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July 16, 2012

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The spiritual quest is to close the gap between the known and the unknown so that one knows the unknowable in a way it can't possibly explain or demonstrate with anything but a beatific smile, a sanctimonious air, and a pile of platitudes.

It's a great con game if you can pull it off, and a great waste of time if you're the mark.

Regarding 'the unknowable', some clarification may help.

The 'unknowable' is different from the 'unknown' in a very significant way.

The "unknowable" is exactly that... it is something which is un-knowable, not knowable. in other words, the unknowable is something which is not yet known, but also, that it will not ever become known. The 'unknowable' is impossible to ever be known.

In this respect, there are three distinct things:

(1) 'the known', (2) 'the unknown', and (3) 'the unknowable'.


(1) The 'known' is something which can be known, and it is already known.

(2) The 'unknown' is something which is not yet known at this present time, but there is a possibility that it may become known at some later time.

(3) The 'unknowable' is something which is not now known, and it will never ever become known. The unknowable is impossible to ever become known.

Some things are known; some things are presently unknown (but they may become known later on); and some things are simply impossible to ever know.

So it is important to clearly understand the difference between these three.


how do we know if there is an unknowable?

if its unknowable we would never be aware of it, and if something is potentially knowable, then given enough time we could get to know it.

David Lane=Sam Harris

John Davidson(Brian Hines MRK2;)=Ray Comfort

Yo tAo my friend where are you did you loose my email please come back to my mail,nice hello from Moon

we can not know something that is unknowable.

an unknowable is that which can never be known.

if something is known, or it could become known, then it would not be unknowable.

there are things which are unknowable, things which are forever beyond the reach of our knowing. that is what is meant by the unknowable.

For all those who are still searching the mind and cannot locate it..hm wondering why...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrHl0wpagFc

tAo,

Good message. I like to use non-knowable for unknowable. The non-knowable is beyond the mind/ego. The Absolute(a poosible word to use).

Within relativity or duality, the mind/ego can have the known and one day discover the unknown, as you mentioned.

Brian, Can a student studying in kindergarten school judge a Phd Professor ?

First rise to the level of the Master, then you can judge him.

No remorse will help you when you are on death bed, left with few breaths.

Remember Death is coming......
Only Master is the saviour.

It is Just like the movie 'Matrix'.
Only Master knows what lies beyond the death.

Sinner

Of course even a kindergartener can sometimes "judge" the actions - and possibly even the words (on some occasions) - of an older, leading person who serves as their teacher/instructor. Not all such considerations are invalid.

Further, here is a different view of "what lies beyond the death" of all us sinners: http://www.chick.com/zh/b5/reading/tracts/0401/0401_01.asp .

You may each "judge" this as you so see fit.

Robert Paul Howard

Sinner, you my friend are the one, I have said this numerous times, when one is on their death bed, there is no remorse. I myself have nearly been their, doctors won't be able to help you, no one will, families are crying their eyes out, which makes you more miserable.

Also, I would like to give some fresh insight into 'RSSB Guru's magic'.
First of all, as you know the human mind is very powerful. The present master and Charan Singh have said, 'whosever form you contemplate, you will ultimately become them'.
You could worship a false Guru and you will get projections of him, he will even save you in dangerous situations just like Faqir Chand stated. Also at the time of the death you might see the false Guru's picture in your mind.
However what separates the true Guru's from the false Guru's, is that true disciples that follow the RS teachings and make the progress know of their death 6 months before hand.
I have seen this in front of my own eyes. Faqir Chand who claimed he was an advanced practioneer but he never knew when he was going to die. And he was initiated by Shiv Barat Lal who wasn't a true Guru.
Faqir Chand stated that he heard sounds inside but he never spoke to the radiant form.
Also alot of haters of the path claim when one hears the sound current, it makes them mental after a while.
Not true because I know of people who have been on the advanced stage, they weren't mental, in fact they evolved into better human things.
Didn't Guru Nanak state in the GGS that the sound current is the key.

Come on when you can talk to the radiant form within, you can ask all the questions in the world.

Faqir did indeed talk about the radiant form. He claimed all such visions were projections of your own mind and your own faith. Indeed, this was the cornerstone of his radical philosophy and his major critique of gurudom.

Basically, when you are talking to the radiant form you are talking to another aspect of your own mind.

Hey David, i am talking to a well known person, who is known across the world i can't believe it.
I bet Bryan shat is pants when he read my email and immediately sent you an email.
I've always wanted to talk to you David, no point in talking to Bryan as he comes across a hater.
But you David, you come across as someone who has done his research, what's your email address.

Also did you know there is a special mud hut in India where Jaimal Singh used to meditate. People that didn't have a clue about what RS was used to faint when they used to go near the hut. They used to talk of inner experiences and that they were having the best time. When they woke up they were asked various questions on what they saw.

Very, very well said tAo and David Lane.

To DavidLane: Off course, how could "you" not. The entire creation is mind. The radiant form is subtler than hard matter and it becomes subtler and subtler, five elements times three, until You is the only thing between. Off-course at the beginning: "when you are interacting with the radiant form you are talking to another aspect of your own mind.

"The Guru's "mind" and "your" mind are the same mind. Its the same stuff. the same mud. Equally so for the Guru: Shabd. Shabd is present in humans, in trees, in outer space, it doesnt come it doesnt increase it doesnt diminish it does not go. Creations appear and disappear in the near distance but the Name of my Guru stays says Paltu (if i recall correct).

Now in regards to Fakir Chand. Firstly: he himself was devoted to his Guru, met with Gurus, had coffee and lunch with them, sat in silent meditation with them and quoted them. Accepted many of their teachings, came out with teachings of his own. Labeling his work with a rather aimless "radikal anti-guru philosophy" quote without taking into consideration what actually goes on at the local, day to day, level, is sociologically misleading. What people say and what people do are often two ( or three, four, five) different things..no?

Chand accepted "...His Holiness Param Sant Baba Sawan Singh Ji" as "a Perfect Master," after the latter visited him. This he wrote himself (see the end for the actual text). We can know 1.1% of what went on during that meeting. 1% is what, Fakir Chand, writes about it, and the 0.1% is our free will to speculate. The fact of the matter is that he praised extensively Maharaj Sawan Singh.

Moreover, all Perfect Saints are radikals, perhaps extremists (Which is why they emphasize the "middle path"). A person who tells u to say "fuck it all" because its all a dream, god is your mind and go beyond mind, and advices you to sit down for hours in silence: while maintaining your social obligations, Is a radikal philosophy. Claiming that Faqir Chand, who embraced this philosophy almost totally, is a radikal, is true in the effect, that fundamentally his philosophical practice is radikal.

Chand never talked against gurudom any more than Krishnamurti; the 'anti guru guru.'

The vision the soldiers had of Faqir Chand is by itself an metaphysical evidence of something. (Perhaps that faith can save). Why did the "enemy" soldiers had a vision of him, instead of somebody else; how could they all see the same vision? Offcourse "they saw another aspect of their own mind," but why did their mind, collectively & automatically choose Chands' image in the first place. (because of his strong energy?). These are questions. Moreover, these visions were not internal; these were people with their eyes open.. the mind stuff that made up the vision, was just a scratch into the astral. Nothing more. Which is why it was perceived collectively. Which is probably why Chand had no idea about them.

Regarding the radiant form (& off-course this is wiki available information). The astral form of a person who is alive, is exactly the same as the person without the skin. Information, conversations, knowledge exchanged in the astral plane between two entities who are alive on earth, are automatically transfered to earth. Its instant. (& the physical in turn becomes, without anything changing in it, like a hologram and the astral more like the real). The more the awareness of shabd, the more the grace from one's Guru and the more instant "it is." The more the devotion the more "it is."

If one not only does not accept, but categorically rejects, that there is an atman which does not need physical form then in a buddhist, zen and marxist way he may be correct. One can just sit and wait until the last breath to verify, if there is atman/non atman, kal and akal. One though should not accuse those who accept the doctrine of karma, samsara, guru, satsang, nirvana. Especially when often enough they are pacifist vegans (smiley face).

(And we can have a satsangies vs tea parties debate on who is more brainwashed with the best brain detergent any other no time).

Lets not confuse imagination and "having" vissions of stuff which are produced and animated exclusively via ones thoughts,
with interacting rationally with fellow humans on the astral, mental, spiritual dimensions. Spasiba!

It is a completely, completely different thing interacting on the astral with an entity that has no physical body on earth. And infinitely more still, with an animated entity which was created by one's imagination: A vivid and totally real Kartoon of a sort; that appears and disappears and means nothing more than clouds that rain water. That is why all the wise praise their teachers; because their form -from physical to astral to spiritual- is not an auto-animation, but Sat Purusha. That is why Chand praised his own Guru and other Radhasoami Gurus.

Fakir Chand in the prologue of of the book "Yogic Philosophy of the Saints" (which he dedicates to his Guru) quotes Guru Nakak who says

“Whatever is done, is done by Him alone;
nothing remains in the hand of human frame”

(a quote which brings the entire discourse beyond Known, Knowable, Unknowable; because it all HIS DOING and Nothing Remains in the human frame. So its about HIM not the three types of Karma, or Gunas or Vrittis.)

Then Fakir Chand writes:

"... ... After thirty-eight years, now I feel on the basis of my experience that I do not go to appear in my disciples’ visions, either in their wakeful condition, or their dreams, or their samadhis. I have come to the conclusion that all these stages from Sahasar-dal-Kamal to Maha-sunn – are all mental ie. all only of subtle matter.

and a few paragraphs later he writes:

At that time, [when young] I knew nothing about Radhaswami faith. I thought that the Radha means Radhiks and Swami is the name of Krishna. In a nut-shell, I reached His Holiness [Hazur Data Dayal Ji Mahara] out of Love and Devotion; I wept too much while lying at his hallowed feet. His Holiness initiated me and gave me Radhaswami Saar-Bachan prose for study. I studied this text very carefully. There was too much denunciation in this book and thus I pleaded to His Holiness, “Maharaj, The Supreme Lord is of all beings and in whatever form, someone worships or remembers him. He appears in the same form. I am unable to read this book for its denunciation”. At this, His Holiness asked me not to read this book adding that time shall come, when you will say that this is an unfathomable treasure and you will become PERFECT by understanding the practical writings of this book. Then His Holiness asked me to attend Sat Sangs of Radhaswami faith."

( note: the above paragraph implies that to understand Chands "new" philosophy one needs to first understand "the practical teachings" of Sar Bachan (as he was 'forced' by his Guru to do). And attend Satsangs (as he did) ).


In the middle of the book there is a question and answer chapter:

Q: Is Sat Guru one or are there many?

A: Sat Guru is the name of such a holy and pious man who even removes the thought of Guru from the mind of his disciple. This is the criterion of knowing a Sat Guru. Now you can yourself know how many Sat Gurus there are in this world.

Q: After all, there must be someone in your view?

A: No. I do not know. Because I never moved out for this purpose. The supreme brought me in contact with His Holiness Hazur Data Dayal Ji Maharaj and I spent almost my whole life at his feet. I had a craze to understand the Radhaswami faith. I studied “Hidayat Nama” and “Sar Bachan”. Since His Holiness left his physical body, I have been doing my best to carry on his dictates. He had ordained me to explain the truth and change the mode of teachings before leaving my physical body.

I visited Beas, where I saw His Holiness Param Sant Baba Sawan Singh Ji. From the radiation of flowers that His Holiness gave to me and from the effects of the company of Baba Ji, I can say that he is a perfect Saint and he is guiding the mankind to the right direction. (When this book was written, His Holiness Baba Sawan Singh Ji was alive.) Though the Sat Sang there is not very sufficient for persons like me, who are whimsical and dominated by mind, yet it is all under His Will.

Q: In your opinion, is there any other Saint?

A: My friend, I have not been to any other person. So, I have no right to express my views about any man. It is possible that there may be many more Saints and it is also possible that there many not be any. In my life I wish to visit all holy persons of Radhaswami faith who are guiding mankind to the right direction. Such holy persons are great, who assist and guide ignorant and innocent people like me. But in my view the truth is that the entire world is a Saint."
------------------------------------------

To conclude: This "Devastating" Critique of RSSB falls shorts on all fronts. (The label "Devastating" is BrianHines' choice off-course). To come at the end of all this and critique a Spiritual Path with an a general argument that it is not aligned with mainstream science and evolution, is weird! First of all at the nuclear level nothing is the same regarding what science is. Nor is it any clearer regarding the emotional. If one professes himself "A scientist" and believes in "Science" and "Facts", and does "Experiments" in the name of "truth"; this is "taxonomically" fine. "Its good for the nation. Learn, Learn, Learn." For others, the believers, the non-scientists, people like Chand, Nanak, Rumi, Lao Tse, Socrates and others: off-course there is an intelligence guiding actions while creating creation. Its called His Will, evolution, samsara,karma, french oranges, star formations, fresh water, a love poem. And in this infinite creative creation, which by "thinking cannot be reduced to thought" "Shabd is the real Guru" say the Shabd Gurus and "Love the essence."

Huxley and Chesterton

I think this movie (which takes direct quotes from Faqir Chand) helps explain his philosophy very clearly:

http://youtu.be/7qygHLTkolc

Dear Gaz, my email is neuralsurfer@yahoo.com

I don't think Brian is a hater at all. Rather, I think he is a rare thinker who has the ability to be honest and to change his mind. Charan said critics are our best friends. I think Brian is the best thing to happen to R.S Beas in a long time. He is allowing a breath of fresh air and should be commended for doing this, despite so many detractors. In addition, how many religious followers have the guts to say that they were mistaken about something?

So, no, Brian is a lover..... a lover for the truth.

Feel free to email me anytime.

David, thanks. Not surprisingly, I like to read positive thoughts about me more than negative. Your comment made my evening -- along with a glass of wine and finishing a great mystery/espionage novel.

I think David wrote a very interesting article, which quite accurately (though unintentionally) reveals most of modern "science" to be a thoroughly metaphysical belief system. This is most clearly stated when he talks about "evidence" that consciousness is the result of material processes. When, as Alan Wallace tirelessly points out, there is not a single scientific method (since most cognitive scientists barely accept introspection as a valid method) to even detect consciousness (and even with introspection as currently practiced, its presence can only be detected directly in humans - which is why for more than a century scientists adhered to the truly bizarre claim that an animals - and for some, babies!! - were not conscious) anywhere in the universe.

The religiousity of David's "fundamaterialism" (philosopher Neal Grossman's marvelous phrase) comes out on almost every line of the article. I suspect the intense emotion behind the article has to do with David's past association with the same group that Davidson belonged (belongs?) to.

By the way, I did acknowledge in the IW forum that personally, at least for me at least, David always comes across in his writings as a really curious, caring fellow; so i hope nobody thinks I'm comparing him too closely to religious fundamentalists.

(you can find more discussion of this at the integral world forum; or write me at donsalmon7@gmail.com)

don salmon, I don't get your point. There is plenty of evidence that consciousness is the result of material/physical processes. This could easily be demonstrated on you, or anyone else, including the most proficient guru/meditator/yogi in the world.

First, they are conscious. Then they're given anesthesia. Now they're unconscious. Dead to the world. Unresponsive. Ditto if they were hit over the head forcefully. Or suffered serious brain trauma.

Physical changes to the material brain result in clear alterations in consciousness, or the loss of consciousness. This isn't a "metaphysical" speculation. It is scientific fact.

By contrast, there is essentially zero evidence that human consciousness exists apart from the human brain, or survives bodily death. Even ESP studies, which sometimes show some positive results (to my understanding; I'm not an expert on this) are dealing with living subjects who have operating physical brains.

Maybe the brain has some super capabilities science currently doesn't know about. OK, this still would be the capability of the physical brain, operating in the material world. So your attempted putdown of David Lane has nothing behind it, in my opinion.

Why didn't you cite the parts of David's essay that you disagreed with, and offer up reasons for your disagreement? This would be a better approach than simply dismissing the entire essay for reasons that make no sense.

I like the phrase "fundamaterialism" even if I may differ on the claim that "science to be a thoroughly metaphysical belief system" since what ultimately counts in science, as Richard Feynman quite clearly points out, is determined not by our beliefs but by experiments which proffer evidence even to those who don't believe.

One doesn't have to believe in gravity, for instance, to see and acknowledge its effects.

The same holds true with electromagnetism. Nathaniel Branden provided a wonderful insight into the weaknesses of some of Ken Wilber's analogies and I think the same applies here.

There is nothing "metaphysical" about using anesthesia in a hospital to perform surgery on a patient, thereby rendering his "waking" state consciousness dormant. There is nothing "metaphysical" when that same patient is kept under sedation by such "physical" chemicals as cyclopropane.

No, I think confusing science's practical tools with metaphysics is to entirely misunderstand the very nature of how and why science progresses.

It is for that reason that I think exploring the very material basis of consciousness is the key..... and why, lest we forget, we want our doctors trained in how trimethylene actually works in a real physical body and not going off ruminating about how science is merely a belief system or entirely metaphysical.

Or, to give another example, planes fly and have been improved over the last 100 years not because science is a metaphysical system of beliefs, but because we test, and test again, very physical objects in very physical arenas.

My wife Andrea and I wrote an article on the issue of whether consciousness is physical or not which touches on some of these issues. It is called simply enough IS CONSCIOUSNESS PHYSICAL? Here is the Integral World link:http://www.integralworld.net/lane4.html


True, there are some parts of science that have moved on from falsifiability into established fact.

But with regard to the claim that understanding the brain would produce a complete understanding of consciousness, i don't think it is quite that simple.

Some science philosophy regards the idea of free will unreal. According to this school of thought it should be possible to predict not only the exact thoughts a person will think 100% of the time without error but also the actions based on those thoughts. If this were true, the brain based understanding of consciousness would be valid. But it simply just defies belief to assert it is possible to predict every single thing a person will think until the day they die. There are too many variables to account for like accidents and disease. Besides, the same school of thought claims that randomness rules the roost in this universe. It's like trying to have your cake and eating it too.

David R. there are some flaws in your reasoning. Determinism is different from predictability. A "chaotic" system is fully determined (like a river churning with rapids) yet unpredictable, because a small change can result in very big effect.

This often is called the butterfly effect; theoretically the effect of a butterfly flapping its wings can produce a hurricane.

So being unable to predict what someone will do doesn't mean the person's actions aren't fully determined, and they lack free will. Most neuroscientists consider that humans lack free will, and I agree. If you believe in free will, I'd be interested in learning your reasons.

To D.Lane,

Again the video you posted is misleading and out of context. You took a paragraph, that preceded, and anticipated, other paragraphs, placed serious gospel music around it, chose the typography, chose its ambience, placed a title and re-presented Chand's words in such a context - in such a hollywood way, that its hard not ponder whether Chand didn't sit down and make the video himself. Thank you.

This is a typical "straw man"/"appeal to authority" 'fallacy of quoting' (wiki it). It would have been better if you had referred readers to the actual written text which includes these "quotes."

Faqir Chand states "I have come to the conclusion that all these stages from Sahasar-dal-Kamal to Maha-sunn – are all mental ie. all only of subtle matter." Which is what all Sant Mat movements, Sikh Gurus and many many others state as well, word for word, through their own experiences.

Subtle matter is subtle mind: form,movement, attachement, ego. Thus what Faqir says is that ALL experiences & phenomena within this Created Universe are a projection of MIND: from Self-mind to Universal One MInd. (Note that in sant mat philosophy Maha Sun includes millions upon millions of Brahmas as well as millions of dimensions in Par-Brahm. Brahm is in fact Universal MInd).

Faqir Chand stresses the need to transgress mental phenomena, Brahma, to reach Truth, Sat. The way he advices how is through Shabd Yog, following the Teachings of a Shabd Guru and Satsang (regardless if the life is a in a Spaceship or in a Jungle): This is what he practiced and this is what he actually taught. (See my post above).

for the savages and the tecno brave,
http://www.ted.com/talks/juan_enriquez_will_our_kids_be_a_different_species.html

Final Note: As far as D.Lane's Critique of Davidson's take of Darwinism: Dude!!!! Within Samsara, atmans, re-incarnate across species, down species, up species. Species are forms which change. Samsara means wheel of change, and is both mental and and physical. You may be here today, and be born in another "planet" tomorow where humans are still evolving just to answer some questions u are having now (a niche). Then be born in a Starwars episode, and then in a planet of the apes, and then back to a new york type of setting, and then and then... The same way one flips channels on TV and then goes to dream, one chooses where one goes; and goes. Form, Movement, desire, and Sense of Self keep turning the Wheel. Evolution and Karma (reincarnacion) are the same process and the Created Universe is NOT 15 billion years old !!! Its older

An extra TED Talk about the agonizingly infinite play of samsara. Raw science.
http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/oliver_sacks_what_hallucination_reveals_about_our_minds.html

I am glad you liked the video and that you thought it might have been done by Faqir himself.

As for Faqir's own words, I asked Faqir in 1980 to write his autobiography. He very kindly accepted my request and gave me worldwide permission to publish, which we eventually did (over the objections of the Dera).

I also have tried to get Faqir's writings, particular his later ones (Jeevan Mukti and Secret of Secrets) , out on the net.

Faqir was very clear near the end of his life about what he had realized.

I suggest reading Jeevan and Secret of Secrets to get a better handle.

I also have a number of letters by Faqir, one was 24 pages long, which elaborates on his "unknowing" philosophy.

Here is apparently the last letter Faqir wrote. It was shortly before he died and in the hospital:

It is a bit existential.


https://sites.google.com/site/bhagatmypage/baba-faqir-chand---the-last-moments

Hi David:

Thanks for responding. You’re welcome to join me over at the integral world forum; there are several people there I think would be interested in your feedback.

I’ll respond in between the lines of your letter. Let me say first that I am a psychologist, and though I’ve studied philosophy for years on my own I have no formal training in it. I’ve been trying to figure out, ever since you responded to my article, “Shaving Science With Ockham’s Razor” with your article “The Disneyland of Consciousness”, how it was that my ideas were not expressed clearly enough. Perhaps I am using the word “metaphysics” incorrectly. Maybe I’m talking about epistemology, but I’m afraid since you’re a philosopher, I should probably leave these terms and simply say this – my point here (and in that article) was not ultimately to put forward any point of view, to make any statement about “the way things really are” – my main aim was simply to point out that physicalists (materialists, or whatever they call themselves nowadays – I think naturalism is in favor in the last few years) have in their statements about consciousness many unexamined assumptions which I think impede the progress of science. My only wish is to point out these assumptions. If after having seen them, they don’t seem important, well, that’s another thing.

Here’s a passage from Krishna Prem which expresses very well the essence of the article I wrote:

“It should be clear from introspective meditation that all forms are sustained in consciousness, and that, apart from consciousness, we know nothing and can know nothing of forms. It is in fact meaningless to talk of forms as existing apart from consciousness The objects supposed by some to exist behind the forms are mere mental constructs devised for dealing with experience in practice. No one knows them, no one can ever know them; to believe in their existence is a pure… act of faith.”

**************
So, with that: here’s David’s response, with my comments interspersed:

DAVID: I like the phrase "fundamaterialism" even if I may differ on the claim that "science to be a thoroughly metaphysical belief system" since what ultimately counts in science, as Richard Feynman quite clearly points out, is determined not by our beliefs but by experiments which proffer evidence even to those who don't believe.

DON: I’m always intrigued at how much people believe the catechism of scientists. Yes of course, scientists like Richard Feynman no doubt believe what they say when they point out that experiments are not determined by belief. Might I point out that Feynman was a physicist who by virtue of that statement shows he knows little or nothing of the vast research in cognitive science showing how profoundly ignorant we are of the extent to which our beliefs shape our conscious “rational” thinking (and as an interesting aside, have you noticed that the new spate of books in the field of neuroscience purporting to show us how easily our beliefs overrule our rational side, almost all share a physicalist perspective, and almost to an author direct all their attention at showing how any body with a remotely non-physicalist belief is clearly irrational, and it never seems to occur to them that it might just be remotely possible to turn their attention to their own – may I say it – “beliefs” and then they might find out that this rational, belief-proof evidence they make such high and mighty and appealing noble claims about is no more impervious to bias, prejudice and dogmatic blindness than the most intransigent medieval churchman? (by the way, have you actually done any research or hung out with people doing research? A few weeks of conversation with researchers would, I think, quickly reveal the extent to which bias and tightly held beliefs pervade the scientific endeavor)

DAVID: One doesn't have to believe in gravity, for instance, to see and acknowledge its effects.

DON: A complete red herring; or perhaps that’s the wrong phrase. The specific phrase of yours I’m challenging as involving a belief system is the idea that science has the capacity to judge the source of consciousness (an obvious impossibility when you consider that scientists as of yet do not accept any methodology by which one could even detect the presence of consciousness – I’m including the flimsy attempts among qualitative researchers to attempt some form of introspection, which as currently practiced also does not provide any means of detecting consciousness from a scientifically acceptable perspective). As far as gravity, the only aspect of it relevant to your phrase is whether “gravity” is independent of consciousness. And when I say “gravity” – of course we realize we’re not talking about anything we have direct empirical evidence of - the quantum physicist’s phrase (I think it was Eddington but I’m not sure) “something is doing something to something that we know almost nothing about” – yes, we feel something, and our instruments (which also are only known to us as forms in awareness) respond and we hypothesize the activity of something to which we give the abstract name “Gravity” – this has nothing to do with whether there is some force that exists entirely independent of consciousness.

DAVID: The same holds true with electromagnetism. Nathaniel Branden provided a wonderful insight into the weaknesses of some of Ken Wilber's analogies and I think the same applies here.

DON: what was said about gravity equally applies to electromagnetism. I assume, being a physicalist, you have the assumption that electromagnetism exists independently of any kind of consciousness whatsoever. Maybe it does. Whether it does or not is not my interest hear. I’m not saying you’re “wrong”. I’m only pointing out that in your comment there is a non-empirical assumption which cannot in any way – given currently acceptable scientific methodology – even be put to an experiment much less be proven or disproven. It is utterly meaningless in the current scientific framework.

Here’s something from John Searle that is relevant:

"How is it that so many philosophers and cognitive scientists can say so many things that, to me at least, seem obviously false?... I believe one of the unstated assumptions behind the current batch of views is that they represent the only scientifically acceptable alternatives to the anti-scientism that went with traditional dualism, the belief in the immortality of the soul, spiritualism, and so on. Acceptance of the current views is motivated not so much by an independent conviction of their truth as by a terror of what are apparently the only alternatives. That is, the choice we are tacitly presented with is between a "scientific" approach, as represented by one or another of the current versions of "materialism," and an "unscientific" approach, as represented by Cartesianism or some other traditional religious conception of the mind.:"

DAVID: There is nothing "metaphysical" about using anesthesia in a hospital to perform surgery on a patient, thereby rendering his "waking" state consciousness dormant. There is nothing "metaphysical" when that same patient is kept under sedation by such "physical" chemicals as cyclopropane.

DON: I’m assuming that you’re taking “anesthesia” to be a purely non-mental or non-conscious phenomenon; similarly, you apparently have the same assumption about cyclopropane. When the only way you or anybody could possibly know about “anesthesia” (do you mean the sensory phenomenon or something that is measured by certain instruments) or any chemical or any instruments which provide information about chemicals is as a form in awareness, then your description of something as “physical” – along with the assumption that “physical” means independent of consciousness – if not “metaphysical” – then in more simple psychological terms, is a virtually non provable assumption….. imagine trying to prove something is consciousness-independent – as soon as you think you’ve ascertained it, you’ve made it an object of consciousness. And what could the word “object” mean independent of subjectivity?

DAVID: No, I think confusing science's practical tools with metaphysics is to entirely misunderstand the very nature of how and why science progresses.

DON: Once again (leaving aside the term “metaphysical” for now) we have an idealized view of science which bears little or no resemblance to the incredibly messy, emotional, prejudice filled world of real research. I’ve seen scientists defend this by saying, “well yes that’s how research really works, but still, we hold that before ourselves as an ideal.” Yes, and if you believe the stated ideals of various professions, then there is no such thing as police corruption, all corporate CEOS are saints, and all politicians – well, we won’t go there…

DAVID: It is for that reason that I think exploring the very material basis of consciousness is the key..... and why, lest we forget, we want our doctors trained in how trimethylene actually works in a real physical body and not going off ruminating about how science is merely a belief system or entirely metaphysical.

DON: What do you mean by “material”? or “a real physical body”? Whatever it is, underlying it is the assumption that what is “material” or “physical” is consciousness-independent. Again you may be right, but what materialists and physicalists usually believe is that “that’s just the way things are” and it has nothing to do about ruminating about belief systems or metaphyics. I’m just point out that there’s a startling amount of ruminating, assumptions and hidden beliefs in the use of the term “material” – particularly, “the very material basis of consciousness” – does that material basis have any association with consciousness “from the beginning” (“beginning’ also being a word fraught with difficult unprovable assumptions – and please don’t assume I’m advocating phenomenalism or skepticism; remember, I’m not advocating any position – not nondualism either – though that’s not really a position, at least not in nagarjuna’s hands)

DAVID: Or, to give another example, planes fly and have been improved over the last 100 years not because science is a metaphysical system of beliefs, but because we test, and test again, very physical objects in very physical arenas.

DON: I don’t think you’re actually meaning to do this, but I find in these conversations with physicalists there’s often a point where they say “well, where has your metaphysics (or epistemology or lucid dream experiments or whatever) gotten us in 3000 or so years; “science” has given us real useful things like flying planes and bombs and eyeglasses and cars; what do you want to give all that up?” That’s often the conclusion, that I’m being “anti-science”. So much has the word “science” become associated with the unprovable, nonempirical belief system of physicalism that to challenge it is taken to be a challenge to science itself. Rather, I’d like to think I’m defending science against dogma, carrying on in the tradition of William James, who wrote more than 100 years ago:

“Science taken in its essence should stand only for a method and not for any special beliefs, yet as habitually taken by its votaries, science has come to be identified with a certain fixed general belief, the belief that the deeper order of nature is mechanical exclusively, and that non-mechanical categories are irrational ways of conceiving and explaining even such a thing as human life.”

DAVID: My wife Andrea and I wrote an article on the issue of whether consciousness is physical or not which touches on some of these issues. It is called simply enough IS CONSCIOUSNESS PHYSICAL? Here is the Integral World link:http://www.integralworld.net/lane4.html

DON: Yes, I’ve read all your articles. You have a kind, curiosity filled style that comes through in much of what you write, even though I take issue with what I see (perhaps incorrectly!) as unwarranted assumptions. I particularly enjoyed “Is Consciousness Physical” in fact. Well, come join us over at the integral world forum if you like, or write me at donsalmon7@gmail.com. Very best!

Don, thanks for your kind offer and for responding to some of the points I make.

I think maybe an essay is in order!

Always love a great opportunity to focus once again on this very fascinating subject.

I appreciate your cordialness.

Will try to have an essay on this issue responding to your various points in a few days.

thanks again,

Dave

To D.Lane : What a great honour to receive such an autobiography.

Yes, it was and I have often think that making Faqir Chand's work more well known is the best thing I have ever done in my academic career.

We are planning (and it is long overdue) of doing a fully illustrated, comprehensive book on Faqir which includes the autobiography plus other materials that are not so well known.

For Don,

thanks for your cordial invitation. I am writing a longer essay touching upon a number of your points.

hopefully it will be of some use,

dave

Yes, Faqir Chand seems to make better sense...

Dear Mr Lane,

You are one intelligent man, you might have your doubts about RS, which is fair enough. I think all satsangis should try to be open minded, like you said Charan Singh said 'critics are our best friends'. I had a look at one of your videos regarding Faqir Chand, and you disregarded saints such as Jesus, the 10 Sikh Gurus and Allah. I firmly believe they were God in the human form. Gurinder singh, sometimes I think he is god in human form, sometimes I don't.
Science, psychology is powerful, but no way in hell is it powerful enough to prove God doesn't exist. Your very intelligent, but it's impossible for us as humans to grasp certain things.
There's so much in this world, there has to be a power from somewhere that has created the world. Scientists look at the big bang theory, but they don't look beyond that.
But you did a great job in exposing Enkchar( don't know if i have spelt it right lol), and you have defiantly gave us a great insight into how the human mind works. But I don't think it's a secret kept by any of the RS Guru's. Baba Charan and Gurinder have always said, who's ever form you contemplate on, you ultimately become them. They have gave examples in the past.


Hey David:

Thanks for your brief note. I'll certainly be interested to see what you write. I always find your articles thought-provoking, whether or not I see things the way you do. "Agree" or "disagree" is not quite the right phrase - I think we keep talking past each other - so I have a suggestion. or a few suggestions:

first, before writing a long article dealing with these topics, have a little back and forth on the forum. I suggest this because of your article "The Disneyland of Consciousness" in which you attempted to address points i made similar to those above (the article, for those of you interested, was "Shaving Science With Ockham's Razor" over at integral world). The main thing was your use of the Lincoln statue, which - at least, it seems to me - missed the point altogether. It's not whether or not you can tell that some material thing "has" consciousness or not; it's simply the observation that the idea that some material thing - like a Lincoln statue - has a purely material existence independent of any kind of consciousness - this idea is an assumption.

I'm not challenging the idea - you may be correct that there is a purely material universe "out there" independent of any consciousness. I'm only pointing out that it is an assumption. And, if the only "world" we know is composed of consciousness and forms in consciousness, if we're going to make up something called "matter" then I think the burden of proof is on us to explain why we want to introduce something for which empirical verification is impossible.

I don't think I wrote that very well, so I'll end by quoting Krishna Prem, who basically says in a paragraph or so what took me several thousand words to put together for IW (the other suggestion is to email - donsalmon7@gmail.com - but if you really want to take the time to write a full essay, well, I'll look forward to that too).

Ok, Krishna Prem, from his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita:

It should be clear from introspective meditation that all forms are sustained in consciousness, and that, apart from consciousness, we know nothing and can know nothing of forms. It is in fact meaningless to talk of forms as existing apart from consciousness. The objects supposed by some to exist behind the forms are mere mental constructs devised for dealing with experience in practice. No one knows them, no one can ever know them; to believe in their existence is a pure… act of faith…. [Matter is generally conceived of as] “stuff” existing in its own right… there is not the slightest reason to suppose that any such “stuff” exists at all. It is a mental construction and under the eye of modern physics it is evaporating more and more with each new advance… The billiard-ball atoms f the nineteenth century, the miniature solar systems of the early twentieth and the waves of the probability of the [later 20th century physics] are all alike pure mental constructions evolved for the explaining, measuring and predicting of experience, and have no more reality in themselves than mathematical concepts such as the square root of minus one.

sorry, one more clarification - a few things I'm not intending to say:

I'm not advocating any philosophic position. what I'm saying has been confused with idealism, advaita philosophy (of the most extreme illusionist variety), phenomenalism, dualism and extreme skepticism. I'm not even attempting a "Middle Way" non position. I'm only asking the materialist (physicalist/naturalist) to acknowledge (1) the positing of something as "material" or "physical" (which I assume to mean, at the very least, having an existence independent of any form or kind of consciousness) involves an assumption. and (2) that assumption is so utterly at variance with our direct experience, that the burden of proof is on the materialist to show why such an assumption is in any way useful.

The next point after that, once the assumption is acknowledged, is to go into more detail as to why such an assumption may or may not be helpful. Personally, for the sake of the advancement of science, I think the single most important thing we can do at present is to see clearly, in great detail, how disastrous such an assumption is for virtually all the sciences - especially for the sciences that deal directly with consciousness, but also for biology (and our understanding of evolution) and perhaps least so for physics, which seems to get along ok (for now) pretending that a mental construct is real. Astrophysicist Piet Hut once said to me that this was a useful, even necessary construct for several centuries, but now it presents one of the main impediments to progress in physics. I dont' know anything about that, being a mere psychologist (:>)) but what little I understand of it makes sense to me.

Looking forward to your reflections.

don salmon, I don't understand what you mean by physical consciousness being "at variance with our own experience." Actually, it's just the opposite.

Have you ever experienced anesthesia? I have. The application of a physical substance into my bloodstream caused me to lose consciousness. When it wore off, I was awake.

Have you ever experienced being with someone who has brain damage? I have. My mother had a stroke. She never came back to consciousness after it. I sat by her hospital bedside and saw her alive, but not responsive.

It was a relief when she died, because she didn't want her body alive and her brain dead. But your theory is that since consciousness isn't physical, she should have been the same after the stroke as before. And, I guess, the anesthesia I had should have left my brain "asleep" but my consciousness still awake.

Evidence abounds of consciousness having a physical foundation. It isn't an unfounded metaphysical assumption. It's scientific and experiential fact.


"....to acknowledge (1) the positing of something as "material" or "physical" (which I assume to mean, at the very least, having an existence independent of any form or kind of consciousness) involves an assumption."

---a material "something" would be the product of mind/ego or consciousness. I can make that assumption. That said, what would be a non-something, non-conceptual no-thing, that could be of the non-consciousness? Or, could one's consciousness comprehend the non-stuff-ness?

Gaz, it isn't up to non-believers to prove that God doesn't exist. It is up to believers to prove that he/she/it does.

Can you prove that I am not the Emperor of the World, controlling everything that happens on Earth through my secret supernatural powers?

Can you prove that there aren't fairies in my garden which make the flowers grow, and only I can see them?

We don't usually demand proof of things that don't exist. If that was the case, few psychotic people would be in mental hospitals, or on medication.

Brian, sorry to hear about your mother, it must have been a horrid experience.
My point is that it all really depends on the person that wants to meet God. If they are sincere, and they want to meet God not for worldly desires but for spiritual things, then it can happen.
There is a reason as to why there's no extensive evidence on God existing. Meeting God is the best pleasure ever.
Past saints such as Bulleh Shah had a clean heart, he recited God's name everyday, restrained from meat, adultery etc. He had to wait 15-20 years to meet God.
I'm no one to judge, but I have seen it in front of my own eyes, there are a very few people that have those divine qualities. Even satsangis, maybe 3 in 500 will have the above.

"Meeting God is the best pleasure ever."

---what would be the next lowest level type pleasure?


"...... but I have seen it in front of my own eyes, there are a very few people that have those divine qualities."

---what would be a visually obtained observation of a divine quality?
This quality can be seen?

"Even satsangis, maybe 3 in 500 will have the above."

---Gaz, is Brian one of the remaining 497? He could be rather unspecial.

Dear friend.. This is a path of love… if you had a bad experience and u dont believe doesnt mean no one believes. If you use your mind. Sorry but you are not god.. Mind also given to you by god.. So go to any religion.. Any satsang… .but keep faith… and believe in god not on your bogus theories…. And share good experiences not the bad one… god have manufactured mother tereca and also dawood ibrahim… so do not interfear in the way nature goes… .take care… ..

jack, could you tell me which of my "bogus theories" are wrong? Just curious. You seem to think that you know the truth about reality. Maybe you could enlighten me regarding what you believe I'm wrong about.

Then we could discuss your reasons for believing in whatever sort of God you think is real, and why my reasons for not believing in that God are wrong.

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