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November 12, 2009

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I am not sure of Dawkins' purpose on this train of thought in terms of it relating to atheism. I do not think that evolution proves anything. It is a fact but what it means is an interpretation which can be adjusted by believers as well as atheists.

We watched a show on History Channel this week that was fascinating-- the history of earth (or some such title). It took what they know geologically and biologically about earth's history from the start and laid it out visually but without that emotional interpretation. Fascinating show that was of course simplified but it was powerful.

The mystery, for me, involved why life developed at all. Those first celled beings and then the others that followed. Why did they 'just' appear? What made dinosaurs develop? We pretty well know how they were destroyed. And you could doubtless make a case that their demise allowed for the age of the mammals; but why not dinosaurs again? Then came man's man's direct ancestors, the links. To me the facts can be laid out fascinatingly-- what a violent earth we live upon; but there is still a question. A big one.

Why did the first life develop in such an inhospitable environment? What led to the different eras of different types dominating? Some would say it was their way to compete but in each of these stages, something changed dramatically and that's what is the mystery and why I don't see evolution as proving atheism or belief. It is a fact and then we interpret it or we don't.

Yes, 'I' cannot be categorized or known.

Let's say you have a dream. Did the people in the dream, or the animals, or any of the objects in the dream evolve?

They just appeared in the dream. Right? They were just there spontaneously in your dream. It was your mind that took the various forms and animated them. Yet even in the dream there was a sense of separate 'I' even though this 'I', this consciousness was part and parcel of every object dreamed and in reality had no separate existence from them. It only appeared as a thought in the dream that there was a dreamer and the dreamed, but in fact they were one and the same.

The Universe of Universes, the entire everything that is known or potentially known arises in Mind...is mind. One. Mind. Now.

It is immediate. Always immediate. No before or after. But Whole Mind objectivises itself as the seen and seer of the seen. Hence the seeming appearance of multiplicity and space-time which only exists when One seemingly splits into seer and seen.

The fossil indicating an ancient creature arises now. What it potentially was is only an idea extrapolated from its arising immediacy. But it only is as it is. Its only existence is its presence. Its only reality is its immediacy. The rest is a dream in a dream.

'I' am only an idea...the result of One Mind splitting itself as seer and seen. But as One there can be no 'I' for there is no One else to know 'I'.

As what 'I' really am, 'I' cannot be known for 'I' do not rest as a static thing around which life appears. I am not the object of myself. I am Life. I am the Living of It, and as the Oneness of Life I am no where to be found.


Rain, I've read -- if I recall correctly -- that scientists have determined (through a mathematical proof, I think) that if life evolved all over again, almost certainly it wouldn't happen in anything close to the same way.

So "why" isn't really a valid question when asked of evolution. There have been so many random mutations, so many instances of natural selection, so many unpredictable environmental influences (like asteroids hitting the Earth).

As to how life began, we don't know. I'm comfortable with not knowing. Eventually, I'm confident, science will know. Or at least come up with some very good theories.

It's true that evolution doesn't rule out God. But it has to be a God who lets life begin from a miniscule beginning, a single cell or whatever, and has it evolve over billions of years in a seemingly uncontrolled fashion. Uncontrolled, that is, by anything other than natural influences.

Kanab, I don't know how to respond to your comment. Yes, our experience is now. But what we experience has a long history, if it is a fossil hundreds of millions of years old. Life has been a succession of present moments for billions of years. And likely it will continue for countless years more.

If you're saying that we should consider ourselves part and parcel of that vast flow of life -- I'd agree with that, for sure. In that sense we are immortal.

I think it doesn't rule out or rule in god or gods or a creative act at the beginning. It just is a fact and the interpretations that people get from it are where it is not fact whether that's a desire to prove there is no god or is a god.

The thing though about all the time it took is our concept of time. Time might be nothing in reality. Or changing constantly. We use it but does it even exist?

There is the possibility that this planet is a laboratory to experiment and play and it's one of many around the universe where life can be encouraged or not.

Sometimes I think religion (which atheism can be when it becomes a creed) just gets in the way of ever really exploring what might be beyond the physical as it wants to box things up. It takes facts and tries to give them meaning. A quality of humans, I guess.

The thing that the history of this planet makes you think about is how quickly our place in it could be eliminated. We want to think we have control and we do that with religion and science but we basically just live on this planet and its capabilities are awesome and very very violent. The whole universe is a pretty violent place. Out of violence comes the new. Amazing if you think about it at all and thinking about it, if we aren't trying to do things to override it, is kind of pointless, fun, tempting but pointless as our deciding what is truth, putting things into boxes won't change any of it.

Interesting article, where it seems a Taoistic bent has been applied to Dawkins' outlook tho i am not sure he would necessarily agree with it.

I think there is alot to Taoism and the idea of a oneness and interconnectedness in nature - yet there also is a strong argument for individuality and a sense of self or 'I'.

While we may all be related and formed from the same basic elemental matter, the arrangement and combination of this elemental matter which makes up every higher organism is different and unique.

No two humans are exactly the same, since our development both physical and mental is affected by so many factors - just like our DNA or fingerprints are unique - so too are our personalities and experiences.

Or as Sagan so elegantly put it, the beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together. Evolution ensures those atoms are put together differently for every living thing, which results in all nature's complexity.

So I think there is a strong argument for individualism and self.

This might be reconciled roughly with Taoism by yin and yang, which represents the inherent paradox to nature, i.e. in this case perhaps between a connectedness and individuality. Though perhaps one should not confuse connectedness (or biological relatedness) with oneness (or the neoplatonic concept seeming central to so much mystical thinking)?

You ask this question:

Is a human really worthy of a name and essentially different from a neanderthal?

The real answer is yes.

Although evolution occurs in feathers over great expanses of time, all living beings have a level of consciousness that distinguishes them at the essential, and thusly at every level of existence. Moreover, every living being or animal, if you like, is not the consequence of the previous, but it's own manifestation of Creation as Evolution. These gradations sometimes only occur in degree, as in one species that calibrates at a low level of Courage, and another at a high level of Courage, but they also occur, just as often, at completely different levels of existential paradigm. This change in paradigm is spiritual and contextual. Thus, it has far-reaching implications on every aspect of every living being.

Jesus Christ is Divinity Incarnate. His level of consciousness was, in a human body, and on a scale from 1 to 1000, 1000. He was known to perform miracles. He can, in fact, save people's souls.

Neanderthal man calibrated at about 80, Grief. He was primordially driven by instinct and emotion.

The average cat and dog stand at 245, Courage. They are known to be courageous and loyal and can even express Love at 500 by purring or wagging their tails, respectively.

Human beings can calibrate anywhere. That's why you see people like Bin Laden and Hitler (40), people like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein(499) and people like Mahatma Gandhi (760).

This, of course, is what Dr. David R. Hawkins' research on consciousness has discovered.

lol - how the heck can one calibrate consciousness?

Dr David Hawkins sounds like he is completely crackers.

Courage or love or hate are emotions which cannot be calibrated as if some sort of objective measure reference existed.

The same goes for consciousness, these are first person subjective experiences, they cannot be accurately quantified or calibrated.

Now it may be that there are different levels of intuition or insight which certain individuals possess - but this is not provable one way or the others since its not measurable. There is certainly no way of quantifying the consciousness of long dead ppl like JC whose very existence is quuestionable.

You know Andres, your post unfortunatelly made very little sense to me. What do you mean by Grief, Courage and all those big caps words? They express nothing to me but a sense of unwillingness for dialogue on your part. Nobody will understand you if you start using concepts that are not familiar to them, please try writing in more understandable language.

Regarding that scale of yours in deciding who has a higher level of consciousness or lower. I think it is wonderful if one tries to become more compassionate and loving, like the ideal of Jesus exemplifies. This feels very close to me, as I to try to get closer to those ideals. But I think it is wrong to try to measure these things and put people and living beings on a scale regarding their "level of consciousness". One thing that I know is that not everybody has the conditions to become more loving or more knowledgeable. I come from a family where these ideals are encouraged, I have warmth in my life, no immediate danger to my life, I can study philosophy, humanities, arts. Although I live in a fairly messed up society I still consider myself lucky to have the conditions where I can grow in this way. But I look at some other families in my village or neighbour cities and the picture is quite different - alcoholism in the family, no feeling of safety, lack of communication... One who grows up in such a situtation has a much harder way of becoming knowledgable, compassionate, etc. etc. Not to mention other places where people are abused, mistreated, unloved, where war is going on, how about Auchwitz and other concentration camps, even today. Who knows how Jesus would behave if he was in there, or you or me. One can think that he ( or she ) is compassionate and loving but in a situation where you loose most ( or all ) of the power over yourself, who knows what you would do,think,feel?
These ideals are worth nothing if one thinks that just because he is compassionate, or this and that, that he is on a higher level than other people. The only way that I find these ideals worthy is if they make you actually change your attitude towards the world and make you try to change the bad things around you. This is not too optimistic of an idea, one does what one can. I prefer small actions to big words. And even small actions can be extremely hard to do - depending also on your social condition and other factors that are not only in your control.

Andres, I clicked on the web site link you provided and tried to figure out what marvelous truths this Dr. Hawkins has discovered that no one else has.

What I found were lots of opportunities to order his books, tapes, and whatnot, lots of praise of Hawkins, and very little mention of what his research/findings consist of. Not very scientific, for sure.

My first impression is that Hawkins has set himself up as one more, among countless, "gurus" who sell their purported spiritual truths. What is the evidence that he is enlightened? That you feel good in his presence.

Sorry. I've been there and done that. Here's what I found on this website page:
http://www.veritaspub.com/index.php?page=about
-----------------
"The overall design of this lifetime work is to recontextualize the human experience in terms of the evolution of consciousness and to integrate a comprehension of both mind and spirit as expressions of the innate Divinity that is the substrate and ongoing source of life and Existence. This dedication is signified by the statement "Gloria in Excelsis Deo!" with which his published works begin and end. The authenticity of his state of advanced spiritual awareness is further corroborated by the unique experiences and shifts of consciousness noted by attendees when being in Dr. Hawkins' presence. His love of mankind shines forth, allowing those in his presence to experience their own inner joy and well-being."

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