How to determine the reality of mystical experiences?

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  • #26
Les Sleeth
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Doctordick said:
I didn't say it was. In fact, I didn't say one could "find reality". What I said was, reality is an unknown and that our analysis of what we know should be done from the perspective that we have information on the issue without knowing what it is! Since the first requirement of defining reality is that the definition must be perfectly consistent with what we know, if reality is to be described, it is to be described with an internally consistent explanation (now go back to my definition of mathematics above). :wink:
The problem I have with your epistomology is that it negates all certainty, including mathematics since that is part reality. If you posit reality is unknowable, then using mathematics doesn't create anymore certainty than anything else since we cannot know if mathematics is real. Similarly, we cannot know if our "information" is real, so how can we assume we "have" information?

And then, why do you keep switching between knowing and defining as though they are the same thing? A dog can know the way home without having a clue about how to define a "way home." Likewise, we don't need a "description" of what we know to actually know.

Defining, models, explanations, descriptions . . . all are tools of analysis, not of knowing. Yes, analysis may help us find the way to knowing, but lots of people know aspects of reality (like the way home) without having superior intellectual skills.

Finally, mathematics may be the essence of logic, but just because someone can closet himself in the purely conceptual world of mathematical analysis doesn't mean one can be logical while functioning in the experience of the moment. In fact, my experience has been that people obsessed with math and logic tend to be a bit out of touch with reality. So maybe your conclusion that reality is "unknown" is simply a statement about your particular state of mind. :wink:


Doctordick said:
If you have the ability to understand logic, try a careful read of my paper, http://home.jam.rr.com/dicksfiles/Explain/Explain.htm [Broken]. If not, well I am sorry to hear about that failing. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
My analysis of your arguments continues to be that you are constantly trying to find a way to act superior by creating a philosophy where only people with your particular set of skills understand anything. If I ever find 10 consecutive posts of yours where you DON'T suggest someone is less intelligent than you I think I'll pass out from disbelief. And all the smiley faces you attach to posts doesn't conceal your apparent addiction to condescension.:cool:
 
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  • #27
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If you have the ability to understand logic, try a careful read of my paper, http://home.jam.rr.com/dicksfiles/Explain/Explain.htm [Broken]. If not, well I am sorry to hear about that failing. o:)

I did read your paper carefully and I was wondering if you have ever found anyone who agreed with you? You define 'an explanation' to be a method of obtaining expectations from given information. Later you state 'an explanation' to be the primary concept underlying all other concepts! Does any of this produce any useful or new info?
I was wondering if one could use your model to develop any new information on how one might produce or modulate gravitons. If it can, please so advise.
 
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  • #28
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Please don't make it so easy to be condescending!

Les Sleeth said:
The problem I have with your epistomology is that it negates all certainty, including mathematics since that is part reality. If you posit reality is unknowable, then using mathematics doesn't create anymore certainty than anything else since we cannot know if mathematics is real.
Well, if logic is not a usable tool, it kind of removes the sense of anything doesn't it? If you want to throw out logic, what purpose to you think "thinking" serves and why are you posting? :uhh:
Les Sleeth said:
Similarly, we cannot know if our "information" is real, so how can we assume we "have" information?
I didn't make that assumption; I allowed for the possibility, quite a different starting point. :wink:
Les Sleeth said:
And then, why do you keep switching between knowing and defining as though they are the same thing?
I can only guess that you are misinterpreting something I said. :confused:
Les Sleeth said:
Finally, mathematics may be the essence of logic, but just because someone can closet himself in the purely conceptual world of mathematical analysis doesn't mean one can be logical while functioning in the experience of the moment. In fact, my experience has been that people obsessed with math and logic tend to be a bit out of touch with reality. So maybe your conclusion that reality is "unknown" is simply a statement about your particular state of mind. :wink:
Well, from the way the subject is discussed, there appears to be no consensus as to exactly what reality is. That fact leads me to the conclusion that the concept should be handled as an unknown. I think your problem is typical of Philosophy Guru's: they don't consider understanding mathematics to be a worthwhile endeavorer. :yuck:
Les Sleeth said:
My analysis of your arguments continues to be that you are constantly trying to find a way to act superior by creating a philosophy where only people with your particular set of skills understand anything.
And it seems to me (from my analysis of your arguments) that you believe that understanding the universe does not require understanding everything! Think about that for a moment! :surprised
Les Sleeth said:
If I ever find 10 consecutive posts of yours where you DON'T suggest someone is less intelligent than you I think I'll pass out from disbelief.
All I am looking for is a mind I can respect! Say something I can respect and maybe that condescension you feel might not be so all pervading. :devil:

Have fun – Dick

"The simplest and most necessary truths are the very last to be believed."
by Anonymous
 
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sd01g said:
I did read your paper carefully ...
But do you feel you understand it? Do you comprehend that the equation must be a true statement concerning expectations of collections of elements of A? :smile:

Once a solution to that equation is found (and that would be any solution), one would "know", with confidence, that the solution has to describe a required relationships between the elements of A (that would be whatever it is that the function Psi is supposed to explain). Knowing the solution allows the possibility of "exact" definition of further concepts which, one would once again "know" to be valid representations of collections of elements of A. Step by step, the process yields exact knowledge of implications of those "exact" definitions. Not a word of it "theoretical"; every item of the deduction must be absolutely true (unless of course there is an error in the deduction). :approve:

Now such a thing has to be valuable as it would be nice to know that, if a theory violated any of those implications it would have to be "wrong". It should be obvious that additional provable constraints on what might be true would be of value to theorists. It is that issue which encouraged me to try and solve the equation. :rolleyes:
sd01g said:
and I was wondering if you have ever found anyone who agreed with you?
Agreed to what? That my definitions are reasonable or that my logic is valid? So far I have run into only one person willing to carefully look at it. He agrees that the equation is valid, but asserts that my solutions to the equations over his head. Professionals have, so far, refused to even read the paper much less consider the implications of such a discovery. :frown:
sd01g said:
You define 'an explanation' to be a method of obtaining expectations from given information. Later you state 'an explanation' to be the primary concept underlying all other concepts! Does any of this produce any useful or new info?
Understanding the limits to knowledge always provides useful information. :cool:
I was wondering if one could use your model to develop any new information on how one might produce or modulate gravitons. If it can, please so advise.
There is more to this universe than is dreamed of in your philosophy. The consequences of that equation reach far beyond anything I ever expected when I first discovered it. Your asking me about gravitons is like Ptolemy asking how modern knowledge could add to his understanding of the celestial spheres. :confused:

Gravity is a consequence of the fact that the "force field" theories of interactions are only an approximate solution to my equation. It turns out that the approximations required to generate the common modern physics equations end up insuring the omission of a factor related to the interaction density which requires a small radial correction to any force deduced by common exchange effects. That is why there is no "anti-gravity"; the error which must be corrected always amounts to a force pointing in the direction of the source of the exchange interactions. Now this I don't expect you to believe but it is true none the less. :wink:

I have a lot more to say but having already earned the title of "crackpot of the century" I thought I would try "baby steps". That is why I have put forth here only the derivation of the fundamental equation. That needs to be understood before one can go farther. I doubt there is anyone on this forum who could understand the problem of solving that equation but perhaps a reader might know someone who they might ask. Who knows where a little questioning of the authorities might lead. If you like to think, think about the following statement. :shy:

Time is an essential concept introduced into our comprehension of reality to provide for the existence of change in what we know, the past being "what we know" and the future being "what we do not know". Einstein's concept of time as a dimensional aspect of reality fails to provide for that very essential aspect of our knowledge of reality. Handling the existence of a difference between what we do and do not know is the fundamental basis of Quantum Mechanics, uncertainty and the notion of collapse of the wave function. This is the exact reason for the incompatibility between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. :biggrin:

Have fun – Dick

"The simplest and most necessary truths are the very last to be believed."
by Anonymous
 
  • #30
Les Sleeth
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Doctordick said:
Well, if logic is not a usable tool, it kind of removes the sense of anything doesn't it? If you want to throw out logic, what purpose to you think "thinking" serves and why are you posting? :uhh:
It wasn't me who cast doubt on logic, it was you when you claimed reality is unknown. Is logic part of reality? If so, and if you are relying on it, then you are relying on an unknown.

I totally trust logic because I believe I KNOW it works (i.e., I disagree with you that reality must be unknown, I think we can know at least aspects of it). You, however, claim we can never know and so according to the logic you have embraced, by your own statements, means you are relying on something to reveal reality which you can't trust. So I post because I believe I know, and one of the things I believe I can know is that logic works.


Doctordick said:
Well, from the way the subject is discussed, there appears to be no consensus as to exactly what reality is. That fact leads me to the conclusion that the concept should be handled as an unknown.
You are confusing agreement with knowing. Ten people can get together, nine of them have never made a successful pizza, and one has. They might not all agree on how to make a good pizza, but that doesn't mean one of them doesn't know. Similarly, because most here at PF can't agree doesn't mean one or more of us doesn't understand what reality is.


Doctordick said:
I think your problem is typical of Philosophy Guru's: they don't consider understanding mathematics to be a worthwhile endeavorer. :yuck:
Why would you assume that? I passed all my math courses with flying colors, and I still think it is great stuff. However, I don't have much use for it in my work or contemplations. So what? Do I insist you understand the intricacies of my experitise?

No matter what one decides to specialize in, one can become more skilled than those who choose to specialize in something else. I could, I guarantee you, make you look like a fool in some area where I am informed and you are not. If my pathetic little ego needed boosting I might try that, but I'd rather have an adult discussion with other adults, and expect them to participate in an adult way instead of looking for every opportunity to pump myself up by putting others down.


Doctordick said:
And it seems to me (from my analysis of your arguments) that you believe that understanding the universe does not require understanding everything! Think about that for a moment! :surprised
Let's not be silly, you are speaking in public. No one can possibly understand everything, so we are forced to pick and choose. The most intelligent people I know try to keep abreast of what they can, and usually specialize in one or more areas. Those areas they specialize in are decided by their particular predilections. You seem predisposed to the complexities of math. Wonderful! But others, like me, are predisposed to generalizing. Do I ridicule you for being unable to keep up with me as a generalist?

You sir have repeatedly proven yourself to be ridiculer. You NEVER miss an opportunity to compare your strengths to another's weaknesses, and you NEVER show respect for what they might have achieved intellectually which you haven't.

Barely one post after my criticism of your attitude we find you saying this, "I have a lot more to say but . . . I thought I would try 'baby steps.'

You just had to let him know you were feeding him baby food.

"That is why I have put forth here only the derivation of the fundamental equation. That needs to be understood before one can go farther."

You just had to say how little he understands.

"I doubt there is anyone on this forum who could understand the problem of solving that equation but perhaps a reader might know someone who they might ask."

You just had to imply how little anyone but you at this ENTIRE forum can understand what you do.

"Who knows where a little questioning of the authorities might lead. If you like to think, think about the following statement"

You just had to suggest you are the exception here of someone who likes to think.


Doctordick said:
All I am looking for is a mind I can respect! Say something I can respect and maybe that condescension you feel might not be so all pervading. :devil:
Well, there are wife beaters who say all they are looking for is a wife who can respect. Of course, their ridiculously inflated egos demand more genuflection than anyone can or should show them. Why is it our burden to acquire your respect? Why don't you already respect all human beings simply because they exist as fellow humans?
 
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Doctordick said:
Your asking me about gravitons is like Ptolemy asking how modern knowledge could add to his understanding of the celestial spheres. :confused:

[/QUOTE

Thanks for your imput on gravitons. I was hoping that your model of absolutely any explanation of anything could speculate on how one might produce a graviton(s). I have some ideas (wild speculations) on how it might be done. In what form do you require information to be to enter it into your model?

Note: The best way to gain respect for your model is for it to produce some really usefull new information.
 
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sd01g said:
In what form do you require information to be to enter it into your model?
You completely misunderstand the kind of model I am putting forth. For example, a method of numerically assigning pixel colors and screen locations in a binary file is a model of all possible stationary images (including textures by the way). It follows that absolutely any image can be transformed into such a binary file. So you then say to me, "then show me the binary file for a picture of my grandmother". My answer is, "I'll need two things first: I will need to know what algorythm do you want to use for the conversion into binary numbers and I will also need a picture of your grandmother".

You see, the model does not model specific events, the model is of "an explanation" (any explanation)! You give me the explanation (the complete and entire explanation), and I will show you how to cast it into the model. It puts forth information on the constraints an explanation must obey.
sd01g said:
The best way to gain respect for your model is for it to produce some really useful new information.
First, I would say that, to my knowledge, there exists no other model of "an explanation". It isn't even an issue considered worth thinking about. In fact, the issue is considered so worthless that no professional will even check the logic of my construct; it seems they don't think understanding what an explanation is to be worth knowing much less what the constraints on a valid explanation might be. So the term "new" need not be considered. That leaves only "really useful". To answer that question, one needs to look at what it yields and decide wether or not the information is useful. Clearly I think it is.

Since the validity of my http://home.jam.rr.com/dicksfiles/Explain/Explain.htm [Broken] doesn't seem to interest the people who could verify it, I might nonetheless comment on the implications. If the equation is false, then of course none of the implications are meaningful; however, suppose it is true just for the fun of it. The first thing is that, as many professionals have commented, being an abstract logical construct, it has absolutely nothing to do with reality. Well, that is absolutely true; however. it has everything to do with how reality could be interpreted. It is nothing more or less than a possible way to interpret information such that the interpretation is always guaranteed to be perfectly consistent with the information. And that is not an easy thing to do when the volume of the information to be dealt with becomes excessively large.

The equation does nothing more or less than provide constraints on predicting expectation consistent with what is known. I am sure you have taken one of these tests where you have been given a list of numbers and asked what the next number is. The object is to find a pattern and deduce the next number. The goal of understanding anything is finding patterns which you can use to predict what will come next. Any computer scientist knows any information can be reduced to a collection of numbers. And anyone familiar with mathematics knows full well that there exists an infinite number of ways to mathematically fit any finite set of known numbers. So given this tremendous quantity of pure numbers, how should one go about deciding what number should be next?

One common procedure used to fit a set of points is a power series. Now a power series can be made to fit any data but the problem is that it is quite often a poor predictor for new data (a poor model of the situation). The fault with a power series fit is that the predictions are highly unstable and only give correct answers when the data actually are explicitly represented by a power series. There are probably an infinite number of other ways to http://www.mathworks.com/access/helpdesk/help/toolbox/curvefit/ch_fitt6.html [Broken] methods.

My equation is actually little more than another way of fitting a set of points. Dealing as it does with probability of a number and not with the actual number, it has a few freedoms not found in methods which require an exact fit. One of the effects is that the expectations predicted by the equation are "uncertain". That hits on two fronts; first the predictions are not uniquely fixed and second it doesn't assume the data on which the predictions are made are exactly known. Those are certainly valid aspects of reality.

Now let's look at the simplicity of the equation. As certain people have commented, it bears a striking resemblance to Quantum Mechanics equations (one of the single most dependable theories by the way). I think that those who know a little about Quantum will support the fact that the equation is exactly what one would expect of a universe which consisted of nothing except massless infinitesimal spinners. That's a pretty simple universe! Well, simple except for the far reaching consequences of the extreme numbers involved and the great number of possibilities in the Feynman sums of virtual exchange phenomena. There's a whole lot of room there. What is actually astounding is the fact that I can show that most all of modern physics comes directly out of that equation; all the way from Classical Mechanics to General Relativity. It unites modern physics in much the same way Maxwell's equations united E & M a hundred and forty years ago.

Actually it is roughly analogous to Newton's simplification of astronomical orbits. It just happens to be my great misfortune to be born during the existence of a powerful well indoctrinated academy wholly convinced the need for their extremely complex collection of theories is absolute and incontrovertible. They react to me about how I think the great followers of Ptolomy with their celestial spheres mechanically driven by complex cycles and epicycles would have reacted to the idea that the moon was just plain falling? They would find the idea just too simple minded to consider. How about a little help shaking their cages?

Have fun -- Dick

"The simplest and most necessary truths are the very last to be believed."
by Anonymous
 
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  • #33
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Doctordick,
Have you ever posted any of your ideas at PF in full, I looked but couldn't find any. I did take a look at your papers they sound very compelling, but I am not a physicist. I personally would enjoy a thread on one of your papers like Resolution of the Relativity/Quantum Mechanics Conflict.
But with all respect I don't think you are completely being fair to the nature of the thread by introducing your theories into a discussion about determing the reality of mystical experiences. I do think you are right on that it is very difficult to proceed in this discussion without clearly defining mystical, I don't want to attempt that, but I will throw in my thoughts about how I determine the reality of any experience.
As far as I can tell I am able to use all my senses and gather information around me, but I also notice that I don't always trust it as real. For example when I go hiking in our river bluffs I am very aware that there are rattlesnakes in hanging around in the rocks, and more than once I have taken a stick in the distance to be a snake. Obviously I don't always trust my senses as real and of course neither does science. Still I haven't come up with a way that any experience can avoid senses, so really I tend to think in terms of probabilities and so I am not absolutely certain about the reality of absolutely anything.
What really is interesting to me is that many people who experience a mystical state or a state of oneness become absolutely certain of the reality of it. I suppose if a person felt a oneness there would be no doubt and obviously no probabilities. I wonder which is the illusion, the concept of oneness or the concept of differences, like time and numbers.
 
  • #34
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Doctordick said:
)! The first thing is that, as many professionals have commented, being an abstract logical construct, it has absolutely nothing to do with reality.
.
It seems that you have arrived at a level of esoteric, exotic, and elegant mathematics that few can appreciate. I once thought that mathematics was the path to enlightenment. However, once I realized that all mathematics, no matter how intellectually compelling, are no more than secondary reality, I shifted my interests to understanding primary reality. Because I feel that we will never understand primary reality until we understand gravity and the graviton (the force that creates stars and holds the solar system together), I have de-emphasized my interest in math. However, should you develop a math model to assist in the search for the elusive graviton, I certainly would be interested.
 
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  • #35
Rade
Originally Posted by Rade. Are you real ?
Doctordick said:
Could be I'm just a figment of your imagination! What's your opinion on the issue?
Well, "could not be"--so, your answer logically moves in the circle you post :rofl:
Doctordick said:
Originally Posted by Doctordick...I didn't say it was. In fact, I didn't say one could "find reality". What I said was, reality is an unknown and...
So, again, are you real ?--a yes or no or (?) will do just fine.
 
  • #36
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roamer said:
I personally would enjoy a thread on one of your papers like Resolution of the Relativity/Quantum Mechanics Conflict.
If you are referring to my paper, it is located http://home.jam.rr.com/dicksfiles/flaw/Fatalfla.htm [Broken]. If you have already seen the paper, I believe you have the power to start a thread on any issue you feel interested in. Just start one with a question which concerns you. If I have anything to say, I'll post it. :smile:
roamer said:
But with all respect I don't think you are completely being fair to the nature of the thread by introducing your theories into a discussion about determining the reality of mystical experiences.
First, I have not introduced a theory of any kind (what I am talking about are logical deductions themselves) and second, what I have done is demonstrated how one can handle "reality" as an unknown in a logical deduction. Certainly no one here has any hard and fast method of determining what is real and what is not. So the first issue of "determining the reality of mystical experiences" is, how does one handle the concept of reality in a logical manner. You certainly cannot even consider the question of determining something which you cannot handle in a logical manner. :grumpy:
roamer said:
I will throw in my thoughts about how I determine the reality of any experience. ...
... and so I am not absolutely certain about the reality of absolutely anything.
Apparently you don't! That is, "determine the reality of any experience"!
roamer said:
What really is interesting to me is that many people who experience a mystical state or a state of oneness become absolutely certain of the reality of it.
I have noticed that many people are absolutely certain of a lot of things, even things they cannot defend. My dear grandmother was absolutely certain the world was flat. Explain to me what this great personal feelin of certainty has to do with reality. :eek:

Just as an aside, our daughter is a medical doctor. As a medical student, she and some friends of hers became interested in the "near death" experiences of people on the operating table. Apparently it is quite common for the patient to experience viewing the operation from above and watch the doctors operating on their bodies as they float near the ceiling of the operating room. So she and her friends wrote a clearly legible message on top of the main light to see how many of these people saw the message. Apparently no one ever saw it. Maybe writing the message was a figment of her imagination? :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
Rade said:
So, again, are you real ?--a yes or no or (?) will do just fine.
Well first in order to understand the question, I have to know what you mean. You will have to give me your definition of "real" and how you feel the determination of the status is to be made. :confused:

Have fun -- Dick

"The simplest and most necessary truths are the very last to be believed."
by Anonymous
 
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  • #37
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Doctordick said:
So she and her friends wrote a clearly legible message on top of the main light to see how many of these people saw the message. Apparently no one ever saw it. Maybe writing the message was a figment of her imagination? :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
Actually, they discovered that the 'floating' person didnt pay attention to the lights or wherever they put the writing, but instead focussed on their own body and the people nearby. This does make sense doesnt it? It would be the same as asking people who hit a bump in the road, crash their car and end up upside down in the ditch, to see if they can tell what text was written on the nearest roadsign and memorise it. This would also have to be asked after the crash, because similarly i dont think hospital personal would ask a patient "hey if u happen to die during ur visit, and find urself floating around as a ghost, could u focus on the lightbulb, read the text, and then if we manage to resuscitate u before god or satan sucks u up in the portal of light, tell us what was written on it?" :biggrin:

New experiments are being prepared which place a transparent screen with writing at such a position that a floating person must look through the screen in order to see his own body.

As for ur grandfather believing the earth was flat, no doubt if he directly experienced the roundness of it(for example by looking at it from space) he would agree that it was round. As the saying goes "seeing is believing". With mystical experiences one might say "experiencing is believing". Of course the ones who havent experienced it will be skeptical untill they do. As roamer said, it is very interesting that people who have experienced both the normal and the mystical, seem to all agree that the mystical was more real than the normal.

One cant help but wonder why.
 
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  • #38
Rade
Doctordick said:
Well first in order to understand the question, I have to know what you mean. You will have to give me your definition of "real" and how you feel the determination of the status is to be made. :confused:
Not trying to be difficult nor cute here--but I take it that you know full well how you defined reality when you made this comment in a previous post

Doctordic said:
Originally Posted by Doctordick
I didn't say it was. In fact, I didn't say one could "find reality". What I said was, reality is an unknown....
Now, I was just interested in understanding how you reached this philosophic conclusion -- e.g. that "reality is an unknown". Thus, the question, is it unknown to you that you are real ?
 
  • #39
Les Sleeth
Gold Member
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Doctordick said:
Certainly no one here has any hard and fast method of determining what is real and what is not. So the first issue of "determining the reality of mystical experiences" is, how does one handle the concept of reality in a logical manner. You certainly cannot even consider the question of determining something which you cannot handle in a logical manner. :grumpy:
"Real" is what exists, nothing more and nothing less. Why complicate the issue? The question is, what means do we have available to us to experience what exists. Experience is the path to knowing. Science often says only the physical exists, and physicalness certainly can be experienced. But are there other experiences which might reveal other realms of existence?

Your (apparent) assumption that logic is the path to knowing reality is not supported by the history of knowing. I have offered the example of how even a dog can "know" the way home without using logic. Isn't the way home a part of reality? Isn't it proven we know reality when we follow what we know and we arrive home?

I would even go so far as to say logic never produces knowledge of reality. How can I "know" if Jack’s dog is white? If Jack tells me his dog is white, if I know every dog Jack has had in the past was white, and if all the other men in the world named Jack who’ve ever had a dog has had a white one, then can I know from those circumstances that the Jack I am acquainted with has a white dog now? No. Knowledge is not produced by reason, statistical probabilities or any means other than through direct experience. In the case of Jack and his dog, all the facts logically indicate Jack’s dog is white, but I can only know if my belief is true if I observe Jack’s dog.

That is the modern epistomological standard, which you should know since you claim to be a science expert. Science is a variety of empiricislm, and to be empirical means to experience. That's why all scientific experiments are set up to anticipate experience, because science accepts nothing as known until it is experienced.

If knowing is achieved through experience, then one does not need math to know reality. Math might help us work with and reason about reality, but it doesn't directly produce knowing. Of course, for science only sense experience is relied on and trusted, so the real issue is if we have other experiential avenues besides the senses. In fact, it is well-documented that the path to the mystical experience is NOT via the senses.


Doctordick said:
That is, "determine the reality of any experience"!
I have noticed that many people are absolutely certain of a lot of things, even things they cannot defend. My dear grandmother was absolutely certain the world was flat. Explain to me what this great personal feelin of certainty has to do with reality. :eek:
You act like you know all there is to know about human capability just because you can think well. But the person who is obsessed with thinking may in fact be overlooking other abilities humans have. One of those abilities is to develop one's feeling nature so deeply that one can feel very subtle things, things the thinking mind misses because it is consumed with thought.

I assure you that if you could go back in time and talk to the Buddha, you would find him teaching a consciousness skill that would "mystify" you and all others who only are willing to think.

Not every crackpot who talks about the mystical experience knows anything, just like there are crackpot physics theorists. But you insult serious inner practitioners when you compare them flat-world believers. The truth is, your ridicule reflects your own ignorance. Why offer an opinion on something you know absolutely nothing about?
 
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  • #40
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PIT2 said:
As roamer said, it is very interesting that people who have experienced both the normal and the mystical, seem to all agree that the mystical was more real than the normal.
And you wonder why? It has been my experience that strong belief in unsupportable ideas is an extremely good indicator of ignorance and intellectual incompetence. :yuck:
Rade said:
Now, I was just interested in understanding how you reached this philosophic conclusion -- e.g. that "reality is an unknown". Thus, the question, is it unknown to you that you are real ?
Apparently you do not understand the difference between "unknown" (an adjective: describing or modifying something) and "an unknown" (a noun: a name of something). Reality is "an unknown" in the sense that there exists no hard and fast way of categorizing anything as being "real" or "unreal". However, there do exist constraints on the concept of reality accepted by most people (but apparently not all) so relationships can quite often be laid out to establish logical boundaries on the concept. Without agreement communications are next to impossible. Your question presumes an agreement on the meaning of "real" without any discussion of the boundaries on the concept at all. The net effect (particularly on this forum) is that I have no idea of what you mean. :confused:
Les Sleeth said:
Why offer an opinion on something you know absolutely nothing about?
It seems to me that I should be asking you that question. I am not the one claiming deep and profound knowledge of reality. I have no idea how you personally decide if something is real or not. It appears you have a strong belief in "feelings" sans any criteria. If I am wrong, tell me what your criteria are. :frown:

Have fun – Dick
 
  • #41
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Doctordick said:
And you wonder why? It has been my experience that strong belief in unsupportable ideas is an extremely good indicator of ignorance and intellectual incompetence. :yuck:
Thats exactly what this topic is about, to find out how we can determine the reality of the experiences. U talk about the ignorance and intellectual incompetence of the experiencers, but i dont think this is a very likely reason for them to think their experience was hyperreal.

These people can live a normal life, be of all cultures, all races, all religions, all professions, all intelligences, all ages. And yet, when they have the briefest mystical experience, they immediatly know and realise the hyperreality of it and remain convinced of it till the day they die.

So should we conclude that the experience itself somehow destroys their intellectual capacities which they had prior to the experience? There is no evidence for this, so it is not a very likely option.

Does the flat-earth believing old man, who sees a picture of earth from space, have his intellectual capacities destroyed by watching the round earth picture? Or could it be that his experience of watching the picture actually enriched his knowledge of reality?
 
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  • #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PIT2
As roamer said, it is very interesting that people who have experienced both the normal and the mystical, seem to all agree that the mystical was more real than the normal.

And you wonder why? It has been my experience that strong belief in unsupportable ideas is an extremely good indicator of ignorance and intellectual incompetence.
I'm an engineering student and I use logic and math every day to model and describe physical objects. Granted I'm not a great engineer, but I rarely have had a model of some component or piece of machinery I've designed match the exact physical thing. It could be that a tolerance wasn't acheiveable or quite often it was that the model had to be an approximation. If I had to rely on my mathematical model of the object to inform me about reality I would quickly miss out. I have to make what I'm thinking about and then see the flaws in it and correct what I learn about it, for me it is very hard to concieve that there exist some perfectly logical model that will inform me about everything I need to know, and even if there was it would probably take so damn long to figure how to make the model logically consistent that I would be much better off just doing a little trial and error based on experience. For example I have been working on a project where we needed to determine what mass flow rate our proposed machine could process a product at. Part of the group spent hours attempting to derive the relationship from basic Newtonian fluid mechanic relationships and the other part of our group built a protoype and tested the feed rate. It turned out hat the group using first principles did not anticipate that there would be some unaccounted for vortex behavior and their model got it wrong. I'm not in any way saying that physics couldn't have predicted this, I'm just saying that I don't expect us to be able to anticipate all these details of reality even if we have theory that is logically consistent with the result.
Maybe that isn't great example but it does illustrate to me that maybe it is possible to know things without logic, because I'm quite certain somebody who has no clue at all about physics can still figure out a solution to a physical problem. For example I've known plenty of really great carpenters who don't know the logically consistent reason for why the build trusses a certain way. I might look at it and do a free body diagram and look at the material properties of wood and determine wether it will break, and they might just say well we know this works. I'm certain Barry Bonds knows how to hit a home run better than anybody here, but he doesn't know that its because off some biomechanical advantage his hips and body create. I guess I'm just trying to make the point plenty of people know something and they certainly aren't able to logical support it to your criteria. I mean I certainly hope I don't have to logically support and prove the idea that I exist to your criteria, can't I just know it, can't I just feel it?
 
  • #43
Les Sleeth
Gold Member
2,166
2
Doctordick said:
And you wonder why? It has been my experience that strong belief in unsupportable ideas is an extremely good indicator of ignorance and intellectual incompetence. :yuck:
Yes, but how do you know you know all the support possibilities? To a robot, love is unsupportable, but a robot doesn't know how to experience love. What we ourselves can't do often becomes a filter; we "project" our own underdevelopment onto reality.

You've been more or less assuming your set of consciousness skills are all you need to evaluate this "mystical experience" issue. I say you are trying to understand something with the rational part of you which isn't understood that way. Not-rational doesn't necessarily mean irrational; love is not-rational, it is felt.


Doctordick said:
Apparently you do not understand the difference between "unknown" (an adjective: describing or modifying something) and "an unknown" (a noun: a name of something). Reality is "an unknown" in the sense that there exists no hard and fast way of categorizing anything as being "real" or "unreal".
If we assume reality is always bigger than what we can know, then it is logical to assume we can never know all of reality, but it isn't logical to assume we can't know aspects we come into conact with. So your statement that reality is "an unknown" seems inaccurate, only partly true.

And we can easily catagorize reality: reality is what exists! What's so hard about that? If you say matter exists, we can know if it is true when we touch, taste, feel, see, etc. it. That is how reality becomes "known" to human consciousness . . . i.e., we experience it.

But there's another way to use "know" which you seem to be mixing up with simple knowledge. Let's say you experience a nose bleed for the first time. Do you "know" you did? Yes, you know red stuff flowed out of your nostrils. But you don't yet know what the red stuff is, or why it happened, etc. To catagorize the events of a nosebleed in all the ways it can be understood, we have to also understand physiology and other related factors. Then at some point we might say a broken blood vessel caused the event.

So there is a difference between understanding the various aspects of a nosebleed and knowing it happened; you seem to interchanging knowing and understanding.


Doctordick said:
Your question presumes an agreement on the meaning of "real" without any discussion of the boundaries on the concept at all. The net effect (particularly on this forum) is that I have no idea of what you mean. :confused:
It is you who is confusing a perfectly simple concept. Don't you understand existence? If something has identity, then we say it exists; some say it the other way, if it exists, then it has identity (i.e., ways to identify it as something unique). The problem isn't one of defining reality, the problem is how we can know what and what does not exist.

The entire question is a consciousness question. A rock doesn't try or want to know, only we do. Consciousness is trying to understand how to discover what exists, and for intelligent humans, some also try to understand the workings of what exists. You are right, we don't know all that exists, or all that can exist, but we do know some of what does and can exist. The way we know is through experiencing what exists, and then we understand by thinking about how to work with it.


Doctordick said:
I am not the one claiming deep and profound knowledge of reality. I have no idea how you personally decide if something is real or not.
But I have not said I have deep and profound knowledge of reality. I simply said I know some of what exists. I exist, you exist, the universe exists, and so on. What I have sufficiently experienced I believe exists.

I hate to sound repetitive, but I think you have to see what I mean. If I see a sparking thing in the sky, I know it exists somewhere. It might just be in my mind, it might be a star, it might be a mirage. It doesn't matter really because I know I am experiencing a sparkling thing. What it is is an understanding issue, not a knowing issue.


Doctordick said:
It appears you have a strong belief in "feelings" sans any criteria. If I am wrong, tell me what your criteria are. :frown:
Yes, you are dead wrong. Where did you get that "sans any criteria" concept? What have I said that indicated that?

Look, you just don't know every damn thing. For example, tell me what you know about what the Buddha taught. I doubt you know anything much because of your belief that everything has to pass some sort of rational test to be real.

There is a whole other realm of conscious development besides the intellect. It isn't in competition with the intellect, it isn't the antithesis of the intellect, it isn't the enemy of the intellect. In fact, I have found it to be the perfect complement to my intellect.

What is it? It is to deepen one's feeling ability. I am not talking about emotions, I am talking about how we sense reality. What if, for instance, you could practice something that makes you more sensitive to sound, taste, light, etc.? Would heightened sensitivity be a good thing to the intellect? To detect more information, to feel more that's going on?

Imagine that someone practices a couple of hours a day how to feel more deeply. A year goes by, then five, then 20, and still they practice every single day. The person who never practices can't even imagine what that person has learned to feel, and in fact maybe has no interest in his feeling nature at all. Then when he hears about people who have learned to feel so deeply and sensitively they experience something beyond the everyday experience, they ridicule it, and quite ludicrously demand that feeling be subjected to the rational process. They are so ignorant of the whole inner thing they haven't a clue of how to understand it.

And then, they come to forums and act superior when they really don't know (or understand) squat about any of it. That sir is really irritating to someone who has spent decades practicing what I've just described to you.
 
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  • #44
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PIT2 said:
Thats exactly what this topic is about, to find out how we can determine the reality of the experiences.
Well, then start by defining what you mean by "reality". :grumpy:
PIT2 said:
These people can live a normal life, be of all cultures, all races, all religions, all professions, all intelligences, all ages. And yet, when they have the briefest mystical experience, they immediatly know and realise the hyperreality of it and remain convinced of it till the day they die.
Then you hold that if someone believes something is real strong enough, it is real? I don't know that many intelligent educated people would agree with that. Personally, I would put my money on that phenomena being caused by some chemical reaction in the brain. Not that I believe it but because I think it is considerably more probable than the ideas in this thread. But that's just another opinion, probably about as widely held as yours. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :biggrin:

Have fun -- Dick
 
  • #45
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Doctordick said:
Personally, I would put my money on that phenomena being caused by some chemical reaction in the brain. Not that I believe it but because I think it is considerably more probable than the ideas in this thread.
That still leaves the question open why these particular experiences are felt as hyperreal, as opposed to dreamlike unreal, or everyday-like real. I think the difference with dreams is that people experience them as completely seperate from everyday reality. When ur dreaming u do not feel like the everyday reality still exists around the corner. With mystical experiences however, the experiencer is still aware of everyday reality, and he can feel directly how it is connected with the hyperreal environment.
 
  • #46
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Real is what is. If it is, it is real. If is not, it is not real.

Knowledge is what is experienced and understood.

When one has a mystical, spiritual, revelational, meditational etc experience it comes with a tag, if you will, that labels this experience as real. Our normal experiences do not come with this tag nor do we experience normal things with understanding built into them.

Our "mystical' experiences come to us with knowledge and understanding hand in hand and usually a tag that labels it as true, True or TRUE.

"true" is true here and now and for you at this moment under these circumstances.

"True" is true always to everyone under these circumstances.

"TRUE" is absolute truth, always true for everyone under all circumstances.

Our normal everyday experiences do not occur this way with labels in the form of experiential knowledge with understanding. "Mystical", or maybe better, metaphysical experiences do come to us this way with a certainty that cannot be questioned. This is why they feel more real the everyday reality.

It is also true that they are more real, if one real thing can be more real than another, in that the knowledge is more basic and fundamental and not dependent nor derived. This is one reason why some think and say that the physical world that we experience is an illusion.

Personally I think, like Les, that real is real and while there are different aspects, facets, properties of different things that are real, to say that one real thing is more real than another real thing is pointless. If it is, it is real. If it is not then it is not real. It really is as simple as that, no more no less. All other speculation and degrees of reality are pointless and meaningless.

It is my understanding that there is:

Objective or physical reality. That which we can touch, taste, smell and measure, physical objects and the physical universe.

Subjective reality. Thoughts, ideas, knowledge, science, mathematics, logic philosophy etc.
These things are not physical; however, they do exist. This cannot be denied and are therefore real.

Conscious reality. That which we experience directly with our consciousness such as some of the “mystical” experiences we are talking about, some states of meditation, near death experiences and out of body experiences are some examples. Some Asian philosophies refer to such experiences as no-mind states, the true meditation state of consciousness and experience.

Spiritual reality. Those experiences which are not objective, subjective or consciousness experiences but are none the less real experiences. I realize that this category is controversial and even denied by some but I personally believe them to exist and to be real. Some say that this is the ultimate reality, the Buddhist Void where there is nothing but being. That from which all originates and to which all will eventually return.

These are all merely categories which we place on reality. There is one reality. It consists of everything that is, that is real which is the same definition used for the term “Universe”, all that exists, all that is. We can therefore say that there is one reality and one universe and they are the same. There one, only one. All that is, is one.
 
  • #47
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Here is also a (rather long) article about mystical experiences, called "deautomatization of the mystical experience", written by Arthur J. Deikman:

On the epistemological validity of the mystic experience

Experiencing one's self as one with the universe or with God, is the hallmark of the mystic experience, regardless of its cultural context.

Logically, there is also the possibility that the perception of unity does correctly evaluate the external world. As described earlier, de-automatization is an undoing of a psychic structure permitting the experience of increased detail and sensation at the price of requiring more attention. With such attention, it is possible that de-automatization may permit the awareness of new dimensions of the total stimulus array — a process of "perceptual expansion." The studies of Werner, Von Senden, and Shapiro suggest that development from infancy to adulthood is accompanied by an organization of the perceptual and cognitive world that has as its price the selection of some stimuli and stimulus qualities to the exclusion of others.54 If the automatization underlying that organization is reversed, or temporarily suspended, aspects of reality that were formerly unavailable might then enter awareness. Unity may in fact be a property of the real world that becomes perceptible via the techniques of meditation and renunciation, or under the special conditions, as yet unknown, that create the spontaneous, brief mystic experience of untrained persons.
http://www.deikman.com/deautomat.html
It concludes:

Conclusion

A mystic experience is the production of an unusual state of consciousness. This state is brought about by a de-automatization of hierarchically ordered structures of perception and cognition, structures that ordinarily conserve attentional energy for maximum efficiency in achieving the basic goals of the individual: biological survival as an organism and psychological survival as a personality. Perceptual selection and cognitive patterning are in the service of these goals.

Under special conditions of dysfunction, such as in acute psychosis or in LSD states, or under special goal conditions such as exist in religious mystics, the pragmatic systems of automatic selection are set aside or break down, in favor of alternate modes of consciousness whose stimulus processing may be less efficient from a biological point of view but whose very inefficiency may permit the experience of aspects of the real world formerly excluded or ignored. The extent to which such a shift takes place is a function of the motivation of the individual, his particular neurophysiological state, and the environmental conditions encouraging or discouraging such a change.
 
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  • #48
Les Sleeth
Gold Member
2,166
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PIT2 said:
Here is also a (rather long) article about mystical experiences . . .
If one studies the history of this experience in depth (which I have), one finds exactly such reports repeatedly.

It is interesting too that experienced practitioners stop referring to the experience as "mystical." It is just mystical at first because one compares the experience to what one is used to experiencing.

After enough experience, what in the beginning seemed mystical incorporates itself into one's "normal" consciousness. It becomes normal to feel the unity of things; it becomes normal to include deep feeling in the conscious evaluation of reality; it becomes normal to see colors so brightly, taste so acutely, hear with such richness . . .

All this happens in the experience of stillness. The skeptics never achieve that stillness and so believe the mystical experience is an illusion or brain chemistry. But stillness, and I mean TOTAL stillness, is what brings it. Since they are thinking non-stop, there is no possible way they are going to accept such an experience exists. They are trying to think it when in reality one has to become still in order to feel it.
 
  • #49
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Hi Les,

Les Sleeth said:
It becomes normal to feel the unity of things
By "the unity of things" I take it that you don't mean simply interrelatedness, or connectedness, of all things. I think you mean that there is only one thing in existence.

If that is the case, then when you say you feel the unity, then what seem to be three distinct things, viz. you, the feeling, and the unity, are really all the same thing.

It seems to me that the problem is that language is inadequate, at least the way we commonly use it, to describe what you know to be true when having that experience. It also seems to me that identifying that unity as "the ability to know" might capture the essense of what is going on.

You, the conscious being who is reporting the experience to us, are somehow able to know about the experience. If so, you have the ability to know it.

The feeling of unity seems to me to be nothing but a direct knowledge of the fact of unity, thus again, it is the ability to know.

And the unity itself, since the very word means that there is only one thing, must also be that same ability to know.

What are your thoughts on this?

Paul
 
  • #50
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Hi Royce,

Royce said:
It is my understanding that there is:

Objective or physical reality. That which we can touch, taste, smell and measure, physical objects and the physical universe.

Subjective reality. Thoughts, ideas, knowledge, science, mathematics, logic philosophy etc.
These things are not physical; however, they do exist. This cannot be denied and are therefore real.

Conscious reality. That which we experience directly with our consciousness such as some of the “mystical” experiences we are talking about, some states of meditation, near death experiences and out of body experiences are some examples. Some Asian philosophies refer to such experiences as no-mind states, the true meditation state of consciousness and experience.

Spiritual reality. Those experiences which are not objective, subjective or consciousness experiences but are none the less real experiences. I realize that this category is controversial and even denied by some but I personally believe them to exist and to be real. Some say that this is the ultimate reality, the Buddhist Void where there is nothing but being. That from which all originates and to which all will eventually return.

These are all merely categories which we place on reality. There is one reality. It consists of everything that is, that is real which is the same definition used for the term “Universe”, all that exists, all that is. We can therefore say that there is one reality and one universe and they are the same. There one, only one. All that is, is one.
Your four categories are interesting. The first three correspond pretty closely to Penrose's three "worlds" and your fourth one, from what you wrote, seems only to be an "other" category in case there is something which doesn't fit in one of the others. That seems to me to explain why the category might be controversial.

But let me ask you to do some thinking about those first three categories. Your "Objective or physical reality" seems to be exactly what Penrose calls the "Physical World". Your "Conscious reality" seems to correspond exactly to his "Mental World". And your "Subjective reality" seems to be his "Ideal World". Both you and he seem to be describing Plato's Ideal world, although some of Plato's Forms, like virtue or beauty, might be missing. I guess that if things like virtue or beauty are real, they either belong in the Ideal World or in the Mental World.

Let me ask a few questions to clear up this categorization. I'll guess at what I think your answers might be. Let me know if I'm wrong.

1. Do triangles exist? I think you would agree that they do.
2. In which category do triangles exist? Plato says that true and perfect triangles exist in the Ideal World (I hope you don't mind if I use Penrose's names), and imperfect approximations of triangles exist in the Physical World. But some sort of image or concept of triangles can also be held in the Mental World, although -- at least in my mind -- they are fleeting, not very straight or true.
3. So isn't there something sort of triangular existing in each of the three worlds?
4. Does the algorithm to generate the Mandelbrot Set exist?
5. Where? Again it exists in some sort of form in each of the three worlds: as a computer program in the Physical World, as a concept in the Mental World, and as a precise algorithm in the Ideal World.
6. What about the Mandelbrot Set itself? Is it real?
7. Any physical representation of the Mandelbrot Set cannot be the set itself because the set consists of numbers and the physical representations are approximate diagrams, wouldn't you agree?
8. The concept of the Mandelbrot Set can exist in the Mental World in someone's mind, especially while looking at a picture of it, but wouldn't you agree that this concept is not the set itself?
9. Does the Mandelbrot Set exist in the Ideal World?
10. Do specific features of the M'Set, like "Seahorse Valley", that have been consciously observed by people exist?
11. In which world(s) do they exist?
12. Do specific features of the M'Set that have never been observed by any human being exist? Or do they come into existence only after they are observed?

I'd be interested in anyone's answers to or comments on these questions.

Paul
 
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