More Don and Gerald
Aug 23, 1993 10:16 AM
by Donald DeGracia
This will be a continuation of the general conversation occuring
between Gerald and I.
Gerald, first, thanks for the honeymoon wishes. We had a wonderful
time, and you were exactly right in saying <But I must admit, if I were
on a honeymoon, I probably wouldn't spent a great deal of time in a
Second; interesting "coincidence". We were out browsing through the
Toronto shops, stopped in a used bookstore and wouldn't you know it,
there was Enochian Physics. Needless to say, I picked it up and have
been reading through it. At this point I'm on the chapter about
Geometry. I'll reserve specific comments about the book until I'm done
with it, but I can give some general impressions at this point.
One thing I can say at this point is that there is no question in my
mind that you and I are barking up the same tree. Perhaps my primary
intellectual interest at this point is tying together science and
occultism. And in reading Enochian Phyiscs, its apparent that you have
very much the same interest. Unfortunately its a bit of a lopsided
situation in that Beyond the Physical (BP) hasn't seen print yet and
therefore is not publicly available. So you can't simply go pick up a
copy of BP to get a overview of my thinking the way I'm getting an
overview of your thinking by reading Enochian Physics. Still, in spite
of this, I think I can make some blanket statements about where my head
is at relative to where your head is at in EP.
First, I think its absolutely necesary to state that we have very, very
similar intents with the interest in tying science together with
occultism, or at least in showing a harmony amongst scientific and
occult ideas. I can say flat out that, because I knew math and physics
when I first started learning occultism, that it was much easier for me
to learn occultism. I still feel that people who learn occultism but
who do not know math and physics are missing a lot. Each of these
branches of learning really enhances the understanding of the others,
and a lot of the more abstract ideas in occultism are very similar to
concepts found in math and physics.
What I find interesting is our respective approaches to the issue of
tying in science and occultism. As far as I've read in EP, it seems to
me that you are coming from the occult side of things into science.
That is, you are starting from the occult viewpoint (Enochian Magic)
and, from this viewpoint dipping into physics and math, showing
correspondences in the ideas. In BP I take a similar stance that
occultism is broader than science and thus stradles scientific
thinking. Your point of departure is Enochian magic. In BP, my point
of departure is the teachings of Besant and Leadbeater, Dane Rudhyar
and Seth. This are the authors with whom I am most familiar, and it
would only make sense that we begin where our expertise is.
The way BP is set up is in 3 main sections. The first section of the
book I joking refer to as "the book report section" for here I provide
a broad overview of occultism and science for the reader. This section
is very much a book report and I either summarize different fields or
discuss other authors and their ideas. In the second section of the
book I go into my own ideas about synthesizing science and occultism.
This is the way I see it in my mind, as a synthesis. But I do make
clear that its not an equal mixing, again, because occultism is just
broader in its purview than is science, especially regarding
psychology. Finally, in the 3rd section, which is very short, maybe 20
pages, I discuss the previous 250 or so pages from the vantage point of
mysticism. In this section I paint the idea of the relativity of
viewpoints and conclude the book on this note.
The main differnce in our approaches is perhaps stylistic. It appears
that you are operating from within the mind-set of Enochian Magic.
Sitting in this mind-set, so to speak, and looking out over science. I
take a different approach and pretty much put on the different world
views or paradigms as I go, like putting on lens of different colors
and leading the reader through a variety of different viewpoints. I
haven't finished EP yet, and I'm curious to see where you take the
reader. So until I finish, I won't comment anymore than this.
However, I'll say that there are a couple ideas you present that I plan
to bring up for discussion.
In the meantime, let me address your previous letter:
< 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
There's no question that this is true. However, my focusing on
hypnogogia is that it is apparent to me that hypnogogia is a very
limited form of clairvoyance. People that can expereince hypnogogia
then have at least some type of expereintial basis to understand
clairvoyance. It is an approach for beginers, to help show them the
validity of occult claims about altered states of consciousness.
Hypnogogia is a very easily attainable altered state of consciousness
and thus is ideal practice for people with little expereince in altered
states. The reason for prescribing easily attainable states is to give
immediate results to the student. When you can mix theory and
practice, it is much better than teaching only theory. Just like in
school we are expected to know a lot of theory but have to take lab
courses, teaching the student to achive hypnogogia or giving out simple
dream excersises like dream recall, and recording ones dreams in
writting are "lab" classes in my mind. Practice reinforces and gives
substance to the theory. As the student progresses she or he will
outgrow the fascination with the simle excersises, just as, for
example, I no longer mix two salts simply to see them precipitate. As
well, hypnogogia and dream exersices are relatively harmless.
Prescribing, for example, LSD, is not harmless.
So yes, the astral plane is illusory, but like you yourself say in the
fine dream essay you sent, that in the astral plane we get a clearer
look at ourselves because all the inhibitions that we impose on
ourselves in the physical plane get removed.
And, with respect to hypnogogia, I do not necessarily feel that one
conjures up these images as a projection of the factors in ones aura.
My suspicion is that hypnogogic images are a sporadic clairvoyance and
that one could be percieving any number of things other than ones own
thought-forms. I've seen a number of things in the hypnogogic state
that clearly were not the product of wish fullfillment on my part,
including what I suspect were the molecules that my body is made of.
And as I've pointed out to Leonard, the hypnogoic state can serve as a
spring board into astral projection/lucid dreaming. I myself have done
this a number of times.
< But perhaps we have kicked this dead horse too many times and I will
let it rest. >
I think when we get to debating specific points we will probably return
to such ideas as Bell's theorem, but at the broad metaphysical level
we've been speaking, I think you are right. Lets give it a rest for a
<Again, I agree completely, but I suspect that Don would not (I still
have to convince Don about Chaos).>
Really, Gerald, I'm well studied in the science of chaos, as well as
can be expected for someone with my technical background. I've no need
of being convined. I think I have an understanding of what chaos
mathematics is all about and I see where it is relevant and where it is
not relevant. My main point of contention is that chaos theory is not
chaos in the sense of chaos verses order. All I'm saying is that chaos
theory is a perfectly well defined mathematical method and to make it
anything more than this is an excursion into metaphysics or speculative
<, but I am no longer certain about what you believe in.>
Good because I'm not either! Actually, I don't believe in anything. I
think belief itself is a resistor on the mind. I don't like to believe
in things. I will consider an idea or theory, respect it for its
merits or critisize it for perhaps being more than it claims to be, but
I do not believe in ideas per se. Its a fact that humans use ideas and
that ideas pass through our mind. But these facts in no way imply that
I or anyone is obligated to believe in the ideas that pass trough the
mind. I am extremely emotionally unattached to any ideas, including my
very own ideas of who and what I think I am. Like I explained, I see
ideas as mental plane creatures that our symbionts with our mental
plane anatomy. I *use* ideas when they are relevant, but I do not
believe the ideas themselves, even the ideas I am communicating to you
right now. Ideas are resitors in the mind. Belief is a process of
giving emotional content to ideas, a process of binding mental plane
thought-forms with astral plane elementals and allowing this
combination to adhere in our aura. Belief, in other words, is an
emotional overlay on ideas, a unnecessary coloring of the ideas. My
mind is a flux of thought forms: they enter my mind, they leave my
mind. In doing so, they leave an impression in my mind that
contributes to the further structuing of my mind. This may or may not
cause an emotional respoince is me. Whatever the case, I clearly
delineate the ideas from my emotional responce to them and always try
to keep the two seperate. IMO its simply a much cleaner way to relate
to ideas and to use the mind.
< You gave me the impression that you would not accept chaos or
statistics into your worldview except as interesting mathematical
I don't want to requote all my previous statements, but again, the idea
I'm trying to express is that of giving an idea or theory its due
credit or critisizing it if it claims more than its worth. I know what
both chaos theory and statistics are. I think you are overstepping the
limits of chaos theory by parralleling the mathematical theory with the
idea of the duality of order and chaos. Chaos theory is just not that
simple and you are short-changing the theory by simplifying its meaning
and decontextualizing it.
Statistics has a definite of validity as a tool of mathematical
analysis but I do not accept the idea that a basic theory can be built
on statistics. Models of statistics do not describe cause and effect.
To me a basic theory describes the mechanism of cause and effect. I do
not believe that probability is inherent in the world. As a matter of
fact, let me quote an author who agrees with me here:
"...true probablility, or randomness, is an illusion. Events may
appear random to an observer, but they are not actually random in the
sense of being haphazard or lacking purpose."
Sound familiar? This is from page 80 of your book, the second printing.
This is exactly what I am saying. Have you since changed your
viewpoint on this matter?
Apparently, you have come to a new conclusion that cause/effect and
probability are complementay ideas:
< 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
If this is the case, that you view these ideas as complimentary, then I
must disagree. I completely agree with the idea you expressed in your
book, that probability is an illusion created by the observer's
ignorance. Please make this clear to me if you have changed your basic
attitude on this issue. At any rate, I hope my position is clear.
<because the world spins on whether you care or not,>
That's actually a pretty good reason to *not* care!
<and you are now living and will die and will be reborn again and again
and yet again, if you truly don't care.>
Gerald, you must admit, this is an impossible statement to
substantiate. What is the point of making a statement like this? Is it
supoosed to scare me into caring? Please, don't go making statements
like this as if they are facts. Its only an idea and one that simply
cannot be born out by expereince. You can't test this statement, you
can only takre it on faith. This view of reincarnation is only one
viewpoint of the process. My understanding of reincarnation is very
different than this and contains no such implication.
< Only if you care
thing you are refering to by the word "you" is a transient flux like
all else, but as well is an idea in the mind of God. In the first
case, it will eventually dissapear, in the second case its eternal.
This idea of getting off of the wheel is old news and burnt out. From
the perspective I've developed over the years, the idea of stopping the
wheel or rebirth has become meaningless to me.
< Here again, you baffle me with a paradox.>
Interesting. You speak of these SEEs and I suspect that the fact that
reality, that life itself has baffled me with a number of paradoxes, so
much so that it caused me to have an SEE about it. Since then I've
come to realize that reality, life, whatever you want to call it is
much more real than the images, thoughts in my mind, so now I give
fundamental credence to reality itself and only a secondary credence to
ideas about life and reality. The paraodx is in the very nature of the
mind to grasp reality, not in reality itself.
<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 chaotic condition?>
Gerald, may I suggest that perhaps you view things too rigidly. Life
itself is flux. My mind reflects life, like a mirror. Thus, my mind
is a flux. Words and ideas are only minor outposts, little oasises in
the flux of life. It appears that you are trying to capture me in
contradictions and capture life in words and theories. Let me quote
something that I believe is really relevant here:
"Beware the man who claims to have solved the problem of life, who
would explain its complexities and, with deadly logic, build a system
in which all the facts of existence may be pigeon-holed and neatly
stored away. He stands condemned by his own claim. The child which
sees wonder in all the world around it, to whom the shells with which
it plays on the beach are objects of breathless excitement and thrilled
amazement, is nearer to divine truth than the intellectualist who would
strip a world of its mystery and takes pride in showing us its anatomy
in rutheless dissection... Many are the systems claiming to explain
life, contradictory in their premises and consequently in their
conclusions. They may be clever, they may fit perfectly in all their
details, but life itself ever evades them; were it possible to coontain
life in a system it would no longer be life but death. Life is ever
changing, ever becoming, yet eternal in its abiding reality and the
desire to to grasp and hold it, to see it streched out before us, as a
butterfly in its glass case is destined ever to be dissapointed. Our
systems of theology and philosophy, yes, even science, are but
momentary glimpses of a rapid movement; they may show us an instant of
that movement frozen in immobility, the movement itself can never be
contained in them.... Though ever again men may claim to have found
truth and to possess hher, truth herself remains untouched; truth is
the mystery of life which man can never each....Thus it is possible for
man to know the mystery of life; solve it he never can, still less
contain it in an intellectual system, however logical. Life is not
logical, though logic is the alphabet which we must learn if we would
speak the language of life, which is truth.... The mystery of life is
no0t a problem to be solved, it is a reality to be expereinced."
These quotes are from the extremely profound book,, "In Conquest of
Illusion" by J.J. van der Leeuw. As well as setting such a
perspective about the mind and intellect, van der Leeuw lays out
principles that pertain to the issue of the relationship between
science and occultism, principles upon which my Beyond the Physical is
based. I would highly recommend this book to all members who have not
read it. And, BTW, this is a book published by Quest. I don't know if
its in print, but they may have copies in Wheaton for sale if you call.
After the above, it seems stupid to continue debating fine points of
our discussion, but I will be stupid and proceeed to do so...
Memory, Gerald, is not moving backwards in time. It is a
reconstruction of the past in the present by some type of
storage-retreval system. Are you going to tell me that a computer hard
drive goes back in time to access the information in it? And our human
memories are surely not trips backwards in time but are a
reconstruction of past events in the fine electrical tissue of the
<Thoughts are located on the mental plane.> I agree with this, but,
when we are awake here on the physical plane, thought only manifest
through the medium of the brain, and is thus limited by the parameters
of the brain. It is well documented that our subjective perception of
sensory stimuli occurs within the time scale of nerve impulse
propagation (which is what an action potential is) which, again, is on
the order of 10 miliseconds. I think you are confusing the speed of
thought with the fact that thoughts can go from one to another
seemingly instantaneously. I can change from one thought to the next
in a seemingly instantaneous fashion, but, if precise measurements were
made, we would find that these events also occur on the order of a few
miliseconds, because again, even though thought itself is a mental
plane phenomena, for thought to express itself on the physical plane,
it needs a suitable vehicle, which is our brain, which operates on a
time scale of miliseconds. However, this logic does not necessarily
apply to altered states of consciousness, including dreams, astral
projections, hypnogogia, LSD hallucinations (or hallucinations mcreated
by any means), ect.
<No scientist, that I know of, have measured thoughts or thinking in
the lab. >
A recent issue of Science was dedicated to new, noninvasive methods of
viewing brian function, such as MRI. It was very interesting to see
the images in the articles that showed definte brain regions lighting
up in responce to psychological tasks. For example, seeing a word
stimulated the visual cortex in the occipital lobe, whereas hearing the
word stimulated the auditory region of the parietal cortex. The point
of this is that scientists are, for all practial purposes, mesuring
thought in the lab. However, and this is one of the major points of
contention between modern science and occultism, scientists like to
believe that the brian creates thought, when, in contrasts all
occultist teach that thought is independant of the brain. My
experience indicates that the occult view is correct. However,
scientists, fasinated with their machines and mateiralistic
philosophies are just going to believe what they want to beleive, as
people do, as you have to clearly pointed out.
Regarding the idea pf "proving" that the planes exist: < HPB stated
that it could not be done, by some obscure occult law> I don't accept
this logic. To me it is all a matter of world-views. People see what
their world-view allows them to see. If your world view accepts the
existance of the planes, then they exist. If not, then they do not
exist. This is an issue that Thomas Kuhn disscused in brilliant detail
in his work "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions". It is a process
called "communication breakdown" and is a process whereby two different
paradigms talk through each other. Or in terms you used in your
books,the "Not-I"s do not overlap, thus there is no communication.
<<Really, Gerald, take the plunge. They *are* all relative.> Even
Entropy verses evolution.
There is no conflict here any more. Ilya Prigogine developed the
theory of dissipative structures, which is a nonlinear, nonequilibrium
thermodynamics. The whole idea of entropy as < (the idea that the
universe is winding down)> is based on a linear, equlibrium model of
thermodynamics (the Gibbs equations). This model is purely ideal.
There is no real system that corresponds to it. All systems in nature
are at nonequilibrium. Period.
Evolution (increasing complexity) is an effect of nonequilibrium
conditions. The idea of the universe winding down is a misconceptions,
speculative science, with no basis in actual fact. It came about from
an extrapolation of an equilbrium model in a nonequilibrium universe.
This is all pretty technical, but if you want references, I can provide
It is my feeling that entropy is the most fundamental variable in
modern science. Any theory making a claim towards "Grand Unification"
must either be based on entropy as an axiom, or be able to derive it.
No theories in the grand unification arena today satisfy this criteria.
Thus, I think the present models are highly inadequate.
<<This is an effect of keeping a sloppy mind> Here again, I am not sure
what you mean.>
Well, you said: <<whatsoever we experience will always tend to confirm
our belief system and strengthen our worldview.>>
And I said: <This is an effect of keeping a sloppy mind>
And then you went off with your example about prejudice. Select quote:
<People are not prejudice out of stupidity. Hatred is not caused by
sloppy thinking. Our experiences substantiate our beliefs. >
What I was refering to as "sloppy thinking" is when one uses belief in
the fashion you speak of. I already went off on what I think about
belief and if you still don't understand what I mean here I will try to
Gerald, I think you misquoted me here:
In your letter you quoted me as saying "<I give no credence to
statistics at all>"
Now, I went back and reread my letter and all I could find was the
staement "I give no fundamental credence to statistics at all." Now,
unless I missed soemthing, you seemed to have cut out a couple of
I mean, hell, I use statistics in the science I do. I must give it
*some* credence. Still, I stick to my original statement <I give no
*fundamental* credence to statistics at all.>. and, as I addressed
this already above, I'll say no more on the issue here.
<Statistical probability is itself a cause (ie, one of the games
*rules*). > Some people like to believe this. I am not one of these
<Let me challenge you. Give me one single example of something in
*our* universe that is not dualistic, and I will admit defeat!>
First, I again recommend van der Leeuw's book. He does a great job of
dispensing with dualisms altogether and I won't even try to capture his
eloquence at excorsing this idea. I think you would find van der Leeuw
to be a substantial challenge to your beliefs. I would be very curious
to see your responce to his thinking, which is much better than mine.
But, in terms of your challenge: <Give me one single example of
something in *our* universe that is not dualistic> i would answer this:
the universe itself. Please, show me the oppostie of the universe.
Please, and *show* it to me. I don't want to hear speculations about
And in terms of defining my words, by universe, I mean all that is.
everything, which includes nothing as well. For, just as zero is but
one of the numbers, likewise, nothing is just one of the things in
So, Gerald, let me conclude by saying this. On the surface, it would
appear that we are quite antagonistic towards each others thinking.
However, I really feel that we are shooting arrows in the same
direction and that all our differences reflect differences in our life
expereince as human beings. Especially now that I am reading your
book, I really feel a deep and sincere kinship to you. We are
definately kindred souls of the mind. So, in spite of the surface
differences and the occasional jabs we may thrust towards each other, I
really want to reinfforce that, to me, this is all in good clean fun.
I appreciate the challenge you offer to my thinking and continue to
invite it. As I said, I don't think we need to see eye to eye on all
points. What's important is that we can remain friendly towards each
other while we each attempt to destoy the others thinking. This is a
game I am very comfortable with and play often with my very close
friends. I don't want to prove anything to you or convert you to the
ideas I express. That's not the point. What is going on here is
debate, and, as I said, I percieve this as a honing process.
So, I just want to make sure this is clear. I'm outta here for now.
I'll be looking forward to your comments and, hopefully, in a few days
we can get down to brass tacks about your book.
Best to you and to all,
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