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November 08, 2018

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Hi Brian
When you write "there is no evidence" that is the absolute boundary of your capacity to make conclusive remarks.

"No formal accepted, scientific evidence" is more correct. And within that limitation I think your observations about memory are fantastic and spot on.

But you keep making this argument of no evidence for something as a proof. But it isn't. It's common practice but neither rational argument nor science.

We had no accepted proof matter was mostly empty space two hundred years ago. But it turned out to be true. All the evidence we had was that matter is solid. That turned out to be wrong.

We had no accepted evidence that the earth was one relatively minor planet circling a relatively minor sun two thousand years ago. All the evidence we had was that the earth was the center of all creation and the sun, the moon and the stars all circled around this lovely and fragile world. But that was wrong.

So it is much safer to stick with drawing conclusions or conjectures about what we know and develop the practice of substituting "It can't be because there is no evidence" with instead, "I can't draw any conclusion about that since there is no evidence. But I can draw conclusions about what we do know."

RE self and memory. We are more machine than we know. Deep meditation also reveals this.

Once you place your conscious awareness through practice in a place within, all thinking changes. You become someone else. Your memories of this life become largely insignificant. But mostly only when you are there. There is no anger or lust there. No desire to acquire anything, no sense of loss or gap or disappointment. We are being filled with something visible, audible, and wonderful. And as this becomes part and parcel of our daily experience, then in our daily life in the outside world things are not so despirately important. Whatever happiness we are struggling to gain cannot compare to the new happiness we found within.

From a worldly perspective, our ambition is bit by bit dismantled. Not a great thing, perhaps, from an achievement perspective. But also, we have nothing to lose. All that was to be gained we already have inside, we bathe inside every morning and at night in that perfection from nature we didn't make. So whatever "we" were is forever changed. Now we can go and help anyone and do whatever is required.

All that is important in our outer duties is reaching out to help and speaking the truth to the best of our knowledge with all the kindness we can muster from that new and deeper inner reservoir.. No deadlines matter much anymore. Except not to disappoint anyone and meet our obligations.

The needs of others are our larger daily concern. This all happens from a practice where we undergo a different set of experiences that, like all experiences, shapes YS in spite of who and what we think we are.

Psychology shows this is true behaviorally as well. Adults returning to their parents home begin regressing into the child behavioral repertoires of long ago as of they were longer adults. And their reports include feeling the anxieties of childhood again as well.

And psychology has proven that people help each other more when they see someone actively helping first.

We are influenced by the world and people around us.

The notion that we are solitary and definable beings is a fiction.

Spence, you have a religiously-motivated view of science. Look: I've read dozens of books about modern science. I subscribe to Scientific American and New Scientist. No reputable scientists make the sort of arguments that you're fond of making.

Namely, that we shouldn't have confidence in what science knows now because science might know something different in the future.

That attitude is crazy. I've called you out on it before, and I'll continue to do so. It's like saying, "I'm not going to enjoy the pizza I just ordered with my favorite ingredients because someday I might decide that I like a different kind of pizza."

All we can do is live on the basis on what is known now. If solid evidence turns up for a different view of consciousness than science has now, then science will evolve to reflect those facts. Likewise, if solid evidence turns up for a supernatural realm separate from the universe we know now, then science will evolve to reflect those facts.

One of my favorite Rumi stories involves a man who considers buying and living in a rundown house. He says, "if this house only had a roof and four walls it would be a great house." A wiser man than he tells him, "But my friend, we cannot live in 'if.'"

I heartily agree. We have to live in the world that actually exists, not in the world that might exist. You seem to want a world that is a mixture of what is known now and what might be known in the future. But that latter world doesn't exist. It is a conceptual world, a mental world, a world of "if."

Along with science, I choose to live in the world that is.


As JB indicated, the closest thing to something permanent in our psyche is consciousness, but this isn't what is generally considered to be a self.

Why not?

The mystics say that very consciousness is our "self" - not the
the brain-mind that speculates, doubts, pontificates endlessly,
or conjectures without evidence that this magnificent universe
bubbled up randomly from a primordial soup.

Un-pastors elevate science to another form of religion. It's
tantamount to declaring that only science deals with real
evidence. Or that mysticism (frequently conflated with
religion in the Ch. of the Churchless) talks only of fairy dust
and is invalid without producing a "moon rock" from an
inner journey.

The un-pastors say never mind talk of meditative discipline
and what's experienced inside. There is no demonstrable
evidence of anything beyond time/space. Mystics can't
even produce a coherent narrative of their experience.
Therefore it's false.

That's not the world of "science" that's claimed. It's the world
of conjecture. It's the elevation of conjecture to a kind of
arrogant dismissiveness. It's the creation of a false dichotomy
between science and mysticism.

Some live in a roof-less hut with no walls and never see beyond
it.

"Most men are prisoners waiting for death except for a rare
few whose bodies are in prison but whose lives are lived amid
the stars" --Rumi

Hi Brian

Wow I really must have done a terrible job communicating.

Or maybe all those autospell errors I don't catch have finally caught up with me!

You tried to summarize my view but it turned out to be nearly the opposite of what I was trying to express

You wrote...


"Namely, that we shouldn't have confidence in what science knows now because science might know something different in the future."


Actually we should use scientific knowledge about the actual things science has confirmed. It's only the things science hasn't tested that we should avoid making conclusive statements about.

You often claim" "It can't be because there is no evidence"

And on that basis you've made a number of conclusive comments


I've cited several journal articles in neuroscience in earlier comments last week that actually contradict your conjectures.

Here is the conclusion I wrote above

"it is much safer to stick with drawing conclusions or conjectures about what we know and develop the practice of substituting "It can't be because there is no evidence" with instead, "I can't draw any conclusion about that since there is no evidence. But I can draw conclusions about what we do know.""

Please note the last sentance, and the one or two before it...

My reference is to honor scientific knowledge and to avoid making remarks about things science has not measured yet.

If you want to call something science you need science. Lack of data isn't science.

When popularists share their philosophical views and take research that was never designed to test for God or spirit or soul, they are leaving science and entering the world of conjecture outside science.

Please share any journal article from a reputable neuroscience journal that actually tests for the existence of God or soul.

If you find one that has been corroborated, then you are welcome to base arguments upon the scientific evidence presented. And then you may claim you are being scientific in your conclusive statements upon science.

Sorry version, lack of data isn't proof nothing is there. It's only proof at haven't been able to measure that area yet.

Your loving Church bro, Spence

Ah autospell..
"Sorry version, lack of data isn't proof nothing is there. It's only proof at haven't been able to measure that area yet."

Should be

Short version, lack of data isn't proof nothing is there. It's only proof we haven't been able to measure that area yet.

Brian: "I know for a fact that moment by moment...I have different conscious experiences. Sometimes...I don't have any conscious experiences at all. So it seems clear that if consciousness produces... is changeable. It isn't anything constant, unchanging, imperturbable."

Yes, the self as the conscious process.

It certainly makes more sense to consider consciousness as a dynamic process and not a static, fixed entity. This certainly cannot be construed as implying a lesser reality should be granted to the self-as-conscious-process, as nothing in reality is entirely constant or unchanging. Everything is in flux, whirling around the void, and bound for destruction.

With that being said, I do wonder if the ever varying nature of the content of consciousness and/or attention isn't sometimes ascribed to the conscious function. In one sense, the discernment of the variability of the content would require a "background" that is relatively stable. We know that our experiences are always changing, even in every split second. Yet even that couldn't be known at all, if not made from the perspective of something relatively stable within that immediate relationship. After all, endless variability compared to what?

This is not to say that the conscious function doesn't change, as any form of unconsciousness makes this radically clear. Yet, I would contend that the conscious function may be akin to a volume dial. The variations are in intensity and scope rather than in kind. With deep sleep and anesthesia, the dial is turned off; with dreaming, it is turned low and confined to imagination and not exogenous stimuli; with waking, it is turned up to include both endogenous and exogenous stimuli. Some contend that the dial can be turned up even more to further broaden the intensity and scope.

Spence, please share any ways that the existence of God or soul can be demonstrated, and I'll pass that on to scientists who might want to research this.

As I keep noting, it is up to those who believe in supernatural phenomena to prove that they exist. It isn't up to skeptics to do this, or to prove that they don't exist. Why would scientists want to investigate something for which there is no evidence of its existence?

It's like asking why scientists don't investigate unicorns. They would study them if they existed.

Scientists do study subjects, such as dark matter, whose presence can be inferred, but whose nature isn't known -- in this case by the movement of stars/galaxies. But where is even any inferred evidence for God or soul? Nowhere. Everything we know about the world can be explained without reference to God or soul.

So if these entities exist, and I strongly doubt they do, they have no effect on the world. Which means, they only exist as mental concepts within the minds of human beings. They are thoughts, not things.

Hi Brian

The sincerity of your argument shines through and deserves a sincere response.

You wrote

"As I keep noting, it is up to those who believe in supernatural phenomena to prove that they exist."

I think the practices of meditation and prayer have been offered for thousands of years as a source of investigation and evidence.

Your results and mine indicate that your mileage may vary.

Just as there are those who say nothing is there, others are able to light a candle and see so many wonderful things both within and in this outer world. Their consciousness, at least their experience of it, is expanded.

You wrote

'Scientists do study subjects, such as dark matter, whose presence can be inferred, but whose nature isn't known -- in this case by the movement of stars/galaxies. But where is even any inferred evidence for God or soul? "

All the research on how meditation and prayer effects us physiologically and psychologically is the current source of hard science evidence, and it is substantial.

But most importantly, it is much like sub atomic evidence : The more we get testing for one particle or energy field, the more evidence points to other particles we had no idea of.

More is there to investigate. And what we thought turns out to be different.

Belief in God, active belief that leads to devoted prayer and meditation can even change our DNA, not just our thoughts. Profound happiness can be found in the practices of prayer, meditaton, worship and devotion.

Are we really testing God? No, we are testing another part of this creation.

God is a human concept about the largest forces that shape this creation which by definition, He/She/It made, along with all of us.

So whatever we learn testing our notions of God through meditation, prayer and careful observation, and as the scientific research has progressed over decades about these practices, these discoveries are really teaching us something more about natural and healthy systems built into each one of us.

How can God be supernatural? God can only be all of nature, all of creation.

So from that point of view every experiment of science is an experiment of an aspect of God.

We make attributions. Science can help test those. And of course, because human understanding is so limited, scientific discoveries generally tend to reveal that things are quite different than what we had thought.


And this is why, if we learn the lesson of science, we avoid making conclusive remarks about things that science cannot currently test.

And we learn not by conjecture, but observation.

Our understand expands proportional to our silence and observation in meditation and prayer. And devotion is a very loving way to do that.

Science says "what we can test we can confirm or disconfirm. If we can test it we can tell you whether it is or isn't. And if it isn't, then we can prove that."

But what is outside of current scientific measurement, science says "It can't be proven or disproven at this time because it is outside of our capacity to test, by measurement and inference from measurement."

To say there is no evidence where science cannot test and measure is by definition true. But to then claim by inference "therefore it doesn't exist" is a false, circular argument. By definition there is no evidence for things that cannot be tested. They could exist. One day we may have the technology to test it, as scientific methods develop. It's still a very young field.

I have no interest to prove God Brian because I have no testable hypotheses. Like Newton, I can only claim as he did I have no idea how it actually works. I can only point to the remarkable experiences of meditaton that accrue, like clockwork, in exact accord to the teachings and method.

But if you seek to prove God doesn't exist, then the burden of proof sits on your shoulders. Why make a claim that exceeds current scientific capability?

If you believe there is no necessity for God, the basis of that argument goes the other way, actually, there is also no necessity to make claims that can't be proven for our against.

Suffice it to say many people hold a different view, a firm belief in God.

So let's stick with science. I won't claim God exists, only experience.

And if you can avoid claiming God doesn't exist, then we can approach things scientifically in an honest respect for Truth.

Spence: "God can only be all of nature, all of creation."
"...this creation which by definition, He/She/It made, along with all of us."

So, "God" made creation and is creation? God created God? How does that work?

Hi JB:
You have a habit of asking great questions! So logical! I wish my mind were as elegant as yours. I can only experience and report my best understanding of it.

You wrote:

"So, "God" made creation and is creation? God created God? How does that work?"

Human beings have a notion that intelligence precedes action. We think, we plan, we design, we build, then we act. Or at least we think we function this way. Because we are machines ourselves, acting on the materials of a much larger machine. But in our abstract mind, we think in separate stages...that's how we pull people and materials together to make things that change things. For human beings to create change takes time and selected, individual effort with other people and upon various things.

But in deep meditation, or any experience of expanded consciousness, it becomes apparent that nature itself, or God, or the creation, doesn't operate that way. It's all happening all at once.

There is no pre-planning. Thought, idea, design, material, build, act all take place simultaneously. The deeper you go into meditation, the more apparent that there is consciousness that is, like empty time/space, actually affecting all this in a way that doesn't have any material visibility, but it's there all the same affecting everything. And it really is so deeply part of everything, you can't separate it from materiality. That's why I don't see any difference in spirituality from material, physical reality. They are the same, perceived at different levels. Even intelligence is in the rocks.


That last point isn't really essential to my point. Because if there is no visible "plan / do / act / check" going on, and all we can actually measure is the fact that it's moving, then maybe the movement is the cause of question. The fact that time seems fairly well substantiated, and moves, within our earth sphere, at a fairly fixed pace. Hence cause and effect.

So how could a creator create if its all happening at the same time now?

That's the issue of time.

Newton, genius that he was, realized that time is nothing more than an infinite series of static events. The summation of these results in change. And the most accurate calculation of change is when you accept it all as a series of static moments. The more closely you analyze a thing, the more you are brought to the discrete moments that make it up. All science is a measure of discrete points, events, recordings. Each one a static snapshot. There actually is no direct measurement of movement. I take a snap shot of the pendulum and it is here. I take another snapshot and it is there. I say "it moved". But all I have as evidence is two static points of reality.

Like a movie film. We are watching the movie, it seems to move from scene to scene without any intelligence. The film is just running. It was directed a long time ago. But was there really any "ago"? What we think is movement and action is a recording being played out, like a macro on a spreadsheet. We are moving through, like a train ride watching reality pass by. If the train slows, it appears as if the landscape is moving slower. Oh wow, time is slowing down! That's a very common experience in meditation. But it's when you get off the train that you realize the landscape was always stationary. Our conscious movement through it gave the illusion that the whole creation was moving and changing. We are just moving through it at our own pace.

That's the short version....believe it or not!

God, reality, is all one and in a single whole. Even though that whole includes every instant of time as a separate static creation. We move through them one at a time.

When scientists talk about multiple universes, we are all moving through them already, along a linear dimension of time that is far more fluid than most people understand.

@ JB - with regard to you God questions to Spencer - park your brain and intellectual and it will be revealed to you.

Try it - you have nothing to lose

All the best


God, reality, is all one and in a single whole. Even though that whole includes every instant of time as a separate static creation. We move through them one at a time.

Wonderful explanation, Spence.

Ishwar Puri clarified for me the sensation of time "moving"
too. All these static events become a past, present, and
future. But, in fact, the drama has already been staged
and we remember the scenes is all.

Time is a trick. Our consciousness actually exists in a
timeless state. There is no "present". No "now". As soon
as we sense "this is now" it's slipped into the "past". The
projector has rolled on. The new scene is before us. A
New Ager's "Live in the Now" means living in the recent
past.

The sense of a "future" is just a little added ruse. It's a
memory with a built-in preamble: anticipation, hope.
or fear. Three words. That's all it takes to feel the scene
is in the "future" when in reality it's only a memory we're
replaying.

The film we're seeing was already dramatized. We're
watching the scenes play out in memory. Ishwar recounts
the story of a village teen who sees a movie in rural India
for the first time. In the movie, a train obscures his view of
a beautiful young girl skinny-dipping so he re-sees the
movie multiple times hoping one day the train would be
late. Ishwar compares the teen to us. We make the same
mistake.

@ Dungeness- wow that was beautiful and profound

Hi Dungeness

You wrote
"The sense of a "future" is just a little added ruse. It's a
memory with a built-in preamble: anticipation, hope.
or fear. Three words. That's all it takes to feel the scene
is in the "future" when in reality it's only a memory we're
replaying."

Yes, I think so too! Nicely expressed!

All these emotions are part of the recording also. And they determine our thoughts and actions.

We can think, in a linear way, that the creation was made at one single time in the past and we are just living through one version of it now. But did our living through it already happen or is it happening now?

If our actual consciousness is a Microtubule, a single quantum string of attention switching through infinite realities, like cell phone signal hopping, then is it possible that our thoughts are actually the selection mechanism of which reality we skip into, moment by moment? Just by what we are focused on?

If that is true, changing our thinking does alter reality, at least it alters instantly the reality we slip into in each next moment.

... But if course we were destined to change our thinking in this way... ;)

Thanks Arjuna and Spence.

and Spence: you added intriguing dimensions to what I only parrot :)

P.S.
I just flashed on today's news account of the last American soldier
killed in WW1. Evidently depressed by a recent demotion, he charged
the German lines even when news of the armistice had spread.
The Germans tried to wave him off but, driven by his demons, he
kept going... or did he slip into the reality his thoughts had created.

@ Spencer and Dungeness- I would love to hear your thoughts on Dr. Joe Dispenza. Google him.

He calls the ahem the inner world the “Quantum Field”. That got my attention.

If you two have time I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks


I would love to hear your thoughts on Dr. Joe Dispenza. Google him.

Hadn't heard of him.. I'll buy "Becoming Supernatural".

@ Dungeness- snap I bought that book recently but am reading his book “You Are the Placebo”. It’s an eye opener on how our thoughts can disease or fix our bodies and realities.

Buddha’s quotes - your thoughts create your reality. Comes to mind.

Let me know what you think - that would be great 👍🏽

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