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December 20, 2009


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Continuing to 'say it like it is' - I did not know your sister, did not even know you had one, so the same event that causes you pain, had little effect on me.
Just in the same way that the death of so many around the world on an every day basis, whether at the end of full lives or part way through as result of some criminal behaviour, do not impact in same way to you or to me, as would someone we know or love.
Death hurts those who had emotional attachments, but as science points out, these emotional attachments are merely chemicals existing in the brain, what you are feeling is pure science, pure physical and nothing more, even if science cannot explain it all, it will one day.
Any electrochemical reaction can be cancelled out, neutralised, perhaps with drugs, perhaps with other chemicals like alcohol, or perhaps with counselling (popular in USA) or perhaps by strong training and will.
We live in a world in which science has or will have the answers. Simple fact, your sister is gone, no longer exists, so is certainly not suffering. There is nothing for you to feel now, apart from any feeling of loss - which logically, is purely selfishness in that your sister wont be there any more for you to gain benefit.

I write this as it is, according to the views of science.

BleedingObvious, I've been pretty sure that you're a jerk. Now I know you are. Thanks for confirming what should have been bleeding obvious.

I'm sorry to hear of the loss of an important person in your life. I'm confident she will live on in the memories of those who loved, valued and cherished her.

Thanks for your so constructive comment, although I find it so strange that you break the same rules you delete others for breaking (personal insults)
Which part of my comment do you disagree with?
That I did know your sister?
That I do feel sad?
That previous connection with the deceased increases the sense of loss?
That perhaps science is not everything, that emotions may be slightly deeper than pure physical?
Or do you not like someone telling it how it is?

Please excuse my asking such questions and obviously being a jerk in your eyes, perhaps you wanted expressions of sympathy instead, well meant, but false!

This is a sad post. I am sorry for your loss Brian.

Science is merely a tool used to explain reality.
Those ppl who experience the death of a loved one do not feel it any more or less than the religious.
If anything I would argue those with scientific beliefs feel it more strongly, because they dont have anything to comfort them by, they think its quite possible that they will never ever see a person that they dearly loved ever again.
That hurts more than one can imagine.
It'd be a lovely surprise to see one's loved one;s in the afterlife, but that will be a pleasant surprise, since i assume we all just rest when it is all over.

The only thing I know about death and grief is that it is horrific and far more personal than any belief system could ever be.

Just because a poem can be identified as to its constituent parts and rhyming style it does not make the poem experienced by the reader any less poignant. Scientists enjoy poems too, because they are human and have exactly the same emotional range as everyone else.

Poor form imo BleedingObvious to make your point.

I well know human suffering, and every day I struggle with the loss of my son when only 18 years old, despite this being many years ago now. I struggle with such questions as I raised in my comment above, as a scientist, i want to understand how I feel, I want to understand what is this feeling of loss, of grief, of deep rooted pain that does not go away.
As a scientist, i share a vision, perhaps a dream, that one day, we will understand such things in a way that will allow us to have some control over the unbearable, just as advil works with physical pain, perhaps we will understand the chemistry that will allow us to moderate grief?
The goal of science is to understand all of the world we experience, yet, the human experience of grief is greater and more intense and more deeply rooted than almost any other pain.
Why should this be, and I ask myself over and over and I fall slowly towards the conclusion that there is more than physical reality, there is something deeper that is usually ignored, no, even denied, in our normal working lives, when we buy the next gadget or eat the next great meal or go shopping or even just go for a walk, whatever it is that we enjoy.
Then the loss of a loved one wakes us up, and surely when awake is the time to question, not in our cosy slumber of physical desires, but when we are in grief, we are alive, really alive.
I do spend most of my time engrossed in work, in some sort of metal oblivion of a deeper pain, but I come back to this blog when I feel the need for some answers to my deep grief.
Brian, I had no intention whatever to offend, I merely wanted to strike at the moment our deepest awarenesses are stirred.

Not sure if it is normal, but I admit to crying a lot, when alone that is, nothing takes away the pain.

Oh I see, sorry, i misunderstood. Very sad about your son too, but I know what you mean that the words mean nothing.

Your questions are very similar to my own on this matter, very similar indeed - its just that when someone does pass away, there's not much to say to really comfort them but i dont think its a time to start picking apart the intracacies when its still so fresh.

Anyway, your questions are extremely interesting, I mean the whole notion of Love itself with its chemical synapses still does not do the experience justice. You are right.

Dear Blogger Brian,

I am extremely sorry to hear the sudden demise of your sister. May you have enough strength to bear the loss. We all feel more or less the same on the loss of our dear ones.
I remember that I had narrated the following story very recently:

"It comes to my mind a short story of Guru Nanaka that once he asked his pupil to go to the market and get him - truth for two takka and false for two takka. The pupil moved from shop to shop but could not get it. At his last attempt he went a shopkeeper who was very old and asked the same. That old man him two slips of paper. The pupil brought those slips to GuruNanka and he read it to his disciple in which it was written that TO LIVE IS FALSE AND TO DIE IS TRUTH.
Even if it is a truth, yet no one wants to die particularly when I do not know what lies beyound death. Nothingness after death haunts perhaps all of us............................................"

Even if all these are cooked stories, yet they provide solace to quite a few people at crucial junctures.
Any way, it is not the time to say anything but to help you to garner courage and face the truth as we all have to face it either with a drawn face or smile.

With kindest love,

I am sorry to hear of your loss. Grieving is human,even healthy, and whether a soul survives the loss of a body, whether there is reincarnation, none of it really matters as the loss is real and the person who died will not be back.

As for the damage religion does to relationships, that is a very sad example, and those grandchildren lost a relationship and part of their family that cannot be regained. Unreal especially for a religion that claims love as its base.

I'd sure like to know who the jerk is here, its bleeding obviously me.

I mean how can a very succinctly put argument such as BleedingObvious put forward above at December 20, 2009 at 11:14 PM be classified as jerk behaviour, I'd sure like to know? It is pure scientific fact.

So when push comes to shove all these high and mighty brave and aloof clearly rational free thinking skeptics and scientists run for the solice and comfort of emotional attachment as their haven of refuge, then they'll go on to say in the very next breath that life or existence has no soul, or has no spirit.

So exactly who the hell are you missing, whats being missed exactly, who or what, and who is the bleeding obvious jerk to carry two sets of conditions and agendas, one to suit oneself and another to suit every one else?

Yes, I can see a type of sadness in this post. The possibly "complete" shut down in communication among family members and cousins.

"My sister and brother-in-law were/are as churchless as I am."
--Brian, did Bob and Carol Ann ever discuss spirituality or religion, of any kind, with you?

"Cathy and her husband were (and I assume, still are) fundamentalist Christians."

--Brian, how long has it been since you have communicated with Cathy and her husband? Do you have any relationship with Cathy's two kids?

One possible way to bring some joy into this post, if needed, is to find a way to bridge the communication gap. The person or persons that have created this (religion-nonreligion) gap need to be smacked over the head with a wet noodle. Brian, for the sake of Cathy's two kids, why don't you work on this? A nice success, followup story would be nice. Do this for the sake of Cathy's kids.

hallucinating, accept my apology for the hour being late last night, and my taking a last look at my laptop before I went to bed, and seeing a comment that made me think of the author, "You're a jerk because what you said here is both insensitive and wrong."

I left out the words after "because," being tired. As I've said repeatedly, it is acceptable on this blog, though not encouraged, to say things like "you're a fool because..."

George, you get it right. BleedingObvious gets it wrong. What's worse, he knew he was wrong when he wrote his comment, which I knew, which is why I felt it was so insensitive. He knew that human emotions are real, genuine, and heartfelt to the person experiencing them, because he has felt them.

Yet he told me:

"Death hurts those who had emotional attachments, but as science points out, these emotional attachments are merely chemicals existing in the brain, what you are feeling is pure science, pure physical and nothing more, even if science cannot explain it all, it will one day."


"We live in a world in which science has or will have the answers. Simple fact, your sister is gone, no longer exists, so is certainly not suffering. There is nothing for you to feel now, apart from any feeling of loss - which logically, is purely selfishness in that your sister wont be there any more for you to gain benefit."

What BleedingObvious likes to do -- and it's a sleazy style of arguing -- is to set up a "straw man" about science that only exists in his own mind, and then use it to support his own viewpoint.

Scientists don't consider that knowing how the human mind/brain works will change how we experience primal emotions, desires, and such.

A neuroscientist doesn't feel less depressed if he suffers from this disease just because he understands the neurochemistry of depression. Someone studying sex hormones and the "biology of desire" doesn't stop lusting after his or her lab partner because of this knowledge.

My post was about being human, something we have no choice about, of course. Our choice is whether we accept our natural humanity, which is the product of a vast time span of physical and cultural evolution, or whether we fall prey to letting ourselves be beguiled by religious and philosophical myths spewed forth by our marvelous cerebral cortex -- which is great at learning about reality, yet also prone to thinking errors.

One of those errors is to view science as a mechanistic, unfeeling, development of human culture. This is wrong. Scientists are just like all of us -- complex people who bleed, cry, laugh, desire, get frustrated, hurt, feel good.

It's sophistry to argue that science is out to make us into unfeeling robots who think "that's just my brain chemistry speaking" when a loved one dies and tears well up uncontrollably. BleedingObvious knows that, yet he said it to me the day after my loved one died and my tears welled up uncontrollably.

A central, consistent, and unfailing theme of this blog is that "I feel..." always is a perfectly defensible statement. No one can, or should, deny it. "I know..." is something different. Granted, there can be a fine line between the two, which isn't always obvious in how people communicate (often we say "I know" when we really mean "I feel," as in "I know I should marry Joe" or "I know my daughter is with Jesus in heaven."

I don't appreciate having my grief at my sister's death being used to make a sophomoric arguing point. BleedingObvious could have disagreed with my arguable thought-based conclusions in my post and not challenged my inarguable emotion-based feelings.

So Brian you are admitting to being human after all. So explain if you will, where does the human monkey or naked ape begin, and the cold aloof free thinking sceptic scientist end?

What I'm trying to discover here is who is it you are missing, which part or aspect of your sister, her mind, her body, her heart, her personality, or her soul, and is she missing you as much as you are missing her?

I mean what is it or who is it we grieve for, their attachment for us, or our attachment for them? You've known all along its an ephemeral exercise in uncertainty and impermanence and death, so after all, how come the huge surprise?

Again without trying to sound cold hearted and callous ubout such grieving circumstances, who is here, and who else is where, and if life is so emphatically real after all, quite what is the 'substantial' reality and what is the obvious illusion, where you are right now, or where your sister is?

hallucinating, you do sound cold-hearted and callous. If you don't mean to sound that way, then stop sounding that way.

If you want to over-analyze your own grief over a loved one's death, feel free. Just shut up with the advice about how I should feel.

Ditto with asinine comments like "So Brian you are admitting to being human after all." When have I ever claimed not to be human?

Your comments are spot on, and I completely understand where you are coming from.
When a scientist experiences an event, his training will require him to examine the event with rational thought, this is science, we scientists are curious, we want to know answers. Brian is very willing to shout the credits of science but unwilling to step up to the plate.
Here we have an event, Brians sister has died, he chose to announce this event on this open debate forum, and here is an opportunity to investigate this event, its effects on us, on Brian, and to study and analyse in true scientific manner.
Instead, what do we get, abuse, criticised for being unfeeling.
In the good old days, scientists would run tests on themselves with poisons and tinctures, now, we feeble folk who stand and proclaim our non religion and support for science, actually seek sympathy and comfort from our digital blogosphere "friends"
Well Brain, take it like it is, sure you feel grief, you are not the first person to have this experience, but here, on a forum that is anti religion, lets take this situation from a scientific standpoint, try and answer hallucinating_monkey's questions, they are good ones and quite meaningful

BleedingObvious, I've said what I wanted to say about my sister's death. I'm not interested in using Carol Ann as a means for you to spout more anti-science, pro-religion crap. Get a life. Your troll-games are obvious and I don't feel like playing them.

If I sensed that you were sincere in wanting to have a respectful dialogue about death and our human reaction to a loved one's dying, I'd engage in such a conversation with you. But I don't, so I won't.

Roger, I've done my best to bring my sister/brother-in-law and their daughter together. This rift started about ten years ago. I did a lot of communicating with Cathy, my niece, then. Since, I've mainly kept in touch through an annual Christmas card, where I tell her how much her parents miss her, and how much it would mean to them to hear from her again.

Since it doesn't appear that Cathy knows that her mother has died (police visited her home, but she wasn't there, and they have an unlisted phone number), I've sent her a note by Federal Express. Not the best way to tell someone her mother has died, but given Cathy's desire to have nothing to do with her family, there's no other choice that I could think of.

My hope is that this sad event will have a happy outcome, as you said. I think there's a good chance that she will reach out to her father, since Cathy was a lot more irked with my sister than with her father. I'm looking forward to adding a pleasant side to this story.

You have again misunderstood or fail to read my text. I am quite the opposite of anti science pro religion !!

you repeat the same comments based upon some preconceived idea without even taking the trouble to read and think about what I have written.

You remind me of an extremely jaded and bitter priest. It is difficult to feel sad for someone who has just experienced a loss, when they are so full of spite and arrogance.
George, Hallucinating Monkey, I would have liked to engage further, I sensed you understood my comments and the sincerity with which they were made, but sadly, this is a poisoned blog, not a medium for open debate. I leave

Brian is consistent here and with what he said about his sister and the loss he feels. He has talked of living life fully. That means being open to the joy and the grief. A full human experience is not closing out one part of it but being open to it all


I think your comments at 9:01 are spot on.

Its all total strawman argumentation designed to psychologically try break down, and its the breaking down part that is most telling imo.

I mean sure grief will put one into a state of mind that is surely unlike any others, but its precisely at these times when we are most vulnerable and willing to put our trust in something or anything that brings explanation or comfort however unreasonable its claims.

Its been acknowleged a million times on here, and still it does not sink through, science has its limits. It cannot describe love, art, grief, consciousness or even reconcil general relativity with the quantum.

Yet the argument persists, that the scientists, those with rational thoughts, are arrogant and need to be taught a lesson - they need to realise that the mind is the enemy. That the soul, karma and traversing the 7 astral planes are the laws of the universe and actual reality.

And what is support for such claims, nothing whatsoever.

BleedingObvious raises some very interesting questions, which i too have asked repeatedly, but just because there is no explanation does not mean we need grab onto the first lifeboat that passes by either. In fact, it strikes me we need to be especially careful of doing so.

In fact, i cant quite understand the 'evil scientific bastard' tag you have been scripted with becuase you of all people have actually been on a mystic path for decades.

I mean most scientists would not give any of this stuff a moments thought. You;ve been totally different.

What really is beyond me though, with even the more secular mystic traditions like budhism, is the concept of association being the cause of suffering. This is what repels me from the traditions and philosophies, which hit right at emotions like grief where ppl can become so lost so easily. there is also love and joy as well as grief - these things may be temporary - but maybe life itself is temporary and that something like Taoism is a far better outlook.

I mean anyone that is able to detach themselves from grief at the death of a loved one, or unshakable by an emotion like love or the loss thereof, - if that is enlightement what is the purpose of even being alive? Such a person may as well be dead. They in fact are the true cold robots.

Actually rain has far more articulately expressed in one sentence (her final one above) what i've failed to do in multiple paragraphs.

I'm so glad you got to face this Churchlessly and not RSSB.My condolences.

Dear Brian,

For You

In your time of sadness.

With Love,



tAo and Dogribb, thanks for the kind thoughts (and uplifting video).

George, you're right: this notion that spirituality involves detaching from normal human emotions is disturbing. If this happens naturally, though, I suppose this is fine. With age, and perhaps a bit of increased wisdom, things that used to bother us a lot may bother us just a little.

But I didn't appreciate being told that when a loved one dies, it's my problem if I feel sad. I don't consider grief to be a "problem," for one thing. It's simply part of life, along with joy and other emotions.

I remember the guru who initiated me, Charan Singh, speaking similarly. He used to talk about how we have lost the ability to feel things naturally and openly -- to laugh, to cry, to rejoice, to feel sorrow. We've become constricted, tied up in our narrow rule-based thought-prisons.

So it isn't a given that mystics and mystical paths emphasize a sort of robotic detachment. Unfortunately, though, many do -- mistaking artificial serenity for the real thing. Sure, it's possible to control natural human emotions. But there's a price to be paid: inauthenticity.


Yes, I suppose one becomes more cynical or world-weary with age, but its interesting you say the satguru seemed to encourage emotions.

I thought the whole point of enlightenment was a recognition of the illusory nature of reality and attatchements, etc; but perhaps as you say there are variations on a theme.

As so often happens, my comments are not being treated at face value, instead, some evil purpose is being assumed. This is not the case.

In time of grief, we experience a pain that is not normally experienced, it is a deep rooted and powerful feeling, one that disrupts our every action, one that overpowers our senses, and one that even time has difficulty in diluting.

So, as part of human experience, is there absolutely no interest in this group in discussing and exploring this experience?

Words of condolence do little towards understanding grief, although I am interested to know if they reduce the level of pain through their expression.

As a real observable and common experience of life, is there no value in asking and investigating this experience? How would science explain this experience? How does religion explain it?
Sant Mat uses the image of attachment, like a delicate rope, it has now been broken, and the pain of the break causes the experience of grief.

Science may talk of brain and memory, of synapses and electrochemical reactions, but I posit that science has a long way to go to explain the deep felt feeling of loss.

Then logic could be used as a tool, logically the dead no longer exist, this is born out by observation, and often used as an argument against spiritualism, no evidence of life after death! So we do not feel sad for the person who no longer exists, so what is this feeling from a logical perspective? I suggest it it selfishness, for it is not a feeling of compassion or sorrow for anyone else but oneself.

But perhaps this is a taboo subject, because it is Brian who is feeling this pain, and not some other person?

if anyone wants to discuss this and Brian feels it is not a topic he wants discussed on here, I propose we move the discussion to the other blog page, the one where people can rant about Church of the Churchless - copy of this is provided over there.

BleedingObvious, as so often happens (with you, at least), my comments are not being treated at face value, instead, some evil purpose is being assumed. This is not the case. (Hmmm, those words sound familiar for some reason.)

As I've said, and not been heard (by you, at least), I'm not opposed to discussing the subject of grief in a respectful and open-minded manner.

What I objected to was your insensitive attempt to use my sister's death to make some non-sensical points about a scientific worldview leading to a robotic elimination of human emotion, which is ridiculous.


I understand how family rifts can exist. There are a few, among cousins, in my larger family. These rifts seem to be permanent and probably will never be fixed. However, you have a good point in that Cathy may one day want to reunite with her dad (Bob). She and her two kids could some how find a way to meet some place and have a beginning reunion. Never know, you may get invited to join in this hopefully joyful event. This would be a follow up story to write.

Human emotions are involved here, I don’t care if there is or is not a scientific or religious explanation for such. Nothing wrong with letting the experience of grief simply be.

We should care about scientific explanations
We used to lose people to flu and other diseases, but science gained an understanding and saved so much suffering.
We used to suffer from things like toothache and indigestion and, well the list goes on, but science has come to the rescue
We suffer from mental illnesses and the like, and even these are being understood and solved by science.
If we are purely physical beings, if consciousness is what we experience as result of amazing levels of evolution, then science has a role to play in every aspect of our lives
If we are not prepared to place things like God, Spirit, Soul, etc, into another category apart from the physical universe, then we have science to look to in the security that it will one day understand and solve these painful experiences.
So, we are part of this growth of knowledge, and, I can suggest, even contribute to the furtherance os such knowledge.

I have not once referred to robotics, not sure how you read this into any of my previous comments. Further, you accuse me of being ridiculous and of being a jerk, yet not once have you risen to the plate and 'lowered' yourself to my level to take any one of my points to task. Why dont you start acting a little bit more grown up and start addressing specific points I have raised, rather than revert to name calling?

Bleeding Obvious,

You stated,

"We should care about scientific explanations"

---You completely misinterpreted my last paragraph bleeding.

Nothing wrong with caring about religious and/or scientific explanations, as a general statement. However, as a specific "grief" human emotion regarding Brian's lose of his sister, was how my remark was directed.

With that said, how much care should I have for your scientific explanation? Your “explanation” may carry a low level value. Maybe, maybe not.

BleedingObvious, yesterday you said "I leave." Now, you're back. That's fine. You must enjoy this blog. I'm glad you do.

I've said what I need to say to you. Made my points. Listened to yours.

You believe that science will have all the answers to the pain, anguish (and, yes, joy also) of human life. You said:

"Death hurts those who had emotional attachments, but as science points out, these emotional attachments are merely chemicals existing in the brain, what you are feeling is pure science, pure physical and nothing more, even if science cannot explain it all, it will one day...We live in a world in which science has or will have the answers."

I don't agree. Science doesn't agree. I embrace unknowing, a perpetual searching, which is the way of both science and genuine spirituality (a point I probably will expand upon in a blog post today).

Absolutism isn't my thing. Believing that religion, or science, or anybody, has or will have the answers isn't my thing. It's yours, not mine.

So good luck with your belief that it's possible to have all of the answers.

Oh Brian, I cannot believe you have so little intelligence, surely you can understand that science embraced the unknown IN ORDER that the unknown may become known. Surely you know that science starts from a foundation of known and builds from there. None of the most fundamental axioms of science acknowledge or accept spirituality, God or religion.. The premise of science is that the so called spiritual or non-physical world does not exist. Therefore science builds upon a foundation of physical existence.
Science does not accept that some great consciousness has always existed and continues to exist, instead, science points to a physical universe that started with a Big Bang and evolves to its current state, of which we are part.
The scientific viewpoint is that consciousness is an evolved state of matter.
So, surely you are not suggesting that grief is something other than a physical state? Are you proposing that grief is non-physical?
If you accept science surely you have to accept the conclusions of science? either grief is physical or it is not, if it is, then science will one day explain it, even if it is unknown at the moment (one does not have to be religious in order to not embrace the unknown)
If grief is non physical, then it falls outside of science, so then what is it.

Oh, and I keep reading this blog because I cannot believe how closed minded you can be, How it can be possible to not open your eyes to the Bleeding Obvious

"If you accept science surely you have to accept the conclusions of science?"

---One can accept the Scientific Method, and from time to time "not" accept a particular conclusion from a particular field of science. This conclusion is coming from a scientist or group of scientist, which may have human errors.

There could be a need for a review of the proper definition of words like ---
conclusion, explanation, and understanding.

We may have our differences.

The conclusions of science to which I refer are those that have been accepted by scientifically approved peer review. I am not suggesting one has to accept the result of individual scientists, simply because they are scientists. If I had meant to say this, I would have used the word "scientists" rather than "science"

So, conclusions of science are those accepted by consensus of scientists, we find such conclusions in various reference works, called science books

Science has decided many things in the past and later, with new tools, different criteria, decided something else was true instead. I think life is in flux and to assume any element of it knows it all is to end up usually with a surprise. To assume that you can science out of existence human emotions usually comes from someone who is afraid to fully live, has been hurt and tries to deaden all emotion as a way to get past that, or just likes to argue.

I am not making any such assumption, and science is fully appreciative of being a work in progress.
But the main points of my comment seem to continuously be bypassed.
Either there is nothing but a physical creation, which is the current underlying assumption of science, or there is another aspect (perhaps more subtle) universe of which science is currently unaware or prepared to exist.
I posit that grief may be some pointer to a another universe other than the physical.

This means, either grief can be assigned to pure physical or not. If it can, then this is eventually explainable via science, if it is not, then we acknowledge a universe of which science has no acceptance?

Well, which do you think?

I think it's a mystery and why we have religions. The best I can do is recognize what I experience but explaining why, now that's harder. It's like love. How to explain why that happens. Lust is easier but love, well it's not easy at all. It often doesn't make a bit of sense biologically (lust does) and yet most people do experience it.

You could say that love was an emotion that served a biological purpose and hence the humans that were capable of feeling it were the ones who gained in numbers.

There is this really neat book about rafting the Colorado River and while on the trip (using several trips) there were these great conversations between friends about evolution and life. The author tried to come up with a reason for why humans sing in terms of evolution. There are many things like that which seem universal and yet why? I felt he stretched it a lot with his attempted reasoning.

I like the fact that not all can be defined and yes maybe it points to a spiritual realm. I have no problem with that being the reason. I can't prove it either way and isn't that part of what makes it so wonderful?

"So, conclusions of science are those accepted by consensus of scientists, we find such conclusions in various reference works, called science books"

---Bleeding, using Brian's grief, a possible human emotion, or experience and prepare a conclusion from science that has consensus of scientists, as to what this grief is. Maybe, grief is the wrong word to describe one's reaction to death. Therefore, explain through a scientific explanation if such a mechanism exists. Feel free to reference a science book.

"The scientific viewpoint is that consciousness is an evolved state of matter.
So, surely you are not suggesting that grief is something other than a physical state? Are you proposing that grief is non-physical?"

Then this statement,

"I posit that grief may be some pointer to a another universe other than the physical."

---Nothing wrong with both statements, however, this may be why there is some confusion regarding bleeding's posts. Bleeding, you are Ok, however, you may need to introduce a number of qualifications in your blog debating style.

Hi Roger
Possibly I need to learn how to ask questions
For example, above in previous comment I asked:

"Either there is nothing but a physical creation, which is the current underlying assumption of science, or there is another aspect (perhaps more subtle) universe of which science is currently unaware or prepared to exist." I then elaborated as to the implications then asked :"Well, which do you think?"

To this I have not seen any response.
I see this question as an either / or, but may be there is another answer?

Rain, doctors work on finding solutions to illnesses when the subject is ill, its far more likely to get results. Likewise, if we are to explore the subject of grief, what better time than when an open minded person is grieving?

This is an interesting opportunity to explore the extent or limits of science and very valid, my statements are intended to inspire constructive thinking and comment, debate and deep thought, I am not making statements of fact, so please do stop asking me to look up references in science books, I am merely a participant, not some authority.

Dear BleedingObvious,

I have read all your comments. These points could be discussed under some other post/ at some other point of time (imo). More people will be able to participate and cast their opinion.

with regards,

Hi rakesh
Please help me to understand your comment.

Is there some time where people are not dying in the world and so there is no grief that would be better for discussing such topics?

Or do you suggest it is best to discuss grief when it is furthest from our minds, when we have no, or little recollection of the experience?

Or do you suggest that the post "Death is real, religion shouldnt deny it" as being inappropriate to the topic of the effects of death on those left living?

Sorry, but I am struggling to understand your thinking.

Blleding Obvious,

"...either grief is physical or it is not, if it is, then science will one day explain it, even if it is unknown at the moment (one does not have to be religious in order to not embrace the unknown)"

But even if grief is purely physical, and is one day understood, it does not make it any less poignant. I mean we can explain many aspects of the universe, which do not add to or detract from our personal experience of them.

Even art, some artforms can be explained, others not so well, neither affect our ability to appreciate them. Spring heralds a bursting forth of colours in flowers - beautiful artworks of nature - scientists can explain that these colours have evolved to attract the insects that pollinate them. Some know this, others prefer the explanation for such beauty as god's bounty.

The beauty of flowers is experienced irrespective of science or religion, just as the emotions of grief and love are experienced irrespective of belief system.

What is true is that ppl may or may not draw comfort from their beliefs, yet the emotional experience still remains.

The religious might draw comfort that their departed has moved to a better place when one day they shall be re-united, yet their is still a feeling of grief or of missing the personality that they loved.

And then of course remains the quuestion as to the validity of those beliefs. If such beliefs are swallowed wholesale then perhaps people will all start jumping off buildings to get re-united quicker. But ppl dont this, for one thing because they are not at all sure about such beliefs.

You raise good points, however, it is an aspect of human nature that we want to know more about our experiences than simply experience them. It is part of human nature to ask "why?"
This is the reason why we do not simply accept gnostic writings, we do not simply accept blind belief, but instead we use reason and logic to try to understand our experiences.
Emotions form part of our daily lives, it is a large part of human experience. It is of interest and value when we discover that emotions are influenced by light, for example, those living above the Arctic circle are known to feel different in winter when the sun does not rise above the horizon from in summer in the land of the midnight sun.

Science goes a long way to explain these things in terms that can then be used to improve our quality of life, it is what sets us apart from the animal kingdom.

For those who do not accept that God exists, those who hold that science will one day gain understanding of our entire universe, science that seeks the Theory of Everything, and the like, then deep emotions become an interesting study.

It is possible for neuroscientists to measure the pattern of signals in parts of the brain when the subject is enjoying the experience of the beauty of flowers, and likewise for the experience of grief, much work has been done in similar vein during meditation, all in an attempt to better understand human experience of the world in which we live, who we are and how we function.

I suggest, with respect, that the record of brain activity for beauty of flowers may be similar in amplitude and even complexity as that of grief, but the depth of feeling of the subject is entirely different. In other words, there exists an emotional experience that is not observable through science, indicative of the existence of something other than the physical realm

This blog often claims that there is NO EVIDENCE of God. Within these words above, I suggest that there may be evidence that can be obtained directly from our own emotions, using the tools of science.
For those too quick to call me names or state that no such work has been done, or simply call me a jerk, please understand that I am merely making some suggestions. An opening to debate.
I would have expected religious types to be only too anxious to support enquiry into evidence of God (or some realm other than the physical) likewise for those of pure scientific frame of mind, the opportunity to explore the truly unknown would be embraced, so I would expect.

Sincerely yours
Mr Jerk

Mr Jerk I sincerely think you are being a jerk for asking some stuck in the mud jerks to respond to thought provoking questions where no real answers can ever be attained.

So like monkeys on a chain we can jerk each others tails till doomsday but the real truth of the matter, sorry to be such a jerk spoil sport all over again, is that you can jerk around the rosemary bush in this realm of intellectual make believe and not get even a hairs breath closer to where you hoping to discover wtf this emotion or these feelings of remorse and detachment are all about.

All these highfaluting free thinking scientists are simply bullshitting themselves about being free in thought or emotion or rationality, or that Life is indeed Fair, or some such fairy tale, they are more chained and fixed to their preconditioning than possibly anyone else, and the proof of this little bullshit baffles brains story pudding is right here all over these churchless sing along songs.


Agree that 'asking why' is central to much of the human condition.

But religion's has no answer to 'why' - God is unexplainable and there's no expanation why God is the answer - it must just be accepted on faith.

In contrast, science answers the 'wny' qustion better because it provides detail, and whats more the evidence therefore, open for all to contest.

So whats the answer, why you feel saddened and distraught when you lose someone close, who's feeling sorry for who, the living or the departed, or both?

Problem is science don't know now and probably may never do either, unless you get the inside scoop of what your attachment was about from the beginning, your intellect can determine this or that biological or emotional response out of this conditioning or the other, but you never really know, no matter how many test tubes or brain induction machines you pass the thought process through, quite why you feel so sad when your truly beloved has departed.

Pooh pooh scientists are like dead end rats on their own experimental ferris wheels, they don't really know squat about what really matters, just their own highfaluting attachment to their dead end thought processes and theories, and their near and dear beloved departed.

Pity their models of expertise are so emphatically archaic and outdated, else they might just get a glimpse of reality sometime.

Dear BleedingObvious,

Thanks! that you have read my comment. Sorry, that you could not understand it. I do not suggest you anything herewith.

You are far above a normal human being/ or a scientific God.

with regards,

Neither religion nor science has any real meaningful answers, both provide a degree of comfort, science because its theorums can be tested in real world and found to be correct, so we feel comfortable that science is indeed the path of knowledge. Religion asks us to believe in a Creator, compassionate, fair, forgiving and loving and so it too provides some with a degree of comfort.
Scientists do not accept an intelligent conscious creator, and ask to be shown the evidence, any evidence. And so, rejecting a Supreme Creator, science limits itself to the world of the physical, even deludes itself into believing there is nothing else but the physical realm, all can be explained in terms of the physical creation.

hallucinating_monkey, this is not about "highfaluting free thinking scientists" bullshitting each other - this is about questioning with simple logic that which you, and others, have decided to believe.

If you believe that science is on the right track when it does not accept an intelligent creator, one we may be able to one day know, then you are accepting that emotions, and in this case grief, is only a product of our physical selves. If on the other hand, one accepts that there may just be more to existence than the physical, there may be an intelligent creator, then one accepts that emotions, especially grief, may be felt in such an extreme and 'to the core of our being" way because we are indeed so much more than just evolved matter.

I would have thought this central to the purpose of this blog? One can be so much more tolerant of the aims and goals of religions and paths like RSSB if one has some possible evidence of their central tenants.

Surely this is worth thinking about, for each one of us.

Mr Jerk (thanks Brian for my new name)

George, you're correct.

Just because emotions are physical doesn't mean love isn't joyful. Just because pain is physical doesn't mean a bee sting isn't painful. Just because photons are physical doesn't mean the beauty of a sunset isn't awe inspiring.

I don't understand how some people are able to conclude that God must exist because of first person subjective experience. There is no evidence that our consciousness is the result of anything other than physical causes.

Evolution "favors" consciousness (using that word lightly) because it is better to know that something is trying to kill you than being clueless about this (to offer up one example of the benefit of awareness).

Yet, there may be a metaphysical realm. Science, the Buddhist Stephen Bachelor (who I wrote about in a recent post), and me are agnostic on this possibility. Agnosticism, as Bachelor says, isn't passive but active.

An agnostic is openly, earnestly, and sincerely looking for evidence of currently unknown phenomena, like God, soul, spirit, the afterlife.

But when demonstrable evidence is lacking, it's lacking. Plain and simple. Science doesn't understand lots of things. Same with all of us. Our washing machine isn't working correctly at the moment. My wife and I haven't jumped to the conclusion that the devil has put a curse on it. We've got a repairman scheduled to look at it tomorrow morning.

Similarly, there are lots of unknowns in the realms studied by science, such as neuroscience. The human brain/mind is still mysterious. But to jump to the conclusion that anything mysterious, such as our subjectivity (including emotions) points to God and/or a metaphysical foundation of existence isn't at all warranted.

This is the "God of the gaps" argument, which is pretty time-worn. God is whatever we can't explain or understand at the moment. This keeps shrinking God, of course, as new understandings of the universe keep coming along.

My wife and I went dancing last night. We had an enjoyable time. At no point during the evening did either of us think, "Wow, this is fun. God must be behind it all, because otherwise how could we feel that we're having fun?"

Our dog really (really, really, really!!!) relishes the jerky treat and chew sticks I give her as "dessert" (she's a spoiled dog) after she wolfs down her dinner. She's a smart dog, but I've never spotted her pondering how those treats could taste so good if she is just a physical being.

Yum! Chomp, chomp, chomp!

Likewise, pondering all of these deep thoughts about the cosmos is fine, but like you said, there's another side to life (many sides, actually) other than pondering.

Which is why I've got to turn on the coffee maker now, walk out into a foggy Oregon morning, get the newspapers, and start experiencing the next phase of a marvelously mysterious day.

Your analogies are so severely lacking in relevance. No one is suggesting anything analogous to your washing machine breaking down concluding there is a devil in it. You remind me of the type of logic that TV bible punchers use to enthral their followers, except you are science punching not bible punching.

Devils in the washing machine, pink elephants on the drive way, why insult the intelligence of those who read your blog?

You mention metaphysical state, you might find recent work by theorists of interest. Science is tending towards consciousness before the Big Bang.

The electron is the cornerstone of particle physics in terms of the interface between the 'manifestation' and the (metaphysical) 'creation'.

In the ' theoretical physics community', membrane physics is the 'only game in town'. Even Weinberg is 'coming around', namely because of the 'proofs' of the 'mirror dualities' at Princeton in 1996 by Greene, Aspinwall and Morrison and their subsequent applications in statistical thermodynamics (which 'proved' the Hawking thermodynamics of Black Holes).

Yet Susskind's many string solutions are a 'red herring'. The problem with the original string theory were the five classes (plus gravitational supersymmetry) in 10D.
Witten 's realisation of the M-space (via class IIA becoming 2D from the 1D string) 'solved this' in the umbrella of M-theory, but because the underpinning principle of M-space is unknown, the many solutions remained.

Using somthing called BCS states of a nonperturbative approach, some good ingress in crystallising the HE-8x8 class to be the class most likely to lead to a unique solution.

The original string theory was metric dependent and so required a spacetime background for the strings to move in.
Removing the 'singularity' of the Big Bang by 'Planck-smearing' however indicated that the strings themselves should be the spacetime they are moving in.

This leads to a synthesis of sorts between the old string theory and the quantum loops of Smolin and Ashtekar's 'parallel vector transport'. Many people think that those models compete against each other, but they actually converge in the ideas underpinning the formalisms.

BUT the 'underpinning principle' of M-space is still missing and it is this which 'frustrates' the pundits. They KNOW that M-theory is 'right' and that the 'Unified Field' contains the 'branes' both AS spacetime and the transformations of energy and matter contained therein.

The KEY to M-theory is the selftransformation of the five classes and an ALREADY present supersymmetry.

The basic dilemma is the baryo- and lepto-genesis immediately following the Big Bang (Weinberg's 3 minutes).
Postulating the energy of the Big Bang to derive from a dispersing Mass seed (the 5 pounds of Alan Guth) has led to the matter-antimatter symmetry (as both have positive mass content).
This then becomes a bosonic (GUT) superforce termed the X-AntiX-Boson coupling to matter and antimatter respectively to then (under the appropriate temperature evolution) decay into fermionic neutrons, protons, electrons and their antimatter counterparts.

Then the asymmetry between matter and the (naturally nonobserved) antimatter becomes a dilemma and the photon-baryon ratio (1:1 billion) is invoked to allow pair-annihilation to eliminate the antimatter with a slight matter excess.

And from this then the standard cosmology continues in nuclosynthesis and the formation of matter agglomerations under the thermodynamic arrow of entropy.

This then is the standard cosmology and it is just about 100% correct in terms of the temperature background, the so called CMMBR.
But it is fundamentally 'flawed' in its presumptions about the Big Bang mass seed.

There was no X-AntiX-Boson coupling, but there was the XL-superstring, namely class HO32 at an energy of so 2x1015 GeV reduced in a factor of 5000 from the Planck-String of so 1019 GeV.

The pundits have not yet published this; but this heterotic brane energy is the unification force, which split Gravity from the yet unified StrongElectroWeak superforce at that energy.
To experimentally probe this energy, the boson temperature is 2x1028 K for a cross-section of 10-31 meters.

But knowing this, now allows this XL-string to bifurcate into two fermionic parts - one which would later (under utility of the electroweak decoupling of the Higgs template at about 3x1015 K) become the quark-X-fermion and the other the lepton-L-fermion.

So where is the antimatter?
There is none, because the decoupling of the XL-string derived from a nonmassive 'Goldstone Bosonic' supercoupling between the 'higher' stringclasses.
{The order in energy is: I=Planck; IIB=Monopole; HO32=XL; IIA=CosmicRay; HE64=Weyl}.

This 'higherD' string coupling is bounded by the INHERENT SUPERSYMMETRY, previously mentioned.
This inherent supersymmetry is defined BEFORE the strings became classified and it is massless in the Goldstone Bosons of the preBig Bang and so are part of the Inflation-Scenario, which lasted from Planck-Time to Weyl-Time (about 10-44-10-31 seconds).

The Planck-Time classifies class I and so the Planck-Boson as a Goldstone Boson to be selfcoupled to its anti-Goldstone state. Those two states define the modular duality between the so called 'vibratory high energy high frequency short lambda' and the 'winded low energy low frequency large lambda' selfstates in then 'photonic energy'.

The question is however where did the UNDIFFERENTIATED Planck-String come from?
The Planck-String itself emerged from the prinmordial Genesis-Boson (you might term it the real 'God-Particle' and not Lederman's Higgs Boson).
The Genesis Boson is defined in an 'algorithmic' temperature of so 7x1037 K at so 7x1024 GeV in NOSPACETIME - that is BEFORE the Planck-Boson allowed the emergence of spacetimematter parameters.

To understand from where this Genesis-Boson came from requires not theoretical physics or convoluted mathematics, but the 'Consciousness existing without spacetime'.
So this becomes a 'philosophical' and 'spiritual' quest in allowing the 'After the spacetime Fact' to be as one with the 'Before the spacetime Fact'.

Actually, a lot of people who read this blog believe (or have believed) in hypotheses very similar to "a devil has cursed the washing machine."

For example, many visitors to this blog are past or present believers in the Sant Mat faith. Sant Mat, along other Eastern religions such as Hinduism, posits that a metaphysical force, "karma," operates to produce the events in our lives.

In Sant Mat karma is administered by "Kal," a being who takes on much of the role of the "Devil" or "Satan" in Christian theology. Kal is a supernatural entity who supposedly manifests through the mind and senses, leading us astray from the truth of soul and spirit.

So in fact, my washing machine analogy was apt and on target. Most people in the world believe in some sort of Devilish entity who can lead us astray and somehow is able to affect human consciousness through a metaphysical means.

And it has been my assumption that those who come to this blog have given some serious thought to questions such as:
Is there something wrong with RSSB path?
Does religion in any form provide really meaningful answers?
Is science on the right track?
Should I even be bothering thinking about such questions?

My comments reflect some of the many thoughts that go through my mind, and I had hoped to share with others so that they may share their thoughts with me, my assumption that this was one of the functions of this blog

Mr Jerk

You are sharing. You just did that. You've been doing that.

Whether and to what extent other visitors to this blog want to share back to you, that's up to them.

lol, you chaps should just get along and let bygones be bygones, a most amusing post by BleedingObvious, except i query whether your boson temperature is correct?

That sort of science talk is likely to get Ashy bouncing off the walls - i pity you.

I agree with a lot of what BleedingObvious says. Don't agree that Kal (the negative power) is the devil. My perception is that Kal = Brahm = Jehovah in the bible, so therefore = biblical God. Don't like misinformation about RS... anyway its all about personal perceptions really.

Jen, Kal isn't exactly (or nearly) the Biblical God, according to Sant Mat tradition.

Here's what Sawan Singh said about the dude:

"Those who have not met a Satguru are in the power of Kal. One cannot escape from the clutches of Kal except by serving a True Master. Kal demands from everybody an account of all actions and in accordance with them he metes out punishment or rewards."

I don’t see Kal as being the devil although I know that a lot of satsangis do have this perception. I don’t like to see it this way because if this world of duality is one of two powers, one of negativity and the other of positivity then once again its about walking the razor’s edge and keeping one’s balance, walking the middle path.

I think of Kal as being an energy which by its very existence keeps us alert especially with regard to our intent because we ourselves are mini creators and our very thoughts, words and actions have effect in this world.

I relate Kal to being like the God of the bible as in “an eye for an eye”, “as you sow so shall you reap” etc. A so-called “just god” but also a “jealous god” who expects you to behave and serve him or pay the consequences. Sounds like Kal to me!

Once again, just my interpretation - I know I have a different outlook to most.

Also Brian, I don’t ever remember reading in the Sant Mat literature where Kal is called the devil, so this is what I meant by misinformation. I would think the “devil” is a creation of the Christian religion.

Jen, here's an online reference equating "Kal" and "devil." Most of my Sant Mat books are stored, and I don't feel like researching this question any further, but I'm pretty sure that Kal, a.k.a. the Negative Power, was referred to as Satan or the Devil in the RSSB literature.
http://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg128762.html

Ah...just remembered the copious quotes I took from the RSSB books and organized thematically when I was working on my first book.

After looking in my notebook, here's a quotation from Charan Singh in "Divine Light:"

"Mind is the agent of Satan, the Negative Power, attached to every living being to prevent it from returning to the Lord."

I agree, though, that the Satan of Sant Mat isn't exactly akin to the Satan of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. But it's still a bit creepy to consider that our mind is something to be mistrusted, rather than something that's a natural and normal aspect of us.

Brian, yes, I find that creepy also, something else I don't agree with in RS. Probably Maharaj Ji was using the word "satan" because of the satsangis who came from a christian background. I used to get so annoyed when he quoted from the bible.



Sorry to be so late with this - I am just now reading it.
I'm sorry for your loss. This post has so many feelings in it, that they are almost tangible. It is difficult to cope with a death when you don't feel or believe or act the same way people expect you to. It is angering to suspect that they are judging you based on their own shallow tendency to do and feel according to how they think they are supposed to, rather than in a genuine way.
As for your niece, I will limit my reaction to this - she deprived her parents of so much and her children, a 1,000 times more.

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