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October 21, 2018

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Yes, I wrote this post, but I still want to be the first to comment. I'm an atheist who is pleased to say, "I don't know for sure" -- that my non-belief in God, life after death, the supernatural, and mystical experiences of a realm beyond the physical is objectively true.

I believe that some among us may share their genuine spiritual experiences during meditation as satsangis or otherwise to confirm the truth behind our presence on earth. B cos it may help us to restore the faith on the path to claim God as our lifeline. I have seen eyes of my Guru and they are very special unlike ordinary eyes besides have come across written documented excerpts from the letters written to Guru jee of their times at Beas for further guidance - enough to preserve faith in the sect.

With my brains I don't know for sure how things really are.
In my feelings I am a lover of ''God'',Divine''..
I love Sufi's..

Simple S*

Sufis it will be !

Good example for all of us

777,
:)
Living from the heart..

Well, this is a tricky one. If I had to choose one of the three I'd have to pick No 3 (Someone in-between who isn't sure whether whatever it is you believe or don't believe is objectively true). But, (a big but). I guess I am a notorious doubter as I don't really believe that we have (or ultimately need) the wherewithal to know anything for sure.

I tend to question, (not necessarily believe) whether thinking (or feeling if preferred) is not a vehicle to find such answers at all but is purely an extended biological means of survival. What we know,what we sense and experience and what we think being merely that which sustains our survival. Whatever knowledge or belief we hold, even every thought and action always has a survival factor.

Whatever religious, scientific or secular beliefs we hold about such issues is not important, what is important (to the individual) is the fact that his/her particular mindset in some way maintains his physical and mental life. Perhaps to keep us sane we have philosophically invented questions of purpose and meaning and then proceed to run around after answers to our inventions.

Maybe there is only meaning (for us) in the questions and in the journey to find answers, and none in the universe at all. After all, life goes on, the universe does what it does and is not at all bothered or interested in our mental survival tactics.

We will never know the primary origins of the universe, of matter, life or ourselves yet that will not stop us trying to figure it all out – its stimulating. It is important for our mental health to think and feel that we are not without hope in such matters. We are genetically programmed to seek meaning and purpose, both for our physical and mental well-being.

It all comes down to our desire to answer the “why” question. We can and have made remarkable progress where it involves the “how” of life and the universe. Can we exist knowing that we are impotent when it comes to “why”? Can we exist knowing that our philosophical questions are merely mental inventions and have no bearing on the realities of life and the universe?

Happy to join the club!

Token atheist here -- in as much as 'atheist' can be taken to mean 'soft atheist' (and I clarify this, since in practice a great many people actually favor the 'hard' definition of the word 'atheist') -- who's most comfortable with 'agnostic' (not necessarily the most commonly accepted meaning of that word, but in the sense that Huxley had coined that term).

I believe it's most probable that this life's all there is. Finito after that. As to how and why everything came about, no clue at all! And nor do I think anyone else does either!

Nope, not 90% certainty with 10% sliver of uncertainty, as Brian suggests. With me it's more like 55% conviction of this position, with 45% "do not know".

As I'd said in a comment on this blog long back -- or at least, I think I'd said it, it could be I'd only thought of saying it and did not say it at all -- I think the word "ignoramus" would make a lovely motto! That word, in latin, simply means "don't know". And the everyday meaning of the word lends a nice and humorous nuance to the whole thing, and highlights how little we actually know of anything!

So here's what I think would make a lovely motto for this club : Ignoramus!


-----------------------------------------------------------


Returned here after a while. Have to say, enjoyed browsing through the last few threads. Great food for thought there. Thanks, Brian, for putting up those posts, and thanks, commenters, for getting a lovely discussion going around those ideas!

Rushed, traveling, else I'd have loved participating, and throwing in my own ideas there.


Re. your second installment on the Adam Becker book, thanks for that review and your thoughts, Brian! I'd always bought the "Copenhagen interpretation" of QM, and believed that this is a purely mathematical idea, without necessarily having corresponding real-world correlates. Now that you've discussed this here, what you say makes sense. That "just mathematics" interpretation does seem a cop-out, no more than saying "we have no clue what it means". Sure, it's prudent not to rush to make interpretations in a hurry, when no reasonable framework suggests itself, but to say that there can be no real-life interpretation at all, that's bull (now I think about this). Absolutely, it makes sense that the explanation eludes our understanding, that's all -- not that there is no clear explanation, but only that that explanation eludes us thus far.

Thanks for highlighting that perspective of the authors!

Turan, always a pleasure to read your comments.

If you'll permit to quickly pick some nits in what you have to say (while agreeing with your larger point) :


"We will never know the primary origins of the universe" ----- You don't know that. You can't possibly know that. The best you can say is " We don't know the primary origins of the universe at this time. And it is possible that we may never, ever, know it." But it's absurd to claim we can never know this. For all you know we may, one day, actually start to find good answers. (Or, of course, not. I'm saying, this is one more of those things that we simply don't know.)


"It all comes down to our desire to answer the “why” question. " ----- Absolutely. And thing is, the "why" question necessarily implies agency. Without agency, "why" is a meaningless question. [Of course, Brian would argue that "why" makes no sense even with agency. He would argue we have no free will, and that agency is only an illusion. I'm afraid I don't agree with him on that one.] But back to the "why" question : The moment we realize that "why" is a question that goes with agency, then we no longer ask that question at all, not unless we believe in some sort of agency for the universe. Clarifying our position in these terms makes this apparent paradox (Why the universe?) seem less of a paradox.

Fair play Brian for your first post - total respect.

That’s my compliment - takes a big man to say that!

Have a good day

I experience God every day in my meditation and in this world!
That is the basis of my belief.

But it's 100% subjective.

Turan: "Whatever knowledge or belief we hold, even every thought and action always has a survival factor."

Except for beliefs, thoughts, and actions that contribute to suicide.

@ JB - why not suicide? Is that due to a belief that it’s nit sanctioned by a higher consciousness?

No, I don't believe in a "higher consciousness." It's just that suicide doesn't fit neatly into the conviction that "everything...has a survival factor."

Human beings, for better or worse, can't just survive for the sake of survival. At least, not when relentless suffering is occuring and there is no reasonable promise of anything else.

We may be somewhat unique in that survival is not enough for us. Surviving without positive experience (or the reasonable prospect of positive experience) makes rote survival simply not worth it.

This is why I say that, for the human animal, experience is everything. It can negate even the most trenchant and seemingly inviolable of all programmed instincts—survival.

Admittedly, with my understanding of life, I could not present anyone that is suffering with a good reason not to take their life. Reality, as ironic as it is, is not as conducive to survival as myth and fantasy.


@ JB - but would you not agree suicide is still survival from the point of view of those who unfortunately carry it out. The death of unit consciousness into nothing? That’s their survival instinct!

Away from whatever pain they have?

Arjuna: "would you not agree suicide is still survival from the point of view of those who unfortunately carry it out... That’s their survival instinct!"

What? No, that's contradictory and incoherent.

@ JB - yes it is - from your point of view as well as mine. We are not at that stage and hope we never are!

However - not necessarily from a person commenting suicide - you not I cannot state that they are not seeking to escape this field of action into something better.

For example , a husband killing himself to join his dearly departed wife in the hope he may be with her (where ever she is).

It’s an unknown unkown I guess😀

Sorry, suicide does not fit into an account of everything being explained in terms of the survival of the biological organism. The knowing and total self-destruction of the biological life of an organism is not strategy that the organism uses to sustain and perpetuate its immediate biological life.

@ yes that correct at this “level or plane of thought”

However there are myriad other things that drives what an organism is destined to do. But it’s pointless in continuing as you do not believe in anything beyond the physical.

Keep an open mind my friend - mind isn’t everything.

Have a good day or evening - it’s night here and one needs sleep 😴

Brian's I-dont-know-for-sure stance is important. Not-knowing leaves the door open for considering evidence to the contrary, should it ever arise. Certainty of one's position absolutely precludes the possibility of learning otherwise, should one's position happen to be wrong.

That being said, I just can't imagine what kind of evidence (for the existence of God, for example) one could possibly see that would be unequivocal. In other words, even if God does exist, it seems that any evidence could always be explained in another way. What evidence would be unequivocal?

"Certainty of one's position absolutely precludes the possibility of learning otherwise, should one's position happen to be wrong."

Being wrong several times a day may be a natural place for some of us. We move through all sorts of leanings and course corrections as part of our daily internal and worldly external travels.

So that a fixed "position" seems very static and by that alone, merely symbolic, and a barrier to open minded understanding and actual progress.

Hi Arjuna
There is no better suicide than submission to God in meditation.

In actual suicide, you never know what's going to happen next, and generally you hurt yourself and your friends.

But in deep meditation, you get to escape your own limitations. Being me is exhausting, and there are a lot of unattractive features to me. So I can just leave all that, all of this harsh world and its corruptions for a real place that is filled with peace and love. And there, my Master puts His hand on my shoulder and says, "OK. Enough for today. Let's have some rest." And in a sea of iridescent love, a lovely twilight, I visit with the Gods for a while.

And returning here to my work I am restored. Having that escape makes this all pass quickly.

It is the best possible suicide.

And every day! ;)

I don't believe in a God or gods and I don't know for sure if supernatural, mystical experiences are for real but they sure are interesting when you have them.

An experience I had some years ago when living in a block of units for over 55's. I was living in a ground floor unit and one night, coming out of deep sleep into a light sleep, looking through my window, with some sort of awareness which I cannot even describe, I see a woman walking outside in the courtyard. She looked like one of the tenants in the building, very skinny, straight grey hair in a short bob. As I'm observing her she abruptly lifts her head up and looks at me with recognition. I wake up with a bit of shock thinking oops she saw me looking at her. Then, drifting back into sleep again I sense a presence standing next to my bed. I think uh oh she's come inside now and I wake up for a while and then go back to sleep again. I clearly remembered this incident when I woke up in the morning.

That morning my neighbour pops in to tell me that her sister (who also lived in the same block of units) had died that night in hospital. That was an aha moment for me because I did not know her sister was sick and in hospital and she looked exactly like the figure I had seen.

For the skeptics - I have never had sleep apnea and have never had a frightening ghostly experience. I think that there is something that survives after death, call it spirit or soul or whatever, there is something more than this physical life span.


That being said, I just can't imagine what kind of evidence (for the existence of God, for example) one could possibly see that would be unequivocal. In other words, even if God does exist, it seems that any evidence could always be explained in another way. What evidence would be unequivocal?

Mystics say that evidence will never be presentable. They only
say "neti, neti" (not this, not this) to explain God. How could
a theory of everything, one beyond time/space, be framed?
How could language, always imperfect, bootstrap itself into
clarity about the transcendent if it exists.

The only certainty is that God, or "Totality of Consciousness" as
a modern mystic calls it, will never be deconstructed in a Ph.D
thesis. It can only be experienced. There can only be pointers to
exploring consciousness itself, hints how to turn inward and map
what's hidden in the subconscious, disciplines to withdraw from
the mind's noise and heighten awareness, reminders to stop
searching for answers outside and see for yourself inside.

Whether you believe or not is beside the point. Discussions,
philosophy, religion, blogs are great stimulants but real
understanding and proof will never be found there.

@ Spencer - thank you! I will do my best to go within with his grace

Relevant to both Brian's reference to game-theory and to my questioning of what would qualify as evidence for a spiritual reality, this book looks rather provocative:

Superior Beings. If They Exist, How Would We Know?: Game-Theoretic Implications of Omnipotence, Omniscience, Immortality, and Incomprehensibility

https://www.amazon.com/dp/038748065X/?coliid=I20Z0N9QEANH4I&colid=374ROZIDVEF04&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

JB. Yes, suicide may be an exception – although there is evidence of altruistic suicide in humans. There are apparently, even cases of animal suicide (as strange as that seems). indicating that there may be a natural instinct to end suffering. And, another thought, if we have no free will then who is there in times of severe mental stress to prevent suicide when nature takes it's inevitable course.
I mentioned some posts ago that a clergyman felt physically threatened when his beliefs were criticised or attacked. In cases of mental conflict, suicide, may be a way humans have of bizarrely protecting their beliefs and integrity – a twisted survival instinct, but that's perhaps a conceptual stretch too.

App Reader. Just watched an interesting documentary where evidence of the 'Big Bang' was presented and apparently the only theory (or perhaps hypothesis) to explain it was inflation, inflation happening from nothing. Then this nothing was explained as energy – and as far as I'm aware energy is something (E=mc2). So I always wonder that whatever we find as the primal cause will always have to be proceeded by something else – ad infinitum.

Just thoughts JB. And App R. But, I don't really know!

@ Turan - well said


Then this nothing was explained as energy – and as far as I'm aware energy is something (E=mc2). So I always wonder that whatever we find as the primal cause will always have to be proceeded by something else – ad infinitum.

The mystics say the answers are embedded in consciousness
itself. It can't be framed in terms of time/space and causality.
There's no answer to this conundrum outside. Intuitively, we
know we're imprisoned by our own thoughts and ways of
thinking. A force inside has to lift us beyond this mental jail.

The miracle is we keep searching ad infinitum. Some impulse
keeps us going. There are hints along the way. What fills us
with moments of awe, love, and bliss... even for a short time?

The explanations we find propel us forward. There's no conflict
between science and mysticism. But each requires a different
discipline. To understand consciousness itself, the journey must
be one of experience inside.

Jb wrote (22 Oct)

I just can't imagine what kind of evidence (for the existence of God, for example) one could possibly see that would be unequivocal. In other words, even if God does exist, it seems that any evidence could always be explained in another way. What evidence would be unequivocal?

Lots.
For example, a huge face appears in the sky all over the earth and claims to be god.
He talks, answers your questions.
And never laughs at jokes.

(He can't because being all knowing he already knows the punchline)

Then he jumps into a human body, stands trial, gets convicted, is crucified and rises on day three.
Then appears back in the sky and laughs at us for thinking we could crucify and kill him.

Far our? Sure
But it would qualify as unequivocal

@ Osho - trust you are well. Your post above is witty and made one think. Well said


And never laughs at jokes.

No, no , some jokes never grow old. Even God has
to smile. A recent fave: "Two blokes meet in a bar.
First says "I got a joke...". Second: "I know the bleedin'
punchline". First: "Dammit, ya been talking to God,
ain't ya?"

Osho: "For example, a huge face appears in the sky all over the earth and claims to be god. "

Clever but no. A variant of mass psychogenic illness would be put forward as an explanation and would admittedly be a better explanation than the revelation of a supernatural God-man.

@ JB

“Clever but no. A variant of mass psychogenic illness would be put forward as an explanation and would admittedly be a better explanation than the revelation of a supernatural God-man”

Your comment above made me laugh - would such an affliction being tormenting you in your denial of God??? You are not alone on that platform!

Again nothing new under the sun 😂😂😂

As a recovering satsangi, so to speak, do we ever really recover after 40+ years of SantMat - I have my doubts - I have always had my doubts about SM, from the first day of initiation, but in the past two years they have increased 10 fold. Am just not sure any of it is real, or relevant to living and/or dying......and, I have never believed in the Bible stories, that is why I was drawn to SM in the first place - it seemed honest and at the time, made sense - sort of, but now none of it makes any sense.....

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