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Science and Meditation

Science and the Powers

Science and the Powers
magick meditation consciousness psychic powers siddhis quantum physics science
Answer
10/14/13 12:15 AM
My apologies if this is already old news, but I find it quite exciting.

It appears that science is getting closer to validating the reality of magick and the powers through meditation.
See http://noetic.org/research/project/double-slit-experiment/

From the abstract (in the PDF download):

"Variables including temperature, vibration, and signal drift were also tested, and no spurious influences were identified. By contrast, factors associated with consciousness, such as meditation experience, electrocortical markers of focused attention, and psychological factors including openness and absorption, significantly correlated in predicted ways with perturbations in the double-slit interference pattern. The results appear to be consistent with a consciousness-related interpretation of the quantum measurement problem."

Well now, if consciousness or mind is responsible for collapsing wave functions, and thus responsible for all gross appearances of the physical world, and mind can train itself, perhaps anything really is possible, including an end to suffering. emoticon

Dean Radin also wrote a book called "Supernormal" where he explains other scientific validations of mostly small but real manifestations of the Powers.

RE: Science and the Powers
crackpottery crankery pseudoscience skepticism
Answer
10/14/13 7:58 AM as a reply to James Phillip Turpin.
It appears that science is getting closer to validating the reality of magick and the powers through meditation.


Nope. The scientific evidence for the paranormal is close to non-existent. That hasn't changed in recent years.

Here is an essay on Dean Radin:

http://www.skepdic.com/essays/radin.html

And some blog posts on the quantum slit experiments explaining what was wrong with them:

http://barenormality.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/attention-double-slit/

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/14/13 11:28 AM as a reply to James Phillip Turpin.
I have noticed significant interest regarding powers and also clashes of supposedly dissolved egos on the interwebs regarding authenticity, attainment, etc.

Powers cannot be intellectualized because they are beyond the boundaries of ordinary logic and science. The big bang itself that we supposedly originate from, is the most puzzling phenomena. If the origin itself is unclear, then how can anything else be really known ? If everything is just a probability, then why rely on scientific possibility ? Maybe science is a tool to suppress our fears of what we dont know and convince us that we do know enough to feel a degree of security.

In my humble opinion, when we create a conscious question we simultaneously also a subconscious answer. It's like a mirror that gets to see anything it wants to on another mirror, but it cannot recognize itself. So nothing is impossible, expect for the ultimate possibility of knowing life itself. This is why in some cultures Enlightenment was so revered as the highest possibility.

Those who are meant to develop powers do so most unexpectedly and seldom ever misuse them. Those who are not pure enough, go on intellectualizing and fantasizing about them.

For someone who has these "powers", it is not a "power" or special. It's as natural as lifting a hand. For someone who does not have an experience, it's futile to even try to understand because thoughts only create more puzzles.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/14/13 3:51 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Sweet Nothing:


Powers cannot be intellectualized because they are beyond the boundaries of ordinary logic and science.



Yes, the powers go beyond the realms of sense and reason and right across the boundary to the land of nonsense. Though sadly I cannot help but intellectualise about them as I am firmly mired in impurity.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/15/13 1:03 PM as a reply to James Phillip Turpin.
Thanks James, that's an interesting article!

ETA: Thanks Sawfoot, those are interesting links as well!

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/15/13 10:08 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Check out this one on quantum effects of human events: Global Consciousness Project

And Charles Tart's The End of Materialism

Or just get your concentration strong, really strong, say, up to the level of on-demand strong, clear, 3D visualization ability, and play.

Or note that basically everyone I know who really gave magick and the powers a serious go generally backed off later not because there was nothing there but because there was.

Daniel

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 4:00 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
re: global consciousness

Here is an example, world consciousness altered by Romney acceptance speech!

http://noosphere.princeton.edu/romney.acceptance.html

For a more rational take:

http://www.skepdic.com/globalconsciousness.html

For a review of Charles Tart's book

http://www.skepdic.com/refuge/tart.html


Or just get your concentration strong, really strong, say, up to the level of on-demand strong, clear, 3D visualization ability, and play.

Or note that basically everyone I know who really gave magick and the powers a serious go generally backed off later not because there was nothing there but because there was.


Right, so you get really good at imaging stuff, and then you can imagine stuff?

And if you intentionally or unintentionally induce symptoms of psychosis, it seems like it would be sensible to back off?

I can see that investigation of the powers gives you insight into how your experience is a fabrication and easily disorted, but it seems you can the get the same insight from dropping a ton of acid and afterwards reflecting on how you spent an hour talking to your fridge.

Though if we don't know exactly what happened 13.7 billions years ago*, who knows what is possible! Maybe I can even fly in my dreams!

* According to wikipedia, the universe is 4.354±0.012×10(17) seconds old. Isn't it amazing how accurate that is?

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If we are going to have a thread about the powers in the science section (as opposed to the powers and magick section), here is an example of a scientific approach to what (to me) is interesting about the powers:

www.richardwiseman.com/resources/review.pdf‎

Belief in psychic ability and the misattribution hypothesis: a qualitative review.
This paper explores the notion that people who believe in psychic ability possess various psychological attributes that increase the likelihood of them misattributing paranormal causation to experiences that have a normal explanation. The paper discusses the structure and measurement of belief in psychic ability, then reviews the considerable body of work exploring the relationship between belief in psychic ability, and academic performance, intelligence, critical thinking, probability misjudgement and reasoning, measures of fantasy proneness and the propensity to find correspondences in distantly related material. Finally, the paper proposes several possible directions for future research, including: the need to build a multi-causal model of belief; to address the issue of correlation versus causation; to resolve the inconsistent pattern of findings present in many areas; and to develop a more valid, reliable and fine-grained measure of belief in psychic ability.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 6:50 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:


Right, so you get really good at imaging stuff, and then you can imagine stuff?

And if you intentionally or unintentionally induce symptoms of psychosis, it seems like it would be sensible to back off?

I can see that investigation of the powers gives you insight into how your experience is a fabrication and easily disorted, but it seems you can the get the same insight from dropping a ton of acid and afterwards reflecting on how you spent an hour talking to your fridge.


That is a perfectly useful point of view most of the time, and if that one works for you at this time, more power to you, as it were. Actually, plenty of people could benefit from more of that point of view, I think, and so, from a pragmatic point of view, it has a lot of merit, in general terms, and I am a pragmatist above all else.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 8:03 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
If by "point of view" you are referring to the idea that our conscious experience is a fabrication (produced by our brains) then I agree it is a useful point of view, in so much that it matches the modern scientific perspective on how the mind works (which links nicely with some buddhist ways of thinking about it).

Since I have been linking to the skeptic's dictionary, here is an entry for the pragmatic fallacy.

http://www.skepdic.com/pragmatic.html

"The pragmatic fallacy is committed when one argues that something is true because it works and where 'works' means something like "I'm satisfied with it," "I feel better," "I find it beneficial, meaningful, or significant," or "It explains things for me.""

If believing the world is the way you want it to be, in some cases, where you think it is appropriate, and that makes you happy, then all power to you, too.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 9:27 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
lol.. the fallacy fallacy.
Also, although science is great, philosophy in the sense of thinking through basic assumptions and taking responsibility for that is great too, and the problem with lots of scientists in my view is that they don't really think those things through. Just watch a scientist try to do philosophy. Now, that's not to say there isn't a lot of ridiculous stuff in the category 'philosophy', it's just that, there are whole subteranean metaphysical structures that go along with the culture of science which aren't themselves scientific, they're just what scientists believe , take for granted.

This really seems to come out in scientific approaches to consciousness/experience. It's often pretty silly stuff. After all, from a materialist standpoint, we can describe everything 'important' without reference to experience at all-- it's just stimuli in--> moves around through nervous system--> response out. There is absolutely no need to even reference experience when describing the human being materialistically, and we can indeed describe the human that way, and this way of describing humans has its own set of pragmatic consequences.

What's the deal with descriptions and descriptive paradigms after all? Isn't it funny that a descriptive paradigm like materialism can be applied to human beings, by humans, and completely write off the very experience of the humans doing the description? Not to mention of those being described? What's really interesting is that history and cultural anthropology and sociology all have very interesting things to say about the origin and propogation of the basic descriptive paradigms of modern hard sciences and yet many hard scientists don't seem to find that very interesting.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 10:02 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
ah, the good old fallacy fallacy fallacy! The point of raising fallacies is they highlight errors in human reasoning, which can be useful in understanding how people can come to have paranormal beliefs.

Examining frameworks is all well and good, but there comes a point when philosophers do philosophy and scientists do science. They are different disciplines with different training, and I wouldn't expect a philosopher to be very good at science.

Whatever its flaws, it seems a much safer bet in trying to understand the nature of ourselves and the universe than "who knows, anything is possible" or "whatever I think works, works" approaches.

I would take issue with your conception of how scientists think about consciousness, that experience is unimportant. This form of extreme materialism might have had some validity in the past (and perhaps is still a view held by many) but it is not recognisable to me as a description of how people think about the mind in the current research of consciousness studies.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 11:10 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
fallacy fallacy fallacy fallcy lol lol ;)

I agree, current 'consciousness studies' doesn't rely on the materialist viewpoint. I was just pointing out that it is a logically coherant viewpoint with which to interpret experience, which is absurd, since it doesn't address experience at all, and that is why more than logic and evidence is needed to really approach understanding reality, at least in its full existential dimensions. (I'm using logic and evidence as loose shorthand for science here).

sawfoot:


Whatever its flaws, it seems a much safer bet in trying to understand the nature of ourselves and the universe than "who knows, anything is possible" or "whatever I think works, works" approaches.




Sure, and people do argue like that sometimes, but I think in particular reducing the pragmatic viewpoint to "whatever I think works, works" is silly, and obviously a paper tiger. It just fails to meet that point of view on its merits. At the bottom, what pragmatism is pointing at, is the relationship between representations and experience. It's a theory of truth. It says that representations don't so much 'correspond' with experiential realities; that's not where representations get their 'truth'. More to the point, pragmatism points out that how we choose to represent things comes partly from what we want to do with/about them. I would think given some basic knowledge about contemporary science this epistemological position would be fairly uncontroversial. It's basicaly a way of avoiding dogmatic statements of Truth.

Different descriptive frameworks can be logically incompatible yet functionally both have uses. The old theories of truth would have a problem with that, and would at least assume that our representational systems are gradually converging on the One True and Final Perfect Representation of Everything-- witness contemporary physics. Aside from the fact that this is a mere assumption with absolutely no evidence to back it up, from a phenomenological standpoint it is rigorously demonstrable that it is false, in that it is simply ignorant of the nature of representations. Not to say this assumption doesn't drive some developments in physics. But it also comes with a lot of arrogance and isn't required in the first place in order to look at creating better/different models of physical universe.

The point is, science can actually function to help us understand ourselves and other systems in universe without any metaphysical assumptions at all. It can just be a collection of models and practices. And that would be more pragmatic than constantly, generation to generation, reifying current models and practices as Truth (or as 99% of truth, to be finished soon when we find the higgs boson or whatever the next little peice is.) Thie history of science is full of moments when that expectation of convergence on the final peice of the puzzle to produce a Unified Scientific Theory of Everything shattered against anomolous data, and far from being a failure for science, this seems to result in major breakthroughs. So why not embrace that and let go of the need for that Complete Theory? And dig up the metaphysical artifacts of scientific culture which inhibit the expansion of science's pragmatic power? I guess that's what relaly annoys me about 'skeptics' is they could do a lot more good if they were to debunk the metaphysics of scientific culture than following their obsession with pseudo-science. Maybe we need philosophical skeptics who can debunk the pseudo-philosophy of scientific culture.

Oh and also, there have certainly been some philosophers who were very knowledgeable about math and science; Heidegger was an alternate on the Mathematics PHD dissertation committee and seems to have got on quite well with some physicists in his day, and understood what they were getting at. Why not the other way around? Wouldn't a bit more of a multidiciplinary rennaisance model also be more pragmatic for the sciences and philosophy? Isn't that indeed what some of the leaders of consciousness studies are trying to do?

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 12:10 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
So why not embrace that and let go of the need for that Complete Theory?


What is the alternative exactly? I really am just not sure what you are saying about that.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 1:03 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Sure, you know, on one level this is just me spouting stuff that I'm triggered to spout by the topic. But on another level, this is actually pretty important I think.

The question is:
What's wrong with having a bunch of models used in different applications? Why would we even want One Single Model? Especially now that we are getting to know that the way models/maps/representations work is by selectively highlighting aspects of things and leaving lots of stuff out-- that's how they work. So how could we have One True Model of Everything?

Maps are a good example. For one use we need a topo map, for another, a political map, and so on. We don't think "oh if only there were One Correct Ultimate Map, then we would never have to switch maps!". It's just quit epractical to use different kinds of maps (of the same territory) for different applications.

On a deeper level, this ties in with practice and awakening (for me anyhow). That's because in my experience, I notice there is an urge in me to have a coherant narrative about my life, and a coherant model of what I am and how I fit with everything. But there's a built in confound with this: the nature of maps, models and stories is to leave things out, highlight and emphasize other things, etc. As the process of awakening or whatever you want to call it deepens, this urge towards having everything identified and pinned down lessens. From what I can tell that's because experience, and whatever I am prior to those representations (stories, models, etc), just by nature exceeds those representations and so as there is greater clarity about what I am/this is, phenomenological clarity in lived experience, the less hold stories, models and identifications has on the flow of experience and the greater the sense of liberation.

I think about this (model it) in terms of experience having two channels, an impressionistic-impulsive channel of 'raw' impressions/responses and layers of collating functions that use perceptual labeling and narratives to collate past experience and bring it to bare on the present and anticipate the future. There is nothing wrong with this collating activity as such as it clearly brings structure to the flow of impressions and impulses and makes development (in the conventional sense) possible-- but experiencing oneself as actually existing within the projections of that collating activity is a) simply untrue, existentially and b) but one phase of development, the phase in which one develops a quasi-stable fixed identity and worldview. It is more satisfying for me at this time to deepen the experience of life to a more inclusive and open mode that includes the flow of impressions and impulses as they arise, as after all, all of the representational collating activity of percetual labeling and narrativizing is actually taking place as part of this impressionistic/impulsive flow. This obviously has implications for things like identity, worldview, and the experience of being a fixed experiencer/agent who is having experiences and carrying out actions. That model doesn't reality check against the flow of impressions and impulses.

But I wouldn't claim that this model is "true" of experience, rather, it is useful given how I'm relating to experience right now, and the simple fact that it seems that I am currently motivated to experience life outside the confines of maps and models (without rejecting maps and models) and this model helps me to collate the experiences of being-beyond-models.

Also, I notice that lots of negative emotions and bad actions arise from clinging to models about who I am and who you are and how things are and how things should be. So living beyond models is important to me in that it is immediately validated in my experience and relationships with positive feedback.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 6:08 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
whatever I am prior to those representations (stories, models, etc)


Are you sure that there is something beneath the stories? whatever that thing is, what is fundamentally different about it compared to the stories?

I think about this (model it) in terms of experience having two channels, an impressionistic-impulsive channel of 'raw' impressions/responses and layers of collating functions that use perceptual labeling and narratives to collate past experience and bring it to bare on the present and anticipate the future.


Are you sure that the 'raw' channel really exists? Where is it? Point to it! What are you pointing to?? What is that object that you have labeled??

There is no consciousness/observation/experiencing except for the labels and definitions. I also don't think it is possible to dis-identify from the thoughts/collations. All you can do is have meta-collations which are basically the same as collations.

I think it is a pretty basic assumption here in contemplation land that there is a possibility for non-interpreting awareness or something like that. I really don't buy it anymore. That is why I asked what the alternative to a "theory of everything" is, because I think the "alternative" is just more of the same.

In my analysis "non-interpreting awareness" is just a perfectly unachievable goal made up by "the collations" to insure their continuity. As long as you have this thing which is forever beyond the collations (forever beyond you) they (you) are assured continued attempts to achieve it.

It is more satisfying for me at this time to deepen the experience of life to a more inclusive and open mode


Are you capable of analyzing what makes it more satisfying? Also are you sure that it is more satisfying?

edit: never mind i dont really know if this is true at all, i think i was just grumpy

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 4:56 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
We have gone a bit off topic, but anyway, I was going to say to just say to Jake that science does involve multiple maps appropriate for different circumstances - physics, molecular biology, biochemistry, biology, ecology, psychology etc.... There isn't One Theory. And I would also wonder if science would really be much better if scientists took more notice of philosophers. My impression is that in the early days of the field (e.g. consciousness studies) philosophers can be useful, but as the science gets stronger the role of philosophy gets marginalised (for a more ancient example, the change of natural philosophy to natural science).

re Adam,

The idea of direct perception, a raw channel that allows us to experience reality directly, is popular in contemplation land as you note (such as in MCTemoticon, but always struck me as a bit nuts - since everything we experience is a fabrication produced by a brain no perception is direct - it is always mediated (and in buddhist speak, dependently arisen). But there are more sensible ways to think about it. In philosophy land, you can distinguish between phenomenal consciousness and access consciousness - and what you are saying is that there is no phenomenal consciousness - there is only access consciousness. This is a tenable position (I think somebody like Daniel Dennett would agree), though saying both occur is perhaps a more popular view (which I would ascribe to). And trying to distinguish between the two (such as showing evidence for phenomenal consciousness in the absence of access consciousness) and understand the relationship is one of the big challenges in consciousness studies. And trying to understand the difference (and our sense of I) in these aspects of our subjective experience (if there is a difference) is one of the big problems in the contemplative path.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/17/13 9:08 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Adam and Sawfoot, I am going to try to make a concise response lol! Not my strong suit ;) Meanwhile, I can relate to alot of what you both seem to be saying. Sorry the conversation has taken a tangent. I'll work on a concise reply.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/18/13 5:02 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
by direct perception, part of what is meant is that

a) rather than taking mental impressions of other sensations as being the same as the sensation that preceeded it, each thing, meaning the sensation and the mental impression, are known to be discrete phenomena that are interwoven rapidly

b) that rather than the content of thought being known without much conscious experience of the numerous, complex, discrete sensations that make up that content, those discrete sensations are perceived as clear sensate phenomena

c) rather than it seeming that some sensations perceive other sensations, the clear and intrinsic comprehension of sensations is known by themselves, where they are, and not by some illusion of certain sensations being privileged with special perceptive powers

it is still true that there is significant pre-processing before the sensations arise, as you point out, but insight practice concerns itself with the realm of sensate experience, so the level you have concerns about is one extrapolated from that sensate level to underlie it

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/18/13 10:05 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Yes, that covers that very concisely!

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/23/13 8:35 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:


Or note that basically everyone I know who really gave magick and the powers a serious go generally backed off later not because there was nothing there but because there was.

Daniel


Daniel you often refer to powers in this way. Can you be upfront and say what you mean please?