« "Your mind is the perfect epitome of religious fanaticism" | Main | Life is suffering. The opioid crisis is one proof of that. »

February 21, 2018

Comments

I am a not knower..
Feels good,most of the time.
Agnost is it called.

It is strange to hear others talking about absolutes.
Like God does not exist.
Or like he exists.
Or about that is Kal..or above..
or that is negative or positive.
Or you have to be born again if..
Etc..What..do we ´really´ know?
I dońt even know what the next minutes will be.
So..
Some people call it God when they long for peace and comfort.
I understand that.. very well even..but sometimes there is just peace..
Everything changes..so do ´I´
So do You..<3

Think god and kal are both a bunch of suckers.

Truth is a synonym of God, Brian. You fail.

Since there is no demonstrable evidence that God exists except in the minds of those who believe in Him/Her/It, then truth and God are completely incompatible. God is a fiction promulgated by those who consider that the thoughts inside their head outweigh the evidence of objective reality.

Me, I've decided to be on the side of reality. But you're welcome to your own fantasies, D.r, so long as they don't affect the reality of others -- as often happens when religious fanatics try to impose their views on society. For example, through terrorism or, in the case of the United States, legislators believing that there's no need to address the dangers of global warming because God is controlling the Earth's climate.

Hi Brian:
Faith is easier because it is natural. We are hardwired for it.
But Faith can, in the face of habit, temptation, and fear, become the hardest thing for a human being to muster.

Consider those who lose their life to protect their friends. They have a higher purpose that puts them into harms' way. That purpose, they have faith in. They believe that purpose will make them noble, pure, and in some ways immortal. We are built to feel and think this way. The Faith is greater than ourselves, and by love, devotion, association, we become better, too.

It makes it possible to give our lives without thought of self.

But whether there is a God, whether that faith is in God or in a principle, the physiological mechanisms are the same.

To say that is false is like saying every wonderful play or movie you watched is a fiction. It is to say that love doesn't actually exist, that it's just a feeling. It is to claim there is no such thing as "sacred" or "Holy". That is not ture.

But there is truth in all of it. Even in a poem.

You claim that is just ink on paper.

The lover of poetry laughs at such ignorance.

That is actually the point.

The problem, Brian, with your brand of Atheism, like all religions, is that it can't stand on it's own two feet. It must criticize other beliefs, other sacred beliefs to make it's case.

But true love of Christ, love of God, love of Love Itself, love of Stoic Truth, Love of Nature alone, Love of Equality and Kindness, Love of Reason, are as real and true as any measurable thing, and does not need any other proof than itself. It IS it's own proof.

The love that fills me is the reality.

So, I don' t need tojudge your reality. That is real for you. That is sacred for you, and I honor it.

But when you feel you must claim that my sacred beliefs are false in order for you to raise your own as sacred, there I see a serious flaw.

My life and beliefs should have nothing to do with yours. Don't drag me or other people's beliefs into your system.

If you think you are brave as an Atheist, then I honor that. This is your sacred belief, the thing you hold as true and dear. And there is much to respect in it. And we should always hold Truth as dear and sacred.

But you sully that making remarks about others' sacred beliefs.

"The Opposite of One Truth may not be false.
IT MAY JUST BE ANOTHER TRUTH!"
Niels Bohr
(the physicist who discovered the structure of the Atom (electrons / neutrons / protons))

Spencer, belief isn't sacred if it is false. Reality is too important to be discarded on the altar of faith. Blind belief has to be questioned, both for the benefit of the believer (i've learned a lot from people who correctly challenged my false beliefs) and for the benefit of society.

I don't criticize personal subjective beliefs. I criticize people who make unfounded claims about objective reality, such as "God exists" and "God created the universe." Once I was one of those who promulgated false statements about God, so in a way I'm making up for those mistaken years of mine.

I've seen the light of truth, and I'm following it.

Look, there isn't one reality for me and a different reality for you. There is only one objective reality. Science and reason are our best means, maybe our only means, of coming to agreement about what objective reality consists of.

Religion should remain in the sphere of subjective reality. I don't mind people saying "I feel..." in reference to supernatural beliefs. It is when they start to claim that their feelings reflect objective truth that I consider that I need to challenge them.

Everyone has a right to their own beliefs, but not to their own facts.

Sant-mat / Yoga is based upon word/shabd that vibrates in every atom of universe not some hot/ cold shower. Biggest impediment in realizing shabd / word is motion / excitation of mind.
Thats what Jesus refers to when he talks about , God is in motion and rest.
Biggest exercise that can be done to still the mind is ; Stilling the body first by 3 to 4 hours of daily practice. Biggest impediment in practice is addiction of mind to intellectual ,visual & sensory pleasures. Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Baba Faqir Chand mentions the importance of taking the cross & obfuscating mental & sensory pleasures.

Hi Brian

You wrote

"Spencer, belief isn't sacred if it is false."

Can you see into someone else's very subconscious? Do you really know their history?

There is a lot of presumption in your remark.

Do you presume to know the Truth, do that you can judge others beliefs inferior for them?

Perhaps we should be glad that if there is no God we have Almighty Brian to guide us.

Brian

You wrote
"Look, there isn't one reality for me and a different reality for you."

Did you miss what Neils Bohr wrote?

Worth repeating, bro.

"The Opposite of One Truth may not be false.
IT MAY JUST BE ANOTHER TRUTH!"
Niels Bohr
(the physicist who discovered the structure of the Atom (electrons / neutrons / protons))

That's physics for you.
Even Newton wrote
"Hypotheses Non Fingo"

You would correct Newton and Bohr?

Suppose you meditate 2 hours a day every day for the rest of your life. You do so with the belief that you'll meet God and gods, that there are 5 regions. You do the same thing every day. And in the end you "see" something. How is that proof of god or santmat? Flashes of light are just that, flashes. Numbing of the body is because its still for so long.

I don't criticize personal subjective beliefs. I criticize people who make unfounded claims about objective reality, such as "God exists" and "God created the universe."

But, what's the definition of "God". The white-robed figure
of religious literature? A universal immanent entity? The
whole of everything? Consciousness itself?

Scientists don't try to define God. Neither do mystics. The
latter only say "not this, not this". A modern mystic has
used the term "Totality of Consciousness" but admits even
that falls short.

Even so, the mystics assert an underpinning reality exists
whatever it's called, however ineffable. It did create
the universe. And it's provable "objective reality", not
subjective "fairy dust".

It's simply not accurate to conflate the mystic with the
religious fundamentalist who cites scripture blindly.
And it's overreach to criticize statements such as
"God exists", etc. as unfounded claims about
"objective reality". They simply don't dovetail with
a more personal definition of what that means.

Mystics maintain proof can be found in consciousness
itself. Following an inner, meditative practice, they speak
only of what they've experienced within and other mystics
have as well.

Of course, conveying transcendent reality is not at all like
describing an aardvark. The mystic can only speak vaguely,
offer analogies, "tell a story". Its truth has to experienced
inside, within consciousness.

In my opinion, it's off the mark to dismiss/belittle/ignore
what others have experienced in consciousness and you
haven't. Dismissing it as solely "subjective" is pressing down
on the scale with one's personal bias.

It's a bit like a 5 year old, unable to sit still and helpless to
tune out the distracting impulse stream running through
his mind, who rejects an explanation that can't be scribbled
down in crayon. As someone many decades older, I can
guarantee I have an intimate understanding of the 5 year-
old's mind and its impulses. I prefer crayon drawings too but
realize you can't explain everything with them.

Hi Neon

You wrote
"Suppose you meditate 2 hours a day every day for the rest of your life. You do so with the belief that you'll meet God and gods, that there are 5 regions. You do the same thing every day. And in the end you "see" something. How is that proof of god or santmat? Flashes of light are just that, flashes. Numbing of the body is because its still for so long."

Yes true. Flashes of light is just the mind hovering over moments of focus. But the still mind is flooded with light, and this is only the beginning.

The true mystic is on a journey. They make no claims beyond their own experience. Just as Newton wrote "Hypothesis Non Ringo". And no true Atheist would claim to know or to label anyone else's experience. Because that isn't fact, and it isn't one's own experience. It's just one person's hypothesis about another person's experience.

So be a true scientist like Isaac Newton, cease conjecture, abandon mere hypotheses about others, and join with true scientists by claiming, "Hypothesis Non Fingo! '

Neon , wake up , its as absurd as saying you go to med school to become physician , its as absurd as saying you practice for years to become physicist. Obviously a person sitting for 2 to 4 hours daily won't have the same experience everyday as you try to project it. Everyday he will gain insights into consciousness , mind , impulses of mind , instincts of mind , curbing the instincts & so on.

So what does a person do who has tried all the sex, drugs, Rock & Roll, and earned enough money to buy the desires of the world, and still came up short?

Does that person have time to read all the Scriptures, than decide if any of it will solve that person’s problem of finding the solution to gain peace, happiness, security and love?

Who will that seeking person believe?

Will they believe the Gurus, Preachers, Masters, Psychics, or the Atheists?

Will they believe the young with no experience other than book learning, or the Seniors who meditated 30-40 years and either claim they saw a little light but gained nothing and wasted their lives sitting in the dark waiting to see god who didn’t show up, as the Founder of this Churchless Church and others claim?

Or, will they believe others who have made claims as I and others who HAVE seen the Flashes of Light, the Moon, the Sun, the Star and,.......the Radiant Form in clear view of their Radiant Master, with clear Audio as well, ( as I have shared and posted), plus haven had out of body experiences of flying in the Astral Plane, as Ishwar Puri also claims Initiates may experience??

I shared many of my experiences of flying in tne Astral Planes, lke Super Man, with arms extended, over the buildings, in my neighborhood, as well as meeting, and talking to my father, as well as others long dead!

But who will those with no experience believe?

For certain, no Guru or Master will ever give you those experiences unless you clean up your act, and Tithe your full 10% of your daily time seeking God in meditation to test if he will open tne Windows of Heaven as He challenged in the Bible,

Who will you believe? The materialistic Atheists who say it all ends here, and there is nothing there, after death, or will you belive me and the millions of others who not only have been there, but go there daily, in meditation, adding to our knowlwdge and experiences, as well as resting in peaceful Samadhi?

Its never too late to put God to the test, while we still have bodies, but once these bodies die,....then you will need to take your chances with Brian and his other Atheists.

As long as there is still breath, the Spiritual Laboratory remains open for Spiritual buisness and for testing God.

So,....Who will you believe?

Snooze and loose, or enter in to the Star Gate at the Third Eye and join we who enter and experience what’s there daily.

Jim Sutherland

To those who are still hopeless skeptics and disbelievers that believe meditation the Sant Mat technique is a waste of time and a hoax, listen to this partcular Talk that Ishwar Puri shared, notice he does not use notes, or read from a screen, but talks from his heart as if he has been where he describes. I have also been to some of those places, so am able to verify he is speaking the Truth. The other places he describes where I have not yet expernced, I am able to belive by faith, fully intendng to also experience them as long as I keep meditating and seeking God.
https://youtu.be/ZVwGHsqIMIQ

Quote Jim Sutherland : “ Who will that seeking person believe? … who will those with no experience believe? … Who will you believe? … ….Who will you believe? … ”


You do well to bring out the urgency of that question, Jim.

For those who are so inclined, this is probably THE most important question there is. More important than the specifics of how life originated. More important than whether there is life outside of our little planet, and what form exobiology might turn out to consist of. More important even than whether the Big Bang did happen, or whether the universe is actually expanding, or contracting, or static.

Because irrespective of how much we end up knowing or not knowing, individually or collectively, at the end of the day, our individual life will be snuffed out in at most another fifty or sixty or seventy years, or perhaps if we’re lucky (and very young), then at most another eighty more years or so. After that : curtains!

You do well to repeatedly bring out the stridency of this all-important question. As you say, the bell tolls away for YOU, for every YOU reading this.

.

And this is a question that each one of us must answer as best we can. No one can answer this question for another. Sure, they may guide, if they wish -- and sure, such guidance can be availed of, or not -- but regardless, each one of us must ultimately answer this question for ourselves.

.

And this is the particular answer that I myself, and for myself, have arrived at :

To the extent that this question seems important to one, to that extent one must test this for oneself. (And if does not seem important, in that case, for such an apatheist, the answer is easy : the question isn’t meaningful at all to them. But fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, I am not amongst their number.)

To the extent that this question seems important to one, to that extent one must test this for oneself. Test this how? Through direct, first-hand practice and direct, first-hand experience (or non-experience, as the case may be). By following whatever technique/s appear reasonable. And, if one is not to be misled, propped up by robust skepticism. The old Jnana-Bhakti-Raja-Yoga triumvirate, but with spine held straight with a strong dose of skepticism and rationality. That quote seems apt (from David Lane, I think, although I’m not sure) : “Rationality and skepticism are absolutely as essential in mysticism as it is in other secular pursuits, in fact perhaps even more essential there.” Something like that.

That is the answer. At least the answer that appears reasonable to me. First-hand (trial at) experience (assuming one has that predilection to begin with), but with a strong emphasis on rationality throughout.

.

Quote Jim again : “ To those who are still hopeless skeptics … ”


The skeptic isn’t necessarily hopeless. He isn’t necessarily a cynic.

That famous quote, I think it was Carl Sagan who said this originally (or perhaps his successor, Neil Tyson? I haven’t looked it up) : “Keep your mind open, but not so open that your brains fall out”. Something like that. That latter part of the sentence is basically what it means to be skeptical. It may sound trivial, but it isn’t. It is this skepticism that has separated these last couple centuries from the millennia that went before. It is this skepticism that is the root of science, the root of technology, the root of this amazing flood of knowledge in diverse spheres that is today available to us, the root of the astonishing progress that the human race has achieved, as contrasted with the millennia of wallowing in ignorance and tyranny and superstition. Given the general intellectual climate of, say, ancient Rome, indeed even earlier in ancient Greece (or for that matter in ancient China, or ancient India), there is no reason why we might not have achieved back then what have achieved only in these last few centuries : of course there are plenty of political and economic reasons why that didn’t come to pass, but I’d say that one crucial difference was the lack of skepticism in those times.

And while the flame is burning bright enough today, nevertheless, there is always the possibility that it may again be overtaken by obscurantism and superstition, unless every one of us stays aware of and guards against this, and does our bit (however little that bit may be) to keep the flame burning on.

And incidentally, @Spencer, and @Dungeness : I think -- I could be mistaken, of course, but this is what I think -- that this is exactly what Brian is saying. He isn’t denying the possibility of subjective intuitive realization, as long as one is clear that this is subjective. I mean, he says that here in so many words, there in the article proper, doesn’t he? What he keeps speaking out against is the conflation of the subjective with the objective. While it is true that what has been subjectively intuited may in fact turn out to be objectively true, surely you agree that extraordinarily strong objective evidence would be needed to support such an extraordinarily large claim?

For instance, think of the loads of utter bullshit that so many parents -- in fact, most parents -- do in practice keep on feeding their 5-year-olds when they ask questions! If only the child that you speak of, @Dungeness, if only that child had the wits to keep asking : “Oh yeah? Where’s the evidence?” If only more children had the wits and the confidence to keep on asking this, and if only more parents had the patience and the wisdom to keep answering correctly and factually, albeit tuned down obviously to the child’s level of understanding -- where possible taking the trouble to find out what they do not know, in order to better answer their child ; and where that knowledge turns out to be beyond them, at such times admitting honestly and clearly to their ignorance instead of playing the I-just-know-because-I’m-a-big-strong-adult card to keep their child quiescent and manageable -- then wouldn’t the world turn out, in the long run, to be a far better place than it is today? For everyone, child and adult alike?

.

As far as Ishwar Puri and RSSB, I think that, for what it is worth -- and I do realize my personal, individual views on this, as they apply to myself personally, aren’t really worth all that much to anyone other than me -- the RSSB system does seem well worth giving a try. I know I would, had I not already been fully engaged with some other systems. I still may, going forward, one day.

The ancient physician Hippocrates (460-377 BCE) said :

Men ought to know that from nothing else but the brain come joys, delights, laughter and sports, and sorrows, griefs, despondency and lamentations. And by this … we acquire wisdom and knowledge, and see and hear, and know what are foul and what are fair, what are bad and what are good, what are sweet and what are unsavoury…

The brain is where thinking takes place, love and hatred reside, sensations become perceptions, personality is formed, memories and beliefs are held, and where decisions are made.

Damage to the brain, as in accidents, dementia or congenital malformations, produces a proportional damage to personality.


Many of us can ask What makes Consciousness happen... Because, we don't fully understand how or when that switch of consciousness is turned on , God's will is often invoked as an explanation. That we don't yet know what makes consciousness happen does not correlate whether or not can be physically explained. Falling back on metaphysical explanations just because we have not yet found the physical answers is anti scientific. After all , if we did that , we still would believe in the myth of Flat Earth.

From an atheist and materialistic point of view , references to the divine , and ethereal qualities , such as love , beauty, intuition , merely refer to patterns of human behavior or electrochemical activity in the brain. In contrast , religious , spiritual people assert that God's transcendence is self-evident , since God created everything.

At the end is about , how you want to live and exist through this journey called Life.

Hi Anita
When we only understand a small portion of this reality, how can anyone claim this or that is "only" caused by A or B? A or B may certainly be real and thoroughly confirmed.

But Maybe the unknowns C, D, E and F causes both A and B?

It is unreasonable to make such claims that ONLY A or B exists since so much is unknown. Such claims are unscientific, and requires a substantial leap outside of reason which requires conjecture and hypotheses.

Hypothesis Non Fingo.


Anita, your comprehensive evaluation accounts of almost everything, except one thing - revelation. If people are claiming revelation from God and it turns out to be true, you have no explanation to fall back on about brains and consciousness. So the test of ultimate truth is objective and asks if God is a revelation that is genuinely robust and true.

What is sad about you is that you believe you are worth nothing more than the idea your entire personality and body is a form of maya only. You probably also subscribe to new age mystical secular ideas that the human mind impacts reality in the form of quantum physics, which is not even true in reality.

Falling back on metaphysical explanations just because we have not yet found the physical answers is anti scientific. After all , if we did that , we still would believe in the myth of Flat Earth.

Of course, we're always pursuing a scientific explanation. But the enigma
of consciousness is yet untouched by scientific analysis so metaphysics
can appropriately be explored in the interim. Scientific and metaphysical
roles are entirely complementary. Both can employ scientific methodology
too.

By the way, I don't think any serious spiritual mystic ever embraced the
"Flat Earth" theory or some of the more bizarre pet theories of mainstream
scientists.

Anyway moving on- is Kal under the sway of karma too? Answers on a post card please.
Ps rumour has it he stands on one leg mediating on the Lord. Messed up or what

What is Kal or Satan called in Hinduism? That should be interesting.

Not sure I am not a Hindu!!!

Arjuna, if you aren't a Hindu, why are you using the name of a Hindu from the Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavatam and other literatures in Mahabharata? Well, I suppose you could be a Sikh Hindu hybrid!

Hinduism doesn't have a Satan. Buddhism has a Satan called Mara. Zoroastrianism has a Satan called Ahriman I think? (it is either Ahriman or some other name). Sikhism is a blend of religions, Iranian, Indian and possibly Buddhism, but I suspect the latter may not be much involved.

So here is the question: if Hinduism has no Satan, could Hinduism be Satan?

My name was given to me by my parents - they died when I was a child. That explain why I am stuck with the name of a warrior??? A fictional one at that

Interesting point my dear friend - the dark one dies send his matey boys now and again to bring order here on this plane but some take them as Gods. Which I guess they are compared to us but not he kind of ones you want to get too close ...

Hybrid? Lol. I’m not a car - that made me laugh.

I don’t proclaim to be of any cast and I bow in front of no man!

So Arjuna is actually your real name? Well, that's interesting. Your parents were Sikh's that gave you the name of a Hindu mythological character?

I’d rather not discuss that as I am not sure where you are getting with all this.

I asked a question - is Kal or bob your uncle or what ever name you refer to the ruler of this world under the sway of karma? Is he subject to some regulation too as he seems hell bent on having the biggest ego there is - pardon the pun

Your question is like this - is Satan subject to karma? No, Satan is an angel that lives in a different dimension to the physical plane and is not subject to mortality like humans are. What possible sense could there be to the idea that Satan has karma?

Kal means time , in time all the bad deeds are done , of course some good ones as well ,
Whole point of Sant-mat / Path of Saints is to first direct the person towards good deeds & by practice the state of samadhi / fanna / jazb / trance where there is no time due to freezing or stopping of mind. That also explains the unusually long lifespans of many Rishis / holy men.
Sound current advocated by Sant-mat Saints , is actually validated by modern physics , vibrating in every atom of universe as quantum fluctuation.

At d.r. Where does Satan reside ?

Hi Appreciative!

You wrote:

"And incidentally, @Spencer, and @Dungeness : I think -- I could be mistaken, of course, but this is what I think -- that this is exactly what Brian is saying. He isn’t denying the possibility of subjective intuitive realization, as long as one is clear that this is subjective. I mean, he says that here in so many words, there in the article proper, doesn’t he? What he keeps speaking out against is the conflation of the subjective with the objective."

Actually Brian is making the claim that all objective reality is only what science has already proven. That is a conflation.

It would be more honest to say "Scientifically verified facts" vs "potential objective reality that science has not yet developed the instrumentation to measure."

But using this criteria, we would have to include gravity as subjective, since we cannot detect it, only it's effect on other things.

There is too much unknown in this creation..about 70% of the cosmos, according to modern science, is not understood. We call it dark matter and dark energy. It exists, but we know little about it.

Same for our subconscious mind. And same even for the brain, that doesn't function in a purely linear way. We don't actually know where many thoughts arise, only where they are in part processed. You can have a memory that has auditory, tactile, and visual stimuli. How is all that coordinated?

And performance and brain functioning often work in opposite ways: the most creative moments of intuition, brilliant flashes of insight appear to arise when the brain is at calm idle and hardly working much at all.

So, Brian's claim to know objective reality is very limited to only a portion of actual objective reality. Reality, objective reality, is way beyond what people, even scientists, understand. Science acknowledges this.

Even the argument in Akim's razor that is taught in science turns out to be disproven by science. The argument is that the simplist explanation is probably the right one.

But that has not turned out to be true.

We have the entire field of sub-atomic physics with it's nearly endless and growing identification of new particles and waves as evidence that the cretion, as we learn more about it, is far more complex than we thought.

DNA is another beautiful example. Since Watson and Crick published their elegant and short article, DNA is turning out to be quite a bit more complex. They offered a reasonable truth, for what they could detect. But far more, as it turns out, is there.

Science can't actually generate life de novo, from chemicals, just yet.

Life is still a mystery.

So claiming this is only subjective and all objective fact has been scientifically verified, is not only false, but extremely political. It's propaganda.

And when science gets twisted in the hands of political movements, you get scientism. You get ethnic cleansing.

That was some leap from subjectivity to ethnic cleansing Spencer! I guess I'm against all sorts of large religions (RSSB is one despite what they say) Sure go ahead and meditate and see whats inside, but none of it is proof that God exists. Although a lot is unknown, that in no means depresses the (actual) sciences. The scientific method is the best we've got. We apply it everywhere, yet when it comes to spirituality its dropped.

Science has been investigating spirituality since the 1800s, actually. It's just that materialist naturalist scientists are opposed to it and their brand of science gets a mainstream stamp of approval, so it looks like science in general is opposed to spirituality to most people. It takes just a little research in spiritual topics to explode this myth.

People have spiritual experiences all the time outside of meditation practices. They happen to people spontaneously. It happened to me like that. You don't have to meditate to experience God. However, meditation is supposed to clear the mind which is supposed to make it easier to know if God exists. Whether that is true or not I don't know. Some will say it is true, others, like Brian, will say it isn't. It isn't up to humans to determine anyway.

Hi Neon
The problem of scientism is using science where it cannot appropriately be applied. That applies to specific findings, such as brain scanning being used to draw conclusions about consciousness. While it's popular, the actual peer review of this is scathing. It's a blatant type 2 validity error.

You can also read up on Eugenics, the false use of science to excuse genocide.

Science good.
Scientism bad.

Hi D.r.

Meditation is at best cleaning the cup. Only Christ can fill it. But at least we do our part.

It isn't necessary to mediate to know God. He can come to anyone He likes whenever He likes.

But to be away from the body and with Christ, to live in His Name, is simply a necessity for some of us just to function.

Spencer Tepper, the problem is, the Holy Spirit is not OM. I have already written numerous times that billions of Christians know nothing of this OM and don't correlate it with the Holy Spirit, and you have not addressed that simple point even once.

If you could explain why billions of Christians don't know any OM go ahead. Otherwise keep your peace.

You will know you have entered Sach Khand when you don’t know where you are, and don’t have no where to be, and no longer care!

You will get there by using Sound to enter the Silence, 😇

Jim Sutherland

"You will know you have entered Sach Khand when you don’t know where you are, and don’t have no where to be, and no longer care!

You will get there by using Sound to enter the Silence, 😇"

That is the poetry of a true lover of Christ!

Quote Spencer :
“ Actually Brian is making the claim that all objective reality is only what science has already proven. That is a conflation. …
Brian’s claim to know objective reality is very limited to only a portion of actual objective reality. …(etc)”


I’m afraid, Spencer, I don’t think that’s right. See how Brian actually says, in so many words, in this very thread, in a comment he’s addressed to you : “I don’t criticize personal subjective beliefs. I criticize people who make unfounded claims about objective reality … ” I think you’re mistaken about what you think and say about what he, Brian, means to convey.

But you know what, let’s not talk, you and I, about what Brian might have meant to say. Because no one (including I) can possibly know exactly and for certain what another (in this case Brian) is thinking. And besides, Brian is himself far more capable than I of defending his own point(s) of view and, as such, it would be presumptuous of me to attempt to play spokesman for his views, especially here on his own blogsite.

So let’s forget, for the space of our discussion, what Brian might have meant (unless he chooses to participate, himself, in this discussion), and let us, instead, discuss what we think, you and I, about this.

Having read your many comments on this site, I find your own views very reasonable, in general. I suspect that, in the main, you and I are likely to be in agreement about this subject. Nevertheless, perhaps we might disagree about some of the details of how we look at this, and it might be both interesting and instructive to talk about this.


.


In talking about what I think of this, may I draw your attention to a comment I’d posted, that would, I think, be very relevant to this subject. It is, as I write this comment now, the very last comment on the thread titled “A justice system not based on a belief in free will would be much better”. In case more comments get added there by the time you read this, please look for the comment I’d posted there on February 24.

Do you agree with the point of view I’d expressed in that comment? All of it? If you do, then I don’t think there’s anything, really, about this that we’re really in disagreement about. Except for what Brian might have meant to convey, and that, like I said, I don’t think I’m really qualified to discuss, especially when he is himself present here to talk about it if he so wishes.

I’m not repeating, now, what I’d discussed at length in that comment (but of course, I’ll be more than happy to revisit any portions of it that you might want to discuss in greater detail), except to say that my short point was that we shouldn’t be resorting to special pleading for things that we arbitrarily affix labels to, labels like ‘supernatural’, or ‘paranormal’, or even ‘spiritual’. Anything and everything is fair game for objective study using the scientific method.

To put what I’m saying very briefly, then, as it applies to our exchange of comments in this thread : No special pleading! I hope we agree?


.


“ Even the argument in Akim’s razor that is taught in science turns out to be disproven by science. The argument is that the simplist explanation is probably the right one. ”


First off : I’m curious about your use of the term “Akim’s razor”. I’ve never seen that name spelt that way! I’ve seen Occam spelt Ockham, but never “Akim”. What’s that, the Arabic version of the name, or what? This has nothing to do with what we’re discussing, of course, but still, I’m curious about that spelling you used. Can you tell me more about it?

As for the man’s razor : I know from your many comments here that you’re very well informed on scientific matters in general ; and you’ve mentioned here earlier that you’re in the healthcare business, which indicates that you’re intimately associated with mainstream science ; but still, with respect, perhaps you’re just a bit mistaken about that principle?

Occam’s Razor doesn’t tell us that “the simplest explanation is probably the right one”. As I understand it, it is simply a question of economy : given competing hypotheses, one picks the simplest one that adequately explains all the observations. If you have the resources to fully explore twenty hypotheses instead of just the one, I don’t think Occam will brandish his razor and block your way.

And, in any case, none of this says anything about which explanation is “right”. “Rightness” of a hypothesis has nothing to do with simplicity or otherwise : that aspect, this “rightness”, is tested by means of experimentation (if applicable), and by making falsifiable predictions, all of that.

Again, I realize that this has nothing really to do with the main thrust of what you’re saying, but simply what appeared to me to be a nit that I thought might be interesting to pick at.


.


“ Life is still a mystery. So claiming this is only subjective and all objective fact has been scientifically verified, is not only false, but extremely political.”


Okay, now here’s where we seem to have a real disagreement.

Unlike some here, I’ve always found you to be wholly reasonable and rational. I hope the same can be said about me. So let us see if we can’t discuss this a bit, Spencer, and see who is mistaken here, you or I?

I think what you’re invoking here is, in effect, some slightly mutated version of the God of the Gaps.

I’d like to discuss this using a couple of examples, and at some length, if I may :

You spoke of dark matter. Perhaps we could also speak of string theory as well. Now to the best of my knowledge both of these are only tentative hypotheses. Neither has been validated yet. Neither has made the transition from “hypothesis” to “theory”, strictly speaking, despite the loose/colloquial use of the term “string theory”. Therefore, if some scientist were to go around proclaiming to the world that dark matter and string theory are factual, then what they’d be doing isn’t science but scientism (to use a word you’d used in your comment). Agreed?

To turn to the second example, again something that you yourself mentioned : Studying brain waves to throw light on consciousness in general and meditation in particular. You’d said that there are scientists who oppose this kind of thing. If there are such, and if they do indeed try to keep this outside of the purview of science, then I fully agree that they are wholly mistaken. To my knowledge, this line of study has been attempted since long, since at least almost a whole century back (I’m speaking here of Swami Rama, he of the “Himalayan Masters” fame). And of course, in recent times, there’s the Dalai Lama himself who’s cooperated so fully in getting his meditating monks tested with wires stuck to their heads.

Here’s how this appears to me, in the context of our discussion : Let’s say we find that certain frequencies are associated with certain states that these monks say they access. Well, one way to explain that is to buy into the entire cosmology of these monks. But perhaps if we shaved this “explanation” using Occam’s Razor, then what we’re left with is this : that certain meditative practices give rise to certain brain waves, and those particular brain waves are generally not correlated to anything other than those particular practices. We can’t really say anything beyond that, can we now, at least not objectively? To stretch from this to saying that God exists, or that the many deities described in Tibetan Vajrayana exist, or that those meditative states do actually correspond to the planes that Vajrayana talks about : you’ll agree, won’t you, that that’s far too much of a stretch?

It is doing that stretch that will reduce our little scientific endeavor to scientism. And that’s exactly what Brian seems to be saying!

Like you, I too meditate quite a bit. When you encounter light and sound around the crown chakra in the course of your RSSB-mandated meditation, and when I myself encounter the total absorption within the heart chakra that comes suspiciously close to being legitimately described by the word bliss in the course of mine, then subjectively we could, if we wish, attribute these to all manner of godly and divine causes. But objectively, what do we have? Certain practices, giving rise to certain feelings and visions. Perhaps, if we test this with the necessary equipment, some peculiar brain waves and some uncommon levels of pulse rates or whatever. OBJECTIVELY speaking, that’s what all we have, you and I.

Sure, one day -- not necessarily in some far future but perhaps even tomorrow -- we may, indeed, have cause to objectively speak of something more. (And what is more, given enough interest, this is very much a legitimate field of scientific study, or so I believe.) But that day hasn’t come, and we aren’t anywhere close to objectively having proved anything divine or godly, not yet.

Therefore, if you wish to attribute what you experience when you meditate to divine/Godly phenomena, all well and good, but only at the level of subjective belief. (And I, personally, wouldn’t even do that! But that’s me. You’re free to subjectively accept whatever explanation appears reasonable to you.) Objectively, though, all we have is a man sitting down and doing certain physical/mental exercises, and ending up with some feelings/visions and, perhaps, some physical manifestations like brain waves.

Objectively, that’s all you have.

Sure, this can be grounds for further study. Sure, this can be grounds for further hypothesizing, testing, et cetera. For all you know we might actually “prove” the macrocosm-within-microcosm theory, the whole spiritual planes thing, some day. But we don’t have all of that, yet. We simply don’t have enough grounds, yet, to say objectively that “God exists” or “God created this world” or whatever. Subjectively, yes, sure, why not? But objectively, no.

Agreed, Spencer?

(All this seems fairly clear cut to me. But of course, obviously I could be mistaken, without realizing that I am, in fact, mistaken. If you see any errors in how I’m seeing this, then do please point out how we may better look at this.)

Hi Appreciative

I appreciate your approach!

A couple of minor corrections.

My comment about type 2 validity errors have to do with brain scans being used to imply consciousness. That had been roundly denounced as an over reach in the scientific community. Not brain wave research.

Attempts to claim brain scans locate or source the functioning of mind is scientism.

Likewise Brian's remarks that a personal experience of God is delusional is pure speculation. There's no science behind it.

When do much of the known creation is not understood, and even more that is unknown, it is impossible to claim objectivite reality only resides within the reports of modern scientific findings. Most scientists would never claim that.

Three famous scientists made the point not to: Newton, Einstein and Bohr.


In conclusion, Appreciative, much of reality remains outside what you and Brian define as objective.

And therefore much of that reality would be defined by you both as subjective. It may become objective one day.

If all reality outside established scientific facts is labeled subjective, that would be most of this creation.

Spencer, what is the difference between bliss and joy in God? Do you experience God all the time or does it come and go? Is "bliss" a feeling that arises simply from meditating or a definite characteristic or quality of God separate from meditation?


Dear Spencer,


Once again, I think we are talking of two separate things, and ending up conflating the two. Or at least, perhaps there is no conflation in either your mind or mine, but it might be useful to clearly separate out these two aspects of what we are discussing.


.


On one hand is the question of what is subjective and what is objective. These are modes of knowing the world.

Like I’d said in my comment in that other thread, which I had linked to in my previous comment addressed to you, there is reality, and there is our perception of reality. What we strive to do is to have the latter approach the former as closely as possible. In this endeavor, the subjective and the objective are two separate ways we have of looking at the world. We would do well to clearly understand which is which.

That was one thing we were discussing.


.


And the other, second, separate thing we seem to have now ended discussing here, and which you mention in your comment addressed to me, is how little we actually know of the world. Let’s keep the two discussions separate, or at least, be fully clear that we are discussing two separate things.

Very true, Spencer. We actually know very little of the world. It can be a very unsettling and very humbling thing to know just how little we really know.

And yet, the answer cannot be to pretend to know more than we do, in fact, know! That is the sort of thing religions typically specialize in doing! Classing Dunning Kruger! Whilst knowing practically nothing at all, these pretend that they have already known, for all time, via the grace of their god, everything there is to know. (And, unsurprisingly, different religions come up with wholly different and incompatible pictures of the world when they, each of them, pretend to know what they don’t, in fact, know.) As true seekers of knowledge, we’d be doing ourselves a huge disservice if we took that route!

Like you say, it shakes one up to realize how very little we do, in fact, know of ourselves and of the world! But on the other hand, see how astonishingly rapidly (contrasted with the inertia of the centuries and the millennia that went before) we have started knowing more and more, in these last few centuries, just as soon as we managed to shake off the cobwebs of ossified, religious thinking!

True, the unknown is so vast that for all we know, we may not discover anywhere close to all of what there is to know, ever. Perhaps. And perhaps not, perhaps instead we may, someday, approach a ‘complete’ knowledge of everything. But regardless, surely the answer can not, can never, be to pretend to knowledge that we do not actually have?!


.


And let me emphasize, this is not in any way to denigrate the mysticism that you yourself practice and so often advocate on this blogsite. I think that also is a legitimate means of getting to know ourselves better, perhaps even of getting to know the world better. But again, there is no reason at all to wed this mysticism to random bronze-age (or latter-day) mythologies and other baseless fictions, or to pretend to any greater knowledge on the basis of that mysticism than we actually do have, is there? Surely our mysticism (I say “our”, because I practice it too, as far as my own humble faculties allow) has enough merit in itself, and more, that we don’t need to attempt to inflate its importance by resorting to fictions?!


.


As for the quotes of these scientists that you mention : I think we’d do well to take them with a pinch of salt!

Thing is, the fact that someone is a scientist, even a scientist of the caliber of a Newton or an Einstein, does not make them infallible on each and every subject under the sun. Sure, when they’re doing and speaking science, the particular kind of science that they have specialized in, then we’d do well to listen very attentively. (Although even here they are liable to correction, occasionally, by those who have the requisite training in physics and mathematics, as we can see from the example of those two same people, Newton and Einstein, and their work on gravity ; but still, by and large we’d do well to expect luminaries like them to be legitimate ‘authorities’ where their particular domain of knowledge is concerned, especially lesser mortals like you and me who cannot and do not aspire to a Nobel in Physics.)

But when they’re philosophizing, well then they’re then no different really from you or me, are they now?! Merely thinking aloud about the world basis their experiences, merely trying to grope around blindly and make what sense they can of the world, that is what all of us do! I’m not saying what they say has no merit, merely that anything they say stands or falls on its own merit, on the merit of the content of what has been said rather than on the strength of who it was who has said it, to be weighed by the same standards that would apply to what anyone else says, including you and I. To imagine that what they say is some kind of gospel truth, some kind of higher wisdom, when all they’re doing is philosophizing (as separate from “doing science”), would be a fallacious appeal to authority.


.


Do we now agree, Spencer? Or is there any part of this comment of mine that you still disagree with?

Let me repeat : I’ve tried to express, as clearly as possible, what I think about all this. This seems to make sense to me, what I think and what I have just said, as far as I can see. But of course, I recognize that there is every possibility of my being mistaken about this, without realizing that I am, in fact, mistaken. I repeat, I’ll be very happy to correct my thinking if you (or anyone else, including I myself in some subsequent point in time) are able to point out any errors in my way of thinking about and understanding all of this.

Hi Appreciative!

I really like the way you think.
I believe there is
1.objective reality.
2. Scientific findings.
3. Subjective experience.
4. Urban and historical myth

And there is some overlap between them.

When Pythagoras said he had seen the Earth from space and it was like a round ball, with the land masses looking like pieces of leather, that was a subjective experience of an objective reality.

When a Ted talk neuro scientist claims MRI brain scans prove where consciousness resides, than is an urban, modern myth.

Religious people don't claim to know more than people in general can possibly know. That is a ridiculous accusation. Perhaps you have come across some idiots like that in your life but blatant generalising of billions of people won't cut it. In fact, modern science was started by Christians for the most part who saw no discrepancy between investigating the natural world and religious Revelation. Like Issac Newton, for example.

It's a mistake to separate philosophy and science and pit them against each other, in my opinion. The parts of reality we do not currently understand belongs under the heading of metaphysics in science and philosophy, and that has it's legitimate place in the scheme of things. This new "atheist" trend to minimise the importance of philosophy is another lame argument that atheists are winners at making.

Hi D.r.
You wrote
"In fact, modern science was started by Christians for the most part who saw no discrepancy between investigating the natural world and religious Revelation. Like Issac Newton, for example."

Mostly true. Christianity invested in science. But you would have to go back to the early alchemists and astronomers like Ptolemy, and even further back to the Egyptians to see observation through improved instrumentation, hypothesis testing against actual phenomenon, all in their early forms.

Still, ancient history aside, I must say in response to what you wrote about modern science,

"Truth!"

Hi D.r. r.
You wrote
"Spencer, what is the difference between bliss and joy in God? Do you experience God all the time or does it come and go? Is "bliss" a feeling that arises simply from meditating or a definite characteristic or quality of God separate from meditation?"

Brother Lawrence wrote eloquently about this presence of God in his classic" The practice of the Presence of God. "

Equally eloquent is St. John if the Cross' The Dark Night of the Soul.

And the Cloud of Unknowing is equally fine.

No it is not continuous. It is a journey into bliss, an awakening into Spirit.

Christ is shattering in His ecstacy.

So, if this is the path you choose, prepare to be destroyed and remade, ashamed before God Himself, and saved.

No, it is not for the weak of heart.

You know my whole life the question of the cosmological constant has bothered me.
That;s why i have always been agnostic. But, I recently learned the same astronomical
odds apply to our known universe. Only a super small % of this universe can even support life.

As a mathematician, the possibility of no God existing becomes very real now.

I don;t like this idea. The only logic I can find for our existence . is that we are already in hell.
Then all logic is perfect. But, no one ever presents this idea to the public.

It does not make money selling books.

Has anyone one of you writing on this post thought for a moment that your words may be the Devils work,

It’s all mind isn’t it. The Devils hands have been busy.

The thought popped into my head - in a way not one of you can prove that God exists - so Brian is right. If god exists do you really want to go back to that sociopath who likes seeing his children suffer.

Omg - pardon the pun. The Devils hands have been busy indeed

Dear Spencer,

I'd let this comment of yours pass without remark when I read it, mainly because I didn't want to beat this to death! But having posted that comment under that kid-vs-pastor TV-show thread, I thought I'd come back here and address this.


I believe there is
1.objective reality.
2. Scientific findings.
3. Subjective experience.
4. Urban and historical myth


I'm not sure that classification is "correct". That is, I'm not sure it's wholly, well, exhaustive.

For instance -- and I could be wrong, I'm merely thinking aloud -- while of course "objective reality" is a phrase often thrown around, but I'm not sure it means anything, except colloquially. I mean, reality is reality, right? What is objective or subjective is our perception (and interpretation) of it, not reality itself.

Also, "scientific findings" aren't the only objective reality. The scientific method doesn't have to invoked, not necessarily, for objectivity. "Scientific findings" are merely a subset of our objective perception of reality.

Finally, I'm not sure "urban and historical myth" deserves a separate category there. I mean, obviously urban myths exist. Obviously historical myths exist. But so do religious myths. (Or did you mean to include this under "historical myths"?) Obviously outright lies exist. Obviously outright clinical delusions exist. Why have a separate category for (any of) them?


When Pythagoras said he had seen the Earth from space and it was like a round ball, with the land masses looking like pieces of leather, that was a subjective experience of an objective reality.


I'm not aware of this, actually. Can you talk some more about this? Or preferably refer me to some links that talk about Pythagoras's visions? All I know about Pythagoras is his hypotenuse. (This is the same Pythagoras, he of the right-angled triangle, right? Or is it someone else with the same name?)


When a Ted talk neuro scientist claims MRI brain scans prove where consciousness resides, than is an urban, modern myth.


Sorry, I'd got your original reference wrong. I thought you were speaking of Swami Rama's (and later instances of) brain-wave testing. This is something else, and I'm not really aware of this.

Just as a matter of (incidental) interest, can you link to this?

Without really knowing about the details, this nevertheless does occur to me : Does it really matter that some scientist apparently went around lying his head off? (If that is indeed what he was doing?) He could have done it for any number of reasons. Chasing lucre, perhaps. Perhaps he was off his head. Seeking attention, perhaps. Perhaps he was simply mistaken. Whatever, any and every untruth obviously needs to be recognized, and discarded. Sure, agreed. Obviously. But does this really impact our discussion on this thead in any way?

Hi Appreciative!

You had cited my little linear progression starting with "truth"


"I believe there is
1.objective reality.
2. Scientific findings.
3. Subjective experience.
4. Urban and historical myth"


Consider the above a "nominal" scale that is directional, as opposed to discrete and unrelated categories.

At the top is the One Truth, not words, not symbols, but actual reality. What is.
Reflecting only a portion of that are the extant scientific findings.
Somewhat related to that, but less accurate, subjective experience.
Then, you have myth, which can be of any kind at all. Myths are being created all the time.

Now, about Pythagoras, there are several ancient biographies. But they were penned hundreds of years after his attributed death. The Greeks wrote about him and his school, as did European scholars for over 2500 years. And they attributed stories to him as well. But there is nothing from Pythagoras or his direct students in any documents.

Pythagoras is attributed to having been a strict vegetarian / no alcohol.. You can read about that in the 4rth century biography by Iamblichus. Plato, through Socrates, attributed Pythagoras knowledge of the music that runs the creation..the music of the spheres, to his mystical experiences, including my citation earlier.

That he followed a similar regimen to Sant Mat, including a belief in the divine sound, is a matter of legend from ancient biographers.

Even the Geometric rule of Pythagoras taught in every secondary school might not, modern biographers tell us, have been created by Pythagoras or his immediate followers.

But what all science acknowledges as the towering contribution of Pythagoras, or at least his school, is the knowledge that the universe is itself numbers, and the understanding of all things requires an understanding through measurement. And that through measurement, we grow closer to the actual reality around us.

Both our scientific worlds, and our digital realms all owe their foundational core to Pythagoras. And many modern scientists, from Newton to Hawking, have acknowledged, with due reverence, this.

Spencer, thanks very much for your inputs about Pythagoras!

I’m afraid I had zero knowledge about the man. All I’d known about him was his eponymous geometric theorem, and I suppose I’d imagined him -- not that I’d given him any conscious thought at all -- as some ancient Greek mathematician, probably a contemporary of Aristotle. It turns out his legend is far more complex, and far more ancient. Again, thanks for pointing me in his direction. This gave me the chance to correct a shocking lack in my knowledge about our common history.

My interest whetted by what you had to say about the man, I spent a half hour or sojust now -- and a very pleasant and instructive hour it turned out to be -- reading up what I could about him. I found and went through around ten links that seemed interesting (praise be to the Almighty Google-God), including the following three (which I point out to you here since perhaps you too might find them interesting ; on the other hand, you already know a great deal about Pythagoras, so perhaps these links will be redundant for you).

Anyhow, the links :
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pythagoras/ ;
https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/pythagoras-spherical-earth.250744/ ; and
https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200606/history.cfm

.


You’re right, Pythagoras did apparently preside over this system of philosophy/mysticism/religion that involved vegetarianism, and abstinence from alcohol, and other rituals.

On the other hand, apparently his spherical earth idea was based on down-to-earth physics and mathematics. Apparently he (or his followers) observed the orbital cycle of the “terminator” of the moon (that is, the light-dark divide), basis which he concluded that the moon was spherical. Apparently Pythagoras (or his followers) extrapolated this (that is, the sphericity of the moon), coupled with a general aesthetic preference for the ‘perfection’ of spheres, to conclude that the earth was spherical as well. That sounds like hard-nosed physics and mathematics, not mysticism.

As you rightly point out, nothing written by Pythagoras or his followers has reached us. What we know of him we know from what was written centuries after his time. Interestingly, that bit about ‘the earth resembling a ball made of twelve pieces of leather, variegated, a patchwork of colors, if many could soar up high above the clouds’, that is attributable many centuries later, to Plato, although he did draw from earlier Greek tradition, including the Pythagorean tradition.

.


Spencer, while I’m grateful to you for introducing me to Pythagoras, I have to say I’m bemused by your approach to his philosophy and his mysticism.

Apparently his ‘mystical vision’ about the spherical earth is nothing more than a poetic flourish made by Plato many centuries after his death, and not really directly attributable to Pythagoras himself. As such, while certainly, well, beautiful, surely you’ll agree that the veracity of his so-called visions (that is, not just the veracity of his visions themselves, but even the veracity of the fact that he’d had those visions at all) remains, well, inconclusive, to put it mildly.

You seem to see the man’s alleged visions about the spherical earth as an example of what you describe as “subjective experience of objective reality”. To me, as I read more about this, all that appears like little more than unsubstantiated legend!

.


Or is it that I am mistaken? After all, my reading about Pythagoras is, like I said, worth all of just one half-hour’s worth of random internet browsing, not exactly the gold standard of scholarly knowledge! It could well be that I’m mistaken. Do you have better referenced, better attributed sources for Pythagoras’s visions? If so, I’d love to know about them.

.


Now Spencer, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to take this discussion down an endless disagreement-filled series of views and counter-views. We seem to have somewhat different ideas about the subjective and the objective (so that portion of your comment I’ve deliberately not touched on again in this present comment, and nor have I revisited some things I find I disagree with your comment in the other thread, the one about the kid-vs-pastor TV show), and apparentlysomewhat different standards about what we find belief-worthy. And that is fine! There is, after all, no need for every discussion to culminate in some kind of consensus.

And, you know, it isn’t as if the sort of thing you speak of doesn’t exist at all. You spoke, in your earlier comments, about “subjective experience of objective reality”. Well, I do have knowledge, knowledge that I personally find acceptable, of one such clear instance.

Two and a half millennia ago (so more or less contemporaneous with our friend Pythagoras I suppose), in a time and place wholly, starkly lacking in our present-day systems ofknowledge about our neural make-up, the Buddha spoke clearly about a process-based universe, “arising and falling”, and spoke authoritatively about “no-self”. That’s amazing, actually! He spoke about no-self not just as passing whim or speculation, but as something that he based his entire life on. And accounts of his having actually said all of this are very clearly attributed by numerous sources, so that we can, beyond all reasonable doubt, accept that he’d actually said all of that. And present-day research seems to be bearing out what he had to say about no-self.

That, to my knowledge, is the one single (apparently true) instance of the “subjective experience of objective reality”. I continue to be amazed by it, and have no reasonable explanation of it basis a strictly rational worldview (unless that worldview were to admit of the possibility of some kind of experiential shortcut to that specific bit of knowledge).

It seemed to me that you might have pointed me towards another such instance here, Pythagoras’s visions I mean, which is why I was so interested in this, and why I had asked you for these details. But apparently what we have here is no more than just another legend.

Hi Appreciative

I'm not sure we can attribute anything conclusively to the early philosophers, including Buddha, when we only have the testimony of others.

I truly admire your efforts at internet scholarship.

My point was that these are useful anecdotal accounts in one's own journey to discover truth.
And while some modern biographers attribute Pythagoras ' conclusion to what they believe he concluded on the basis of reason alone, it is a construction of these authors to offer that explanation. It is no less a conjecture than Socrates' claim that Pythagoras actually witnessed this (just as Socrates also detailed his own internal experiences in the realms of spirit) .

In Kitty Ferguson's exhaustive biography,' Pythagoras : His Lives and the Legacy of a Rational Universe', she acknowledges that most modern authors, in attempting to remove the veils of myth around Pythagoras recorded by his earlier biographers, may have also stripped away some fact - based reports. For example, in Iamblichus' biography of 400 ad, he details the supernatural myths with some skepticism, while also recording Pythagoras' mode of thinking. In that time, Iamblichus tells us that Pythagoras early followers claimed that even the earth rotated, as did the other planets. Iamblichus noted that the earlier claims to Pythagoras included elliptical orbits, but his later students presumed this must be false since it s not a perfect shape. But stand back and understand this individual from the time of Christ understood something very accurate about the movement of the planets that would take nearly a thousand years for western science, with its instrumentation, to confirm. Whatever he practiced, including his devotion to the music of the spheres, the Holy Sound that runs creation, certainly may have supported the power of this far seeing Genius.

So my point, Appreciative, in giving Iamblichus ' example is that even Pythagoras' students did not understand where he came up with elliptical orbits for the planets, including Earth. And using their own flawed thinking they obscured an earlier account of an astounding truth.

Ferguson points out that the Pythagorean Theorum is a modern proof of Pythagoras' rule. There are no recorded mathematical proofs of his time. Modern mathematicians have backfilled this, and today we presume Pythagoras must have reasoned similarly. But that is conjecture.

He may have simply witnessed it.


Quote Spencer: “I'm not sure we can attribute anything conclusively to the early philosophers, including Buddha, when we only have the testimony of others.”


One can never be cent per cent sure of anything of this nature, ever! But it’s a question of what is reasonable. Of course, I realize that standards of reasonableness are, by definition, subjective. Nevertheless -- and at the risk of going “No True Scotsman” on you -- I don’t think anyone knowledgeable about this seriously questions the essentials of the Buddha’s teachings. Neither the essentials of those early teachings, nor the fact that the man himself taught them. After all, in his case, the “testimony of others” that you speak of came not long after the man’s death, and those “others” comprised many of his direct followers, direct followers who had direct first-hand knowledge of the man’s teachings.


“I truly admire your efforts at internet scholarship.”


Heh, touche! “Internet scholarship” is without doubt an oxymoron!

Banal, I know. But best I could do at this time.

But I look forward to properly reading about Pythagoras some day. While that “some day” may or may not dawn (I have a huge reading wishlist, only a fraction of which actually gets read!), but the thanks for putting Pythagoras there in that list of mine go squarely to you, Spencer. Like I said, before this discussion with you I hadn’t known anything about the man beyond that school-level theorem.


“My point was that these are useful anecdotal accounts in one's own journey to discover truth.”


But pointers are useful only when they’re factual, isn’t it? Milestones are useful only when they actually measure direction and distance. Putting up random milestones and pointers all over the place, only a few of them right and correct, along with many others that are (at least partly) fictitious, that cannot possibly bode well for any journey taken basis those milestones!

But if you meant that these anecdotal accounts might serve not so much as pointers or milestones but simply as inspiration on one’s own journey, then I’m in full agreement with you.


“So my point, Appreciative, in giving Iamblichus ' example is that even Pythagoras' students did not understand where he came up with elliptical orbits for the planets, including Earth. And using their own flawed thinking they obscured an earlier account of an astounding truth.”


That’s an interesting discussion! But you do realize, don’t you, that that is a very different discussion than we were having in our earlier posts, yours as well as mine? Even if what you say here is true, nonetheless that doesn’t give us any better bases for giving credence to Pythagoras’s alleged mystical visions of a spherical earth, not unless we are able to point to the actual references for such. (Which, to take a parallel, would in the Buddha’s case be the “baskets” containing the detailed codification by the First Council, recorded only a few years after his death, by a council that included many of his direct followers.)

Returning to this new, separate discussion that you have now now introduced : Yes, you’re right, this seems fascinating, your theory that Pythagoras’s biographers may, in their eagerness to avoid hagiography and mysticism, have leant over too far in the opposite direction, and stripped away fact-based reports.

While admitting to being fascinated by this idea of yours -- and while also admitting to having zero knowledge on this myself, and to basing what I say entirely on what I read in your post -- I have to ask, can you really talk of fact-based reports having been stripped away, unless you yourself have some access to those fact-based reports in the first place? After all, Iamblichus’s accounts, that you refer to, apparently date back from 400 AD. Although very far back in time from where we stand, you and I, that is still a whole THOUSAND years, give or take, from Pythagoras’s time. Recounted a whole MILLENNIUM after the fact, how factual can we imagine his records were?

With that qualification, and having expressed that reservation, I agree, what you say about Pythagoras having actually spoken of elliptical orbits, that’s truly, mind-blowingly fascinating. My impression was that elliptical orbits (as opposed to perfect spheres and perfective circular orbits) came to be discussed only with the dawning of the ‘modern’ age, no more than three or three-and-a-half centuries ago. If Pythagoras had truly spoken of such, then that’s certainly cause for amazement and wonder.

On the other hand -- and believe me, I’m not trying to repeatedly pick holes, merely to try to see the picture clearly -- that’s a big “IF”. How sure are we that he did speak of ellipses? After all, Pythagoras’s visions turned out to be (as far as I can make out) no more than poetic references made five hundred years after his death. If we are basing Pythagoras’s references to elliptical orbits to references made a whole millennium after his death, then how justified are we in taking those references seriously?

(And I do take your point, that even if we forget about Pythagoras and limit this discussion only to Iamblichus, even then this still remains something worth exploring. Like I said, my impression is that elliptical orbits came to be accepted only a few centuries back. I don’t know this for sure, but that sure indicates that studying how Iamblichus came to speak of this, even that, would itself be a very interesting subject. Might the astronomers of the day have physical, mundane, everyday bases for calculating such orbits? I personally do not know. If you find this latter subject of sufficient interest, sure, I agree you’ll find in this a legitimate area for further inquiry.)


“… the Pythagorean Theorum is a modern proof of Pythagoras' rule. There are no recorded mathematical proofs of his time. Modern mathematicians have backfilled this, and today we presume Pythagoras must have reasoned similarly. But that is conjecture.

He may have simply witnessed it.”


Astute of you to think of that! I personally do not have the mathematical chops to immediately have an opinion about that, not without laborious digging which I’m not going to attempt : but assuming Ferguson, whom you quote, is correct in saying what he did, then this could, indeed, be a case of modern “backfilling” of past conclusions.

It could be that they had wholly different systems of mathematics, back then. But that is unlikely, isn’t it, else something of that system would surely have survived for us to witness? Has it? Do you know?

In the absence of such (assuming for now that such absence is fact), you’re right, he (either Pythagoras himself, or perhaps some follower of his ‘school’) may have simply “witnessed” it. Although rather than speak in terms of “witnessing” and “visions”, might it not make more sense to simply think of this as intuition? After all, intuition happens, all the time, in both science and in mathematics. So perhaps the man ‘intuited’ it?

On the other hand, could he do that in a total vacuum? Which leads one to ask, what was the environment then, that we know of, five centuries before Christ, in ancient Greece during Pythagoras’s times? Because if geometry was widely practiced then, then the hypotenuse rule may have been no more than intuition ; on the other hand, if there was a total vacuum in those times as regards mathematics and specifically geometry, then I agree this would be more “vision” than mere “intuition”.


.


Incidentally, Spencer -- and wholly separate from the attribution of Pythagoras’s alleged visions and his alleged professions of elliptical orbits and geometric rules -- Are you aware, even anecdotally, even informally, even wholly unattributed, of the specifics of the kind of the mysticism that Pythagoras practiced and/or taught? Was this meditation-based? If so, what specific type of meditation, what specific techniques? Do you know, or can you at least hazard (informed) guesses -- with stress on the “informed”? Any details you might have on this last will be much appreciated!

The ancient Indians knew the earth was spherical before their knowledge was brought to Greece.

Even the Bible seems to be saying that the earth is round and spherical. It also says it hangs in space upon nothing. I realise these words could be subject to interpretation, but there are no alternatives.

Mystical visions aren't very robustly evidential, coming, as they do, from bygone eras where general knowledge of how the world works is increased and more accurate. Writings that stand the test of time have a better shelf life.

Hi Appreciative

Incredibly thoughtful reply, thank you!

I'm going to spend now time with it after work this evening.

Your distinction between inner experience and intuition seems very astute and truthful.

Hi Appreciative!

Just a quick point

You wrote
" I have to ask, can you really talk of fact-based reports having been stripped away, unless you yourself have some access to those fact-based reports in the first place?"

'Fact based' as in recorded in ancient times. So when Iamblichus recorded the controversy about elliptical orbits in roughly 400 AD, attributed to Pythagoras who lived 800 years earlier, even though he couldn't conclude which verbal account was right, at least he recorded whatever stories he could find and was honest in how he assessed their veracity in light of more current claims by the extent students of Pythagoras. And those records of 400 AD are a fact.

In this way he has improved a bit on some of the modern revisionism. And so it is a fact that this early rumor was recorded at least as earlier as 400 Ad, long before anyone else had considered the idea of elliptical orbits, when it would be Kepler in the 1700s who would announce this as a verifiable and provable discovery, essentially verifying a very specific rumor attributed nearly 1,000 years earlier to Pythagoras, not as a claim, but simply as a record of extant rumors. Whomever originated this rumor in ancient times, be it Pythagoras or one of his early students, they were certainly making a unique and astounding claim which would later be proven to be a fact.

Stripping away legitimate facts such as Iamblicus' account of this, modern revisionist historians have done a disservice to the early historical records of the ancient roots of modern science.

And as to the music of the spheres, and the belief in the power of that internal music that runs creation, Shakespeare wrote it best...(from Merchant of Venice)....

Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
(5.1.65-71)


The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.
(5.1.89-94)

Find the music in yourself. Find the divine harmonies among the varied internal sounds. Rise to the heavens upon such harmony.

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 posted. 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

Your Information

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

Welcome


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...