts are everyday New Age stuff.

Re whether the universe is friendly or not: Here's a link to a this-month article about "The Hardest Question"—whether mundane normality is how we should judge life by, or whether it is the extraordinary incursions of disruptive events.

We are powerfully drawn by the tug of normalcy (a neologism Warren Harding contributed to the American lexicon). We formulate our rules for life to align with it.

Then, out of nowhere a beam falls and calls into question our clean orderly sane responsible rules for living. The falling beam in many lives is of a financial nature. It may also be a health shock or a sudden epiphany that sends us out to walk the Himalayas barefoot. But for many, it's a market collapse. Perhaps the event damages us greatly, or perhaps the beam just misses us but we watch the effect it has on others and get the general idea.

Like Flitcraft, a financial advisor might say, we all face a tendency to sell everything at the bottom. Then, we slowly build back toward the comforts of everyday life. How should we actually react to the random beam falling from the sky? Financial advice provides answers and moral support.

There are a lot of fairly straightforward approaches. Some say simply to "stay the course." Normal times will return. Some say to live your financial life conservatively, and you will be okay no matter what. Some say to diversify and hedge in the effort to include asset classes which will come to your rescue when an unexpected crisis takes place. Some focus on time, and say to be stalwart and conventional if you have a lot of it but be very conservative if you don't. This advice comes with the disclaimer, however, that you should be aware that you may be around and needing money for longer than you think.

To some extent, these are variations on the same basic approach, which is to avoid panic and have a plan. Their premise is that sudden extreme moments in the markets and also in world affairs are just falling beams. You shouldn't let a falling beam shake up everything you have learned about life. They follow an underlying pattern in which they seemingly come out of nowhere, so that you keep looking up at the sky for a while, and then nothing more falls from the sky and you gradually stop looking. Normal life is restored, and once again, we can settle in with the everyday joys of normalcy.

This article should stop right here. The conclusion should be a victory lap celebrating the pleasures of normalcy and the important roles of prudence and discipline in maintaining it. I'm not going to stop here, however. Instead, I am going to turn the question upside down.

The underlying principle of good financial advice, and good life advice, is that sudden falling beams are just passing exceptions while pleasant "normalcy" is the powerful underlying trend.

But what if that gets it exactly backwards? What if the most powerful things in life are a few moments of crisis and the decisions made in the thick of it? What if - gulp! - long periods of "normalcy" are no more than illusory quiet intervals between extreme and unpredictable events?


https://seekingalpha.com/article/4153617-hardest-question

\\"I disagree. The laws of math refer to physical (aka material) realities."//
------------

LOL! From everything I've read in Popular science books and articles on the internet there really isn't a "physical reality." There's nothing there. Or like Niels Bohr says "Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real." Sub atomic particles are not like a rock or a BB but are more like swirling eddies in a stream.

They are hardly like anything we would call real. They are able to appear and disappear, interact instantly with each other and sometimes even the people studying them, pass right through "solid matter", sometimes appearing like a wave and sometimes like a particle depending on whether anyone is watching.

Like Roger Ebert said to his wife on his deathbed "it's all a hoax or illusion" which is exactly the same thing the holographic universe theory says. Michelle M in her NDE description called this life "a dream itself."

The Illusion of Matter:
http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/12/05/the-illusion-of-matter-our-physical-material-world-isnt-really-physical-at-all/

Matt,
If you remove Pi from its relationship to a circle, then you're just talking about an arbitrary system called "mathematics" that is created by humans - and you're still engaging in circular logic.

Anyone can create an internally coherent, but externally irrelevant, system and then declare that God cannot violate the rules of the system because, if He did, it would no longer be the system.

I define a "shmork" as being where two cats are playing with the same catnip mouse, on my bedroom floor on a Sunday. Since God cannot create a shmork with three cats or a shmork that occurs on Tuesday, there is no a powerful God! See what I mean?

Caveat being that I really never understood nor cared for philosophy so maybe I am missing something.

Eric wrote,

||I define a "shmork" as being where two cats are playing with the same catnip mouse, on my bedroom floor on a Sunday. Since God cannot create a shmork with three cats or a shmork that occurs on Tuesday, there is no a powerful God! See what I mean?||

Well, you're talking about contradictions with respect to the naming of things and designing the example to sound superficial. Those names and concepts *are* arbitrary. But what cannot be created (by God or anyone) is a situation in which there are exactly two cats but at the same time exactly three cats.

Now, I've had mind-blowing spiritual experiences too, and I totally get how someone could feel, "I felt the presence of all the cats on Earth at once." Number *as we know it in ordinary situations* someone seems transcended. I would venture that such a situation doesn't contain an actual contradiction.

||If you remove Pi from its relationship to a circle, then you're just talking about an arbitrary system called "mathematics" that is created by humans - and you're still engaging in circular logic.||

The thing about math is that it applies to any given real life situation as well. Physics has mapped onto mathematical models basically perfectly. If the system were arbitrary, then why would it be useful?

"They [subatomic particles] are hardly like anything we would call real. They are able to appear and disappear, interact instantly with each other and sometimes even the people studying them, pass right through "solid matter", sometimes appearing like a wave and sometimes like a particle depending on whether anyone is watching."

What Art is saying here ties back to the point I made initially: 1 + 1 = 2 carries little weight in a universe in which what we call “1’s” can't be truly separated from each other. And as Eric is saying, a system (like math) that derives from the ephemeral, is by definition less than fundamental.

So what IS primary? What is at the heart of it all?

Consciousness. The limitless, undivided Mind that dreams it all up—including the 1's and 2’s. For like matter, numbers seem fundamental, but on closer inspection, they evaporate to reveal a deeper truth.

Which is why "Can God create a universe in which 1 + 1 = 3" is a meaningless question.

God IS the universe. All universes.

Art wrote, "They [subatomic particles] are hardly like anything we would call real. They are able to appear and disappear, interact instantly with each other and sometimes even the people studying them, pass right through "solid matter", sometimes appearing like a wave and sometimes like a particle depending on whether anyone is watching."

I would say they are a lot like factors in an equation. There's a website called The Bottom Layer that goes into this in detail.

Eric wrote, "If you remove Pi from its relationship to a circle, then you're just talking about an arbitrary system called "mathematics" that is created by humans - and you're still engaging in circular logic."

I think math is anything but arbitrary. Physicists like to say that by exploring the mathematical principles at work in our cosmos, they can know the mind of God. To say math is an arbitrary system is like saying logic is an arbitrary system. Which I'm sure some people would say. But they'd have to use logic to defend their point.

I don't grok how someone could remove pi from its relationship to a circle anyway. It's like removing the number 1 from its relationship to a unit.

As for "all is One," I just don't see how it gets us anywhere. All is one, and therefore ... what? Nothing seems to follow from it. In fact, I don’t see how anything *could* follow from it, because without distinctions nothing can happen. Even people who say "all is one" usually say that the One split itself into two or more parts in order to experience change. But then all isn't One.

\\"As for "all is One," I just don't see how it gets us anywhere. All is one, and therefore ... what? Nothing seems to follow from it." Michael Prescott//
----------------

I don't know how many near death experience descriptions I've read where they've said things like "I literally felt like I was the Universe" or "Me and the Universe were one." I remember reading the NDE of a woman who said something to the effect of "we here in this reality just can't begin to comprehend the feelings of oneness in heaven."

It is from those descriptions that I came up with or comprehended the idea that perhaps the reason "why we are here" is to experience and learn the exact opposite? What it means and how it feels to be separate? How could you learn or know what it means or feels to be separate in a Universe or dimension where the feelings of oneness and connectedness were so overwhelming in a Universe where you literally felt like you were the Universe? If you were pure consciousness and had never experienced being separate and/or time and space, where you felt like you filled the entire universe, and had never experienced matter or "things" separate and apart from yourself, how could you become a separate unique individual?

The only way to learn those things is to separate yourself from that Universe and live in a place where those things do exist. A Universe where the first thing you experience is separating from your mother and the umbilical cord that holds you to her is cut in two?

A Universe where you are limited by a body, and you have to learn to control that body, and are no longer just consciousness but instead you identify yourself as the body in which you seem to be trapped? Where every pain and hurt imprints on your memory the parameters of that body. When you stub your toe you remember what "out there" feels like.

And then when you die your death imprints on the people who loved you the feelings of aloneness and separation that comes from losing a loved one? Where even your death is a lesson in separation.

I remember reading in Dr. Fred Alan Wolf's book The Spiritual Universe something to the effect of "thoughts are things, consciousness is primary and matter is secondary, or matter is an epiphenomena of consciousness." That is when it really sunk into me that if you had never experienced anything in your life, if you were pure consciousness but had never spent time in a physical universe, you'd be like a computer that had no programming. An empty special waiting for some knowledge so you could build upon that and create your own reality.

A.J. Ayers, the famous atheist said to a French journalist that was interviewing him "you know it was strange, my thoughts became persons." Bill Clinton, during his open heart surgery, said he saw Hillary and Chelsea, the people he loved during his surgery. One NDE that I read said they went into a hall of learning or knowledge and it seemed to him that the building itself was "made of knowledge."

That is why we are here. When we were born we were an empty shell, pure consciousness, and by being in that little baby we were just starting to learn about separation, time and space, what it was like to be in a body and control that body, and what time and space looked and felt like, and make memories of what it was like to exist in a 3 dimensional + 1 time Universe.

"As for "all is One," I just don't see how it gets us anywhere. All is one, and therefore ... what? Nothing seems to follow from it."

How would it affect you if you knew that you and I were really the same "person," and that we were just pretending to be two separate individuals? I mean, if you grasped that truth—felt it—from the bottom of your heart, the core of your being?

Well, this is the state of affairs that NDErs and other mystics describe again and again. What could be more more meaningful, more important?

"Even people who say "all is one" usually say that the One split itself into two or more parts in order to experience change. But then all isn't One."

It is, and it isn't. It depends on what level of reality you're considering.

Michael, I originally wrote the following months ago for my blog. I have little time to pursue that project right now. But prompted by your last comment on what you see as the absurdity of the Oneness concept, I've decided to post it here as a long comment. Double asterisks denote italics.

----------------------------------------------------------------

In an earlier post I introduced what I call The MetaStory, hinting at some of the personal history that led me to seek it out. Now I’d like to describe this grand scheme in more depth.

So, drawing on sources I’ve come to trust—including my experiences in altered states—here’s how I see the basic truths that underlie this cosmos and shape our lives.

All that exists is a single, indescribably vast, entity—let's call it Source. It is alive, limitless, essentially formless, and it comprises reality in its entirety.

Source is characterized by two contrasting abilities or ways of being: it can experience itself as a unity; or, it can divide itself into parts, each of which feels as though it lives and dies separate from the rest.

Now what’s hard for us to grasp in our human state, is that because time is an illusion, both of those modes take place simultaneously. In other words, Source, on the one hand, is knowing itself right now as a whole, in much the same way that you, rather than knowing yourself as a brain, heart, arm, or leg, experience yourself as all these (and more) in combination.

And at the very same "time," Source, in separation mode, is exploring quite a different sort of existence: it is tasting reality as a single-celled amoeba, as a lone seagull surfing the wind, and as me, writing these words.

As to the logic behind this dual-mode scheme—well, for starters, it’s easy to grasp Source’s motivation for tasting reality as a whole. In this state, It lives without want, without fear. Source contains everything it could ever wish for within its own unimaginably rich self.

What’s more, Source has no fear of dying, since there **is** no death. That's just a game it sometimes plays. Death, after all, implies a past and a future, and precognitive dreams (among other clues) show that linear sequence is a mirage—convincing from one perspective, but ultimately, an illusion.

Bottom line: in oneness, Source is free to dream, to create, to love. In fact, as Source exists in its all-embracing state of completeness and unity, you might even say that it **is** love.

THE GAME OF PARTS

Now perfect as the above scenario might seem, something is missing. Or **would** be, were it not for the existence of oneness’s polar opposite. For in Source's other mode, it partitions itself into smaller units. How? By forgetting. By creating within itself regions of non-remembrance, subdivisions that no longer recall their true identity—at least, not in full.

You and I are two such fragments, as are trees, whales, and ants. Each differs with regard to the specifics of its amnesia. For example, if I’m still in touch with the finer points of the audible spectrum, you may think of me as a musical genius. And if you’ve never lost touch with the visual, I may admire your gift for painting.

Likewise, we may both stand in awe of cats, who seemingly retain, in large measure, Source’s tranquility.

So why, you may ask, would Source do such a thing? Why leave behind a state of perfection, only to descend into lesser versions of itself, existences subject to limitation, suffering, and even death? (Even if “death” is only a temporarily frightful illusion.)

Let’s talk about that.

MULTIPLICITY AND ITS GIFTS

Helping us to understand Source’s motivation is the fact that we **are** Source. We are its component parts. So while Source’s experience (in wholeness) is in many ways different from ours (here in the realm of separation), its needs are achingly familiar.

For example, just as you and I would tire of the same meal served daily, delicious as it might be, mightn’t Source grow weary of an existence that’s blissful but unchanging? In fact, isn’t it likely that ecstasy loses its ecstatic quality unless subject to influences that re-color and re-define it?

If so, it’s easy to see how individuation provides opportunities for self-renewal, newly-coined potentials that are truly without limit. For just a moment’s reflection on the vast array of Earth’s living forms points up the enormous range of experience made possible by physical embodiment. Not to mention the likelihood that our universe is but a grain of sand on a beach encompassing countless other universes, both physical and non-physical.

What I’m saying is that each of these manifestations—these infinite worlds and their inhabitants—is an aspect of Source that has in some ways lost touch with its true nature, while in other ways, remains aware of it. And that through these endlessly varied schemes of self-division, Source, over the course of its eternal existence, keeps itself interested, challenged, surprised.

And perhaps none of the separation-induced potentials is more important than this: when the One splits itself into two (and more), a new concept is born—relationship. Suddenly, one living being is able to explore itself, to savor its strengths and grapple with its limitations, through interaction with another.

Relationship is a fascinating game, is it not? Since neither you nor I are (by definition) whole, we are drawn to each other through an urge for self-completion. Though as we all discover sooner or later, fulfillment on Earth happens only in degrees. For we are fragments from the instant we leave Source, and wholeness—**true** wholeness and the peace it brings—is not in the cards until we return to Source once again.

THE JOURNEY HOME

For the temporarily estranged portions of Source that you and I are, much of life’s meaning arises from the hero’s journey that is our quest to overcome our spiritual amnesia. As in countless movies (The Bourne Identity comes to mind), we find ourselves thrust into an intricate plot knowing tantalizingly little about ourselves. Gradually, or sometimes suddenly, as in the case of Ebeneezer Scrooge, we are re-introduced to our own backstory, and to the truth of our origins in love and perfection.

This aspect of the Metastory captures perhaps its most rewarding feature: the opportunities it offers for experiencing the ecstasy of self-remembrance. For within the life trajectories of each of Source’s countless split-off units, this glorious homecoming happens again and again, eternally, throughout space and time. (More precisely, it happens by virtue of consciousness’s moving beyond the illusions we call space and time.)

And for readers who object to this hypothesis because they feel it leaves unexplained the nearly unbearable suffering that makes earthly life, at times, so challenging, here’s a quote from Rasha. The following, she tells us, was spoken to her by what she calls Oneness (also the name of her book):

"You have chosen to give yourself the experience of reawakening. You have chosen to taste, once again, the thrill of discovery of who you truly are. You have opted for the experience of all that you **fear** that you are in order to awaken from that dream and to recognize it as all that you are not. There would be no exultation in the discovery of the first tastes of limitlessness, were that experience not preceded by massive doses of the experience of limitation."

HOW WE KNOW THIS

Perhaps nowhere is the scheme I’ve been describing more evident than in what’s come to be called the near-death experience. Those who’ve taken this journey describe it, again and again, as moving beyond the small self, and rejoining an infinitely larger one, a being that manifests as a loving light.

Tellingly, this radiance is often described as encompassing reality in its entirety. It feels, above all, like Home. We are told that the light represents a state of being in which our struggles can be seen for what they really are: dream-like imaginings that are rich with meaning yet paradoxically unimportant.

Furthermore, experiencers consistently describe this reunion as, above all, a remembrance. They are unanimous on this point, often making statements like: I was astonished at how I could have forgotten these truths.

AND THEN

What, you might ask, happens **after** we rejoin Source?

These days, I’m reluctant to give much weight to metaphysical questions involving an “after” or “next.” Because, as I've said, with regard to the biggest of pictures, linear sequence is a red herring.

And this sort of trickery is exactly what we should expect. Because time (along with space) was **designed** to deceive. It is, as it turns out, one of the devices Source employs to temporarily keep itself from remembering its limitlessness, its true nature. Time is a cornerstone, in other words, of our spiritual amnesia.

Still, it’s hard to resist pondering the “what’s next” puzzle. Because though time may be an illusion, it’s a thoroughly convincing one. (At least, at our level of reality.)

So I’ll say this. There’s a concept often mentioned by near-death experiencers, a notion they likely once dismissed out of hand: reincarnation. Its specifics are debatable. But at its heart is the idea that Source recycles itself into an endless array of forms, each representing a journey conceived and undertaken for the purpose of exploring Source’s vast potential.

**Our** potential.

In this sense, reincarnation is one half of the MetaStory. It represents the cosmos’s need to individuate, the complement to its urge to simply **be**.

Put the two together, and we see the truth of our existence. For our need to know ourselves as the Whole, combined with our determination to savor the unique adventure lived by each of its parts, is the essence of our shared, eternal, narrative.

\\"I think math is anything but arbitrary." - Michael Prescott//
-----------------

I also believe in the un-arbitrariness of the mathematics of our Universe and that it is designed exactly so that we (the soul) can experience the things we came here to experience. We simply learn here the things that can't be learned in heaven and it has to do with the difference between the math (physics) of the Universe we are in now and the math/physics of the place we are going after we leave our physical body.

You can't learn to drive a car unless you actually get in one and drive it. You can't learn to ride a bicycle just by watching someone else do it, and you can't know what it's like or how it feels to make love to another person unless you've actually done it. You can watch a video of two people making love, or even watch two real people making love but that is still nothing like actually making love yourself.

The same is true for tasting food, or experiencing a myriad of other things in our universe. The only way to truly say you know something is by doing it. It's not enough to read about it or just watch someone else do it.

Roger,

Thanks for the link! Actually, I suspected it was yours before I even read your name, as you tend to select cool stuff like that...

The MetaStory is very interesting, Bruce. I really enjoyed reading it, and it is the cosmology that makes more sense to me. It reminds me of Neal Donald Walsch's "Conversations with God".

Seems we'll be soon learning more about the "sense of Self" and how it interacts with the Whole:

https://www.livescience.com/62059-schizophrenia-lsd-sense-self.html

Michael:

"In short, while either of the two positions is defensible, I think the hypothesis of a basically friendly reality covers more of the available evidence. This is not to downplay the undoubted negatives that psychic explorers have encountered. But on balance, the negatives seem outweighed by the positives. The scale, I think, tips ultimately in favor of a benevolent reality (with a dark side), rather than a grim, despairing reality (with occasional deceptive glimmers of light)."

The main problem I have with this kind of reasoning is that it is a value judgement based on general average experience in the population that disregards extremely negative individual cases (the outliers). The implication is that it's OK to downplay the significance of these extreme cases and make this positive overall value judgement, because a rule of the greatest good for the greatest number applies. But is this rule really fair and equitable, or should the extreme outliers of human experience of life be figured into such a calculation of overall goodness or badness?

Shouldn't the individual human experiencer of extreme innocent long-term suffering (of which many examples could easily be found) be asked if he considers his miserable term on Earth is a reasonable price to pay for the much better experiences of the great majority of human beings to whom life is a reasonable balance of joy and suffering? I don't think most such unfortunate humans would usually selflessly volunteer for this role in life.

It seems to me that any overall evaluation of the goodness or badness of human life should include his and the many other extremely negative outliers' votes. The weighting of such cases could be, at worst, that even one such case invalidates the multitude of lives of overall positive experience. Maybe such extreme negative cases really should be disregarded in making such a judgement, but who or what is really to decide what the weighting function should be?

\\"Shouldn't the individual human experiencer of extreme innocent long-term suffering (of which many examples could easily be found) be asked if he considers his miserable term on Earth is a reasonable price to pay for the much better experiences of the great majority of human beings to whom life is a reasonable balance of joy and suffering?" - doubter//
-----------------------

We don't even exist as separate unique individuals before we are conceived and born into this Universe. Before we experience separation in this life, lots and lots of it, we don't even know what it means to be separate.

We are part of the great collective consciousness we call God and then becoming embodied and spending time in this world imprints on "the soul" enough separation so that after we transition into the place we call heaven we are able to maintain our separation and uniqueness because we experienced it here.

Excerpt from Mark Horton's NDE description,
"Still moving (backwards always for some reason) I suddenly just relaxed completely and allowed "myself" to dissolve (?) open up (?) merge (?) into the "oneness" that surrounded me...{snip}... I was unique yet I was the tiniest part of the whole."
http://www.kuriakon00.com/celestial/nde/mark_horton.htm

And after we shed these bodies and transition to heaven we will look back on this life like it was " dream in itself" to quote Michelle M's nde, or a "hoax or illusion" to quote Roger Ebert's death bed visions right before he died.

Excerpt from Michelle M's NDE description,
"I felt an understanding about life, what it was, is. As if, it was a dream in itself. It's so very hard to explain this part. I'll try, but my words limit the fullness of it. I don't have the words here, but I understood that it really didn't matter what happened in the life experience. I knew/understood that it was intense, brief, but when we were in it, it seemed like forever. I understood that whatever happened in life, I was okay, and so were the others here." http://www.nderf.org/Experiences/1michelle_m_nde.html


I don't know that it is necessary to put a value judgment on life as either good or bad, friendly or antagonistic. Life is filled with experiences of many types. I guess the question is resolved for me because I think that reincarnation is a viable theory. And that life is a grand play in which an individual soul plays many parts as needed for their development and return back to Source Consciousness.- AOD

Thanks, Luciano. You and I often seem to be on the same wavelength.

Bruce, that's a great summary of your viewpoint. I'm not saying it's wrong. It may well be right. But to me, it doesn't help to explain how things work in the reality (or realities) we're experiencing right now. It's more of an origin story.

The model I use for our experience of the world is something like this. There is consciousness, and there are percepts (the things consciousness perceives). Percepts are reducible to information. By analogy, they are like bits of data embedded in a hard disk. Consciousness, again by analogy, is like the laser beam that reads the data on the disk. Many pathways are available on the disk, but at certain decision points one pathway is taken while the others are not. The pathway taken is the one that is actualized. All the others remain unrealized possibilities. In this way, free will is exercised by choosing one path out of many; the paths are predetermined but the decision to take one or the other is not.

When you make a choice and actualize a path, that choice is actualized not just for you, but for all conscious agents. It is as if your "hard disk + laser beam" combo is a terminal in a peer-to-peer network; a move made by the operator of one terminal is instantly synced to all the other terminals.

This is not my original notion. I've taken it in large part from Marcus Arvan's papers comparing consciousness to peer-to-peer networks used in online gaming, which I discussed here: http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2017/12/miscellaneous-musings-of-meager-merit.html

Of course, for this model to work, the bits of data must be visualized as entirely nonphysical, not encoded in any physical substrate like a hard disk. And consciousness must be understood as nonphysical also — not a laser beam or anything on the electromagnetic spectrum. Physicality is an emergent property of the system, not a fundamental attribute.

We can imagine that both consciousness (as pertaining to an individual) and the data it reads are ultimately part of a wider consciousness, which encompasses everything and is the Oneness you're speaking of. But that's not how we experience it, except perhaps in transcendent states. So for my purposes, I prefer to focus on how things (may) work here and now, and (perhaps) in the earlier stages of postmortem existence.

Anything beyond that is way above my paygrade. 🙂

By the way, since we are on the topic, I think that the concept of "Oneness" or "Source Consciousness" itself is open to debate.

I think any clear definition of the Ultimate is quite firmly rejected in Buddhism, for example, to the extent that definitions of such are subject to the Fourfold Negation:

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=28629

“These speculative views have been left undeclared by the Blessed One, set aside and rejected by him, namely: ‘the world is eternal’ and ‘the world is not eternal’; ‘the world is finite’ and ‘the world is infinite’; ‘the soul is the same as the body’ and ‘the soul is one thing and the body another’; and ‘after death a Tathāgata exists’ and ‘after death a Tathāgata does not exist’ and ‘after death a Tathāgata both exists and does not exist’ and ‘after death a Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist.’

The last of these statements directly relates to a return to Source, etc.

I find the Fourfold Negation to be astounding in its sophistication.

Hi Matt,

Here's another link to something oddball and interesting. I like it because it buttresses the case for North as the real Shakespeare, and because it discomfits the know-it-all establishment. In part I'm mentioning it here because this is a hobby-horse of MP's too.

NY Times: "Plagiarism Software Unveils a New Source for 11 of Shakespeare’s Plays"
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/07/books/plagiarism-software-unveils-a-new-source-for-11-of-shakespeares-plays.html

“Percepts are reducible to information. By analogy, they are like bits of data embedded in a hard disk. “

I’ve talked at length about why I think cosmological explanations that make analogies to information processing are hopelessly off track. So I won’t pursue the matter further.

“But to me, it [the Oneness concept] doesn't help to explain how things work in the reality (or realities) we're experiencing right now.”

For me, it's the only thing that does! And remember, for those of us who aren't wearing blinders, "what we're experiencing right now" includes psi in all its many forms.

“But that's not how we experience it, except perhaps in transcendent states.”

Don't forget: it is only in transcendent states that we get to see the whole picture.

1 You exist. (I AM)
If you exist now, your existence is eternal:
You have always existed and you always will exist. You may change form,
but you are existing always . So.....relax.....you'll be around forever.

2 Everything is Here/Now.
Time and Space are illusions. (But your experiences within Time/Space are "real".)
There is only Here/Now.

3 The All is one, and the One is all.
Just as each tiny section of a hologram contains the information for the entire
hologram, likewise we are all inter-connected.
Everything is truly just one totally-interconnected "thing".

4 What you put out is what you get back.
The "outside" is a reflection of the "inside".
Physical reality is actually a mirror:
Your physical reality is just a holographic reflection of
what you most strongly believe to be true. And like a mirror, physical reality
will not change unless you change first (change what you most strongly believe).

5 The only constant in the universe is change -
except for the first 4 postulates, which never change.
So.....might as well get used to eternally-changing Creation.
Enjoy the ride! Surf the changes!

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

Posted by: Eric Newhill||

Eric, I can second that. As a student of the plant teachers andan NDE/ET experiencer, nothing comes even close to 'shrooms for opening a shuttered mind.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)