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Consciousness, and smashing statues

Reader comment on item: Musing on History
in response to reader comment: what an amazing life

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jun 12, 2015 at 22:01

HI, Waz.

As usual, you have posted some interesting links. Having limited time to devote to the matter, I listened to the first half of


I liked the say Sheldrake and Vernon actually looked at Atheism objectively, as though Atheists were specimens in a petri dish. Their conclusion, it seems, was that it is a political phenomenon more than an intellectual exercise. I agree.

Moving on to some other points you raised, you said,

It's not proven that the univere is finite - no one has yet explained what it is expanding into. Taoim and Buddhism and I guess Hinduism would all agree on this.

If you define the universe as the extent of physical, measurable phenomena, it is definitely finite. Philosophically, even Big Bang theorists postulate the present or future existence of realms which we can or no longer be able to "touch or see", yet our sense of reason and imagination says "probably" fo or will exist. The ongoing expansion of time-space points in this direction; so you see, the true "limit" of our perception of the universe is not defined by the Big Bang; it is ultimately limited by the speed of light.

A convenient metaphor for our universe -- which, according to the above, definitely is finite or limited, is a room or a tent. I prefer the tent idea, because the door to the outside is a simple matter. In this metaphor, let the people inside the tent represent the consciousness of people inside our universe. In reality, those people have physical bodies; but we have no scientific evidence of anyone's physical body ever leaving here, so we'll just regard our physical natures as part of the universe.

Now, we'll consider all the experiments that have ever been performed to measure and define "consciousness". Let's have all the people in the tent except one be scientists, making such measurements. The one exception is, of course, the one being measured, the subject. That subject now exits the tent, signifying what happens when our own consciousness departs from the "land of the living", namely, the known universe. When that happens, try as they may, the scientists in the tent cannot devise a method to detect the subject's consciousness; because that consciousness has left the tent.

Philosophically, many throughout history have postulated an existence outside the tent.

One such tack is our sence of "justice", and "balance", things which we consider to be both desirable and necessary for the continuing existence of life. Our universe is on a ligntning-fast course to heat death; yet we exist today in a dynamic state of life. We are thus alive now; but all our prognostications into the future, and all our certainties of the past point toward death and non-existence. That leads to the notion of "something from nothing", which does not make sense. Therefore, not only Christians and Jews, but also Pagans, Hindus, Shintos and others have put forth descriptions of what, according to the best of their understanding, exists beyond the tent flap.

Notice that I said, "to the best of their understanding." Remember that the tent walls represent the limit of our understanding. The most consistent way of imagining what exists beyong those walls, therefore, is an existence outside the walls that is complementary to what exists inside. Jesus' teaching is full of this notion: Evil deeds done in this life are recompensed by punishment in eternity; good works here are balanced by rewards there; and mankind inside the tent is made in the image of God, who created him from outside the tent.

You went on,

it's strange for people to say they can't accept the existence of things they can't see - when they can't see their own consciousness.

Indeed. we all accept a lot more than we think we do. You went on,

NDE experiencers describe a plane of existence more 'real' than the 3d world we live in. When you think about it, It's only a little bit more astonishing than the fact that we exist in this one now.

My understanding of NDE (near-death experiences) comes mostly from what I heard in a lecture and read in a book, both by Maurice Rawlings, M.D. -- who was at the time on a speaking tour for the American Heart Association. He was an esteemed cardiologist, having been Dr. Henry Kissinger's physician during the Nixon Administration. He wrote about the reported experiences of his own patients, as well as historically reported cases from elsewhere.

Yes, those testifiying spoke of a world that, as far as they could consciously perceive at the time, was completely "real" to them; yet they often remembered going through a transition in which they left their bodies and actually observed the people operating on them -- even people who had entered the room after their clinical death, and departed before they were revived. In my own metaphor, this would be the situation of a person in passage through the tent door.

Yes, our own existence is hard to explain in scientific terms, yet easy to understand from a Biblical perspective.

For the sake of this forum, it's worth mentioning that the war going on in the Middle East today, extending into all parts of the world, is not a war of one kind of flesh against a different kind of flesh. It is a war being waged primarily in men's consciousness. Why, for instance, does a Westerner see tremendous value in a rare archealogical relic, and want to fight to preserve such a relic; yet someone in Da'esh sees it as a loathsome thing and fights to destroy it? There is nothing physical to explain that phenomenon; it is entirely in the realm of consciousness.


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