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September 30, 2018

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To comment on spiritual experiences as a scientist, one should have them first.

If you look at the research on neuro science the brain is much more emotional and reactive in the waking state than in deep meditation.

This research supports the trend of results that prove meditation controls emotion not the other way around. Further, the practice reduces emotional reactivity during the normal wakeful state
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2012.00292/full

And additional proof that meditation practice reduces reactive thinking.... So if you want to understsnd truth, meditating can help.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2016/10/04/meditation-may-help-tame-our-emotional-responses-study-finds/#2b25ceb313cc

The notion that an intense emotional state precedes an intense experience in meditation or prayer is unsupported.

What is more likely is that by putting emotion and distracting thoughts aside, the door is opened to amazing experiences.

JB’s well written comments have me considering what I have read and understand (to some degree) in regard to mystic experience and how one approaches death - a nice light topic for further discussion. :-)

I agree a lot of so-called Gurus do drop the ball and their ego ‘expands to the size of the universe’. Yet to me there is truth to be found in such a statement if we put the ego aside. Many mystics/saints definitely describe the nature of their experience as being universal in nature, it all seems to depend on how much of their ‘self’ has been replaced by their ‘Self’.
Bringing it down to earth so to speak, ‘no-separation’ can be experienced in degrees - from feeling ‘connected’ while walking the dog through the forest, to loss of ‘self’ accompanied by ‘interconnection’ whilst sitting on a hilltop in the wilderness, to being one with everything in a superconscious state (as described by mystics). Another cool perspective supposedly less-mystical is discussed in the deep green literature. Deep ecologists talk about the ‘ecological self’ - a state of no-separation where the little ‘I’ self has expanded to incorporate all life (as I understand it). The little I is now more like the big ONE I.

One could see it as a scale of degree in regard to amount of separation and belief in separation, (Spencer said it was more like levels). That it’s an emotionally linked experience again depends on the degree in my view. The more encompassing it gets the less emotion can play a role as the so-called person to which emotion happens is morphing from a self to a ‘Self’. Emotion often kicks in after the event - associated with back to ‘normal functioning’.

In regard to dying as the ultimate cruel rub, JB spells out his view clearly. I would say many of us posting on this blog have spent years moving towards resolving this, mostly through various meditational approaches. It is my view that ‘dying while living’ relates as much to the death of an illusory self as it does to the technique of ‘going within’. For me, meditation is equally an exploration of ‘who’ is it that is going to die? Conversely you then have to ask the question ‘who’ is it that lives? I believe some of the Tibetan Lamas have a good handle on this and the dying process.

Hence the universal exception of the google 777+vivaldi
real touchable ( even today ) miracle

These things happen every day and so often but
are never objectively provable with the mind,
like all subjective internals

But the vivaldi experiment is here and is still
controllable
Better than the Philadelphia Experiment
and a special Grace from Charan
Something
that never on this planet happened before

777


-

If it makes U cry : You are selected for an emergency treatment
-

777

-
https://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2018/09/wise-observations-about-spiritual-experiences-and-religious-craziness.html
has a length of 135 characters and resulted in the following TinyURL which has a length of 28 characters:

https://tinyurl.com/yckolpne

777

PS
For totally new readers I repeat the page here
althout a certain Mike has placed the 5 Holy Words on it
Three of the words are wrong and if they were correct
they only work when a Holy Saint has put His Power on them
He ( The Param SatGuru can give any words any song, whatever

https://web.archive.org/web/20181001112724/https://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2013/05/early-editions-of-radha-soami-satsang-beas-books-wanted.html">https://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2013/05/early-editions-of-radha-soami-satsang-beas-books-wanted.html">https://web.archive.org/web/20181001112724/https://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2013/05/early-editions-of-radha-soami-satsang-beas-books-wanted.html
has a length of 164 characters and resulted in the following TinyURL which has a length of 28 characters:

https://tinyurl.com/y94wfc6t

almost WTF. six times :-)


Quote JB : I think that the impressions are secondary to and derive from the immediate emotional state.


But why do you think that, JB? (Keep in mind that non-theistic, non-devotional practices -- which do not directly appeal to emotion -- also throw up fairly impressive 'realizations'.)

If you're merely forwarding this thought as speculation, then fair enough, one can speculate and hypothesize anything one wants, why not? But if you're claiming any kind of certainty, or even a high-ish likelihood, then you'll need to explain your reasons for thinking this.


Quote Tim Rimmer : I believe some of the Tibetan Lamas have a good handle on this and the dying process.


Do they? I know they themselves believe they do, and they've written copiously about what they think they know -- I've loved reading the Bardo Thodol myself -- but is any of it at all true? That, as ever, is the question, isn't it?

@777 :

Hello there, old friend. New day, new month : Great to hear from you again. Welcome back!

@Tiim
Dying while living means the end of the ego, although sant mat gives it the meaning of leaving the physical body while alive.

And WHO dies?

There is a Shabd or kabir, in which he asks
Where did I come from, where do I go? And why was I born?

He answers

You were never born so you cannot die.
Only a body was born and a body died.

You identified with the body and thought you have a separate soul

The moment the idea of a separate soul comes in, you are going to be worried about
Death.

Now you want to get to heaven, or sach khand

Osho Robbins : Dying while living means the end of the ego

Hello, Osho Robbins.

You're right, of course, in the contexts that you quote, but here's a thought (especially in connection with Tim's comment) :

As far as the Bardo Thodol, "dying while living" -- although I don't remember if they actually use that exact phrase -- would refer to traversing while living the (alleged) bardos that you would normally (allegedly) encounter only on death. Sure, "the end of the ego" would be the ultimate effect to aim for, but more humble 'levels' would probably qualify, too, for that descriptor.

Appreciated , I really appreciated your welcome
and your explanation about "levels"

I have not an English version of the Bardo Thodol
Mine in dutch contains 220 pages

And funny : the text on page 110 says :

Those prayers and chants ( they do it 3 days I believe)
are not needed for disciples of a Holy Teacher
who have worked under HIS Guidance

He will immediatally be attracted by/into the Light
and not to the side-sub-tunnels of seducing attraction
all around , in the main chakra exit tunnel.
(paraphrased)

About losing ego even under this guidance
and frequently diving and washing in the Shabd
even after knowing experiencing : "That's Me, . ."
yes some ego died ( better : It was forgotten)

but we take it up again

Dying while alive would be nice to have it happen often. :-)
and we received the 4 means to do it

It happens by submission and HE doing some little adjustments all the time
OMG

777


One of my favorite crazy stories from the Sikh/Sant Mat tradition is that of Kal, the ruler of the lower realms of creation, earning his exalted position from God after standing on one leg, and one foot, for many yugas -- which is a really long time. Who knew that lower gods have legs and feet just like us?

Maybe he wore Gucci's and an ostrich skin jacket too :)

I always saw it as a metaphor for the super duper creative
power of individuated consciousness. Well, not always but
it makes me feel smart to say it.

Could be totally a fable as you suggest though. A
bedtime story to outrage skeptics and delight nutty
believers at the same time.

Appreciative Reader: "But why do you think that, JB?"

My understanding that feelings precipitate the interpretative response is in part due to the same dynamic occuring with intensely negative emotional states. As mentioned, the world that presented for these people is disjointed, absolutely everything is wrong, and the secret of life is found to be that the world is saturated with malevolence and doom.

You don't think that this existential interpretation flows from the intensity of the negative affective state in which they are locked? If not, where is it coming from? Would you contend people tapping into the funamental nature of existence via their negative states?

If not, the converse seems very probable as well, in that people are not tapping into the fundamental nature of existence with intensely positive "mystical experiences" but are experiencing the interpretative "afterglow" following the intensely positive states.

Spence: "The notion that an intense emotional state precedes an intense experience in meditation or prayer is unsupported."

Respectfully, this is not what is being said. More precisely, certain meditative states or spontaneous mystical experiences produce intensely positive experiences. These intensely positive experiences precede particular interpretations about existence (oneness, benevolence, teleology, immortality).

"One of my favorite crazy stories from the Sikh/Sant Mat tradition is that of Kal, the ruler of the lower realms of creation"

I was one of those 'nutty believers' and then moved away from the so called mystical paths and now I miss them.

Remember those hippie days of flower power and love and laughter and joyfulness? I was a satsangi at that time so didn't do drugs but I do miss the fun and energy of those times. In fact I am bringing back into my life the New Age type magical thinking which made me so happy. Moving away from the miserable negative lifestyle of being an ex-satsangi and into the light of imagination and fun and fantasy.

Hi JB!
You quoted me and then commented:

'Spence: "The notion that an intense emotional state precedes an intense experience in meditation or prayer is unsupported."

"Respectfully, this is not what is being said. More precisely, certain meditative states or spontaneous mystical experiences produce intensely positive experiences. These intensely positive experiences precede particular interpretations about existence (oneness, benevolence, teleology, immortality)."

I'm not interested in correcting anyone's statements.
My point, which you have failed to acknowledge, is that all the research there is on meditation, particularly deep meditation, indicates that emotional, and specifically lymbic and Amygdala functions are reduced, not suppressed but reduced, turned down during the practice of meditation. Therefore what we experience in meditation cannot be the result of heightened emotional experience.

Try to understand. When a mystic sees the stars, as if their eyes were open, and fully surrounding them, as if they were in space, that experience generates a reaction.

And interestingly enough, we can deepen that experience by NOT allowing our focus to become an emotional reaction.

In contradiction to our daily life, what we experience at ever deepening levels, is not reactive but pro-active focused progress.

It is heightened awareness, albeit focused on internal stimuli, not reduced.

At least that is my experience, and seems to find support in the scientific literature.

But I'm happy to consider any scientific findings and interpretations of them you would like to offer. Let's have a rich source of interesting sources.

I prefer scientific results, but anecdotal is also compelling. The problem is misinterpreting these things, even denigrating them when we are not versed in them.

Hi JB:

To your second point, the point about interpretation. That is generally culture bound.

If you are experiencing a connection of some kind, that when the star moves, you feel it, that when the bell sounds, it seems to be coming from inside you and through you, or that you actually do feel love, these are as you point out sensations and experiences.

To call that "God" or "Divine" or to say "I'm one with the universe" these are expressions here, when we return to our little mental prisons here and try to recall what has happened.

Those are overlays. The experience means everything, because you can get good at it. And the better you get the more concrete and repetitive, testable, it is.

There was a time when I would see what looked like headlights coming towards me in meditation. In time, they became beings, conscious beings approaching me, and looking like beautiful globes of light, like swans on a iridescent lake.

I had no idea what they were. They approached me as if they were alive. In time I got to know them. They are family now.

But what can you say? They are experience. Repeatability, testability, constancy, these are the only things you have to understand them. And since they are entirely internal, they have zero transferability. They are entirely subjective. They might be very much based on physiology, because we read others' experience much the same thing. That could just be something hardwired into the brain. No one can know or say.

I will say this. The more time I spend there, the more I understand people when I meet them. The more helpful I can be for them. The more I realize presence and attitude of mind solves more problems than analytic thinking, and actually streamlines and simplifies whatever analytic thinking is needed. So these experiences have utility in this outer world.

And utility is about the most that can be said of that. Personal happiness and utility.

But there is another effect. We lose our ambitions here. So our life becomes simpler, but less accomplished. We are helping others. We want to emulate those incredibly loving swans.

Spence: "...the door is opened to amazing experiences."

Amazing how? Amazing in a positive sense?

Since you already mentioned the impression of love, bliss and ecstasy, I will assume that they are positive.

The bottom line is that they are intensely pleasing "amazing" experiences. If you claim that they are unemotional, that is fine. It seems to split hairs because they are intensely positive, nonetheless. You wouldn't seek to repeat them if they weren't. The immediate "amazing experiences" precede interpretations about existence predicated upon said "amazing experiences".

I agree when you say that the interpretation is an "overlay' after you "recall what has happened." Like I said, the interpretation is secondary and is not "direct insight" into the nature of reality. "Ultimate reality" is no more brimming with love than it is brimming with malevolence, and so forth. These interpretations derive from the qualitative nature of the immediate experience.

Hi JB
You asked
"Amazing how? Amazing in a positive sense?"

As in fascinating in a scientific sense.
As in awe of nature.

You wrote
""Ultimate reality" is no more brimming with love than it is brimming with malevolence, and so forth. These interpretations derive from the qualitative nature of the immediate experience. "

Hm. Ultimate Reality.
I like the sound of that but I don't know what it means. How is one reality Ultimate... What Reality isn't Ultimate?

I took the liberty to look up the word ultimate:

'last in a progression or series : FINAL'

Science has hardly explained even a third of the matter in this creation. I don't think we're anywhere near ultimate.

It's a nice word, but like "perfect" it has no reference for me.

I think once you realize how vast the inner regions are and also the span of this particular region, that word Ultimate becomes extremely relative, thin and means less and less by the day.

It's being redefined on a regular basis. Science is doing that all the time.
Yesteday 's ultimate is today's meh.

So what does it really mean?

Hey AR

Point taken. In regard to the Tibetan Lamas and truth of the Bardos etc, I can’t say I’ve spent a lot of time with any of them (Lamas that is). However, I remain interested and impressed by what I read about the deep understanding of mind and self/no-self some of these folk gain as a result of years and years of meditation practice (of course this is not limited just to Tibetan Buddhists).
One such Lama I did meet was Chogye Trichen Rinpoche who was said to be a Master of Masters and an adept at meditation. Before his funeral he was in Thukdam for 18 days I think.

Hi Osho right on - if there’s no WHO then who can die? I reckon Kabir and Sri NIsargadatta would have shared notes if they had met each other - maybe they have, and are regulars at a secret coffee shop in Mumbai!

Spence: "So what does it really mean?"

I agree with you about the vacuousness of the phrase "ultimate reality". It is a term used frequently by those espousing the "perennial philosophy". Such proponents contend that the most profound mystical experiences are all examples of a singular universal experience: the experience of the bedrock of reality ("ultimate reality").

As you might suspect, I don't think anyone is actually experiencing any such thing. So, what do these experiences mean? I don't think they mean anything at all. I think they have no relevance in terms of describing anything fundamental about existence.

It seems that you agree about the relativity of interpretation. Thus, you seem to realize that no statement about existence can be made by way of this experience. So, when you talk about love, light, bliss, and ecstasy, you must realize that you cannot be making claims about some "deeper" nature of existence.

So what exactly are you arguing for in terms of the value of "mystical experience" other than stress reduction and purported sharpening of cognitive skills?


Who is Sat Purusha, who is Kal?

They are mythic descriptions of different aspects of a human being.

One aspect being Sat Purusha, the true being, the other Kal, who through effort, was given lordship over the three realms of time space and causation.

One is free, the other caught by mind, endlessly creating his/her world of desire. It is the endless eternal activity of samsara. A realized soul may reveal this truth to a disciple outside of the scriptures, when mature.

This myth probably was taken from Samkhya Philosophy, which is not mythic, and is perhaps the oldest philosophy on earth, using the dual aspects of Purusha and Prakriti. The truth of Samkhya is realized through the yogic principles depicted in the Yoga Sutras, and is not hidden in mythology as (some) Sant Mat doctrine is.

Kind regards,

Mike

Hi JB
Well we are certainly getting closer to an understanding.
You wrote
"It seems that you agree about the relativity of interpretation. Thus, you seem to realize that no statement about existence can be made by way of this experience. So, when you talk about love, light, bliss, and ecstasy, you must realize that you cannot be making claims about some "deeper" nature of existence.

So what exactly are you arguing for in terms of the value of "mystical experience" other than stress reduction and purported sharpening of cognitive skills?"

Brain health is nothing to sneeze at!

Subjective reality includes everything in the subconscious mind, and the ability to observe some of the brain's own functioning. Very valuable for a scientific and health conscious mind.

To understand and incorporate those subconscious parts, to see them is a great forum of therapy also.

And if this deeper experience of dying while living is a natural and blissful easy to prepare for our own death, built right into us, it seems to me extremely valuable in our own incorporation of our death as a natural stage that can be approached with some preparation for a meaningful and natural passage. What we find about the body, in the brain, through meditation isn't a human invention. It is part of discovering and living fully our own human nature.

Quote JB : My understanding that feelings precipitate the interpretative response is in part due to the same dynamic occuring with intensely negative emotional states. (...) You don't think that this existential interpretation flows from the intensity of the negative affective state in which they are locked?


Hello, JB.

I beg your pardon, it seems I may have misunderstood you. In your original comment -- the portion that I quoted in my response to you -- you spoke of "impressions" deriving from one's emotional state. I assumed you were speaking of the experiences themselves, and I was wondering why you might say that the experiences themselves are necessarily derived from one's emotional state (given that there are traditions whose practices do not involve channeling devotion or emotions in general, and which nevertheless give rise to 'experiences', sometimes pretty dramatic ones).

But it seems now, from your response, that that is not what you meant at all. It seems you're only saying that the interpretation one puts to one's experiences is what derives from one's emotions. Sure, that sounds reasonable, except I'd make the obvious addition, that it isn't so much our emotions alone but our general conditioning -- including our meta-awareness of such condition -- that, along with our emotional state, influences our interpretation.

Quote Tim Rimmer : ,One such Lama I did meet was Chogye Trichen Rinpoche who was said to be a Master of Masters and an adept at meditation. Before his funeral he was in Thukdam for 18 days I think.,


I had to look him up, actually. It seems Chogye Trichen Rinpoche was the Lama sitting right on top of the totem pole (I'd imagined that would be the Dalai Lama). The Dalai Lama himself apparently is his disciple. You've studied with him, have you, Tim? That's so cool!

I'm afraid my own knowledge of Tibetan Vajrayana is far more superficial than that, and entirely second-hand, although yes, I have interacted with people (not Lamas, just everyday people) who've spent a great deal of time on these practices.

Given your far deeper understanding of Tibetan Vajrayana than I'd originally imagined, if you're speaking from personal experience of inner Bardos, then my comment was laughably inadequate.

Would you like to speak any more about your experiences with "dying while living"?

Hi JB, Tim and Appreciative:

In reviewing these comments it does seem that salient to this discussion is the basis for our own growing awareness through experience.

There are several pathways in traditional spirituality that also might pertain to this discussion.
In particular comes to mind the path of Love (Bhakti) and the path of knowledge (Gyan or Jnana).

Those metaphorically apply to how folks take their approach. Love might motiviate one to make effort and to attend with full focus so that they see things they did not before.

But so might a scienfitic and thoughtful approach.

The results may well be similar.

To argue one over the other is an interesting convo, but I think it's a matter of personal taste and proclivity, speaking to Appreciative's point, our conditioning and personal biochemistry and genetics.

What we call spiritual and/or mystical experiences are so common that the obvious and first place to look for explanations is in ourselves. As all experiences are a phenomenon of brains, surely the honest answer is that it is the brain that is the source of them. Some people are more prone to such experiences than others – as I can verify to some extent, such as out of body experiences, feelings of oneness, presence, loss of ego (temporary) clarity, wonder etc. But I would not put them down to anything special or supernatural.

There is a growing body or research that points to the fact that the brain can and does under test conditions produce many of the experiences that are claimed as proof of supernatural interventions. An interesting investigation is that by neurologist Kevin Nelson in his book 'The God impulse'. Here he explains the 'mechanisms' of how the brain generates these experiences including consciousness – “No brainstem, no consciousness” (p55). Interestingly, he sees much positivity in our spiritual natures.

It is perhaps our particular hang-up's on what constitutes 'spiritual' and to how deeply we have invested in our own particular versions of it. Religions (especially when mixed with repressive cultures) are generally quite toxic in preventing their adherents from questioning their spiritual 'norms' – though our own fears, insecurities, wishes and hopes (and experiences) may also conspire to manipulate our perceptions.

Experiences – spiritual, mystical, emotional, meditative or whatever only ever occur in a living brain!

Hi Turan
There is no center of consciousness in the human brain.
It hasn't been found yet.

Harvard Scientists Think They've Pinpointed The Physical Source of Consciousness
Is this where awareness lives? 23 JUN 2018

https://www.sciencealert.com/harvard-scientists-think-they-ve-pinpointed-the-neural-source-of-consciousness

Also, Turan, your self awareness depends upon the rules you define yourself by, as well as the words and symbols you use. These become part of the subconscious lexicon your brain uses. And those definitions are highly sensitive to your perceived social and physical environment and the reactions of those around you. And your awareness of those reactions.

What all this adds up to is that your conscious awareness is actually dependent upon things well outside your brain, in this physical world. The human brain is only one part of what we think of as our conscious awareness.

The PC you are looking at isn't me. But if you turn it off, all communication with me ceases. But I'm still here. I can't be constrained to your pc.

And in contrapositive fashion, if all my social and physical surroundings disappear, even if my brain continues to function, my awareness is altered considerably. With enough environmental and social change, I can't even think or move.

You and I are largely social constructs. The brain is just the machine that houses them.

Hi Jen
"They think they may have... "
Not yet.

Hi Jen from the article you link "Despite advances in neuroscience, we still don't really know where it (consciousness) comes from, and how it arises."

Hi Spence, this is a fascinating subject, never done any investigation into the different states of mind, going to look into it more now.

"Your conscious mind is a bit like the captain of a ship standing on the bridge giving out orders. In reality it’s the crew in the engine room below deck (the subconscious and the deeper unconscious) that carry out the orders. The captain may be in charge of the ship and give the orders but its the crew that actually guides the ship, all according to what training they had been given over the years to best do so.

The conscious mind communicates to the outside world and the inner self through speech, pictures, writing, physical movement, and thought.

The subconscious mind, on the other hand, is in charge of our recent memories, and is in continuous contact with the resources of the unconscious mind.

The unconscious mind is the storehouse of all memories and past experiences, both those that have been repressed through trauma and those that have simply been consciously forgotten and no longer important to us. It’s from these memories and experiences that our beliefs, habits, and behaviors are formed.

The unconscious constantly communicates with the conscious mind via our subconscious, and is what provides us with the meaning to all our interactions with the world, as filtered through your beliefs and habits. It communicates through feelings, emotions, imagination, sensations, and dreams."

Hi Spence,

Just thinking about my brainwashing as a satsangi about the mind and Kal.

What do you make of the teachings that we are told that the mind is Kal who is the negative power that will continue to trap us in this creation?

Hi Jen!
You wrote:
"What do you make of the teachings that we are told that the mind is Kal who is the negative power that will continue to trap us in this creation?"

In the earlier quote you had cited:
""Your conscious mind is a bit like the captain of a ship standing on the bridge giving out orders. In reality it’s the crew in the engine room below deck (the subconscious and the deeper unconscious) that carry out the orders."

Actually the captain of the ship is in the subconscious. We see what it points to. We feel what it feeds us.

We like to think we are in control, and we certainly steer a good portion of our attention. We might claim to be the helmsman, But we are not captains. When the captain wishes us to do something else, it is only after the fact we realize we have followed his / her orders to the letter.

Our capacities may be great, but our access to them is limited by that gatekeeper.

So in answer to your question, I think it depends on what "mind" we are talking about. The "mind" is many minds actually, and each with it's own orders / conditioning.

We are largely along for the ride, humoring ourselves.

Sometimes we actually get what we want, only to find it very destructive. And we end up weaker than when we started. The "We" that thought it wanted something was just old conditioning, not "us".

And sometimes we struggle in pain, only to find we grew, and became strong.

I do believe in what Nietsche said, "Will overcoming."
We should exercise the greatest capacity for awareness, because that is the power to exercise our will. Not the force of will, but the power of will, which is the wider base of awareness. Power is the capacity to do work. Force is the focus we apply to ourselves to get the work done.

Is mind the enemy? Distracting thoughts are the enemy of the Will.
And the Will is the ultimate and I believe healthy power of mind.

Of course, like all power, we don't create it, we mine it.
And in that we submit to it, we befriend it.

So what is our will? We must be very quiet, in solitude, to find that higher self. The real you and me.

IMHO

Hi Spence,

I like your response, thanks :)

Especially "So what is our will? We must be very quiet, in solitude, to find that higher self. The real you and me." Nice!

Hi AR

Sorry to disappoint but no I have not studied with Chogye. To have that privilege (in depth) one probably needed to be a monk and I’m a householder and also not a ‘Buddhist’.
I have spent a little time in various buddhist retreats/teaching centres with a few monks and Yeshes.
Chogye visited one such centre and a friend and I went to see him. I recall he was brought in on a palanquin (no doubt in recognition of his status but also because he could hardly walk and appeared pretty ancient). He mumbled and chanted from some texts whilst scratching various body parts and sniffing a lot, I think he may have even broke wind. But up close his smile was wide and his eyes really bright, a very memorable venerable.

By the way has anyone heard from Jim lately? Hope he is OK.

Regarding Bardos, can’t say a lot other than knowledge of such states must come from understanding of the mind, its workings and creations - as Spencer/Jen have been discussing. Other than from ‘Grace’ such understandings come from insights in the meditative process and the time has to be put in, imo. Regarding dying while living - still working on it
Best wishes

-

In spite of all said here
and whatever location in the
brain it has

It is ONLY LOVE that does it

Love makes meditations so easy

But How can we love God, we have never seen ?

Next the phenomenon of a lovely human high on LOVE comes in

Let's give it a chance
We have nothing else anyway
Many declare(d) that it works

Ever read an account of success without such help ?
Rumi , Hafiz and all that

We are really blessed to live in special times
with a body whose 7-chakra system is fine tuned for Love

All types of love will work and accumulate in us , from the exalted
"I m THAT ! "
back to helping someone crossing the road

Love is the desire to do good !!

777

-

With reasonable karma
and if we like creation around
we haven't to do anything
apart from "Do not Hurt"

But if our Chaurasi prospects are not trusted
perhaps better to accumulate some LOVE
here, where it easily can be done

The Sach Khand non_time_space _environment_
hyper_Love__state of consciousness is not mandatory at all

Anyway : "We will go where our heart (already) is

Bon Voyage

777


If "I" am just a compilation of conditioning, genetics, culture and biochemistry, then why can't God be?

If my awareness of myself is largely selective memory and belief, a persona, what makes me more real than a "perfect" Master?

I suspect we pick and choose what is real.
If you use objective factual criteria, "we" are just mental constructs housed in a machine. We are no more real than the software program in a computer. A computer that is hardcoded to alter that software in ways we don't understand.

Turn the machine off, software goes away. But did it cease to exist? Turn the machine back on, software is there


Turn off the software, leave the machine on, what else is there?
What do we perceive after we, in a wakeful state, turn off our own software?

Are we then the software we look at?

Or some deeper machine language operating system?

Or do "we" change from one to the other depending on where our locus of conscious attention resides?

Neuroscience can be grossly misinterpreted to promote personal beliefs, such as Atheism, or spirituality.

But once in a while a compelling research adds objective fact for consideration.

In this article researchers found evidence that our neurons fire from more stimuli than just other neurons or the dendritic trees. Both of whom effect the synaptic connections which trigger Neuronal activity.

They discovered that very weak electromagnetic fields in the brain also trigger neuronal activity, completely independent of synaptic activity. And they do this as a part of normal functioning.

Your brain produces radio waves and these also trigger brain activity.

These waves are at a much different frequency than conventional radio waves, and the signals are extremely weak.

However, gravity moves the stars and planets yet those waves are undetectable.

We may indeed be connected. The Brain may be isolated from the influences we can detect today. But as with the search for gravity waves, perhaps one day science will reveal electromagnetic connections between the brain the the environment.


Now that we know the brain uses its own radio waves to control some of its processes, the door is open to the possibility of other forms of energy that can influence the brain.

We may be connected.

And if that is so, our software might well be portable when this biomechanical shell reaches the end of its functioning life.

https://www.jneurosci.org/content/35/48/15800


Spence

Forget time
You are something that gave you flesh and amnesia in that flesh
Some karma applies because U are already some time engaged in this trick

You did it to yourself - you made time and spheres and atoms via quarks

You will stay in it as long as you decide(d)

Nothing is real - Only the LOVE that can be compressed
sometimes its tiny

But overall it's a fantastic harvest in this galaxy only
But there are myriads of big bangs ( if they exist, if BB name is correct)

Myriads of Astrals even, myriads of causals °°

Just do the trick if you want influence the outcome

Go's around , goes around applies
The grain from the neighbor applies
Just be compassionate (and you are already - seems )
Stay calm
It's not complicated
If you scientifically search like an actuarian , you never can
Even the ink to write the zeros of the chance figure
have more weight than all stars

It's your beautiful "play"
That play is one of myriad things you do
Evolution cannot develop in other stuff than Love
All not Love will be dust
to be used, and eventually go the same route

Sing That Song in YOU , now you have it

777

°°. And only speaking of this "Light out of Sound" cluster
There are so many other "wonder of wonders" of creating
so different that the word create even is a farce
It is What YOU are
It is what meditation provides in the state of 'NO THOUGHTS'
-

Spence. “There is no centre of consciousness in the human brain. It hasn't been found yet”.

- and quite probably it never will; more likely the conscious experience emanates from the whole brain, from the millions of neurons and networks in the brain – we will no doubt see in time.

It is understood that without an environment for the brain to be aware of there can be no conscious experience. Our environment is brought into experience through the senses; if we do not sense (see, hear, feel etc.) we cannot experience it. Also, if there is a fault in the brain or the sensing organ the potential experience is not registered. So, yes, of course the brain/senses are dependent on its environment but perceiving an object doesn't render it conscious – it just becomes part of our conscious experience.

I feel that the whole issue of consciousness revolves around the 'ness' aspect. An advanced organism can be conscious (of its internal and external environment) but there is no substance, no entity and no quality we can call conscious'ness' . Its the same with, say, happiness. We can search for happiness as though looking for an entity we identify as 'happiness', while the reality is that happiness is derivative from a particular situation that makes us feel happy. The same with consciousness. There is no entity, no thing called conscious'ness', just an organism being conscious (through its brain/body) of its environment.

It is tempting in this insecure world to invent meaning and purpose where there is none. It makes us feel that we can do something, achieve something, be something. It is hard to accept – even see – that 'this' is all there is. And the 'this' is this huge wonder of the universe we live in including the wonder that we, this little speck of life is here to witness it all. What more could one want?

Spence. Quite probably there is a connection, after all, we are all part of the same 'stuff'. But it is tempting to fill the gaping void left by outworn religious beliefs regarding personal continuation by invoking 'waves', 'consciousness' and such.


Our main preoccupation is trying to make this insecure life into something more - even if that something more is projected to a hoped for after-life of some sort. Once our mortality - along with all the mental anguish we indulge in in trying to preserve our 'selves' ends, perhaps we can more sanely live with the fact that this is it.

Spence: "Brain health is nothing to sneeze at!"

Oh, I agree. Based on other comments, I was assuming that you were assigning an epistemological value to these experiences. This misunderstanding happens to many of those that have these experiences. They believe they have gotten a "glimpse behind the veil", if you will. If you realize that this is nonsense, then you are ahead of the curve in that respect.

Spence: "And if this deeper experience of dying while living is a natural and blissful easy to prepare for our own death, built right into us, it seems to me extremely valuable in our own incorporation of our death as a natural stage that can be approached with some preparation for a meaningful and natural passage."

But of course, I would contend that you are not dying, you haven't left your body, and you haven't ventured into the twinkling stars of deep space. Reduced brain activity is in no way comparable to no brain activity.

Turan: "Once our mortality - along with all the mental anguish we indulge in in trying to preserve our 'selves' ends, perhaps we can more sanely live with the fact that this is it."

The genuine acceptance of our inevitable obliteration is perhaps the most difficult fact that a person can come to terms with. Some life circumstances make it a bit easier for some than others, but most are simply never able to embrace this realization.

It contravenes all of our programming- we were "built" to survive. Because survival is the most powerful and fundamental drive, we make certain unexamined assumptions: that we will survive forever and that there is something for which we are surviving (i.e., that there will be a great reveal at some point).

As cognitive animals, this irrepressible instinct will find its way into innumerable rationalizations before it is finally jettisoned...for those that can no longer live with the cognitive dissonance. I'm seeing this very thing in many of the posted comments.


Hi JB
You wrote
"This misunderstanding happens to many of those that have these experiences. They believe they have gotten a "glimpse behind the veil", if you will. If you realize that this is nonsense, then you are ahead of the curve in that respect."

Unfortunately your logic fails completely here.

I do not have a strong opinion on this.
I have experiences and my interpretation of them, fully acknowledging that these interpretations are personal and subject to refinement. I'm not wedded to them. There may be life after death. Or these experiences may just be wonderful internal experiences purely based in biology. There may be more. Or not. I have no problem conjecturing either way. But I do not confuse conjecture for fact. Nor do I dismiss experience as non existent. And unlike you, I do not depict others as lesser for thinking differently, as you have done.

I notice this is a character trait you share in nearly mirror synch with Brian.

It's sad because Atheism doesn't require nor does it support such dogmatism. It supports an open mind.

You are dogmatic in your assertions that there is nothing more. And worse, you make character flaw assertions about those who believe differently.

I've tried to point out to you where science has opened thinking with new information whole worlds of discovery and truth we knew nothing about before.

Therefore clinging only to what we know today, and basically insulting those who either believe or are open minded to something else is really insulting them. And unscientific.

You wrote

"
As cognitive animals, this irrepressible instinct will find its way into innumerable rationalizations before it is finally jettisoned...for those that can no longer live with the cognitive dissonance. I'm seeing this very thing in many of the posted comments."

Pure conjecture, and an insult to those who do not hold your view.

Use any instrument you like, you will not detect anything connecting the Earth to the moon. Yet there are forces at work keeping the moon encircling the earth for eons. You don't see those forces. You can't even detect them. You only know gravity as fact because its constant effect on other things.


I've repeatedly tried to explain to you by example. Most matter is empty space. No one knew this 200 years ago. To suggest such a thing at that time to someone such as yourself would have met with insult much as you make here.

And both they and you would be wrong.

JB. Yes, Some very interesting point arise here. I agree totally that “survival is our most powerful and fundamental drive”. It is feasible that our entire edifices of religion and all other spiritual movements are vehicles invented (or evolved) to ease, if not mentally avoid the inevitability of our annihilation.

It would seem that as we evolved, our instinct for physical survival naturally combined with our mental sense of self – our self structure. So not only do we struggle to survive physically and maintain our physical selves we now endeavour to maintain all the accrued information that we call our 'self'. This information, our beliefs, our concepts and ideas, our religions and cultures, although necessary in our daily lives, has (as you mentioned) caused a degree of cognitive dissonance that, as humans, we find intolerable.

We have developed numerous ways (beliefs, theories – and simply ignoring) this inevitability. Is there an answer, one answer? I don't think so. But perhaps, as we continue to evolve and understand who and what we are, maybe a tentative enlightenment may emerge that, although never quelling the natural instinct to survive physically and mentally, at least our minds may be able to 'calm down' enough to allow this amazing brain/body organism to live and die in harmony with life.


Quote Turan : “As all experiences are a phenomenon of brains, surely the honest answer is that it is the brain that is the source of them.” .


Hello, Turan.

The rest of what you say makes sense, absolutely, but not this sentence, I’m afraid. And given that this sentence carries what appears to me to be the central point of your whole argument (in that initial comment of yours that I quote from), I’m afraid that throws your entire argument in some doubt. Your conclusion, that “it is the brain that is the source of them”, does not follow at all. You see that, don’t you?

The line of reasoning you seem to advocate would lead to a dizzying Wonderland of solipsism. All our perceptions, all of them, are a phenomenon of brains : and all of what we know is no more than a construct of our brains : but surely that does not mean that “all of what we know” has no existence at all outside of our brains?

I’m not really claiming that mystical experiences accrue from some larger reality outside of ourselves. I’m not saying that at all. I’m only saying we don’t really know, at this point. In order to actually ‘know’ what you’re saying, we’d need actual evidence of how the brain may give rise to such very similar experiences. As far as I know -- and I realize I could be mistaken here, and am open to correction -- there is no such conclusive research, yet.

Sure, following the line of soft atheism, it makes sense to not accept an external-focused explanation of mystical experiences in the absence of evidence. However, when the whys and the wherefores (as well as the whats) of mystical experience is the very subject of study (and of discussion), then it would be begging the question to directly presume, right at the outset, that the conclusion of our ‘experiments’ is what appears, a priori, to be reasonable to us.


Quote Turan further "I agree totally that “survival is our most powerful and fundamental drive”. It is feasible that our entire edifices of religion and all other spiritual movements are vehicles invented (or evolved) to ease, if not mentally avoid the inevitability of our annihilation."


Fascinating thought! And likely enough. That is, I doubt very much there is one single factor behind sweeping movements within history (like the rise of religions), but very likely what you say may have played a large part in getting us humans to think up and to accept these fairy tales all through the ages.

Quote JB : “I was assuming that you were assigning an epistemological value to these experiences. (…) If you realize that this is nonsense, then you are ahead of the curve in that respect.” .


You correctly see the error in unthinkingly assigning an “epistemological value” to mystical experiences, JB. But do you see how you commit that very same error, except in the exact opposite direction, when you imagine that “this is nonsense”?

I believe we’re agreed, you and I, that it is the explanation and the interpretation that we ascribe to mystical experiences that accrue from our overall conditioning and our emotional state, and not the experiences themselves. Sure, some of these experiences might be a form of auto-suggestion, and might indeed arise out of our expectations and emotions, but we cannot, without evidence, claim that this (auto-suggestion) is what causes all of these experiences.

Given this, we’re left with the fact, the phenomenon of mystical experiences. We may choose to simply accept them without interpretation, without attempting any explanation -- that is one way to go, sure -- but that isn’t how we human beings function. It is our nature to seek explanations and understanding, as best we can.

To ascribe fairy-tale theologies to these mystical experiences is obviously nonsensical. But surely it is equally “nonsensical” to simply pronounce, without evidence, that these do NOT carry any “epistemological value” whatever? That’s simply begging the question!

I submit that we do not know enough, yet, to necessarily reject out of hand all “epistemological value” to mystical experiences.

Absolutely, in the absence of evidence, one does not claim anything more but that mystical experiences are fact. And nor is one required to engage with the issue if one does not want to, that goes without saying. But if the focus of one’s investigation happens to be mystical experiences, then it seems “nonsensical” to claim, a priori and without evidence (that is, without an evidentiary explanation about the exact mechanism of how very similar experiences can come about in the course of certain practices), that these experiences are necessarily bereft of any kind of “epistemological value”.

To my knowledge we do not have any such conclusive research yet. (And I realize I may be mistaken in thinking this, and am open to correction.)


Quote JB further : “I would contend that you are not dying (…)Reduced brain activity is in no way comparable to no brain activity.” .


I do not know enough, myself, to comment on this, one way or the other. But I imagine that medical science ought to be able to offer informed opinion on this, one way or the other.

Are the “brain wave” states of mystics at all comparable to people who are dying? Is it at all possible to mimic the death stage, as far as the brain is concerned, while fully alive? That is probably a medical question.

If you’re basing your contention on actual knowledge of medical research, JB, on actual evidence, then sure, I would agree with you, absolutely. But if that is not the case, then this is simply your unsupported opinion. I do not see that it carries any more weight than fanciful Tibetan fairy tales about Bardo states, for instance.


Quote JB again : “The genuine acceptance of our inevitable obliteration is perhaps the most difficult fact that a person can come to terms with..” .


Agreed. Agreed cent per cent with that sentiment, if taken in isolation.

But you do see, don’t you, that an interest in mystical experiences is very different than a refusal to accept the inevitability of one’s death? Even when the former happens to be based, in part, on the latter? And nor does blanket rejection of all mystical experiences as hallucinatory necessarily follow from such acceptance (of one’s “inevitable obliteration”). Not if we care to be reasonable.

Spence: "Therefore clinging only to what we know today, and basically insulting those who either believe or are open minded to something else is really insulting them. And unscientific."

Sure, there are still unresolved explanations for the origin of the universe, the mechanics of consciousness, etc. In the face of these, I resonate with what I find to be the best (i.e., most probable) explanation, grounded in what is currently known from all disciplines.

An unresolved question does not entail that all solutions are equally probable. Take the formation of the universe as an example. We don't know with certainty what generated our universe. It may have been generated by the "quantum foam" of a multiverse, it may be the latest expansion of an endless casually-connected singular chain of universes (see: Endless Universe by Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok), it may have been caused by the giant Pan Gu stretching out of his cosmic egg shell (Chinese origin story), etc.

Some people (not saying you) invest all of their religious faith in the existence of unresolved questions. My brother-in-law, for example, feels that any open question renders his religious explanation as still viable. "We don't know what generated the universe, therefore it is still possible that it may have been generated by Yahweh." And truthfully, he wants it to remain an open question. In his mind, as long as there is a mystery, there is still a possibility.

There is no evidence that consciousness survives death. Similarly, that consciousness does not survive death has not been conclusively proven. It is this second fact that believers latch onto in an attempt to lend credence to their beliefs. The credo is: "If it hasn't been conclusively disproven, it is still a viable possibility."

It may be possible based strictly upon those narrow parameters, but not probable. The argument over speculations such as these may result from differing perspectives on the probability of such matters.

Hi JB
You wrote
"Sure, there are still unresolved explanations for the origin of the universe, the mechanics of consciousness, etc. In the face of these, I resonate with what I find to be the best (i.e., most probable) explanation, grounded in what is currently known from all disciplines.

"An unresolved question does not entail that all solutions are equally probable. Take the formation of the universe as an example. We don't know with certainty what generated our universe. It may have been generated by the "quantum foam" of a multiverse, it may be the latest expansion of an endless casually-connected singular chain of universes (see: Endless Universe by Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok), it may have been caused by the giant Pan Gu stretching out of his cosmic egg shell (Chinese origin story), etc."

You see my bias against speculation comes through in my general sentiment to avoid conjecture in favor of enjoying the awe of experience.

I would not constrain possibility to what others think, though I enjoy reading their discoveries and their projections.

We are not however, limited to their thinking.

Because n we do not actually comprehend even half of known matter, let alone its history or future.

We just have the present.

With that primacy in mind any conjecture that has a basis in experience is to be appreciated for the experiential basis of that view and the artistry of creative thought.

God and perfect Saints may just be a mechanism of the mind to focus thinking, and to access under our own control piece and bliss. And in that peace and blue we can bend for each other, help each other, and understand our commonalities, and let go the superficial differences. We are one, from the perspective of this creation.

I appreciate it from the point of view of utility. And that allows the most inclusive approach to my fellow human beings. Because it works for them. And so I honour it.

It might not be factual truth. But it may be truthful. And believing in truthful things that help us does seem a natural process. Limited to our own individual perspective, it has proven to be very healthy.

Objective reality? We are not objects.

JB I would like to point out something that to me is obvious. When I was in college we took courses for the first two years to give us a broad liberal education. We studied physics, biology, chemistry, calculus, ancient history, Russian (I was a physics major at the time) world religions, Black history, ethics, and philosophy.

Religion, ethics and philosophy, and to some degree history, were always understood to be systems of belief. "Some people believe..." No one confused belief with objective scientific reality. They were never posed as opposites, merely different spheres. The wisdom of this approach was that the doors were kept wide open to learn, understand, and appreciate them all.

It suprises me that college graduated adults didn't get that basic first year lesson, or somewhere in their cleverness forgot it.

JB – my quote: “What we call spiritual and/or mystical experiences are so common that the obvious and first place to look for explanations is in ourselves. As all experiences are a phenomenon of brains, surely the honest answer is that it is the brain that is the source of them. Some people are more prone to such experiences than others - - - ”

This quote is my explanations as to how 'spiritual' or 'mystical' experiences arise. My personal understanding and that of much research through neuroscience is that the brain, chemically or physically generates them. As for our everyday experiences it is common knowledge that we experience the world through our senses which is transmitted to the brain for interpretation. This doesn't mean that the brain produces what is observed, it just means that without the brain (through the sense organs) nothing can be experienced.

It is somewhat of a paradox that our biggest saviour and downfall (comparable to heaven and hell?) lies in our ability to think. Marvellous accomplishments have been achieved through thought but it has also caused much misery and anguish.

Thought – thinking – is an attribute that finds its pinnacle in we humans - though there are signs that many other creatures (mammals and birds) have this ability. It is a natural extension of awareness, of being conscious of the environment. As humans, we also have the ability to be aware internally – we are aware of our thoughts, our mental processes – a great survival advantage - we can form concepts and plan.


Not wishing to make light of our amazing evolved ability to think and conceptualise, but maybe thought is an evolutionary quirk, an adaptation which may go the same way as many extinct life forms from the past. We do tend to assume that someday mankind perhaps through science will be able to answer all our questions about the why's and how's of everything. Most religions would say they already know.

Could it just be that the planning and concept-forming of thinking marks the limitations of thought? Any excursion into metaphysical thinking being an aberration of its evolved function and irrelevant to the reality of life. That said, this aspect of thinking can perhaps help us to understand how our mental anguish forms and may even help us clear the pain.

Sorry, my reply re quote on experience was to Appreciative Reader - not JB.

Turan stipulated :
Could it just be that the planning and concept-forming of thinking marks the limitations of thought?

Certainly , the few braincells are not enough
But there is also a 77•G Shabd interface - much neglected
Little drop of Love on that
works like fusion

I mean that literally and it was
verf much low kindergarten level misused in Atlantis

Now an Ego implosion is required

777


Quote Turan :
"My personal understanding and that of much research through neuroscience is that the brain, chemically or physically generates them. As for our everyday experiences it is common knowledge that we experience the world through our senses which is transmitted to the brain for interpretation. This doesn't mean that the brain produces what is observed, it just means that without the brain (through the sense organs) nothing can be experienced."


I agree with you in general, of course, but there's this : how you decide which is which? That is, how do you decide what is "everyday experiences" (and that does relate to objective reality), and what is not? That is the question, isn't it?

Way I see it, there are two ways to go about this : One way is to treat everything for which we don't have objective evidence as hallucinatory. The idea being that, if in future something that is today hallucinatory by this standard, ends up giving us evidence of objective reality, then we then, at that time, revise how we look at it. This sounds reasonable, I guess, except, like Spence pointed out, gravity (for instance) is not directly observable. And further, this categorization is purely tentative. Still, albeit tentative, this is not an unreasonable way to go about it (as long as we're clear about what we are at -- so that I'd suggest that no one fully clear about how we're doing this evaluating would go out and declare as "nonsensical" someone else's effort to perhaps suss out evidence that is not already known/accepted). But yeah, this approach is not unreasonable.

The second way to go about this is to look for (for instance) the exact mechanism by which the brain might produce identical images/sounds within different people. If we are able to find this, then we may declare that these experiences are indeed hallucinatory. And this time I suppose we will not be quite as tentative, we will be more certain where we stand.


"Could it just be that the planning and concept-forming of thinking marks the limitations of thought? Any excursion into metaphysical thinking being an aberration of its evolved function and irrelevant to the reality of life."


Food for thought, that! (And yes, I think I've come across this view before. Perhaps right here on this blog? Perhaps from some comment that you may yourself have posted, back when?)

Except : What exactly is "metaphysics"? Any "metaphysics" that gets clearly explored and understood, moves on to the category of 'science', to the category of "concept-forming", right? We can't really know, starting out, which idea is a wild goose chase, and which is a legitimate field of inquiry, right?


"this aspect of thinking can perhaps help us to understand how our mental anguish forms and may even help us clear the pain."


Lovely! This I agree with cent per cent. To understand, is to go a long way towards accepting, perhaps even embracing. Irrespective of what it is that we're talking of understanding/ accepting/ embracing).

Hi App. Reader. Everyday experience is a simple fact of life - if we don't turn it into a concept. (lets leave aside hallucinations and the suchlike as they can be quite subjective and confusing) Stephen Batchelor describes what he called 'The Everyday Sublime' in his book 'After Buddhism' which reflect what I called everyday experiences. All of life is sublime and amazing, why crave more?


From my point of view, getting 'out of the head' and just seeing and feeling what presents itself to us is the core of meditation - no marvellous or euphoric experiences, just being with 'just this'. Many have described the simplicity of life using terms such as 'present moment awareness', 'What is', 'This is it' - and so on.


I feel we miss a lot through our habit of over-thinking everything and then perhaps having to overcomplicate life with our various theories, beliefs and hopes. It may all contribute to our 'mental anguish' which we try to 'fix' through various forms of magical thinking.

Turan, I agree with you, actually. My own meditation -- one of the disciplines I personally follow -- teaches exactly this kind of a doctrine-free awareness-of-the-present-moment technique.

I'm with you in firmly eschewing magical thinking as well wish-fulfillment fantasies of (some form of) immortality.

Not to beat this to death, but my point was this : When it comes to spiritual experiences, that is, unusual experiences had (usually but not necessarily) during meditation, one can choose to simply experience them, firmly resisting the temptation to coneptualize away. Sure, that is one way to go.

But the moment one either calls them "nonsense", or else "hallucinatory", or even "no big deal" -- the moment one says anything at all about them, other than simply and value-lessly describing them -- one is immediately entering into conceptualizing, whether one realizes it or no. And if one has to conceptualize, then I suggest we do it properly, rationally.


I also agree fully with you when you say that we, as individuals, tend to overthink this. Agreed fully. I'm with you when you simply register these experiences. However, the moment one enters into conceptualization, and what is more, commits elementary logical errors in the process -- and I'm not speaking of you here, Turan -- then it makes sense to point those elementary errors out.

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