« When a supposedly godly guru gets sick, what does this mean? | Main | Is God real according to Ken Wilber? »

December 08, 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

How can there be any benefit to realizing that you are "just" a brain? There is no "you" to realize that "you" are just a brain. There are just brains surviving until they do not.

There is no hierarchy of relevance when it comes to what brains conceive "themselves" to be. There is just existence, under which all conception whatsoever is subsumed.

"6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there."

Yes, I qualify for the No. 6 category. And am also 'on the fence' regarding consciousness existing separate from the brain, although my strong feeling is that the brain is responsible for consciousness.

Just out of interest I include below my 'very personal' impressions of consciousness following a recent general anaesthetic :- "I felt the needle go into the back of my left hand – presumably to receive the anaesthesia drugs. An oxygen mask was placed on my face then [ . . . N O T H I N G, ABSOLUTELY N O T H I N G . . . ] Then I was aware of the bed being pushed to, I presume the recovery ward. I had no recollection whatsoever of anything from the moment of the oxygen mask to the bed being pushed. All that came to mind on waking was an impression of black nothingness.
It was not at all like awakening from sleep where there are usually a few images floating around of something dreamed which fade away as the surrounding environment impinges on the senses. We dream several times a night, some of them lasting 20-30 minutes. Dreaming is said to be unconscious thinking in the form of playing back memories.
Perhaps, because of the remembered dreams we accredit the black nothingness with some sort of substance. On awakening, the remembered dreams give the impression that ‘I’ was there sleeping and dreaming. With sleeping the brain is still quite active. A sensation – a sound or touch – can awaken us putting the body on alert, whereas with the general anaesthesia even the cutting and probing into the body is not registered.
Apparently, it is not known how anaesthesia works. Neuroscientists are studying the brain in fMRI scanners in an effort to understand how it renders us unconscious, makes us insensitive to pain, immobile and leaving no memory of the event. It opens the question and potentially may give some insights into consciousness.
My initial impression is that general anaesthesia renders the brain (almost totally) unconscious. All that makes me ‘me’, all the contents in my brain of memory, the sense of a self, my identity, etc., are not recognised because anaesthesia temporarily prevents consciousness.
To me, this black nothingness seemed just that – nothingness, no entity, no consciousness – nothing. Perhaps this is what death is – nothing at all."

There is no "you" to realize that "you" are just a brain

Right. There's no Willie saying there's no Willie - just a brain named "Willie" saying it's just a brain.

Turan: death is not "nothing". There is NOT EVEN NOTHING in death.
When the organism is dead, there is no entity that once experienced life and then is no more. There is only the "condition" (if you will) that preceded existence. There is nothing to know about it - it is completely devoid of any qualities.
Yes, I know - unequivocal metaphysical gobbledygook, which I use to prop up my ego - but hey, it works for me! I don't know whether to shit or wind my watch. I don't own a watch.....

Hi Willie R. Yes I agree that there is NOT EVEN NOTHING because nothing is something, but nothing is just an inadequate word I use to attempt to describe when 'I' am not anymore.

For a naturalistic but confused (for me anyway) attempt to describe 'after death' have a look at the Organic. Org website Where T. Clark in the psychology section talks of 'Death, Nothingness and Subjectivity. I found it all unnecessary.

I am a number one. Perhaps we should start be saying what numbers we are, I don't think I will have much company though.


The last four numbers of my SS# are 9510.

My name is 9510. Do you need some company?

I am a number one. Perhaps we should start be saying what numbers we are, I don't think I will have much company though.

But you prefer the company of those you disagree with. Why else would you frequent a blog created and maintained by a confessed number 6?

Hi June - I am actually a number 8 myself, which is not even on the Dawkins' list. Number 8 would be "none of the above".

No one escapes the truth: not even you number 1's.

Willie and cc I came to this blog for answers to sincere doubts I had about Sant Mat Brian being one of ex followers has actually help me. That no way distracts me from "Being a no 1" That's never going to change. Sant Mat was/ maybe still is, not sure yet, the approach I use to better understand the creation. Im sorry if my approach offends you or anyone else. But if truth is the main objective, surely the mystic one is as valid as any other or are you to pendantic to even consider it. I am in no way trying to convince anyone of the perspective I have of creation I am here to learn.

That no way distracts me from "Being a no 1" That's never going to change.

And then you go on to say...

I am here to learn

You might start by learning about your confusion. You can't learn if you're "never going to change". Learning involves questioning everything and abandoning false premises.

Willie and cc I came to this blog for answers to sincere doubts I had about Sant Mat Brian being one of ex followers has actually help me.

June, why do you presume to know why "Willie and cc came to this blog"? Does it even matter? I have no idea why you're here, but keep shooting off your mouth and I'm sure it will become clear.

June - your comment seems unnecessarily apologetic in tone. However, to openly state that you are a number 1 and then further admit that you came to this blog to find answers to doubts you had about Sant Mat is blatantly disingenuous. You are in effect saying: I know where I am going - I just don't know how to get there. Blind faith. You cannot parse the assertion that comprises number 1.
Number 1's are cocksure of themselves, brook no tolerance of opposing views, and do not solicit counterpoint of any sort. Their method of living is codified in specific language, and their response to any random situation is completely predictable.
They are terminally boring, and so is their God.

I agree with willie and cc.

It appears that June is indeed confused.

Or else June is really a sant mat theist at heart - a firm believer in god - and so is someone who is not saying where they are really at.

One can not claim to be a number 1 and a firm believer of sant mat (as June has done), and then turn around and say that they are open to finding out the truth (and learning) whatever the actual truth may be about it.

June contradicts herself. Yet the reason for that contradiction remains to be seen.

A "Strong Theist" is someone who does not question the existence of God, someone who thinks firmly that they 'KNOW' God exists, someone who feels sure that God does exist.

If that is what June is, then June is indeed a number 1.

But if June has doubts about sant mat and the existence of God, then June is not a number 1.

So June needs to decide where she is really at, before making such contradictory and/or hypocritical statements.

For myself, I guess i would be an 8 (none of the above), or actually i would probably also be a 9 (somone who doesn't give a damn because its all bullshit anyway).

You will never know the answer, so you might as well get used to it.

I'm in the 4-5 range depending on the day. I went through a wannabe 1 stage and later found out that it was my most delusional and repressive part of my life.

Not good repression. Bad,bitter repression. That is what happens when you want to be a 1 but aren't, and that is what cults like Sant Mat (and all religions really)churn out thousands of. Wannabe 1's who tell themselves that they are humble servants of the lord but in reality are just like everyone else, and often worse.

I like girls and I like flirting with them. Regardless of if this is wrong,right or neutral, I couldn't have admitted it in my Sant Mat era. Trying to be a 1, and lying to my self that I was one, made me the biggest hypocrite in the world and I witnessed the same hypocrisy in my fellow satsangis who always wanted to one up each other with feigned humility and virtue.

There was one lady I can remember talking about her daughter in-law "whoring" and how it was "just his will." She laughed as she told the story knowing that any real emotional expression would lead to the same lectures on attachment or whatever other applicable sin. Emotion and real human connections seemed very distant and unwanted at all the satsangs i went to.

If one can lie to themselves about such a thing that is so blatantly obvious as being sexually attracted to someone or being in extreme emotional pain due to a loved ones dysfunction, what else will they lie about to make themselves feel important enough for the attention of god?

You will never know the answer, so you might as well get used to it.

I have no doubt that God is a myth, a fantasy, a chimera, an illusion, a projection, etc., and that takes no "getting used" to because the question of whether God exists or not is too dumb to require an answer.

I would just like to know how the moment ever arrived for me to be "just a brain" although I don't think my brain is capable of grasping that information. Infinity goes both ways you know, and no direction at all, which may be a key to understanding the mystery of time. Sure to be the greatest accomplishment of science if it can ever do it. UFO's should be consulted on this topic as they seem to have it figured out at least to some degree.

By the way, all this talk about numbers got my interest, so I looked up mine...3

Which means I am a superficial, gossipy, blabbermouth, that likes attention. Now I know why I am a blog commenter.

(hello to tAo who I haven't seen for a while)

For cc you have already inhibited me sometime ago about my spelling and English so I find it difficult responding... I don't presume to know why you are here. You told me in Nov. I don't see why it is a contradiction that if I question my belief in Sant Mat I must stop my belief in a Creator... I followed the Gurus because they were the best examples of humanity I had encountered....Now Im changing direction... I want their credentials..In others words want to know Who they follow..Mike Williams explains it better than I can., so Im not going to try... I have a more poetic nature than a scientific one so the only anologue I can give is "I saw the plane fly over head I don't know where it comes from or where its going" but to doubt that I saw it would only lead me into madness..Thats why I say IM a no1... Maybe not the correct definition but Im using the tools in the blog Brian gave.

Hi June. If you really want to learn forget about this Sant Mat character and have a bash at investi-gating who/what you are. Much of this can be done by you without reference to a ‘teacher’ or be-longing to their groups. But, maybe our conditioning prevents this.

I have never held any particular beliefs so it was comparatively easy for me to feel free to question all and anything that I came upon – including questioning the existence of a self that can make choices.
But all that probably hinged on my particular conditioning and I would say that I had no choice but to take that route.

cc mentioned this sort of mechanics in a post of Nov. 24/13 :- “If free will is illusion, considering whether it is better to be or not to be attached is only an academic exercise because we are bound and determined by genetics and conditioning to do what we do, in spite of what we think we can or should do.
We think we are free because we can think about doing things differently, but such thoughts may only be the tip of the unconscious iceberg that is drifting with currents and conditions it can do nothing about.”

There may be a lot of truth in that statement, but a lot of fear and attachment may have to be acknowledged to see it.

I saw the plane fly over head I don't know where it comes from or where its going

You had an experience that convinces you of the existence of God, but the experience proves nothing but the existence of your mind. Until you can demonstrate, prove, that what you experienced exists outside of your mind, it's all in your mind. Why is this so difficult to understand?

why is so difficult For You to understand. I don't have to prove anything. That's not my mogo. I study various religions, paths etc to find out how and what other folk think about the creation and the creator. The fact that their is :A CREATOR" is my first premous. I don't step out of that mold.... Bring on the critism.... As I said Im more of a poet than a scientist.

"Which means I am a superficial, gossipy, blabbermouth, that likes attention. Now I know why I am a blog commenter."

---tucson, lol....the best statement

I like the "none of the above" category too.

"I would just like to know how the moment ever arrived for me to be "just a brain" although I don't think my brain is capable of grasping that information."

This is a good point.

There is no doubt to me that existence, nature or the universe is creative and displays intelligence. Now, I don't think for a minute that there is an intelligent mind behind the universe - but nor do I believe that the universe is somehow mindless. Neither mindful or mindless are adequate descriptions. How can that be? It is possible if not probable that there are ways to understand existence that we, at this point in evolution, are cognitively closed to.

Mindless and mindful are purely human-centric terms - they are poles that we understand from our human-centric perspective. And our human-centric perspective is on a need-to-know basis - our biology as determined by evolution dictates the extent of our cognitive capabilities. And this particular species at this particular point in time obviously does not represent the end-game in cognitive possibility. Evolution will go on to provide cognitive abilities that far outstrip ours - in the same way that ours far outstrip the shrew that we evolved from.

So it is highly probable that a new paradigm will emerge that will resolve these sort of questions.

(And one thing is for sure; religion and science are in accord in their aversion to this kind of talk. Religion thinks it's got all the answers. Science likes to believe that it could have all the answers RIGHT NOW if only it were given the right sort of evidence.)

By the way, I'm a 0.


I don't have to prove anything.

...having proved you're irrational.

"As I said Im more of a poet than a scientist."

Hi June. I'm a poet too - although my scribbling's are in response to being moved by the wonders of nature; but as natural phenomenon in their own right - without reference to the supernatural.

Interviewer:- So I shouldn't worry that I don't have free will?
Patricia Churchill replies:- Here's one way to think of it. Suppose your doctor tells you they have found colon cancer. You have to make a decision whether to have surgery. If you thought there was no such thing as free will because it is causality all the way back, you might say, well, it's futile, I cannot make a free decision anyhow, I will just sit here and wait. That would be foolish.

This is the only area where I disagree with Patricia Churchill. Even when believing there is no such thing as free will I’m sure my survival instincts will make the ‘decision’ to have the operation.

The only thing that may overrule that would be a mind full of beliefs and superstitions such as the various beliefs that it is God’s will; blood carries the soul so transfusions are bad, etc.

Interestingly, even religious believers do not entirely trust their god under such circumstances. I am reminded of an Islamic saying: - “Trust in Allah, but tie your camel first”.


Nice comment. I think there is a difference between free will and freedom to make choices. One can have the freedom to choose or make a decision to see a doctor and still not have much free will, if any.

Free Will: when there is a sensation in the body, let's say a tingling in your finger, it takes half a second before it is perceived in your brain. Therefore, there is a delay between the stimulus in your finger and the registration of consciousness of it -- a gap of half a second, which could be call space. This gap is where the possibility of free will resides. What usually happens is that in this half second you immediately react and therefore there is never space, or what some call free will.

---this is an interpretation of what Free Will could be. Is there anyone that really has this free will? I don't know.

there is a delay between the stimulus in your finger and the registration of consciousness of it -- a gap of half a second, which could be call space. This gap is where the possibility of free will resides.

Conditioned response is reflexive; it's done before you know it. As for "a gap of half a second, which could be call space" in which "the possibility of free will resides", one can build an entire religion on this notion, as did Krishnamurti.


Most of us have the leisure to imagine alternative courses of action and to experiment, but even our capacity for imagination and experimentation is determined by genetics and conditioning, so it's more like wiggle room than freedom.

Hi Turan I identify more with :Alice in Wonder Land: the mirror in reverse. All I can say.... Beware The Jabberwokkie my friend.....But don't forget.. I.m irrational.

This time gap is slowly but definitely shortened up to
eliminated by experiencing the delicious sweet sound current asap !

Every human of compassion (vegetarian) can hear it by putting a little attention UP there instead of the constant mind stuff.

SatGurus give the method to be more and more absorbed in it.

When you are less the body by numbness and more the anahabd Shabd
the gap will be shorter
up to the level of a Saint, having total free will

The Key in all this is faith, yes
but much much more : Love

And Love can be obtained by Compassion,
and not in the last instance : Compassion towards the living Saint

This is the whole Path of The Masters

Don't try to see - seeing is the inferior light (creation) part -

Just dive in , ride This majestic ascending Sound Current



Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

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


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