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So What is Spirit?

  1. Nov 14, 2003 #1
    ... or, why do we call it Spiritual Energy?

    If matter were just another manifestation of energy, does that make matter the visible property of that which is invisible, energy?

    Take for example when we dream, and our "conscious energy" is directed inwardly, and we begin to experience a different reality ... where at times we become lucidly aware, "consciously" that is. Are we not in fact getting closer to the source of our "true being," and hence the spiritual source of all? Could this be why dreams affect us so personally, albeit they tend to be in a constant state of flux, and yet, isn't this the nature of energy patterns and fields that exist behind the scenes?

    And, being more of a fluid realm, doesn't it also imply a certain degree of mastery, before the dreams become lucid and take on a life of their own? At which point we begin to experience their true effect and hence, spiritual dimension?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 14, 2003 #2
    Who is we? Speak for yourself.

    Energy is not always invisible, in fact, energy is all that allows us to see anything at all - light. Matter is not always visible eg. air.

    It has nothing to do with energy. Perhaps 'attention' is closer to the mark.


    Everything is ina state of flux apart from perhaps the 'constants' of physics such as the speed of light and the planck length.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2003
  4. Nov 14, 2003 #3
    Well, what was there before the "physical manifestation" of energy -- i.e., what we call matter -- came into being?

    Ahses to ashes, dust to dust, and then what? That's it? What is this thing that we call conscious energy? Where does it go? Does it just dissipate, like many died-in-the-wool materialists would have you believe? How do you know that we don't in fact come in touch with this "spiritual energy" source when we dream?
  5. Nov 14, 2003 #4

    You can't object to an idea on the basis that it doesn't feel emotionally fulfilling.

    No one who knows anything about psychology or neurology calls it 'conscious energy' . It's not a substance or a permanent or unchnging or separate thing - its a process. Where does the picture 'go' when you turn off the TV? Where does the walking 'go' when you stand still?

    There's no evidence for a separate or substantial 'spiritual energy'. I don't think people even know what they mean when they talk about this 'energy' Do you mean the sort of energy that is measured in Joules? Energy has a specific meaning and is fairly well understood. It is as physical as any matter. There is no need to postulate additional 'mysterious' forms of energy.
  6. Nov 14, 2003 #5
    Is that to say that energy has always existed, even before the advent of what we call the "material universe?" If so, doesn't that offer a probable first cause, and hence the possibility that a Creator (God) has always existed in the form of pure energy? (or whatever form that might entail without matter).

    By the way, how is it possible to transmit "encoded information" via energy waves? ... light waves, radio waves, etc. While here it is we can generate all kinds of "phyisical effects" through the use of this information.

    So what does it mean by having your "spirits uplifted?" Doesn't that in fact convey a sense of emotional fulfillment, indeed, based upon an increase in energy level? That's the best way I can describe it.

    Emotions are definitely a form of conscious energy, whereas thoughts are more like the "voltage pressure" -- with respect to electrical energy -- and emotions would be comarable to the current. So, if it isn't a form of energy, then what is it?

    By the way, the mind doesn't typically shut off when you go to sleep, it begins to dream.

    None whatsoever huh? But what if God does exist? How would you go about describing this "mysterious power" which, can manifest itself if and when it pleases or, remain completely invisible altogether, that holds sway over everything?

    If energy is the cause of what matter is the effect, then yes, I think it's an idea worth considering.
  7. Nov 14, 2003 #6
    Greeting, Iacchus32.

    I always figured it had to do with some nebulous field imagined to be floating about without a physical body.

    Well, I’ve never seen a really small particle of matter so as to proclaim it visible, but I think I get what you’re hinting at. I imagine it as something of a snake swallowing it’s own tail. Because of this, to go off on a tangent at any point along the circle and proclaim the exiting point to be the starting point from which all else derives seems intuitively wrong to me.

    Is it really our “conscious energy” directing inward, I admit I’m not up on ‘dream theory’, but thought it was more of a sub-conscience thing…

    You might, actually, only be getting closer to the more primitive, reptilian, ‘source’. On the other hand, I’ve had plenty of hellish dreams filled with butchery, suffering, and torment, and so from these experiences, the idea of getting closer to the “spiritual source” seems to make sense. I would, for example, distrust the idea of a spiritual source so fickle as to allow me to build a vision of it by only focusing on the pleasant dreams. After all, it has been fairly well my experience to find, that if something sounds to good to be true, it most probably is.

    Dreams don’t have to affect anyone so strongly, as far as I can tell. Most people seem to either not remember their dreams in the first place, or ignore them.

    Interesting, I’d have to think about it.

    Not sure I follow you here. I know that I once had a great mastery over my dreams for a period of perhaps two years. I don’t believe I ever met another individual who could do with a dream what I could do. What any of it might have had to do with a “spiritual dimension” is another story.
  8. Nov 15, 2003 #7
    If the physical universe had a beginning, then that would have been the beginning of energy too, because energy is physical.

    Why not? Information can be stored and transmitted in the structure and pattern of any medium ie. matter or energy. Matter and energy can interact because both are really types of energy.

    Yes, but its a metaphor. You feel more energetic and there might even be hormones that allow more stored energy to be released, but there is no separate body of 'mystical energy' which is activated.

    It is what your brain is doing. There is energy involved in brain activity of course - ultimately your brain like all matter *is* energy. But you cannot feel the energy directly - what you think and feel is complex informational processes about your external and internal environment. If something feels like energy, that may be just mode of representation withing you brain. Do not take superficial sensations as reality.

    Only some of the time. And there is no dreaming under general anasthesia or in a coma.

    You are afraid of 'oblivion' aren't you? Don't worry - for the subject, death is an event that is never reached - it always lies in the subjective future - never the present or the past.

    I have no need to find an explanation for that which has no detectable effects - there is no more need to explain God than to explain extradimensional polyps, gravity elves or how Great Cthulhu can fly with such an unaerodynamic shape.

    More specifically matter is a relatively stable form of energy.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2003
  9. Nov 15, 2003 #8


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    our spiritual energy, or life energy, whatever you like to call it is like electricity that runs a television...
  10. Nov 15, 2003 #9
    Are you going to support your claim?
  11. Nov 15, 2003 #10

    Tom Mattson

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    Where does what go?

    "Conscious energy" is a fabrication of the religious mind, and has no connection to what physicists call "energy".
  12. Nov 15, 2003 #11
    Everything must begin with a foundation though, in which case I would have to say energy (what others might call spirit) is the foundation for all that exists. Whereas if there was any distinction to be made, it would have to be between matter and spirit, where matter is the physical outcropping of energy and spirit the non-physical outcropping (not unlike radio waves I suspect).

    And here, I don't claim to understand the exact relationship on how this works. But rather, I'm trying to find a way to reconcile the material with the immaterial (or spiritual), both of which I know exist.

    And yet I've experienced dreams myself, where in fact I was conscious, but in a completely different reality. Take for example my dream about the Indian Tapestry on the following page ...


    Ever see the movie Jacob's Ladder? Where the guy died on the battlefield in Vietnam and found himself living in a nightmare between two worlds -- heaven and hell if you will -- with all kinds of butcheries and machinations taking place, until finally, at the end of the movie, his son (a young boy), stood at the height of the steps "leading upstairs," and as his father approached he reached out his hand and said, "Dad, are you ready to go now?"

    It's almost as if he had to go through this whole process of sorting things out, represented by the events in his life in the movie, until finally he could begin "his ascent."

    Which isn't to say they don't have a strong psychological impact.

    And yet it does allude to a state of existence beyond the norm of what we can see with our "physical eyes."
  13. Nov 15, 2003 #12


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    in case you didn't notice, this IS a philosophy forum...i don't need to support my claim necessarily... i think many people forget that it is okay to speculate and express your opinion...mumeishi, do you have an opinion on why it is referred to spiritual energy?
  14. Nov 15, 2003 #13
    Yes you do have to support your statements. In philosophy we support our statements with rational arguments otherwise it's meaningless opinionating.

    Who refers to what as 'spiritual energy'? I don't use the term. Whether some people refer to certain feelings that way, might have cultural reasons and might be associated with the way those feelings are consciously represented. It doesn't mean that there must be a special mysterious form of energy (which is - as always - undetectable by verifiable means). It is probably representational and metaphorical and thus really has nothing to do with actual energy as the term is scientifically understood. So I would say it was a misnomer.
  15. Nov 15, 2003 #14
    The only thing that science neglects is that our existence is all part of the human equation. Which is to say, the only way we can truly verify anything, first and foremost, is through the human condition, otherwise we lose sight of the fact that we exist, as humans, and the world around us becomes purely mechanistic.

    Therefore we musn't lose sight of those spiritual underpinnings which underscore who we are.
  16. Nov 15, 2003 #15


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    i support my statement by saying this is my opinion and how i see it...enough said on that...

    and mysterious energy? please don't put your words as mine, as i never made this claim, you just assumed i was insinuating that...

    is it not true that it takes energy to keep one alive? and if that one is a dead carcass, doesn't energy take over in the decaying process? it is my opinion that this same life energy is the same as spiritual energy, similar to the electricity that runs a tv or computer...

    i find it ironic by the way you have a yin yang as your avatar when from the posts you have made suggest you don't believe in a spiritual level...the yin yang is the symbol for balance-such as material (yang) and spiritual (yin)...
  17. Nov 16, 2003 #16
    If everything must begin with a foundation, then where is the foundation for this energy, spirit, or whatever you mean by those words?
    I see two conflicting statements;
    1) Everything must begin with a foundation.
    2) Energy needs no foundation.

    I’m not really comfortable with the interchanging of words taking place in the above statement. I do not, for example, consider the effect between two magnets as being of a spiritual nature. It is certainly quite magical, however.

    I know that there are people who believe dreams are real and the wake-state to be an illusion. I just want to know why they think in such a way. I have been unconscious more times than I wish, and no dreaming took place. I have also been self-aware, or conscious (if you prefer), while I was dreaming. I knew it was a dream while I was having it and could alter events that would have happened by ‘thinking’ for something different to happen instead (they were recurring dreams). The thing is that I knew it was a dream even while it was taking place, and this left me convinced that dreams were, well, dreams.

    Well, ok, but after an hour or two the movie ends, correct?

    The problem with this is you can also close your eyes while awake, then see and imagine things too. What state of existence would that then be?
  18. Nov 16, 2003 #17
    I agree that we are human, emotional and intuitive creatures and that we shouldn't lose this. I certainly don't think we should allow ourselves to confuse these things with reason or verifiable evidence.

    At one time mankind lived could not distinguish between these things, in a 'demon haunted world' where reality was fully blended with his imagination. It is only through gradual refinement of the sciences that we have learned to tell the difference betweeen them and advance our understanding of the world. But knowing the difference does not mean suppressing our intuition and emotion.
  19. Nov 16, 2003 #18
    Indeed. Water is the "base medium" for harvesting a lake of fish. A layer of topsoil is the "base medium" for harvesting a field of hay. A floppy diskette is the "base medium" for harvesting computer bits. So why can't an energy field be the "base medium" for harvesting matter?

    Like I said, I don't understand all the details here, but if spirit and matter do exist, then there must be a means by which to reconcile the two. Whereas it would have to entail something which was most basic between matter and spirit -- or, most basic in general -- and I can't conceive of anything more basic than energy. Can you?

    Except that you would not have the option to wake up in your material body after you die, and would have to "settle" for remaining awake in your so-called "dream state."

    Oh, it was just a movie huh? I guess that's fair enough so long as you don't get anything out of it.

    Indeed, you can aso imagine things with your eyes wide open. But there's quite a difference between peering across the water from the surface -- or, looking just below the surface -- than becoming fully submerged and making like a fish, if you know what I mean? :wink:
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2003
  20. Nov 16, 2003 #19

    If I misunderstood you and you are referring to the ordinary sort of energy I apologise. Your words seem to infer a quite different sort of energy since you referred to it as 'spiritual energy'. And you are defending the existence of 'life-energy' as if that was special and the existence of a 'spiritual level' below - its not too clear exactly what you mean, but very easy to interpret you as I have.

    Everything is energy. The energy of life processes is not different to or separate from the rest of the energetic processes of the universe.

    It is the symbol for harmonic opposition, it is not the symbol for unquestioning acceptance of imaginary energies. I think this is a very interesting principle but I'm not a Taoist or a 'New Ager'.

    I do 'believe in' a spiritual level, but I don't believe in confusing that with physical objective reality and projecting our imagination onto the world and thus misunderstanding the world. The spiritual is internal, not some mysterious dimension or undetectable energy that floats around. I think the best way to explore the spiritual is through art and perhaps spiritual practices, not by projecting it onto the world and thinking we are learning about the world when we are just looking at our own projected imaginings.
  21. Nov 16, 2003 #20
    Now this is a perfectly good example of a human response, and I can appreciate that. Thanks. :smile:

    Now the problem with science, in attempting to "seperate the wheat from the chaff," is it tends to hold onto the chaff but toss out the wheat, that very kernal of imagination which defines who we are. If life by its nature is a subjective experience, then how is it possible to rise above this (I'm not saying we can't) and grasp that which is objective, and not forsake our very existence?

    Contrary to what science might believe, there's nothing wrong with a healthy imagination, even if it were replete with monsters from the id -- which surely do exist -- so long as we understood what they represent.
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