Dueling with Dualism: the forlorn quest for the immaterial soul

mikespenard
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Dueling with Dualism: the forlorn quest for the immaterial soul

Dueling with Dualism: the forlorn quest for the immaterial soul
http://www.memeoid.net/books/Spenard/Spenard-Dueling_with%20Dualism-DRAFT.pdf


My attempt at explaining, comprehensively, why it is highly unlikely for there to be souls, spirits, ghosts etc. of a non-physical nature. And a hint of an alternative way to think about the mind and self. For those interested in such topics.


Luminon
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 Quote:Descartes  and

 

Quote:
Descartes  and Hart  have  pumped  our  intuitions  by  asking  us  to
imagine ourselves without hands or arms or eyes or optic nerves or a
visual cortex, and to see  if we can conceive of ourselves, without  in-
troducing  contradiction,  as  still  being mindfully  conscious;  and  not
just similarly but  in  the same human way. We are  to  imagine all of our
physical  structures,  and  the  physical  information  processing  re-
moved,  and  then  to  determine  if we  can  still  imagine  ourselves  in
some possible world as retaining our consciousness and minds in the
same way as a physical human. But,  in attempting  to do  so, are we
really  imagining  all  physicality  removed when we  say we  can  con-
ceive  of  such  a  thing?  “Yes,  I  assuredly  can”,  one might  reply.  But
how do you know  that? How do you know  that you have  imagined
all  physicality  removed  in  the  required  detail,  and  paid  sufficient
scrutiny to all possible implications to avoid contradiction? Where are
our assurances?

The answer is - in meditation. In the deepest meditation, in samadhi, that the mentioned things happen. All the physical information processing is terminated. What happens then? The veil of physical illusion goes down. We don't retain the normal consciousness. We gain something much more, closer to omniscience. There border between 'me' and the outer world falls, being everything means knowing everything. Such a person in state of enlightenment does not have a cone of vision, even with closed eyes, everything is visible without obstacles. A person is one with people thousands of kilometers away. This is not imagination, this is a description how human soul works, brought to the western world by Paramhansa Yogananda and other people who experienced the same truth. 

Of course, there is the burden of proof. But there is also the reality. In reality, (almost) nobody can simply pour an experience from one head to another. If the controversial phenomenon takes place in a mind, then the owner of the mind is responsible for producing it. It's solely a technical problem. I can not think for you, neither can I meditate for you. Current state of technology doesn't allow it yet. I know it isn't fair, the burden of proof and so on, but this is how it is, it's a technical problem. It's your head, and I can't get into your head and meditate there for you. You have to do it instead. You have to expand your mind and therefore prove, that it can be expanded beyond the body. If your consciousness is not expanded, then of course, you have all logical justification for it, but still no expanded consciousness, because only you can do it. It is futile to write a book or research on this topic, without even trying to expand your consciousness. Strictly speaking, you did nothing, you only quoted Descartes and made a logical assumption on your unawareness. You will know nothing about the soul or spiritual world, until you actually make a contact with them, and that requires to do something else than empty logics. Instead of exercising the logics with incomplete data, you should expand your consciousness until you can actually gather an information about the spiritual world. Then you will have something substantial to write.

I don't mean it emotionally, I don't mean self-hypnosis, drugs, faith, or whatever. I mean expanding your perception into senses and mental functions you don't have yet, because they are still latent in you. I have met people, who pushed their limits much further than me. Be assured, it is possible.
Of course, I have some remarks on funny things like "isolated system (in our case the entire physical material
world)"
but perhaps later about that. I still have to read the second half.

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mikespenard
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"The answer is - in

"The answer is - in meditation. In the deepest meditation, in samadhi, that the mentioned things happen. All the physical information processing is terminated."

That's supposition. Simply saying "in meditation" provides us with no assurances, as it's introspective. Someone else in this forum could reply "not in meditation"--just as plainly--and it would be just as substantiated. You've simply put your name behind the advocacy of  “Yes,  I  assuredly  can”, in attempting  to imagine a mind without any physical aspects. You'll have to do better, namely addressing the point on 'color coding'. And flat out wrong in regard to physical information processing being terminated: the brain is still active and will respond to physical stimuli during meditation. As far as "Current state of technology doesn't allow it yet.", that's a cop out. You're issuing a 'promissory note' which we can never claim; and its intellectually dishonest and disingenuous (from what you've said I doubt you really expect us to ever cash it), since the doctrine of dualism puts it outside of any empirical research that any 'state of technology' could provide evidence on. The end of the essay addresses this implicitly.

 

"expanding your perception into senses and mental functions you don't have yet, because they are still latent in you."

That's a rather large assumption about me. Not to mention an Ad Hom.As you would put it: It is futile to write a reply on this topic, without even trying to expand your argument in a falsifiable way that rests on pragmatism rather then introspective assumptions. Strictly speaking, you did nothing, you only quoted me and made a logical assumption on your ignorance with the philosophy of mind.

 


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Welcome to the forum.Looks

Welcome to the forum.

Looks impressive. I might read it later.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


mikespenard
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Thanks Butters ;pSince a

Thanks Butters ;p

Since a story is a little more playful and enjoyable then a formal essay, I've also written a short story to supplement it:

http://www.memeoid.net/books/Spenard/AnEthicalDualema-roughdraft.pdf

It aims to show that, when it comes to ethics, we're all really materialists and behaviorists (in the Ryle-ian) sense. We all side with Clair, even the religious and New Age mystics. That speaks volumes I think.

I've obviously spent some time writing each of these, hopefully they can bring some developed content here.

 

 

 

 


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I don't know how many times

I just have to make sure if you understand this. If something should happen in your head, with your soul, it's your problem. Probably nobody can do it for you. And yet, you refuse to do anything without having an evidence in advance. The evidence, which only you can obtain by your own effort. The first step is up to you. It's your head, your question, your responsibility.
A scientific proof of the soul can be the least diffcultly done by people who experienced it, by their own act of pioneering effort, without assurances. The beginning is done by expanding your consciousness, not by any other method. Even a scientist should begin in this way.

mikespenard wrote:
That's supposition. Simply saying "in meditation" provides us with no assurances, as it's introspective. Someone else in this forum could reply "not in meditation"--just as plainly--and it would be just as substantiated.

That's doubful. Meditation has a substantial, measurable effect on the brain and consciousness. Contrary to the Western tradition, Eastern tradition was very succesful at expanding the consciousness. Eastern saints developed various techniques of meditation and yoga, which serve for the purpose you need. This knowledge was accustomed for Westerners by the work of people like Yogananda or Alice Bailey. You don't have to waste time with ignorance of western philosophers, your bibliography at the end of essay is full of them. There already is a much more succesful tradition. Get some practice, instead of empty theoretizing.

mikespenard wrote:
You'll have to do better, namely addressing the point on 'color coding'.
Why? It seems like ad hominem to me.
 Many have concluded that color properties are qualities of an inner
nature,  not  out  there  in  the  physical  world,  where  science  has  re-
moved color and left us with various wavelengths of electromagnetic
radiation, but  in here “in the eye of the beholder”.

I'm certainly not one of those "many". You seem to have some mysterious notion of dualism which is inherently mistaken and thus easy to disprove. There is no opposition of "matter and spirit", no such a false dichotomy, there is a rather smooth transition from more solid states of matter to less solid states of matter, divided by frequency gaps between their octaves. The matter is a concentrated energy vibrating in a certain frequency. For example, electrons are waves, and if there is a matter with higher frequency, their electrons-waves do not collide with each other.

mikespenard wrote:
As far as "Current state of technology doesn't allow it yet.", that's a cop out. You're issuing a 'promissory note' which we can never claim; and its intellectually dishonest and disingenuous (from what you've said I doubt you really expect us to ever cash it), since the doctrine of dualism puts it outside of any empirical research that any 'state of technology' could provide evidence on. The end of the essay addresses this implicitly.
I didn't say that the technology will never allow it. I don't stand for any doctrine of dualism which for some mysterious reason puts everything outside of an empirical research. I just hope that you don't think, that the science is always perfect and unchanging. There is a trend in culture to dismiss the existence of things, which are not yet understood. This can brainwash the culture into an illusion, that if the science doesn't have the answer today, there is no possible answer. The greatest technologic problem is, in my opinion, in sensitivity. Devices will have to detect electromagnetic radiation with a frequency greater for several octaves, than they can now. (octave = double, I guess) The devices will also have to find a very weak signal among many other interfering signals. It is a technical problem. Until that time, only a trained human body is able to detect certain phenomena. But the technology still advances to that time. There are already some technologies which can do the mentioned things, but they are not widely known. My colleagues had the luck to try some of them.

mikespenard wrote:
And flat out wrong in regard to physical information processing being terminated: the brain is still active and will respond to physical stimuli during meditation.
Well, not in samadhi. Many esoteric sources and eastern writers mention people who were in samadhi for decades, who then woke up without any signs of decay or starvation and continued in normal life. For example, the body of Yogananda himself has the same characteristics. All it's physical processes are suspended.
As for a common stimuli, that depends on the depth of meditation. It is usual that all feeling of having a body disappears and one exists only as a disembodied consciousness. It is not either all or nothing, either normal consciousness with brain fully active, or expanded consciousness with brain fully shut down. There are many degrees, many states of consciousness.

There are also some technical details. The greater control we have over the body, emotions and mind, the more is the way open to the experience of the soul.  A person is perfectly capable of living without a contact with soul. Billions of people don't need it at all. People can eat, sleep, work, learn, procreate and defecate without any help from the soul. The soul is not the mind, and it is active in only relatively few individuals. It is the source of things like creativity, geniality, selflessness, morality, leader's charisma, and so on. If there is any anomalous brain activity happening because of the soul contact, an average person will not have it and therefore scientists will not find it. You either have to find an extraordinary person to study, or become such a person by your effort.

Most of your rhetorical questions is either wrongly asked, or answered by esoteric theory. For example, you presume that the soul controls the body. This is not correct, except of relatively few people. You don't even know what the soul is, why is it there, and what is it good for. If you want to the medieval dualists among us, then you have success, but if you want to know what's really going on, there is a lot of reading ahead of you. If you want to know the definition of soul, read A Treatise on White Magic by Alice Bailey.

You seem to be one of these philosophers obsessed with language. This is a side-effect of having no experience of what dualists consider as "the other side". If a metaphysicist will say "energy", then another metaphysicist will know what he means, because they both can sense the "energy", and they also have intuition. So they know what they mean. Furthermore, even if you know the definition of energy, let's say heat or electricity, it will tell you nothing of how it is to get shocked or burnt, therefore the definition isn't a replacement for experience. A finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


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Not quite true, Luminon.The

Not quite true, Luminon.

The problem is not getting something to happen in my head. That happens all the time.

The problem you have is proving that something happened in your head and that it has a cause outside the brain processes and into the "supernatural".

To do that, a good start would be a positive definition of the supernatural. tell me what it is instead of what it isn't.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Quote:That's doubful.

Quote:
That's doubful. Meditation has a substantial, measurable effect on the brain and consciousness.

The psychologist David Homles has conducted tests to determine the effects of meditation, and the results show the effects to be equal to that of normal relaxation (such as listening to music). And that people who meditate cope with stress no better then those who do not (Holmes 1987). Additionally, surveys have been done of all the various empirical tests on meditation (which include Samadhi both by experts and non-experts):

 

 

As the survey of tests conducted show, the efficacy for meditation is commensurable to that of any normal person resting; in some cases worse. So, again, sorry but I find no reason to believe anything you are saying about meditation providing any kind of "substantial [and] measurable effect".

 

. . .

 

I had asked, "You'll have to do better, namely addressing the point on 'color coding'.

Quote:
Why? It seems like ad hominem to me.

Apparently you do not understand what an Ad Hom is: "replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument"

I'm clearly not attacking your person, but quite the opposite. Asking you to address the point on how 'color coding' shows that when one says they can conceive of non-physical experiences they are not being mindful of what biology is telling us. Here is a good example of an Ad Hom:

Quote:
You don't have to waste time with ignorance of western philosophers

And that is a conversation stopper. In one broad swoop you have relegated anything anyone in the west has said as valueless regardless of whether or not their arguments are valid in of themselves. Western traditions involve falsifiablity, reproducibility, citations and peer-review. And the results of such standards, methodology and philosophy have been clear and pronounced; the whole of modern medical science and technology stands on them. So I will have to pass up your offer and continue with traditions that can offer me more then empty words.

The rest of your ranting reply is of the same tone and substance and not worth replying to.


HisWillness
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mikespenard

mikespenard wrote:

Quote:
That's doubful. Meditation has a substantial, measurable effect on the brain and consciousness.

The psychologist David Homles has conducted tests to determine the effects of meditation, and the results show the effects to be equal to that of normal relaxation (such as listening to music). And that people who meditate cope with stress no better then those who do not (Holmes 1987). Additionally, surveys have been done of all the various empirical tests on meditation (which include Samadhi both by experts and non-experts):

Welcome, mike! I see you've met our resident woo-factory, Luminon. He comes up with some good ones. The study citation is very much appreciated.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


mikespenard
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HisWillness

HisWillness wrote:

mikespenard wrote:

Quote:
That's doubful. Meditation has a substantial, measurable effect on the brain and consciousness.

The psychologist David Homles has conducted tests to determine the effects of meditation, and the results show the effects to be equal to that of normal relaxation (such as listening to music). And that people who meditate cope with stress no better then those who do not (Holmes 1987). Additionally, surveys have been done of all the various empirical tests on meditation (which include Samadhi both by experts and non-experts):

Welcome, mike! I see you've met our resident woo-factory, Luminon. He comes up with some good ones. The study citation is very much appreciated.

 

Hi HW, thanks for the welcome. Ya, lucky me ;p  In one breath he says there is evidence for meditation having real effects, and in the next he denounces any philosophy that is based on empiricalism etc. (i.e. Western). And I assume hes from the West as well, by his own standards we should relegate his thoughts to the rubbish bin; done. The hypocrisy is comical. And you're quite welcome, I think were all tired of hardons like Luminon who add nothing but empty supposition to online forums, so using a few citations is only right. And if anyone is looking to find out more about meditation Susan Blackmore (she's an advocate and practitioner of meditation, but in a limited sense; i.e. she doesn't buy into phenomenaological & introspective methods of telling us what consciousness is or is not like Luminon does; so its very non-biased) has an excellent chapter on it in: http://www.amazon.com/Consciousness-Introduction-Susan-Blackmore/dp/019515343X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1250536632&sr=8-3

Anyhow, any feedback on the OP would be great Smiling

 


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jcgadfly wrote:Not quite

jcgadfly wrote:

Not quite true, Luminon.

The problem is not getting something to happen in my head. That happens all the time.

You would be very surprised. Many have conquered whole empires, but they didn't manage to tame their own mind Eye-wink

jcgadfly wrote:
The problem you have is proving that something happened in your head and that it has a cause outside the brain processes and into the "supernatural".
It's diffcult to prove anything on these days. Whatever I write, will be only a claim. You know, that experience is a strange thing. It can not be transferred, and yet, people would bet their lives on it.
Of course, there were events like that multiple people meditating in one room had exactly the same vision, or that people (including me) could "see" things with closed eyes, but that was rather ocassional. I'd certainly like to perform a few tests of such a kind with some friends, but I currently have none, I live in a secluded place. I plan to relocate and attend a college again, hopefully there will be someone of that kind I need.

jcgadfly wrote:
To do that, a good start would be a positive definition of the supernatural. tell me what it is instead of what it isn't.
OK, I will try. Read carefully with a lot of intuition and imagination, and if possible, don't take everything literally ad absurdum. It's only a provisory hypothesis for now.
All matter can be expressed as a wave, with a certain frequency. The invisible worlds, "supernatural" to us, are composed of matter which has much higher frequency of waves, than our dense matter. This allows the invisible worlds to pervade our world without colliding, but there are other kinds of interaction. I could continue with a heap of implications of what it means for us. Many of these implications can logically explain seemingly various paranormal phenomena, which otherwise have no unified logical explanation.

However, this topic is very vast and this is why I should write only what's necessary and what you ask about.

mikespenard wrote:


Quote:
That's doubful. Meditation has a substantial, measurable effect on the brain and consciousness.


The psychologist David Homles has conducted tests to determine the effects of meditation, and the results show the effects to be equal to that of normal relaxation (such as listening to music). And that people who meditate cope with stress no better then those who do not (Holmes 1987). Additionally, surveys have been done of all the various empirical tests on meditation (which include Samadhi both by experts and non-experts):

As the survey of tests conducted show, the efficacy for meditation is commensurable to that of any normal person resting; in some cases worse. So, again, sorry but I find no reason to believe anything you are saying about meditation providing any kind of "substantial [and] measurable effect".
That's not what my sources say. Meditation is not a simple thing. It must be done correctly, as everything. Most of people during "meditation" open their mind widely to various influences, emotions and thoughts. This is a relaxation. But the true art of meditation is to remove all physical, emotional and mental distractions, leaving the consciousness focused in a special way. This is not easy at all. Robert Allan Monroe founded his institute where he researched the focusing of the brain by exposing it to various sound frequencies. Every such a frequency corresponding to a specific state of consciousness (and brain wave signature) was marked as a "focus". And for a correct meditation the necessary focus is very high. It must be achieved either by training, or by that sound frequency, or both.
It is logical, that a bunch of people from the street will meditate incorrectly, while buddhistic monks will be really good at it. Some info can be found here, for example:
http://www.project-meditation.org/a_wim1/effects_of_meditation.html
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro99/web2/Benner.html (5th paragraph)
 

mikespenard wrote:


I had asked, "You'll have to do better, namely addressing the point on 'color coding'.

Quote:
Why? It seems like ad hominem to me.


Apparently you do not understand what an Ad Hom is: "replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument"

I'm clearly not attacking your person, but quite the opposite. Asking you to address the point on how 'color coding' shows that when one says they can conceive of non-physical experiences they are not being mindful of what biology is telling us. Here is a good example of an Ad Hom:

Maybe you overlooked this, I found this quote in your essay:
 Many have concluded that color properties are qualities of an inner
nature,  not  out  there  in  the  physical  world,  where  science  has  re-
moved color and left us with various wavelengths of electromagnetic
radiation, but  in here “in the eye of the beholder”.

I repeat, it seems like you included me into these "many", when you want from me the answer. I interpreted this as Ad hom. I'd never conclude such a thing by myself. I don't understand where the problem is. Not only the colors are expression of a frequency and wavelength, the whole world is. All the matter is a concentrated energy, vibrating at a certain rate, just like the light does. Of course we see it all in colors, not in Hertzes, that would be weird. The point is, that everything is vibration. Including the brain and consciousness.  I can certainly identify with that. For example, I have seen aura by myself and I know people who see it commonly. In this line of thought, I have to conclude, that the aura is a real phenomenon in out there the physical world, not an inner property "in the eye of beholder".
 

mikespenard wrote:
Quote:
You don't have to waste time with ignorance of western philosophers


And that is a conversation stopper. In one broad swoop you have relegated anything anyone in the west has said as valueless regardless of whether or not their arguments are valid in of themselves. Western traditions involve falsifiablity, reproducibility, citations and peer-review. And the results of such standards, methodology and philosophy have been clear and pronounced; the whole of modern medical science and technology stands on them. So I will have to pass up your offer and continue with traditions that can offer me more then empty words.

The rest of your ranting reply is of the same tone and substance and not worth replying to.

Well, and you relegated anything that anyone ever said in the East. I only say, that no philosophy education is complete without it's eastern counterpart! Is that true that you have such a great hole in your knowledge? How do you know then, that eastern philosophy is any worse than western? How do you know, that western philosophy is better? All right, I include a quote from the Paramhansa Yogananda's biography. I have bookmarked it earlier, in case it comes handy.

Yogananda wrote:
Ancient Hinduists knew well the atomic composition of matter. One of six systems of Hindu philosophy is vaisheshika, from the sanskrit root vishesha-, "atomic individuality". One of prominent interpreters of vaisheshika was Aulukja, also called Kannada, "the Eater of atoms", who was born about 2800 years ago. In April issue of the East-West magazine (1934) was the scientific knowledge of vaisheshika summed up like this:
"Although the modern 'atomic theory' generally considered as a new scientific discovery, it was explicated by Kannada, 'the eater of atoms'.  Sanskrit anu can be translated as 'atom', in the sense of the greek 'undivided' or indivisible. Further scientific explications of vaisheshika from the age before Christ include:
1. motion of needles towards magnet, 2. circulation of water in plants, 3. akasha, or ether,  inert and unstructured, as a basis for transmission of soft-material forces, 4. solar heat as a cause of all other forms of heat, 5. heat as a cause of molecular changes, 6. law of gravity caused by a quality, which is inherent to all terrestrial atoms and gives them their attracting force or the pull downwards, 7. kinetic nature of all energy; that consequences have always their roots in release of energy or redistribution of movement 8. universal decomposition by disintegration of atoms, 9. radiation of heat and light beams, infinitely small particles being cast by unimaginable speed in all directions (modern theory of cosmic beams), 10. relativity of time and space. Vaisheshika attributes the origin of world to atoms, eternal by their nature, i.e. to their greatest specialities. These atoms have reputedly a perpetual vibrational movement... Recent discovery, that atom is a miniature solar system, wouldn't be a new thing for the ancient vaisheshika philosophers; they reduced time on the backmost mathemathical term by description of the smallest unit of time (kala), as the time in which the atom moves through it's own spatial unit."


mikespenard wrote:

Hi HW, thanks for the welcome. Ya, lucky me ;p  In one breath he says there is evidence for meditation having real effects, and in the next he denounces any philosophy that is based on empiricalism etc. (i.e. Western).

It is not true that all western philosophy is based on empiricalism, and that all eastern philosophy is not based on it. In my opinion, you picked only those philosophers that suits you.

mikespenard wrote:
And I assume hes from the West as well, by his own standards we should relegate his thoughts to the rubbish bin; done. The hypocrisy is comical.
I think I have more practice in meditation, metaphysics and changing the consciousness than majority of people on this forum, including you. I'm not biased, I'm experienced. My experience confirms more of what eastern philosophers say, instead of the western. I've done everything necessary by myself, and this is the result. What did YOU do? If you think you will impress me as someone without practice, quoting people also without this practice, you're mistaken. Without practising the meditation and occultism, a significant part of philosophy is  mere speculation.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.