Vitalism

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Lily
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Vitalism

Post by Lily » 23 Mar 2011, 22:33

http://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/philip ... 0312528793
Philip on Facebook wrote:‘If one leaves aside the last three hundred years of historical experience as it unfolded in Europe and America, and examines the phenomenon of death and the doctrine of the soul in all its ramifications – Neoplatonic, Christian, dynastic-Egyptian, and so on, one finds repeatedly the idea that there is a light body, an entelechy that is somehow mixed up with the body during life and at death is involved in a crisis in which these two portions separate. One part loses its raison d’etre and falls into dissolution; metabolism stops. The other part goes we know not where. Perhaps nowhere if one believes it does not exist; but then one has the problem of trying to explain life (my emphasis - Lily). And, though science makes great claims and has done well at explaining simple atomic systems, the idea that science can make any statement about what life is or where it comes from is currently preposterous.’

Terence McKenna, New Maps of Hyperspace
Since I won't comment on this via FB:
sorry, but there is no problem explaining life from just atoms, or what life is, Philip.
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Re: Vitalism

Post by FoxPhantom » 24 Mar 2011, 18:03

Possible that the light body does not exist as atoms but rather energy?
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Re: Vitalism

Post by Lily » 24 Mar 2011, 18:11

"energy" is tied up in particles, or at least in certain properties of particles (such as temperature, excitation state) as well if I am informed correctly... these would have to be detectable, at least on death, wouldn't they?
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Re: Vitalism

Post by Hennie » 24 Mar 2011, 18:40

It is a cornerstone of modern physics that 90% or 95% of all matter exists in the form of "dark matter". The attributes of this "dark matter" are completely unknown. Leaves lots open to guessing, speculating etc. And that's exactly what scientists are doing.

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Re: Vitalism

Post by Jake » 25 Mar 2011, 01:18

And, though science makes great claims and has done well at explaining simple atomic systems, the idea that science can make any statement about what life is or where it comes from is currently preposterous.’

Terence McKenna, New Maps of Hyperspace
I truly love Terence McKenna's work, even (or sometimes especially) at its most bizarre. I think he was the grooviest radical psychonaut who ever lived.

But the idea of him calling ANY idea or notion "preposterous" is a laugh riot! McKenna knew a lot about a lot of things, especially about tripping on DMT, but he did not know a lot about certain basic scientific stuff.

For instance, he believed that the ancestors of modern humans were vegetarian and gender-egalitarian mute primates who learned to speak (and eventually evolved into us) by eating magic mushrooms they found growing in water buffalo poop 10,000 years ago. (http://www.zimbio.com/Terence+McKenna/a ... sychedelic)

Of course the big problem, or one of them anyway, with this "theory" is that anatomically modern homo sapiens had already been around for about 190,000 years at the time and behaviorally modern humans for at least 40,000. But hey it's still a fun story.

So for me personally, Terence McKenna is not someone I'd turn to for advice when examining what ideas about the origins of life and our species are more or less "preposterous."

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Re: Vitalism

Post by Hennie » 25 Mar 2011, 05:49

A scant argument. Even a fool can say things every know and then, that are worth thinking about.

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Re: Vitalism

Post by Explorer » 25 Mar 2011, 08:32

Hennie wrote:It is a cornerstone of modern physics that 90% or 95% of all matter exists in the form of "dark matter". The attributes of this "dark matter" are completely unknown. Leaves lots open to guessing, speculating etc. And that's exactly what scientists are doing.
You can't connect dots like that.

It is like seeing an unknown bird and say "It is unknown to me what a Dodo looks like, so that unknown bird must be a Dodo".
And concluding that we must have energy bodies 'unproven by science' is like concluding that the Dodo is not extinct after all, because you just experienced it, but it just can't be proven by science.

This is what 'spiritual people' do all the time. And to me that seems a sort of tunnel vision out of eagerness to have 'spiritual experiences'.
Which is a shame, because it is very well possible to have deep spiritual experiences and still honour truth and reality.
Philip wrote: ‘If one leaves aside the last three hundred years of historical experience as it unfolded in Europe and America,
And what if we don't? We live here and now, isn't that what druidry is about?
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Re: Vitalism

Post by Hennie » 25 Mar 2011, 08:41

There are millions of people who actually see Bodies of Light. That they are called insane (at the best) is no proof that what they experience is not actually true, though very uncommon.

EDIT : in fact there are psychiatrists who assume that these people somehow have an "extra sense" for these kind of observations.
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Re: Vitalism

Post by Explorer » 25 Mar 2011, 10:03

Hennie wrote:There are millions of people who actually see Bodies of Light. That they are called insane (at the best) is no proof that what they experience is not actually true, though very uncommon.
Seeing an unknown bird is not proof that it is not a Dodo either. But it is rather unlikely, don't you agree?

What is wrong with keeping spiritual experiences in the imaginary realm?
Imagination is perhaps the strongest source of spiritual power and meaning for us humans. It is the source of our creativity. In druidry terms you could see it as the cauldron that holds all the potential. Why can't we simply honour that without the urge to always drag it out into the dirt, trying to force it into physical existence.

I do understand the need, and there is certainly great power in combining the physical and the spiritual realms. I experience that often in rituals where wildlife seemingly starts participating. But doing it by spreading all kinds of vague nonsense that contradicts with what we know is not the best way in my opinion.

Dodo's don't exist in physical reality anymore, just like "energy bodies" do not exist in physical reality.
That doesn't have to stop us writing poems and songs about them, to be inspired and creative.
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Re: Vitalism

Post by Hennie » 25 Mar 2011, 11:08

The descriptions of Light-bodies by people who can see them are remarkably uniform.

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Re: Vitalism

Post by Jake » 25 Mar 2011, 14:15

Hennie wrote:Even a fool can say things every know and then, that are worth thinking about.
True enough. But surely that doesn't mean we have to spend all day listening to a fool babble, waiting for a pearl of wisdom to emerge. Or that we should accept everything a fool has to offer and repeat it as sacred dogma secure in the knowledge that there must be a gem or two in there among all the garbage.

We have to have some standard by which to judge the words of both the fool and the wise wo/man. I think reason is the best standard we've developed so far to separate foolishness from wisdom and the scientific method is currently the most objective tool around to judge the veracity of a given claim.


(PS - Terence McKenna was no fool and he said tons of stuff worth thinking about. But sometimes he fell flat on his face, usually when trying to contradict scientific knowledge with information revealed to him after ingesting massive amounts of hallucinogens. :) )
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Re: Vitalism

Post by Jake » 25 Mar 2011, 14:42

Nico wrote:You can't connect dots like that.

It is like seeing an unknown bird and say "It is unknown to me what a Dodo looks like, so that unknown bird must be a Dodo".
Or that it must not be a bird at all but a pixie. Or better yet it's my dead grand-uncle Harold come back to tell me to buy 5 lottery tickets next Thursday.
This is what 'spiritual people' do all the time. And to me that seems a sort of tunnel vision out of eagerness to have 'spiritual experiences'.
Which is a shame, because it is very well possible to have deep spiritual experiences and still honour truth and reality.
Well said. I might even say I doubt whether it's possible to have truly deep spiritual experiences that don't honor truth and reality.
Philip wrote: ‘If one leaves aside the last three hundred years of historical experience as it unfolded in Europe and America,
And what if we don't? We live here and now, isn't that what druidry is about?
Exactly. And why should we deliberately ignore post-Enlightenment thinking in favor of some twaddle from the Ancient Egyptians (or the Ancient Anybodies)? Why do we think they were so spiritually advanced? Because of their achievements in architecture? Does the way they organized their society or the manner in which they treated those "least among them" indicate a culture so much more spiritually or ethically refined than our own?

And any modern schoolchild who got decent marks in science class may be far more qualified to comment on the nature of reality than even the most educated Ancient Egyptian/Gnostic Christian/What-have-you.

Is it possible that the modern Western impulse to credit people who lived thousands of years ago with deeper "spiritual" knowledge than we have is a vestige of the Christian belief in the Fall of Man - that those who lived closer in time to the "Garden" were thus closer to "God"?
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Re: Vitalism

Post by cursuswalker » 25 Mar 2011, 17:00

Lily wrote:http://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/philip ... 0312528793
Philip on Facebook wrote:‘If one leaves aside the last three hundred years of historical experience as it unfolded in Europe and America, and examines the phenomenon of death and the doctrine of the soul in all its ramifications – Neoplatonic, Christian, dynastic-Egyptian, and so on, one finds repeatedly the idea that there is a light body, an entelechy that is somehow mixed up with the body during life and at death is involved in a crisis in which these two portions separate. One part loses its raison d’etre and falls into dissolution; metabolism stops. The other part goes we know not where. Perhaps nowhere if one believes it does not exist; but then one has the problem of trying to explain life (my emphasis - Lily). And, though science makes great claims and has done well at explaining simple atomic systems, the idea that science can make any statement about what life is or where it comes from is currently preposterous.’

Terence McKenna, New Maps of Hyperspace
Since I won't comment on this via FB:
sorry, but there is no problem explaining life from just atoms, or what life is, Philip.
The idea that dualism is incorrect is very far from being preposterous, as it is a simple fact that no one has been able to demonstrate the existence of mind outside a biological brain, while the scientific study of anbiogenesis (the origin of life) advances year by year.

A simplistic argument from incredulity is no argument at all <edit> in the face of evidence.
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Re: Vitalism

Post by cursuswalker » 25 Mar 2011, 18:01

Hennie wrote:The descriptions of Light-bodies by people who can see them are remarkably uniform.
As are the structures of their brains and eyes.
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Re: Vitalism

Post by Zylah » 25 Mar 2011, 19:52

Nico wrote:
Hennie wrote:It is a cornerstone of modern physics that 90% or 95% of all matter exists in the form of "dark matter". The attributes of this "dark matter" are completely unknown. Leaves lots open to guessing, speculating etc. And that's exactly what scientists are doing.
You can't connect dots like that.

It is like seeing an unknown bird and say "It is unknown to me what a Dodo looks like, so that unknown bird must be a Dodo".
I dunno, I think that analogy may be faulty. I think Hennie's quote here might be more like saying "It is unknown to me what that bird is, so it will be catalogued for now with all the other as-yet unknown birds." As far as I know, the category 'dark matter' is kind of a miscellaneous catch-all for what does not fit specific known parameters. It's science's way of separating what we do know from what we do not yet know, and won't until we find a way of qualifying it. But I may be putting my own slant on it.
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Re: Vitalism

Post by cursuswalker » 25 Mar 2011, 20:10

Zylah wrote:
Nico wrote:
Hennie wrote:It is a cornerstone of modern physics that 90% or 95% of all matter exists in the form of "dark matter". The attributes of this "dark matter" are completely unknown. Leaves lots open to guessing, speculating etc. And that's exactly what scientists are doing.
You can't connect dots like that.

It is like seeing an unknown bird and say "It is unknown to me what a Dodo looks like, so that unknown bird must be a Dodo".
I dunno, I think that analogy may be faulty. I think Hennie's quote here might be more like saying "It is unknown to me what that bird is, so it will be catalogued for now with all the other as-yet unknown birds." As far as I know, the category 'dark matter' is kind of a miscellaneous catch-all for what does not fit specific known parameters. It's science's way of separating what we do know from what we do not yet know, and won't until we find a way of qualifying it. But I may be putting my own slant on it.
Dark Matter is the name given for something that appears to exists, given certain properties of the Universe, but indeed which Science does not yet understand. That is one of the most positive features of Science: it admits when it does not know.

If only more people did that.
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Re: Vitalism

Post by Hennie » 25 Mar 2011, 20:15

@ cursus : the thesis of dark matter has many consequences on how "known science" operates.

Because existing theories conflicted with observations, dark matter was postulated. After that the assumption of dark matter influenced the theories of "what is known".

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Re: Vitalism

Post by Zylah » 25 Mar 2011, 20:35

cursuswalker wrote:Dark Matter is the name given for something that appears to exists, given certain properties of the Universe, but indeed which Science does not yet understand. That is one of the most positive features of Science: it admits when it does not know.

If only more people did that.
Yes, that's a better way of putting it. Dark matter does not respond to the tests we have available to us at this point in ways that provide specific information. It's a vast area of Unknown; which is automatically fascinating.

And I completely agree; admission of extant ignorance is safer as well as more honest. However, too many people still tend to find ignorance (and the unknown) more frightening than plausible bluffing; but then they're outraged to find someone out in a bluff. The message being, 'Lie to me, but lie so well you're never caught'. *sigh*

But now I'm off-topic!
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Re: Vitalism

Post by cursuswalker » 25 Mar 2011, 22:07

Zylah wrote:
cursuswalker wrote:Dark Matter is the name given for something that appears to exists, given certain properties of the Universe, but indeed which Science does not yet understand. That is one of the most positive features of Science: it admits when it does not know.

If only more people did that.
Yes, that's a better way of putting it. Dark matter does not respond to the tests we have available to us at this point in ways that provide specific information. It's a vast area of Unknown; which is automatically fascinating.

And I completely agree; admission of extant ignorance is safer as well as more honest. However, too many people still tend to find ignorance (and the unknown) more frightening than plausible bluffing; but then they're outraged to find someone out in a bluff. The message being, 'Lie to me, but lie so well you're never caught'. *sigh*

But now I'm off-topic!
It's still relevant. This is another issue around knowledge and how we claim to have it.....or not.
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Re: Vitalism

Post by Greygnome » 25 Mar 2011, 22:16

Just to say I think your picture is great, Cursuswalker!

Gnome

By the way, I read some Spinoza years ago, there was some idea about reality having one substance with two recognisable attributes, matter and mental. So, the material of a human and the idea of it. Perhaps if we have the idea of a light body, there might be a material of it? I know that's a bit spurious.

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