Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Apr 14, 2013 - 02:05am PT
Looking for examples of out-of-body experiences (OBEs) in blind or deaf persons, using a simple approach once explored by Richard Feynman, turns up an account that reads much like JL talking about his meditation practice:



Aha! A person who specializes in the very question Ed was asking.

Neurologically, OBEs are a form of bodily illusion arising from a temporary dissociation of visual and proprioceptive representations -- normally these are coordinated, so that one views the world, including one's body, from the perspective of one's own eyes, one's head. OBEs, as Henrik Ehrsson and his fellow researchers in Stockholm have elegantly shown, can be produced experimentally, by using simple equipment -- video goggles, mannequins, rubber arms, etc. -- to confuse one's visual input and one's proprioceptive input and create an uncanny sense of disembodiedness.


more direct


Geeesh! I don't like this kind of thing, but Largo might be interested to see the kind of beach-heads neuroscience is attempting to make in the subjective first-person realm.


Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Apr 14, 2013 - 03:21am PT
a human body is specifically evolved for long distance running and secondarily for agility and climbing...yet generally grossly underutilized for those purposes in our society except by a few, due to our overabundance of prosthetic machines and easy living

a human body is also a remarkable collection of sensitive sensory capabilities...generally grossly underutilized in our society for those purposes except by a few, due to blinding and filtering through the overwhelming cesspool of noise, poisons and contaminates that we carelessly create around us

a human body is also rather well adapted for manipulating tools...often well utilized in our society by a significant percentage of people

you will be awestruck if you happen to encounter the capabilities of someone who is highly developed in all three of these areas...but you are generally unlikely to find them anywhere near modern human habitats, due to their highly refined sense of aesthetics

we are honored on this thread by the presence of some who are worthy candidates to significant degrees

however it is a huge mistake of human hubris to assume that the body type of any particular species is a definitive determinant or specialization for consciousness, awareness, and intelligence

Credit: TomCochrane


Apr 14, 2013 - 11:36am PT
The tiger and a human being are not on the same level in consciousness and intelligence.

Human beings are far more advanced then animals in knowledge.

Knowledge is what separates animals from humans.

When humans act and remain in animalistic consciousness then they are no longer defined as a human being.

Then they are just polished animals .....


Apr 14, 2013 - 12:53pm PT
Largo up above: "When we learn to detach from qualia (internal and external stimulai) for long enough, the agency of consciousness is experienced as "empty," as no-thing or a non-thing, otherwise known as nothingness, or emptiness."

Um, . . . this might be worth a few minutes of further discussion.

For anything to be said to exist IN the universe, there needs to be perception (a process), a perceiver (an agency that's perceiving), and some thing that's perceived (the thing or object).

Consciousness is the union of the three. Without one, the other two cannot exist.

You can argue all you want for object permanence, but unless you can perceive it on the spot, you hardly have any basis for a claim that anything exists.

This idea of the necessary union of the three means that what we are conscious of is consciousness itself. We are not directly conscious of objects. We are conscious of our perceptions. Take away one of the elements of consciousness (perceived, perception, perceiver), and the other two wither or vanish.


Examples follow:

1. Lose yourself (agency) in reverie or in a flow experience, and you lose per se objects and hence the perception of them. The awareness of agency (you) appears to be "somewhere else" and objects and their perceptions disappear--sometimes for other perceptions and objects.

2. Unfocus your perceptions to allow for equal attention to all perceptual inputs (one could include thoughts here), and you lose track of objects and perceiver. (Try staring at something for quite a while.) Experience becomes something akin to viewing a screen of unrelated and undefined forms (raw sensations), just like a fresco painted onto a wall. "Objects" disappear because there is no interpretation going on. So, . . . no interpretation, no interpreter.

3. What about the last condition? How could there be nothing to perceive? We live in a universe with an infinite number of "things," don't we? If what you perceived was *only* your consciousness at play, pure and simple, then what objects would you say there were? Perception would be like being in a dream. What objects are there in a dream? None. No objects, no perception. No perception, no perceiver.

(Maybe you'd say when you dream, you're aware of a perceiver--you--and perceptions. Really? Look closely. Are you claiming that YOU were in the dream? Were you perceiving? Just what objects were you perceiving?)


When the mind relaxes in silence and without focus, it observes objects and is aware that it is observing them. But after a while, there is a wobbliness between observed and observer--almost a quick toggling back and forth--and the distinction between observed and observer falls away. Then there is only consciousness. But then comes a recognition that there is only consciousness, and with that recognition arises the observer. Simple consciousness is lost.

For me, the interesting thing is when observer and observed falls away, not only is "the thinking mind" silent, but some kind of automatic pilot takes over. The experience is immensely freeing, and any duality between "free will" and "determinism" becomes moot.

Strange stuff.

EDIT: I should admit that the mere words above present apparent contradictions. I say consciousness is the unification of the three elements, but I also say that when observer and observe disappear, there is pure consciousness. I might say that is instead pure awareness to provide a distinction, but I'm already over my limit of making distinctions. I'm weaving a theory and a set of beliefs, and I don't want to do that. All I'm really trying to do with this awkward post is to encourage people to look for themselves at their own consciousness in different states and ask themselves whether there is really any difference between one and another. What I'm seeing more and more is that WHAT THIS IS (reality) is consciousness.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 14, 2013 - 02:04pm PT
we associate consciousness with our ability to communicate our "inner state" in response to questions regarding that state. I'm just taking that one step further and saying consciousness is that ability

I would say that being able to reify experience into words and relate same to another is certainly a function of consciousness, but consciousness is not dependent on doing so (climbers out on a hard lead are conscious without saying a word, to themselves or the belayer). Nor, IME, is consciousness beholden to any specific function or output. This is looking at consciousness in terms of what is does, not what it is (empty).

IOWs, being able to communicate our inner state, or any damn thing, does not perforce source, evoke or produce the very isness of consciousness itself. That much said, consciousness is indistinguishable from content and function because the triad/trinity Mike and Ed just mentioned form a seamless whole.


Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 14, 2013 - 06:59pm PT
Thinking back to my experience on the beach of the hour and a half in which my mind was unable to form a verbal thought, yet I was totally aware of my surroundings, I would never say I was less conscious during that episode simply because I couldn't think in words. Rather, I was experiencing a different kind or level of consciousness.

I believe there are in fact many facets or levels to consciousness and that's why it's so hard to define. The human brain has evolved over a long period of time and actually contains many brains within one - simple reptilian and amphibian medula, evolved reptilian and lower mammal cerebellum, higher mammalian and primate cerebrum, and specifially genus homo (habilis, erectus, neanderal, sapiens) developments to the frontal lobes. Each one of these represents a different kind of consciousness, some as recently it seems, as the neanderthal sapiens divide 30,000 years ago.

Likewise, our consciousness depends on the development of our sensory organs and their input into the brain. Our sense of smell and that type of consciousness is less than a dog and our hearing less than a dolphin, yet over all we are more intelligent, though on those levels less conscious.

If nothing else, advanced meditation provides experiences of other parts of the brain and other/earlier types of consciousness than normal 21st century Homo sapiens consciousness. The question in my mind is whether such earlier states are superior or not, as claimed by the various meditation traditions. Because something requires more effort than ordinary life, doesn't necessarily mean that it is more advanced.

The fact that these evolutionarily earlier states of consciousness seem more profound or enable one to change one's habitual reactions more effectively than discursive methods doesn't necessarily mean they are superior states of consciousness, simply more effective states for certain things - self transcendance and self renewal. Likewise, the fact that the discursive mind is better for doing physics and philosophy doesn't mean that is a superior form of intelligence, simply a more effective one for certain things.

The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Apr 14, 2013 - 07:36pm PT
Really good points. Maybe none of these states is qualitatively better than the others, but having more context, so to speak, is better than not.


Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Apr 14, 2013 - 07:41pm PT
Likewise, the fact that the discursive mind is better for doing physics and philosophy doesn't mean that is a superior form of intelligence, simply a more effective one for certain things.

Thank you for putting this important point on the table!

One of my long term friends has an incredible ability for analyzing advanced mathematical and logical computer programming challenges. He claims there is a gradient scale ranging between visualizing symbolic concepts and geometric concepts, with himself operating near one end of the scale and me near the other end. Ive watched him resolve analytical challenges that baffled whole teams of brilliant engineers. However his ability to deal with many of life's ordinary events is essentially comical. How he survives from day to day is a mystery to those who know him. (Understanding my behavior is another related subject...)

Two of my friends are clearly the best software programmers at NASA, yet each brilliantly lives an ethical, sane and 'normal' life with their families and friends. We have had many long conversations that would be relevant to this thread.

Many humans tend to have high opinions of their intelligence (often least of all the smartest people). However deer, weasels, foxes, big cats, and various other creatures seem to survive primarily by their ability to outwit humans on a regular basis.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Apr 14, 2013 - 08:25pm PT
Credit: Ward Trotter

A photo of the Ratatouille I am cooking...in the early stages of development.

Aperitif: a proper Spanish Rioja

Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 14, 2013 - 11:12pm PT
Today's flowers
Credit: Dr. F.

Apr 15, 2013 - 12:23am PT
Or you lost some short-term memory? If I understand the sequence of events.

Apr 15, 2013 - 12:28am PT
The soul is always conscious.

When body parts don't work right then it seems like your unconscious because you can't work thru them like normal.

Knock yourself out and now you you have a defective brain.

The driver of the vehicle goes nowhere and there's no feedback from the computer brain when the vehicle computer fails.

Memory loss can also occur until proper power is restored.

Complete memory is lost if the vehicle computer is destroyed.

When human brain is destroyed the driver (soul) leaves and gets new body.

The gross materialist says only one life and that's it.

How stupid is that.

The gross materialist when he wears out his car purchases another one.

The driver remains the same.

Not that the gross materialist is the car.

Yet this is exactly the nonsense the gross materialists keeps telling us.

WE Are the Body.

Very poor science ......

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Apr 15, 2013 - 12:38am PT
On the other end of the spectrum, a Russian Orthodox priest once told me about being called to give last rites to a woman who was comatose. He began reading the service with absolutely no response. On a hunch, he decided to chant the liturgy as most Orthodox services are 95% chanting and singing. As he sang through it, the comatose woman began singing the responses. Soon after he finished, she died.

Yoga theory says of course that hearing is the last sense to go, something that western medical science has begun to verify both through people near death and people who can remember conversations medical professionals had while the patient was supposedly knocked out with anesthesia.

Apr 15, 2013 - 12:40am PT
memory has something to do with consciousness?

It sounds like you were conscious for a while after the knock, then may have lost consciousness after getting to the nurse, and the previous minutes never got into long-term memory. There is a guy who has no ability to form new long-term memories. He can be conscious but have no recollection of the recent past. Isn't that what you are describing? Your memories of the date and locker combination were already in storage, but the time between being on the field and getting to the nurse was lost. That could happen without even ever passing out.

Apr 15, 2013 - 12:50am PT
Yoga theory says of course that hearing is the last sense to go,

It's actually sound vibration.

Transcendental sound vibrations are transcendental to gross physical hearing .......

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Apr 15, 2013 - 01:19am PT
i never remember being absent minded

Credit: TomCochrane

Hebrews 1:3
Apr 15, 2013 - 09:55am PT
(Thru The Bible, by J. Vernon McGee, http://www.ttb.org/);

Thru The Bible, by J. Vernon McGee
Thru The Bible, by J. Vernon McGee
Credit: go-B
Thru The Bible, by J. Vernon McGee
Thru The Bible, by J. Vernon McGee
Credit: go-B
Thru The Bible, by J. Vernon McGee
Thru The Bible, by J. Vernon McGee
Credit: go-B
Thru The Bible, by J. Vernon McGee
Thru The Bible, by J. Vernon McGee
Credit: go-B
Thru The Bible, by J. Vernon McGee
Thru The Bible, by J. Vernon McGee
Credit: go-B

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

Revelation 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire...

...Turn-eth unto Jesus and be thou saveth!
For ye doeth not want-eth to be cast-eth unto that Jacuzzi!

Apr 15, 2013 - 10:51am PT
I didn't remember my combo... which tipped the good Coach Kaiser off that I wasn't "in my right mind"

In the spirit of facile long-distance retrograde explanations, perhaps a knock on the head discombobulated your alien implant. Or you hit the opposing lineman hard enough to dislodge his disguise and had to look at the red light.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Apr 15, 2013 - 11:32am PT
For anything to be said to exist IN the universe, there needs to be perception (a process), a perceiver (an agency that's perceiving), and some thing that's perceived (the thing or object).

What? We learn about new things in the universe all of the time. 2000 years ago, nobody knew about gamma or x-rays. They existed even though there was no "perceiver."

The existence of things is totally independent from the observer. I know that somebody will toss Schrodinger's cat out, but for all practical purposes, if nobody is around when a tree falls, there still IS a lot of noise.

Every microsecond of our lives, we and everything around us is pierced by radiation of some sort. Neutrino's can travel through the earth.

If nobody is in the forest, the tree still makes a sound. The universe does not exist solely for us as individuals. Anthropocentric notions are usually a load of crap and a waste of time.

Apr 15, 2013 - 11:49am PT
The universe does not exist solely for us as individuals.

Then what is there for?

Every living entity down to the single cell is living in the universe and is an individual.

The universe is full of "Life"

Without "Life" there's no universe.

So your statement is completely untrue .....
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