Category: Metaphysics


The 7 Most Intriguing Philosophical Arguments for the Existence of God

Nietzsche said God is dead, but here are seven fascinating and provocative philosophical arguments for the existence of God.

This article originally appeared on io9.com, and is reprinted here with their permission.

Nietzsche is famous for saying that God is dead, but news of The Almighty’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Here are some of the most fascinating and provocative philosophical arguments for the existence of God.

To be clear, these are philosophical arguments. They’re neither rooted in religious scripture nor any kind of scientific observation or fact. Many of these arguments, some of which date back thousands of years, serve as interesting intellectual exercises, teasing apart what we think we know about the universe and our place within it from what we think we’re capable of knowing. Other arguments, like the last two listed, are attempts to reconcile questions that currently plague scientists and philosophers.
Now, none of these arguments make a definitive case for the existence of God, and many of them are (fairly) easily debunked or problematized (as I’ll try to show). But at the very least, they offer considerable food for thought.

Finally, by “God” or “god,” we’re not talking about any specific religious deity. As this list shows, the term can encompass everything from a perfect, omnipotent being to something that can be considered even a bit banal.

1) The very notion of an all-perfect being means God has to exist

This is the classic ontological, or a priori, argument. It was first articulated in 1070 by St. Anselm, who argued that because we have a conception of an all-perfect being — which he defined as “that than which nothing greater can be conceived” — it has to exist. In his essay “Proslogion,” St. Anselm conceived of God as a being who possesses all conceivable perfection. But if this being “existed” merely as an idea in our minds, then it would be less perfect than if it actually existed. So it wouldn’t be as great as a being who actually existed, something that would thus contradict our definition of God — a being who’s supposed to be all-perfect. Thus, God must exist.

Okay, admittedly, this sounds a bit weird by modern standards. Actually, it even sounded weird back then; Gaunilo of Marmoutiers ripped apart Anselm’s idea by asking people to conceive of an island “more excellent” than any other island, revealing the flaws in this type of argumentation. Today, we know that this type of a priori argument (i.e., pure deduction) is grossly limited, often tautological, and utterly fails to take empirical evidence into account.

But surprisingly, it was a position defended by none other than Rene Descartes. His take on the matter is a bit more illustrative; Descartes, in his “Fifth Meditation,” wrote that the conception of a perfect being who lacks existence is like imagining a triangle whose interior angles don’t sum to 180 degrees (he was big on the notion of innate ideas and the doctrine of clear and distinct perception). So, because we have the idea of a supremely perfect being, we have to conclude that a supremely perfect being exists; to Descarte, God’s existence was just as obvious, logical, and self-evident as the most basic mathematical truths.

2) Something must have caused the Universe to exist

Philosophers call this one the First-Cause Argument, or the Cosmological Argument, and early advocates of this line of reasoning included Plato, Aristotle, and St. Thomas Aquinas. It’s predicated on the assumption that every event must have a cause, and that cause in turn must have a cause, and on and on and on. Assuming there’s no end to this regression of causes, this succession of events would be infinite. But an infinite series of causes and events doesn’t make sense (a causal loop cannot exist, nor a causal chain of infinite length). There’s got to be something — some kind of first cause — that is itself uncaused. This would require some kind of “unconditioned” or “supreme” being — which the philosophers call God.

I’m sure you’ve already come up with your own objections to the First-Cause Argument, including the issue of a first-causer having to have its own cause. Also, infinity does in fact appear to be a fundamental quality of the universe. All this said, however, cosmologists are still struggling to understand the true nature of time and what “caused” the Big Bang to happen in the first place.

3) There has to be something rather than nothing

Called the Cosmological Argument from Contingency, this is a slightly different take on the First-Cause Argument. The German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz put it best when he wrote,

Why is there something rather than nothing? The sufficient reason … is found in a substance which … is a necessary being bearing the reason for its existence within itself.

Because it’s impossible for only contingent beings to exist, he argued, a necessary being must exist — a being we call God. Writing in “Monadology,” he wrote that “no fact can be real or existing and no statement true without a sufficient reason for its being so and not otherwise.”

More recently, the philosopher Richard Swinburne looked at the issue more inductively, writing,

There is quite a chance that if there is a God he will make something of the finitude and complexity of a universe. It is very unlikely that a universe would exist uncaused, but rather more likely that God would exist uncaused. The existence of the universe…can be made comprehensible if we suppose that it is brought about by God.

4) Something had to have designed the Universe

The Design Argument, or teleological argument, suggests we live in a Universe that surely had to be designed. The cosmos, goes the argument, exhibits orderliness and (apparent) purpose — for example, everything within the universe adheres to the laws of physics, and many things within it are correlated with one another in a way that appears purposeful. As William Paley argued, just as the existence of a watch indicates the presence of an intelligent mind, the existence of the universe and various phenomena within it indicates the presence of an even greater intelligence, namely God.
Needless to say, this line of argumentation was far more compelling prior to the advent of naturalism (the idea that everything can be explained without the benefit of supernatural intervention) and Darwinian evolution. Indeed, Darwin served as a kind of death knell to the Design Argument, at least as far as the biological realm is concerned. We know that the human eye — in all its apparent complexity and purpose — is not the product of a designer, but rather the painstaking result of variation and selection.
But the Design Argument isn’t entirely dead yet. The exquisite fine-tuning of the “biophilic universe” has lead some to conclude there is in fact a greater intelligence at work. To counter this line of reasoning, however, philosophers say we should simply defer to the anthropic principle, which is interesting because theists say the same thing!

5) Consciousness proves that immaterial entities exist

We still don’t have a working theory of consciousness, giving rise to the notorious Hard Problem. Indeed, subjective awareness, or qualia, is quite unlike anything we normally deal with in our otherwise material universe. The weirdness of consciousness, and our inability to understand it, has given rise to the notion of substance dualism, also known as Cartesian dualism, which describes two fundamental kinds of stuff: the mental and the material. Dualists say that material on its own is incapable of producing qualia — one’s capacity to have internal thoughts, subjective awareness, and feelings.

Theists have used substance dualism to make the claim for an independent “realm” of existence that’s distinct from the physical world. It’s a scenario similar to the one experience by Neo in “The Matrix”; his mental experiences occurred in a realm separate from the one that hosted his body. Theistic philosophers have taken this idea to the next level, using it to infer the existence of otherworldly or immaterial entities, including God. It’s a bit of a stretch, and an argument that could use a lot more evidence.

6) We’re living in a computer simulation run by hacker gods

God is in the eye of the beholder. Unlike Anselm’s take on God as something “that which nothing greater can be conceived,” gods can also consist of entities vastly beyond our comprehension, reach, and control. If the Simulation Hypothesis is true, and we’re the product of posthuman ancestors (or some unknown entity), we simply have no choice but to recognize them as gods. They’re running the show, and our collective (or even individual) behavior may be monitored — or even controlled — by them. These hacker gods would be akin the gnostic gods of yesteryear — powerful entities doing their own thing, and without our best interests in mind.

7) Aliens are our gods

We have yet to make contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out there. A possible solution to the Fermi Paradox is the notion of directed panspermia — the idea that aliens spark life on other planets, like sending spores or probes to fertile planets, and then leave, or monitor and control the process covertly. By definition, therefore, they would be like gods to us.
This idea has been addressed many times in scifi, including the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “The Chase”, in which a god-like species is responsible for all life in the Alpha Quadrant, or Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” in which an alien can be seen seeding the primordial Earth with life. Even Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001″ is a take on this idea, with the monoliths instigating massive evolutionary leaps.

Advertisements


Doreen Virtue is a spiritual doctor of psychology and a fourth-generation metaphysician who works with the angelic, elemental, and ascended-master realms in her writings and workshops. Doreen is the author of more than 20 books about angels, chakras, Crystal Children, Indigo Children, health and diet, and other mind-body-spirit issues, including the best-selling Healing with the Angels and Messages from Your Angels books/angel cards.

Doreen, who holds B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in counseling psychology, was the founder and former director of WomanKind Psychiatric Hospital at Cumberland Hall Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. She was also an administrator at Woodside Women’s Hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area. Both all-women psychiatric hospitals specialized in treating women’s psychological issues. Doreen also directed three outpatient psychiatric centers, including an adolescent drug and alcohol abuse center.

As a child, Doreen was a natural clairvoyant, seeing and conversing with what many people call “invisible friends.” But this natural gift and ability was little understood by the young Doreen and her family, and was the cause of teasing by her friends. Consequently, Doreen learned to deny her abilities, effectively shutting them down before she was mature enough to fully appreciate them. But on July 15, 1995, Doreen’s personal life and her career, marked by exemplary but conventional success, would be irrevocably altered by an incident that is nothing short of miraculous.

Doreen had been ignoring her angels’ guidance to become a teacher of mind-body-spirit issues, so when an angel warned Doreen that her car was going to be stolen on that fateful July afternoon, Doreen ignored him. After all, her habit of arguing with and ignoring the angels was deeply ingrained by then. Despite this, the angel did not abandon Doreen in her most dire moment—as she was parking, two armed men, intent on a carjacking, brandished weapons and physically accosted the unsuspecting Doreen. The voice spoke to her again—it was loud, distinctly male, and it instructed her to scream with all her might. This time she listened, and her life was saved by passers-by who became alarmed and sent her attackers running.

Doreen immediately began a daily rigorous practice of receiving and deciphering her Divine Guidance. Simultaneously, she was reexamining her spiritual beliefs, along with her Western psychological beliefs, the end result being twofold: Doreen was guided to look at psychology from a whole new perspective, and her natural clairvoyance rapidly returned with the same clarity and strength of her childhood experiences. Dr. Virtue’s practice then naturally evolved into “Angel Therapy,” in which she combined her background in psychology with her spiritual abilities.

Today, Doreen is known around the world for her connection with the realm of the angels. She has devoted her lifework to teaching us all how to clearly hear the messages from our angels. “When you work with angels, you can lean upon their light to help you heal at miraculous rates and in amazing ways. The angels can help us heal physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially.”

She conducts experiential workshops on spiritual psychological issues worldwide. Many of her students are medical and psychological professionals, including M.D.’s, R.N.’s, psychologists, and social workers.

Doreen conducts a call-in online radio show on Hay House Radio. For specific shows schedules and more information, visit Hay House Radio.

A frequent talk-show guest with appearances on Oprah, CNN, Good Morning America, The View with Barbara Walters, Donny & Marie, Roseanne, and other national programs, Doreen is also a columnist for several monthly publications. Magazines and newspapers that have featured her work include McCall’s, TV Guide, Woman’s Day, First for Women, Vegetarian Times, Lotus, Woman’s World, Miracles, Bridal Trends, USA. Today, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Daily News, The Boston Globe, Men’s Fitness, Shape, and The Denver Post.

Among Doreen’s most recent works include: the Connecting with Your Angels Kit, to assist you in getting to know and understand your angels; and the Angel Medicine book, where she demonstrates how to heal the body and mind with the help of the angels.

“The angels are with us as a gift from our Creator, and their aim is to establish peace on Earth, one person at a time. Working wing-in-hand with the angels, I believe that this goal is possible. May your inner light burn brightly today, and all the days to come.”

http://www.angeltherapy.com/about.php

How the global mind drives the evolution of both consciousness and civilization

• Explains how our brains receive consciousness from the global mind, which upgrades human consciousness according to a pre-set divine time frame

• Reveals how the Mayan Calendar provides a blueprint for these consciousness downloads throughout history

• Examines the mind shift in humans and the development of pyramids and civilization in ancient Egypt, Sumer, South America, and Asia beginning in 3115 BCE

In each culture the origins of civilization can be tied to the arising of one concept in the human mind: straight lines. Straight and perpendicular lines are not found in nature, so where did they come from? What shift in consciousness occurred around the globe that triggered the start of rectangular building methods and linear organization as well as written language, pyramid construction, mathematics, and art?

Offering a detailed answer to this question, Carl Calleman explores the quantum evolution of the global mind and its holographic resonance with the human mind. He examines how our brains are not thinking machines but individual receivers of consciousness from the global mind, which creates holographic downloads to adjust human consciousness to new cosmological circumstances. He explains how the Mayan Calendar provides a blueprint for these downloads throughout history and how the global mind, rather than the individual, has the power to make civilizations rise and fall. He shows how, at the beginning of the Mayan 6th Wave (Long Count) in 3115 BCE, the global mind gave human beings the capacity to conceptualize spatial relations in terms of straight and perpendicular lines, initiating the building of pyramids and megaliths around the world and leading to the rise of modern civilization. He examines the symbolism within the Great Pyramid of Giza and the pyramid at Chichén Itzá and looks at the differences between humans of the 6th Wave in ancient Egypt, Sumer, South America, and Asia and the cave painters of the 5th Wave. He reveals how the global mind is always connected to the inner core of the Earth and discusses how the two halves of the brain parallel the civilizations of the East and West.

Outlining the historical, psychological, geophysical, and neurological roots of the modern human mind, Calleman shows how studying early civilizations offers a means of understanding the evolution of consciousness.

Carl Johan Calleman holds a Ph.D. in Physical Biology and has served as an expert on cancer for the World Health Organization. He began his studies on the Mayan calendar in 1979 and now lectures throughout the world. He is also author of The Purposeful Universe, Solving the Greatest Mystery of Our Time: The Mayan Calendar and The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Look Inside

Dr. Carl Johan Calleman: The Global Mind Review

Published on Aug 19, 2015

[Previously Recorded Interview]
Dr. Calleman and Alexandra Meadors review his fascinating book called the Global Mind: The Rise of Civilization. It really gets into the details of the global mind, mass consciousness, our brain, and mind. Dr. Calleman describes how deep and fundamental the consequences of the shift in the Mayan calendar has been for our worldview, a shift that is only now beginning to make itself known through a new social conscience in our global social networks. Dr. Calleman describes the pivotal mental shift that created early civilizations; what inspired the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Jews and Mayans, outlining a new theory about the historical, psychological, geophysical, and neurological roots of the human mind.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of person(s) interviewed and do not necessarily reflect those of Alexandra Meadors and Galactic Connection.


Published on Feb 7, 2016

The comparison between Eastern and Western forms of Astrology and timekeeping is the subject of this Video. It is not a video making predictions about the coming year based on Chinese new year.


Published on Jan 31, 2016

Also see https://batgap.com/andrew-harvey/

Andrew Harvey is an author, speaker and founder/director of the Institute of Sacred Activism, an international organization focused on inviting concerned people to take up the challenge of our contemporary global crises by becoming inspired, effective and practical agents of institutional and systemic change, in order to create peace and sustainability.

Andrew Harvey has taught at Oxford University, Cornell University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, The California Institute of Integral Studies, and the University of Creation Spirituality as well as at various spiritual centers throughout the U.S. He was the subject of the 1993 BBC film documentary The Making of a Modern Mystic and appears also in Rumi Turning Ecstatic and The Consciousness Of The Christ: Reclaiming Jesus for a New Humanity. He has also worked with the great Iranian Sufi dancer, Banafsheh Sayyad, in producing a film, In the Fire of Grace, which marries Sufi inspired dances to the stages of Rumi’s understanding of the path of Divine love.

He has written and edited over 30 books and received many awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award and the Mind Body Spirit Award.

Website: http://andrewharvey.net

Some of Andrew’s many books: The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism Radical Passion: Sacred Love and Wisdom in Action Light the Flame: 365 Days of Prayer


From the Author
Quantum Bliss focuses on maximizing your potential and peak performance on a level of mind body and spirit. Those seeking a SHORT practical guide to metaphysics and philosophy should read this groundbreaking book. This book is designed for both the scholar and the student. After working for 10 years to codify the ideas of success and happiness, Mentz realized that the Quantum Mechanics of Bliss lay in the greatest teachings of success and abundance.

If you have read books by: Napoleon Hill – Dyer – Tolle – Byrne or others including Emerson and Thoreau, you will cherish this short VIP refresher of the greatest ideas in self help and empowerment with a spiritual or metaphysical backbone.

Before the Secret was released, Mentz had already released a bestselling book based on the ideas of the great prosperity writers of our time including: Napoleon Hill. Wallace Wattles and Dr. Charles Haanel. This book is the produce of 15 years of research regarding over 500 of the worlds best-selling success health and financial freedom books. The objective was to distill a magnum opus that distills the logic of the greats into a quick review and summary. This book is written for both the beginner and the expert as there are nuggets of truth throughout the book.

May the joy and the abundance of the world be yours and you master your destiny on this journey of growth and development.

George Mentz is a speaker, lawyer, and global pioneer in management, education and training. His renowned teachings have been used in the top banks, government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and financial institutions around the world. He has authored hundreds of books, guides, and journal articles, and his companies provide accredited training in over 50 countries.

Mentz has had bestsellers in various categories over the years, but as a former Wall Street Wealth Management Advisor to the richest people in the world. Mentz brings valuable insights to those who seek a richer and fuller life of health, relationships, joy and success.

View Here

A guide to retelling your personal, family, and cultural stories to transform your life, your relationships, and the world

• Applies the latest neuroscience research on memory, brain mapping, and brain plasticity to the field of narrative therapy

• Details mind-mapping and narrative therapy techniques that use story to change behavior patterns in ourselves, our relationships, and our communities

• Explores how narrative therapy can help replace dysfunctional cultural stories with ones that build healthier relationships with each other and the planet

We are born into a world of stories that quickly shapes our behavior and development without our conscious awareness. By retelling our personal, family, and cultural narratives we can transform the patterns of our own lives as well as the patterns that shape our communities and the larger social worlds in which we interact.

Applying the latest neuroscience research on memory, brain mapping, and brain plasticity to the field of narrative therapy, Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barbara Mainguy explain how the brain is specialized in the art of story-making and story-telling. They detail mind-mapping and narrative therapy techniques that use story to change behavior patterns in ourselves, our relationships, and our communities. They explore studies that reveal how memory works through story, how the brain recalls things in narrative rather than lists, and how our stories modify our physiology and facilitate health or disease. Drawing on their decades of experience in narrative therapy, the authors examine the art of helping people to change their story, providing brain-mapping practices to discover your inner storyteller and test if the stories you are living are functional or dysfunctional, healing or destructive. They explain how to create new characters and new stories, ones that excite you, help you connect with yourself, and deepen your intimate connections with others.

Detailing how shared stories and language form culture, the authors also explore how narrative therapy can help replace dysfunctional cultural stories with those that offer templates for healthier relationships with each other and the planet.

Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician, associate professor at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, and executive director of the Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation. The author of several books, including Narrative Medicine and Coyote Medicine, he lives in Orono, Maine.

Barbara Mainguy, M.A., is a psychotherapist and education director for the Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation. She lives in Orono, Maine.

View Here

Remapping Your Mind with Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona & Barbara Mainguy

Published on Nov 18, 2015

There are stories we have about ourselves that play in our head. Characters and plot lines that affect, and sometimes limit, our experience of self and our interactions with others. What if we could change those stories? How would that change our lives, our community, and our planet? Join Caroline as she welcomes her guests Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barbara Mainguy, authors of Remapping Your Mind: The Neuroscience of Self-Transformation through Story.

Lewis is a physician and executive director of the Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation. He is the author of several books including Narrative Medicine and Coyote Medicine. Lewis specializes in weaving the wisdom of indigenous culture into his work as a physician. Barbara is a psychotherapist and education director for the Coyote Institute. Together, Lewis and Barbara bring the power of story as narrative therapy to their patients. In this interview, they share the beauty and power of story with us both on a personal level and on a global scale.

Deep gratitude to Brian Zach & Synrgy for the use of their song ‘Embrace The Change.’

Peter Russell went from being a strict atheist and scientist to discovering a profound personal synthesis of the mystical and the scientific. That transition is the basis of this book. In From Science to God, he blends physics, psychology, and philosophy to reach a new worldview in which consciousness is a fundamental quality of creation. Russell shows how all the ingredients for this worldview are in place; it remains only to put the pieces together and explore the new picture of reality that emerges. Integrating a deep knowledge of science with his own experiences of meditation, Russell arrives at a universe similar to that described by many mystics — one in which the inner and outer worlds no longer conflict. The bridge between them, he shows, is light, and this book invites readers to cross that bridge to find new meaning in God and a deeper significance in spiritual practice.

Look Inside


The Evolution of Consciousness With Peter Russell

For years Western Science has relegated consciousness to an epiphenomenon created by the brain. There are, however, serious problems with this approach and an alternative worldview is emerging in which consciousness is an essential quality of the cosmos.

With human beings, this universal consciousness has evolved to the stage of self-reflective consciousness — we are aware that we are aware — opening us to new realms of imagination and innovation. Yet, at the same time, our newfound powers are also threatening our survival as a species. We are being asked to step beyond a limited ego-centric consciousness and awaken to our true nature, to discover for ourselves the inner peace and freedom spoken of by mystics the world over.

Peter Russell is an author, public speaker, and multimedia producer who is recognized as a leading thinker on consciousness and contemporary spirituality. He coined the term “global brain” with his 1980’s bestseller of the same name in which he predicted the Internet and the impact it would have on humanity. He is the author of nine books, including Waking Up in Time, and From Science to God.

His principal interest is the inner challenges of the times we are passing through. Peter believes if we are to navigate our way safely through these turbulent times we need to listen to the wisdom of the world’s spiritual traditions, as well as to our current scientific understanding. For more information on him visit: peterrussell.com


For centuries, theologians and philosophers have proposed a wide range of hypotheses concerning the origins and nature of consciousness and what happen to consciousness at death, without reaching any consensus. Over the past 140 years, cognitive scientists have likewise proposed a diverse array of definitions of consciousness and theories attempting to solve the mind-body problem. Materialists have tended to dominate such discourse, with some arguing that subjective states of consciousness must be equivalent to brain processes or their emergent properties, while others deny the very existence of subjective, conscious experience.

Virtually none of these theories lend themselves to scientific validation or repudiation; they do not appear to moving towards any kind of consensus; and they all lack of any rigorous means of investigating subjective states of consciousness firsthand. In other words, they have all overlooked a key element that initially set “natural philosophy” apart from all other branches of philosophy and theology in the 17th century: the precise, rigorous observation of the natural phenomena under investigation.

While all subjectively experienced mental processes and states of consciousness are undetectable by the instruments of technology, they can be observed with refined attention and introspection. William James, one of the foremost pioneers of experimental psychology and neuroscience, proposed that introspection should play a central role in scientifically exploring the mind. But ever since the rise of behaviorism in the early 20th century, his radically empirical approach proposal has been ignored. Buddhist contemplatives, on the other hand, have adopted this radically empirical approach for millennia, and they have established a large body of consensual knowledge. Thus far, their methods and discoveries have been almost entirely overlooked by the scientific community and the generalpublic. It is high time to correct this oversight.

This book takes a bold new look at ways of exploring the nature, origins, and potentials of consciousness within the context of science and religion. Alan Wallace draws careful distinctions between four elements of the scientific tradition: science itself, scientific realism, scientific materialism, and scientism.

Arguing that the metaphysical doctrine of scientific materialism has taken on the role of ersatz-religion for its adherents, he traces its development from its Greek and Judeo-Christian origins, focusing on the interrelation between the Protestant Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. He looks at scientists’ long term resistance to the firsthand study of consciousness and details the ways in which subjectivity has been deemed taboo within the scientific community.

In conclusion, Wallace draws on William James’s idea for a “science of religion” that would study the nature of religious and, in particular, contemplative experience.
In exploring the nature of consciousness, this groundbreaking study will help to bridge the chasm between religious belief and scientific knowledge. It is essential reading for philosophers and historians of science, scholars of religion, and anyone interested in the relationship between science and religion.

B. Alan Wallace began his studies of Tibetan Buddhism, language, and culture in 1970 at the University of Göttingen and then continued his studies over the next fourteen years in India, Switzerland, and the United States. After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science, he went on to earn his Ph.D. in religious studies at Stanford University. He then taught for four years in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and is now the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies (http://sbinstitute.com).

He is also Chairman of the Thanypura Mind Centre (http://piamc.com) in Thailand, where he leads meditation retreats. He has edited, translated, authored, and contributed to more than forty books on Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, language, and culture, and the interface between science and Buddhism, including Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic: A Manifesto for the Mind Sciences and Contemplative Practice, Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity, and Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness.

View Here

A Radically Empirical Approach to the Exploration of Consciousness, Alan Wallace

Published on Nov 14, 2015

For centuries, theologians and philosophers have proposed a wide range of hypotheses concerning the origins and nature of consciousness and what happen to consciousness at death, without reaching any consensus. Over the past 140 years, cognitive scientists have likewise proposed a diverse array of definitions of consciousness and theories attempting to solve the mind-body problem.

Materialists have tended to dominate such discourse, with some arguing that subjective states of consciousness must be equivalent to brain processes or their emergent properties, while others deny the very existence of subjective, conscious experience. Virtually none of these theories lend themselves to scientific validation or repudiation; they do not appear to moving towards any kind of consensus; and they all lack of any rigorous means of investigating subjective states of consciousness firsthand. In other words, they have all overlooked a key element that initially set “natural philosophy” apart from all other branches of philosophy and theology in the 17th century: the precise, rigorous observation of the natural phenomena under investigation.

While all subjectively experienced mental processes and states of consciousness are undetectable by the instruments of technology, they can be observed with refined attention and introspection. William James, one of the foremost pioneers of experimental psychology and neuroscience, proposed that introspection should play a central role in scientifically exploring the mind.

But ever since the rise of behaviorism in the early 20th century, his radically empirical approach proposal has been ignored. Buddhist contemplatives, on the other hand, have adopted this radically empirical approach for millennia, and they have established a large body of consensual knowledge. Thus far, their methods and discoveries have been almost entirely overlooked by the scientific community and the general public. It is high time to correct this oversight.

Alan Wallace, Lecturer, Scholar, and Prolific Writer on Tibetan Buddhism

Dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, B. Alan Wallace seeks ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind. Dr. Wallace, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Trained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk and ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, Wallace went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy
of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford. http://www.alanwallace.org

Published on Oct 28, 2015

We live in culture dominated by two contrived metaphysical inferences: that the world exists outside consciousness and that particular arrangements of matter in that world somehow generate consciousness. This distorted view of reality feeds the delusory dreams of artificial consciousness so prevalent in the media today, such as in movies like Ex_Machina.

In contrast to science fiction, however, there is the cold science fact of our complete failure to articulate, even in principle, how particular arrangements of matter could possibly generate consciousness. But instead of forcing our culture to revise its mistaken metaphysics, this failure is leading to a new delusion: panpsychism, or the notion that consciousness is in all matter, as opposed to all matter in consciousness. Under panpsychism, consciousness is fundamentally fragmented, just as matter appears to be. Single atoms allegedly have very simple consciousness, while more complex psyches, such as our own, can be built bottom-up by connecting atoms together.

In this video, we will see how both panpsychism and our dreams of artificial consciousness arise from a delusory interpretation of the facts of reality, as available to experience. We will see that consciousness isn’t created, but the framework wherein all creation happens. We will see that consciousness isn’t fundamentally fragmented, but fundamentally one. We will see that individual psyches don’t arise from bottom-up integration, but from top-down dissociation of a single consciousness. Finally, we will see how all this follows directly from true nondualism.

A paradigm-shifting blend of science, religion, and philosophy for agnostic, spiritual-but-not-religious, and scientifically minded readers

Many people are fed up with the way traditional religion alienates them: too easily it can perpetuate conflict, vilify science, and undermine reason. Nancy Abrams, a philosopher of science, lawyer, and lifelong atheist, is among them. And yet, when she turned to the recovery community to face a personal struggle, she found that imagining a higher power gave her a new freedom. Intellectually, this was quite surprising.

Meanwhile her husband, famed astrophysicist Joel Primack, was helping create a new theory of the universe based on dark matter and dark energy, and Abrams was collaborating with him on two books that put the new scientific picture into a social and political context. She wondered, “Could anything actually exist in this strange new universe that is worthy of the name ‘God?’”

In A God That Could Be Real, Abrams explores a radically new way of thinking about God. She dismantles several common assumptions about God and shows why an omniscient, omnipotent God that created the universe and plans what happens is incompatible with science—but that this doesn’t preclude a God that can comfort and empower us.

Moving away from traditional arguments for God, Abrams finds something worthy of the name “God” in the new science of emergence: just as a complex ant hill emerges from the collective behavior of individually clueless ants, and just as the global economy emerges from the interactions of billions of individuals’ choices, God, she argues, is an “emergent phenomenon” that arises from the staggering complexity of humanity’s collective aspirations and is in dialogue with every individual. This God did not create the universe—it created the meaning of the universe. It’s not universal—it’s planetary. It can’t change the world, but it helps us change the world. A God that could be real, Abrams shows us, is what humanity needs to inspire us to collectively cooperate to protect our warming planet and create a long-term civilization.


Nancy Ellen Abrams is coauthor with Joel R. Primack, of The View from the Center of the Universe and The New Universe and the Human Future.

Browse Here

Nancy Ellen Abrams: “View from the Center of the Universe” personal journey (interview)

Nancy Ellen Abrams is co-author (with Joel Primack) of two books that develop deeply meaningful and imagistic perspectives from a mainstream understanding of the scientific picture of the Universe — and our role in the Cosmos. Coming from a secular Jewish background, educated in science, mythology, law, and public policy, Abrams demonstrates in this excerpted interview (by Connie Barlow) the contours of “religious naturalism” as a vibrant worldview. This interview was conducted in 2006, in the year when her book with Primack “The View from the Center of the Universe” was published.

TEDxSantaCruz: Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack – Changing The World Through A Shared Cosmology

Nancy Ellen Abrams is a lawyer (J.D., U. of Michigan) with a B.A. from the University of Chicago in the history and philosophy of science. She specializes in the role of science in a new politics and is an award-winning writer and lecturer at UCSC.

Joel R. Primack is Distinguished Professor of Physics at UCSC. He received his A.B. in Physics from Princeton and Ph.D. in Physics from Stanford. He is one of the creators of the theory of Cold Dark Matter, the accepted theory of the formation and evolution of galaxies and the nature of the dark matter that makes up most of the mass in the universe. Nancy and Joel co-authored The New Universe and the Human Future: How a Shared Cosmology Could Transform the World and The View from the Center of the Universe: Discovering Our Extraordinary Place in the Universe.

Dr. Nancy Ellen Abrams & Dr. Deepak Chopra: God That Could Be Real

Published on Oct 20, 2015

According to historian of Science God could be emergent phenomenon ?

Spirituality is a very personal affair regardless of the various pathways or disciplines that one may follow. Yet even though there is an abundance of avenues for spiritual endeavor, there is generally a universal agreement on the principle of unity.

“If reality is unified, then we must also accept that everything is essentially equal.”

There are many ways that one may be introduced to this philosophy. We may have been brought up around it via our family. We might have had a profound revelation in a one-off experience. Some are initiated through ongoing paranormal activity. Others just intuitively feel it. Altered mind states could have been the catalyst. A gradual or instant revolution could have occurred in our mind where synchronicity deposed coincidence. There could have also been an influence by assorted texts and teachings which infer this similar conclusion. For most of us, uncovering the wisdom of unity most likely occurred via a combination of channels.

“Transcending the illusion of disconnection is a personal path.”

Regardless of our beliefs, and the series of events or informational resources that led to our personal awakening, our fundamental understanding is unity. We are each a part of a complex integrated whole, and our external environment is a reflection of our fundamental nature, including what is in harmony with us and what isn’t. So, irrespective of how peaceful we have set up our internal environment, if we truly want to experience peace, we need to transform the outer world – the collective mental and physical landscapes that we inhabit. If we are all truly unified, we have a responsibility as part of this awakening to continually heal and grow our internal and external worlds.

“The personal awakening is synonymous to the collective awakening.”

A Global Metaphysical View

Unity can be used as a universal term to describe the outcomes of various fields of thought. Examples include: Energy; Mind; Consciousness; Holographic universe; Light; Love; Spirit; the Source; the Field; the Akashic Field; the Zero-point Energy Field; Quantum Field of Possibilities; the Collective Unconscious; Undivided Wholeness; Nirvana; One; God etc. If these are all equal to each other in terms of their agreement that a unifying principle exists, then we have arrived at an agreed global metaphysical position which incorporates both our rational and intuitive hemispheres.

“The primary nature of reality is unified.”

Irrespective of what reality is literally made of, whether its essence is of a material or immaterial nature, it’s irrelevant to our goals. As long as we agree that a property of reality is unity, and that unity inherently implies that everything is fundamentally equal, then together we can get on with making this earthly experience fair and peaceful for all.

“Earth’s global culture needs to heal and grow as one.”

That is why an agreed metaphysical view for our global society has significant implications for our future. From both a personal and societal standpoint, as well as a rational and intuitive standpoint, we know to treat everyone and everything uniformly. The way we care for ourselves should be equivalent to the way that we care for others. Our philosophical and practical social systems should also ensure that each person has access to the resources they need to adequately survive and thrive.

“Because we are unified, the suffering of others is a reflection of our own suffering.”

No matter how far we may be personally removed from it, the reality is the majority of our fellow man is distressed from a lack of external and/or internal resources. The former is strongly influenced from an unequal distribution of food, water, shelter, infrastructure, education, medicine and political representation, whilst the latter from a lack of knowledge and skills in emotional regulation and psychological balancing, as well as a poor conceptual capacity to face and overcome the challenges to establishing and maintaining one’s inner peace.

“Suffering is pandemic across the so-called developing and developed nations.”

Translating a Global Metaphysical View Into Practice

When we individually undertake a process of spiritual introspection, we all arrive at the exact same place; unity. Yet when we translate that wisdom into practice, the result is a plethora of personal, philosophical and cultural differences. That is why so many distinct religions exist, especially because the expression of how we should operationalize this perspective is subject to the environmental influences present during its inception and development.

“There are infinite expressions of how to live in unity.”

Now that many people undertake this process outside the context of pre-established models, it is no wonder that there are so many individualized methodologies to spirituality. And there’s nothing wrong with that either; there is no one strict way to live, so as long as it doesn’t conflict with the primary principle of unity and its inherent implications, then it should be encouraged and embraced.

“Regardless of the personal path we choose to take, spirituality is a journey of enlightenment for both the inner and outer realms.”

The Health and Growth of The Self

We are all subject to the suffering of the self and it is our personal role to transcend it. But our health is much more than is usually defined; it’s not just our physical and mental well-being. The reality is we have many layers of our life to take care of including our physical, psychological, emotional, philosophical, sexual, behavioral, creative, social and spiritual vitalities. With this in mind, we should be continually asking ourselves what areas need more attention and what strategies can we implement to heal and grow. We also need to find a true love for ourselves.

“Therapeutic and developmental practices which harmonize all of our life vitalities ensures that we raise our vibration and align ourselves closer to our spiritual path.”

Even though we literally make the free choice on how we think, feel, act and live, we are still strongly influenced by our environment, such as parents, peers, culture, society, government and the age we live in. Therefore, as an adult we are both independent and conditioned agents. But we can transcend our conditioning and align ourselves to the fundamental wisdom and knowledge of the universe. Therefore, the time we become truly free is the time that we take full responsibility of ourselves and ensure that we, not anyone or anything else, are the most influential factor for how we evolve for the rest of our lives. That of course means taking full responsibility for how we think and feel.

“To be truly free, we must empower ourselves to guide our thoughts and emotions.”

It’s the basics. Excuses which blame something or someone for our thoughts and feelings just don’t cut it on the spiritual path. Spiritually, we have experiences for our growth; we are co-creators of our experience. Now this doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences for the actions of others which hurt us, the response we provide is incorporated into the overall context of the negative and positive vibrations that they’ve attracted into their life.

“If people act unjust, then justice will inevitably be served.”

The new age mantra that “everything happens for a reason” may be true in the sense that experiences have innate information that we can capitalize on to progress us on our path of enlightenment, but it is equally true that proportional actions need to transpire in response. Just like we should respond to the injustice we serve ourselves, we should also respond to that which surrounds us. The tricky part is determining what that response should be which is why we draw on both our rational and intuitive capacities to guide us.

“Not only should we accept our experiences, but also respond to them accordingly.”

It is true that we make so-called ‘mistakes’ which deliver us to our destiny; however that doesn’t mean we should make that same choice again. We should learn from it. There are innumerable times that we have had an undesirable experience which resulted in our growth, regardless if it was influenced from the actions of ourselves or others. And that’s what we need; to learn, to heal, and to grow. We need to harmonious our energies and become our new, more developed selves in every moment. When we conceive of our experience this way – where our wants are the healthy and unhealthy desires of our ego and our needs are the experiences we require for sustained growth – then we always have something to offer ourselves.

“If we process each experience as an opportunity to learn, regardless of how undesirable that experience is, we always get exactly what we need: growth.”

Every moment is therefore an opportunity to progress our health and well-being. When we treat ourselves and others disappointingly, we should process it in the context of our learning and then make amends. The same applies when somebody treats us poorly; when we are exposed to underdeveloped actions by others, we should embrace it as a part of us, as well as give a calculated response in return. After all, we have accepted that we are fundamentally united. For example, what information and energy can we embrace from it? Is there some action we can do to encourage the health and growth of both the internal and external worlds?

“When we embrace our experience, we must develop a healthy balance between awareness, acceptance and action.”

The Health and Growth of Society

Mindful living is an integral aspect of spirituality. Allowing ourselves and others to make poor choices without negative judgement or condemnation is vital. Our judgement should be reasonable and realistic and we should always radiate positive and loving vibrations too. We should understand ourselves as a pulsing and energetic vibration – an instrument of sound adding to the orchestra of reality which encompasses us. We should lead from our heart and consciously influence the collective vibration of our shared reality.

“Maximizing the impact we have as co-creators amplifies the awakening of our collective consciousness.”

This means being loving, patient, compassionate, empathetic and understanding. But as described above, it also means taking action to influence the health and growth of our society. It’s a misconception to think that just because everything is meant to be, that it will naturally balance itself out without our intervention.

“It is as much our responsibility to undertake appropriate responses to our outside world as it is to our inside world.”

Just like there are some justified ramifications within our social models of law and ethics, there are also measures that we must apply in response to our external environment. This does not necessarily mean that the law should be taken into one’s own hands, but more so that as an individual within a global culture, actions need to be taken to rectify the injustices of our world which violate the philosophical principle of unity.

“The earth and our species needs help to come back into balance.”

For example, our leading philosophical and pragmatic compasses are contributing to some major ecological, social and individual injustices – systems that need to be addressed through calculated measures. If we just sit back and allow it to continue, it will. That’s why collective action needs to balance these injustices out, so we need to decide how we will personally contribute to our shared goals.

“Caring for the external world really is as important as doing it for our own internal health and growth.”

There are many injustices that currently plague our planet. Some serious research via alternative media will uncover a robust reflection of these social dysfunctions and the potential solutions, as well as the social movements which aim to ensure that the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual vitality of every human being is cared for and developed in our future.

“It is a shared responsibility that we transform our world.”

It is by having a true sense of the healing and growth that is required for both the inside and outside of us which reflect a holistic approach to a spiritual awakening. Once we have that awareness, we should aim for acceptance of why and how it needs to change, as well as the application of strategies to facilitate the therapeutic and developmental process that we and our society so desperately need to work through.

“Together we must unite because together we are one.”


Phillip J. Watt
has served the community for over a decade fulfilling a myriad of roles. With a love for spreading empowering messages, he also writes for several websites dedicated to mindful, informed and adventurous living.

He is a columnist at Elephant Journal and a writer for Wake Up World, The Mind Unleashed and Expanded Consciousness. His articles have also appeared through the social media of Earth We Are 1, Collective Evolution, Conscious Life News, Waking Times, among many others.

This website is designed to capture his written work in the one place. To speak to Phil, please visit the contact page.

Wisdom Seekers: The Rise of the New Spirituality explores the origins and precursors of the New Age movement, its consolidation within the American counterculture of the late 1960s, and its development into an international spiritual perspective in contemporary Western society.

The book considers the influence on the New Age of metaphysicians like Emanuel Swedenborg, Mesmer, Madame Blavatsky and Gurdjieff; pioneering thinkers like Freud, Jung and William James; and the contribution to New Age thought of Indian spiritual traditions and transpersonal psychology. Wisdom Seekers also describes the way in which the New Age paradigm has absorbed the most recent discoveries of quantum physics and consciousness research, and it explores the New Age focus on personal spiritual experience rather than formal religious doctrines.

Dr Nevill Drury was born in Hastings, England, but has lived most of his life in Australia. A former editor of the holistic journal Nature & Health, he held a PhD from the University of Newcastle and wrote widely on the Western esoteric tradition, visionary consciousness and shamanism, as well as on contemporary art. He wrote over sixty books, including Sacred Encounters; The Dictionary of the Esoteric; Magic and Witchcraft: From Shamanism to the Technopagans; Stealing Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Modern Western Magic, and a speculative work of fiction titled Second Coming 2012: The Mayan Revelation (O Books). His work has been published in 25 countries and 18 languages. He died in New South Wales, Australia in October 2013.

LOOK INSIDE

Book Review: Wisdom Seekers

A review of Nevill Drury’s book, Wisdom Seekers – The Rise of the New Spirituality

What does it mean to “meditate with the body”? Until you answer this question, explains Reggie Ray, meditation may be no more than a mental gymnastic —something you can practice for years without fruitful results.

In Touching Enlightenment, the esteemed author of five books about Buddhist history and practice guides you back to the original practice of the Buddha: a systematic process that results in a profound awareness in your body rather than in your head.

Combining the scholarship that has earned him international renown with original insights from nearly four decades practicing and teaching meditation, Reggie Ray invites you to explore:

  • How to enter fully into communion with your embodied nature
  • The insights of Tibetan yoga, from guidance on breathing and working with discomfort to its challenge to modern practitioners on the path to realization
  • Why “rejected” experience becomes imprinted in the body —and how to receive it anew to reconstitute your human way of being
  • Karma of cause and karma of result —taking full responsibility for your life
  • Your three bodies—the physical, the interpersonal, and the cosmic

“To be awake, to be enlightened, is to be fully and completely embodied. To be fully embodied means to be at one with who we are, in every respect, including our physical being, our emotions, and the totality of our karmic situation,” writes Reggie Ray. In Touching Enlightenment, he offers you a map of unprecedented clarity and power for embarking on the journey toward ultimate realization in and through the body.

Reginald A. Ray, PhD, brings us four decades of study and intensive practice within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as well as a special gift for applying ancient wisdom to the problems, inspirations, and spiritual imperatives of modern people. He is the co-founder and spiritual director of Dharma Ocean Foundation, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the practice, study, and preservation of the teachings of Reggie’s teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and the practice lineage he embodied. See dharmaocean.org.

LOOK INSIDE

Touching Enlightenment with the Body

Reggie Ray talks about this basic and profound emotion most of us take for granted or push away. Love is life.

Reggie Ray ‘Finding Realization In The Body’ Interview by Renate McNay

Published on Jul 12, 2015

Reggie Ray ‘Finding Realization In The Body’ Interview by Renate McNay

%d bloggers like this: