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Matt Rouge
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Nice post, Robert! Very interesting!
Toggle Commented Aug 14, 2012 on Sufi Spiritual Training at Paranormalia
Jason, Can't wait for your book! Cheers, Matt
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2012 on Bad Spirituality at Paranormalia
Webster's diatribe has nicely made the rounds of our online community, if I may call it that. I think your post here is really great, Robert. I am happy to call myself a New Ager, as the label fits me pretty well, and a label can make for a convenient short cut. I'd like to make a few points about "us," if I may. Re the charge of "anti-disagreeablism," I think there is some truth to this. I have termed it in my own head, "You believe my BS, I'll believe yours." Yet I think we can look at it on a deeper level and gain some insight. I think where New Ager's tread lightly when it comes to disagreement is people's individual mythologies. If someone says, for example that they're working on healing an illness with a mix of Ayurveda and Reiki, I think few New Agers are going to say, "Hey, those two things don't go together!" OTOH, if one New Ager said to another, "I've determined that there is no Afterlife," then I think the other would disagree, as a belief in the Afterlife is a core part of the belief system. The person may respond in a very polite manner or may even say nothing--but I think very few would endorse it. Further, New Agers are quite intolerant, on the whole, of intolerance: sexism, racism, homophobia, that kind of thing. All that said, we certainly have disagreements and debates. As to the charge of New Agers being inward-turning and narcissistic, I think that, paradoxically, this comes from a virtue of the group, to wit, that we actually take our beliefs seriously. I grew up Catholic, and my impression was and remains that very few Catholics act on their beliefs in any substantial way. Sure, there is a small percentage of people that say the Rosary and give their time to charity, and so on, but most Catholics are hardly "transformed" by their faith. It's partly a matter of selection bias, since New Ager who doesn't practice his/her beliefs would probably not bother to self-label thus, but a core part of the belief system is that you can transform yourself spiritually, or at least participate in the transformation, and that's what New Agers do. Well, anytime you focus on yourself in such a way, it can seem narcissistic or it can actually be narcissistic. I've known New Agers like that. But it is only because a large number of people are engaging in self-transformation (a good thing) that a subset can seem or be narcissistic (a bad thing). It is like saying that people who are healthy eating are nutjobs who will buy any snakeoil supplement. It is only virtue of caring that makes possible caring in the wrong way. Finally, the New Agers I hang with seem concerned about service to others and being "lightworkers." I think this concept is growing in importance in the movement and is a positive trend.
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2012 on Bad Spirituality at Paranormalia
It is NEVER my intention to do that. If you can find an example of a quote I cited from an NDEr that is not backed up by what other NDErs are saying, I'd like to know about it. There are subtle contradictions and varying interpretations throughout the corpus, as well as some outliers that probably have to be discarded (evangelical Christian NDEs, for example, that read like propaganda pieces). As for the quote I was referring to, yes, this one from Beverly: "here was a reason for everything that happened, no matter how awful it appeared in the physical realm." She doesn't tell us the reason, however, so it's hard to judge.
Bruce, You asked if you are guilty of the same. Well, there have been a few minor sins. For example, I said you were an outlier because of your view on evil; later you talked as though I had said you were an outlier overall. Stuff like that. Purposeful distortions? I don't think so. The arguments are complicated, and it's tough to keep them all straight. The more serious "sin" (though still not a big deal in the scheme of things) is simply not responding to (what I think are) good points. For example, I said that if God chooses to forget and if forgetting is an arbitrary process (i.e., based on God's will and decision), and if God also likes to try a wide variety of experiences, then why doesn't God adjust the forgetting level so that we get people on Earth with extreme, God-like intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge? Stuff like that. I think you're a fine debater, however, and you do have the intention to be fair and mostly are (far better than average!).
I agree that we do forget in the physical, but my disagreement is that it's a setup, in which the forgetting is more or less induced as part of an arbitrary process. And I don't think God makes himself forget or sends out parts of himself that forget. No one indicated his lack of enthusiasm for the "everything has a purpose" trope earlier, and I'll indicate mine now. I find it highly problematic on both a practical and a philosophical level. On a practical level, a purpose implies a specific intention. So if the painter paints my house and does a poor job on one wall, whose purpose or intention was that? "God" perhaps? God made sure that one wall wasn't painted correctly? How deep does the purposing go? If I unknowingly step on an ant, is there a purpose behind that overall event, or is there a purpose behind the arrangement in the specific atoms in the crushed body? Stating that something has a purpose does not make me feel better until I know what the purpose is and what the results of that purpose are. Telling me the Holocaust happened for a purpose doesn't do anything for me until I can see how everything turned out OK or better or whatever from it. Just saying, "There was a purpose," is in effect the same thing as saying, "You feel bad about this? Just don't feel bad about it!" No real reason has been advanced. It's also philosophically incoherent. It's not a falsifiable statement. If *everything in the Universe* has this characteristic ("purposefulness"), then with what are we to contrast it? You've quoted several sources in which God had to create the opposites of things so that we can appreciate them. Dark for light, good for evil. If there is not also purposelessness, then how are we to know purposefulness? Also, I'm not sure how compatible omni-purposefulness is with free will. Growing up Catholic, I often heard of "God's plan." Well, that happened because it was part of God's plan. If God is planning the motion of every atom in the Universe, it is hard to see how we have any leeway for free choice. Bruce, you and I have a different approach to using NDEs as a resource. You have quoted several NDEs as though the people were prophets whose precise words back up your position. I don't look at them that way. If I did, I'd feel a need to explain every contradiction in the testimony of the full set of NDErs. Instead, I look for general trends. Overall, I think NDEs are solid (and to me, convincing) evidence of the Afterlife and, as a group, give us a pretty good idea of what we can expect Over There. I do not take the words of any one NDEr as gospel (not saying you necessarily do either, but you have been quoting individuals as authorities of some sort). Having an NDE doesn't make one a genius or automatically stamp one's philosophical musings with the seal of God's approval. A lot of the insights people get, even the one you just quoted, are extremely hard for the experiencers to remember. That, combined with a lack of expertise in philosophical matters, tends to result in fairly diluted material as the ultimate output. That said, I take what each one says as valuable and give it due consideration. But someone saying, "God said the Holocaust had a purpose," doesn't really give me new and valuable information.
I guess the curse ends with a new page. YIPPEEE!
Bruce, Yep, I know that flubbing the bold tag causes the Bold Curse. It is an absurd that this causes bold FOREVER in the thread (it should end with the post). That's some pretty sloppy coding. I think debate here on this blog is the most civil I've seen anywhere online. That said, could we hold ourselves to an even higher standard? Of course. There's a certain level of mockery that is like a body check in hockey, and there's a certain level that is like smashing someone across the face with a stick. One is legal, and one is not--at least in hockey. One may also say that we ought not do hockey-style debate here. I personally don't have a problem with it. I think the real essence of the issue is whether someone wants to be fair, and I think no one does. That's not my style, at least not on this blog, but I'm sure I have otherwise not done your positions justice. For this, I apologize. But these are *awfully* fine-grained issues, at least to human intelligence, and it's hard to keep everything perfectly straight. Not to turn this into a teachable moment, but notice your support of a particular *value* in your post. I agree with your value, of course, which is representing the other party's position accurately and replying to it politely. You are talking in terms of *oughts*: this is how we *ought* to debate. Now if no one were a bigger a-hole than he actually is (:)) and were engaging in the level of mockery that skeptics typically use (woo-woo! hah-hah! woo-woo! you idiot! haha woo-woo!), you would I'm sure be very irate and stressing that *ought* even more forcefully. And you could very well say that, body checks and nuances aside, this is a rule that *ought* apply in all times and all places. And you add up all such possible rules, and then you have ethics. Now, you may think, "Of course I know that! Don't patronize me!" But then again, look at your own irateness in this case and imagine seeing your whole family slaughtered, and is that "OK" in any sense of the word?
no one, I really appreciate your nuance and sophisticated take on the issue of the Being of Light, and, well, everything we're talking about. I think we agree it's quite a nuanced thing. I now see what you mean about the Bardo. This was an "ah-hah" moment! I agree. They are absolutely in an in-between state, still passing over. A bardo indeed. My guess is that we ultimately come close to agreeing on the Being of Light. I had an experience I think you'll remember of seeing my own spirit in visual form and then meeting my own spirit in a walk in the woods. I did not see visual light, but the emotional light and love was just like in NDEs. I can't say whether it was AS powerful or not, but it was one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced. If that was my own spirit, then the Being of Light could indeed be something similar. What I'd say is that the Being of Light is not a "person" per se who decides whether or not to visit someone during their NDE/DE. The Being of Light is an aspect of Reality (of the self or the Universe or both) that organically plays a role in the NDE/DE. IOW, it's not a show put on; it's what's *going* on. That doesn't mean that someone *has* to see the BoL in order to have a "real" NDE; just that the process includes the BoL as an essential and integral possible aspect.
Also, you wrote: The source is mistaken to be this god who loves and forgives and does all these other things, when really it is just pure consciousness within ones mind. It is understandable that someone unfamiliar with awareness beyond their own every day boundries of duality and descrimination would perceive the light as loving and forgiving simply because it does not descriminate or create orders of values. --- But the life review would seem to be a value system that the Being of Light agrees with. I really do read the BoL as external. I think it's plausible that it IS an externalized Self or Higher Self, but it would still be in a higher, purer position capable of providing guidance.
no one, Now WE can debate! No, but I take NDEs more or less at face value. The Being of Light is pretty much what it seems to be, and people would progress onto a world that is "pretty nice." My evidence is the fact that people are often greeted by relatives who seem "in on" the process. Plus, they are often sent back in a coherent manner: "It's not your time yet," or they have a choice. My dad had an NDE or related experience while he was in a coma in the hospital. He was walking along a beautiful country road with a friend from real life. His friend's deceased wife came to them both and told them it was not their time yet, that they could go no further. My dad's friend was in fact not in good health and died not immediately but fairly soon thereafter. My dad lived another 9 years. The story gives me chills. Anyhow, here is a story in which a deceased friend/relative comes to send people back. That would suggest that NDEs are what they seem to be on the surface and are not merely a gateway to a bardo in which demons will be seen, etc. Channeled communications and communications via mediums also seem to match up with what NDEs present. I owned the TBotD at one point and read a chunk of it. I think it has wisdom to offer but I have not seen other sources that lead me to believe that it is literally true. Cheers, Matt
Thanks, Michael! Typepad seems like a good system overall, but there have been some interface quirks.
Toggle Commented Apr 10, 2012 on Comment chaos at Michael Prescott's Blog
And that first sentence should not have a question mark at the end!
Logging in with Facebook... Michael, I think your observation about information is exactly correct? Could there be other cyclical/spiritual forces at work? I suspect there are. It's interesting to speculate about. There does seem to have been a big shift around A.D. 1, when we went from a mostly pagan world and entered the era of world religions and eventually world political movements. Could we be entering a new era once again? Again, it's fun to speculate...
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Apr 10, 2012