Apparitions, ghosts, and mediumistic communications

I have recently been asked by several people about my views on so-called apparitions, ghosts, and spirit communications through mediums. This is certainly a fascinating subject, so I think it is worthwhile to discuss how I map all this onto my philosophical views. I will organize the discussion below into five parts: a summary of my general philosophical views as they apply to this subject; what I think is true regarding the many theories advanced by those interested in the subject; what I think is not true; my own interpretation of the evidence; and then some final commentary.


My general philosophical views

As most of you know, I hold an Idealist stance: I believe the most logical and parsimonious interpretation of reality is that all of nature is in mind, including the human body; mind itself being the sole irreducible ontological primitive. I have argued elsewhere why I think there is sufficient empirical evidence to discard the notion that the brain somehow generates mind. As such, the dissolution of the body represents merely the dissolution of an image in mind, not of mind itself. Further, it is my position that space-time is a phenomenon of mind. Life in space-time, as such, is a kind of collective, consensus dream that multiple differentiated segments of the broader fabric of mind – that is, multiple individual conscious beings – partake in jointly, somewhat like in the movie Inception.

To me, the human body-brain system is the image of the process by means of which an individual conscious being partakes in the collective dream of space-time. Think of it in terms of some analogies: The image of the process of combustion is fire; the image of the process of blood coagulation is a clot; the image of the process of sudden high-energy electrical discharge is lightning. In an analogous way, I think of a live organic body as the image of the process of an individual consciousness partaking in the collective dream of space-time.

What I do believe regarding apparitions and mediumistic communication

Clearly, I believe that individual consciousness, in the form of a differentiated segment of the broader fabric of mind, persists upon physical death. Since the mind, as argued above, is not generated by the brain, the dissolution of the brain does not imply the end of mind. The dead body is merely an image that a particular segment of mind stopped imagining, and which persists as an 'echo' in the imagination of other segments of mind, as I discussed here. Further, I also think that an individual's consciousness does not dissolve into what many have come to call 'oceanic awareness,' but retains a form of differentiation upon physical death. I have argued this in my book Dreamed up Reality. Given all this, it is fair to say that I am an active proponent of what is commonly referred to as 'survival.'

Now, the most parsimonious notion is that there is only one, continuous fabric of mind, which differentiates itself so to create the appearance of individuality. I once tried to illustrate this with a topological  metaphor, which you can find here. This avoids the inelegant, unreasonable, and inflationary notion that mind arose irreducibly countless times in nature. In this context, all differentiated segments of the fabric of mind – each one corresponding to an individual conscious being – are fundamentally one; in the same way that all the waves of an ocean are fundamentally one ocean in movement. This entails a complete interconnectedness at the most fundamental level of reality. It is thus conceivable that, through the broader fabric of mind that unites them, an individual consciousness that is no longer imaging a body (that is, a deceased person) can resonate in some way with another individual consciousness that is alive in space-time. Michael Larkin illustrated this cogently here. To put it in simpler and more direct terms, I believe it to be conceivable that the consciousness of a 'dead person' can, in some form, communicate with the consciousness of someone alive. This can be called mediumism and, as such, I grant potential validity to mediumism.

What I do not believe regarding apparitions and mediumistic communication

I do not think that the consciousness of a dead person can inhabit or otherwise interact physically within space-time, even if temporarily, as in the traditional conception of ghosts. The reasons for this are various. First, as I said above, I think the partaking of consciousness in space-time is a process that has an image; an image which we call a physical body. To expect consciousness to partake in space-time without a correlated physical body is like expecting combustion without fire; or coagulation without clots. The body simply is the image of the partaking. Second, the idea that there is a more subtle but fully-functional 'copy' of a physical body (that is, a ghost) that survives death and can pop into, and interact physically within, space-time seems to render the physical body entirely redundant. If we fundamentally are immortal ghosts that can watch sunsets, push tables around, and communicate in regular language, all without a biological body, then why the heck do we have a body to begin with? The notion that nature would come up with such unfathomably contrived redundancy seems illogical and beyond inelegant to me.

Based on a similar rationale, I do not think that disembodied consciousnesses (that is, 'discarnate spirits', 'dead people,' whatever term you prefer) can think or communicate in language. Language represents a very particular, linear way to organize the flow of thoughts; that is, the flow of the oscillations of mind. When mind organizes itself so as to think in language, I believe the image of such organization is what we call a human brain. Note that I am not as much saying that 'a human brain is necessary for language' (though that is a useful metaphor) as I am saying that, when mind organizes itself to flow according to the modality we call language, the result of that organization is what we call a human brain. Do you see the subtle difference?

Therefore, if an individual consciousness is not organized in the form of a human brain, I do not think that its thoughts (that is, its oscillations) can be articulated in language form. By definition, a disembodied consciousness is not organized in that way, so I do not think that it can communicate in language either. Nor does it need language to convey meaning, since locality constraints are more-than-likely not in effect in the after-death state, as I discussed here.

The phenomenology reports of some very observant and thoughtful people who claim to have had contact with disembodied consciousnesses (like dead relatives or friends) seem quite consistent with the view I expressed above. Consider, for instance, Anita Moorjani's very observant and precise commentary on her Near-Death Experience below:


At the 30:48-minute mark she says: "I encountered my [deceased] father..." At first sight, many people would think of this as a meeting with the 'ghost' of a dead person. But then she immediately goes on to qualify that encounter as something much more like what I am describing above: "...because it was as though I became his essence; I understood him." Clearly, she didn't meet a ghost inhabiting space-time; she became the essence of her father, in the way differentiated consciousnesses can 'tap' into each other's oscillations through the broad fabric of mind. Such encounter does not take place in space-time; it does not take place within the consensus dream we call physical reality.

At the 43:06-minute mark she goes on to say: "It's interesting because there is no language, you don't speak. It's like you just understand; there's just the knowledge." Again, this is consistent with my postulate above that a disembodied consciousness will not 'think' in language form, but communicate by a direct, largely unfiltered sharing of mental contents. Overall, Anita's description of her NDE seems to be entirely and precisely consistent with my philosophical positions on the nature of reality.

My interpretation of the evidence

A source often cited for evidence regarding the reality of apparitions and survival is Erlendur Haraldsson, an Icelandic academic who has investigated cases of apparitions and communications with the dead for over 40 years now. Haraldsson has amassed a file with thousands of reports of such cases, and publishes extensively. Although, taken individually, each of Haraldsson's cases is nothing more than anecdotal evidence (as he acklowledges), taken together they are very indicative of a real phenomenon taking place.

Haraldsson published a book this year, called The Departed Among the Living, which provides a comprehensive overview of his life's work in the field. It is, one could say, Haraldsson's most definitive pronouncement on the matter thus far. The book is bursting full of testimonies of people who appeared to have seen, heard, felt, or otherwise perceived ghosts of the departed. Most of the cases occurred when the witnesses were awake and performing daily routines, so many of the apparitions are very suggestive of ghosts interacting physically within space-time, even if temporarily. What do I make of this, given what I said above?

Well, as it turns out, Haraldsson himself has already worded my own views on the subject in a very cogent way. I will take the liberty to quote a passage below under non-commercial, fair educational use provisions. The passage is the very opening of Chapter 10, titled Who or What is the Source of the Apparitional Experience? Therefore, there is no sense in which this quote can be taken out of context. The emphasis is mine:

"We have mentioned two possible explanations for apparitions. Either encounters with the dead are created by the minds of the perceivers, or the dead are making us aware of them by creating a sensory image in the mind of living observers ... If the latter theory/explanation is true, ... it is easiest to imagine that the deceased person creates a perception in the mind of the perceiver. We find a similar phenomenon in hypnotism ... the perception can be so real that the perceiver experiences it as an outer physical stimulus ... There can hence only be a cognitive or telepathic connection between the living and the dead. The deceased moulds [sic] the perception in the mind of the living person. It appears that such a perception can range from sensing an invisible presence ... to the perception of an outer physical reality just as with any other sensory perception we know of."

Clearly, Haraldsson is not granting reality to quasi-material, ghost-like bodies inhabiting and interacting in space-time. He is stating that the apparition events occur in the mind of the perceivers, not in the so-called 'outer world' of consensus space-time. In other words, the apparitions are not part of the collective dream of consensus reality. Indeed, Haraldsson cannot escape this conclusion, for his files contain cases that directly contradict the ghost interpretation of apparitions: cases where the dead appear as a photograph on a wall (case no. 5033), or as a ball of fire (case no. 7003), or even as a floating jacket without a body (case no. 2210). Naturally, as a scientist, he will not selectively ignore evidence that does not conform to a particular interpretation of the data; he will, instead, seek the most economical interpretation that fits all validated data.

In all fairness, Haraldsson does go on to discuss what he calls the "third explanation": that, and I quote, "the deceased person creates or materializes in some inexplicable way a physical form." (p. 69) But he quickly concedes that his entire set of data provides no support for this alternative, and that one has to go back to the 19th or early 20th centuries to find case reports that suggest it. He acknowledges that "such material phenomenon have [sic] rarely been seen around mediums since then." (p. 69) Candidly, he also acknowledges that reports from this early era are difficult to consider valid, because "later some unscrupulous men managed to produce what appeared to be similar perceptions with tricks alone." (p. 69) My own view is that, if one needs to go back to the turn of the 20th century to find evidence supportive of a certain interpretation of a phenomenon that is supposedly happening all the time, then one simply does not have a case for such an interpretation.

Here is what I think is going on in authentic cases of apparitions and mediumistic communications, where the information conveyed is verified to be veridical: There is indeed a contact with a disembodied consciousness, but not a manifestation of that disembodied consciousness as a ghost in consensus space-time. The communication happens as a resonance of thought through the very medium of mind, the most fundamental level of reality. It takes place outside of space-time and is not in the form of language. Instead, it is in the form of a direct sharing of pure subjective ideas and feelings, as Anita Moorjani described in the video above. It is only after the communication that the perceiver's consciousness retroactively translates the subjective meaning perceived into a storyline and images that make some sense according to ordinary concepts and language. This can take place, for instance, as an overlay of the image of a dead person onto the actual physical scenery, or as a semi-automatic wording of an otherwise wordless intuition or feeling. In both cases, in my view, it is the perceiver's mind that architects the storyline, while the underlying meaning, or impression, or intuition may indeed be an authentic, veridical communication.

That the unconscious mind can seamlessly and autonomously convert pure meaning into recognizable and concrete images and words is well-established in depth-psychology since the time of Freud and Jung. Such process is entirely transparent to egoic awareness, which thinks that the images, words, and storylines created are literally true, in the sense of being actual physical stimuli. To say that the psychologists who came up with such notions are unaware of how concretely the phenomenon is experienced is naive: Jung himself used to 'see' and 'hear' an autonomous psychic complex of his unconscious mind, which manifested to his ego as a winged being ('Philemon') who used to 'walk' with him in his garden while they 'talked.' (See Jung's biography Memories, Dreams, Reflections). Yet, despite his own dramatic experiences with apparitions and communications with the dead (one of which Haraldsson makes a point of recounting in his book), Jung did not think those apparitions where actual ghostly manifestations in consensus space-time.

I think that any valid communication with a disembodied consciousness must necessarily entail a subtle (perhaps practically imperceptible) shift in the state of consciousness of the witness, which renders her more open to psychic influences. In other words, it is the embodied consciousness that must temporarily and partially free itself from the locality constraints of space-time so to gain access to a frame of reality that allows for the communication. It is us, metaphorically speaking, that 'need to go to the dead;' not the dead to us. They cannot 'come to us' without our (unconscious) cooperation because being in space-time entails taking upon ourselves a number of constraints and 'filters' that insulate us from the broader reality of mind. It's like putting on blinders. We isolated ourselves in the process of partaking in the consensus dream, so we cannot expect those who left the dream to come to us on their own (unless, of course, they rejoin the dream, a process that has the image we call 'birth'). Expecting otherwise is, in my view, as unreasonable as someone who puts on earplugs and proceeds to complain to his wife that he cannot hear what she says. "Dear, would you please speak up? I can't hear you!"

Some further commentary

When discussing the potential validity of a reality that transcends the physical, scientists and philosophers are often restricted to evidence in the form of phenomenological reports. In other words, they have to rely on what people say. In such cases, it is a sound practice not to patronize the witness. After all, it is the witness who is in the best position to describe what she witnessed, not the researcher who is interviewing her. Fundamentalist materialist scientists often commit the fallacy of thinking they know better than the witness what was actually witnessed; which is, of course, preposterous.

But it is also a naive fallacy to believe the witness to be in the best position to interpret what was witnessed. Interpretation requires a capability to model, something that depends on a deep understanding of science and philosophy. It is unreasonable to expect ordinary witnesses to do that. The problem is that witnesses often pass interpretation for observation. For instance, when a witness says "I've seen a ghost!" that is already an interpretation. It is up to judicious researchers to look past the haze of interpretations and extract from the witness what was actually observed (for instance: "What I've actually seen was a very realistic image that corresponds precisely to the looks of a dead relative of mine"). It is also up to qualified people to then interpret those observations according to a broader and logical framework.

When communications with apparitions are validated as far as the veracity of the information received, some argue that the simplest explanation is simply to take everything at face value: that is, that ghosts are real. For instance, imagine that someone reports to have heard the ghost of her dead mom tell her where some lost keys were. Imagine also that, thereafter, the lost keys are found exactly where described by the supposed ghost. Then, some people claim that the simplest explanation is simply to acknowledge the reality of mom's ghost (It knew where the keys were!).

The notion that the simplest explanation of a phenomenon is what it appears to be at face value is preposterous; it entails an embrace of intellectual laziness and lousiness. If such notion were valid, we would still believe that the sun orbits the Earth; after all, every human being on the planet will see that as the face-value explanation for the day-and-night cycles we all witness every day. Take that for consensus!

You see, it is true that the simplest explanation is preferred in science. But what constitutes the simplest explanation has nothing to do with what the phenomenon appears to be at face value, or even with what relates best to familiar concepts and notions. The idea of a ghost interacting in space-time sounds very familiar, for it is a verbatim copy of another very familiar notion: people and their behavior. Yet that has nothing to do with simplicity in the way it is meant in science and philosophy.

The simplest explanation is that which requires the lowest possible number of new ontological assumptions, while still explaining the observations. Postulating autonomous ghosts in space-time requires a mind-boggling number of new ontological assumptions: some kind of matter that can't be detected by normal means; some kind of energy that can't be detected by normal means; some kind of biology that is unknown; contrived laws of organization that are yet unknown; means of interaction with regular matter that can't be detected by normal means; etc. It is ludicrous to claim this as the 'simplest' explanation for apparitions.

Yet, none of the power and meaning of apparitions or mediumistic communications is lost if the explanatory framework proposed above is correct. Consciousness and individuality still survive death; communications with the deceased are still possible; information can still be validly received and verified. These are the key elements of meaning for those inspired by cases of apparitions and mediumistic communications in their spiritual journeys. And they are all not only preserved, but validated through a logical and internally-consistent explanatory framework that does not need to invoke ghosts interacting physically in space-time.

Note: If you would like to discuss the ideas in this post with me, please leave a comment in the comment section below or post a message in the discussion board of this site. I participate actively in both places.

Copyright © 2012 by Bernardo Kastrup. All rights are reserved.

Comments

  1. If physical law is ontologically dependent on the will of our collective mind, does that not suggest the possibility that physical law can be "bent" (as in the Matrix, to make an analogy that I already hate myself for making) with some sufficiently powerful will put forth by that mind, or a part of it?

    It seems to me, purely anecdotally, that there do exist consistent reports of ghosts interacting, mostly very weakly with physical objects. IF that seems to be happening, and I concede right away that it may not be, I would suggest that we leave ourselves open to the idea that it may be very difficult, rather than impossible, for disembodied consciousness to do things like affect neutral objects or communicate with linear, human language.

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    1. Hi Geaf,
      I see your point. It is conceivable that such can be the case, but I personally find it very unlikely and somewhat inelegant. The regularities in the unfolding of mind (which we call the laws of physics) seem to carry a lot of momentum, making it very, very hard for anyone to 'change' it. We don't have a single confirmed instance of the laws of nature being violated locally, after all. Not sure why it would be easier for a disembodied consciousness, who is not even in the consensus dream of physical reality to begin with, to change how the dream unfolds!
      Also, the empirical evidence doesn't seem to require this leap. Haraldsson's data, comprising thousands of apparition reports collected since the early 70s, has no instance of physical manifestations. One has to go back over a century for that, which, in my mind, is a something to be at least extremely suspicious of.
      Cheers, B.

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    2. Hi Bernado, have you heard of this case: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjfZKAxiTuM&list=FL03y3VYm-mvHmt7xKe7pvjA&index=23&feature=plpp_video ?
      They made photos of an apparition that couldn't be explained by any known malfunction of the camera.

      Maybe ghosts can at least subtly rearrange some part of objective reality? They may just not be able to have a strong effect on "dense" physical reality.

      Really the notion of them not being able to physically manifes at all makes not much sense if don't presume some kind strange kind of dualism. Manifestation in mind will always be reflected in physical reality to some extent. Why not elsewhere than in the brain?

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    3. Hi Benjayk,
      I watched the video; interesting. Note, however, that the investigator leaves the door open for the whole thing having been somehow a manifestation of mind (see the segment from 13:10 onwards, for about half a minute). He talks about having seen nothing of what they photographed, and having photographed nothing of what they saw, which is not consistent with the manifestation of an objective 'ghost.' He also mentions that the phenomenon seemed correlated to Doris being drunk (an altered state of mind), which again brings the mind into the foreground. I'd go so far as to speculate that, if physical phenomena did happen in this case, they were perhaps caused by Doris herself in an altered state of mind, via psi effects (psychokinesis) that are allowed by the laws of nature but which we currently have not yet understood. The fact that the phenomenon 'followed Doris' from house to house seems suggestive of this explanation (i.e. the phenomenon was perhaps Doris herself!). I do find it more likely than the alternative; namely, that the consciousness of a dead person was manifesting physically in space-time; for Doris at least was already in space-time. I saw nothing in this case, in fact, that suggested a dead person was in anyway involved.
      All this said, I am more open-minded about this than the article suggests. I wrote this article mainly to address people who seem to take it for granted, quite too easily, that 'ghosts' can be trivially concluded from the data. I wanted to set the bar, as a starting point, at the postulate that physical manifestations from the dead do _not_ occur. And then, starting from this, we can look at the evidence and perhaps conclude something else, depending on the strength of the data. I'm open-minded to that, but I don't see sufficient evidence today.
      Note that in my book 'Meaning in Absurdity' I openly discuss the possible reality of absurd phenomena that are observed collectively, like UFOs. But my postulate there is that such absurd phenomena are mostly associated to a split-off reality (a split-off story line in the collective dream), and not to the consensus reality we ordinarily share. And those phenomena that leave physical traces behind perhaps have to do with a 'collision' or 'local shift' of storylines in the broader matrix of the imagination. All this, however, is only speculation.
      When it comes to what actually happens in our ordinary, consensus reality in space-time, there are strict rules of evidence. My aim with the post was to express my opinion that, because of these rules of evidence, we should set our starting point at the position that physical manifestations from the dead do not occur; there are no objective ghosts in space-time, but rather mental phenomena. If good data surfaces showing otherwise, I will be the first to look at it with an open mind!
      Gr, B.

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    4. Hi Bernado,
      I actually agree with you. My post was more to enrich your view, not contradict it.
      I think the usual notion of ghosts is quite naive and inaccurate and that it doesn't make sense that they really physically do cause have the apparent effects in the way many naively imagine.
      The video indeed is evidence in that direction.

      Nevertheless there seems to be a strange subtle kind of objective effect of ghost-like phenomena (which is still very different than the usual notion of quasi-physical ghosts or UFOs). Maybe they just have the ability to manifest unlikely, but physically possible coincidences (like a particular malfunction of the camera, or the formation of scars in the UFO cases).
      This would suggest, though, that the probabilities we work with in quantum mechanics are only accurate for microscopic objects (which is perfectly consistent with current data). Unlikely macro events may be much more common than the micro data suggests. That also fits well with your view of evolution, and with many different strange phenomena.
      Interstingly that may lead to natural laws that are *vastly* more complex than the ones today, because they must take into account not only the probabilities of independent events, but also the correlation between (relatively/apparently) independent events. Three dices may all be perfectly random when viewed seperately, but if one is 6 they other two may be as well. Current science seems to assume apriori that events are seperate or quasi-classical (even though QM already contradicts that, which is disregarded as a "special case").

      benjayk

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    5. Interesting comments, Benjayk. I think you have a point when bringing quantum probabilities into the discussion. Even if the probabilities are accurate, as far as current models, that does not prohibit the occurrence of _any_ event; even very unlikely and weird ones. It only precludes these unlikely events from happening frequently. Clearly, really weird phenomena associated to ghosts do not happen frequently. So you may have a point: there may be physical weirdness, yet without violating the regularities we know as the laws of physics.
      There is also a notion promoted by Jung and Wolfgang Pauli, called 'synchronicity,' which is very similar to something you alluded to above. Worth having a look.
      Neither QM nor synchronicity would require a ghost interacting in space-time, as you pointed out.
      Cheers, B.

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  2. I greatly enjoyed your article, Bernardo. It’s an interesting idea that being selective in filtering what is perceived of what CAN be perceived offers an evolutionary advantage; I don’t think I’d ever thought of that myself, although I was aware, of course, that filtering does take place, and of different possible perceptions in different organisms.

    One thing I thought was that there’s some evidence (a la Sheldrake) that some animals, e.g. dogs and maybe parrots, have a degree of ESP ability. If so, then that would seem to imply, based on your thesis, that there’s a selective advantage for them to have ESP. One can surely imagine circumstances where that might apply, e.g. in relocating lost offspring, or awareness of some distant source of food.

    That said, the same could apply to human beings, and there is anecdotal evidence that people in tribal societies may possess such capacities. Maybe that has become attenuated in developed societies because we have so many other means of communicating and determining things that conduce to our survival.

    Putting ESP aside, other organisms certainly seem to possess the ability to perceive things that we can’t, and not to be able to perceive things that we can. There seems to be little doubt that filters are in place, and the idea that “overload” would be evolutionarily disadvantageous seems sound enough to me.

    I found your speculations about the formation of an NKI think tank delightful--by the way, that could make for a marvellous sci-fi novel, always assuming it hasn’t already been done. What caused me to pause and think a little was the way you envisage marrying the study, development, and application of unusual states of consciousness, not just with a rigorous scientific approach, but with technology. I suppose that’s inevitable given your background and expertise, but something in me seemed to baulk at the notion.

    I suppose that could be a remnant of my cultural conditioning, or then again, it could be an intuitive sense that the two things may to a large extent interfere with each other’s mode of operation. The world of technology seems to be one of collapsed potential, and the world of the psyche, of open potential. Inevitably, once we try to explain and provide organising schemata and definitive proofs, etc., we collapse and limit potential to some degree.

    Rather than the think tank notion, I found myself back in nursery school where I can remember on the very first day being taught my prayers and how to make the sign of the cross. I can remember thinking how peculiar that was, and wondering what it meant and why we were doing it. What if, instead of the mumb-jumbo, I had been introduced from an early age to elementary techniques for opening up consciousness, taught as matter-of-factly as my letters and numbers? What kind of adult would a child educated like that become? It would surely influence ones’ approach to everything, not excluding science.

    Michael Larkin

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    1. Indeed, Michael! What if...
      Hey, you commented on the wrong article. You meant to comment on my earlier post ;-). But it's all good!
      Regarding science being associated with 'collapsing' possibilities... well, that is somewhat true, and also the price of that avenue of knowledge. But technology is a lot less plagued by paradigms than science. Technology is all about what works, not interpretations about what is allowed to be true. Technology is about opening up possibilities! :-)
      By the way, I realized I don't have a way to contact you. Feel free to use the 'contact me privately' link to the right so to stay in touch beyond specific comments on posts.
      Cheers, B.

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    2. Hi Bernardo,

      You are quite right--I inadvertently commented on the wrong post. I think I must have read your previous post, gone off and created my response, and by the time I'd come back, you had posted your present one. Without checking, I just posted at the end of that.

      Look--I intend continuing this conversation on your previous thread. I will C&P my post and your response over there, and carry on. I've done the copying already, so you can delete my post and your response if you wish, as it's doubtless screwing up the dialogue here.

      But first, I want to respond to this newest thread. I'll do that presently, hopefully in the right thread! :-)

      Michael Larkin

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  3. All good points.

    I could imagine it being easier for a disembodied consciousness to "swim against the current" because as you described in your fascinating paper on brain-as-filter, participation in the consensus dream would seem to carry with it a powerful illusion that nothing is possible or existent apart from it, which certainly could cripple any "natural" ability to poke and prod at the nature of it.

    I am close to people who have reported perceptions of inexplicable physical effects, but I don't think I can rule out that those were projected mentally as you suggest.

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    1. If all reality (including what we call'physical') is ultimately a projection of mind, it's not too difficult to see the mind being powerful enough to project images and words. The difference is that those projected images wouldn't be part of the shared storyline, but rather be a private experience of an individual. Yet, despite being private, they would still have all the concreteness and sense of reality of the consensus storyline, since both are just mind in action.
      All this said, I understand your points. Unlike you, I am not close to people who have had this kind of experiences, so you have an advantage there. No book or paper can replace the full nuance and subtlety of a person relating an experience eye-to-eye... or, better yet, of a direct experience.
      Cheers, B.

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  4. I entirely agree with your perspective, Bernardo. I have cringed at certain recent attempts to use NDEs to create a pseudoscience of "subtle bodies", "subtle energies" and various physically based ideas that create a massive complexity of issues which not only do a poor job explaining anything, but lead to requiring even more complexity and explanation (why is there such a redundant non-physical biology? Why can't such energies be detected if they can interact with the physical world? Why don't we simply see non-physical entities every single day by the thousands if they can interact with physical reality?). I have never bought into the idea of energy bodies. "Energy", is the ability to do work in the physical world.

    The classic "silver cord" is a good example of how people cling to describing the non-physical physically. The vast majority of people having an NDE do not see a silver cord. But some people continue to insist that such a thing must exist as a real piece of matter/energy that stretches somehow as one wanders from their body. It is far easier, and makes infinitely more sense that the silver cord is a mental representation of a connection to physical reality.

    People who have NDEs sometimes see themselves as balls of light, humanoid light beings, or having no substance at all. It is infinitely easier to just describe these things as a mental presentation that exists within mind, than to try to figure out what these different astral/etheric/mental/causal bodies are "made of" and what laws this "subtle energy" follows.

    We have to remember PK though. But if PK is real, even then no energy is transferred. One can supposedly create changes in physical matter retroactively and over vast distances with no inverse square law or other sign of energy transfer.

    http://thesurvivalindex.wordpress.com/

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    1. > It is far easier, and makes infinitely more sense that the
      > silver cord is a mental representation of a connection to
      > physical reality. People who have NDEs sometimes see
      > themselves as balls of light, humanoid light beings, or
      > having no substance at all. It is infinitely easier to just
      > describe these things as a mental presentation that exists
      > within mind, than to try to figure out what these different
      > astral/etheric/mental/causal bodies are "made of" and what
      > laws this "subtle energy" follows.

      Ditto! I also echo your views on my earlier NDE article:

      http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2012/03/ndes-and-after-life-reality.html

      All this said, I do see _symbolic_, _metaphorical_ reality in concepts such as silver cord, subtle body, etc. I think the problem arises when people mix up the symbolic language of the unconscious with the literal, logical language of the ego. I talk about it in a recent 'myth' I told here (which itself is symbolic!):

      http://www.bernardokastrup.com/2012/09/the-great-cosmic-split-myth.html

      In other words, it's fine to talk about symbols as _symbols_ (they are very real as such), but when one tries to defend the validity of symbols by arguing that they are somehow logical conclusions from empirical data, that's when the whole thing breaks. This represents an illegitimate attempt to hijack and misuse logic, rationality, and empiricism.

      Unfortunately, the case of fundamentalist skeptics gets strengthened each time a 'believer' gets caught in this confusion.

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  5. I entirely agree with your perspective, Bernardo. I have cringed at certain recent attempts to use NDEs to create a pseudoscience of "subtle bodies", "subtle energies" and various physically based ideas that create a massive complexity of issues which not only do a poor job explaining anything, but lead to requiring even more complexity and explanation (why is there such a redundant non-physical biology? Why can't such energies be detected if they can interact with the physical world? Why don't we simply see non-physical entities every single day by the thousands if they can interact with physical reality?). I have never bought into the idea of energy bodies. "Energy", is the ability to do work in the physical world.

    The classic "silver cord" is a good example of how people cling to describing the non-physical physically. The vast majority of people having an NDE do not see a silver cord. But some people continue to insist that such a thing must exist as a real piece of matter/energy that stretches somehow as one wanders from their body. It is far easier, and makes infinitely more sense that the silver cord is a mental representation of a connection to physical reality.

    People who have NDEs sometimes see themselves as balls of light, humanoid light beings, or having no substance at all. It is infinitely easier to just describe these things as a mental presentation that exists within mind, than to try to figure out what these different astral/etheric/mental/causal bodies are "made of" and what laws this "subtle energy" follows.

    We have to remember PK though. But if PK is real, even then no energy is transferred. One can supposedly create changes in physical matter retroactively and over vast distances with no inverse square law or other sign of energy transfer.

    http://thesurvivalindex.wordpress.com/

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  6. Bernardo,

    I don’t think I need reconfirm exhaustively that I am in general agreement with your flavour of Idealism, and have taken it very much to heart: so I won’t go there right now.

    That said, I do have places I want to go with it. I find your explanation of ghosts, apparitions and mediumship satisfying and parsimonious, but would point out, as I’m sure you’ll know even better than I do, that if consciousness is the primal ontological reality, then it has to be the bedrock for EVERYTHING.

    And, the one thing that perhaps above all else engages me, is evolution. Of all kinds--including what we are pleased to call “physical” and “spiritual”. I suppose at this point I could start off with some speculations of my own, but maybe it would be best to ask you if you could outline your own views on this. If you do not think it appropriate for this thread, then maybe you’d like to think about addressing it on some other occasion?

    Michael Larkin

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    1. I do feel that the universe has a telos -- a purpose -- which drives a kind of evolutionary process at all levels of reality. Darwinian evolution may be just a tiny subset of that (and valid as such). Going back to the membrane metaphor, I think the telos has to do with achieving a global degree of self-reflective awareness in the entire membrane, not only localized loops. In other words, maybe the end game is when the entire membrane folds in on itself like a single giant loop?

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  7. Hi Bernardo,

    I just recently discovered your work; I'm looking forward to reading your books. The way you synthesize these notions and so precisely flip assumptions is fantastic.

    This article hit on some points I've found to be very true experientially. I've encountered seemingly autonomous entities on a few occasions, under the influence of psilocybin. The most powerful experience I've had was especially interesting because of the entity's apparent interest in the experience of my body. Like in the example of Anita Moorjani's NDE account, this impression was non verbally inferred during the encounter. It's fun to speculate, in the context you've offered here, how a non-local consciousness would find the experience of a localized consciousness to be compelling and worth interacting with. The entity seemed to be experiencing itself through my body, and it seemed to be mutually ecstatic. Fascinating stuff...



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    1. Hi Justin,

      Thanks for the encouragement, it's very nice to hear it, really!
      The story you tell is fascinating. I have had deep transcendent experiences myself a few times (always with difficulty... I'm too grounded a person, which I often consider a weakness). But I never had a clear experience of an autonomous entity like you describe. I can only say, I envy you! :)

      > It's fun to speculate, in the context you've offered here,
      > how a non-local consciousness would find the experience of a
      > localized consciousness to be compelling and worth
      > interacting with.

      Precisely! You're hitting on a key point here. There would be no life as we know it -- no universe as we know it -- if it weren't the case that the experience of _limitation_ is conducive to insight and fascinating phenomenology. You see, if you were all that existed, the only way to experience something that felt like it is not yourself would be to take a _limited_ perspective _within yourself_, and _forget_ that you are the whole. I discuss this in my book 'Rationalist Spirituality.'

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  8. Bernardo, FallingLeaf from Skeptiko here, good to see your thoughts. I don't sadly have the time for a wide discussion but I have a question/comment: I am somewhat sympathtic to the general thrust of your idealism. I do, however, think it somewhat mechanical in flavour. You may argue that the metaphors* you employ might lean that way but the model isn't. But I would respond that you take a rather disembodied view of embodiment: the brain and the body as a whole partly brings consciousness into being but for me the important role of the body is not in *what* it does but *how* it does so. Examples of brain deficits that cause some major change in perception are all too abundant. Have you tried Merleau-Ponty or the phenomenologists? I think this lecture might give you a flavour of his ideas and I think your thinking would benefit from it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf9TtYdxy3A. I would recommend the philosophical work of embodiment in general.

    *On metaphors, I agree with Lakoff and Johnson and our very own Michael Larkin that ALL language is metaphorical.

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    1. Hey there FallingLeaf,

      Thanks for the video. I think I understand what you are trying to get at. So let me attempt to make explicit my thinking here:

      -- Unlike realists, I think the only reality is the reality of subjective perception. You could say I am a phenomenalist, in that regard. I do not think there is a world outside of mind which then modulates the perceptions of mind. To say that perceptions are wrong requires that 'outside world' as a reference; otherwise, one might ask: wrong with respect to what? So I am not saying that perceptions are wrong; I am just saying that there are certain ways to _interpret_ the meaning of perceptions that imply wrong postulates about the nature of reality;

      -- To say that everything is the flow of mind, and that there is no world outside of mind, does not entail that the flow of mind does not obey regularities that can be observed and modeled. We see phenomenological regularities all around us every day: objects fall; people can go through walls; etc. An _interpretation_ of perceptions may be wrong when it implies a violation of known regularities;

      -- My attempt is to offer an ontological framework onto which most of the regularities already observed by science (and called the 'laws of nature') can be transported and remain valid, even though their philosophical interpretation is very different: they now represent the regularities of the flow of mind, not the laws of an unprovable world outside of mind;

      -- When trying to capture regularities in a model, even a metaphorical one, it is impossible to avoid that it looks somewhat mechanical. The word 'mechanical' is itself an appeal to regularities!

      -- Yet, to say that mind obeys regularities is NOT to say that ALL that mind does is to obey regularities. For instance, my 'membrane' metaphor of mind leaves open how oscillations start in the membrane, and which of the many supported modes of oscillation actually happens. There is room there for meaning, telos, and freewill;

      -- As someone attempting to do philosophy, my key added-value is in pointing out how regularities can be interpreted and understood under a certain ontological framework. Whatever escapes regularities... well... there is little that can be said about it in philosophy (and much in mysticism through direct experience);

      -- Ultimately, I concur that all models are useless in the face of direct, personal experience. Models are mere 'copies' in mind of what is very meaningful regarding the nature of mind. But our culture is at a historical phase where everything needs to be made sense of in terms of models. This is the legacy of the Enlightenment;

      -- Therefore, my choice is to bite that bullet and say: "Fine; we need models then, even though _ultimately_ the truth escapes all modeling. I will thus do my very best to furnish the culture with models that are _closer_ to the truth than the silly alternatives currently promoted as the last word;"

      Cheers, Bernardo.

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    2. I meant to say above that "people canNOT go through walls"...

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    3. Bernardo, thanks very much for the reply. Despite quite some agreement between us both, I still don't think you got the main thrust of my post, though I admit I posted little more than a few sentences and a YouTube video - which I still recommend. Sadly, lack of time means I can't go as in-depth as I would like but I will add something more:

      My post was in response to your idea that the existence of ghosts/spirits would make the body unnecessary. My charge of mechanistic thinking against you was partly down to this view of the body*, which I find enormously truncated. Experience is related to, though not confined to the body, if all the body did was passively mediate experience then I would agree with you. But the body doesn't, it is an active participator in our experience, our metaphors, for instance, are bodily (as Lakoff & Johnson, mentioned above, have demonstrated in their classic 'Metaphors We Live By) and metaphors, I am far from alone in asserting, are how we understand the world. May I recommend this short SciAm article on embodied cognition as a good starting point?: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/11/04/a-brief-guide-to-embodied-cognition-why-you-are-not-your-brain/

      I hope this post is clearer and is a better basis for a conversation. Thanks, again, Bernardo.

      *as well as to the metaphors you employ but I accept your response about models above and would only add that - related to my point about metaphors - human culture has always needed models, it is not a way of thinking but is thinking itself.

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    4. Thanks for the link! I will have a look as soon as I get time, which shouldn't take long! Gr, B.

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  9. Hi Bernardo, thank you for this interesting article. If ghosts or spirits can't interact with the physical world does this mean that nobody hears our prayers and responds to them? I don't believe in the traditional kind of God, but I do believe in higher discarnate minds, a collective consciousness and some divine power that hopefully hears our prayers and guides our lives buy sending us synchronicities and little miracles. What is your opinion on this Bernardo, is there any point in praying and hoping for a miracle in one's life?

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    1. Hi. Well, since I think mind is fundamentally one continuous medium, I see no reason why prayers wouldn't be heard! Personally, I pray. The words just dress an inner intent/feeling that, in my view, propagates like waves through the medium of mind, going far beyond what we would call the consensus world of the physical. That disembodied consciousnesses can't manifest physically unless they are born says nothing about our ability to spread the contents of our minds far beyond the physical. The only thing might be that we may find it difficult to 'hear' an answer back unless we are very attuned to the impulses from the unconscious. That's where some form of faith comes in, for many. Cheers, B.

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  10. I tend to avoid being dogmatic about various psi phenomena because what you are really doing is applying Occam's razor to rule things out.

    A dreamed up reality might contain other, interesting things in addition to bodies. Maybe bits of mind can play at being embodied in an incomplete sort of way - coupling with the physical matter mental simulation in a variety of rough and ready ways!

    My feeling is that so much 'psi evidence' has been discarded because it didn't fit an abstract model (e.g. Christianity of physicalism), that we need to try to avoid that mistake!

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    1. I am actually sensitive to what you are saying, David. We have to be careful not to cut too deep. At the same time, the burden of evidence lies with the assertion that certain things that do not seem to fit known regularities or patterns exist. Otherwise, we enter the land of relativism: Everything anyone says should be seen to be equally valid, which is of course absurd and dangerous.
      In this article, I rather tried to set the bar at a point that I think is defensible based on current evidence. I am open-minded about going beyond it, but my attitude is to wait for the evidence.
      All this said, note that the entire discussion pertains to consensus space-time. __Consensus space-time is not the only reality playing out in the medium of mind__. That I know from direct experience. So yes, in other storylines playing out in mind (outside of consensus space-time) I can easily see mind playing with partial embodiment, discontinuities, different logic, etc. In consensus space-time, however, the consistency of certain phenomenological regularities (i.e. the 'laws of physics') seems to strong that we should ponder carefully before accepting claims that seem to violate it.
      Regarding Occam's razor, its indiscriminate application is silly. But it is still quite an useful rule-of-thumb, I think.
      Cheers, B.

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  11. Bernardo, You’ve said:

    “I do feel that the universe has a telos -- a purpose -- which drives a kind of evolutionary process at all levels of reality. Darwinian evolution may be just a tiny subset of that (and valid as such).”

    I suppose my point is that if the primary ontological reality is consciousness, to which space/time doesn’t apply (as Moorjani intimated), yet in aggregated localised self-aware consciousnesses, it becomes a pervading consensual agreement, I am left trying to figure out, insofar as possible, how evolution works.

    Ordinary phenomenality, which plays out in space/time, although ontologically subordinate, has its own kind of reality, or at least internal consistency. When we see those fossils in rocks many millions of years old, then within that subordinate reality, it isn’t a magic trick; very primitive organisms really were fossilised, and their forms really were fixed and not “forgotten”. But at that time, was there sufficiently developed self-awareness on earth to sustain such a consensual reality?

    I suppose one might argue that sufficiently advanced self-awareness might have existed at that time elsewhere in the universe, and somehow, that have helped sustain the consensual reality we see on earth, but that could be seen as just rolling back to some point, somewhen, before which there were only primitive forms of awareness. Which leads me to the tentative conclusion that fundamental consensual reality, which includes the laws of physics (which would have had to be in place to account for our present-day ability to discover and date fossils), could be created by mind which isn’t anywhere near as self-aware as, say, it is in human beings.

    I wonder if (so to speak) uncountable, non-folded-in-on-themselves undulations somehow manage to generate the consensual reality of space/time and all the laws of physics. Laws which extend into the realm of chemistry and biology, really. As if a stage were being set upon which self-reflective infolding could occur, and on which a higher level of consensual reality could be built, which was bounded by the constraints of the earlier consensual reality that did not depend on self-awareness. Space/time may be a subordinate reality, but is it in fact essential for All-There-Is to achieve the totality of its latent potential, its final giant "loop of loops" as you put it?

    As to Darwinian evolution, I think that might work to some degree at the micro-evolutionary level, but not at the macro-evolutionary level. I do think there needs to be some kind of conscious input to effect the quantum changes in organismal forms throughout time. We don’t see gradualism so much as punctuated equilibria, and phenomena like the Cambrian explosion. One wonders if what happens here is that some threshold is reached, at which a new level of consciousness can support a higher level of sophistication of consensual reality, as always, bounded within previous levels thereof.

    We do tend to think in terms of: not aware - aware - aware of awareness. But it may be a continuum with threshold points, and I can’t help but wonder whether *number* matters in evolutionary terms, which kind of ties in with Sheldrake’s idea of Morphic Resonance, where the more times a thing happens, the more likely it is to happen again, until eventually it becomes fixed as a Cosmic Habit. Add in some latent potential to operate outside current boundaries, and a theory of evolution not depending on blind chance perhaps becomes better explained.

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    1. Hi David,

      Always nice to comment on insightful and provocative observations... :) So here we go:

      > But at that time, was there sufficiently developed self
      > awareness on earth to sustain such a consensual reality?

      I don't think there was self-awareness at the time, in the sense of self-reflective awareness like you and I have. But I don't think self-reflective awareness is necessary for creating a consensus reality; only awareness. I am certain my cat has awareness (though not self-reflective awareness), and there are reasons to suppose even bacteria have it.

      > I wonder if (so to speak) uncountable, non-folded-in-on
      > themselves undulations somehow manage to generate the
      > consensual reality of space/time and all the laws of
      > physics.

      I think they do. Reality is simply the fluctuations of the medium of mind, whether they are folded in on themselves or not. The latter only entails self-reflective awareness: knowing that you know.

      You can even have individualized consciousness without a completely folded loop: all you need is some form of topological differentiation (a narrowing, a protrusion, a bend or twist, etc.) in the medium of mind that creates internal and idiosyncratic modes of oscillation differing from the broader 'membrane.'

      > punctuated equilibria, and phenomena like the Cambrian
      > explosion.

      Fluctuations in the system, like the cambrian explosion, can, _in principle_, but explained by vanilla systems theory. We know that dynamic systems can evolve through phases of relative calm, changing suddenly into highly chaotic phases, etc., all in a fully-deterministic, algorithmic way. We see that in e.g. cellular automata running in computers. All this said, I sympathize very much with your argument at an intuitive level...

      > Space/time may be a subordinate reality, but is it in fact
      > essential for All-There-Is to achieve the totality of its
      > latent potential, its final giant "loop of loops" as you put
      > it?

      I think the experience of limitation and localization is essential for the development of self-reflective awareness, yes. Try to imagine 'knowing that you know' if you do not think of yourself as an individual separate from a context... but I may be wrong.

      Going back to your point about the fossil record... I do think there was a consensus reality 4 billion years back, when life first emerged. From the point-of-view of its inhabitants, it may have looked like something completely different from what we imagine today. The fossil record would then simply be what the signs from that reality look like _within our consensus reality_.

      But note that all this can be said of the reality of cats, dogs, or any other species: from their point-of-view, reality may look very different than what it looks to us. A 'cat' may be simply how an entity in another reality (that of the cat's point-of-view) looks like within our consensus reality. ;)

      Cheers, B.

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    2. Bernardo, thanks for the reply - much food for thought and I may get back to you when I've reflected. BTW, "Mickjo" is for Michael Larkin, not David (Bailey?). I had to trim my post to fit into one (only 4096 characters allowed), and probably lost my signature.

      Michael Larkin

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    3. Sorry Michael, I had just replied to David and mixed it all up... :-)

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  12. Bernardo,

    I’m really glad you posted this. I saw some of the discussion on Skeptiko and read just enough to wonder where you were coming from. But I couldn’t bring myself to read the whole thread!

    To preface my remarks, let me say that I am very much in agreement with your overall view about the nature of reality, the oneness of all minds, the idea that this world is a collective dream, and the idea that the body is an image of the mind’s decision to participate in this dream. Those are all fundamental beliefs of mine.

    You also seem very sensitive to the relevant data here--of apparitions and mediumship. And I think your view preserves the really essential thing: there are discarnate minds that can genuinely communicate.

    However, I find myself unable to go all the way with you, in denying discarnate minds the ability of language and the ability to somehow influence the physical world. I suspect it’s a very complex matter, and that the incarnate perceiver of discarnate activity is probably usually in a sensitive state and is usually seeing something not quite physical. But I can’t go all the way to where you are.

    My sense, to be honest, is that you are being too driven by theoretical considerations--too “top-down” in your reasoning, if you know what I mean. For instance, referring to discarnate minds being able to see and influence the sensory world, you say, “then why the heck do we have a body to begin with? The notion that nature would come up with such unfathomably contrived redundancy seems illogical and beyond inelegant to me.”

    That sounds to me like from the start you’re heavily biased against the possibility based on theoretical considerations, before we ever get to the data. Yet why couldn’t there be more than one image of the mind’s decision to participate in this dream? Why couldn’t there be a variety of such images? For example, the decision of my mind to communicate with yours has many potential images: in-person, via phone, on this website, via email, on Skype, etc. You could say that’s inelegant, but it's obviously the way it is.

    Also, it seems odd to me to posit such a discontinuity between incarnate minds and discarnate minds. That strikes me as its own form of inelegance. Mind is mind, after all, on either side of the veil, to so speak. So why would its abilities be so radically different on the other side? Different, yes. But THAT different? I can, for instance, see the mind leaving the body and no longer needing language. But that is very different from it losing the ability altogether. Anita Moorjani’s testimony seems to me to support the “no longer need” position, yet it seems entirely mute on “no longer has the ability.”

    On that last point, I’m reading Chris Carter’s latest book now, and am encountering a number of examples where the transfer from the discarnate mind to the medium’s mind seems to clearly involve language, not just thought that the medium translates into language. In these cases, the medium clearly mishears a specific English word, mistaking it for a similar-sounding word (with a very different meaning), and then is apparently corrected by the discarnate mind.

    (Looks like I've been too wordy and I'll have to put the rest of my comments in another post. Sorry about that!)

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  13. (Overlong comment continued:)

    I was particularly struck by your comment near the end: “The simplest explanation is that which requires the lowest possible number of new ontological assumptions, while still explaining the observations.” I personally think that is an intellectually risky rule of thumb, because what it tends to lead to is a very conservative stance, that comes up with incredibly tortured and over-complex explanations of the observations in the interests of not adding new ontological assumptions. In practice, I think those two forms of simplicity--ontological simplicity and simplicity of explanation--often run smack into each other. As a result, the explanation that pulls all the data together in the simplest way often pushes us toward new ontological territory. I’m sure you are no stranger to that process.

    In practice, I do think your view preserves the really important things, like I said. In practice, I don’t know how different it would be than my view (which is a kind of blend of yours, along with granting the “dead” language ability and some ability to influence this world). But like I say, I just don’t find myself able to go all the way to your position. It is certainly food for thought, though, and I am sure it will be on my mind for years to come. Whenever I come across relevant data, I expect I will be seeing how it fits or doesn't fit your view.

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    1. Hi Robert,
      A long and thoughtful comment, thanks. I don't feel I need to comment much, since my agenda is not to convince you, but simply to offer you certain avenues of thought. I respect where you are coming from as far as the aspects of the article that you feel you can't take onboard. I think that's perfectly alright.
      I will just add this: Since I see life in consensus space-time as a kind of collective dream, I see death as a kind of waking-up from the dream. When we wake up from a nightly dream, we just wake-up... we no longer think about influencing the course of the dream. I imagine something similar happens when we die. We say "darn, of course... it was just a dream..." :-)
      You are correct that I have a certain theoretical inclination towards parsimonious, elegant, symmetric models. I can only say in my defense that symmetrical, elegant models have, historically, been shown to stand a higher chance of being correct, for reasons nobody knows! :-)
      And I also agree that the indiscriminate application of Occam's razor is silly and unhelpful. But I also think that there are situations where it is a very helpful rule-of-thumb.
      I am open-minded about the possibility that disembodied entities may exert some kind of physical influence in the world. But because of theoretical considerations, I would only entertain that in view of solid data pointing to it. I don't see that data today, as I tried to illustrate with my quote of Haraldsson (who also doesn't see indications of that in his own case files). And data needs to be more than anecdotal... it needs to be corroborated in some way. There are rules of evidence.
      Anyway... It is great that you are critical to take certain things onboard and reject others! I value that.
      Cheers, Bernardo.

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  14. Thank you very much for your response. After I pounded out my long piece, I felt like I had climbed onto my high horse a bit--one of those habits that dies hard!

    Actually, your preference for parsimonious, elegant, symmetrical models is one thing I really appreciate about your thinking. And I basically agree with you about Occam's razor. Though I didn't say it, I had assumed you had thought that one through.

    I would distinguish, though, between parsimony and elegance seen in terms of theoretical unity/simplicity and seen in terms of adding fewer new ontological assumptions. I think the two often clash.

    One other thought: I think the model you have chosen, a monistic idealism, automatically opens the door to different levels of collective dreaming and therefore different levels of dream-stuff. The logical distance between the ultimate unified state and the nature of this physical world naturally suggests the possibility of gradations between the two. And the mind-created nature of this physical dream naturally suggests the ability of minds to create those gradations.

    So, theoretically, I feel you've already opened the door to the sorts of things you are resisting here, yet which are so amply represented in the world's esoteric traditions and, it seems to me, in the data of paranormal phenomena (though I know you disagree there).

    I'm just throwing out some thoughts. I really appreciated your kind response and I'm very happy to leave it here.

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    1. Hi there Robert,

      > I think the model you have chosen, a monistic idealism,
      > automatically opens the door to different levels of
      > collective dreaming and therefore different levels of dream
      > stuff. The logical distance between the ultimate unified
      > state and the nature of this physical world naturally
      > suggests the possibility of gradations between the two. And
      > the mind-created nature of this physical dream naturally
      > suggests the ability of minds to create those gradations.

      Yes, I agree with everything you said above.

      > So, theoretically, I feel you've already opened the door to
      > the sorts of things you are resisting here

      Yes, I concede this.

      > in the data of paranormal phenomena (though I know you
      > disagree there)

      You're correct that I disagree on the data part; for now!

      Cheers! B.

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  15. Hello Bernard. I agree that considering the empirical evidence, the most likely cause is a form of afterlife, but I disagree with your interpretation idealistic about ghosts and mediumship.

    Your first show your general position and then pass to analyze the evidence, but I think this is a mistake, because you first have to analyze the evidence and then see to that general position the evidence leads us, but this is a mistake that disappears because you recognize that evidence may force us to change our general position.

    You do not see that there is sufficient evidence to accept the existence of objective and material ghosts, but I do see them. Now, the Society for Psychical Research addressed the issue of the apparitions and went on to establish various types of apparitions: apparitions of inert objects, apparitions of the living, apparitions of dying, apparitions of recent deceased and apparitions of deceased who have been long enough dead.

    The complexity of these phenomena is so high that probably not all apparitions of the same nature and therefore not all be explained by a single hypothesis. Probably most of the apparitions of the dead that have been long enough dead are vestiges, objective remnants of events that occurred at the site, but not spirits of the dead, because these apparitions do not usually interact with anyone, are repeated over and usually seen by anyone. Some apparitions of recent deceased are probably mental projections of the deceased, as you have stated, because the apparition comes in a dream or it is seen only by a person even when there others in the site. But others apparitions of deceased are probably objective apparitions of spirits of deceased, because the apparitions block light sources causing shadows, bring messages to their loved ones alive and can be seen by several people. A stronger argument in favor of the objectivity of the apparitions is found in the apparitions of the dying and the living, specially the reciprocal apparitions, where someone is aware of projecting to a place and in the same place independently another person perceived an apparition, it may look light ball or person projected. So, we gather in a phenomenon extracorporeal experience and the apparition of someone alive: if extracorporeal experience only were a hallucination or dramatized clairvoyance, then the second person would not have to perceive anything strange in the place where the other individual projects, and if the apparition of the living is a mental projection, then the projected subject would not necessarily feel located there.

    That is, while there are some cases where the most plausible interpretation is that the apparitions are mental projections, there are other cases where it is infinitely more likely invoked on objective apparitions of living or deceased.
    So consider that some apparitions are objective. Call for convenience "astral body" to that object appears. Well, not only anecdotal evidence of the existence of the astral body, but also experimental evidence. For example: Durville experiments on the externalization of sensibility and motor unfortunately largely forgotten today:

    http://carlossalvarado.edublogs.org/2012/07/04/historical-perspectives-on-out-of-body-experiences-and-related-phenomena-ii-hector-durville-and-phantoms-of-the-living/

    And Karlis Osis experiments:

    http://www.alextanous.org/sites/default/files/172_370278175.pdf

    Specifically in the Karlis Osis experiments with the detector and the psychic Tanous has been reached postulate a combination of ESP and PK to interpret the results without having to accept the existence of the astral body. But this is not serious! Is clearly more parsimonious to interpret the results accepting the objective existence of the astral body as a vehicle of the psyche.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      > because you first have to analyze the evidence and then see to
      > that general position the evidence leads us

      I agree with this. In a recent debate in a forum, a proponent of the ghost-hypothesis indicated Haraldsson as the source for evidence in favor of that hypothesis. So I took a Saturday and read two books by Haraldsson, just to conclude that Haraldsson's evidence was more aligned with the mental communication hypothesis, as Haraldsson himself states. So I felt I was approaching the issue from the data too.

      > The complexity of these phenomena is so high that probably
      > not all apparitions of the same nature and therefore not all
      > be explained by a single hypothesis.

      I concur.

      > if extracorporeal experience only were a hallucination or
      > dramatized clairvoyance, then the second person would not
      > have to perceive anything strange in the place where the
      > other individual projects, and if the apparition of the
      > living is a mental projection, then the projected subject
      > would not necessarily feel located there.

      Here I tend to think that the mental hypothesis could still explain both sides of the equation rather neatly, no? I am thinking of two-way communication.

      > there are other cases where it is infinitely more likely
      > invoked on objective apparitions of living or deceased

      I personally feel uncomfortable qualifying as 'likely' a hypothesis that requires so many new ontological assumptions. But I am with you that it all comes down to the data, at the end of the day.

      Note that, when I say that an apparitions is a mental phenomenon, I am IN NO WAY denying that it is REAL and not an illusion!

      > Well, not only anecdotal evidence of the existence of the
      > astral body, but also experimental evidence.

      I think it is great that you are referring to evidence! I respect that a lot. I will have a look at the links you provided as soon as I get a chance. Thanks.

      Delete
  16. Following this long comment :)

    Then have your astral body the objection That would rendundant the organic body. Not true, but if it Were, You Can not Know That reality is not redundant, as no one can know That reality is simple. But anyway the principle of non-redundancy and Ockham's razor Usually good criteria to Formulate hypotheses. The astral body does not redundant Because organic body although the astral body is the authentic vehicle of consciousness, the people only with organic body and face resistance can evolve. ACCORDING to reports from the Theosophists and explorers of the astral realm, astral plane in the what we think is our reality, so there is little resistance to Overcome In This plane. But the realm of ordinary matter offers much more resistance to our thoughts, so That We embody in the realm of ordinary matter to Face Obstacles and evolve, without Obstacles Because Could not Become better people.

    Let Your Idea That the dead can not Communicate with the living through language: if it is true That the apparitions of the dead (and living well) rarely speak, there are cases where the apparitions behaved messages to witness the apparitions. And We have strictly mediumship, ie, where a living human being is taken temporarily by the spirit of a deceased. How the dead can not speak to the living, if We have mediums like Leonora Piper, Eileen Garrett and John Sloan who seem to Prove Otherwise? It is True that the dead do not speak Directly, Indirectly but through the medium. And John Sloan was a case of direct voice mediumship, where the voices of the dead did not come from the medium, but a place next to him.

    Now if some appearances of living and dead are objective, That is, are part of consensus reality, According to your own terms, why are not more frequent? Well, it may be more frequent than it looks Because many people do not talk about it for fear of ridicule. It May Also Be That the apparitions are visible only under very specific Circumstances Or With sensitive persons. Requires All this empirical research, but I think That Because apparitions are not part of everyday life (Generally), not a good reason to Consider That the apparitions are not objective as there are many phenomena REMAIN objetive That Have not been part of the daily lives of the people for centuries.

    It is true That They are outstanding issues to know what matter is made or why the astral body can not detect current instruments it apparently, but Could be These questions answered with cutting edge physics, as it appears in the book Our Invisible Bodies by Jay Alfred :

    http://www.dapla.org/pdf/oib.pdf

    I think our disagreement is in the background in various intuitions: you sense That reality is mind and there are things That belong to the Mental consensus reality (objectify), and other non-consensual reality mind (trans-objectify). But I sense That common sense realism to Consider That is right there is an external world independent of the mind and the Experiences That Have to be on something, Either in the organic body for biological life in the astral body or after the biological life. But I think without Relying too much on the metaphysical insights and argued abductively some cases of apparitions, the extracorporeal experiences and mediumship only make sense if we accept something like the astral body.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I made some mistakes in the previous comment.

      Following this long comment :)

      Then have your objection that the astral body would rendundant the organic body. Not true, but if it were, you can not know that reality is not redundant, as no one can know that reality is simple. But anyway the principle of non-redundancy and Ockham's razor usually good criteria to formulate hypotheses. The astral body does not redundant organic body because although the astral body is the authentic vehicle of consciousness, the people only with organic body can evolve and face resistance. According to reports from the theosophists and explorers of astral realm, in the astral plane what we think is our reality, so there is little resistance to overcome in this plane. But the realm of ordinary matter offers much more resistance to our thoughts, so that we embody in the realm of ordinary matter to face obstacles and evolve, because without obstacles could not become better people.

      Let your idea that the dead can not communicate with the living through language: if it is true that the apparitions of the dead (and living well) rarely speak, there are cases where the apparitions behaved messages to witness the apparitions. And we have strictly mediumship, ie, where a living human being is taken temporarily by the spirit of a deceased. How the dead can not speak to the living, if we have mediums like Leonora Piper, Eileen Garrett and John Sloan who seem to prove otherwise? It is true that the dead do not speak directly, but indirectly through the medium. And John Sloan was a case of direct voice mediumship, where the voices of the dead did not come from the medium, but a place next to him.

      Now if some appearances of living and dead are objective, that is, are part of consensus reality, according to your own terms, why are not more frequent? Well, it may be more frequent than it looks because many people do not talk about it for fear of ridicule. It may also be that the apparitions are visible only under very specific circumstances or with sensitive persons. All this requires empirical research, but I think that because apparitions are not part of everyday life (generally), not a good reason to consider that the apparitions are not objective as there are many phenomena that remain objetive have not been part of the daily lives of the people for centuries.

      It is true that they are outstanding issues to know what matter is made astral body or why the current instruments can not detect it apparently, but these questions could be answered with cutting edge physics, as it appears in the book Our Invisible Bodies by Jay Alfred :

      http://www.dapla.org/pdf/oib.pdf

      I think our disagreement is in the background in various intuitions: you sense that reality is mental and there are things that belong to the mental reality consensus (objetive), and other non-consensual mental reality (trans-objetive). But I sense that common sense realism is right to consider that there is an external world independent of the mind and that the experiences have to be on something, either in the organic body for biological life or in the astral body after the biological life. But I think without relying too much on the metaphysical insights and argued abductively some cases of apparitions, the extracorporeal experiences and mediumship only make sense if we accept something like the astral body.

      Delete
    2. Re hi :-)

      > But the realm of ordinary matter offers much more resistance
      > to our thoughts, so that we embody in the realm of ordinary
      > matter to face obstacles and evolve, because without
      > obstacles could not become better people.

      I understand. But if the physical body is just a 'copy' of an astral body that faces more 'resistance,' it still doesn't address the question of redundancy, does it? I mean, why not just make the 'astral' plane offer more resistance, without having to create 'copies'? Do you see what I mean?

      I don't deny the existence of the 'astral,' (or what some psychologists have come to call 'psychoid'), but I don't see it as part of space-time. I rather see the term 'astral' as more symbolic. To me, it refers to something REAL, but not something physical, literal, in space-time.

      > Now if some appearances of living and dead are objective,
      > that is, are part of consensus reality, according to your
      > own terms

      They can be 'objective' in the sense of not being under the control of the ego. But that doesn't require them to be part of consensus reality. In my book 'Meaning in Absurdity' I made a distinction between what I called 'weakly objective' (that is, something outside our personal psyches and, as such, with an autonomous existence) and 'strongly objective' (that is, outside of mind). I deny the latter exists anywhere. And I think the former can exist both in space-time and out of space-time (i.e. the psychoidal realm in Jeffrey Raff's termnology). My argument was simply that apparitions are not in space-time, but I grant them the possibility of being weakly-objective. Does this make sense?

      > you sense that reality is mental and there are things that
      > belong to the mental reality consensus (objetive), and
      > other non-consensual mental reality (trans-objetive).

      Yes, your assessment is correct.

      Delete
    3. Why not make the astral plane offers more resistance to the will for the evolution of individuals? Now, I think the key is to have a plane that offers almost no resistance to our thoughts and desires, the astral plane, and another plane that offers resistance to our thoughts and desires, the plane of ordinary matter. So the plane of ordinary matter is not redundant for the astral plane, besides that we are not one to say what has to be the reality.

      Then there is the idea that our positions can be compatible on a deeper level. I mean, for the scientific research the astral plane can be as objective as electromagnetic fields, but metaphysically all reality is mental, as you claim. In other words, the mental reality can be structured in planes of increasingly higher dimensions, with the plane of ordinary matter as the plane that offers more resistance to our thoughts and desires.

      Delete
    4. I can conceive of an astral plane. I can even assume it to be real in a very concrete sense. What I have difficulty with is to imagine that entities that exist in another plane of reality (another story line unfolding in mind) can interact physically within our consensus reality plane just-so. That, to me, seems to be a contradiction, for in way it merges two planes that are supposed to be different. Know what I mean?

      Delete
    5. I understand. But according to theosophists higher plane entities can interact with lower planes entities because the former can reduce the frequency until it coincider with frequency of the lower planes. Of course, when an astral plane entity appears as an apparition in the plane of ordinary matter, it is no longer an entity from another plane to be an entity of this plane, but only temporarily. In this sense there is no interaction between entities of different planes while still at different planes, but there is interaction between entities of different planes because they can temporarily leave their common planes. Ideas like this in books like The Unobstructed Universe by Stewart Edward White.

      Delete
    6. If a higher-plane entity can reduce its frequency of vibration at will and, thereby, become a physical entity temporarily, wouldn't that obviate the entire process of birth? In principle, all entities could just become physical at will, without having to go through the labors of birth, growth, education, etc.; so why all that? These are not rhetorical questions; I am sincerely interested in learning how you view this.

      Delete
    7. I think it is clear: if an entity has reached higher planes where it is, is because it has gone through the lower planes, so that had to be born, grow and die.

      Delete
    8. Does every entity that is born once reach the higher plane upon physical death? In other words, can every dead person potentially interact physically within space-time again after physical death?

      Delete
    9. According to the psychic literature, yes, but it seems that some people after death are more attached to certain places or objects and are as trapped between two planes, being susceptible to appear as specters.

      Delete
  17. Hi Bernardo, FallingLeaf here. Just to let you know, I've added another post to our discussion above. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey FallingLeaf! Sorry for my absence over the past few days. Too many things were happening... and I also stopped moderating the comments here, since I haven't been getting spam for a while. But the side-effect was that I stopped getting emails every time someone commented! So now I have to check myself frequently.
      Did I answer your latest post above? Since you're commenting as Anonymous, I am not sure I answered you or someone else...?

      Delete
    2. Yeah, that was me. Thanks!

      Delete
  18. Hi Bernardo,

    I have found a bit of time to add my guilder to the pot in support of your fine post. I have just finished Chris Carter's book "Science and the Afterlife" and Carter goes into depth about the famous "Cross Corresponences" and the "Lethe Experiment", all revolving around the deceased FWH Myers, a Classicist and an early member of the SPR. The chapters in Carter's book review the various classical referencesa and "fragments" of various references from Myers through various mediums in America and Britain that were pieced together over time. Many of the channeled messages dealt with Ovid, The River Lethe and various Latin phrases that only a Classicist might use regarding in Latin such as a quotation from Ovid "Manibus date lilia plenis" from the poet Virgil's Aeneid. It translates "give lilies with full hands".

    Carter goes into great detail regarding these multilple channeled attempts to communicate by Myers, a man who was of great intelligence and seems to have devised a puzzle to be put together using puns and classical references over time.

    Carter's current conclusion, as well as the the sceptical at first investigators, all men of high Empirical reputation, ruled in favor that some essence of what seems to have been the "iiner personality" of FWH Myers was involved in these communications.

    I agree with you Bernardo. We don't know exactly how survival of subjective consciousness manifests after death but I see a strong liklihood that "the subject essence of our individual awareness" focuses "elsewhere" and continues as (at least a partial manifestation that contributes "what we learn in this limited dimension" to of a larger, multidimensional Self (Jung) or Knot of cosciousness (Bernardo) as an eternal journey in a Mystery that "no human being can ever grasp conceptually.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rick!
      You point to evidence that suggests a deceased person actually conveyed a message in language, which seems to contradict one of the points I made. Is this correct? If it is, I would love to hear your unreserved opinion on it! Don't worry about sensitivities, I won't be offended. Serious, the most interesting exchanges are those where people poke holes at what I am saying. I will have a look at Carter's book. But would love to hear your personal opinion on this point of language use by deceased personalities, given your experience. Gr, B.

      Delete
  19. Bernardo,
    If I understand your question, than yes there are a number of "channeled events" puported to be "communicated by a deceased person through a medium in which the medium communicates to others a message in another language that skeptics would have to stretch their rebutte forgery or trickery claims well beyond the bounds of absurdity.
    I suggest that you read Carter's book and the various mediums, over several decades,who communicated in "fragments" langauages and works in ancient Latin. They were clueless (not classically educated) in the Classical Works that Myer's, a highly regarded Classicist,used phrases and stanzas written in Latin by Virgil and Ovid.

    Myers cleverly communicated his "cross correspondances" in separate, perplexing, fragments of speech or Latin stanzas,that we be known to only Classicist familiar with Latin .

    The deceased Myers was using the clever, obscuretechniques by utilizing puzzles, puns, and Latin fragments, utilizing many channelers over years.

    It is clear that channelers would have had to havecollude over decades, while the deceased Myers playfully and purposefully used these unknown references often in Latin. knowledge of the classics

    I have uncovered a newer example of "spontaneous channeling" written in 2005 "The Stephen Experience" by Michael Cocks, in which a drop- in spirit" began to communicate mysteriously at first in latin and then throughout the book the "deceased Stephen, revealed that he was Stephan the Martyr and communicated fluently in Koine Greek a series of teachings and commentaries of the Mediterranean world 2,000 years ago.

    On page 10 of the book I quote: "One of the ways that Stephan showed that he was himself, is that he spoke a rather curious English and also spoke some of his words in his own dialect in Koine Greek.

    It took many years before I understood (the author writing for the person channeling) the full implications of the words: namely that he was a Greek speaker, that he had Celtic and Jewish parentage, that he was born in Ancyra, modern Ankara and that his parents were from Thrace, that he knew the father of Jesus, Joseph,and that Joseph had something to do with his beinmg accepted by a group of Essenes to which Joseph himself had belonged. Stephen's Greek led to many other insights(and they are explained in Part Two of the book).

    Here is the important point Bernardo:
    "Regarding this talking in Greek: if a medium or channel speaks in a language that he has never learned, or even heard, then this is called Xenoglossy.

    It is not an unknown phenomena and adds credance to the communication.Other examples of this are reviewed in different contexts.

    If I understand your question correctly Bernardo, I highly recommend this book. It is intelligent, the teachings are very high and sometimes perplexing due to what I believe is a difficulty incurred when a modern man speaks with a man who spoke Koine Greek and lived in the Classical Mediterranean Culture two thousand years ago. There is no doubt that the essence of Stephan, while incarnate, is communicating NOW. Much of the book leans on early Christianity and that is to be expected given the nature of the communications.

    Now was this information, in Koine Greek telepathically given to the medium who then used their own mind-brain-language to articulate Stephan's messages? Or did Stephan literally speak through the medium. I read the book 4 years ago and found iot impressive and the teachings were commensurate with The Perennial Philosophy at a very high metaphysical level influenced and perhaps clouded by cultural and time differences.

    Unless I have mistaken your question, then there is a lot of material "out there" suggesting Xenoglossy and spirit communication. This book influenced my own relative belief system regarding the Mystery beyond this veil. Who knows?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Bernardo,

    I would like to add to my prior post that I have studied complexes as a Jungian Psychologist, dissociative disoorders, 'visual and auditory hallucinations' as A Unit Director in apsychiatric hospital for 17 years, experienced 'live channeled' mediumship in different forms e.g. automatic writing, voice mediums who have some apaarent capability to conjure disembodied voices in other parts of the room, some in foriegn languages, trance mediums who fall into a trance state while giving "messages from purported deceased entities who have made themselves known to a particular group member using facts, idiosynchcrities or words indicating that the "essence of the deceased person" was communicating to particular family member and would be known only to other family members.

    I have "neutrally engaged" a psychiatric patient's auditory and/or visual "hallucination", taking the 'split off complex's material through words or insights at face value, without putting a label or diagnosis upon the patient or resorting immediately to Majopr Tranquilizers. I have found certain patients may have several complexes, one may be stupid, aggressive, and of low IQ while also possessing a higher complex that exhibits metaphysical insights much greater and deeper than the baseline core [personality of the patient. I have witnessed or have read reliable transcripts of "entities" communicating in languages unknown to the medium or "the psychotic hospital patient".

    For an interesting and ultimately tragic account of a "trance medium" group I recommmend journalist Joe Fisher's "The Siren Call of the Hungry Ghosts". It is fascinating, well written and in my professional eye an accurate and truthful; description of "entities speaking Greek dialects no longer found, claims by the entities that on the surface seem to confirm their identities but actually do not and the ultimate tragic outcome of the author, warned by these entities not to publish this book,is truly awful.

    So yes, essences of the deceased may speak other languages and also may appeaar to someone who knew them as "representing the essence of the deceased's personality but are the entities really who they say they are?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rick, very interesting and intriguing. Xenoglossy is clearly relevant to the discussion and, if indeed a real phenomenon, would cause some difficulties for the model I put forward in the main article. I still suspect, though, that it could be explained through an altered state of consciousness on the part of the medium, who then accesses information outside of space-time. Xenoglossy seems amenable to controlled experiments; any ideas on that? Has it ever been done? I will look at the many references you provided; they definitely sound very interesting. Gr, B.

      Delete
  21. Bernardo,

    Here is an interesting comments section from Michael Prescott's current review of Carter's new book. As you can see, it's volatile and "filled" with anecdotal, non-empirical opinions. I cannot say that I knopw of any systematic empirical studies regarding Xenoglossy.

    http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2012/09/book-review-science-and-the-afterlife-experience.html#comments

    Cheers,
    Rick

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Bernardo,
    You seem to entertain the possibility of UFO's being an interaction of entities from another dimension/reality, why are ghosts/spirits so different?

    Cheers,
    Stewart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stewart, YES! Exactly!
      I did it on purpose, and am glad you caught it. Here is my point: _Hypothetically_,I do acknowledge the possibility that, through some unknown means or technology, disembodied entities could find a way to 'punch across' the storylines and interact physically in space-time. But if we are talking about accepting this as fact, or even as a defensible theory, I also do think that we need more evidence in that direction. Halraldsson's entire case file does not support it, as he himself acknowledges.
      In the case of UFOs, as you point out, the idea is the same, though the technology aspect plays a bigger role. But then again, I discussed that in the context of a _fantasy_, not as a philosophical position, theory, or model; let alone fact.
      In summary, I am more open-minded than most people would think from reading this article alone. That's why I published the UFO video shortly afterwards. But there is a difference between speculation and fantasy (even very reasonable and appealing fantasy), and an ontological position one can substantiate with models and evidence at a strictly rational level.
      Cheers, Bernardo.
      PS: I don't live by rationality alone... ;-)

      Delete
  23. Hi Bernardo.
    Overall I really enjoyed what you wrote but I want to share with you why I think the consciousness in the non physical body does have the capacity to move objects in this reality, to a certain extent. If reality is created through awareness, this physical reality exists because we are aware of it, then we could suggest that once no longer inside this reality the consciousness can find itself in another physical reality, may be one with diferent physical rule sets this one has. People who are proficient at astral projection percieve another real physical reality, though diferent from this one. So I personally do believe that consciousness that is farther away from the realization of the larger consciousness it is part of, will find itself in a physical reality much like this one, a physical reality which might even be able to interact physically with this one. So much so that these types of material matifestations of "ghosts" are usually atributed to not very evolved conscousness. Therefore I believe that spirits are also physcial, though a more subtle physical subtance than in this reality.

    ReplyDelete
  24. About the part in which people have to be open to recieve communication from spirits, I agree with you, but I think the oposite has to also be true. In this sense I think there has to be a mutual thing, one end has to be open and the spirit has to want to use that open end. My husband has a lucid dream in which his deceased brother appeared to him to tell him he was ok. It felt increadibly real and it was very emotional for him, I could tell. Dreams are often a good means for this type of communication.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ops, he *had* a lucid dream. :) I'm writing these very fast so my grammar is horrible. ^^

      Delete
    2. Hi Ana! Yes, I agree that both sides of the equation have to somehow be open.

      Delete
  25. Bernado I think we're saying that matter is not real anyway so why couldn't an apparition show up as matter? Raymond Moody has several examples in his autobiography of the deceased showing up and looking as real as anyone else. One woman wrote that here dead son showed up, hugged her, and actually lifted her off the floor. Another account has a man showing up at a woman's door talking to her and then leaving. Later she found out he'd already passed on before his visit. If one can't tell the living from the dead in these cases then what does that say? As far as using language I've heard my name called when no one was around through normal hearing. Many other accounts of people hearing voices in warning etc. and therefore language being used also exist. Comments?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, the point I usually make is that matter isn't outside consciousness. I don't argue that mater isn't real. I think matter is pretty darn real as a persistent, shared experience. I don't deny reality. I just deny that reality is an abstract and unprovable realm outside subjective experience.
      With that in mind, I agree with your implicit suggestion that what one experiences is real as such; in other words, it is real as an experience. So the woman who experienced herself being lifted off the ground by her dead son had a real experience and, as such, the event was real. I don't even deny that her dead son may have indeed been responsible for conveying that experience to the woman's psyche.
      What I argue is this: If there were other people around that woman and perhaps cameras and other measurement instruments, they would NOT have perceived or detected the presence of her son. This collective, shared, persistent, enduring aspect of experience is what characterizes what we call 'physical' reality.

      Delete
    2. That's an interesting point. I've had several experiences that I consider as real as any other though it's doubtful anything could have been detected by others. There are ADCs where more then one person sees the deceased and also shared death experiences. There seem to be personal levels of reality that superimpose on "physical" reality.

      Delete
    3. Yes, I wrote about this 'superimposition' on my book Meaning in Absurdity.

      Delete
  26. Hi, I'm a reader a your blog. Could you explain in your words and ideas this after death communication I had. Few weeks after the death of my dog in 2004, I had many phone calls. day and ,ight. And nobody on the Phone each Time, except the last one. First I heard a Dog. Then the discussion started. I understood that it wanted to communicate like this : 1 Hit is for No. 2 hits was for yes... I asked very specific questions, I wanted to debunk this. And the answers were always right. At the end, i heard again the breath of a dog (the typical breath, you know, like he has run just before). And that was all. Never again, did i had this kind of communication.

    I recorded it and i still have this conversation on K7. Thanks for any help. It is serious. As far as it is weird, it's serious and true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sincerely don't think I can help you make sense of this... I just don't know.

      Delete
  27. Have you heard about Jeff Olsen's NDE? Because he talks about becoming one with his dead son and God, and being one with other people.

    ReplyDelete

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