The sensed elevation or learning in this process may be an illusion analogous to the hamster-wheel effect, where the poor animal runs as fast as it can to achieve no more than a more rapidly spinning wheel. Perhaps the wheel of karma is analogous here too, and Buddhist meditation the best response.
It appears that you equate ‘sensed unification/elevation’ with learning, but this is not correct because learning is a process completely distinct from happiness. This is why I said that you must first experience this process rather than intellectualize about it.
4. The path to the cessation of suffering.
There is a path to the end of suffering - a gradual path of SELF-improvement, which is described more detailed in the Eightfold Path. It is the middle way between the two extremes of excessive self-indulgence (hedonism) and excessive self-mortification (asceticism); and it leads to the end of the cycle of rebirth. The latter quality discerns it from other paths which are merely “wandering on the wheel of becoming”, because these do not have a final object. The path to the end of suffering can extend over many lifetimes, throughout which every individual rebirth is subject to karmic conditioning. Craving, ignorance, delusions, and its effects will disappear gradually, as progress is made on the path.
Using a dialectic that I have developed, we can see that an adequate amount of hedonism and self-mortification, if practiced simultaneously and in accordance with precepts of one kind or another, is a fair substitute in our spiritually-deprived age. Subsequently, applying some of Plato’s arguments for the existence of forms (which involve the problem of the criterion, in my reading), we can see that indeed Noble Truth #4 is true. Since the Noble Truths are if-and-only-if to each other, there is plainly an elevation of the kind that leads to cessation of suffering if mild hedonism and asceticism, provided this balance is balanced further in the appropriate manner for which there are a multitude of techniques (again, this is criterion for individual choice in method of ascension).
may apprehend the choices that unfold layer by layer before them as forming a triune dialectic
Almost any dialectic can bring emotional elevation, but only a few types of thought processes lead to enlightenment.
But the afterlife story is beyond human compass, by definition, and is better left uncharted here.
The existence of mental states outside the body is excellent evidence for panpsychism and the afterlife has extraordinary explanatory power; I have proven with my long post that it is in fact something that can be experienced by the mind that is identified to be part of the human, so why ignore this salient fact in favor of a material human who lacks the capacity to experience this form of consciousness? If there is a layer of mind outside this dimension with fairly-certain proof for its existence then you should investigate.
Skeptical objections clamor for attention, and I for one see no way to refute them, or any particular desire to do so.
You deny my arguments without explaining why—ignorance is a useful weapon/defense mechanism among skeptics; however, if you would choose for yourself to prefer knowledge over ignorance I suggest R. Almeder’s ‘A critique of arguments offered against reincarnation’.
Still, I feel that you create for yourself a double standard by promoting on the one hand a theory that can encompass the afterlife quite nicely and on the other, feeling that it is refuted well by logical arguments (nearly all such arguments are strawmen as you will see in Almeder, most of the rest will either involve the modus operandi problem [an apparent non-issue when requesting more research toys for quantum science] or begging the question). You can prefer to ignore empirical evidence even as it piles up; in fact there have been other skeptics that have done so and I very much admire their courage and honesty although their curiosity and openness to new ideas is a source of much dismay for myself as a ‘former’ skeptic:
Carter quotes Donald Hebb admitting there is sufficient evidence to prove ESP but he won’t accept it because it conflicts with his “prejudice”. Carter also quotes George Price who published an article in the journal Science where he implied that despite the proof, belief in ESP could be rejected because it conflicts with scientific theories. This is equivalent to saying he prefers to ignore empirical evidence when it conflicts with his beliefs.
...back in 1951 psychologist Donald Hebb wrote this:
Why do we not accept ESP as a psychological fact? Rhine has offered enough evidence to have convinced us on almost any other issue... Personally, I do not accept ESP for a moment, because it does not make sense [[i.e. the man has not seen it for himself]]. My external criteria, both of physics and of physiology, say that ESP is not a fact despite the behavioral evidence that has been reported. I cannot see what other basis my colleagues have for rejecting it... Rhine may still turn out to be right, improbable as I think that is, and my own rejection of his view is—in the literal sense—prejudice [[i.e. denial]].
Four years later, George Price, then a research associate at the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, published an article in the prestigious journal Science that began:
Believers in psychic phenomena… appear to have won a decisive victory and virtually silenced opposition…. This victory is the result of careful experimentation and intelligent argumentation. Dozens of experimenters have obtained positive results in ESP experiments, and the mathematical procedures have been approved by leading statisticians…. Against all this evidence, almost the only defense remaining to the skeptical scientist is ignorance.
But Price then argued “ESP is incompatible with current scientific theory” and asked:
If, then, parapsychology and modern science are incompatible, why not reject parapsychology? ...The choice is between believing in something “truly revolutionary” and “radically contradictory to contemporary thought” and believing in the occurrence of fraud and self-delusion. Which is more reasonable?
Jaguar (ed): A path to the end of suffering is described in the eightfold path. It is the middle way between the two extremes of hedonism and asceticism, and it leads to the end of the cycle of rebirth. Other paths merely wander on the wheel of becoming and do not reach a goal. The path to the end of suffering can extend over many lifetimes as craving, ignorance, delusions, and their effects disappear gradually.
Many lifetimes? This imports a lot of metaphysical assumptions that I am unable to accept. What remains of the eightfold way for me, without those assumptions, is no more than common sense. The middle way is advocacy of moderation in all things, which Aristotle said too.
You said, approximately, that you do not fully understand the dialectic but can acquire a feeling for it. This is waffle. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, admit it honestly. Hegelian dialectic is obscure and disputed enough for it to be no shame not to understand it. For some it is even a badge of honor.
Jaguar (ed): The existence of mental states outside the body is excellent evidence for panpsychism, and the afterlife has extraordinary explanatory power. It can be experienced by the mind as part of being human. Why ignore this salient fact in favor of a materialism that obliterates this form of consciousness?
Excellent evidence? The existence of such states is disputed. The possibility of such states needs defending by appeal to a background theory that makes some sense. Panpsychism might make sense. But I cannot claim that it does. It remains speculation, as I hope I made clear enough in some of my earlier posts.
At your suggestion, I read Robert Almeder’s critique of arguments offered against reincarnation. But I was not persuaded that he had won a victory against Paul Edwards. His critique showed traces of the polish of a professional philosopher yet lacked clarity in its own position. Almeder seems sympathetic to some form of reincarnation yet failed to explain that in his critique. He stayed at the level of attacking Edwards. By analogy, I could critique the neoatheist books quite aggressively, but if I failed to sketch a theist position that seemed superior to their atheism I would not have won a strategic victory, only a few tactical points.
Almeder is critical of debunking arguments by Susan Blackmore against paranormal phenomena. I know Sue personally and am quite sympathetic to her arguments. Without robust common sense, scientists would be inundated with so much nonsense they would never have time to do productive work. Almeder defends the dualism of David Chalmers and other philosophers. I know Dave personally too, and am certain he would not agree to Almeder’s easy acceptance of reincarnation, as suggested by his critique.
You said I promote a theory that can encompass the afterlife quite nicely. I disagree. I promote a theory that leaves room in principle for some kind of reappearance or reawakening of states of consciousness or something like them, but the mathematical odds against their amounting to reincarnation in what seems to be the traditional sense are in my view overwhelming. You said I ignore empirical evidence for reincarnation. I do so because I see none. What is offered as evidence is useless to me. It is either too unclear and anecdotal to be reliable or it leaves crucial aspects of the claimed cases so wildly at odds with common sense as to be unintelligible. If a claimed phenomenon is too bizarre, the only reasonable response for a scientist is to move on and find something more productive to do.
Donald Hebb (1951): Why do we not accept ESP as a psychological fact? We have enough evidence to have convinced us on almost any other issue. I do not accept ESP because it does not make sense. The criteria of physics and of physiology say that ESP is not a fact despite the behavioral evidence that has been reported.
Well, I agree with Hebb. ESP as reported does not make sense. Any such phenomenon, if accepted, would ruin so much of what we know in physics and physiology as to destroy any reasonable hope of explaining it. It is a sound strategy in science to ignore anything that seems too wild, so long as it does not force itself upon us. Since the effects of ESP seem marginal at best, it is easy to ignore.
George Price (1955): Believers in psychic phenomena appear to have won a victory as a result of careful experimentation and intelligent argumentation. Dozens of experimenters have obtained positive results in ESP experiments, and the mathematical procedures have been approved by leading statisticians. Against all this evidence, almost the only defense remaining to the skeptical scientist is ignorance.
Evidence of the sort that needs statistical processing to be visible is easy to ignore. If ESP is real, there must be evidence that stands out so clearly it needs no statistics. Admittedly, there are results in quantum physics that need statistics to explain, but the difference is that quantum physics is a well developed theory. By contrast, we have no clue about a theory for ESP, and good reasons to suspect that some of the “evidence” is wishful thinking.
It is a sound strategy in science to ignore anything that seems too wild, so long as it does not force itself upon us
Despite lack of research funding and interest from skeptics, there are plenty of lines of evidence for the parapsychological, in which I categorize all the evidence of the google site already provided to you, in particular that of NDEs and reincarnation which you ignore for your convenience. Truth will not force itself upon you, you must seek it out yourself and with the links I have provided you cannot help but see many cases of consciousness surviving death and existing outside of the brain.
Many lifetimes? This imports a lot of metaphysical assumptions that I am unable to accept.
This is because you are prejudiced just like Dr. Hebb. You should also speak honestly and clearly because your prejudice has a less fancy name known as ‘denial’.
If you are truly interested in theistic explanations that make sense you will seek them out yourself (since nobody will force them upon you), but this is plainly not the case since you deny the very plain evidence of isoelectric brain activity leading to sharp experiences of consciousness. This is disputed only by those prejudiced and/or ignorant and van Lommel’s study is not the first; how many more should appear before a minimalist thesis of the afterlife is accepted?
it is not credible to suppose that NDEs occurring under conditions of general anesthesia, let alone cardiac arrest, can be accounted for in terms of some hypothetical residual capacity of the brain to process and store complex information under those conditions
As Harris himself said, “either [a certain famed parapsychological researcher] is the victim of a *truly elaborate fraud* or there is something interesting going on”. You yourself have accepted his statement as well, but deny the interesting any light of day. Your dogma is a virus that has taken hold of your mind, there is nothing pragmatic about your rejecting very well-documented medical evidence and even less appealing is the idea of fraud and fabrication which is not at all an adequate hypothesis.
You can also find a clear explanation of the requirements of living through various lives in Jung (link has been provided) via elaborating upon the metaphysics contained therein and connecting it to other knowledge about past lives about which you will have to ask around and find out for yourself if you are sufficiently adventurous to seek truth as it is rather than truth conforming to your dogma.
Excellent evidence? The existence of such states is disputed.
Only via prejudice or ignorance as you have agreed to by agreeing with Hebb.
Since the effects of ESP seem marginal at best, it is easy to ignore.
I have given you enough sites to browse around on, far be it from me to convince a hard-headed man like yourself. I do hear, however, that the effects are marginal for those who believe not since this relates to the functioning of the mind and the nature of suggestion and focus (Jung also has a more metaphysical explanation).
Since you are not accepting of any evidence involving NDEs, there is no point in discussing any other element of psychology with someone so deliberately ignorant. Those who dispute NDE states have not been able to dismiss van Lommel’s evidence and you do so only via your prejudice and/or ignorance.
Since there are no other explanations available, your beliefs are far too influential for you to accurately judge evidence and there is no way for me to present any evidence to you with such ignorance/prejudice working against me. Let me know if this changes.
The end. Yes indeed, as you are too prejudiced and ignorant as I’ve explained in quite some detail after you admitted to the same. Denial is the opposite of reason and you are guilty of it along with Shermer and Harris. By all means, don’t read if it scares you and your dogma is too precious. Seriously.
The bold is for your use in summaries so that you can keep track of points.
if you are sufficiently adventurous to seek truth as it is rather than truth conforming to your dogma.
I see that you have answered this. Let me know if things ever change.