For those of you who are interested in what we are about, we have developed a new FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
It covers topics such as;
What is Theosophy?
What is Theosophy and/or Esotericism in Academia?
and goes over other topics such as Esotericism and Occult Science.
Basically this will give you a basic run-down of what Theosophy.Net is all about.
All this can be viewed on the new FAQ by clicking the image below:
For more information on Theosophy,
you can also check out "Theosophy A Beginners Guide"
by selecting the image below:
Another quick example is item 3.
The inflationary model gives some credence to a repulsive dark energy which is gravitation repulsion of a sort. This has also been seen in other places in the universe lately. If this force becomes dominant as the Universe cools (most think it will), then the universe will expand forever with the matter moving outward at faster and faster rates, Indeed, some show an exponential increase in velocity of all matter. That means the total energy will be increasing exponentially. This is a commonly held opinion now among Cosmologists. Energy is far from fixed and constant in these scenarios. hence 3 is wishful thinking. The mechanism being looked at to stop this is a variant of a "conservation of entropy" law to put brakes on it... who knows.
widespread beliefs is a true statement.
Maybe instead of "the science delusion" one should use "delusions about science." People accept them so easily, it is pretty sad.
Science Vs Spiritualism is a topic that never seems to go away. As if the two are different.
Seth, to get a little more insight into your item 2, please visit our discussion Strong Free Will Theorem. Let spiritualists / believers in God come up a unified coherent definition of consciousness and then it can be examined. Meanwhile science continues its quest as is evident in The Emerging Physics of Consciousness.
What evidence the so called spiritualist / believers in God have given us to prove that memories / consciousness (as in psychology) or other ideas reside outside the brain.
I may be a foolish ignorant person. That does not give anyone a right to take me a for a ride.
Good to see you Anand! (been a while)!
Very Good point! and excellent reference on the Strong Free Will Theorem. <g>.
The book referenced (The Emerging Physics of Consciousness,Springer Press - one of the top Science Publishers) is now on my want list. Darn things always exceed current available balance in budget for the month... sigh.
Thank you for the links Captain, I'll be sure to check them out.
My only question: how could one come up with a coherent definition of consciousness, seeing as consciousness is what necessarily must underlie the act of intellectual thinking and words to begin with? Defining consciousness with intellectual words would roughly be similar to describing color to someone born blind, only infinitely harder. When it comes to consciousness in its most basic form, what is there to examine? What is there to describe? It seems logical to me that consciousness is beyond our intellect's grasp. But just because you can't explain something, doesn't mean you can't know it. It just means you have to figure it out on your own. And perhaps that's why there is no unified coherent definition of consciousness from the spiritualisticly minded people. Our words will fall short of reality, and therefore examining definitions and proofs is a waste of time in that direction. It's much more productive just clear your mind and breathe.
Although the question is directed towards Anand, I'd like to throw in a word or few.
The (An) approach is to develop an emergent theory of how the brain develops (manifests) the state of I-ness or being-ness as an individual entity; An extension is working on "Oneness" of two conscious objects and how Quantum Mental States can be "shared" between subjects. The theory(s) is (are) surprisingly plausible.
Quantum Mechanics deals with the ability to analyze the combined/simultaneous states of the subjective and objective properties of matter which (matter) carries simultaneously. See our local discussion on Subjective States of matter in Quantum Mechanics. This references Peer-reviewed articles (example of why Sheldrakes 1. is wrong)
Many of these properties arise from Bell-like states (mathematical states) of matter. One has either Non-Local phenomena (bell-like example), non-Counterfactual Definiteness or both (our local discussions links are given).
Also see Wikipedia's entries Counterfactual Definiteness and Non-Locality.
The fact is that Consciousness has to emerge at this level first, then higher-order thoughts can be examined such as coherent ideas and words. This is really a hot topic in Science as Anand pointed out. It is an emergent theory by the "Nature" of the beast.
I will combine these into one discussion in the Science Group (probably). keeps them from getting "lost" in the discussions on the site. (sometime.. <g>).
"consciousness is what necessarily must underlie the act of intellectual thinking and words to begin with?"
I would guess there were many small steps between that first rudimentary "thought" and the development of a language to even attempt to express it. This is why words fail us when we attempt to use them to describe a perspective that was developed long before language existed.
"It seems logical to me that consciousness is beyond our intellect's grasp"
I would think the intellect is sufficient (would almost have to be), it is the bindings language (and all other incomplete expressions) imposes on our intellect that restricts our emergence as truer representations of self.
When our thinking transformed from one dimensional to two dimensional it was through a "revolutionary" (evolutionary) concept, a rudimentary "thought" that had to work it's way up through the complexity we create to the point at which we become aware of it, that point is consciousness.
At least that is how I see it.
If our "mind/brain" (intellect) has limitations to it, we would not be able to even imagine that there is more. ("I think, therefor I am")
clearing the mind and breathing (sounds like meditation) strips away the complexity, allowing you to become aware of these rudimentary "thoughts" quicker. Every bit of incomplete expression (complexity) we create is an obstacle (that cast a long shadow or darkness) in our conscious understanding of what we are. So when we remove enough complexity we "illuminate" what was unseen in the shadows. When we become "enlightened" we think in a higher dimensional way that allows for more accurate expression.
To me, that is what is evolving.
The physical expression is merely along for the ride.
Consciousness deserves a separate discussion thread of its own.
There are several cultural memes floating around for ages which now perhaps have a genetic basis too. One of them being that "because science does not know about it what I am saying is right." Another one being that "it is possible to know but not understand it or vice versa," both implying the same meaning. These memes are not seriously questioned by ordinary people like us.
It would perhaps be helpful to learn about how memories are organized inside the brain. Neuroscience is not yet developed to the extent where it can answer any question about mind/brain/consciousness/knowledge/understanding etc., but it can give some pointers. I found the quest of an Artificial Intelligence software programmer narrated in On Intelligence quite fascinating. Ancient Indian text Chhandogya Upanishad categorizes different types of memories, their functions and relevance. Unfortunately no good translations are available.
As humans are evolving the capacity of their brain is expanding too. What we could not understand yesterday, like why an apple falls from the tree, is child's play today.
I see what you're saying with the memes, but I don't really think they apply here. Then again, I could also be simply deluding myself into believing they don't apply when in fact they do...
...because science does not know about it what I am saying is right...
The reason I believe I'm right about the limitations of language when put to the use of describing consciousness is not because science doesn't know what consciousness is yet. It's because consciousness is there before and after I use my mind to think with words or images or sounds or anything else. It's from rudimentary experimentation within myself, not b/c of what science may or may not know (of which I'm largely ignorant of anyway...).
...it is possible to know but not understand it or vice versa...
And I'm saying its possible to both know and understand it, just not communicate it to anyone else who doesn't also know and understand it, and that's only because it has to be bluntly experienced to be known. If everything around us is of consciousness, then nothing around us can be used to accurately describe consciousness. Only consciousness alone can describe consciousness, and consciousness is not made up of our words. It underlies our words.
the problem with language as a device to use is that Science looks at the consciousness of Bacteria, fruit flies and everything else. Those languages are primitive if they exist at all. The Math is thought itself and not words. Communicated between people as transference of ideas/concepts not words. It has little to do with words, just ideas from the very/most fundamental to higher ideas. That is the language of Science.
Thanks Seth. I notice that your first point has been adequately answered by John. I will take up the "bluntly experienced" part of it.
Great teacher Gautam Buddha narrated the story of blind men and the elephant to highlight the limitations of experience.based knowledge. A popular meme based on linearity is that if everyone follows the same methodology, they should all get the same experience. It has never been proved.
Experience may be one of the means of gaining or acquiring knowledge, but without the basic knowledge of what this experience indicates, it is of little use.
Humanity has evolved from "unknowable, undescribable" definition of consciousness to the suggestion by Sir Roger Penrose that it is something like "Platonic Information System of the Universe at Planck Scale". Eventually humanity will get there, with or without current vocabulary.
Perhaps you may like to check out our own discussion The Experiential Dilemma.