Thoughts on Mind and Matter
March 07, 2017
It seems to me that a lot of people in the spirituality business positively embrace the idea that mind and matter are intimately related. In principle, I go along with that. In practice, though, I’m bound to say that my ideas about the relationship between mind and the external world are quite conflicted.
At the end of a busy day last week, I thought I’d squeeze in an hour clearing up loose ends on the Psi Encylopedia. One chore was to update a particular page. When I went to it, I found a new draft had been created. I’d no recollection of having made it, and in this instance no one else could have done it. So I decided to get rid of it.
Just as I was hovering over the delete button I heard a stentorian voice in the street outside shouting ‘WAIT! WAIT!’ I knew it was my neighbour shouting at his dog, but it crossed my mind that this might also have some relevance to my current circumstance. Then, as often happens, I rebelled against the thought. The idea that external events might have neatly coordinated themselves in order to send me a message hardly bears thinking about. I prefer to rely on my own judgement, make my own decisions.
So I went ahead and hit delete. I quickly discovered that, having misunderstood the function (which is one I don’t generally use) I’d deleted not only the draft but the entire original page. I hunted around, but it was gone. I couldn’t fish it out of the recycle bin, as there isn’t one. I had to contact support and get them to recover it from the backup, which was time-consuming and costly – and embarrassing.
So yes: ‘Wait!’ would have been good advice to follow. I should have put it off until the next morning, when I’d have been fresh, and would have taken the trouble to check before taking action.
In that case, I could say the mechanism – whatever it is, and however it should be described – is essentially benign – at least in this case. So why resist it? There doesn’t even have to be a metaphysical dimension: my subconscious mind wants to tell me something, and opportunistically takes account of something in the external world to bring it to my attention.
And to be sure, accepted this way it can be useful. I recall a morning at work many years ago being utterly frustrated by a seemingly intractable problem. Then I had to go out on an errand, which involved a short journey on the underground. As it happened, just days earlier new ticket barriers had been installed, the kind that are still in operation in London today, where ‘exit’ flashes up in green when you present your card, and ‘seek assistance’ in red comes up if the card isn’t working. On this occasion, there must have been something wrong with my card, and I got ‘seek assistance’. Given my current preoccupation, that seemed like good advice. So when I got back I consulted a colleague, and between us we soon figured out a solution.
I’ve seen ‘seek assistance’ hundreds of times since, without attaching any special significance to it. So I could say, it’s all in the mind. If you experience something that seems meaningful in a special way, it’s because your subconscious is trying to tell you something.
Fair enough. But there are times when the externals seem to order themselves in a very particular way, combining with my inner world to bring about a result that could not occur simply by random. It can even seem like a joint operation: a mysterious outside influence co-operating with my subconscious – almost as if two people are conspiring to attract the attention of a rather obtuse third party.
One day about a year ago, I stepped into the street and was startled to see a hearse parked outside. Right by my front door. It seemed odd, but I thought no more about it, and the next day it was gone. But two days later, there it was again! I was spooked – it felt like a visit from the Grim Reaper. I did a quick mental scan: a distant relation was seriously ill, but I didn’t feel a connection there; my own family were all fine. Then I caught what I was doing. Looking for a rational explanation I recalled that a funeral company had recently started up two blocks away. Perhaps it owned the hearse, and for lack of a parking space was obliged to share the residential parking. In this way I put it out of my mind.
I recalled the incident again six weeks later, when I saw the same vehicle parked in a neighbouring street. Two things immediately struck me.
The first was that it wasn’t a hearse at all; it was a Mercedes Benz E350 estate car, sleek and black and shiny, with lots of chrome and a square rear-end, but nothing out of the ordinary, and not remotely big enough to carry a coffin. So what on earth made me think it was a hearse?
The second thought was that, just a day or two after my second sighting of the ‘hearse’, our twelve-year-old Staffie, on a trip to the vet for his annual jabs, was unexpectedly diagnosed with terminal cancer, and three weeks later had to be put down. He was a much-loved family member, and his passing threw the household into uproar.
Putting all this together, I reasoned as follows: On a subconscious level I had some premonition of a coming tide of emotional turbulence related to a death. To bring it up to the surface, some part of myself subtly altered my conscious perception of an external object in such a way as to create a particular meaning, which did indeed lead to the desired result. That done, I could make of it what I would – which in my case was nothing, since I prefer not to pay attention to such intimations. And surely I was right not to. It would have been no great help to precognise this sort of event, on the contrary, it would have caused needless anxiety. If stuff’s going to happen, it will.
But in my heart of hearts I can’t really accept that there’s nothing going on here that isn’t entirely explicable in terms of everyday psychology. In the case of the dog-walker telling me to wait, it’s true that he goes out every day, also that I’ve heard him shouting like that once or twice before. But to explain why the shout came at the precise second that it was needed, and not ten seconds before, or ten seconds after, or at any other time, one has to resort to the Argument from Pure Coincidence, which sometimes works, but at other times looks transparently like a means to avoid what one finds unsettling.
Again, it’s true that my misidentification of a car precipitated an internal drama that uncannily matched a subsequent event. But it’s also true that an appropriate vehicle was parked in the only place where it’s presence would force itself on my attention, and when this didn’t happen, got parked in exactly the same place a second time, as if whatever organising principle was at work was having another attempt (I’d never seen it there before, and never saw it there again.)
So I’m left with the idea that a part of myself psychokinetically interacted with my external reality in order to bring about a physical event, perhaps with the additional involvement of some other agency.
This shocks me, but then I consider: shouldn’t I also be equally shocked by the idea of precognition? To many minds that’s so destructive of common-sense notions as to be hardly worth thinking about. Yet for some reason precognition doesn’t disturb me in the same way, I just take it to be an indication that our reality is not as we take it to be, and that one day perhaps far in the future it will be understood in a different way. In another sense, of course, precognition fits into the current evolutionary framework as an adaptation that confers a potential advantage on animals seeking to evade predators. That helps create the comforting illusion that it can, after all, be explained from a naturalistic perspective.
Precognition is essentially passive, a channel for information that one can act on or disregard, or in most cases simply not be aware of. Certainly, if one thinks through the implications it can be terrifying.
But psychokinesis is on another level altogether. The idea that humans may actively influence their environment at a distance by the power of thought has a terrible history. It would be equally disturbing, whether it goes on unconsciously all the time or can be employed as a deliberate means to manipulate. And it must surely be obvious that for science to validate psi would introduce a dangerously destabilising factor into social relations. Looked at from this perspective, surely, no one can reasonably complain about psi phenomena being taboo, or denounce ‘psi-deniers’ for standing in the way of reason.
I don't know what to think of an experience I had several years ago involving my dog 'Woody'. I have written about that experience previously on another site http://www.patienceworth.com/about/ but perhaps it is appropriate to repeat it here considering your topic.
"When I had my dog Woody euthanized, I was driving home with tears streaming down my face when I noticed the car in front of me had a license plate that said 'Woody 3'. For the rest of the year I looked for signs from Woody but nothing else appeared. On the first anniversary of his death—May 1st, I was hoping to see another license plate with 'Woody' on it, perhaps 'Woody 4' would be nice since a year had passed. But even though I looked for some message from him all day, nothing showed-up. With great disappointment, I gave up looking and as it was early evening, after work, I had gone to Lowes hardware store for something and had forgotten all about looking for a license plate with 'Woody' on it. But, as I was leaving the store and had exited the main doors, I turned around for some reason and there on the wall behind the exit door was a large poster, perhaps 5 feet by 5 feet advertising “Woody’s Hot Dogs” with the word “Woody” printed at least 9 times on the poster as well as the word “Dog”. As I walked to my car, somewhat overwhelmed by the sight of the large poster, the tears began again and I had a feeling of reassurance that perhaps Woody or someone else had sent me a message that day."
I don't know what to make of this. Was my subconscious mind trying to tell me something? Did I "psychokinetically interact with my external reality in order to bring about a physical event?" It this mind over matter? It certainly was meaningful to me in a special way. Wish fullment? Coincidence? Or, is this just one of those subtle 'imitations of immortality' that pop up from time to time to taunt us into thinking that there may be a reality much bigger than the one we experience on earth. - AOD
Posted by: Amos Oliver Doyle | March 07, 2017 at 05:59 PM
Perhaps the relative weakness of psi and psychokinesis is an evolutionary advantage, at least, in the current four dimensional world we live in. If all of us could read each others thoughts, if there were no filter, intimacy would have no meaning, trust would be a foreign concept, and physical violence would be rampant. If each of us had immense mental power over our physical environment, an orderly life would be impossible.
In our current state of being, we are forced to work hard and take risks in order to build trust if we wish to create productive, intimate relationships. We often suffer injuries in the process, but there is also a spiritual growth dividend attached to our 'lessons' that could never be achieved in a super-psi ridden world.
Sure, if we pay attention, everyone should notice a natural low grade psi ability. Undoubtedly, certain individuals are capable of uncanny psi insights, but these are aberrations to the norm. People that are more spiritually developed often report increased psychic ability, which, by the way, they take for granted and don't value as much as the average psi-dazzle seeker.
When the time comes where we can collectively be trusted with such ability, perhaps it will become a common occurrence. In the meantime, why not take full advantage, and enjoy the blessing of spiritual growth that only a restricted conscious awareness can give us?
Posted by: Rabbitdawg | March 07, 2017 at 06:03 PM
As everyone on my facebook page already knows, my right arm is in plaster because I broke it just over a week ago.
I was skipping out the field, as usual, with the ponies milling around and my giant schnauzer, Biff, winding them up and chasing them about, as usual, when one of my Dartmoor ponies, Merrylegs, half-reared next to me and caught my forearm with one of her front hoofs as she came down. Unfortunately, I was emptying the scoop in the barrow as she did so. Compound fracture of the forearm was the result.
The relevant aspect of all this is that a few days ago I found an old ornament of mine smashed on the floor. The ornament had been in my family for at least 150 years. It was a boy standing next to his pony. He was wearing very old-fashioned breeches, hair in a bob and a wooden saddle of the kind used in medieval times.
I don't know how it came to be smashed on the floor. It was kept on a windowsill and the only thing I can imagine possible is that my dog, Toby, jumped up and knocked it off - even though Toby is my PAT dog and he doesn't usually behave like that.
Anyway, as soon as I saw it I felt, instinctively, that it was an omen. I don't know why that thought crossed my mind but it did and I wondered if one of the ponies was going to have some kind of accident/injury.
BTW, the friend who drove me to the infirmary had had a dream the night before that he visited that exact A&E department.
Strange but true.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 07, 2017 at 06:12 PM
This is an issue I think about a lot, if not deeply. I'm sure we've all wondered when a hesitantly drafted text or email refuses to send the first time whether someone "up there" is trying to stop us making a terrible mistake...but I have no examples of genuinely regretting when I went ahead, so it appears unlikely to be assistance at all. Then there is the inevitable synchronicity of something related to your current thoughts or interests turning up everywhere....this I think is as you say your un/subconscious scanning your surroundings and alerting you to the presence of things relevant to your conscious thoughts. This happens on a very simple level when I consider a particular travel destination...articles about it will immediately appear everywhere. But the temptation to take this as a sign are quickly dismissed as the same thing happens whether I go or not. But am I causing such external references to appear?
I've sometimes read that coincidences are signs from "the universe", whatever that means, encouraging us to seize opportunities, and directing us subtly..in other words great things will happen if we spot them, pay attention, and follow where they lead. But I drown in coincidences and they never appear to lead to anything. They are - or seem to me to be - almost always trivial dead ends.
Finally there is the matter of the several sagas of meaningful and extraordinary sequences of random events which have suggested to me contact from dead loved ones. As impressive and intriguing as they appear to me, I cannot seriously contemplate that are physically and carefully orchestrated by invisible people with godlike powers. If they had such powers why not make a pen move across paper and write in plain English instead of playing a cosmic game of give us a clue? The conclusion I've tentatively come to is that "they" aren't intricately plotting the individual incidents but rather by the force of their attention are - a metaphor is all I have - stirring the sea of synchronicity itself around us. That is things relevant to or suggestive of the deceased individual are triggered around us without being specifically scripted. If this concept of synchronicity as an actual fundamental force that shapes personal experiences and encounters is true it may also be what's at work in the less profound daily clusters of coincidence we notice...our attentions and intentions are attracting themed sychronicities without there being profound meaning in the individual event.
Posted by: Lawrence B | March 07, 2017 at 06:28 PM
Ps. 'The relevant aspect of all this is that a few days [ago] I found an old ornament ' should have read: 'The relevant aspect of all this is that a few days [before] I found an old ornament'
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 07, 2017 at 07:09 PM
BTW, sceptical comic artist Zach Weiner appears to have confused consciousness with sapience in his latest. If he doesn't know the definition, why should we listen to his ideas of how it arises?
Posted by: chel | March 08, 2017 at 09:54 PM
It seems, to me at least, that there is more than one form of precognition. There is the material and then there is the immaterial. Robert's thought provoking article tells of instances of the first kind. Yet, there is also the second type. The second type has no external material prompt but seems to emanate from within, in what is known as a vibe.
My own experiences of the first type or 'kind'; whilst of interest in their own right, are, in my opinion, best savoured and then ignored. Synchronicity can sometimes lead one astray, if one believes that they should act upon it. Many years ago, 'minstrel' (my cat) came in from the garden and walked with wet paws straight across my 'Sporting Life' which I had spread out upon the floor. After a few tut's from me, I then decided that this may be an omen for the good, as one of her paw-prints encased the name of a horse. However, after reading the form and looking at the odds, I decided that it was not a good idea to follow this 'hint.'
Needless to say, the horse won the race and I was left rueing my misfortune at not having backed a 50/1 winner. I spent days after that, attempting to get her to do the same; to no avail. Then a couple of weeks later, and without prompting, she did the same thing. This time, I didn't bother with the form, but put my fiver on the nag at 12/1.
Needless to say; it finished last!
Of course, these synchronicity's only seem important if they chime with ones own circumstances. Robert's hearse would have had more meaning to one of his neighbours, if that neighbour had recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. To that person, it would have seemed like a cruel joke, or indeed, like a kick in the teeth.
Synchronicity's though, can be and are interesting in their own right. Just two days ago, I copied a picture from the web and put it on my computer as my new background. It was a photo of a German castle or schlosse, as they are known. I hadn't seen the castle or the photo before. Yesterday, my wife was browsing the internet and brought my attention to an article she had seen, about some caves that had been found by someone digging out a rabbit hole. It is believed and said, that these caves were used by the knights templar. I read the article and watched the embedded video, at the end of which a selection of videos of other cave systems could be seen. I promptly pressed play upon one of them and almost immediately I saw the very same castle shown in an aerial shot, as someone flew over it! Apparently, the castle has a mysterious cave system, beneath it. This is interesting, of course, but what exactly am I supposed to do with this synchronic enigma? Should I pack my bags and go and visit? Is there a mystery there that I am to be the first to find? Maybe, treasure?
Being skint, the matter is out of my hands anyhow. I cannot afford to go.
The second type, or kind, of precognition is the immaterial feeling; known as a vibe. These sometimes unnerving experiences can be viewed or rather, felt, as portents of doom. They can come upon one as immediately and as strangely as does a feeling of deja vu. They can be so powerful that one feels it necessary to change ones itinerary, or alter ones course of action or direction of travel. Having taken the necessary steps, a feeling of relief can be felt re-establishing itself. I have always felt obliged to follow my vibes. The difficulty with both these precognitive states of mind is that, in the first instance, the strangeness is often so sublime and harmless that it is often passed off as mere coincidence. In the second instance, by taking avoiding steps and obeying our vibes, we never know if those portents would be born out. Probably, just as well.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 10, 2017 at 05:16 AM
Stuart writes, "Of course, these synchronicity's only seem important if they chime with ones own circumstances."
In my experience, all meaningful coincidences share one thing in common and that's the feeling that accompanies them: a feeling of strange significance. Also, to be truly synchronise ic there is usually a series of such coincidences, all related in some way.
With the first instance of your cat 'choosing' a horse the idea struck you as significant. On the second occasion you were merely putting two and two together and trying to manipulate an event.
As for the 'vibes', I believe it's an expression of the same phenomenon: a means of directing one's attention to the promptings of spontaneous intuition.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 10, 2017 at 09:55 AM
I get really really tiny things for this quite often, but none big enough that I can actually remember them.
Some of my acquaintances are practising pagans, several of whom call their "magic" the "weaponised placebo effect", which basically says "maybe it doesn't actually do anything but it gets us into the right mindset to make us notice how to take practical action, or makes us feel better when there isn't anything practical we can do". They say that some people appear to be anti-magic zones who actively cancel out all attempts at even that kind of "magic". I have to wonder if that's going on with me.
Posted by: chel | March 12, 2017 at 10:42 PM
I would argue that there is a difference (if that is what you mean?) You call it 'spontaneous intuition' - I call it 'vibe.' Sure these are different ways of expressing the same thing, but hey....does it matter? The spontaneous intuition thing does not apply to my first example (cat picks horse.) Sure, I had originally tried to replicate the matter, but had given up. The synchronicity only came into play later, without prompting. I acted upon it and lost my money. You say that it is only truly synchronistic if there are several instances. Why?
Is it a case of two Swallows don't make a summer? Surely, if two events appear to happen coincidentally, is that not synchronic? Is there a manual upon this?
Would you not say that my castle experience is synchronistic?
So many questions; I know. What I would say is, vibes can occur without any obvious external import whatsoever. These are surely different from the synchronistic coincidences which we notice due to observation.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 12, 2017 at 10:53 PM
"Is there a manual upon this?"
Yes, there is. The work of C G Jung.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 13, 2017 at 12:47 AM
Well, I've looked upon Wikipedia for Jung and Synchronicity; this is what it says (in brief):
'which holds that events are "meaningful coincidences" if they occur with no causal relationship'
Can't see anything there which states that there has to be more than two events, to make it truly synchronistic and meaningful? I guess that you are familiar with his works?
Could you direct me to where he asserts what you claim, please? You may know from memory. If so, I'll take your word for it,......for now.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 13, 2017 at 02:29 AM
I don't recall suggesting any requirement in terms of numbers of synchronistic events, Stuart. In my experience, they tend to continue until we get the message, as it were. Anyway, it's well worth reading Jung directly.
If I recall correctly, there's a slim book by Jung called simply, 'synchronicity; an a-causal principle' . . . . . or something.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 13, 2017 at 06:19 AM
Thanks and apologies. I thought you were stating a principle, as opposed to your own requirements.
As an aside, my mother often used to say that "good things come in three's."
I never really 'got' that. The devil is said to be recognised by the sign of three numbers.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 13, 2017 at 10:18 AM
As an extra aside; I've just noticed that the last three comments (Two from me; one from yourself) - if you add up the numbers of the times posted (ignoring O) they are all divisible by three. I've yet to trawl back and see how often this is replicated throughout the comments. It may be a sign that those comments are worth ignoring; what do you think?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 13, 2017 at 10:37 AM
Right, I've done the research and these are the results (for this article only)
i/ AOD = 36....... 9/ C = 20
2/ R = 26............ 10/ SC =22
3/ JB = 26.......... 11/ JB = 28
4/ LB = 33......... 12/ SC = 27
5/ JB = 33.......... 13/ JB = 30
6/ C = 36........... 14/ SC = 24
7/ SC = 23.......... 15/ SC = 25
8/ JB = 30.......... 16/ SC = ?
Several points here. Eight of the sixteen comments are divisible by 3. A ratio of two to one or; 50%
Four out of five from JB are divisible by three; a high ratio.
On two of the comments (from R and then LB) JB follows with exactly the same score; 26 and 33 respectively. That would appear to be synchronistic. My own comments fit the ratio of 2 to 1 or 50%. That would suggest the norm.
Of course, these observations are made upon relatively few comments and it remains to be seen if the ratio remains the same. However, based on matters so far; Julie would seem to be the person to whom synchronicities are most attracted.
Roberts opening post comes in at 31.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 13, 2017 at 01:08 PM
LOL! And I couldn't agree more, Stuart! ;)
That aside, I seem to remember Jung describing an encounter where he (or perhaps someone else) took a bus ride to a theatre and noticed that the ticket was a particular sequence of digits. He then bought a ticket at the theatre and found the same number on the seat ticket. He proceeded to the cloak room, whereupon, again, he was given a ticket with the exact same sequence of digits. The 'coincidence' was such that he felt it could not be ignored and that it was of significance in drawing attention to matters surrounding his life/circumstances at the time: an indication that things were somehow on the right track. These aren't the exact details, they're simply the gist of the encounter he describes.
On another occasion Jung was counselling a client, in his office and he describes the encounter as follows:
"A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me this dream, I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window-pane from the outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which, contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt the urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment. I must admit that nothing like it ever happened to me before or since." Synchronicity so profound that it rendered a series of such coincidences unnecessary.
I have many experiences of this nature, from the simple omen to what, for me, is the most common, e.g hearing, immediately, the words I've just spoken either on the radio or TV. In fact this very phenomenon occurred three times yesterday. The first time, as I was unpacking my newly delivered robotic vacuum cleaner, a voice on the radio said, "I wonder if there will ever come a time when robots do all the work?" And the second time, as I asked my grandson, Joseph, by name, to come and sit at the table, a voice on the radio said, "His name was Joseph."
Unfortunately, off the top of my head, I can't remember the third incident from yesterday - and neither can my husband who was present and, like me, smiled at the time. If the details do come back to me I'll report them here.
This phenomenon always happens in threes and happens so regularly that I pay little heed to the details. I simply get a sense of inner knowing and assurance that all is well and as it's meant to be. I don't think the actual details of such events are importance. It's the psychological impact of them that's significant.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 13, 2017 at 02:30 PM
Can anyone comment on this?: http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2016/oct/18/consciousness-is-tied-to-entropy-say-researchers
Posted by: chel | March 17, 2017 at 08:42 PM
chel, I glad you came in there. I was beginning to think that there was a synchronicity of silence!
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 17, 2017 at 09:13 PM
Yes chel, an interesting article. It would suggest that the brain is more able of intuitive thought whilst not at its most alert level, that is; fully conscious.
It may explain part of the reason why synchronicity's occurs to us whilst in a relaxed state of mind. Is this why mediums go into a trance-like state of mind? Does it put them into a closer contact with the cosmic consciousness? Is the universe itself, in a state of trance? That is; neither one thing nor the other? Does it exist or, doesn't it?
A universal trance would explain why shamans, by working themselves into a trance; are able to contact the spirit world. It would appear to be true that synchronicity's are not easy to conjure up. Rather, they come to us at unexpected times and whilst at a period of repose or when our thoughts are not being taxed by more urgent matters.
Taking Julies experience, (whilst unpacking her robotic vacuum cleaner) it would seem that a feeling of expectation is also conducive to this process.
It would suggest, also; that by actively combining these two traits,(relaxation and excited expectedness) we may be able to attune ourselves more with the cosmic consciousness and may indeed make ourselves more susceptible to synchronic occurrences.
I shall have to put this to the test. However; I need to find something to excite me, first.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 18, 2017 at 03:55 AM
I think that's a very plausible description of the process, Stuart.
BTW, I remember now that the third synchronicity on that (otherwise quite ordinary) Sunday afternoon was that I used an uncommon word in conversation and the voice on the radio repeated it immediately. Trouble is that I can't remember right now what that word was. Anyway, despite the day being mundane in other respects, I do recall a slightly-more-elevated-than-average mood.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 18, 2017 at 09:07 AM
Robert, I'd just like to ask you to clarify a couple of points for me, please:
"no one can reasonably claim about psi phenomena being taboo"
I'm not exactly sure about what you mean? For "claim," should I read "protest"?
It may be me. (I can be incredibly thick, sometimes.)
On the wider aspects of your summary, you appear to be aligning yourself with a sceptic's justification for suppressing aspects of psi. Am I correct here? Or, am I being doubly dense?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 19, 2017 at 07:30 PM
Stuart, quite right, I meant to say 'complain' - have corrected that now.
'On the wider aspects of your summary, you appear to be aligning yourself with a sceptic's justification for suppressing aspects of psi.'
I don't actively argue in favour of suppression, which is illiberal and anyway futile. I just ask myself what the effects would be if a belief in psi was not just a personal, private matter for individuals, but institutionalised through scientific validation.
Proponents don't think about this because that eventuality appears so remote. But there are surely some rather large issues there.
Posted by: Robert McLuhan | March 20, 2017 at 10:11 AM
Robert, thanks for the response.
Yes, I agree that there are wider issues and Rabbitdawg touched upon some earlier. The thing is though, I don't feel that there is a need to be concerned about institutionalised validation. I believe that the 'wider' authorities keep a close eye on these matters and anything that were to be shown as being authentic and actively used by individuals, would be clamped down upon with as much force as they felt necessary.
They would be keen; not to 'let the genie out of the bottle' so to speak.
You must be aware of government run programs which have been actively researching these matters? Although some of this research is done on the basis of 'not letting the other side get a head start' (a sort of; just in case, scenario) one has to wonder how much the authorities know and have found out about these matters.
With the emergence of the internet and paranormal forums, (where these things are likely to be discussed) I think it; not unlikely, that agents of disinformation actively patrol these forums and infiltrate discussion groups with an agenda of sowing doubt in the minds of free thinkers. I have to ask; if it is not too impertinent of me; has anyone with 'authority' ever asked yourself to actively suppress information that you may have gleaned from your research? I know that this is now approaching conspiracy territory, yet I ask only out of curiosity and would not assign any disparagement towards yourself, over this. Even if, you choose not to address this issue.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 20, 2017 at 10:24 PM
Hmm, this is rather firmly in 'conspiracy territory', I'd say. As a political journalist working abroad (some years ago now) I was used to people telling me about 'dark forces' they were certain were causing particular things to happen, to their disadvantage. I didn't take it seriously then, and I don't now. Sure, 'the authorities' do their best to control matters, but mostly they have much less power than they think, or they're given credit for.
When it comes to metaphysics, I find the idea that governments actively suppress knowledge of psi impossible to take seriously.
I could go on, but am a bit tied up now, perhaps in a later post. :)
Posted by: Robert McLuhan | March 21, 2017 at 01:21 PM
Back to the interaction of mind and matter: How about the following:
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 21, 2017 at 02:16 PM
Robert, you give a fair response and I thank you for it. That, of itself, was no mean feat; considering the turgid nature of my question. I shall have to watch myself with my paranoia., thats for sure.
Julie, I've given your recommendation a go but have to say, on what I've seen so far, I'd rather watch paint drying. True, I've only watched the first twelve minutes, yet found it strangely soporific. Maybe it would have helped if the speaker didn't spend so much time stating the obvious? He makes great play on the mysterious transformation of a butterfly, but could quite easily have used the example of a fly. Or a frog. I mean, of course; we (without prior knowledge or experience) would have no reason to expect a caterpillar to change into a butterfly. I suppose I shall have to get back to it. He may have more nuggets of wisdom, to share?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 21, 2017 at 05:10 PM
Julie, I have now watched the next part of this dire presentation and something springs to mind. Unfortunately, I had to rewatch the first twelve minutes again to check this, (I will have to break this down in stages, if I am to stay awake) and noticed the emphasis upon the financial benefits of this 'program.'
In the first segment, there is a highlighted quote (from none other than, Carl Sagan) in which he (Sagan) says "he would give anything" to spend time with his departed parents once more. The next segment lists one of its core principles as being wealth creation.
My impression so far, is that this an insidious attempt to create a new money-making program out of the gullible and; from naive participators in this 'program.'
Maybe, I'm being overly cynical? I shall watch the next segment after I've had a sleep, followed with; copious amounts of coffee.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 21, 2017 at 10:23 PM
@Stuart: How best might one try to secure funding for a project such as that outlined by Schwartz?
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 21, 2017 at 11:44 PM
Julie, as I say; maybe I'm being overly cynical? Coffee in hand, I shall now tackle the next segment. So far, the most interesting aspect of this is the member of the audience, who takes her seat in the first, twelve minute segment She looks uncannily like 'Amanda Knox'; the girl who escaped justice over the murder of Meredith Kercher.
Could it be her?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 22, 2017 at 01:11 AM
Well, I've pushed on with the next few segments and am now up to one hour of viewing time. Julie, I have to ask; did you watch this whole thing in one go? If so, then hats off to you.
Actually, all this talk of being able to chat to Einstein, Sagan and other past luminaries of this world, including Socrates and Plato among others; brings me to an understanding of what Robert was saying. and I find myself in agreement with him. I believe it would be socially disabling and, at a dangerous level. I mean, how could one ensure that they were not being deliberately manipulated? Are we to give up our independence of thought and plan our lives around the input of unproven communication? Not only that, these are fast times and require fast decision making. Socrates and Plato are not notable for coming to a conclusion without debating at length first. I can see it now;..'me': "Plato, I am thinking of applying for a new job.....what do you recommend? Should I go for it, or not?" Plato:.."Hold on whilst I put it to the symposium. Now let me see,..ummm,..earth, air, fire and water. Is this a job upon land or sea?"
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 22, 2017 at 12:27 PM
Julie, you may be pleased to know that I've made great inroads upon this presentation.
There is only twenty minutes left for me to assimilate.
Unfortunately, I've seen nothing so far, which alters my original opinion. When one hears terms such as 'spectral analysis' used for this simple matter of graph comparison, then it just adds to my suspicion. So, they've spent $10,000 upon a sound-proof chamber (couldn't they have hired one for the day?) and compared the peak of a spoken word with the peak of a whispered word; added a healthy dose of complete silence, and calculated the average.
It is no real surprise, is it, if the result comes out as a peak, slap-bang in the middle?
The next part talks of light, and I shall get to it soon. Hopefully, this will be more 'enlightening.'
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 22, 2017 at 08:38 PM
Stuart: I'm not here as an aunt Sally in defence of Dr Schwartz. If the video talk is not to your liking then please feel free to ignore it. But if you want to take issue with its content then perhaps you might like to contact Dr Schwartz directly via the following address: http://neurology.arizona.edu/gary-e-schwartz-phd
Some years ago I had a series of email exchanges with him in which I asked some very pointed questions. I found him to be very open, accessible and willing to discuss matters in detail. Perhaps he is best placed to clarify his methods and objectives for you?
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 22, 2017 at 11:25 PM
I'm sorry, I thought you wanted an opinion on the video talk? Mostly, people do when they post something like that. That's all I was doing; voicing my opinion. If you believe that there is something good and positive regarding this 'soul phone business,' then fine.
You could have debated the merits of it. I'm not knocking you or your choice. I was going to ask you for your own opinion, but it is clear that is not your objective.
What did you expect? People to watch the video and then say, yes; thumbs up...or no; thumbs down...and leave it at that?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 23, 2017 at 03:26 AM
My objective in posting was to say, "Wow! How's that for the ultimate interatction of mind and matter!" It was no big deal. It was/is a fascinating concept that Schultz has come up with. I am not qualified to dissect the electronic technicalities, therefore I cannot answer you questions - but I know someone who can. I have no idea whether the project is capable of achieving its objective. It would be an astonishing feat if it were possible to create a device that could provide a direct means of communication between incarnate and discarnate consciousness. I hope that!s clear enough for you because I don't think I can make myself any clearer.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 23, 2017 at 09:04 AM
Julie, I wasn't asking questions of you, electronic or otherwise. I was giving a running opinion upon the video as I watched it, (except, of course, remarking upon your undoubted stamina at watching such turgid fare in one sitting.)
You appear to have taken this personally? There is no need to be so sensitive. I am not judging you upon your choice of video. I do find though, the whole idea as rather ridiculous as a concept. Lets debate the merits, if you are up for it?
It is my opinion that the spirit realm is a great leveller. The idea that those who had great ability upon earth should continue their position as if still alive, and therefore be preeminent 'up there' as they were 'down here,' I find unconvincing. Notwithstanding the fact that there are many undoubted talents who, by the whims of fate, never came to public recognition in 'this life,' I believe that once we shed this mortal coil, and its associated handicaps, then we are on an equal footing. Therefore, the principle to which Dr Schwartz asserts, is in my opinion, flawed. What say ye?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 23, 2017 at 09:54 AM
Stuart, you have a way of initiating a flow of conversation that stops all flow of conversation. That's what I say.
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 24, 2017 at 10:48 AM
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 24, 2017 at 05:17 PM
I mean; sorry.
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 24, 2017 at 05:26 PM
Don't be sorry, Stewart. You are what you are and I am what I am. And bit by bit we'll get used to each other. :)
Posted by: Julie Baxter | March 24, 2017 at 05:57 PM
You think so?
Posted by: Stuart Certain | March 24, 2017 at 06:59 PM