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 Post subject: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:47 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
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Location: Earth
I'm going back to uni this year and might major in Philosophy, if not history or political science (there is a major within pol sci called "peace and conflict studies" which I like the sound of).

But under the 'philosophy umbrella' I think the title that sums up my biggest interest is "consciousness studies". I'm also very interested in where philosophy intersects with quantum mechanics, but I just don't have the maths or physics background to delve that deeply from that point of view.

There have been plenty of people that have delved into 'consciousness studies', many of them neurologists, or neuro-psychiatrists such as Peter Fenwick, and Biologists like Rupert Sheldrake (author of "The science delusion - kind of an 'antidote' to Dawkins' 'God delusion', which challenges a lot of the dogma there seems to be the mainstream modern scientific view, largely thanks to people like Dawkins).

I was watching some videos on Youtube last night on Near death experiences and it's a fascinating topic, and certainly one way of approaching the big question of what consciousness actually is. Many of the 'mechanistic' biologists say that it is a purely brain oriented experience that happens at the moment of death or revival, but there have been some very strange cases where people have been clinically dead undergoing brain surgery and described accurate accounts of details of what went on during their surgery at times when their brain was completely inactive. They have also been able to see from different angles/viewpoints in the room, and 'hear' even while their ears were obstructed.

Rupert Sheldrake has spent many years as a biologist and is a strong proponent of a theory called "morphic resonance" where he suggests that consciousness behaves more like a field, like electro-magnetism, and he has conducted a number of pretty striking experiments on things like "the sense of being stared at" (in his book of the same name) And dogs knowing when their owners are coming home, and other studies of "telepathy".

I have wondered if this is true whether there might be a "consciousness particle" that we might discover one day. Maybe it will be the thing that one day enables us to build the 'star trek teleporter'. Scientists in Austria have managed to teleport light photons, so in theory it should be possible to one day teleport many different particles at once, and you might think the main stumbling block with teleporting a life form might be that "spark of life" - maybe that is this field of 'consciousness particles'.

There is also the whole area of Remote viewing, which was a method of "psychically" viewing remote situations under double blind conditions which the US military funded through Stanford for 20 years, (some have claimed they still use it), and the reason they started studying it was because the Soviets had already been doing it for a long time. They found the results to be solid enough that they kept funding it for all that time. Dr Hal Putoff ran the program and is on youtube, along with some of his viewers such as Ingo Swann and Joe McMoneagle. I heard one speaker say the chinese did a study where they put a chinese character in a sealed box with sensors and the remote viewer got the correct character and the sensors detected many thousands of photons in the box at the same time... suggesting that some part of the viewer was able to travel to the location.

Anybody looked into this?

Thoughts, ideas?


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:54 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:22 pm
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I have looked into all these issues at great length and depth. The length is chronological, because I am old, the depth. Because beneath the thin veneer of stoner dazzle there is interesting facts about human psychology, need for a Joseph Campbell style "mythic story" to our meaningless lives, and why and how pseudoscience exists and is feverishly defended, and of course real physics developments, which are often mangled hopelessly by the time they appear on wwww.indigochildrenstarwatcher.org

For example "teleported photons", is actually a related to quantum entanglement, where two photons maintain an FTL information exchange through measurement of one implying the state of the other entangled photon. Measuring the polarity of one, implies the opposing polarity of the other, meaning that we know something about a particle "instantly" (FTL). The difficulty in testing this has been sending two entangled particles enough distance, and being able to measure and track both. THIS was recently achieved. Now, is this "teleportation" ? I'd say not. Indigochildrenstarwatcher might say it is proof of potential FTL communication and THEREFORE psi powers. Nope.
Firstly, all entanglements are by nature "encrypted", random gibberish until somebody sends over the initial state data to correlate it. That is : the data arrives FTL but nobody can understand it. So FTL communication by entanglement is still very much pie in the sky.

But consider the human need, the desire for a headline that is metaphysical, or "other", which makes a measured entanglement into "teleportation" . Why do humans feel attracted to that. And consider it like a heroin addict, drawn to smell poppies.


Secondly: psi powers, remote viewing, etc.etc.
My Familly are mystics. Clairvoyants, palm readers, psychics. Etc. Of the old school kind. Gypsy palmists, spiritualist church leaders. I was raised "believing in this stuff".

Unfortunately there is a strong, strong STRONG desire and need in humans to want and believe in this stuff. I'd say the desire is as strong as for sex. Now consider how easily humans fall for the wrong partner because of the sexual imperitive. It's the same deal here.

Unfortunately, even when a person like me, raised by psychics, tutored in mysticism, but also a member of the magic circle and owner of many books on cold reading and mentalism. Even if I laid out exactly all the flaws, human, and experimental, in psychic phenomena. A person who needs to believe ... Will believe.

Here's the top remote viewer scoring a hit.
Quote:
A researcher, Rachel Curran, photographs six locations in the San Francisco Bay area and gives the photos to "a lawyer" who puts them in two sets of six numbered envelopes and locks them in a file cabinet. The locations are: a yacht marina, a rock quarry, a giant redwood tree, the Stanford University football stadium, the Palo Alto airport, and the Dumbarton bridge. When the test is to begin, the lawyer opens the file cabinet and tells us nobody had access but him. He rolls a die to select one of the six envelopes. He hands a numbered envelope, unopened, to Rachel. He leaves her and she opens the envelope, sees the pictures she took of the Dumbarton Bridge, and drives to that location. She is to be a "beacon" for the remote viewer. McMoneagle and May meet in May's office. We are to believe that May has not looked at the pictures and doesn't know where the other researcher is when Joe McMoneagle is trying to use his powers of remote viewing to see what the beacon is seeing. Joe draws pictures and talks out loud while Ed sits across the table from him, occasionally shoving a picture of Rachel toward him. All McMoneagle supposedly knows about Rachel's whereabouts is that she is somewhere in the Bay area. Here are Joe's psychic impressions:

half arch

something dark about it

darkness

a feeling she had to park somewhere and had to go through a tunnel or something, a walkway of some kind, an overpass

there's an abutment way up over her head

we have a garden, it's a formal garden

formal gardens get passed

open area in the center

trees

some kind of art work in the center

this art work is very bizarre, set in gravel, stone

One of these items is relevant: the abutment overhead. The rest have to be stretched quite a bit to fit the place: the viewing area for the Dumbarton bridge. Nevertheless, as Ed nears the location and is driven under an overpass, he declares: "Now I understand what I was getting. That's exactly what I was seeing." Rachel's looking out at the bay. There's no half arch, nothing dark about the place, she didn't have to park anywhere and go through any tunnels or walkways to get where she was (she drove right to the viewing area), there were no gardens or trees, no open area in the center, no art work, bizarre or otherwise. But for McMoneagle this was a bull's-eye!


any cold reading aficionado would recognise the list of impressions. These guys were just one of many thousands of commissions made during the cold war. The Russians were rumoured to be trying it, so the Americans tried it too. Although the russians later admitted it was all a cover for information gathered by plain old spying. Just like the cover stories for RADAR .

Of course, there are many things we don't know about the universe and how it works. Time and entropy may be illusory, humans may be figments of Brahmas Dream, all particles are very likely one particle.

However, one thing we can be sure of. Humans love to believe they are part of a mythic story, and will create reason after reason to support thir belief in a meaningful and ovverarching reason for their existence.
Perhaps ants do the same.

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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:39 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:32 pm
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Forge. wrote:
Sheldrake (author of "The science delusion - kind of an 'antidote' to Dawkins' 'God delusion', which challenges a lot of the dogma there seems to be the mainstream modern scientific view, largely thanks to people like Dawkins).


Sheldrake is a charlatan and snake oil salesman.

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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:43 pm 

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Super long OP.
Super long quote followed by super long reply.

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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:57 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:32 pm
Posts: 338
Angstrom wrote:
However, one thing we can be sure of. Humans love to believe they are part of a mythic story, and will create reason after reason to support thir belief in a meaningful and ovverarching reason for their existence.
Perhaps ants do the same.


Something to do with pattern recognition being an evolutionary advantage at one stage in our lives giving rise to seeing patterns where patterns do not exist. For example experiments with synchronicity (ie thinking about someone then the phone rings and it's them) have been found to be mainly the product of our minds. On the one instance that we think about someone and they ring we attach a value to it as opposed to the "9,999 billion" other chances where you're thinking of someone and they don't ring, or someone else rings - ie we discount those other ones as it doesn't fit in with the narrative we desire (ie that we have "special powers").

As Alan Moore says, it's comforting to think that we live in a world with some eternal and divine order because the reality that everything is chaotic is profoundly terrifying.

Clearly consciousness is not, as in John Searle's Chinese Room Test (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room) simply a set of procedural instructions (if inlounge(gun control) then :x else "it just works") - but is something intangible - we experience consciousness and, although we can have no proof, suspect that others around us experience consciousness also. Even Dawkins admits the existence of a soul.

But anyone who thinks that consciousness exists outside of a physical body clearly hasn't been around people with brain damage. It's clear when you see how brain damage affects people's personalities - what makes them, them has changed. That Soul is a byproduct, a ghost of the machine, that ceases to function on death.

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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:12 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 8:58 am
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Location: 50 miles north of SF
I am an RN, and in the last week I had 2 deaths of patients who were expected to die. I was very grateful to spend the last few hours with these people before they transcended to the next plane.... It is amazing how real the "soul" is (I am not religious), after 5 minutes of no heartbeat or brain activity, you are left with nothing more than a piece of meat. Watching the family dynamics, has left me with the resounding feeling that we truly are beings of love and light. It is so important to let go of all our bullshit, resentment, hostility, spite, and other issues.....the difference is so very real on the facial features of the deceased. On pt who died of chronic alcoholism was not at peace in the end...the facial features were of a frown, anguish, and scorn. Another pt who passed from a young age of 95, had done much of the internal work, his expression was a smile and of calm....
I also studied philosophy for my first degree....I know more about the nature of "things" having been involved in the world, than I do from acedemia....despite reading all the great literature, classic books and such

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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:23 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5581
Location: Earth
cmcpress wrote:
Forge. wrote:
Sheldrake (author of "The science delusion - kind of an 'antidote' to Dawkins' 'God delusion', which challenges a lot of the dogma there seems to be the mainstream modern scientific view, largely thanks to people like Dawkins).


Sheldrake is a charlatan and snake oil salesman.


way to totally dismiss all of the guy's many years of experience and background... this is exactly what tends to happens with these subjects... too weird, so just attack the guy....


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:51 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5581
Location: Earth
Angstrom - thanks for the long post....

Re: cold reading - I once stayed with a spiritual medium, he was a young guy and I went along to some of his "demos". I knew for a fact that he didn't know the people in the room and I watched him not just give the name but ADDRESS of a dead relative. I mean number and street name.

I've seen the Derryn Brown programs on this too, but in this instance I wondered if they might be essentially doing the same thign, but through very different methods. i.e. Derryn Brown is highly trained in looking for the cues etc and does it purely on that, while my friend was using some other sensory ability.

I don't know what it is, but this is exactly why it is so interesting and should be studied further.

Re; qantum entanglement vs teleportation - whichever it is, it is clearly incredibly weird and shows that we have so much to learn about this before we are even vaguely close to understanding it.

I have thought a lot about that human desire for meaning. Having lost my father, and a close childhood friend at an early age, I definitely have personal reasons to want there to be something. However, I definitely have no preconceived ideas of what that something is, and have always tended more towards reincarnation if anything. In fact I can even justify this thought if we are completely mechanistic. i.e. - if you accept that life is infinite, or at least virtually infinite, and that there is probably life throughout the universe, then assuming this existence or "conscious experience" happened randomly, then it's totally logical to assume it will happen randomly again at some point. Even if it's a million years later.

But I'm really not convinced by this mechanistic view. In fact, the reason I find Sheldrake's ideas so interesting is because he goes a lot further (based on his many years of observing many different life forms as a biologist, cmcpress ;-) ) and talks about all life forms having this morphogenetic field. Personally I like the theory that all consciousness is the same, and each life form is just a different type of receiver. i.e. consciousness is the "spark of life" but it is also the experiencer.

For example, how do you explain the amazingly complex behaviour of animals like insects that display extraordinary sentience in their actions but have no real brain to speak of? Certainly not to the extent of our brains. For me the purely mechanistic view is deeply unsatisfying here. If you think about the sentience involved in wasps impersonating ant larvae, and actually mimicking their scent so that their offspring will be nurtured by the ants, then have them as food when it hatches. Plus the adaptable behaviour of rebuilding their mud homes when they are altered that is clearly dependent on the type of damage specifically, indicating quite detailed thought processes.

Or golden orb spiders that build these incredible webs that are total feats of engineering, and how they learn almost instantly if they have built it too low over a path so that it keeps getting destroyed, so they just remake it a foot higher. This has happened outside my front door here in Qld. a number of times.

And the other point I frequently wonder about is the will or intention behind evolution. The idea that all of these complex behaviours are just products of pure chance tried out millions of times and only the successful ones are what remains is also deeply unsatisfying. Eg. Chameleons, or the Octopus that can actually change its outward appearance to specifically blend in with its surroundings. This behaviour just couldn't come from trial and error, because they can specifically blend to their changing environment, including new man made things that didn't exist during its evolution. That's an amazingly complex ability, not only in terms of the physical ability of changing colour and texture, but more impressively in knowing what to change to. I haven't found the 'mechanistic' explanation at all convincing here.

I have much more to say on this, but later....


Last edited by Forge. on Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:56 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5581
Location: Earth
cmcpress wrote:
But anyone who thinks that consciousness exists outside of a physical body clearly hasn't been around people with brain damage. It's clear when you see how brain damage affects people's personalities - what makes them, them has changed. That Soul is a byproduct, a ghost of the machine, that ceases to function on death.


I don't think this is a clear assumption to be made from this at all.

I think of it this way: the "soul" or at least "consciousness" isn't the personality per se. I think of it as more like light. Our brains are like prisms that reflect it. Our life experience and genetics form the shape of our brains, which results in our personality, but the consciousness is just the light shining into it, and it is completely neutral. All it does is provide the spark of life and observe. Although I think it is probably where we make choices too.

So in the case of brain damage, the spark of life is still keeping that person alive, but the prism is distorted resulting in those changes.


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:12 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5581
Location: Earth
aisling wrote:
I am an RN, and in the last week I had 2 deaths of patients who were expected to die. I was very grateful to spend the last few hours with these people before they transcended to the next plane.... It is amazing how real the "soul" is (I am not religious), after 5 minutes of no heartbeat or brain activity, you are left with nothing more than a piece of meat. Watching the family dynamics, has left me with the resounding feeling that we truly are beings of love and light. It is so important to let go of all our bullshit, resentment, hostility, spite, and other issues.....the difference is so very real on the facial features of the deceased. On pt who died of chronic alcoholism was not at peace in the end...the facial features were of a frown, anguish, and scorn. Another pt who passed from a young age of 95, had done much of the internal work, his expression was a smile and of calm....
I also studied philosophy for my first degree....I know more about the nature of "things" having been involved in the world, than I do from acedemia....despite reading all the great literature, classic books and such


Thanks for that. Yeah, I watched my father die in hospital and it is the weirdest thing to see. They look exactly the same, but the light has gone out.

I had an ear infection for the time he was dying, and so the next morning I had to go and sit in the doctors waiting room, and they had a radio playing. The Rolling Stones came on and my dad was a big fan, and I had this amazingly powerful image of him jumping about to it. It was so weird and real. He was like a flame on a candle, moving in exactly the same way, playing air guitar and so free and happy. He had sever arthritis and was in constant pain, so the feeling was of total relief that the pain was gone.

It was definitely interesting to see how many of the near death experiences lead to that feeling of 'love and light' that you mention - and relief and freedom, and everything being ok and people not wanting to come back but being forced to.

It makes you wonder why we would need to bother with this hard difficult bullshit of material or physical life. I just keep thinking that it's because we have to live a life in the "plane" of matter because there are certain things that can only be achieved in this version of reality. Many people talk about it being like a school, like we have to come here to learn all the lessons of life so we can grow.

One thing we clearly do have to be in the physical plane to do in all of it is to provide an opportunity for others to have the experience, by having children, and also by supporting others through their journey in other ways.

You are right about it being involved in the world as opposed to academia, no doubt, but I do think having the academic experience can help shape the way you interpret things that happen in the real world. But apart from that, I feel like I want an outlet for the constant deep thinking I do on these subjects. In our times more than ever people need a sense of meaning. We have given up on religion and god on the whole because we understand more about the mechanical side of life, but it's left a massive hole in the experience and we are left wandering around aimlessly thinking it's all completely pointless. Maybe it is, but I think it makes the journey a lot nicer to think there is more to it.


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:12 am 

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"any explanation would be disappointing, I think, compared to the continuing mystery."
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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:58 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:30 pm
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Location: Seattle
Angstrom and Eventful for the win!

All I have to say is I often wonder if stoner logic is going to set science back the way religion did?

An older ex super hot blond hippy friend of my moms posts all this shit on Facebook, every, single, day.
She's now a "scientist"........ She was a pagan witch too in the 70's and 80's, not surprisingly enough...


Last edited by Machinesworking on Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:11 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:30 pm
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Location: Seattle
Let me add to this a little:
The Raw Food movement is a great example. There are noticeable and obvious benefits from eating a raw food diet, I don't think it really can be argued against as far as being a really healthy way to live.

Watching Youtube videos of One of the founders of the modern Raw "movement", you'll have him throw in some seminar he's having the whole theory about mushrooms being from outer space, but to him he states it as fact.... Because he may have discovered one actual physical real world 'out of the normal line of thinking' thing to be true he whole heartedly swallows everything he hears about that comes from a source he likes...

Peddlers in the spiritual/who think science is rigid and 'wrong' about X, Y, or Z, almost to a person are not concerned with physical proof, and are never that concerned with blind studies and being cautious with there assumptions. It makes it hard to take anything they say, even if it might have some grain of truth, as having any merit.


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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:46 am 

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^ Explain Deja Vu.

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 Post subject: Re: What is consciousness? Near death Experiences and the soul.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:12 am 

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If you can't effort booze or dope (for consciousness development...)then you may be interested...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2UHLMVr4vg

Dirty Harry can't be wrong... Punk!

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