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A voice from the past; Part Two

Posted Sept. 18, 2013 by Jim Centi in Open

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commented on Sept. 30, 2013
by dustproduction

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16

My comments about Dustproduction were not responsive to a spiritual perspective. This post should explain why I occasionally deviate from the spiritual perspective of loving acceptance.

Currently, the dominant cultural paradigm is referred to by terms such as Scientific Materialism, Material Reductionism and Scientific Realism etc. There are subtle differences between these terms and space does not permit elaborating on each of them. For the sake of brevity I will refer to this current cultural paradigm as Scientific Materialism (SM). It is this cultural paradigm that holds spiritually in check and often mocks it. If required, I will distinguish between spirituality and religion.

Dr. Dean Radin is Chief Scientist at IONS. His books include “Entangled Minds”, Supernormal”, “The Noetic Universe” and “The Conscious Universe”. A common theme in his books is that many assumptions of SM are no longer valid. His first book mentioned advocates a paradigm shift away from SM and he refers to this paradigm shift as “Our New Reality”.

Dr. Amit Goswami is the professor emeritus of physics at the Institute of Theoretical Sciences at the University of Oregon. His book entitled “The Self-Aware Universe” presents a vigorous attack against SM, which he refers to as Material Realism. Entering his name in the search engine at IONS reveals that he is highly respected within IONS.

The following two paragraphs are excerpts from the introduction to his book:

“The negative influence of Material Realism on the quality of human life has been staggering. Material Realism poses a universe without any spiritual meaning: mechanical, empty and lonely.”

“As Morris Berman notes, this material realist world view condemned us to an alien world. Now we live as exiles in this alien land; who but an exile would risk destroying this beautiful earth with nuclear war and environmental pollution.”

SM considers our subjective experience to be nothing more than the interaction of atomic particles within the brain. This means that human subjective experiences such as compassion, altruism and a sense of justice have no intrinsic value as they represent nothing more than the random interaction of atomic particles within the brain. This has profound social implications.

A large segment of the ruling class accepts SM because they believe it reflects intellectual sophistication. Included in the ruling class are boardroom members of corporations, those who make political and economic decisions and uneducated media sources etc. Is it any wonder why, from one eclectic perspective, our world, to a degree, is fucked up?

I could go on, but what I've said in this post should justify my occasional departure from a loving spiritual perspective of acceptance in order to attack what I consider to be a cultural cancer……….dogmatic materialist perspectives.

A clear understanding of the nature of dogmatic materialism is appropriate before defending it with the loving acceptance of spirituality and mundane bickering over semantics.

  • 16 Comments  
  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Sep 30, 2013

    Since SM has resurfaced, "we" have indeed not moved on. My questions are still relevant here. Does the commenter wish to correct his comments?

  • mrmathew1963 Sep 20, 2013

    G'day Jim

    I haven't myself read or studied a lot about spirituality/religion myself as I was told from an early age no too so I can only give you my personal opinion not someone else's learned opinion on this matter.

    Yes I would say they all refer to the same thing.

    We have conscious states of time & space which seem to give us separateness & on the other hand we have conscious states of no time & space which of course give us oneness/connectedness. No time & space seem to be who we are before time & space were created for our souls to experience the knowing however because we have no time, time & space always existed so if it always existed so time & space can't be an illusion.

    This is saying the conscious state of no time didn't create conscious states of time but it had to have already existed because if you have no time when did the conscious state of time begin? It didn't begin anywhere it always was. Like I said, the real illusion is thinking we are just of this physicality & of time & space not that time & space is an illusion it's just not all what we are. All we are seeing is separateness but we know there is more however it doesn't make realities of time & space an illusion just a different part of consciousness I believe.

    We seem to have got it in our heads that separateness denotes an illusion but I don't think it is it's just another part of consciousness that has always existed. I think we have emotionally given ourselves this perception because of the oneness states we get into, these other oneness states are but other states of consciousness that's all. The reason most of us want to believe realities like this one are illusions is because of our emotional attachments, we wish to become detached because it's unsavoury to ourselves which we are attached too I believe.

    Yes this concept/theory goes against a lot of taught principles & practices but consciousness is consciousness so if we are going to separate one as an illusion & the other a reality where is the true conscious oneness in this? By looking at all consciousness as being different but still of oneness because it's still all of consciousness & looking at no part of consciousness as being an illusion is more of oneness than separating one reality form the other or time & space from no time & space. So how can time & space coexist with no time & space? But it can which we will find out latter when our deductive reasoning becomes more open & aware I believe. Spirituality is certainly a paradox only because we just don't possess the conscious understanding as yet to understand these paradox's.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Sep 20, 2013

    Re: We moved on quickly because the discussion changed in a direction which you were unable or unwilling to follow

    This is so disingenuous.


  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Sep 19, 2013

    @ Dustproduction,

    We moved on quickly because the discussion changed in a direction which you were unable or unwilling to follow because it did not resonate with your dogmatic materialistic perspectives.

    I withdraw my previous offer of a gamble and will only casually scan what you write and if your conditioning to criticize in an effort to validate your dogmatic materialistic perspectives continues, I will return to a previous position of completely ignoring anything you post.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Sep 19, 2013


    How did we move on so quickly here?
    I, for one, speaking from my heart, and without prepared text, will return to the matter under consideration, "SM considers our subjective experience to be nothing more than the interaction of atomic particles within the brain."

    A suggestion and a question was posed. Neither were even acknowledged, and so I will return to them.

    "Let's consider the follow abstract for a moment to clarify the problem:

    ABSTRACT: Do philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in the
    same way? In this article, we argue that they do not and that the philosophical concept of
    phenomenal consciousness does not coincide with the folk conception. We first offer
    experimental support for the hypothesis that philosophers and ordinary people conceive of
    subjective experience in markedly different ways. We then explore experimentally the folk
    conception, proposing that for the folk, subjective experience is closely linked to valence. We
    conclude by considering the implications of our findings for a central issue in the philosophy of
    mind, the hard problem of consciousness.

    http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/4888/1/Two_Conceptions_of_Subjective_Experience.pdf

    The question I will pose at this point is whether the commenter is holds a 'folk conception' of subjective experience?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Sep 19, 2013

    G'day mrmathew 1963

    I can see why you have a problem calling realities like this an illusion since everything that exists is a vibrative form of one kind of energy or another.

    Conceptualizing experiences of the true oneness state has caused me and others to claim that not only separateness, but also death, time, space and physical reality are illusions. Perhaps conceptualizing what we consider to be a top of the mountain experience is not conducive to human language.

    To clarify a point, do you believe that the state referred to as True Oneness, could be the same state that authors and teachers have referred to with terms such as Enlightenment, Universal Consciousness, Universal Mind, Unity Consciousness, The Great Awakening, One with the Universe, Buddha Consciousness etc. etc.

    Expressing only my opinion, based on what I have read and heard in lectures, these terms are referring to the same experience. Do you have an opinion about this?

  • mrmathew1963 Sep 19, 2013

    G'day Jim

    I have a problem in calling realities like this one an illusion, everything in existence is a vibrative energy form of one kind or another so it can't be a true illusion no matter what it is even thoughts exist but not in the way we think they have too. If I thought of a pink donkey flying through the air that also exists however certainly not in realities like this one but in different realities most probably non-physical so yes the pink donkey exists.

    The real illusion is thinking this physicality is all we are, we are everything we can ever think or dream of. Not one thought we have isn't of the universal consciousness & in my mind has always been however the physical experiences we are getting form these thoughts/feelings is new in my mind.

    In our true oneness state it's all knowing & awareness even the physical experiences before they occur are known which is all happening in a reality of no time & yes even space however when we enter as soul beings into realities of time & space these physical experiences that we can only know of & feel become real in a different ways, it's just a different way in experiencing the universal consciousness's knowing & awareness, it's not an illusion in my mind but I can see why some would think that of course.

    This of course is my theory & has absolutely nothing to do with human facts.

  • mrmathew1963 Sep 19, 2013

    G'day Dustproduction

    Don't take this personally but a lot of atheists don't seem to be able to think for themselves relying mostly on theories & speculations from various sources to prove a point but you are proving nothing as very few absolute facts are usually presented. How can we get absolute facts from something scientists can’t agree on that created everything we know & experience, I’m of course talking about the big bang that’s not a big bang & was but another theory anyway!!

    Atheism seems to be about others thinking for ourselves but spirituality is about thinking for oneself or it should be, yes religion is also similar to atheism like any ism for that matter as it thinks for you. All I can see what you are doing here Dustproduction is combining a jumbled mass of theories together to prove a point but of course it’s not proving a thing because it’s not of absolute facts so if it’s not about absolute facts why come across so strongly making out you are right over everybody else. Speculate by all means but don’t present theories as absolute facts.

    Yes I can see your point concerning religion/spirituality, it can be dominating & hypocritical but so is atheism. What are the primary concepts of atheisms wholly based on? The disbelief of a God/deity ever existing but can you prove without a doubt there is no God/deities? Of course you can’t so atheism is all about theories not facts at all but atheists demand facts from religious/spiritual people!!!!!

    Isms have a habit in giving us preconceived ideological modes of thought which of course stop us from knowing anything else beyond our ideological thought modes which of course hinders our awareness in knowing any more than our ism tells us too. The similarities between atheism & theism are uncanny but of course if you are of one of these isms you most probably can’t or won’t see this.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Sep 19, 2013

    @Dustproduction

    Your two quotes by Schopenhauer are very appropriate.

    They reveal that at one time in his life he experienced enlightenment or awakening. They also reveal that he was aware of the distinction between religion and spirituality.

    I recalled the quote from memory and did not recall who said it, but I believe that the essence of what he said was communicated.

    You have admitted on occasion that you have problems with these discussions and I have admitted that I have problems with your posting.

    If we are both willing to gamble that both our problems can possibly be resolved, I have a suggestion.

    My suggestion is that I re post my comments to mrmathew1963 and you comment upon it. Be totally honest and speak from your heart without using a scanner to copy the words of those you feel are experts.

    If you do not understand the metaphor of the rocket ship or feel it is nonsense say so, speaking from your heart. Incidentally, that metaphor and comments relative to the balancing act between knowing truth and yet continuing to function in the illusion of separateness assisted in resolving a conflict that has perturbed me for over 40 years.

    If you are willing to take the gamble, say so and I will re post my comments to Mathew.

    I must admit that that, due to our many exchanges over the years, I am somewhat reluctant to make this offer do to the fear that it may open the door to a can or worms that will resolve nothing. What we will really be gambling on is that one of us may willingly abandon our sense of self.......Jim


  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Sep 19, 2013

    Re: “It is beneficial that we be apprised early in life that it is a masquerade in which we find ourselves or there will be many things we do not understand.”

    At issue most of the time is the accuracy of what is being claimed. Like the old saying goes, we are not entitled to our own facts.
    The statement is set in quotation marks, and presented as the quote of a wise man.
    Who is the "wise man" that utter the phrase? Was it Arthur Schopenhauer?

    What Arthur Schopenhauer actually said was, "It is very necessary that a man should be apprised early in life that it is a masquerade in which he finds himself. For otherwise there are many things that he will fail to understand and put up with, nay, at which he will be completely puzzled…"

    While it is a small matter to quibble about an inaccuracy in a quotation, we are served another example of inaccuracy on the part of the commenter about what you are attempting to present as a quote from a "wise man," who is in fact an atheist, which creates confusion about the statements made, and the position taken about scientific materialism?
    There starts to be a credibility issue.
    Was the commenter aware that Schoenhauer was an atheist?*

    ("Although Schopenhauer was an atheist, he re-alized that his philosophy of denial had been part of several great religions; for example, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism." B. R. Hergenhahn (2008). An Introduction to the History of Psychology. Cengage Learning. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-495-50621-8.)

    I prefer this Schopenhauer quote, "It is natural to a man to believe what he wishes to be true, and to believe it because he wishes it."

    Or this one, “The world is my idea”: —this is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and knows, though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract consciousness. If he really does this, he has attained to philosophical wisdom. It then becomes clear and certain to him that what he knows is not a sun and an earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, a hand that feels an earth; that the world which surrounds him is there only as idea, i.e., only in relation to something else, the consciousness, which is himself.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Sep 19, 2013

    @ Dustproduction

    The exchange between Mathew and me moved this topic into a very personal spiritual realm, which was up one level from the original topic. I’m disappointed that you chose to ignore our exchange rather than participate with it......Jim

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Sep 18, 2013

    Let's tackle this debate head on: What is Scientific Materialism? There is more to it than the oversimplification the commenter has offered us.

    "In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter or energy; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance, and reality is identical with the actually occurring states of energy and matter.

    Many current and recent philosophers—e.g., Daniel Dennett, Willard Van Orman Quine, Donald Davidson, John Rogers Searle, and Jerry Fodor—operate within a broadly physicalist or materialist framework, producing rival accounts of how best to accommodate mind—functionalism, anomalous monism, identity theory, and so on.[10]
    Scientific 'Materialism' is often synonymous with, and has so far been described, as being a reductive materialism. In recent years, Paul and Patricia Churchland have advocated a radically contrasting position (at least, in regards to certain hypotheses); eliminativist materialism holds that some mental phenomena simply do not exist at all, and that talk of those mental phenomena reflects a totally spurious "folk psychology" and Introspection illusion. That is, an eliminative materialist might suggest that a concept like 'belief' simply has no basis in fact - the way folk science speaks of demon-caused illnesses. Reductive materialism being at one end of a continuum (our theories will reduce to facts) and eliminative materialism on the other (certain theories will need to be eliminated in light of new facts), Revisionary materialism is somewhere in the middle.[10]
    Some scientific materialists have been criticized, for example by Noam Chomsky, for failing to provide clear definitions for what constitutes matter, leaving the term 'materialism' without any definite meaning. Chomsky also states that since the concept of matter may be affected by new scientific discoveries, as has happened in the past, scientific materialists are being dogmatic in assuming the opposite.[11]

    10 ^ Jump up to: a b http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/materialism-eliminative/#SpeProFolPsy, by William Ramsey
    11 ^ Jump up to: a b Chomsky, Noam (2000) New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind

    But some modern day physicists and science writers have argued that scientific finds in physics such as quantum mechanics and chaos theory have disproven materialism.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Sep 18, 2013


    The first question that we might ask is whether we are given an accurate portrayal of "SM."
    To say, "SM considers our subjective experience to be nothing more than the interaction of atomic particles within the brain.." is an oversimplification. It might be said that it is the unqualified perception of SM by the commenter?
    It is important to identify this as an oversimplification since it supports the commenter's the next claim, "This means that human subjective experiences such as compassion, altruism and a sense of justice have no intrinsic value..." Is this an accurate statement about SM, or is it the narrow perspective of the commenter?

    I will argue that the first statement is an oversimplification and that the second statement is unsupported by the commented, and in fact is a false. What does the term, "subjective experience" refer to here. The commenter does not provide any insight into a definition except to say that he is referencing what 'scientific materialism' defines the term to mean. We might assume the commenter means "consciousness." Science has many theories about consciousness, not one. This is problematic; who speaks for SM?

    Let's consider the follow abstract for a moment to clarify the problem:

    ABSTRACT: Do philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in the
    same way? In this article, we argue that they do not and that the philosophical concept of
    phenomenal consciousness does not coincide with the folk conception. We first offer
    experimental support for the hypothesis that philosophers and ordinary people conceive of
    subjective experience in markedly different ways. We then explore experimentally the folk
    conception, proposing that for the folk, subjective experience is closely linked to valence. We
    conclude by considering the implications of our findings for a central issue in the philosophy of
    mind, the hard problem of consciousness.

    http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/4888/1/Two_Conceptions_of_Subjective_Experience.pdf

    The question I will pose at this point is whether the commenter is holds a 'folk conception' of subjective experience?

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Sep 18, 2013

    Having identified John Searle as a SM, I will use his observations about consciousness from his recent TEDxCERN talk.

    "Okay, now why then is this curious reluctance and curious hostility to consciousness? Well, I think it's a combination of two features of our intellectual culture that like to think they're opposing each other but in fact they share a common set of assumptions. One feature is the tradition of religious dualism: Consciousness is not a part of the physical world. It's a part of the spiritual world. It belongs to the soul, and the soul is not a part of the physical world. That's the tradition of God, the soul and immortality. There's another tradition that thinks it's opposed to this but accepts the worst assumption. That tradition thinks that we are heavy-duty scientific materialists: Consciousness is not a part of the physical world. Either it doesn't exist at all, or it's something else, a computer program or some damn fool thing, but in any case it's not part of science. And I used to get in an argument that really gave me a stomachache. Here's how it went. Science is objective, consciousness is subjective, therefore there cannot be a science of consciousness.Okay, so these twin traditions are paralyzing us. It's very hard to get out of these twin traditions. And I have only one real message in this lecture, and that is, consciousness is a biological phenomenon like photosynthesis, digestion, mitosis -- you know all the biological phenomena -- and once you accept that, most, though not all, of the hard problems about consciousness simply evaporate."

    He adds this. People always say consciousness is very hard to define. I think it's rather easy to define if you're not trying to give a scientific definition. We're not ready for a scientific definition, but here's a common-sense definition. Consciousness consists of all those states of feeling or sentience or awareness. It begins in the morning when you wake up from a dreamless sleep, and it goes on all day until you fall asleep or die or otherwise become unconscious. Dreams are a form of consciousness on this definition.
    Now, that's the common-sense definition. That's our target. If you're not talking about that, you're not talking about consciousness.

    Please note that he states, "all those states of feelings." If we need to demonstrate that science is not dismissive of compassion and altruism etc. there are volumes of research that I can quote.

    http://www.ninr.nih.gov/researchandfunding/scienceofcompassion

    also see empathy, psychopathology etc.


  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Sep 18, 2013

    mrmathew1963

    Thank you for your enlightened comments.

    A wise man once said “It is beneficial that we be apprised early in life that it is a masquerade in which we find ourselves or there will be many things we do not understand.”

    I, like you recognize that it is all a game, but continue to get emotionally involved occasionally.

    Most of my time is spent in the spiritual comfort of the silent mind, but there is that magnetic attraction to occasional discourse.

    A spiritual teacher that I respect used the analogy of a rocket ship to describe the experience after enlightenment. He said that we go up and up out of the magnetic attraction of the earth and reach that blessed state of awakening or enlightenment where there is the ecstasy of experiencing only oneness with the universe and absolute perfection.

    And then the rocket runs out of fuel and we plummet back to earth and the illusion of separateness consumes us once again. He claims that the trick is to know the truth of absolute perfection and oneness with the universe and then perfect a balancing act of knowing you are playing the game of illusion.

    A favorite quote of mine follows:

    “Nothing is more hidden from us than the illusion which lives with us day by day, and our greatest illusion is to believe that we are what we think ourselves to be.” [Amiel]

    Jim

  • mrmathew1963 Sep 18, 2013

    G'day Jim

    Fair enough, consumerist materialism is doing far more harm than any religious way of life has in human history, look at the impact to the environment for starters & this has been done in a very short period of time, scary stuff. The funny thing is I have come across a lot of atheist who go on about religion/spirituality being harmful in some way but these same people defend what consumerist materialism is doing, something isn't right here, there is no logics in this train of thought & atheists are supposed to be all about logics.

    The only time I have ostracised someone was when they were being overly deceptive otherwise I will accept them as being a part of me which is exactly what they are, even the deceptive people are a part of me however I suppose we do need to have some sort of boundaries or stop off point at times to keep our own sanity & positive vibrations balanced. If you have come to this point fair enough but try to remember everyone you come across is but another part of you.

    I was recently in a huge discussion that ran for over 700 replies with an atheist on the discussion of atheism as opposed to religion/spiritualism; he actually called a lot of scientists/psychoanalysts delusional when they opposed his views. I also found it funny that he was calling anything not of his beliefs/concepts delusional & on the other hand spiritually aware people were calling this reality an illusion, the similarities are uncanny. Anything that doesn’t depict our beliefs has to be delusional or of an illusion of course.

    This bloke was, at times, being very deceptive & at one time I did myself ignore him however because I could see myself within him I persisted which brought out a lot more than if I ignored him at the first sign of deception. I’m back after a long period away from IONS & I can’t see Dustproduction displaying any sort of deception except from within himself which is his own business.

    Take care Jim, it’s only a game but even knowing this I too still become emotionally involved which is all a part of the game!!

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