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November 19, 2023

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Global warming is not because of people..
Free speech?!

Hi Brian:

You wrote:
"(1) Admit in a comment that the current firm conclusion of neuroscience is that consciousness arises from goings-on in the physical brain, and not from any supernatural source."

First, let me say that I see the compassion in all you write, so I don't mind the ad hominem attacks.
But let me suggest that there is an area of misunderstanding, and perhaps it reflects upon a way of thinking that is different between you and I and about how we each view and use science.

I believe that you have made two statements in your note above.
1. Neuroscience has proven that consciousness is entirely a product of brain chemistry.
2. Neuroscience has proven that consciousness is not in any way related to, caused by, or influenced by supernatural sources.

Now, as to supernatural forces, let me say that the common interpretation of that term includes all sorts of religious, superstitious and even politically-motivated beliefs. Those aren't scientific in any way.

But you have left out the third element, and this is a pattern with you...

The unknown.

As pointed out earlier, David Chalmers and Christof Koch settled their decades long bet in June of this year both agreeing that Neuroscience has not yet established where consciousness arises or how it does so. But in agreeing to this they acknowledged that we now know so very much more, thanks to the hard work of scientists. We know enough to know what we don't know.

Science not only provides products to the consumer, which is scientific results. It also provides a product to other scientists, and that is a better understanding of what we don't know that needs a deeper look.

So, when 100 Neuroscientists sign a public letter, also earlier this year, to help restore Neuroscience's credibility by decrying Information Integration Theory as psuedoscience, (a theory, btw, you have posted writings of and great praise of right here) that is incredible progress for the field and enhances the credibility of current work in the field.

But it isn't surprising to me that you do not see these things as progress. Because, as a consumer of scientific fact you only want solid facts. You see that as science's major contribution. What isn't solid is abhorrent to your materialist view. You basically comingle the mystery with superstition. But they aren't anywhere near the same.

Superstition is the product of fear mixed with dogma.

The unknown is seen only through some courage.

As an individual trained in scientific research, who uses scientific investigation every day in my work, facts are just a downstream by-product of the practice of science. What actually fuels that practice is acknowledging the unknown.

For example, just yesterday a colleague reached out to me for help. They have a WSPE: Wrong Surgical Procedure Event, just last week.

How to deal with it? The Surgical Manager wishes to do a fault mode analysis...this is a study used to engineer problems out of a system.

But that is the wrong approach. The correct approach is to use Root Cause Analysis...to find the actual cause of the problem. And that is going to be a lot more painful. Because it means acknowledging that they don't really know what took place. That is the start of discoveryo.

And that means taking a hard look at all systems and practices to see what is missing, like the Time Out that is supposed to happen, WITH THE PATIENT, prior to any surgical OR diagnostic procedure.

But maybe that wasn't where the fault lay? Maybe it was scheduling, or the provider or nurses' vigilance on the day of surgery....or the pre-op testing nurse's documentation? Or an error in the scheduling AND medical record software? (Highly unlikely, but it will still need to be investigated). Or poor communication between patient, nurse, and OR supervisor, AND surgeon, AND anesthesiologist?

It will most certainly be several of those things.

But no one will get there until they acknowledge that....THEY DON"T KNOW.

So say it with me...

"I Don't Know"

And the result of acknowledging this? Of opening up to the unknown? Discovery, and a safer hospital.

Or, just forget what I wrote and give your own view of the what Chalmers and Koch presented this summer...it's current Neuroscience news...and the same for the letter by 100 Neuroscientists calling IIT pseudoscience. Are you even aware of this news? And how do you digest it?

Now as to your request....

I can only agree to acknowledge as fact what science has proven as fact...and your claim isn't scientific fact as Chalmers and Koch, and others, have publicly acknowledged.

As to supernatural, those are all 100% subjective beliefs. They are mostly beautiful, at least they start out that way, and give wisdom, meaning and guidance to everyday life. They reflect inner truths, though they are all metaphor and poetry. They aren't scientific facts. But when I voice my own beliefs, and I do have them, I have stated time and again these are subjective beliefs.

But as to the unknown, the thing you seem to hate, it is a gaping maw into which every scientist gleefully jumps...
And the deeper in we go, the larger we discover it truly is..

Join us.

Hi all, I'm a long time follower of Brian's blog, but I've never posted on an open thread. But I thought I would do so on this one. I grew up as a Christian (originally Presbyterian) with the last 20 plus years of that belief being in the evangelical/charismatic flavor. I've been an agnostic atheist for about 6 years now. My wife is still a very devout Christian and doesn't know the full extent of my deconversion. Maybe someday. But because of her still being a believer, I hear plenty of sermons per weak and lots of really shitty Christian music. Speaking of, is all religious music as bad as Christian music? Just curious. Anyway, the further I get from my religious roots, the more I think how weird religion seems to me now. I can only imagine how weird religion in general seems to someone who was never part of any of it. People have an imaginary friend who they talk to and hope to somehow hear back from. This imaginary friend is super powerful and created everything and has things that they want you to do, and things they don't want you to do. Often there is a book that their imaginary friend wrote, or at least had a hand in writing. And the people who believe in this imaginary friend live their lives (or profess to do so) according to the book he wrote. Oh yes, the imaginary friend is always a he. Isn't that interesting? More often than not, this imaginary male friend is a loving being. Unless, of course, you don't believe in him. Then he will almost always condemn you to some kind of suffering or torture after you die. Forever. As though living life here isn't suffering enough! And isn't is interesting that where you are born and raised has almost 100% to do with which imaginary friend you believe in? Many wars have been fought over, my imaginary friend is real and yours isn't. Or something similar to that. Maybe my imaginary friend is offended by something you did or didn't do and I have to fight you on his behalf. And then there is the whole money thing. At least in the flavor of Christianity I came out of. This imaginary friend always needs more money! At least 10% of your gross, not net, income. And if you give more than that, he will do some special favors for you. Yep. He's just cool like that. But I do think it's interesting that since I quit giving 10% plus to my imaginary friend, I've been able to get out of, and stay out of debt. Something I never could do when I was giving all that money to him. And then there is the whole prayer thing. Prayers are basically asking your imaginary friend for favors. Things like, please heal my cat. Please help me get a promotion at work. Please make my kids believe in you so they don't get tortured forever. Please let my football team win this weekend. Please keep it from raining the weekend of our church picnic. While the farmer is asking for rain on that same weekend so he doesn't lose his farm. How does that work? But I do get it to some degree. Just like when kids have an imaginary friend. This friend is someone they trust and can talk to without fear of judgment. And as "adults", we are only a few years away from being children. 50 years seems like a long time, but wouldn't we all feel a little better if we still had our stuffed animals? Or is it just me? So if we want to still have our imaginary friend, that's cool. But I shouldn't be trying to convince you that my imaginary friend is real, and is the only imaginary friend you should believe is real. And promise you rewards if you believe it, and punishment if you don't. Yep. The further I get from religion, the more weird it seems.

@ John

Hahaha ..the further you go the more you have to stand on your own mental feet and nobody is there to help you, if you stumble here and there ...you have to find your own way to stand up and continue ..no psychologist, no priest, no chemical will be of any help

Well maybe good coffee, long walks outdoors, and hours of "gazing"

Have fun

Oh ...and John

Leave you wife out of it.
Leave her alone.
Do not disturb her mental state.
You know how to behave in your church, when to sing when to bow etc.
Do so kindly for her sake.
Let her find out her own things... in her own time.
Do not bother her with your search
Respect what serves her at this moment.
There will be more than enough other things you can share with her

John, thanks much for sharing such a right-on tale of the ridiculousness of religion on my blog. You've made my atheist day with such a well-written description of how the minds of us humans can go so far astray as to believe as much, or more, in supernatural craziness rather than the natural world right before us.

It's great that you've been able to view the illusion of religious belief so clearly. It took me over three decades, but I've also gotten there. Now I am as confident in expressing my atheism as other people are in expressing their religiosity. Last night I wrote on one of the other blogs about my wife and I not being thrilled when we got a religiously themed Thanksgiving card from a business:

https://hinessight.blogs.com/salempoliticalsnark/2023/11/a-business-sent-us-a-judeo-christian-thanksgiving-card-but-were-atheists.html

@ Brian

When i think about religion I do think about all those people that bend their knees and pray for the welfare of themselves and those near and dear.

To suggest or say that what they do is ridiculous . is ..not what they deserve and shows little respect for them.

For THOSE people, religion is a thing in life THEY attribute much meaning and value to and THAT, I think, has to be respected and appreciated.

I do not pray and I do not know if there is a god or not but I am convinced that this attitude of people just attributes welfare to themselves and others

These people are the loving heart of religion and when it is their time they will leave it behind ... and ... it can be left behind WITHOUT putting bad light on it and them.

John, a P.S. I'd like to share your comment as a post on this blog soon so it gets more attention. Maybe on Thanksgiving, since I'm so thankful for it. I've also shared it with my wife, who has an atheist discussion group where we live in Salem, Oregon. She might want to post it on their Facebook page.

Over the years I have come to realise that I had to leave the RC and later RSSB behind because I do lack the needed love, devotion and faith .. people have in abundance that bob their knees in the church and sing their Shabs in India doing this or that seva.

I agree with Paul that without those attributes these people have daily to their possession in abundance and make their faces shine, whatever is said is as the sound of an empty drum.

It would be a shame on my part to hide that lack of these attributes behind faultfinding of the clergy or the tagger and his teachings

This said, should neither be seen as a suggestion that I do support these teachings or even the existence of the divine.

It is about deep felt human emotions, about humans and respect for them.


If a child is born in a family that doesn't believe in narratives , narratives like santa claus, that is alright

If that child goes and tell other children that it is not the truth because santa claus is just a means of making money etc etc, .. although true ... it is just mean

It is stealing the happy smile on the faces of other children, children that later in their own time will find out the truth ... and .. thjey have nothing to give in return for what they stole from others.

I recently discovered the vlog Cult to Consciousness on YouTube. It’s fascinating.

The culture we are born into has an undeniable impact on our psyche. And just looking at the people we associate with most can tell us a lot about ourselves.

Brennan (former CIA Director) used to say, show me the 5 people a person associates with the most and I can tell you almost everything you need to know about them.

It’s true… we are not only a product of our environments but a product of our associations. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure human consciousness has the ability to think truly independently.

That lack of true objectivity is what makes us human. The awareness of our lack of true objectivity should make us more humble too… we ALL are influenced in PROFOUND ways by those closest to us.

That said, occasionally you meet someone who seems to have pierced the veil of darkness and has allowed more light (a sort of enlightenment) to reach their awareness.

On most subjects I’m just like everyone else. But when it comes to death I feel an extraordinary sense of peace. I’ve had many altered consciousness experiences on this subject… (and MANY direct-human-biological experiences) and the result for me has been that death is just an extenuation of life. That’s where the peace is found.

I wish I could share this with everyone. I wish everyone could experience loss and death with peace, knowing that it’s not the end… it’s just a door or a bridge to our true home. No one is ever lost to us.

Hi.
My interests in spirituality, altered states of consciousness, psychedelics, and occultism caused me to gravitate towards neuroscience and “self illusion” thing, NOT shy away from it. It also got me into Daniel Dennett, Thomas Metzinger, Susan Blackmore, Sam Harris, and many other’s work.
I’ve saved this blog to my Favorites bookmark.

Oops, it was supposed to be “Taskin” NOT “Taksin”

Life is so very precious and sacred. I’m filled with hope and joy.

But what is “life”?

It’s the soul’s journey in various forms. It’s the beauty in a sunrise and the compassion of a dear friend.

It’s so many things.

Love is true beauty—not the physical form based beauty, but the ethereal essence based beauty of a newborn, an elderly person, a flower, a leaf… even a rock!

There is beauty EVERYWHERE. Just open your eyes and I promise you’ll see it. ❤️

I know that this blog is supposed to be about proving that God doesn’t exist. However, the author’s previous experience/commitment to believing in God just proves to show that, we humans are so confused. We want to believe in a loving God, yet we are not quite ready to accept our own responsibility—the responsibility we play in being a tiny part of the “God” that sustains humanity.

We become cynical and disbelieving ad throw all the blame on everyone but ourselves. At some point we will have to work up the strength to accept the responsibility of the role that we each play individually in the “collective crumble” in order to free ourselves from the disillusioned collective consciousness.

The truth is we are not victims.

WE ARE NOT VICTIMS.

We are RESPONSIBLE.

And we have the power within us, regardless of however dormant it might seem.

My husband has a very critical illness. He might or might not heal from it. Either way I will not become bitter and I won’t stop believing.

“The peace that surpasses all understanding” sustains me.

All that said, I completely empathize with the plight of the atheist—simply because so many so-called “spiritual leaders” say so many crazy things.

[NOTE: Spence Tepper should be using an Open Thread to post comments that deny a clear fact about science, such as that the consensus of neuroscience is that consciousness arises in the brain, not from some supernatural source. But he shared this comment on a regular post. Nice guy that I am, I've copied in the comment into this Open Thread comment. From now on, though, Tepper will have to post his own science-denying comments in an Open Thread or they will be unpublished. His rant below is truly unhinged, since in no way have I ever said that science knows all there is to know. My argument with Tepper is that he refuses to acknowledge that the current conclusion of science is that goings-on in the brain produce consciousness. This makes him a science-denier. And I won't allow his science spam to clutter up regular blog posts until Tepper cleans up his commenting act.]

Hi Brian: You wrote: "Spence Tepper, thanks for your absurd comment that is so filled with science-denying falsehoods I feel no desire to respond to all of the B.S. in it." Or, clearly, any of it. Such as the article in the Science journal Nature where 100 Neuroscientists called IIT, a theory you have endorsed, Pseudoscience.

Or where the very article in Frontiers in Science which you used as an example stated: ""The approach the majority of neuroscientists take to the question of how consciousness is generated, it is probably fair to say, is to ignore it. Although there are active research programs looking at correlates of consciousness, and explorations of informational properties of what might be relevant neural ensembles, the tacitly implied mechanism of consciousness in these approaches is that it somehow just happens. " https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2022.767612/full#:~:text=There%20is%20no%20consensus%20about,the%20action%20of%20the%20brain.

You think the Journal Nature and the Journal Frontiers In Neuroscience are science deniers? This admission of what we don't yet know has nothing to do with discussions of God or the supernatural. You keep bringing these subjects into the discussion of science, Brian, as red herrings, but they have no place here. Please leave your theology to commentary about philosophy and your views as a devout Atheist to a discussion of those topics.

Science is different from belief. Try not to commingle the two, unless you are willing to leave a lot of room for alternative views, and error, and feedback. Your attempt to defend Atheism on grounds of science can only work among those ignorant of how science actually works. Because science says any discussion of the supernatural or Atheism, any theology that makes claims about what hasn't actually been investigated, is outside the purview of science.

You have regularly sided with pseudoscience populists who take actual scientific results and commit Type II (Generalization) errors all the time...they take results with limited applicability and attempt to claim this is evidence for a much larger conclusion well outside the scope of that research. Here is where materialism and science, determinism and science part company. Those philosophies make broad claims about the entirety of reality and creation. Those are theological statements, not scientific ones.

Why? Because we know much much less of this creation than most non-scientists such as yourselves think. Here, from Scientific American (another journal you want to claim is science denying?) "You see, the thing is, it's relatively easy to focus on what we know, yet to me the wonder of the cosmos, the awesomeness, is never greater than when we contemplate all that we don't know." https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/life-unbounded/this-is-what-we-done28099t-know-about-the-universe/ Uh Oh...you're not going to like this...from the above article:

"We don't understand our own biology: It's not too radical to say this, after all, if we did understand every detail of how we worked we'd presumably be able to eliminate disease (assuming that's actually better for us, which it clearly is individually, but perhaps not as a species). We'd also be able to customize ourselves by reaching into to those 3 billion or so nucleic acids in our DNA and doing a spot of molecular engineering, getting those purple earlobes we've always wanted. But we're not close to doing this any better than we can come up with 'engineered' crops - lots of misses and a few hits. Want a good example of our pitiful lack of knowledge? It's the microbiome. Our ten trillion human cells are augmented, exploited, nurtured, by a hundred trillion microbial cells - a couple of pounds of bacteria and archaea that we all carry around and can't live without. They're in our guts, our lungs, up our noses and in every other dank corner. We're just cruise ships for the ultimate microbial Club-Med, and we simply don't know what that all means." ibid

Are Chalmers and Koch science-deniers too, just because they don't agree with your hard materialist position? These authorities are heralding the very unknown you can't accept. They aren't just proud of what has been learned. They are celebrating the adventures to come, into the unknown. Never has it been clearer that the unknown is a treasure house. And that is because of all that has been discovered, all that wasn't obvious, wasn't intuitive (like materialism, determinism and so many other theologies) and the myriad of new questions every moment of honest investigation uncovers.

I'm an advocate for science, and use scientific approaches to investigation, discovery, testing in my work every day, and that means I'm an advocate for an open mind that actually learns from science, and learns most of all what is and what is not actually known. But not if it denies the unknown. That stretches beyond science, Brian. Materialism is a philosophy, not a proven fact. Determinism is a philosophy, not a proven universal fact. Why? Because we don't know.. God may not be in the gaps. But the unknown isn't nothing.

For that to happen science would have to know everything. It doesn't. Evolution is a proven fact. But that doesn't mean materialism, atheism or determinism is also. You can't use evolution to prove those philosophies, nor use it to discredit a simple belief in God...Why? Because God may just work that way...But saying God does, or doesn't is just a circular argument. It's out of scope, beyond current measurement Brian...Let's leave it there. You don't practice science or any profession that uses science to any great degree because if you did it would be easy to acknowledge that your work is constantly confronted with questions that need answers. And new answers also open the door to even more new questions. The unknown is part and parcel of science, and for you to deny this over and over again is purely materialist dogma, and unscientific. But, hey, it's your house.

I would love to stay on this blog, but I find it hard if every thread is gonna be hijacked by anti-naturalist pseudoscience. Every time there’s a commenter or a post that says “look beyond naturalism”, they care more about naturalism being false than they care about truth and I can see why: Naturalism rejects supernaturalism.

Sai Taskin - bound to happen. People have numerous and different agendas - all determined and designed to keep their particular ego-self intact.
Don't give up, you have some good points to make.

Thanks, Ron.

@ Spence

No one is going to read your comments that are a million miles long, Spence. How about shortening them?Because you're flooding the whole thread.

Said,
Thank you for your perspective. I tend to agree with it. Keep commenting. I learn from everyone.

What IS science really?

Just a method?

The CIA has indulged (to an extreme degree) in every fringe science imaginable… and not half-heartedly, I might add.

They are open to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.

Think about it, the most POWERFUL organization on the entire planet has poured tons of money (I mean TONS) into science that is so fringe that even your run of the mill Californian hippy would be skeptical.

You have to ask yourself, why?? What do they know?? What do they have in their possession that leads them to believe there is some truth to all this new age consciousness and the potential power behind it?

I have so many colleagues that are “former CIA”. Normally I wouldn’t mention this on even an obscure blog, but with the path they’ve taken with Gaza I really don’t care anymore.

I love America and am still convinced that it’s the best country in the world (currently). I would never want to live anywhere else. This is my home. But good lord… perhaps we should start trying to view things through a global lense. Perhaps we need to start viewing things through a galactic lens. We have so much scientific proof of life beyond ad it’s really beginning to feel almost like a crime that we aren’t sharing that knowledge/proof with the world.

And trust me, CIA is hands down the most powerful organization on the entire earth. Just trust me on that. You don’t want to piss them off. That said, they need to own up to the responsibility they owe, not just to Americans, but to humanity as a whole.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Not the most politically correct holiday, but still a good time to practice gratitude.

Throughout different periods of my life I’ve had incredibly beautiful experiences leaving me with treasured memories.

I know for certain that every person in this blog feels the same and can relate. 🙏

I always looked forward to Spence's comments, the more fantastical the better. Sometimes it isn't what you say but how you say it. Attacking Brian was the wrong approach.

My wife declared, "Science does know everything, we just don't know all the science." Spence would probably disagree in that science is an extention of our material senses and brains, limiting us to exploration of the physical plane.

It's the law of the hammer. If a hammer is your only tool, everything is a nail.

On the other hand, just about anything can serve as a hammer.

Moral: Don't beat around the bush.

@ S

“The CIA has indulged (to an extreme degree) in every fringe science imaginable… and not half-heartedly, I might add.

They are open to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.

Think about it, the most POWERFUL organization on the entire planet has poured tons of money (I mean TONS) into science that is so fringe that even your run of the mill Californian hippy would be skeptical.“

Can you show me, or others here links to that or something? Links from non-woo sources, please.

@Sai Taskin,

😂

umm just Google MKULTRA, Thailand black site, Operation Bluebird.

Seriously. If you don’t know, then you don’t know…

I’m not here to expose CIA projects. I’m just sayin’ perhaps we should all be a little more humble and accept that there’s a hell of a lot we don’t know. We humans know only a fraction of one percent of the Truth.

Sometimes I’m amazed that we haven’t been wiped out by more intelligent life forms. They must be infinitely more patient.

@Sonya

Yeah, we get that, Sonya. There is a lot we don’t know, but we must be careful not to insert God/woo-of-the-gaps, which is what many anti-naturalists do.

@ S

“And trust me, CIA is hands down the most powerful organization on the entire earth. Just trust me on that. You don’t want to piss them off. That said, they need to own up to the responsibility they owe, not just to Americans, but to humanity as a whole.”

S, I’m sorry, but that doesn’t mean something supernatural is going on. It just means the most powerful organization indulged in fringe science.
And even if there was something going on, it would no longer be supernatural.

What is “supernatural”?

Technically nothing.

I’m sure aliens would agree.

Atheists fear god.

Buddhists revere the god within.

Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the god of fear.

Hindus are just weird. 🤪

@ X

Sure.
And woo-woos fear naturalism. Do you know why? Because it throws dualism out the window.

Seriously, why would many woo-woos vehemently reject and attack naturalism, besides fear? Do tell.

I’m shortening my name to just Sai.

For a couple of days, the situation in Gaza makes me think of what happened at the end of WWII in Japan.

In order to stop the war with the justification of preventing more deadly victims, 2 nucleair bombs were thrown on 2 cities.

I is mostly presented to the public as the sole solution.
But was it?

Instead of 2 bombs just one could have thrown.
Instead of on the centra of the cities, the bombs could have thrown on the outskirts
etc.

It seems that the reality had nothing to do with ending the war, that was just an collateral outcome or goal. The real motive was to find out in a scientific way what was the outcome of an nuclear weapon

what struck me is that after the war nobody has brought this before an international court as genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

Have a look at what is going on in Gaza ... the very same scenario is followed.there In order to stop the enemy from fighting, .....a whole civilian community is destroyed

and .. nobody in the world will stand up and stop it or bring the responsible before an international court

It reminds me at the fate of Milosovic that was held responsible for 4000 Muslim men in Srebrenica .. what a drama was created around it.

By now more then 12000 Palestinians were killed and more then 2000 children

If you want to understand what identification and attributing value and meaning to the lives of this group and another means in practice; the justification of killing by one group versus another then delve into the numbers:

https://www.axios.com/2023/11/27/gaza-civilian-deaths-israel-conflict-zones

For years to come one will commemorate the killings of 7th oktober and the reaction of killing Palestinians by the ten thousands will ens up in the history books as a ONELINER

There is no hope for humanity until the memory of the 3 abrahamic religions is long forgotten.as we have forgotten the roman and other empires.

Re: Kant and Swedenborg.

Wow! Read Swedenborg's accounts of heaven and hell. He was an engineer, scientist and mystic of the 18th century.
Here are excerpts...
https://swedenborg.com/emanuel-swedenborg/writings/short-excerpts-and-downloads/all-of-heaven-is-in-a-human-form/
and...
https://swedenborg.com/emanuel-swedenborg/writings/short-excerpts-and-downloads/amazing-sights-heaven/
Here's the whole text...
https://newchristianbiblestudy.org/exposition/translation/heaven-and-hell-dole/

My first reaction: He went within! He must be talking about the astral, causal and spiritual planes. It sounds so much like Radha Soami! Why didn't anyone ever talk about him in satsang? Too Christian?

Then I read about his encounters with people and spirits on other worlds...
https://newchristianbiblestudy.org/exposition/translation/earths-in-the-universe-chadwick/

New reaction: Hey, wait a minute! I'm pretty sure there aren't people on Mercury, Venus, Saturn, the moon, etc. What the heck?

Can any of our CoC mystics please explain? Is the moon within inhabited?


Hi Umami!
I don't think Swedenborg was talking about Mercury, Venus, Saturn or the moon....but the souls of those in the afterlife who came from other worlds much further away that did carry life, of some human form or other.

"If you know nothing of heaven’s secrets, you might not be able to believe that anyone could see such distant planets or report anything about them on the basis of direct experience. Be aware, though, that spaces, distances, and consequently movement from place to place in the spiritual world are, in their origins and first causes, inner changes of state, and that to angels and spirits, these spaces, distances, and movements appear in accordance with those inner changes. Further, spirits and angels can by this means appear to be taken from one place to another and from one planet to another, even to planets that are at the edge of the universe. The spirit of a person in this world can also do this, even while the person’s body remains in the same place. . . . The fact that our spirit can travel in this way is not something sense-oriented people can grasp, because they are immersed in space and time and measure their journeys by these criteria. (Other Planets §125; see also §135 on the nature of distance and perception in the spiritual world) "

If your mind can go across the galaxy in an instant of imagination, how much further the soul that has transcended that mind?

Or, to put it into the terms of an enlightened materialist Atheist, very real places that exist within the very real human brain itself, accessed by transcending traditional thinking processes.


Do these places have material existence? They exist in personal and subjective experience, even as they transcend our own thinking limitations.

Hi UM:
The situation in Gaza is very dire, but with obvious causes.
It is fair to say that all sides involved have failed repeatedly to solve the same exact problem, decade after decade.

But what is even more obvious is the solution!
However, that solution is entirely disconnected from the past.

To look forward, to see that we are all the same, and nothing to brag about, nothing to be so territorial of, so proud of. All of that now stands in the way.
The answer is understanding, moving forward, that we are all brothers, sisters and every variation between, and all in the same family, with the same parents and the same rights.

Land, property, nothing worth fighting over. The great treasures are all within, and most certainly when anyone seeks justification in a system of belief. All those only use metaphor for inner treasure. When taking them as literal, that is the basis for hatred and war. When understood rightly as referring to our own challenges within ourselves, that leads to humility, peace, helpfulness. The whole issue is interpretation and focus. From distraction, from attempting to find pleasures in this world, we become attached. We are attached to things we cannot totally have, so we become frustrated. Frustrated we seek to blame, and blaming we strike out against others who are wholly innocent. Then we spend our lives trying to justify the blame.

Such a terrible waste of human life and human time.


If we can respect each other's right to live in peace and relative comfort where we are, that we should treat each other as we wish to be treated, and to learn to forgive, and even forget the past ills, we would each be free, instantly.

For that, we have to find the treasure within. Then there is no haggling and arguing because we already have more than we can possibly ever want, within. Then there is only generosity of spirit.

Where there is poverty, look to the human mind as the culprit.

For the chains of oppression that are tightest, and most painful, are the ones within ourselves. The very chains we can, actually, do something about, just by making it a habit to focus on the good, on solutions, on what is positive, on our own power.

And what is positive are qualities everyone has access to within themselves. We need to become better gardeners of our own thoughts, the environment which we must and do live in. Even as others would pile complaint upon complaint, we must look beyond, to harmony and peace. Because that is where any solution will be forged.

The world will be at peace one day. Let us hope human beings as a whole, survive to enjoy it, and are not, in their absence, a terrible cause of such peace, the peace of a graveyard.

@ Spence

Yesterday I saw on the TV Channel ARTE and documentary in German by the tittle "Israels Kampf der Stämme" , a battle between different ethnic, social, cultural groups that have vested interests in ruling the state according their ideologies.

The amount of "evil" of "wealth" they generate is like an tornado gaining momentum and strength above the ocean.

Humans have not found an answer to tame an on-rushing tornado

@ cSpence:

https://www.moviebloc.com/news/655ff3755e3d4403d6bf55e1/en

https://newsinfrance.com/in-the-documentary-the-fight-of-the-tribes-arte-examines-the-complex-israeli-society/

https://www.city-journal.org/article/the-tribal-war-over-israel

Hi Um:

Even every family has its conflicts and controversy. Indeed, within every human being there are struggles of greed, lust, anger, ego, avarice mixed with a desire for connection, collaboration, kindness, and that mysterious thing, Love...Not love because of the nice things we have or the nice words spoken to us, or the nice way we are treated...Not a material love at all. But a love that comes from within that has nothing to do with all the qualities we like to take pride in, with all the things we identify with!

And that love makes these other things we once valued, of zero value...the finest grains of dirt that as we emerge from them become smaller and smaller moment by moment, until they evaporate into the valueless emptiness they truly represent. Our own identity is of the same stuff.

Somehow or other, devotion to an ideal has become limited to the ideal of this people or that land, and not a true ideal that lives above all people and all lands, and devoting ourselves to, we become better human beings, aligned to a greater purpose.

When Zionism is understood rightly, from this perspective, it is the journey for all peoples to a true land of freedom. That can only be within ourselves.

It doesn't have to be a spiritual purpose. Could just be a noble ethic.

For a true Atheist, this is the greater good. Not a byproduct of Love, but Love itself. Not kindness or cooperation for some purpose, even some larger divine police force, but for the sake of Kindness and Cooperation itself.

Once we let go the notions of a God, then these ethics become our God, and they are endless in their power, because they are not bound to this physical place at all, and are within everyone. If you can grow your understanding of Love, you can grow your experience of love.

If you can attend to love, Love will attend to you.

Love does that. Love transforms and Love is within each of us. There is no excuse for a Jew, a Buddhist, an Atheist, a Catholic to stay apart from helping each other as brothers and sisters. And of course, no question of killing anyone, when Love is our aim.

The very fact that human beings can do this, can make an Idea greater, an idea that transforms this world into something a little better, but mostly transforms us entirely from emotion to peace and bliss, that is the gift of the human condition. And Being human, learning to exist as beings, by just being with one another, being present, being open, being attentive to what really matters, that is the divine gift of evolution. We were animals, but we have been given a path to something much more, right within our very genetics. Let's take the next step, looking forward.

We may never transform this world at all. But we can transform ourselves in short order. This world may always be a graveyard and a sewer. But the world within ourselves can become a paradise. And that will provide shade to those around us as well.


Maybe we will discover what these religions and philosophies were all trying to get at. Right within ourselves.

@ Spence

As long as people identify themselves with a group to the complete exclusion of everybody else, intensify their uniqueness, as their chosen means of being human, then they will kill and be killed for their sake .. it is survival mechanism.

I do not know if you could or can manage to see that video on the different fractions in the israeli society fighting one another,. but if you do, you will understand wast "love" means to them.

Hi Um:

Yes, I took a look, and my immediate reaction was "typical".
Not so unique afterall.

So, then, what is universal becomes a unique notion, a unique experience, when everyone is identifying with caste, religion, region, lifestyle and orientation.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating these, just like different flowers in the garden. The problem is believing somehow they entitle one to more than their peers.

They don't. That's a loss of objectivity, and a loss of connection to reality.

We live in a paper thin biosphere, in a tiny blink of time. So why create factions and territories? Why make our thinking even smaller than it is, when we can expand it beyond the stars?

Depends on what we focus on. But to paraphrase St. Paul, how could anyone consider anything beyond their upbringing and thinking, unless someone else informs them of that possibility? If that resonates within them.

But this talk of other people and their limitations, their problems, their defects, their wrongs seems to me a terrible distraction from the light within our own selves.

And comparing the two, I don't think one holds a candle to the other.

So, it's all a matter of relgare...return to the light within. As you have pointed out in the past, what business do we have with others? Can we really understand them all that well? Do we really understand what is within our own selves? Seems that is the better exploration.

What would the article look like detailing the different factions within Spence? Or Um?
A community of warring tribes that occasionally have a tenuous peace agreement? Isn't that the state of affairs for us?

Let's build a stronger peace within those internal factions, by facing forward.


@ Spence


I am just observing and describing what I see.

I am not telling you or anybody else what to do. as notwithstanding the people who know what to do for the better in the time I have spend on this earth I have never seen a change for the better.

That made me look outside the window, see the trees and the crows and understand that things are as they are and cannot be changed.

Everything is just an unique variation of the same.

What appears unique changes, has a beginning and an end, the sameness is just what it is.

My looking at Israel is just as my looking at the crows in the tree..
Nature brought both to light

If the sun is burning to hot, I do take shelter in the shadow if there happens to be one.

But If you think you have the tools to change what is going on in israel for the better, go ahead the world will tread you as a messiah.

The outcome Spence is ...... the Apocalypse ...
you have studied Psychology, you know how "self fulfilling prophecies" work.

Hi Um:

Yes, it's true about self-fulfilling prophesies...So think Peace, Imagine World Peace. Or whirled peas!

"Stronger than all the armies..
Is an IDEA
Whose time has come."

That's how progress works. We are all in motion.

It doesn't always look pretty to us. But as you say, cause and effect.

But I say that a divine thought made all this, and will find its expression.

"If you like sausages, don't watch them being made.."

Hi

https://www.lionsroar.com/is-buddhism-a-religion-november-2013/

Two toddlers from the same family complaining before their mother, stamping the floor:

Mammie ..

THEY are allowed to brutally massacre 1500 others
and
WE ...WE ... are rebuked and admonished to stop our part of the game... that is unfair ...

we are not allowed to play and finish our part of the game .... we have only killed some 20.000 others ... by ACCIDENT .....that is unfair

Why do you favor them at our cost .. we want to play also.

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