First of all I want to say thank you again for all your replies. I appreciate it, as this isn't easy to get across. Before I waffle on though I just want to make it clear that I'm not here to critisise MBT just for the sake of it, to play the role of 'cynical skeptic'. I'm actually here because I believe the consensus accepted self-and-world-view is largely ego-driven, inaccurate and self-destructive, and I want to get to the truth. My problem is what to replace this model with.
I want to get to the truth so I can then present it in such a way that it can be acknowledged by Western science. You could say I have a certain degree of faith that the consequences of revealing this truth to the world would be massively beneficial. It's of course not a one-man job.
I'm not going to go into details here, but in my opinion if we're going to avoid catastrophe we're going to need some kind of revolution in this department, the department of consciousness. Spirituality (particularly insight meditation) needs scientific support. I'm not a prophet, but it's pretty damn obvious to me that if we don't develop ourselves in this respect soon we're on a one-way path to destruction. I'm optimistic that this can be avoided if people work together and don't give up. People need to start talking. I really do believe everyone can make a massive difference, it's only a matter of self-belief, communication and coordination. Who's with me? ;)
Ted Vollers wrote:
Being part of our virtual reality existence, our brains are based upon our minds as they exist within Consciousness Space and represent a combination of the rules that define the VR and feedback from the state of our minds.
We have had links posted to research involving neural networks simulated in computers used to control soccer playing robots that I think is very interesting and pertinent to the likely originating source for this kind of configuration serving as a model for our VR brains and they as a model for these neural networks. A circular relationship.
When I said 'A ToE would have to describe precisely how our 'mechanistic brains', e.g., neuronal activation, are correlated to conscious experience.' I meant you cannot throw out contemporary Western science so easily. This is the sticking point. We know for sure that conscious experience is correlated to the 'physical' structure of our brains, particularly neural activity. To name some specific examples, there have been numerous experiments where people's brains have been stimulated with electrical current while they were conscious and they reported a huge variety of very specific but different experiences, such as seeing lights, having particular feelings induced, experiencing memories. Another example: we know from patients with brain damage that physical changes in certain brain regions impact on conscious experience in specific ways, e.g., damage in the visual cortex may lead to blindness, hence why it is called the visual cortex. We can even see regions of the visual cortex 'light up' in areas that map topographically to the experiential visual field. People's personalities, memories, consciousness can change when their brain is damaged in specific ways and we understand this well. The list is endless...
You might find this interesting: http://www.ted.com/talks/oliver_sacks_w ... minds.html
(a video about people with different syndromes that cause very unusual and vivid hallucinations, and they map each brain region responsible)
- they even talk about an area in the brain they found that is correlated to perception of people's teeth and eyes!
The reason I'm going into so much depth here is that neuroscientists consider mystical/spiritual experience as pathological and hallucinatory, arguably for good reason. It's not because it sounds 'crazy', I think it's just because we KNOW that conscious experience is very closely correlated with the 'physical' mechanisms of the brain, and that this mechanism is macroscopic, causal, and obeys the laws of physics: specifically Newtonian mechanics in this case. Yes, chaos theory implies any 'quantum randomness' may be amplified (in Schrodinger's cat sense) to the macroscopic scale, but as we have yet to solve the measurement problem we cannot say whether non-determinism even exists in our universe, or what impact QM might have on behaviour. Unpredictable and/or chaotic do not imply non-determinism (e.g., 'deterministic chaos'). Importantly, there are still viable non-local hidden variable interpretations of quantum mechanics, which are completely deterministic (David Bohm's).
I won't go into an argument about free-will because it's never clear what people mean by 'free'. Your actions are based on your personal history of interactions with the environment and in this sense (perhaps only this sense) you are autonomous. The deterministic nature of natural phenomena on the macroscopic scale is inescapable; what's ironic is we don't mind being seen as deterministic machines when our doctors treat us using Western medicine, which assumes that we are. For example, we know from thousands of trials that paracetamol minimises the conscious experience of pain, and we understand how the brain changes physically when this occurs.
To then talk about experiencing `real' alternate realities or obtaining information from the future, ancient past, distant locations, or from other dimensions, etc, only sounds crazy because it seems as though the phenomena correlated to these experiences is local, confined in space-time to your brain and body. It's not obvious how information could pass from future to present or distant past to present. The way I see it all psy-phenomena are problematic to Western science for this reason.
What you will hear is most people saying 'it's just a hallucination, it's not real', 'you only think you can', or 'you only think you did'. Perhaps the reality of the situation is a little more complicated, but when people hallucinate such absurd things along lines of flying handkerchiefs and translucent kermit the frog cartoons overlaid in their vision it's no wonder.
How can you determine whether a 'hallucination' is real? Where is the boundary between insane and sane, normal and pathological, perception and hallucination? The way I see it everything is a hallucination (yes, it is indeed virtual), it's a matter of coordination between what we call brain and what we call non-brain (environment), to me it doesn't seem logical to even discuss ultimate 'ontological reality' as you can only know what you experience, and that is constructed from your brain, and your brain is a construction of your mind! I do believe that consciousness is primary in this sense, but to understand your world you have to structure it. We've done such a good job of this that we have convinced ourselves that there is this 'independent' physical ontological reality out there beyond our senses.
If you want to reach a wider audience with this stuff you have to play the game. You have to play the game of the Western scientists, and you have to prove to them what you're saying, on their terms, or if not explain coherently to them why doing so would be impossible. As far as I can see, what is necessary is evidence that non-local or acausal phenomena are at work in the brain on a macroscopic scale, such that patterns of neural activity can be correlated to distant events in space-time.
Providing experimental evidence for psy-phenomena might be a step forwards, but transpersonal and parapsychology have little funding. What a pickle!
The only thing that will convince people that these states are 'real' and not hallucinatory is an accumulation of data that shows information can be reliably obtained from distance space-time events. Does anyone know if there is a website doing exactly this? I'm imagining a categorised/summarised list of papers/experiments/experiences.
This would be a potential first step in bridging the gap between mainstream Western science/thought and mystic/spiritual paradigms. Even if there are no non-local phenomena there may be many other mechanisms we don't currently acknowledge, such as interacting electromagnetic fields (e.g., possible non-verbal communication).
Ted Vollers wrote:
This 'timelessness' might lead some to think that since there is no time, then everything exists as a 'block' and thus predestined/predetermined and there is then logically no such thing as free will. People traveling mentally into Consciousness Space in meditation also contact data bases of branching possible futures. See the Akashic records. That people contact branching future states implies that some kind of decisions are being made to produce them: the result of free will.
A timeless chunk of reality without free will is not compatible with Tom's MBT. The problem comes in the interpretation of the timelessness of the Void state, not Tom's model.
The problem is one could say that the timeless experience people have is more 'ultimate' or primary than the experience of a branching universe, it is certainly more simple conceptually. Nonetheless, as I haven't delved into the details of MBT I do not know how the Void experience (if this is the same phenomena) is represented within the theory. If the interpretation of the 'Void state' is ambiguous then it could be argued MBT is not complete. One could also argue that experiencing branching universes are hallucinatory (as with anything else, same old story).
I'm going to have to experience some of this for myself. As you might have guessed I have already had a few unusual experiences (but not enlightenment/oneness per se) which gave me the incentive to investigate this stuff in the first place. Ted, I sympathise with your difficulty in communicating the experiences. It's very tricky indeed. I found the only way I could explain my experience was to resort to geometric analogy; it was as if my life/consciousness went from 1-dimensional to 2-dimensional and I could then see my life up until that point as a line; until that point I was unaware it was 'a line', i.e., something expanded that I did not know could expand.
I will watch the videos when I get a chance! You've persuaded me now... haha.