More on our continuing discussion
Aug 20, 1993 06:28 PM
by Gerald Schueler
Hello everyone. Gee, I hardly know where to begin. I asked if others
would join in, and now that you have, I don't know where to start. Let
me begin by thanking everyone who commented. Don and I have been
having a good time, but I don't want to monopolize the network. I also
want to say to Don that I wish you a happy honeymoon in Toronto. I
almost made it to Toronto once, and one day I hope to get there. I
have been told that the Egyptian exhibit at the Royal Museum is
excellent. As an Egyptian buff (having done my own translations of the
Book of the Dead) I love seeing such exhibits. But I must admit, if I
were on a honeymoon, I probably wouldn't spent a great deal of time in
a museum (:-)
Leonard. <I have long felt there has been too little work on the 3rd
object of the T.S.> I agree. Many theosophists feel that enough has
already been done, but I also think we need to do more. But I am not
sure that "hypnogogia" is the right way to do it. The reason for my
skepticism, is that the astral plane is notoriously illusive. It
presents us with images that we want to see, which are more often than
not simply our own psychic projections. Objective reality with dreams
is tricky at best because our astral body tends to develop a protective
shield or covering over it that reflects our own images, kind of like a
movie screen, and prevents us from seeing objective/external things.
The same is true on the mental plane. What we need are signposts or
guidelines of some kind; kind of like criteria. Otherwise we will all
be reported conflicting things. Somehow we must be able to see through
our own observations and discover the underlaying principles at work.
Are we up to this? Of course, nothing beats trying and we can always
agree to try doing it, compare notes, and then try to make some sense
John. Your four points are excellent. I would go even farther and
suggest that virtually all "primitive" societies, including the ancient
Egyptians, had this musical concept of reality.
I like your reference to Bell's Theorem, which I was going to bring up
myself. But perhaps we have kicked this dead horse too many times and
I will let it rest. But as far as QM is concerned, I find a lot of
principles in operation that can also be found in our daily lives, and
probably exist on the cosmic scale as well. One such is action at a
distance; the idea that we can effect things that are far removed from
us spatially. Your 4-point compromise is excellent and I fully agree
with each principle. Can an Adept act totally free from randomness and
unpredictability, ie., from karma? We are told in oriental writings
that this is indeed the case, 'jivamukta' been the name given to the
karmaless condition of the 'jivamukti.' My own personal feeling is that
this is won only by degrees, and that no Adept is 100 percent free of
karma, or else his/her physical body would simply disappear. Most
Hindus and Buddhists teach that we can become only become truly 100
percent karmaless after death, because the physical body itself causes
a certain amount.
Jay. <The idea of complementarily seems to fit beautifully into the
study of consciousness and mesh with the concept of duality> I agree
<Chaos is essential to the understanding of the world we live in>
Again, I agree completely, but I suspect that Don would not (I still
have to convince Don about Chaos).
<the metaphysical interpretation of quantum mechanics could be
profound> Again, I agree. Several good authors have written about this
(Wolfe and Davies come to mind). I have found a lot of theosophical
principles (duality, cycles, parallel worlds, etc) embedded in the
theories of QM.
Don. I must admit that I am somewhat at a loss as to where to begin.
It is difficult to argue (friendly debate) with you if you are going to
flip around on me. I will try, but I am no longer certain about what
you believe in.
<What if ones world-view is all world-views but no world-view? .. What
if, for arguments sake, one simply does not care?> This is confusing,
because I did not detect your all worldview position from what you were
saying. You gave me the impression that you would not accept chaos or
statistics into your worldview except as interesting mathematical
exercises. If this is wrong, then my worldview which includes chaos
and statistics as the polar opposite to order and predictability (Kaos
vs Kosmos) should not bother you. I never intended to say that there
is statistics and no cause/effect! Nor can I agree with you that there
is cause/effect and no statistics. In my worldview, there is both.
When I look out at the busy street that you proposed, I can see the
statistical behavior at work as well as individual causes/reasons.
They are two views of the same street activity, and compliment each
other - they need not be mutually exclusive. Sorry to have given you
The argument that you simply don't care won't make it either, because
the world spins on whether you care or not, and you are now living and
will die and will be reborn again and again and yet again, if you truly
don't care. Only if you care can you stop the cycle. But I see a big
difference between having an all worldview (an open mindedness and
flexibility which is healthy) versus not caring (a closed mindedness
and rigidity which is not healthy - ostrich in the sand, etc).
<our being is only a seeming ... what we are changes constantly ..
Because that is all that is real; nothing> I agree with every word,
provided the word *nothing* is interpreted as *no thing* in the
Buddhist sense of no-thing-ness. But this view seems to clash with
your previous statements regarding determinism. The very fact that we
are constantly changing suggests chaos, because if order prevailed no
change (which itself is an effect of chaos and anathema to order) would
<there is no answer> I agree that there is no answer that can be put
into words that will satisfy the human mind. But there is indeed an
answer, and we can each find it for ourselves using yoga (isn't that
what you have been advocating?). Jnana Yoga is the yoga wherein the
mind tries to find the answers, like a dog chasing its own tail, until
finally it becomes exhausted and relaxes allowing the light of truth to
quietly enter. The whole aim of yoga is to transcend the human mind.
I like your poem.
<sanity is a subset of insanity> Here again, you baffle me with a
paradox. How can someone who sees chaos and statistics as only a
mathematical exercise say such a thing. Your statement is equivalent
to saying that order is a subset of chaos. I agree. But I thought
that you did not (?). Maybe you help me out here? Is not insanity a
<To a physicist it just doesn't matter> I have a hard time with this
one. Einstein and many many other good scientists tried to relate the
principles they found operating in the laboratory to the world around
us. Sorrow for those who don't, because they would fit the
stereotypical role of the mad scientist who finally destroys the world
in his/her effort to conduct an experiment. Any principle worth its
salt that is discovered in a laboratory, *must* have some relation to
our everyday world. A valid principle that operates in the microcosm
must also operate in the macrocosm - a point that boggled Einstein, who
tried rather unsuccessfully to relate his relativity with QM. Here we
see the theosophical principle of hierarchies at work, and most
scientists will agree to it at least in some degree. So your point
that <they don't try to mix their science with speculative philosophy>
is not altogether true. Many have done so, and I believe that some
have been very successful.
Your point about Leadbeater's U.P.A.s or vitality globules coming from
the sun and entering into our chakras is, in my own humble opinion,
valid. I think that old Leadbeater was onto something there. However,
this has nothing to do with the tube-like organ at the brow chakra
(which no Hindu or Buddhist group supports, that I know of - of course
he still may be right. My mind is skeptical, but open).
<How can we move backwards in time?> Simple. Its called memory. We
each have a personal memory, but there is also a collective memory,
sometimes called the karmic records, which according to Leadbeater, is
located on the causal plane. Its where we look to find our past lives,
among other things.
<the speed of thought is the speed of propagation of a nerve action
potential which is about 5 milliseconds> Are you really saying that
thought is a chemical characteristic of the brain? Thoughts are located
on the mental plane. Nerve action potential (whatever that is?) is a
physical thing. I don't doubt for a minute that scientists have
measured the speed of nerves and neurons and whatever, but these are
not thought. No scientist, that I know of, have measured thoughts or
thinking in the lab. Not yet anyway.
<I believe that it will take a strong concerted effort to show the
objective reality of the planes> Indeed, an understatement if I ever
hear one. It has never been done. HPB stated that it could not be
done, by some obscure occult law (in my own words, this is one of the
rules of this game of life that we accepted when we signed up to take
on birth). I don't mean to get smart here, but I will take you
something: there will never ever be anyone who can *prove* the
objective reality of the planes. I have experienced them, and I cannot
honestly say if they are objective or subjective. There has been a
debate about this for centuries. Several famous magicians have taken
the position that it doesn't really matter because if you act *as if*
they were objective, then your magical operations can be conducted
successfully, but if you act *as if* they are your own subjective
projections, magical operations will not be as effective. So as a
practical matter, most magicians will act *as if* they are objectively
real. This goes for the deities that are said to reside on the planes
as well. But clear proof of objectivity, like proving the existence of
God, is simply not in the cards. The best we can do is to prove it to
ourselves, by our own experience (and remember, I have already said
that our experience always tends to confirm our beliefs. Always - this
is a universal law, not my own invention or theory).
<This is an effect of keeping a sloppy mind> Here again, I am not sure
what you mean. If you mean what I think you mean, then you are wrong.
Sorry about that. If you hate blacks, your experiences will tend to
convince you that black people are ignorant lazy no-goods. You will
meet a lazy black person, and recall that experience whenever the
subject comes up. If you hate women, your experiences will convince
you that all women are evil. This is a fact. It has nothing at all to
do with sloppy thinking! People are not prejudice out of stupidity.
Hatred is not caused by sloppy thinking. Our experiences substantiate
our beliefs. Experiences are very subjective, my friend. You and I
can go to the movies together. I can have a great time, while you have
a horrid time. I can look back in memory at a good experience while
you can look back at a lousy one, and its the same experience. Who is
right? Who is wrong? It is not a question of right or wrong. Karma has
a very subjective side to it.
<Why can't you just call it, "The result of an experiment?> Again, I
don't know what you mean here. Whose experiment? It is called a SEE
because it is both significant and emotional. It is an experience that
will change your worldview, or it will kill you, either of which are
pretty significant in a person's life.
For example, a guy hates blacks. He thinks that they are worthless
no-goods. He learned this from his parents, but also his own
experiences always bore it out. One day he has heat stroke and falls
down hurting himself. A lot of whites pass him by, then a black man
stops to help him at considerable expense to himself and gets him to a
hospital, etc. How could he ever see blacks the same way? He must
somehow change/expand his worldview to incorporate the SEE that he
experienced when none of the whites helped him but a black man did.
This kind of thing goes on all the time, and most SEEs can be
assimilated. Occasionally we come across one that cannot, and we must
either radically change our worldview or die. I have encountered
several, but probably my biggest was when my brother died. I was 23 at
the time, and the reality of death, previously only an idea, hit me
right in the face. Here was my older brother, who I had known all my
life, was no longer around. He no longer existed. The Lord of Death
stared me right in the face. I survived by delving into oriental
philosophy - my Christianity not helping me. The SEE made me a better
person. But I could have died, and in fact came close as my wife will
testify. Since then I have stared into the face of death many times (I
discovered that the *thought* of death is different from the *reality*
or certainty of death).
Let me give you one historical example. St Paul hated Christians, and
led persecutions of them. Then one day, while traveling along the road
to Damascus, he met Jesus (either in the flesh or an image, we don't
know). From that encounter (a true SEE) he radically changed his
worldview and became a Christian Apostle.
<Really, Gerald, take the plunge. They *are* all relative.> Even
<This is extremely important to recognize. When you see this, really
see and understand this, then there are no delusions.> Until the next
SEE, that is.
<its poor math modeling> A whole lot of scientists would argue with you
on this one. For one thing, a lot of Einstein's ideas have been born
out through measurement. A lot of Neils Bohr's stuff too. Although
still called *theory* it seems to work pretty well, and makes sense to
me and a lot of others.
You mentioned entropy. How do you feel about the conflict going on
between the champions of entropy (the idea that the universe is winding
down) and the champions of evolution (the idea that the simple grows
into the complex)? To my mind it seems like a case of 'wheels within
wheels' where evolution is a upward spiral within the all-encompassing
downward winding of the universe into what has been called the a
"chaotic soup." What do you think about chaos soup?
<I give no credence to statistics at all> I can't agree with you
there. I use statistics all the time in my work. I am an
operations research analyst for the Army. I use statistics,
among other things for predictions. I work in Army acquisition.
We take a small sample, test them, and then predict from the
results what the whole population will do. It works very well.
Statistics, when used properly, do not lie and can be very helpful.
One small example: people are known to que in a poisson distribution
(ie in waves). Why is this? If we look at a typical lunch counter, we
will never see people coming and going at the same rates. People
always form ques in waves. This fact alone tells me that group
behavior can be predicted. I agree that statistics is useless
predicting the behavior of an individual. But it does very well when
predicting group (ie population) behavior. What this suggests to me is
that people individually express chaos (unpredictability), but
collectively express order (predictability). Why not? It is but
another manifestation of the Law of Duality.
<what you are saying is that there is no reason behind these
occurrences you've modeled> No. This is not at all what I have been
trying to say. <God created a random universe> No. No. First of all,
I agree with Master KH who said that there is no God in the sense of a
supreme Creator! The universe is a duality - it is both order and chaos
together. In fact, chaos theory says that order begets chaos and chaos
begets order, which is exactly what the yin-yang symbolizes. We may
have a semantics problem here, because I don't think that you
understand what I am trying to say, perhaps badly, or else I simply
don't understand what you are saying.
<there is a definite cause and effect in operation for every single
event occurring in that street below> Statistical probability is itself
a cause (ie, one of the games *rules*). Are you saying that the street
is pre-destined? Are you advocating determinism? Determinism and free
will are also dualities, and both exist as polar opposites. I see both
cause and effect on the street, and also statistical behavior, and also
free will, and also divine guidance, and many more things as well,
because I see the street as a very complex dynamic open system with all
kinds of dualistic forces at work. You also write <see, any model
based on statistics cannot say anything about cause and effect> which
is true. We could also say the reverse. I would advocate that both
models should be applied and thereby give us a more comprehensive view
of what is really going on than either one model by itself (all models
have inherent limitations).
<science has degenerated from its original vision> This is very
relative. Personally, I prefer to think that statistics is an advance.
However, it is only one tool that we can use, and certainly should not
be used alone. It is, after all, one side of a duality - the other
being determinism, or cause and effect, if you will. What was the
"original vision" of science anyway?
Speaking a word about my Ring-Pass-Not, let me say this in my defense:
This Ring has nothing whatever to do with machines or measuring
instruments. It is a fundamental law of our universe. Get better
machines and what will happen? The Ring will simply be pushed back some
more. First we thought that atoms were the *building blocks* of the
universe. Then protons and electrons. Nowadays it is quarks.
Tomorrow it will be something else. But what will not change (in MHO)
is that the Ring will still be there - a point beyond which we simply
cannot go. Our universe is finite, however large it may be. There may
be an infinite number of universes (?) but each is finite, because
everything physical is finite. Everything physical has a
beginning/birth and an ending/death. Including our galaxy. Including
our universe (which many today think is spherical).
I wrote that <every manifestation ... is dualistic> to which you
responded <please>. Let me challenge you. Give me one single example
of something in *our* universe that is not dualistic, and I will admit
defeat! But please define any word that you propose, so that we will
all understand what it is. Even your own EVERYWHERE and NOWHERE are
two poles of a duality.
I think that this is far too much for one sitting. Thats all for
now. Again, I want to thank everyone for their comments. Keep
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