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It’s just you.

 
EN
 
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EN
Total Posts:  22649
Joined  11-03-2007
 
 
 
12 August 2021 14:22
 

I was “in the zone” yesterday while writing a memo. The time passed so quickly. There was nothing else in my mind except what I was writing. No narrative, just pure focus, pure attention. It was interesting. Wish I could do that more often.

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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12 August 2021 14:48
 

I wish you would, too.

 
 
burt
 
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burt
Total Posts:  16399
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
12 August 2021 19:49
 
weird buffalo - 12 August 2021 07:45 AM
burt - 11 August 2021 11:20 PM
weird buffalo - 11 August 2021 10:28 PM
burt - 11 August 2021 09:26 AM

On one side are those who claim, as you do, that different religious experiences are contradictory and can only be understood in terms of the conditioning effect of religious training so that Muslims have Islamic experiences, Hindus have Hindu experiences, and so on.

This was not my argument or point.

If we consider a subjective report of a mental state to be sufficient evidence to consider that an otherwise undetectable phenomena is real (ie, the linked chapter from the previous page is reporting a real phenomenon of a mind behind our mind), then we would also need to conclude that any report from a religious person about their religion is also true.

D.E. Harding reports that he had an experience of a separate consciousness from his body.
Person A reports that the felt God’s love while praying.
Person B reports the memory of being on an alien spaceship and being probed.

If Harding’s report is sufficient evidence that his experience is true, then Person A and Person B reports must also be considered true.  My point is not about what these experiences are, my point is about the standards of evidence we are accepting in order to build our framework of what is and isn’t possible.

I do not doubt that Harding had his experience (in the other post, I concede I’ve had similar experiences, and so therefore I am confirming that such experiences do exist and I’ve had at least one).  What I doubt is his explanation for it, and I contend that the experience itself should not be considered self-confirming, because if we consider it self-confirming, then we would also have to accept all religious experiences and alien abduction stories as also self-confirming.  And since religious experiences from different people can be contradictory, we can already reasonably conclude that treating self-reported experiences as self-confirming is a false methodology of determining what is true.

Well, yes. That’s what I said. Your interpretation is one view of things. As I see it that view leaves you with lots of open questions that can’t really be answered other than saying “the brain did it” (or “the drugs did it” or “the social conditioning did it”). That’s not much different than BM saying that God did it. If I say that it’s a matter of the brain entering a state in which the self-structure is held in abeyance. What that offers is an explanation that (a) suggests consciousness is not an emergent of the brain, rather than brain experiences aspects of it; (b) asks the question of what is the structure of the self; and, (c) asks whether access to this non-self state (or other states) might have value.

No, it isn’t what I said.  You are moving forward with the argument to a place that I haven’t gone yet.  I did not offer an explanation for anything in that post.  I was pointing out a flaw in the standards of evidence that you are using.  I was pointing out a flaw in the epistemology that concluded something beyond the structure of the brain existed.

I’m assuming that we both agree brains exist.  If we open up someone’s skull, we will find a lump of matter that we refer to as a “brain”.
You want to go one step further and propose that something else also exists.  As I see it right now, the only evidence being presented is that people sometimes report a feeling. (and I agree, those reports and feelings do exist)

My point above, is if we use reports of feelings as evidence, then we are suddenly open to accepting many, many, many claims.

I am not like BM in this situation.  You are.  You are both telling me that you have experienced something.  This something cannot be demonstrated though.  If our epistemology tells us that we should accept these reports as accurate and valid, then we must also accept BM’s claim that God is real is just as true as your claim that there is a mind beyond the brain.  You cannot invalidate BM’s claim by just saying that he’s experiencing the thing you are claiming.  You have to accept BM’s claim as equally valid in all its parts as your claim.  Your experience cannot be used as evidence of whether his claim is valid or not, they have to be evaluated independently.  I am pointing out that your method of evaluating claims is flawed.

No, my method of evaluation doesn’t since it doesn’t claim empirical proof in the sense that it is usually defined.

Wittgenstein said: “Tell me how you are searching and I will tell you what you are searching for.” Another companion statement could be “tell me the assumptions behind your theory and I will tell you what possibilities it excludes.” I am not wedded to the current rational-empirical philosophy of science. That’s all.

 
burt
 
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burt
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12 August 2021 19:50
 
nonverbal - 12 August 2021 12:01 PM

Burt, you’ve frequently expressed concern about the error of presentism, and you’ve strived to protect your students from its logical inconsistencies. Has your opinion on the matter changed recently?

I’m retired these past 7 years. I have no students. When I did, I was careful in that they needed to learn certain things as a foundation.

 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
Total Posts:  1977
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13 August 2021 08:51
 
burt - 12 August 2021 07:49 PM
weird buffalo - 12 August 2021 07:45 AM
burt - 11 August 2021 11:20 PM
weird buffalo - 11 August 2021 10:28 PM
burt - 11 August 2021 09:26 AM

On one side are those who claim, as you do, that different religious experiences are contradictory and can only be understood in terms of the conditioning effect of religious training so that Muslims have Islamic experiences, Hindus have Hindu experiences, and so on.

This was not my argument or point.

If we consider a subjective report of a mental state to be sufficient evidence to consider that an otherwise undetectable phenomena is real (ie, the linked chapter from the previous page is reporting a real phenomenon of a mind behind our mind), then we would also need to conclude that any report from a religious person about their religion is also true.

D.E. Harding reports that he had an experience of a separate consciousness from his body.
Person A reports that the felt God’s love while praying.
Person B reports the memory of being on an alien spaceship and being probed.

If Harding’s report is sufficient evidence that his experience is true, then Person A and Person B reports must also be considered true.  My point is not about what these experiences are, my point is about the standards of evidence we are accepting in order to build our framework of what is and isn’t possible.

I do not doubt that Harding had his experience (in the other post, I concede I’ve had similar experiences, and so therefore I am confirming that such experiences do exist and I’ve had at least one).  What I doubt is his explanation for it, and I contend that the experience itself should not be considered self-confirming, because if we consider it self-confirming, then we would also have to accept all religious experiences and alien abduction stories as also self-confirming.  And since religious experiences from different people can be contradictory, we can already reasonably conclude that treating self-reported experiences as self-confirming is a false methodology of determining what is true.

Well, yes. That’s what I said. Your interpretation is one view of things. As I see it that view leaves you with lots of open questions that can’t really be answered other than saying “the brain did it” (or “the drugs did it” or “the social conditioning did it”). That’s not much different than BM saying that God did it. If I say that it’s a matter of the brain entering a state in which the self-structure is held in abeyance. What that offers is an explanation that (a) suggests consciousness is not an emergent of the brain, rather than brain experiences aspects of it; (b) asks the question of what is the structure of the self; and, (c) asks whether access to this non-self state (or other states) might have value.

No, it isn’t what I said.  You are moving forward with the argument to a place that I haven’t gone yet.  I did not offer an explanation for anything in that post.  I was pointing out a flaw in the standards of evidence that you are using.  I was pointing out a flaw in the epistemology that concluded something beyond the structure of the brain existed.

I’m assuming that we both agree brains exist.  If we open up someone’s skull, we will find a lump of matter that we refer to as a “brain”.
You want to go one step further and propose that something else also exists.  As I see it right now, the only evidence being presented is that people sometimes report a feeling. (and I agree, those reports and feelings do exist)

My point above, is if we use reports of feelings as evidence, then we are suddenly open to accepting many, many, many claims.

I am not like BM in this situation.  You are.  You are both telling me that you have experienced something.  This something cannot be demonstrated though.  If our epistemology tells us that we should accept these reports as accurate and valid, then we must also accept BM’s claim that God is real is just as true as your claim that there is a mind beyond the brain.  You cannot invalidate BM’s claim by just saying that he’s experiencing the thing you are claiming.  You have to accept BM’s claim as equally valid in all its parts as your claim.  Your experience cannot be used as evidence of whether his claim is valid or not, they have to be evaluated independently.  I am pointing out that your method of evaluating claims is flawed.

No, my method of evaluation doesn’t since it doesn’t claim empirical proof in the sense that it is usually defined.

Wittgenstein said: “Tell me how you are searching and I will tell you what you are searching for.” Another companion statement could be “tell me the assumptions behind your theory and I will tell you what possibilities it excludes.” I am not wedded to the current rational-empirical philosophy of science. That’s all.

So, how do you show that Harding’s experience was revelatory about the nature of reality, but BM’s experience is not?

 
burt
 
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burt
Total Posts:  16399
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
13 August 2021 09:15
 
weird buffalo - 13 August 2021 08:51 AM
burt - 12 August 2021 07:49 PM
weird buffalo - 12 August 2021 07:45 AM
burt - 11 August 2021 11:20 PM
weird buffalo - 11 August 2021 10:28 PM
burt - 11 August 2021 09:26 AM

On one side are those who claim, as you do, that different religious experiences are contradictory and can only be understood in terms of the conditioning effect of religious training so that Muslims have Islamic experiences, Hindus have Hindu experiences, and so on.

This was not my argument or point.

If we consider a subjective report of a mental state to be sufficient evidence to consider that an otherwise undetectable phenomena is real (ie, the linked chapter from the previous page is reporting a real phenomenon of a mind behind our mind), then we would also need to conclude that any report from a religious person about their religion is also true.

D.E. Harding reports that he had an experience of a separate consciousness from his body.
Person A reports that the felt God’s love while praying.
Person B reports the memory of being on an alien spaceship and being probed.

If Harding’s report is sufficient evidence that his experience is true, then Person A and Person B reports must also be considered true.  My point is not about what these experiences are, my point is about the standards of evidence we are accepting in order to build our framework of what is and isn’t possible.

I do not doubt that Harding had his experience (in the other post, I concede I’ve had similar experiences, and so therefore I am confirming that such experiences do exist and I’ve had at least one).  What I doubt is his explanation for it, and I contend that the experience itself should not be considered self-confirming, because if we consider it self-confirming, then we would also have to accept all religious experiences and alien abduction stories as also self-confirming.  And since religious experiences from different people can be contradictory, we can already reasonably conclude that treating self-reported experiences as self-confirming is a false methodology of determining what is true.

Well, yes. That’s what I said. Your interpretation is one view of things. As I see it that view leaves you with lots of open questions that can’t really be answered other than saying “the brain did it” (or “the drugs did it” or “the social conditioning did it”). That’s not much different than BM saying that God did it. If I say that it’s a matter of the brain entering a state in which the self-structure is held in abeyance. What that offers is an explanation that (a) suggests consciousness is not an emergent of the brain, rather than brain experiences aspects of it; (b) asks the question of what is the structure of the self; and, (c) asks whether access to this non-self state (or other states) might have value.

No, it isn’t what I said.  You are moving forward with the argument to a place that I haven’t gone yet.  I did not offer an explanation for anything in that post.  I was pointing out a flaw in the standards of evidence that you are using.  I was pointing out a flaw in the epistemology that concluded something beyond the structure of the brain existed.

I’m assuming that we both agree brains exist.  If we open up someone’s skull, we will find a lump of matter that we refer to as a “brain”.
You want to go one step further and propose that something else also exists.  As I see it right now, the only evidence being presented is that people sometimes report a feeling. (and I agree, those reports and feelings do exist)

My point above, is if we use reports of feelings as evidence, then we are suddenly open to accepting many, many, many claims.

I am not like BM in this situation.  You are.  You are both telling me that you have experienced something.  This something cannot be demonstrated though.  If our epistemology tells us that we should accept these reports as accurate and valid, then we must also accept BM’s claim that God is real is just as true as your claim that there is a mind beyond the brain.  You cannot invalidate BM’s claim by just saying that he’s experiencing the thing you are claiming.  You have to accept BM’s claim as equally valid in all its parts as your claim.  Your experience cannot be used as evidence of whether his claim is valid or not, they have to be evaluated independently.  I am pointing out that your method of evaluating claims is flawed.

No, my method of evaluation doesn’t since it doesn’t claim empirical proof in the sense that it is usually defined.

Wittgenstein said: “Tell me how you are searching and I will tell you what you are searching for.” Another companion statement could be “tell me the assumptions behind your theory and I will tell you what possibilities it excludes.” I am not wedded to the current rational-empirical philosophy of science. That’s all.

So, how do you show that Harding’s experience was revelatory about the nature of reality, but BM’s experience is not?

I don’t. Skeptically, I suspend judgment. Harding reports an experience. I’ve had experience that is comparable (and, importantly, had it before reading Harding) so that’s evidence that he is giving an accurate report so I have no reason to distrust him. What that tells me about reality is that in a human nervous system such experiences are possible. I pointed out that there are at least two theoretical explanations for this, and stated my preference. Since science hasn’t developed to the point that theoretical explanations of these sorts of first person experience can be verified that’s all that is possible. That puts me in the same position as Socrates, who after drinking the hemlock said that he hoped to enjoy questioning famous figures of the past in the Elysian Fields after death, although he didn’t know if this were actually what would happen he chose to accept it (provisionally) because he liked the idea. As for BMs experience, I don’t think he is lying but I do think that whatever the immediate nature of the experience, it was colored by his religious conditioning (which he then chose to reinforce by spending time in a seminary).

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
Total Posts:  2254
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13 August 2021 09:50
 
burt - 12 August 2021 07:50 PM
nonverbal - 12 August 2021 12:01 PM

Burt, you’ve frequently expressed concern about the error of presentism, and you’ve strived to protect your students from its logical inconsistencies. Has your opinion on the matter changed recently?

I’m retired these past 7 years. I have no students. When I did, I was careful in that they needed to learn certain things as a foundation.

Is the fallacy of presentism (assuming it still is one) something that continues to concern you, aside from your former work situation? Do old people and young people need to see things differently, or is it just that the foundation can be removed once a form is set?

Congrats on your recent publication, by the way. I look forward to seeing your book in print, too. I’m still living in the 20th century as far as finding value in physical books, wired telephones, preserved architecture, and other such artifacts of a former culture.

 
 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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13 August 2021 10:54
 
nonverbal - 12 August 2021 02:48 PM

I wish you would, too.

I just noticed that this response of mine sounds awful. I meant it in a positive way only.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
Total Posts:  22649
Joined  11-03-2007
 
 
 
13 August 2021 12:32
 
nonverbal - 13 August 2021 10:54 AM
nonverbal - 12 August 2021 02:48 PM

I wish you would, too.

I just noticed that this response of mine sounds awful. I meant it in a positive way only.

I didn’t think of it that way.  Don’t worry.

 
Cheshire Cat
 
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Cheshire Cat
Total Posts:  1939
Joined  01-11-2014
 
 
 
13 August 2021 12:35
 

Harding never said that anyone should take his word about the “headless” state. It has nothing to do with faith. He was actively advocating that people experience it for themselves. His approach is empirical.

He developed experiments which he encouraged people to do, in order to experience it for themselves.  He called it “seeing.” https://www.headless.org/experiments-home.htm

He also said that Headlessness was not some rarefied mystical state, but a rather ordinary one. We’ve been trained from childhood by society to view ourselves in a culturally acceptable way, that we are what we look like. Our internal, actual experience of being ourselves is a totally different experience. But because our social programming is so strong and so unquestioned, people rarely see the obvious. That became his mission — to get people to experience their true selves.

 
 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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Joined  20-02-2006
 
 
 
13 August 2021 13:54
 
unsmoked - 11 August 2021 12:46 PM

1.  When we consider the migration of Monarch butterflies,  (as one example), can we agree that we’re talking about instinct and not intelligence?

2.  Can we agree that this instinctive navigation ability is in the DNA of the butterfly?

3.  Can we agree that it took millions of years for this ability to evolve?

4.  Can we agree that the DNA (genetic code) that is the source of this navigation ability may be in more cells than brain cells?

5.  Can we agree that the butterfly isn’t conscious of this ability?  Having been born in Canada and never ‘trained’ by parents, and now flying to a particular grove in Mexico thousands of miles away - the mechanism for this guidance system is in its genetic code?

Zen master Dazhu comments:

“The treasure house within you contains everything, and you are free to use it.  You don’t need to seek outside.” 

(Dazhu quoted from the book, ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom - translated and edited by Thomas Cleary)

 
 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
Total Posts:  1977
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13 August 2021 16:22
 
burt - 13 August 2021 09:15 AM
weird buffalo - 13 August 2021 08:51 AM
burt - 12 August 2021 07:49 PM
weird buffalo - 12 August 2021 07:45 AM
burt - 11 August 2021 11:20 PM
weird buffalo - 11 August 2021 10:28 PM
burt - 11 August 2021 09:26 AM

On one side are those who claim, as you do, that different religious experiences are contradictory and can only be understood in terms of the conditioning effect of religious training so that Muslims have Islamic experiences, Hindus have Hindu experiences, and so on.

This was not my argument or point.

If we consider a subjective report of a mental state to be sufficient evidence to consider that an otherwise undetectable phenomena is real (ie, the linked chapter from the previous page is reporting a real phenomenon of a mind behind our mind), then we would also need to conclude that any report from a religious person about their religion is also true.

D.E. Harding reports that he had an experience of a separate consciousness from his body.
Person A reports that the felt God’s love while praying.
Person B reports the memory of being on an alien spaceship and being probed.

If Harding’s report is sufficient evidence that his experience is true, then Person A and Person B reports must also be considered true.  My point is not about what these experiences are, my point is about the standards of evidence we are accepting in order to build our framework of what is and isn’t possible.

I do not doubt that Harding had his experience (in the other post, I concede I’ve had similar experiences, and so therefore I am confirming that such experiences do exist and I’ve had at least one).  What I doubt is his explanation for it, and I contend that the experience itself should not be considered self-confirming, because if we consider it self-confirming, then we would also have to accept all religious experiences and alien abduction stories as also self-confirming.  And since religious experiences from different people can be contradictory, we can already reasonably conclude that treating self-reported experiences as self-confirming is a false methodology of determining what is true.

Well, yes. That’s what I said. Your interpretation is one view of things. As I see it that view leaves you with lots of open questions that can’t really be answered other than saying “the brain did it” (or “the drugs did it” or “the social conditioning did it”). That’s not much different than BM saying that God did it. If I say that it’s a matter of the brain entering a state in which the self-structure is held in abeyance. What that offers is an explanation that (a) suggests consciousness is not an emergent of the brain, rather than brain experiences aspects of it; (b) asks the question of what is the structure of the self; and, (c) asks whether access to this non-self state (or other states) might have value.

No, it isn’t what I said.  You are moving forward with the argument to a place that I haven’t gone yet.  I did not offer an explanation for anything in that post.  I was pointing out a flaw in the standards of evidence that you are using.  I was pointing out a flaw in the epistemology that concluded something beyond the structure of the brain existed.

I’m assuming that we both agree brains exist.  If we open up someone’s skull, we will find a lump of matter that we refer to as a “brain”.
You want to go one step further and propose that something else also exists.  As I see it right now, the only evidence being presented is that people sometimes report a feeling. (and I agree, those reports and feelings do exist)

My point above, is if we use reports of feelings as evidence, then we are suddenly open to accepting many, many, many claims.

I am not like BM in this situation.  You are.  You are both telling me that you have experienced something.  This something cannot be demonstrated though.  If our epistemology tells us that we should accept these reports as accurate and valid, then we must also accept BM’s claim that God is real is just as true as your claim that there is a mind beyond the brain.  You cannot invalidate BM’s claim by just saying that he’s experiencing the thing you are claiming.  You have to accept BM’s claim as equally valid in all its parts as your claim.  Your experience cannot be used as evidence of whether his claim is valid or not, they have to be evaluated independently.  I am pointing out that your method of evaluating claims is flawed.

No, my method of evaluation doesn’t since it doesn’t claim empirical proof in the sense that it is usually defined.

Wittgenstein said: “Tell me how you are searching and I will tell you what you are searching for.” Another companion statement could be “tell me the assumptions behind your theory and I will tell you what possibilities it excludes.” I am not wedded to the current rational-empirical philosophy of science. That’s all.

So, how do you show that Harding’s experience was revelatory about the nature of reality, but BM’s experience is not?

I don’t. Skeptically, I suspend judgment. Harding reports an experience. I’ve had experience that is comparable (and, importantly, had it before reading Harding) so that’s evidence that he is giving an accurate report so I have no reason to distrust him. What that tells me about reality is that in a human nervous system such experiences are possible. I pointed out that there are at least two theoretical explanations for this, and stated my preference. Since science hasn’t developed to the point that theoretical explanations of these sorts of first person experience can be verified that’s all that is possible. That puts me in the same position as Socrates, who after drinking the hemlock said that he hoped to enjoy questioning famous figures of the past in the Elysian Fields after death, although he didn’t know if this were actually what would happen he chose to accept it (provisionally) because he liked the idea. As for BMs experience, I don’t think he is lying but I do think that whatever the immediate nature of the experience, it was colored by his religious conditioning (which he then chose to reinforce by spending time in a seminary).

It doesn’t actually seem to be a suspension of judgment.  You presented it as a legitimate possibility, with the primary piece of evidence being a personally revelatory experience.

Would you like me to point out how old the concept of mind-body dualism is in numerous cultures?  Sure, maybe you weren’t influenced by Harding’s writing, but the concept of the mind as being separate from the body is many, many centuries old.

 
burt
 
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burt
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13 August 2021 18:17
 
nonverbal - 13 August 2021 09:50 AM
burt - 12 August 2021 07:50 PM
nonverbal - 12 August 2021 12:01 PM

Burt, you’ve frequently expressed concern about the error of presentism, and you’ve strived to protect your students from its logical inconsistencies. Has your opinion on the matter changed recently?

I’m retired these past 7 years. I have no students. When I did, I was careful in that they needed to learn certain things as a foundation.

Is the fallacy of presentism (assuming it still is one) something that continues to concern you, aside from your former work situation? Do old people and young people need to see things differently, or is it just that the foundation can be removed once a form is set?

Congrats on your recent publication, by the way. I look forward to seeing your book in print, too. I’m still living in the 20th century as far as finding value in physical books, wired telephones, preserved architecture, and other such artifacts of a former culture.

What publication? Not sure what “presentism” is so it’s hard to say anything. I, too, prefer physical books, preserved architecture (cell phones are okay so long as I don’t have to do anything with them other than phone calls, check the time and weather). With architecture, since the pandemic started my main exercise has been walking, I’ve learned more about Victoria in the past 15 months than in the previous 14 years we’ve been there. And there are some great neighborhoods with late 19th and early 20th century houses, as well as some very elegant modern ones (and some ugly modern ones, too).

 
burt
 
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burt
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13 August 2021 18:19
 
Cheshire Cat - 13 August 2021 12:35 PM

Harding never said that anyone should take his word about the “headless” state. It has nothing to do with faith. He was actively advocating that people experience it for themselves. His approach is empirical.

He developed experiments which he encouraged people to do, in order to experience it for themselves.  He called it “seeing.” https://www.headless.org/experiments-home.htm

He also said that Headlessness was not some rarefied mystical state, but a rather ordinary one. We’ve been trained from childhood by society to view ourselves in a culturally acceptable way, that we are what we look like. Our internal, actual experience of being ourselves is a totally different experience. But because our social programming is so strong and so unquestioned, people rarely see the obvious. That became his mission — to get people to experience their true selves.

That’s the point. Having experienced a state, there is learning how to get back to it (assuming that one wants to). Partially related to centers of attention in the body.

 
burt
 
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burt
Total Posts:  16399
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
13 August 2021 18:24
 
weird buffalo - 13 August 2021 04:22 PM
burt - 13 August 2021 09:15 AM
weird buffalo - 13 August 2021 08:51 AM
burt - 12 August 2021 07:49 PM
weird buffalo - 12 August 2021 07:45 AM
burt - 11 August 2021 11:20 PM
weird buffalo - 11 August 2021 10:28 PM
burt - 11 August 2021 09:26 AM

On one side are those who claim, as you do, that different religious experiences are contradictory and can only be understood in terms of the conditioning effect of religious training so that Muslims have Islamic experiences, Hindus have Hindu experiences, and so on.

This was not my argument or point.

If we consider a subjective report of a mental state to be sufficient evidence to consider that an otherwise undetectable phenomena is real (ie, the linked chapter from the previous page is reporting a real phenomenon of a mind behind our mind), then we would also need to conclude that any report from a religious person about their religion is also true.

D.E. Harding reports that he had an experience of a separate consciousness from his body.
Person A reports that the felt God’s love while praying.
Person B reports the memory of being on an alien spaceship and being probed.

If Harding’s report is sufficient evidence that his experience is true, then Person A and Person B reports must also be considered true.  My point is not about what these experiences are, my point is about the standards of evidence we are accepting in order to build our framework of what is and isn’t possible.

I do not doubt that Harding had his experience (in the other post, I concede I’ve had similar experiences, and so therefore I am confirming that such experiences do exist and I’ve had at least one).  What I doubt is his explanation for it, and I contend that the experience itself should not be considered self-confirming, because if we consider it self-confirming, then we would also have to accept all religious experiences and alien abduction stories as also self-confirming.  And since religious experiences from different people can be contradictory, we can already reasonably conclude that treating self-reported experiences as self-confirming is a false methodology of determining what is true.

Well, yes. That’s what I said. Your interpretation is one view of things. As I see it that view leaves you with lots of open questions that can’t really be answered other than saying “the brain did it” (or “the drugs did it” or “the social conditioning did it”). That’s not much different than BM saying that God did it. If I say that it’s a matter of the brain entering a state in which the self-structure is held in abeyance. What that offers is an explanation that (a) suggests consciousness is not an emergent of the brain, rather than brain experiences aspects of it; (b) asks the question of what is the structure of the self; and, (c) asks whether access to this non-self state (or other states) might have value.

No, it isn’t what I said.  You are moving forward with the argument to a place that I haven’t gone yet.  I did not offer an explanation for anything in that post.  I was pointing out a flaw in the standards of evidence that you are using.  I was pointing out a flaw in the epistemology that concluded something beyond the structure of the brain existed.

I’m assuming that we both agree brains exist.  If we open up someone’s skull, we will find a lump of matter that we refer to as a “brain”.
You want to go one step further and propose that something else also exists.  As I see it right now, the only evidence being presented is that people sometimes report a feeling. (and I agree, those reports and feelings do exist)

My point above, is if we use reports of feelings as evidence, then we are suddenly open to accepting many, many, many claims.

I am not like BM in this situation.  You are.  You are both telling me that you have experienced something.  This something cannot be demonstrated though.  If our epistemology tells us that we should accept these reports as accurate and valid, then we must also accept BM’s claim that God is real is just as true as your claim that there is a mind beyond the brain.  You cannot invalidate BM’s claim by just saying that he’s experiencing the thing you are claiming.  You have to accept BM’s claim as equally valid in all its parts as your claim.  Your experience cannot be used as evidence of whether his claim is valid or not, they have to be evaluated independently.  I am pointing out that your method of evaluating claims is flawed.

No, my method of evaluation doesn’t since it doesn’t claim empirical proof in the sense that it is usually defined.

Wittgenstein said: “Tell me how you are searching and I will tell you what you are searching for.” Another companion statement could be “tell me the assumptions behind your theory and I will tell you what possibilities it excludes.” I am not wedded to the current rational-empirical philosophy of science. That’s all.

So, how do you show that Harding’s experience was revelatory about the nature of reality, but BM’s experience is not?

I don’t. Skeptically, I suspend judgment. Harding reports an experience. I’ve had experience that is comparable (and, importantly, had it before reading Harding) so that’s evidence that he is giving an accurate report so I have no reason to distrust him. What that tells me about reality is that in a human nervous system such experiences are possible. I pointed out that there are at least two theoretical explanations for this, and stated my preference. Since science hasn’t developed to the point that theoretical explanations of these sorts of first person experience can be verified that’s all that is possible. That puts me in the same position as Socrates, who after drinking the hemlock said that he hoped to enjoy questioning famous figures of the past in the Elysian Fields after death, although he didn’t know if this were actually what would happen he chose to accept it (provisionally) because he liked the idea. As for BMs experience, I don’t think he is lying but I do think that whatever the immediate nature of the experience, it was colored by his religious conditioning (which he then chose to reinforce by spending time in a seminary).

It doesn’t actually seem to be a suspension of judgment.  You presented it as a legitimate possibility, with the primary piece of evidence being a personally revelatory experience.

Would you like me to point out how old the concept of mind-body dualism is in numerous cultures?  Sure, maybe you weren’t influenced by Harding’s writing, but the concept of the mind as being separate from the body is many, many centuries old.

I present it as a legitimate possibility, but also acknowledge that’s an assumption. The point is, one cannot deny direct experience. The quibbles come up in trying to explain it post hoc. And I’m not positing that the mind is separate from the body. Rather, that consciousness pre-exists as a fundamental aspect of reality while the mind depends on what sort of nervous system there is, what inputs that nervous system has had, and so on. In some traditions that conditioned mind is thought of as a prison….

 
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