What do you think?

I promised in my last entry here to offer my own answer to the question I posed about whether we are all chemical creatures or spiritual beings. I am aware that I have offered my response before, in writing and in several locations. I nevertheless encore that response here, for any who may have missed it.

I have — as you all know — no need for anyone to agree with me on this subject. I don’t offer this writing to convince, but merely to inform. I have absolutely zero need to convert anyone to my way of thinking, but I presume people have come to this website to find out more about what my way of thinking is, and I am happy to offer my views on spiritual matters, as the Conversations with God books seem to have generated some particular interest among some particular people. So, here goes…

My own answer to the question of True Identity: Chemical Creature or Spiritual Being? — I’ve decided that I am a spiritual being, a three-part being made up of body, mind, and soul. Each part of my tri-part being has a function and a purpose. As I come to understand each of those functions, each aspect of me begins to more efficiently serve its purpose in my life.

I am an Individuation of Divinity, an expression of God, a singularization of the singularity. There is no separation between me and God, nor is there any difference, except as to proportion. Put simply, God and I are one.

This brings up an interesting question. Am I rightly accused of heresy? Are people who believe that they are divine nothing but raving lunatics? Are they, worse yet, apostates?

I wondered. So I did a little research. I wanted to find out what religious and spiritual sources had to say on the subject. Here’s some of what I found . . . .

Isaiah 41:23—Shew the things that are to come hereaf­ter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold together.

Psalm 82:6—I have said, ‘Gods ye are, And sons of the Most High—all of you.

John 10:34—Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, “I said, Ye are gods?”

The Indian philosopher Adi Shankara (788 CE – 820 CE), the one largely responsible for the initial expounding and consolidation of Advaita Vedanta, wrote in his famous work, Vivekachudamani“Brahman is the only Truth, the spatio-temporal world is an illusion, and there is ultimately Brahman and individual self.”

Sri Swami Krishnananda Saraswati Maharaj (April 25, 1922 – November 23, 2001), a Hindu saint: “God exists; there is only one God; the essence of man is God.”

According to Buddhism there ultimately is no such thing as a Self that is independent from the rest of the universe (the doctrine of anatta). Also, if I understand certain Buddhist schools of thought correctly, humans return to the earth in subsequent lifetimes in one of six forms, the last of which are called Devas . . . which is variously translated as Gods or Deities.

Meanwhile, the ancient Chinese discipline of Taoism speaks of embodiment and pragmatism, engaging practice to actualize the Natural Order within themselves. Taoists believe that man is a microcosm for the universe.

Hermeticism is a set of philosophical and religious beliefs or gnosis based primarily upon the Hellenistic Egyptian pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Hermeticism teaches that there is a transcendent God, The All, or one “Cause,” of which we, and the entire universe, participate.

The concept was first laid out in The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, in the famous words: “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing.”

And in Sufism, an esoteric form of Islam, the teaching, There is no God but God was long ago changed to, There is nothing but God. Which would make me . . . well . . . God.

If you have some further interest in these kinds of things, you will find it fascinating to read the remarkable books of Huston Smith, a globally honored professor of religion. Among titles of his that I most often recommend: The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions (1958, revised edition 1991, HarperOne), and Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions (1976, reprint edition 1992, HarperOne).

So . . . that is my response to the invitation that life is presenting me, and all of us, regarding the making of a choice about Who I Am. I believe myself to be an out-picturing of The Divine. As, I believe, are we all.

To reiterate my comments at the outset here, I have no need for anyone to agree with me on this. I don’t have a shred of evidence to prove or back up my belief. It is one of many beliefs I hold for which I have no supporting scientific data.

I believe, for instance, that my wife loves me, and without condition. I believe that my dog understands what I am “saying” to him when I simply look deeply into his eyes and he looks into mine. He inevitably responds as if we had shared words that he completely comprehends.

I believe that Good always comes to me in the end, however circuitous its route on occasion has been or may be. I believe in the “power of positive thinking” — and it has evidenced itself to me since I was a child. I believe that plants that are loved grow bigger, better, and faster than plants that are not actively “spoken to” or sent loving energies.

I know that some of this sounds silly. And I can back up none of this with indisputable scientific data of any kind.

It does not matter to me. I have enjoyed a rich and wondrous life. And I believe my beliefs have played an important part in making it so. I honor, with great respect, all those who disagree about what I’ve written here regarding the True Identity of humans. They could be “right,” and I could be “wrong.” Their words could be truth and my words could be false. They could be accurate and I could be mistaken.

I have been mistaken before. There was that time in 1958…

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  • Most of humanity inherently believes in life after the physical. It seems to be a encoded in most (not all) people.

    Years ago, I took a workshop with famed author Raymond Moody who at that time said he discovered a way that anyone could have a NDE. He found that when his own mother was dying in the hospital that he and some family members where holding her hands or touching her physical body when she passed on. Guess what?

    Those family members who were holding on to his mother also experienced her floating out of her body and moving toward the light. They too experienced her transition. Well up to a point. At some point they seem to sense to let go as they were not allowed to go further. This was a number of years ago and I believe he wrote about this in his books.

    He also wrote a little known and obscure book about Elvis Presley. It was all about people who had psychic and spiritual experiences around Elvis similar to Jesus. It was fascinating and novel to read. Years back when trying to locate it on amazon books, it was no where to be found. Now I believe it can be bought, probably used.

    James Twyman has done experiments based on his book “The Barn Dance” in which you lucid dream and create a door with the intention that the person who transitioned will be on the other side of the door when you open it. My research is that Twyman said that those who tried this, that it worked 50% of the time and that some also received unknown evidence that could be verified say by the deceased spouse that even they did not know about. Say like hidden photos, jewelry that only the deceased knew and even their spouse did were not award. Fascinating!

    My recent renewal of lucid dreaming shows that some of the big researchers like Robert Waggoner are desiring more scientific experiments on this. But because of the etheric nature is not finding a lot of support at this time. Waggoner and others in the lucid dream field point out that just because a person who has transitioned shows up in a dream, is not necessarily the real person but ones own projection, especially during the grief period.

    They go on to point out ways of how to tell the difference. It’s fascinating and I will eventually experiment with this my self.

    I tend to believe that a mixture of science and spiritual psychic mingling will bridge this gap more. I also belonged to a group BC (before computers or internet) that dealt with connecting to the other side through radio, tv and tape recorders. And of course now through computers.

    By the way, the reason we have recorded music is because Thomas Edison was trying to communicate with the other side. Fascinating that there were more esoteric reasons for what today we enjoy as recorded music.

    • Patrick Gannon

      A whole bunch of hearsay stories, but no actual evidence, right? Where is the documentation, verified by scientific researchers, that real information was received from the other side, and why is it never anything profound – like a cure for cancer?

      You are incorrect about lucid dreaming not being of interest to researchers. It is being studied as a technique that might help address certain conditions such as PTSD. It’s all about rewriting the brain so as to remove disabling memories; no ghosts required.

      Edison didn’t reach the “other side” did he? Results matter.

      • Craig

        Patrick let’s be fair were there are two or more witnesses the account has been verified and proven. Documented proof would mean nothing as scientists have proven that a soul or the life leaving a body actually weigh something… Weird or what dark science documentary…

        • Patrick Gannon

          I don’t see any evidence presented that the account has been verified and proven. By whom? Documented proof would have a heck of a lot more weight than undocumented hearsay.

          As for the myth of a soul having weight, you’re talking about Dr. Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill, Massachusetts who conducted weighing experiments in 1907. He weighed dogs before and after death and said their weight didn’t change, but when he weighed people, he claimed that they did. He even claimed to know the weight of the soul. As expected, his findings didn’t hold up to scientific scrutiny…

          His results were flawed because the methodology used to collect results was suspect, the sample size far too small, and, the ability to measure changes in weight was very imprecise. It was the early 1900s after all. Today, ridicule rather than credibility is given to the idea that his experiments proved something. His results could not be replicated.

          Try again.

          • Craig

            Maybe we should try the experience using up to date technology…

          • Patrick Gannon

            Researchers have tested NDE and OBEs by leaving items out of sight of the subjects, and they never see them. These experiences can also be manually induced, which points to a mechanistic material explanation, rather than a woo explanation. It is modern technology, improved scanning techniques which have convinced researchers that this is all neuronal activity – not some woo thing.

          • Craig

            First those who experience what you don’t are not necessarily hallucinating. Their experience can be documented and it would still not carry any value for science as it does not reflect a tangible or visible.
            You want the unseen proven with that which can be seen. Not easy. Think of the research in brain waves if it was not for the heat the brain produced scientist would not have been able to further the research on brain waves. The same with the unseen. If you do not know what you’re looking for you’ll never find it… Maybe this is because the unseen superior entity need not reveal itself…
            Or maybe because we want to prove something not needed to be proven…
            I truly appreciate your search for proof but sometimes we just need to accept that to actually experience the proof we are seeking. As the proof we need is not observable but rather empowering. Just my humble view. Peace till next time.

          • Patrick Gannon

            Unless the laws of physics are all wrong, then yes, they are hallucinating. Documenting an experience proves nothing. I can say I had an experience, and you can document it, but it’s still a useless subjective experience. It contributes nothing of value to our knowledge base. It’s subjective. It can’t be relied on. People say all the time that they’ve heard of others who talk to the dead and then go and find hidden cash or something – but none of these stories have any scientific scrutiny tied to them. The freaking Vatican claims all sorts of absurd “miracles.” Those here who deny those miracles, seem not to understand that their “miracles” are just as absurd when looked at with real scientific skepticism and scrutiny. If the evidence existed, trust me, we’d know it. People like Neale would be shouting it from the rooftops. Instead he has to take bible verses out of context to sell his woo.

            Science is well beyond the tangible or visible. Can you see electricity, other than when it produces a spark? (In that case, you aren’t seeing electricity, you’re seeing the light produced by the rapidly heated air molecules). For that matter can you see oxygen, nitrogen or hydrogen? It’s all around you.

            Science can’t “see” quarks and gluons, fermions and bosons, but we know they are there. We can tell they exist by the effects they create on other particles. If there were forces, such as those hallucinated by a number of people, then those forces would affect other particles – they have to – after all they affected the neurons in the brains of the people who experienced them – otherwise how would they have the experience? Something has to fire the synapse, and if there are invisible powers forcing neurons to fire – we’d know about it, even if we can’t see them. In fact there is an invisible forces firing neurons – electricity, and because we can see what it does to other particles, we know it’s there, even if we can’t see it.

            We observe brain activity with a number of tools today including Electroencephalography (EEG), positron emission tomography (PET), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

            We do know what we’re looking for. We’re looking for forces or particles that can affect the particles in our natural world. We’ve found them all. There are other forces and particles yet to be discovered, but like neutrinos, they are too weak or like Higgs particles, they decay too quickly to have any impact on our particles, and thus they cannot fire synapses, heal tissue, or let you read minds or talk to the dead. That’s all nonsense.

            If there is an unseen entity – you are right, it’s unseen. It is not revealing itself. That means it does not interact with us in any way, or we’d know it. We might not be able to identify the force itself (though we’d give it a name), but we would be able to see what it does to our particles, so we’d know it exists.

            I understand the human need to grasp hold of cherished beliefs even when they have been completely annihilated. It’s certainly leaves us room for the continued evolution of our System2 thinking!

          • Craig

            I am with you on the points you mentioned and just as science cannot see qaurks etc. So can spiritualists claim God, souls etc are actually these scientific named “phantom” particles. So the debate for me is in favour of both world views…
            Until ultimately proven above doubt as everything being explained or positively identified…
            So there need not be proof just a probability is enough to keep both views working their “magic” in human relations and evolution…

          • Patrick Gannon

            NO. Spiritualists can NOT claim God, souls, etc. are these phantom particles. Well, they can claim it, but they are WRONG. We know what all those “phantom” particles can and cannot do, and what they cannot do is support psi phenomenon. Spiritualists have no evidence that they can, and science has mounds of evidence that they can’t. Besides, spiritualists (I am coming to really dislike that word), don’t claim that any of the known forces or particles are responsible for the woo they proclaim. (Well from time to time novices do – as when Annie recently suggested electromagnetic forces emitted by the brain or heart could be responsible, but the woo researchers don’t seek solutions from the known forces, fields and particles – they seek something else). Their (imaginary) forces and particles are immaterial, which means they can’t affect the material – yet the “spiritualists” claim these things do exist and can affect the material – but they have no compelling, objective evidence for this, or we wouldn’t be debating it.

            What is the sense in supporting conflicting world views? Should we teach flat earth theory in school so both world views are supported? What matters is what we have evidence for. If there was sufficient evidence for the woo position, then of course we should consider both world views – but there is none; so it’s a waste of time, and it ends up corrupting minds with things that aren’t true, but which manages to enrich the individuals contributing to the corruption.

            I cannot prove “beyond doubt” that a pink, polka dotted dinosaur won’t manifest in your living room this evening – but does it make sense that I should even try to do so? About the same sense it makes trying to prove woo is true…. That’s how confident we are about the science. That’s how much “probability” there is that the woo has some basis in fact.

          • Craig

            Okay, what about positive versus negative attitudes. Why does it actually affect the outcome of ones actions even if you apply the same processes. Do not argue because we focus or do less. I am referring to the lifting of own and others energy levels an appreciation for what is done… That is the spiritual realm I would start trying to explain. Then if the vibes created cause vibrations or electronic responses depending on the attitude then we can agree that there does exist another source for energy… Just my 2c argument…

            The only spiritual abilities I can agree on that I bread of in all religious and woo sources is light and darkness, positive or negative attitudes, friendly or unfriendly response’s…

            What makes the difference in these I assume is the response it creates from others rather than a supernatural power…

          • Patrick Gannon

            So, what about attitudes? No woo is required to explain them. Our own attitudes are the result of our current brain states. We can pick up on the attitudes of others because of how our brain works. Did you know that if you watch someone doing something, the same patterns that are running through their brain, run through your own as well? The more experience you have with whatever the person you are observing is doing, the more your brain patterns mirror theirs. A professional musician listening to a concert will have nearly the exact same brain activity patterns as the person playing the music. Human minds are able to assign consciousness to others and even inanimate things (like images on TV or puppets or animations, etc.), so to pick up on another’s attitudes, isn’t all that difficult for most of us.

            No other sources of energy other than the ones we know about are required – mostly vision and hearing based on electromagnetism, though taste and smell can also let us pick up on a lot of things, as well. Smell is interesting because, unlike other senses, it bypasses most of the brain that other senses go through, and this probably explains why a scent can bring back a memory so strongly and quickly.

          • Craig

            50/50 on attitudes for it is this realm that kabbalah deems part of spiritual enlightenment… Maybe the woo do not understand spirituality, as it is first and foremost the attitude of focussing on life rather than on activitiesvthat make living in luxury possible.
            When we do this we appreciate the world better hence the living of a richer or purer life.
            NLP is often associated with including all our senses including smell. One research claimed that 80% of test subjects could recall a difficult formula when the lecturer entered the examination room with the same perfume on as was used to create a sweet fragrance during the lecture. I am amazed as to how little of our abilities we do not use because we do not know how…

          • Patrick Gannon

            What does NLP stand for? Neuro-linguistic programming?

            Interesting tidbit about smell/memory association. Do you have a source for that? I’d like to read more. I can’t find anything. You can’t post a link here but give me enough to google if you can.

  • Raphael

    I have been very lucky to have proof of life after death, through psychic means. I can contact the “other side” anytime of the day and night and communicate nearly instantly, and do it almost every day…I can get answers to many questions, within a few minutes, if I want answers (I am not abusing this though)…I am not saying this to brag, I did not work for this gift, I never even asked for it, as a matter of fact I ignored it when I was younger, for many years…I did not want it…but it was given. It also runs in my family. My mother was a very gifted psychic, and my father had his own experiences…so did my brother…so does one of my sister.

    I am saying this to remind you: have no doubt whatsoever…life goes on. It is as evident as the existence of the sun. I do not believe…I know.

    I also know about the existence of the divine…the source. I saw it in a vision when I was young…it was not a person, but it was symbolically represented by a sphere of light (it is important to understand that this was only a symbol, not to be taken literally), that contained everything that ever was, is, and will be, actualized or as mere thoughts, or as “seeds” of thoughts. And it was neither “good” nor “bad” in our terms…it was way beyond these limited human concepts. But the energy that emanated from it was beyond what my physical body could endure, and I had to end the vision before what felt like every physical cell in my body was going to disintegrate. I however felt a little of this energy (whatever I could handle) remaining within me for decades after this vision…

    Not having ever been exposed to Christianity or any other mainstream religions, my mind wasn’t polluted by such dogmas and I was able to see and understand these things clearly and directly.

    I know that the divine cannot be defined…if you want to know why, look at the origin of the word define: Middle English: from Latin definitio(n-), from the verb definire ‘set bounds to’.

    You cannot “set bounds to” that which, it is correctly assumed, is without limits. That’s a contradiction, and the trap every theologian falls into.

    This is why I like the Taoist terms for the divine: “the unnamable origin”…as well as the Native American (Lakota) words: “the great mystery”…also “the great holy” (the word wakan means mysterious, holy, sacred, etc).

    Native Americans never argued about religion or spiritual beliefs among themselves, precisely because they never defined (limited) this source or origin…and they were baffled to see Indo-Europeans argue constantly about their own religions. It made no sense to them…and still doesn’t.

    What does it mean to be spiritual? For me, it has nothing to do with acquiring certain human qualities, such as being loving, kind, compassionate, peaceful, etc…these are great qualities to have or to develop, but according to my understanding spirituality is not about this…it is about power…not power over anything or anyone, but spiritual power…the power of being. This ties with my vision and with this divine energy, which I experienced within me as spiritual power.

    Perhaps this is just the Native American way…there are many ways, many paths. I can only talk for myself and about my own experiences.

    But have no fear…the body returns to the earth, and the soul to the spirit.

    • Patrick Gannon

      You don’t have “proof” of life after death. You have personal subjective experiences that can largely be explained by modern neurology. I dreamed last night that I could fly. Do I have “proof” that I can fly? I’m sorry, but without compelling, objective evidence, your subjective experiences are of no value to anyone else, except those who already believe and just want those beliefs reinforced, because it hurts too much to challenge them.

      I have had ecstatic experiences myself. The difference is that I know they were produced by the electrochemical reactions in my brain. I’ve never done hallucinogenics, but I suspect that similar experiences are possible under the affect of those drugs – and those are purely physical responses to a chemical. Our brains have the ability to produce similar drugs and can wash our brains with them in certain situations. These experiences often occur when the brain is in a certain state, in which there is a level of consciousness, but one is still in a near dream state and the “fact-checking” section of the brain is idle; so without the mental experience going through this process, it gets laid down in the brain and feels like it’s more real than anything else. This is a pretty well-established neurological process. Neurologists understand that some of these experiences are more real than reality to the people who experience them, but haven’t figured out yet how to fix this.

      You say nothing is ever lost, not a single thought. How do these thoughts get saved? Thoughts include memories, right? Well every time you remember something you put your brain in the state that it was in when the event occurred, but in the process of doing so, you are writing a new version of the memory – one that can be significantly modified any time you call it up, to the point where it no longer bears any resemblance to reality or the original memory. So which of those series of memory tracks gets carried on to the next world, and how exactly does that happen?

      You complete your post by talking about being humble. Science never claims to “prove” anything, but you are making that claim here. So which is more humble? Science that admits it is fallible, and works to debunk its own theories, or you who claim to “know” without having a shred of objective evidence? Is that “humble?” Reminds me of that passage in Numbers 12:3 (which is said to have been written by Moses): “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”

      Neale at least was humble enough to admit he could be wrong.

    • Raphael, I have to say I like that you did not have to have a NDE to have the experiences you had. I’m quite curious of what you understand to be on the other side. I hope to explore the other side through lucid dreaming at some point.

      I tend to think of the after life like lucid dreaming, wherein you can create any world environment you’d like. What has your experience been like? Do you think that crimes and murders can be solved by contact with those on the other side? That is, those people who have be the victims of such crimes.

      • Raphael

        Thank you Marko, yes any environment can be created…and the results and creations of our thoughts are instant, which take a bit of adjusting. This is why we tend, on the other side, to have instant feedback from our beliefs.

        Yes crimes and murders can be solved…usually it is best to do so soon after the event, as the victim, who is on the other side, usually moves on after some time, and does not necessarily wish to be reminded of the tragedy and go back to that energy. Most of the time, the victim is not as anxious to get the perpetrator caught as s/he is to communicate with family, reassuring them that s/he is alright, and not to remain angry/sorrowful and to wish for revenge (what we call “justice”).

        Guilt is the only thing that can trap a person in negative energy/isolation on the other side…self-induced guilt. In a way the Judeo-Christian ideas of guilt and forgiveness are on track, but totally distorted, as it is not a God who judges us, but we judge and condemn (trap) ourselves in guilt, and forgiveness should be self-forgiveness.

        We can only forgive ourselves when we understand and feel the pain we have caused another. Then there is empathy and sorrow…and liberation from guilt, as we also understand our own pain, that caused us to hurt another. The healing is then mutual (we never heal alone).

        I have been able to free individuals who were trapped in guilt and were suffering on the other side, including a recent (a few years ago) mass murderer. These people come to me, and are at times very insistent, because they know I can help them…I have my own way of doing it…nothing ritualistic, it all comes from thought and intent, and feeling, and understanding, in cooperation with divine energy.

        My own experiences have been very varied…visual, auditory, dreams, visions, direct communication, etc…I have only began, as this field is immense.

        • Thank you and so fascinating! It begs the question. What happens to those who commit those murders on the other side?

          By the way, Neale is doing a workshop-retreat next week based on his book “Home with God a life that never ends” So it’s fitting to talk about this subject. Plus, I’ll be at the retreat as well. Cheers.

          • Raphael

            Thanks Marko!
            About people who commit murder, what happens on the other side depends on their state of consciousness…a person could kill (such as in war) and have no guilt, while another could do the exact same thing and have guilt.

            Guilt isolates a person, as in a “bubble” made of their own thoughts/energy of guilt. It’s not horrible, but depending on the intensity of self-induced mental suffering, it can be bad enough (it was in the case of the mass murderer I helped…at the end he was freed).

            There are no “punishment” or “karma for anyone, but lessons must be learnt to open the heart to love and empathy. Also people who have very negative, dense energy are not on the same “vibrational” plane as those who have light/loving energy or are more evolved, so they do not necessarily meet…they are on “different floors” so to speak, different dimensions.

            The “rules” on the other side are totally different. Universal laws apply everywhere, in all dimensions, but human rules are not the same…the only human rule in the spirit world is love. It’s way more open…

        • Patrick Gannon

          So bring back something that is compelling, objective evidence using the scientific process.

    • Craig

      Raphael you sound like my late sister, she always claimed that she saw spirits talking or trying to connect with me…
      Sorry I did not experience it and wondered why only around me in our family… Was it my changing Aura that she witnessed and because of no better words refer to it as spirits…

      • Raphael

        I make no claims…I have direct communications with the other side. I have helped people (in this life) with their questions and worries, one of whom called me every day for a period of time. I have been accurate…but I have no need to prove anything to anyone, because I know.

        I do not boast about this, I see it as a very humbling gift…truly, it humbles me…but I honor the gift by understanding that it is real, and see no need to pretend that “may be, possibly, perhaps” it is real.

        • Jethro

          Awesome gift Raphael, I would like have what you have on one hand just to know, but not sure I would want what sounds like a great responsibility. The universe must trust you a great deal.

          • Raphael

            I am not sure what I have done to “deserve” any of it…but ultimately everything comes from love.

          • Jethro

            I like to think so.

        • Spiritual_Annie

          It is both your honesty and your remaining humble about your gift that are but two of the things I like about you, my friend.

          I have also spoken with others who have passed over, but not at will. They are generally warnings and reassurances from people I’ve loved that are “out of the blue” on the receiving end. But they’re always willing to answer any questions I have about their revelations.

          I’ve also “spoken” with others on the other side of this life in deep meditation. As I tend to just be, it’s again they who start the conversation. I’m now working on allowing myself to ask specific things instead of receiving information. Always a work in progress.

          Love and Blessings Always,

        • Patrick Gannon

          Claim 1: “I make no claims.”

          Claim 2: “I have direct communications with the other side.”

          Sorry, couldn’t resist…

          • Jethro

            Been there!

      • Patrick Gannon

        I can explain it. Abnormal neural activity in the brain.

        • Craig

          Sorry, lost me here… How?

          • Patrick Gannon

            She was hallucinating.

          • Craig

            Easy way out…

          • Patrick Gannon

            Hey, I tried to be diplomatic in the first post. It is what it is. There are no spirits trying to communicate with you. If there were, we’d know it. In order to communicate with you, they would have to somehow affect the particles in your body – fire synapses in particular; and there are no such spirits, or we’d know it. Particles would have exhibited unknown behavior and we’d have had to figure out what was causing the unknown behavior – but there is no unknown behavior.

          • Craig

            Patrick I would love to agree, but we do not have the technology to measure or determine things beyond the natural…
            I also always argued that we had visions or as you called it hallucinations. Until the day I had a vision myself, this I could explain and clarify but only 16 years later… When I feel realized what I had seen was a vision or alternative mind impression…

            Then I was asked if I believe in spirits and I also said I do not, but cannot argue things away I have not witnessed myself. Because we assume there must be some form of energy we also assume our tools should pick them up.

            For you and me w need not agree on the paranormal fields but we cannot debunk them just based on the human factors inability to work on that field.

            Reading up on Kristen’s Kabbalah view I need to somehow support the possibility that some things will only become clear when we actually evolve into that ability. Until then it is mast probably just woo for us…

          • Patrick Gannon

            “Patrick I would love to agree, but we do not have the technology to measure or determine things beyond the natural…”

            That’s because there is nothing beyond the natural world, or if there is, it doesn’t affect our natural world, and is therefore moot. If you had a better understanding of particle physics and the core theory or standard model of physics, it would be easier to grasp this.

            The case is similar to that of evolution. Most people, particularly the religious think they know what evolution is, but they usually don’t. I thought I knew what it was, until I read more about it. When we learned about it as kids, it was still an evolving science. It’s quite a bit more mature now, and any objections have been weeded out, one after the other. Once you really understand something, you don’t “believe” it, you “accept” it. I accept that the standard model of physics explains our natural world, because I learned enough to see that it really can’t be any other way – just like evolution.
            If the woo stuff had any scientific support – we’d know it by now.

            If you knew me on this site a couple years ago, you’d see that I never spoke in absolutes. I always hedged and left a way out. After quite a bit of research, now when it comes to woo in our natural world, I don’t hedge. I am not 100% confident of anything, but I’m very close to that level when it comes to what we know about our natural world and what can possibly affect it. I used to hedge about evolution as well, leaving open the possibility of intelligent design, but with what I know now, I can discard that hypothesis out of hand. Education is amazing and liberating…. but the more you learn, the more you realize there is to learn.

            What’s interesting is that Neale used to speak in absolutes, almost always – but now he hedges a lot more, and he’s more careful with his wording. If he’s paying any attention to scientific progress, he knows the writing is on the wall to debunk his woo and mar his legacy. What to do? What to do?

            I can recommend books to read, to bring yourself up to speed, but in my experience, most people will not challenge their personal beliefs until they are ready to do so. If you really want to understand why your objection holds no water, please read “The Big Picture” by Sean Carroll. I can recommend other books that have more technical detail, but Carroll writes well to a layman audience.

            I can also recommend a good book about neurology, so you can understand your visions. I’m sorry but you are incorrect about paranormal fields – they ARE debunked, and quite thoroughly, but one has to read, and keep up with the science to know this. They didn’t know it when you and I were in school. This is a new understanding, even more overwhelming in its scope as Galileo’s discovery that we weren’t the center of the universe, and it occurred in our lifetime! It was finalized with an announcement on July 4, 2012, a day that will one day be recognized and celebrated. Lawrence Krauss’ book, “The Greatest Story Ever Told” tells the stories of the individual scientists whose discoveries brought us to the bold statement I am making in denying your paranormal fields. Science has not done a good job of educating the public about new understandings, probably because scientists recognize that this latest understanding kills the gods, and they remember how messy evolution was, when it came out – and is still denied by ignorant fundagelicals, among others. And I don’t mean “stupid,” (though that may apply in many cases), but ignorant – uneducated.

            I can give no credibility to Kristin’s scriptures, because they derive from an imaginary god – Yahweh and a host of other gods above him. These gods, if they exist are moot. They cannot affect us here, and our memories and thoughts cannot leave here without a brain or similar construct to hold them, so it just doesn’t matter.

          • Craig

            I’ll try get myself a copy, generally I do not doubt science I only question scientists ability to even consider something beyond their field of expertise… Like teachers who I view as adults in a kids world but kids in an adult word… Okay 70% of them.
            I know of a few scientists that have accepted woo as it has a calming effect while nature and research just creates more questions… Both sides add value to life especially when true allegorical is applied as explained in the secrets of kabbalah.
            Try replacing spiritual with parables or allegoric thoughts. The try replacing god with word and or insight…

          • Patrick Gannon

            Why do you question scientists ability to even question something beyond their field of expertise? How else can one gain expertise, unless one questions that which is beyond one’s current expertise?

            Every single religious leader including New Age woo-meisters claim to know things well beyond their field of expertise. Neale essentially claims panpsychism, (god is part of everything) but that’s a (debunked) scientific claim and I doubt Neale has any expertise in physics with which to back it up.

            Scientists at least admit what they do and don’t know; but they deny that they should not look into things that we do not yet understand – that’s what human nature is all about.

            In this case, understanding the particles that make up our natural world is well within their field of expertise – thanks in good part to modern particle colliders. We do have the expertise to know what the particles that make up our world, can and cannot do – their “states” or “degrees of freedom.” If there are other forces beyond those of our natural world, we don’t really care, other than as a curiosity, because they don’t affect us in any way – or we’d know it by now.

            Physics is said to be hard, but physicists say it’s easy. It just seems hard because we know so much of it. Unfortunately for most of us, there’s so much to teach, and we laymen are highly illiterate, that most don’t make any effort to learn things that are going to debunk their cherished beliefs.

            I’d prefer to replace god with science. You know… Something that actually works.

          • Craig

            But everything works, so god is working and science is catching up…
            The problem god is working on the micro level while we expect to experience him on the macro…
            Question everything and never forget the lessons we learn from everything as that will want us to find out more… That is the essense of mental evolution. We may need to get our emotions out of this mindsets way so true evolution can manifest as it should.

          • Patrick Gannon

            No, science is working, and god will be left on the trash heap of history!

            Your argument about god working on micro level, is analogous to quantum field theory. It works at the micro level, but woo-meisters try to speak about the macro level using micro (quantum) terms. It’s like trying to discuss air currents by describing the state of all the individual atoms – it makes no sense to mix languages. One layer emerges from the other, but each has its own language.

            God isn’t quantum field theory, though! God is mythology.

          • Patrick Gannon

            Side note…. consider a subscription to Audible books. Carroll’s book is on their list. Do you like to walk? I run two or three times a week, but what motivates me the most is to listen to a book while I’m running. I read mostly non-fiction and read/listen to all sorts of books I would never have read otherwise. It has become a bit addictive!

          • Craig

            Will consider thanks for suggestion. Our third world is slowly catching up…

          • Kristen

            Hey Craig,
            Gods games in Kabbalah sort of work like this……I read your comment yesterday, Kabbalah is just so damn difficult to explain…its all about trees where there are thousands and thousands of leaves, once people can push the Freemasons, Illumjnati, Third Eye, Abyss and evil aspects out of the way, like dark confusing clouds.
            So I played the music game, a way of asking for Gods help, to learn what you need to learn and just have fun, the easiest way. At the moment Im on a section of the game that involves songs that link to another…but the link, therefore the answer will only be known by the second party and God.
            Last week I heard a Kiwi song from the 90s a lot on the radio, so told a Kabbalic friend it must have a link. He asked me who sang it, I told him Zed, a Kiwi student band and I saw them when they opened for Robbie Williams in 2002ish. God always answers us with two signs. My friend was wanting a sign if he was under the Angel Raphael so he burst into laughter, Zed opened the concert with Glorifillia, and Robbie closed with Angels. His 2nd sign was he is getting Robbie Williams tickets, its on Valentines Day…he’s a Minister and was also looking for a sign about the end of Daniel about Saints. Thats just an example of how God ‘plays’ woth us when you get close to him.
            I was chatting with him last night, when he asked what I was doing I said having a red wine. He asked if I was looking for a message then reminded me we had a chat about deciding to stay 40 forever, and Red Red Wine had been on his radio. UB40! I said I didnt know many songs of theirs so looked to a list of songs…all I recognised straight away was Higher Ground.
            So to you, whom God must know, my reply to you is Higher Ground by UB40…a Kabbalic song like thousands are, that sums it all up….complex and never ending, slowly becoming clearer as ” we evolve into that ability”…I like that quote.
            Xx (The sign of Raphael, healer and ‘cool’ Angel, plus the Kabbalic/Israelite forehead blessing of a double kiss…Gods mark plus a protection seal to keep the brow chakra closed,( which evil use, the 666 forehead mark, also known as Namaste…dangerous).

          • Patrick Gannon

            “Kabbalah is just so damn difficult to explain..”

            You’d think a wise and all-knowing, all-powerful god could make things a little more clear, and that he could provide the same set of beliefs for everyone in the world, rather than just showing himself to a handful of goat herders in a tiny sliver of the earth.

          • Craig

            Maybe he keeps it more simple than we wish to understand. As or cognitive egoistic approach does more harm than good.
            Or maybe he keeps it just covered so that I have to do something more worthy to comprehend.
            Or maybe it is to keep us questioning blowing murder as old Paul till he have said enough to actually only question our own views. We would not know as we do not seek answers we try to disprove views…

          • Patrick Gannon

            And maybe, and far more realistically, he (any given god) simply does not exist. Occam’s Razor.

            I disagree that we don’t seek answers. That’s exactly what drives science, whose goal is to understand the natural world. The problem is that the answers we get debunk our old beliefs, and that’s too painful for many to deal with.

          • Kristen

            The many faces of God, thats the face of God I have in my life.
            But Kabbalah isnt about God, its the Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge, University of !ife and journey everyone is on, they just dont know it. Native Americans, Buddhism, Hinduism and everything mentions it based on the awareness of their teachers. In scriptures it’s Jakobs Ladder, J’shuas teaching of Laws and the heavy symbolism in Daniel and Revelation.
            Kabbalah is just a word…meaning knowledge, that takes in millions of things.

          • Patrick Gannon

            So it has nothing to do with gods? It’s just a philosophy?

            Then why invoke imaginary, invisible beings that live in the sky? Other philosophers are able to propose philosophies around the state of awareness, without invoking imaginary beings.

          • Kristen

            Its the structure all Gods and dieties use, between them and us, with Christs, Angels etc in between.

          • Patrick Gannon

            The difference is that philosophers exist, and deities don’t. I thought maybe you were referring to gods as analogies, like Craig might be doing with Yahweh, but I think you’re insisting on real gods.

            The philosophy might have value in and of itself – I haven’t studied it, so I’m not qualified to render an opinion, but I think it loses ground when it invokes imaginary beings. If the philosophy is valid and useful, then the imaginary beings should not be required; just as in Neale’s writings. He watered down his philosophy with an imaginary god, and I predict that a couple decades from now when his god is recognized to be dead, dead, dead, his philosophy will have no legs to stand on, and will fade away. The useful things he has to say will fall into the dust heap of history, unless he can somehow change course at this late date.

            I’ve read the Kabbalah creation account, which is pretty short, and of course is nonsensical mythology. It speaks of east and west joining to create Adam… goes into some detail about whether the first woman (Lilith) was formed side by side or face to face with Adam – it’s all interesting mythology, and the very primitive understanding of nature people had at that time. Their gods never gave them any “truths” associated with our natural world. We had to figure all that out on our own, but in so doing, we killed off the gods.

          • Craig

            Thank you Kristen.
            Still reading through the 300 page download explaining the kabbalah secret and how spiritual discernment actually refers to the allegorical interpretation of the scriptures. With this I have no problem being more gnosis than Christian or Jew.
            I have not read of the music game. But yes the tree connection I read of much like the monies Avatar.
            Thank you for responding with some additional information.
            Why me lord? Wedding bells! Veni Vedi Vici. Are my summary of trying to understand.
            On namaste thanks never read that one yet this group is /closely linked to this greeting. The divine in me greets the divine in you… Then again Shalom versus the Greek rejoice as a greeting.
            I asked a team leader of the Wayne Dyer followers if they then interpret the rejoice greeting namaste shalom or shalom namaste… Either was the response.

          • Kristen

            “Why me !ord?”….why not you, you live here don’t you?. Every teacher is a student, every student is a teacher and everyone is a part of life. Lots is about synchronicity, timing and observing everything closely, following instincts. When I read something I normally wouldnt then its generally a sign or part of a game.
            Angels was just on the radio. : )

          • Patrick Gannon

            I responded to this, but don’t see my post.

            You are correct that we don’t have the technology to measure or determine things beyond the natural, because there is nothing beyond the natural. Even if there is, it doesn’t matter, because if it’s beyond the natural, then it can have no impact on us within the natural, so it’s moot.

            Yes, we can debunk the paranormal fields to the extent that we have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that if these fields exist, they have nothing to do with us. If they existed, we would have found them, because we know everything that the particles in our natural world can do, and they don’t do anything we can’t explain with the forces and fields that are part of our natural world.

          • Craig

            As far as we have experienced. Remember we can only change when we change our paradigm.
            With knowledge as our baseline we are not becoming knowledgeable just more informed. Maybe the spirit is missing so we keep blowing murder….

          • Patrick Gannon

            What is the difference between being knowledgeable and being informed? After all the definition for knowledgeable is: “intelligent and well informed.”

            I don’t get the bit about “we keep blowing murder..”

          • Craig

            I view knowledgeable as applying the information while being informed is like saying thanks for the useless information…

            Another phrase… Keep condemning or debunking things.

    • Jethro

      Once again Raphael, you have managed to put into words something that I feel and fail to describe again and again.
      “Native Americans never argued about religion or spiritual beliefs among themselves, precisely because they never defined (limited) this source or origin…” What source? We exist and should help all that exists to exist, We don’t have to know why, and we sure don’t need to needlessly remove anything. Life cycles will begin and end whether we know why or not. Spiritual thinking results in being a part of it and supporting it.

  • Spiritual_Annie

    Thank you, Neale, for being willing to share your beliefs openly and honestly once again.

    No one here will be surprised that I agree with much of what you believe and have experienced. Patrick asked me recently why I would believe in your story any more than I believe in the story that Muhammad rode off into the sky on a horse. My answer then was simple: I have not witnessed, nor heard of anyone who witnessed, the ride of Muhammad. I have, however, had experiences like yours, personally know others who have had experiences like yours, and have heard of thousands of others who have had experiences like yours. (Or something to that effect—I can’t have much open because my phone is serving as my hot spot for now, so I can’t quote it.)

    I would like to expound on that answer. I studied the major religions in College (one of the very few courses I actually attended), which studied what was then known as the history and beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. (I guess Hinduism was too complicated for an overview.) I have been fascinated by the sacred writings of religions, both official and secret, both old and more newly discovered, both cannonized and banned. I have read many more books than I could possibly recall or what they precisely addressed, some evangelical, some mainstream Christian, some Kabala, some Gnostic, some Egyptian, some Greek, some Roman, some Scandanavian, some Celtic. Some were written by scholars while others were first-hand stories.

    Nowhere in my personal studies did I find an instance of a religion that did not, in some form of fashion, say that we and God are One. Sometimes it’s a trinity, sometimes it’s our true nature, sometimes it’s a less defined relationship. The simple phrase “in God’s image and likeness” says it, to me.

    More than just a simple “your experiences are similar to mine,” CWG Book 1 was the first time I saw in print the same things I had already come to believe on my own. There are bits and pieces here and there, but it wasn’t something I’d found fully explained in one comprehensive and relatable book. As I continued to read more, both CWG and others, I discern an honesty in you and the relating of the CWG materials. Do I believe every word of it? Of course not, as we’re all unique and therefore have unique Spiritual experiences. (I’m also told I have a mind of my own, pretty much since I could argue with my mother.)

    The only other point I’d like to make is that what I believe works for me. I don’t expect it to work for others, especially non-believers. I have come to expect it to work for me, though, as it’s an ongoing process. I don’t push it on others as “the truth” but share it only as “my truth.” I’ve found I don’t believe in doing more than that, and find such great joy in the sharing that I also cannot do less. I stop when I find someone uninterested, however once the conversation is started it’s generally a long and informative one. I also find myself sharing more of who I believe myself to be, in all aspects, on social media. Once I began truth-telling, I haven’t wanted to stop.

    Thank you, again, Neale, for your own openness and honesty about your experiences and beliefs.

    Love and Blessings Always,

    • Patrick Gannon

      All your evidence is subjective, Annie; and it can all be explained by modern neurology. If only you would put a tiny percentage of the effort you put into researching woo, into studying science instead…. you might revise those beliefs.

      Words like “truth” lose their meaning when “the truth” can be substituted for “my truth” when the two “truths” completely disagree. That’s the game of New Age, I’m beginning to see… New Age keeps bobbing and weaving, redefining words, confusing the issue, making it impossible to intelligently discuss issues since nobody agrees on the meanings of the words being discussed. I don’t see this as useful at all. It’s just another way of lying to ourselves. You don’t have “truths.” You have beliefs. Truths require far more evidence than your subjective experiences and hearsay.

      I’m glad you’re safe and look forward to continuing our debates.

      • Spiritual_Annie

        Thanks for caring about my safety. I’m glad your family is safe, as well.

        Love and Blessings Always,

      • Jethro

        A certain amount of woo is required at times for the purposes of healing that which is not woo. I speak from experience. Evolve is just another way of saying, get past or get over. Evolution is painfully slow in every aspect, even when we know it’s needed and desire it.

  • Patrick Gannon

    Thank you for admitting you might be wrong, Neale, because the odds that you are correct are excruciatingly small. Note that all these people you refer to, who you quote-mine for support of your beliefs, lived well before the scientific era; long before we had the ability to know how our natural world really worked.

    You have disparaged legacy religions repeatedly over the years, but you have no problem cherry-picking passages from their texts, in the same way the fundies do to defend their beliefs. If their cherry-picking leads them to the wrathful, vindictive, punishing god that you detest, why should your cherry-picking get any more credence than theirs? The god of the bible has been fully debunked, which makes the whole thing superfluous, aside from the literary and philosophical value it provides.

    Maybe you should actually read a science book. Might I suggest Sean Carroll’s “The Big PIcture”? There are any number of books and scientists who debunk your beliefs, and I’ve read some of them – but because of the subject matter, they can be a bit dry. Carroll talks in stories and uses examples that help the layman understand how things really work.

    I don’t really buy into it when you say you have no need for people to buy into your beliefs, because you need them to buy into your books and programs in order to make a living! You do have a vested interest, right?

    You started off by mentioning the body/mind/soul trinity, and I was hoping you would explain that, since your focus has always been on “the soul’s agenda.” I would like to better understand what happens to the mind (who we are – our self-aware consciousness), given that it cannot survive without the body, and when we die, everything that we think of as “us” dies with our brain. So why should we give a rip about this selfish soul, and given that it is immaterial, how does it interact with the other two parts? We know about all the forces that can affect the body, and thus indirectly the mind, and have documented them all, and there are no actions that require your mysterious soul, in order to explain them.

    “I have been mistaken before. There was that time in 1958…”

    Well, I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken!

  • Craig

    Neale, you may need to read the scriptural references in conjunction with the rest of the literature to understand what your excerpts would actually imply…

    • Patrick Gannon

      That is an excellent point, Craig! Absolutely excellent. I should have pulled this up myself.

      Let’s look at Isaiah 41:23. In this chapter, Yahweh is reminding his servants, the Jews, that he is their god and despite them being such putzes, he’s still going to smash all their enemies for them…. There is no question that Yahweh is a god and the Israelites are not:

      “But you, Israel, my servant,
      Jacob, whom I have chosen,
      you descendants of Abraham my friend,
      9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
      from its farthest corners I called you.
      I said, ‘You are my servant’;
      I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
      10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
      do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
      I will strengthen you and help you;
      I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

      Not much question – he’s god and they aren’t. What’s really going on here, though, is that Yahweh is charging those who worship idols to put up or shut up. He is saying, “You call yourself gods, so prove it to me. Do some god stuff. Tell the future, fill us with amazement or fear. Put up or shut up.”

      “Present your case,” says the Lord.
      “Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King.
      22 “Tell us, you idols,
      what is going to happen.
      Tell us what the former things were,
      so that we may consider them
      and know their final outcome.
      Or declare to us the things to come,
      23 tell us what the future holds,
      so we may know that you are gods.
      Do something, whether good or bad,
      so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.
      24 But you are less than nothing
      and your works are utterly worthless;
      whoever chooses you is detestable.”

      He’s not talking about people, unless it is those who worship idols. The text makes it appear that he is talking to the idols themselves, but a complete reading of the passage that Neale quoted reveals that it has nothing to do with saying we humans are gods. He took it completely out of context, either out of ignorance, or worse, knowing that most people were too lazy to look it up – including me, until you motivated me, Craig.

      Psalm 82 is about rebuking the pagan gods of Israel – those are the gods referred to in this psalm – not people, and John 10:34 is referring to this specific psalm. Jesus is talking about the pagan gods – not the Jews.

      There is a lot of confusion in the OT because various books were written at different times, when the Israelites had different beliefs. The books, as in the NT, are not in chronological order, as far as when they were written. In the earliest texts, there are a number of remaining traces of the early Jewish/Canaanite beliefs, which included multiple gods. That’s why Yahweh was always trying to get rid of those gods. He was the war god, and he was elevated to top spot, then the other gods, removed and partially written out of the story by later edits; but there are many traces – even in Genesis – see Gen 3:22 for example. Note as well the 10 Commandments – “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” It doesn’t say there are no other gods – in any number of passages in the OT, it is stressed that Yahweh is the god of the Jews and they are to worship no others.

      The talk of gods that Neale refers to are either competing gods Baal, Asherah and others, or the pagan gods and idols – not humans. I doubt you’d find many theologians or bible scholars who would disagree that Neale took these passages out of context.

      I can’t speak for the other eastern texts, but with regard to cherry picking the bible, this is the exact same tactic that fundagelicals use to make their points. Is that grandest version/highest vision stuff? Come on Neale, you can do better than that!

      • Craig

        Try making these views allegorical. Not always easy, but why make a claim… Unfortunately we can only guess. So I only seek what makes sense. The rest we can debate any way all we will be justifying is our modern paradigm.
        To change a paradigm we need to become zero, to change a perception we need to change the experience. ..

  • Christopher Toft

    Why does it matter if we are temporary or in some sense eternal? For me, the burning questions of our times are about how we live and the stories humanity tells about ourselves. The problem with science is that, although it can tell us how and why things are as they are it cannot tell us how to live meaningfully or give us purpose. I feel a little frustrated with “Spirituality” because too much is claimed to be known about our universe by many authors with no (for me anyway) truly convincing evidence. Perhaps Neale and others are more accurate in their beliefs, but part of me is always a little baffled by belief in new age stuff, because I always feel like “yes but where is this coming from? Where does the belief come from? What experiences and knowledge inform beliefs about life after death for example, when none of us are dead yet?

    What really frustrates is that there genuinely is so much wisdom and profound teachings about how we could live, how we really could be in contemporary spirituality that does not require belief in supernatural ideas. I feel like the things that give our lives meaning(Love,joy compassion, curiosity, courage, passion etc) are not taken seriously anymore because they are tied up with supernatural beliefs and that therefore our modern cultures dismiss them as woolly minded nonsense. Perhaps just as bad , where they are taken seriously they are viewed through the eyes of religion which I’m sorry to say I see as largely pathological and grossly distorted. What’s worse? Soulless science or mindless religion? It the the conflict of our time and we need to heal it fast because we are running out of time. Sorry if this is a bit off topic. This just feels like a good place to air these kind of thoughts.

    • Jethro

      Great post Christopher.

    • “Soulless science or mindless religion?” Try that which is in the middle, it’s called “Spirituality”

      • Jethro

        Let’s give “mindless science” and “soulless religions” an honorable mention. It happens.

    • Spiritual_Annie

      This is precisely the place to share your thoughts about life, religion and Spirituality, so please don’t apologize. Many times Neale’s columns trigger something seemingly unrelated. Yours certainly is not, and I thank you for sharing.

      I personally believe that how we choose to live is our Spirituality expressed. If we choose to focus on things like compassion and unconditional love, it becomes what we experience.

      Love and Blessings Always,

    • Patrick Gannon

      “Why does it matter if we are temporary or in some sense eternal?”

      It matters because people are afraid of dying. They want to believe there’s an afterlife. Science confirms that there almost certainly isn’t. That makes science a difficult thing for some to swallow.

      “The problem with science is that, although it can tell us how and why things are as they are it cannot tell us how to live meaningfully or give us purpose.”

      No, but it can sure help. Science told us that blacks were not a separate race – that they were just as human as any other person on this planet. That ended moral justification for slavery. Women were treated as chattel, something less than a man. Science illustrated that women are just as human as men. This ended moral justification for sexism. Science discovered that about 10% of all mammalian species exhibit homosexual activities. That ended moral justification for homophobia. Science told us what epileptic seizures were. That ended moral justification for discrimination against the disabled. Science can also provide us with tools to evaluate and measure the various moral and ethical issues we face. Science cannot tell us how to live meaningfully or give us purpose, but it sure can help!

      I’m with you on the rest of your post. I agree that promoting belief in the supernatural, as Neale does, is not beneficial to our society. We have to start with truth, and we have to base our lives on things we have objective evidence for.

      That’s a very interesting idea that you have: ” I feel like the things that give our lives meaning(Love,joy compassion, curiosity, courage, passion etc) are not taken seriously anymore because they are tied up with supernatural beliefs and that therefore our modern cultures dismiss them as woolly minded nonsense.” That is a very interesting observation. You may be on to something. Welcome to the forum.

  • Jethro

    In the beginning there was God, All things originated from God, so it stands to reason that all things existing not known as God are individuations of God. If in the beginning there was wood, we would be individuations of that wood and made of wood, aka splinters. A man of god would be a chip off the ol’ block… I couldn’t hold it in!!! I’m a dork, I had to write it.
    I stated to the last headline that we all have a spiritual part and it interacts with the chemical build up of the body. The spiritual part of our brains are conducted by the chemical body when the spiritual part of our brains are ignored and we serve our bodies which generally leaves our lives in a mess. The desires of the body are not desires that serve our spiritual thoughts, the desires of our bodies do not care about who or what we hurt to serve those desires. The body is not compassionate, or caring nor does it love. The body instinctively desires pleasure and moves away from pain and recognizes that pleasure and pain through the use of the brain, that part of the brain that is primitive for the purposes of survival. The body is the cause for wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. The body would kill itself in a world that is too easy and seeks out others to take advantage.
    The spiritual part of our brains control the desires of the body and makes choices that care for the body and externally has a desire to protect others bodies and spiritual thoughts. The spiritual brain is compassionate, caring, expresses love. The spiritual brain also expresses anger, disappointment, hatred as the spiritual brain is connected to the body and the instinctive brain as well, so the spiritual brain has learned to forgive and yearn for forgiveness. The spiritual brain is the cause for kindness, selflessness, diligence, modesty, control, being content, and self-control when the body yearns just the opposite. The spiritual brain keeps us alive healthy and functioning while alone and seeks out others to share a life.
    When we combine The spiritual brain and the body, we have human beings. Humans who struggle with this battle throughout their lives and through those struggles have developed religions to keep it all organized. A never ending battle between good and evil.
    After death… I cannot confirm nor deny life after death, but do not deny someone else their beliefs. I simply do not know. I like to believe the energy carries on.

    • Spiritual_Annie

      “Chip off the old block.” I love it! But, then, I have my dorky side as well. 😉

      • Jethro

        Don’t we all? Some things are meant to be taken seriously, figuratively speaking, life not so much.

      • Jethro

        Do you have what you need such as food or other important items?

        • Spiritual_Annie

          Yes and no. The storm hit here shortly after check day, which I spend running for money orders, paying the pad rental and bills and such. I hadn’t made it to the grocery store, which was good in that a lot of people lost the food they bought that needed the fridge or freezer. Even though the electricity came back on fairly quickly at the park, it hasn’t at the stores. I usually go to the food pantry first, then fill in the gaps. The pantries aren’t open, either.

          But, everybody in the park is helping everyone else, and my Case Manager dropped off a bit of food that will get me through the weekend. I already had my meds filled, too, so I was lucky there as well. One of the convenience stores has opened for cash business, but my money’s still on my debit card that I get my SSDI benefits on. I may have to become a nonsmoker sooner than I envisioned. And those withdrawals are awful.

          I have several doors I can knock on if need be. People who can drive or ride a bicycle are making runs for others, too. And if my homeless friend ever shows up, he owes me a bit of cash. I’m doing fine, especially now that my WiFi is back up, too. It’s a good distraction.

          Love and Blessings Always,

          • Jethro

            Well I’m glad your making it, Let us know if we can help in some way. I’d be happy to send some things your way if the parcel services will deliver. Don’t go hungry! My computer carries me through many evenings when the anxiety kicks in. Yes its a great distraction.

          • Kristen

            Hey Jethro, Annie wont like me saying this, no one would, but people dont ask for help even when offered. Especially females.
            Random acts of kindness are the way to go, which to me would be to send a parcel if you can….female thinking!
            Sorry Annie.

          • Spiritual_Annie

            Kirsten, you never need apologize for speaking your truth. ❤

          • Jethro

            Of course not, her post is full of kindness just as mine. Male or female thinking aside, which I think is a little sexist, It’s not just female thinking, all humans have varying degrees of pride and varying degrees of kindness. The problem is she didn’t give a location to send anything to nor did she include what may be needed. It’s also possible for everyone to help if needed.

          • Kristen

            Sorry I dont have Annies address! Just try Annie and Biscuit, Larkin?, Florida, Im sure it will arrive…Fed Ex always gets through, or was that just a movie?
            Obviously I was suggesting Annie, hope you didnt assume me…thats wierd!!!!!

          • Jethro

            No need to apologize yet again. You are correct about people asking for help, especially after going through periods of life in which help was desired yet denied and we made it, or we need to keep belief in strength and asking for help would be a felt weakness. weakness isn’t existent when grocery stores do not have food and travel is impossible. I have heard the US postal service runs no matter what, but closed roads make it impossible for anyone. That Fed ex thing could have been a movie lol. I knew you were talking about Annie.
            I’m going to throw in a little humor and it’s meant only as humor; It’s fairly common for a woman and her female thinking to tell a man to get something done without thinking it through herself.
            A random box with random content sent to a random address sent to a specific person would be a disappointing act of kindness. If any of us are willing to help our friends here then we can offer and let the other decide. Pride can play any role it wishes, but Annie stated she was doing fine, I offered just in case that changes. I’m going to the grocery store today because my Cats have no pride and I’m out of coffee!

            I appreciate your just do it attitude.

          • Kristen

            Hi ya,
            It was from experience, I love random things.
            Probably about ten years ago I heard 2nd hand that one of my sons old primary school friends mums had liver cancer. We werent friends but knew eachother.
            Chatting one day at school four years earlier she told me they were shifting away, managing to save a house deposit with three kids under 10 and heavily pregnant with her 4th, moving from the city to a nice but cheaper beach town Waihi Beach, sort of hippiesh and were so excited and happy. But a couple of years later her kids reappeared at school. When I finally saw her with the now crawling baby, she had a ‘chemo’ beanie on so I just walked over, already trying not to cry, and just hugged her. She’d been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and theyd had to sell the house theyd saved for over 10 years, at a loss losing their deposit, and move back up here so she could get treatment, living beyond their means, and her mum came to stay from Holland to help out. It was gut wrenching, but thankfully worked, and they were able to get my sons friend Luke into Dilworth boarding school as a weekday boarder, a fancy private school but only for boys from less fortunate families donated to the city over 100years ago with enough funds and land investments to run the place so its free, then got offered a rental in an older farmhouse, husband got a job, and things were getting back to normal although now in debt.
            Then bam, 3 years later, after a year in remission from breast cancer, she got liver cancer, the worst. A worker told me they knew of her and were doing a dinner roster through her church. I just cried, Laura had previously told me that if the cancer came back she wouldnt have chemo again, a return would mean low survival rates, the toll on her and everyone was too much, and bluntly that she would die anyway, so was putting her family through hell again wasnt worth it just for an extra year or so….hard call for anyone, let alone a mum of 4 with a lovely husband.
            Only I knew that, and knew they were really struggling on one income anyway. A week later at work after umming and ahhhing, I just told my worker I was going to see Laura, and she told me she was quite unwell and her mother was staying again to help out, but she also assumed Laura was having chemo, I didnt think she was.
            On the way I went to the supermarket and did a full family week of groceries other than meat since church was taking dinners to them. Her mother opened the door and was delighted someone was brave enough to just pop in, and especially with the groceries.
            I only stayed chatting with Laura and the two younger kids for about a half hour, confirming she wasnt having treatment and she was clearly stoned on pain drugs anyway, just on the couch but knew who I was.
            Three weeks later she went to hospice and passed away, 6 weeks after diagnosis, when I was away.
            It was about a month later that my worker asked if for any reason I had taken groceries to Laura when I visited her, and I asked why. Turns out I hadnt introduced myself to the mother, and that night, being so sick Laura couldnt remember who had popped in at all, she knew that she me as a school mum shed chatted with a lot but couldnt place me, the cancer was in her brain although she recognised me as soon as I went in, and got up to hug me. Lauras husband had been asking at the church and everywhere who had dropped about a dozen bags of groceries off, the one thing they had desperately needed especially for the kids. The mother was unable to tell him.
            Anyway long story….in short, something so simple changed their lives for a bit, became a community little mystery and was just one of those things where being anonymous was nice, I would have hated anyone seeing it as a big deal, it wasnt. So I completely disagree….”my random box of random things sent to a specific person” was one of my best random acts of kindness, not disappointing at all, I do lots anonymously.
            Now I need to feed my cats, and have coffee….too many tears as I write this.

          • Jethro

            “So I completely disagree….”my random box of random things sent to a specific person” was one of my best random acts of kindness, not disappointing at all, I do lots anonymously.” Kirstie, That’s a beautiful story full of kindness, typical of those of us who share the sign of Pisces . I think we may have a misunderstanding here. The disappointment I express is one in which a package of care does not reach the intended person. I would of course be ok if someone in need received it and I had to send yet another. I could of course go broke feeding all of Florida, which I wish I could do. I mean, what if your act of kindness was received by the millionaire neighbor who had everything? My statement was; A random box with random content sent to a random address sent to a specific person would be a disappointing act of kindness. Random address… specific person? If you can’t get it I will simply move on…. random address sent to a specific person? I hope you catch on to that!

          • Kristen

            Ahhhh, I read that backwards, still do, I interpreted ‘specific person’ as it reaching the right person……now it makes sense, it struck me as odd!!! Especially for you.

          • Kristen

            This all reads a bit wierd, let me know if you want this chat deleted and Ill delete mine.

          • Jethro

            Nope, The package is sent to a specific person but doesn’t make it because a random address was used. If I want the package to reach a specific person, I need to send it to a specific address.

          • Craig

            Thank you for reaching out. thank you for sharing may it give us some deep thoughts to consider as it is not the dying that will remember it is the surviving family that will never forget.

          • Kristen

            Wasnt my business!!

          • Spiritual_Annie

            I’m not willing to give out my address on here. However, you can contact me at Annie.stith@BeARiser.com. 😀

          • Patrick Gannon

            Be a riser.

            I looked up “riser,” and there are a variety of definitions, ranging from one who wakes up early in the morning, to something associated with male anatomy first thing in the morning, to a structural part of a chair, a pipe, and so forth, but I don’t think any of those synonyms are what you have in mind. Your web address may lead some to think it is, shall we say, sexual in nature! I’m guessing that’s not the intent.

            Definitions matter! LOL

          • Kristen

            Presumably rising above crappy stuff.

          • Spiritual_Annie

            I take it you’re not a fan of Dierks Bentley. It was his title song from his album “Riser” that inspired my referring to myself as such. In my articles, website and book, I give him credit for the term.

            Origins matter, too. Not all things are found in dictionary definitions.

            If someone were to misunderstand “Be A Riser” or “Being A Riser” in an inappropriate way, they’ll be disappointed with the content immediately, or if they’re inappropriate they’ll be blocked. Besides, most searches are based on keywords, which don’t even have to be in a title or web address. Ever heard of metadata? SEO? That’s how Google conducts it’s searches, not by dictionary definitions.

          • Patrick Gannon

            Geez… No sense of humor. But then most people don’t get my humor, so no surprise.

            Of course I know what metadata and SEO are. I get several emails a week from people who want to “fix” my website.

          • Personal emails are not allowed on this blog and it will be deleted at some point if monitored by a actual person. Even if it gets past a moderator, I don’t recommend it.

          • Spiritual_Annie

            Yeah, that’s my business email, not my personal one. I’m fine with Neale deleting it if he so chooses.

            Love and Blessings Always,

          • Patrick Gannon

            Where is this rule? I can find no rules or code of conduct.

    • Patrick Gannon

      Why would you start off, “In the beginning there was God.” Since you can’t prove that, you might as well stop there.

      I appreciate that you like to make analogies, but bodies don’t have “desires.” They are masses of atoms, molecules, cells, tissue. They do what they do based on instructions in DNA. The brain plays a role in regulating these actions, but it’s automatic for the most part.

      What is the “spiritual part” of our brains? There is no such thing. Again, I know you like to talk in analogies, but it’s not accurate. It’s not the spiritual brain that keeps us alive, healthy and functioning – that would be the System1 thinking part(s) of the brain, which have been identified. System2 thinking gives us your spirituality – depending on how that increasingly useless word is used as it is steadily re-defined out of any usefulness.

      Nobody can “deny” another their beliefs, but we can certainly challenge them when they aren’t based in reality. And the energy does carry on. As the body decomposes, or even if it is cremated, the energy is never lost.

      • Jethro

        I’ll make this acceptable for you, What exists when nothing exists? What part of the universe existed before the universe existed? What evolves from nothing? How can there be a big bang if nothing is there to bang?

        Thought is spiritual, The incorporeal part of humans. I have found many definitions for the word but “The incorporeal part of humans” fits best. I have never held reasoning in my hand, its in my brain.

        I have held a brain in my hands but it was beyond reasoning.

        • Patrick Gannon

          There are several hypotheses for how the universe could a) begin to exist, or b) exist forever and simply undergo a phase transition. God is not a good theory; it just complicates things further, because now you have to explain God. A phase transition is like water turning to ice or steam – a change of state. An interesting thing about the universe is that its total energy is zero. Gravity cancels all the energy and leaves no balance. It could potentially all go away as quickly as it appeared.

          There wasn’t a “bang,” of course; it was just the name given for the first moment in time for this universe as we know it. A bang is a sound and there was no medium to carry sound. A lot of people think of it as an explosion of light, but that’s not right either. Everything was in a dense hot plasma state – no photons to begin with, so no light, just radiation.

          There is no reason the universe couldn’t have existed forever. There are theories based on quantum mechanics that show how it could have simply begun to exist. All we can say for sure at this point, is that we don’t know yet (and may never know since we can’t get outside the universe).

          The problem is that people want to use terms like cause and effect to describe the universe, but the universe is unique. It only came into existence once (that we know of), but there’s no reason to assume that it had to have a cause. Universes are different from what is inside of them. Universes create laws of physics that the things inside are bound to, but there are no laws of physics for universes themselves – that we know of.

          If you want a technical response to this, read Lawrence Krauss’s “A Universe From Nothing” or Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time,” or for a less technical summary google the video:
          God is not a Good Theory (Sean Carroll). It’s less than an hour. Pop the tab on a cold one, and give it a watch.

          I held a brain in my hand too. I once tried to tan a deer hide using primitive techniques which involves wetting and then smearing the hide with the deer’s own brain tissue, rolling it up, and leaving it to disintegrate the remaining flesh pieces, which you scrape off. I didn’t secure it, and some animal dragged it off in the night and I never saw the hide again.

          • Jethro

            What happened in the beginning, if there was in fact a beginning, will remain as much a mystery and as provable as the possibility of a creator that put it all into place. The forming of the universe and how it happened can be argued but nothing can be proven one way or the other. people can claim whatever they want and no fact will be had, just assumptions and theories.

            Well there’s a reason they call it the Big Bang “THEORY”, Once again, nobody knows and may never have the facts, just the highest probability based on a mathematical equation, like worm holes.

            I will take a look at “God is not a Good Theory” here a little later. no cold ones though and I done kicked of the work boots, Vickie picked up some stuff for a cocktail she wanted to try because it was purple. Maybe I’ll sip on one of those instead. I tanned two dear hides a few years ago with the same story, went out to the garage to find a massive pile of fur without any leather in it. We had some wild dogs running loose at the time that found their way in. If those pups were hungry enough to eat that, they were welcome to it. I was just trying to not dishonor the beasts by throwing them away. I did have plans for them though, so a little disappointed.

          • Patrick Gannon

            “What happened in the beginning, if there was in fact a beginning, will remain as much a mystery and as provable as the possibility of a creator that put it all into place.”

            I disagree. I think there is a much greater chance of determining how our universe “began” (when our arrow of time began), than there is of proving a creator – unless that creator decides to show him/her/itself. It is quite possible, that over time, one of our lead theories, or some other that has not yet been postulated, will edge out all the others and be supportable with objective evidence.

            Mathematical equations have given us information that was later confirmed by observation and experimentation. Einstein, for example, showed by equations only, that the sun’s gravity could bend light. Years after his theory, researchers waiting for an eclipse, were able to confirm that his theory was correct using direct observation. (They could see stars that were behind the sun – the only way that could happen is if the sun bent the light around itself). We still test his theory, and have done so in space at much greater distances, allowing us higher degrees of reliability, and so far we can’t debunk him, and don’t expect to – but science is all about trying to disprove theories. E=MC2 is also a mathematical theory about energy that was clearly proven with the first atomic bomb detonation.

            Now ask yourself, does religion-spirituality, ever, in any way, attempt to disprove its theories? Of course not. So science does it for them! (grin).

            In science, the word “theory” doesn’t mean, “guess.” It has to go past the hypothesis stage and be supported with significant argument or evidence, and from then on out, the idea is to try and break it. If you can’t break it, like germ, gravity, or Einstein’s relativity theories, in time we can safely treat them as true – but science is always open to the possibility that any theory can be broken. Some theories are broken and then either modified or discarded. String theory, has undergone such modifications, for example. Others are essentially beyond dispute. There is unlikely to be any further modification of the theory of relativity.

            Another example occurs to me. Galileo mathematically theorized that two objects of different weight would fall at the same rate in the absence of air or anything else to affect the falling body. On one of the early moon walks, they proved this, by dropping two objects of different size (they’ve even done this with feathers and bricks in vacuum chambers) and they fell at the same rate. While it was a clever experiment, it was also important because the math it was based on, was essential to getting the astronauts back home!

            Science rocks, Jethro. This woo stuff doesn’t come close to the amazement real science provides. It’s addictive, because it’s so bloody cool, and it’s all real. You don’t have to pretend. That makes it more powerful. No matter how much anyone here “practices” with lucid dreaming or OBEs or visiting dead people, they will never be able to provide the evidence for all of their work and effort, that a scientist will, because there’s no evidence. If there ever is evidence, then it will become science, but I’ve been following woo since the 70s, (astral travel, Edgar Cayce, telekinesis, ESP, UFO stuff – you name it) and in all those years, we’ve come up with exactly…….. NOTHING.

          • Jethro

            Just quickly here, got things to do and will return… “Now ask yourself, does religion-spirituality, ever, in any way, attempt to disprove its theories? Of course not. So science does it for them! (grin).” No, they don’t attempt to disprove its theories. The world just keeps adding to it and making it more confusing. So much so that people are removing themselves from the nonsense and some are even writing books to explain a less confusing spiritual idea. (Clam smile)

      • Jethro

        “but bodies don’t have “desires.” They are masses of atoms, molecules, cells, tissue. They do what they do based on instructions in DNA. The brain plays a role in regulating these actions, but it’s automatic for the most part.” I don’t think you read the part where I integrated the body and the Brain. The body sends signals and the brain processes, but it’s the system 1 that is the body. whoops. Hope that clarifies.

        • Patrick Gannon

          I guess I missed that. System1 isn’t the body, it’s part of the body, but that part does participate in managing the whole body.

          • Jethro

            Fair enough.

      • Jethro

        “Why would you start off, “In the beginning there was God.” Since you can’t prove that, you might as well stop there.”

        I have found an entertaining thought in that statement. “In the beginning there was God.” Let’s say that I insist that in the beginning there was God and all things are made of God because that’s all that existed. That would make every test a test performed with that which God is. The particles are God, not proof for or against God’s existence. Just proof that the individuations of God are still being discovered. Now the defeating war cry of the Atheist, “Show me the proof!!” It’s an awesome statement. The burden of proof lies on the person making the statement. It make’s the arguer look to the floor with defeated tears, forehead resting on forearm, stating in a quiet broken whispery voice, “I can’t”. Then the personal insults begin. I wonder why the believer never says, “You are the one arguing my statement, the burden of proving me wrong lies on you”.
        It’s easy to eliminate the word “God” from all of that by saying it’s all “nature”, and it is. It’s “life”, which is the word to describe the continuation of nature. It’s “evolution”, which is a word to describe the changes in nature. Words are individuations of our intelligence put in place to pinpoint specific pieces of our knowledge. As I look at the online dictionaries, (which I do quite often because people use words that haven’t showed up in any conversations I have had in my near 50 years of life), I’m finding that almost every word has several meanings depending on how it’s used. No wonder everyone is arguing!!! “Wait!! That’s not what I meant!!!!”
        Have you ever told somebody something and then asked them, “Do you understand?” and they, of course, said “Yes”. Then you find yourself satisfied that you got your message across. WHY?

        • Patrick Gannon

          You’re just redefining “god” again, confusing the definition and making the word ever less useful – but maybe that’s a good thing…. Basically you are calling “god” a vibrating “string” according to String Theory. Everything may be made of vibrating strings – but you want us to use the word “god” instead of “vibrating strings.” Does that help or hinder us? I don’t think it helps.

          “Then the personal insults begin.” I hope you aren’t accusing me of that. Yes, I insult and ridicule the ideas and beliefs, but I try not to purposely insult people personally. If someone takes ridicule of their belief as a personal insult, that’s their problem.

          Burden of proof shifts to the preponderance of evidence. 200 years ago the burden of proof was on science to prove it had the right to sit at the table with religion. Today the burden of proof has shifted radically the other way, as religion and woo have zip for evidence, and science has it all. The burden of proof has shifted to require compelling, objective evidence. Today, the woo-meisters own the burden of proof, and they don’t like it much, do they?

          It’s great that you are looking up words, and yes, they often have different meanings, but the intention is usually clear from context. The thing is – these are words with multiple meanings, but what’s going on today is redefining words that already have established meanings. Will these new definitions end up in the dictionary? Will the word “god” one day be listed as a synonym for vibrating strings? Do we want it to? Would it be helpful? I doubt it.

          • Jethro

            Given some thought, I cannot redefine God any further than any other definition. I can only repeat them. It has been said that God is the alpha and omega, beginning and the end, the all and the nothing, That which exists and that which does not exist. There are only two ways left for that to occur for sure, God is nature or God is the thought about God. Neale is currently trying to change damaging thoughts about God which could in turn change mans thoughts about nature. We can discuss the existence or lack of existence of God for years here and people will still have some sort of belief and idea about God. When people are pressured or forced to change a thought about something the thoughts don’t change, the thoughts just don’t get discussed. The actions created by those thoughts will still exist under different descriptions of reasoning. Then we will get upset because we won’t understand why people are acting like that. I think it would be best to change an idea about something to be more acceptable before sending it into hiding. Put some salt on the meat before storing it away so you don’t have to put up with the stench of something you forgot about.
            No I didn’t accuse you of anything, it’s all a scenario. It’s how we picture things in our heads but it never happens. As you know I don’t have anything against a persons Belief in God. I don’t have anything against people with guns. I have something against people who hurt people with those guns. If I take the Guns away, they will use a sword, If I take that away they will use a knife, if I take that away they will use a club, If I take that away they will use there hands. If I take God away, what will be used by those using God as an excuse to harm others. If an Atheist were to begin harming others, I have a feeling the acts would be against those who believe in God first. Those who feel it’s ok to harm others for any reason will eventually move on to bigger and worse ideas. I’m a little confused about Hitler’s religious beliefs, might have been all political.
            “the intention is usually clear from context.” When the context is clear it makes it much easier to be irritating in an argument when the intent is to be a pain in the butt, when the context isn’t clear, (and most of the time it’s not, do to the many different definitions, and the person using those words are not aware) the argument get’s heated because context is confused. And then! you have people like me who don’t pay attention to some spelling, their, there, they’re, your you’re. I’m still trying to figure out how you might think I was accusing you of something. I believed the context was clear.
            Proof is proof in an argument, to prove right, proves wrong. to prove wrong proves right. The two sides only need to now agree whether the proof is proof enough. Since people have such a great desire to be right about something, there may never be enough proof for both parties. Raphael has made a claim concerning communication with spirits, You can use science to tell him how that’s impossible, but you can’t remove the experience from his thoughts nor can you make him state a different truth other than the one he knows. You can only change your own stance on how you feel about the person which in this case it’s possible cognitive dissonance has entered your thoughts. Subjective evidence has probably entered your thoughts as well. I on the other hand state that I have never had the experience therefore cannot explain it. Neither into existence or out. If his community finds him to be a threat because of it, they will deal with it. One of the greatest things about the united states and the #1 reason we are here is freedom of religion. I take that to heart because just like religion the freedoms of this country were programed into me. Harming another with either one is not.
            “Will the word “god” one day be listed as a synonym for vibrating strings?” In general it always has been. Will we remove the words that allow us to distinguish one thing from another? I hope not. It certainly would not be helpful at all. I run into a site the other day that spelled God, G_D. As if it were taboo LOL. Give me a break!! Spelling the word differently does not change the subject.

          • Patrick Gannon

            You’ve presented a definition for “god” as “everything.” We already have a word for everything – it’s called “everything.” Why do we want to use the word “god” to mean “everything?” Because technically the term means panpsychism, the belief that “god” is in all things, which means even a mere photon has to have some characteristic of god or consciousness or soul, but we know all the “states” or “degrees of freedom” that a photon has, and there is no room for a happy/sad state. If there was, we’d know it, and would be looking for that property.

            We did away with a flat earth and in time we will do away with gods. They died on July 4, 2012, after all. Now it’s just a matter of getting the word out. The earth is not flat, the sun does not circle the earth, and there are no gods or woo. The science for all of these is equally firm, just not as well communicated for the newest discovery.

            Atheists do not have as much freedom “from” religion as Christian denominations grant for each other. Christians even grant more freedom of religion to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and even New Age gods, than they do for atheists. The negative connotation associated with that word, is a big burden to overcome, but amazing strides have been made in just the last few years. I used to avoid the term, preferring agnostic, but I don’t shy from it anymore. I am both atheist (lack belief in personal gods) and agnostic (don’t know if there are any deist gods), but every Christian is also an atheist. They don’t believe in thousands of other gods, and I don’t believe in just one more than them.

          • Jethro

            “You’ve presented a definition for “god” as “everything.” We already have a word for everything – it’s called “everything.”… You are assuming yet again that I am the one doing something. I am not doing anything, not requesting anything, I am repeating others and you are repeating yourself. I have no need to even make the decision about any of it. It’s already been made centuries ago. You are not battling me, you are battling time.
            We are not two people having a discussion anymore, you are the time honored atheist having a conversation with someone who may or may not agree. You do not remember who you are talking to!! All I had to say was “God did” or “God was” or “God anything” and you went into defense mode. I thought you were more intelligent than that!
            I am not at war. God does exist and God does not exist in my world. Woo does not exist in my world or your world but it does exist in other peoples worlds. Woo does exist in my wife’s world but I’m not so sure God does after the loss of her son. It is purely because people believe in God that God exists and if you rob them of that, only evil exists. You have to understand that. Ok, you don’t have to understand $hit, but people need what they need. Annie needs something, Kirstie needs something, Raphael needs something… You need, something. You lost an argument, so what? I need something. Neale needs something. Are you and I at war over that? I will never be at war with anyone, I am a water sign, I’m fluid. You are more important than any God. is that unacceptable? Because some kid proved to you there was no god with cruel words? So there is no God. what now? It’s pretty much the same for those who accept God. So what now? What do we as humans do with that information? Love or hate? Do we need God to love or can we love without God? Can you love everyone here without God? I do. But I can do it with God too.

          • Jethro

            After re-reading what I wrote I didn’t even understand it. Will try again later with a better mind set.

          • Craig

            Nice deduction panpsychism… All and everything in and through all and everything.
            Poor atheist they are at least honest towards their core life principle…

          • Patrick Gannon

            What is an atheist’s “core life principle..”?

            Atheism is simply the lack of belief in personal gods. Christians are also atheists. There are thousands of gods they don’t believe in. Atheists fail to believe in just one more…

          • Craig

            Sorry wrong word, and yes you are correct do not believe.

            A lot of people I associate with do not believe because they mostly have unanswered questions…

          • Craig

            What is stronger than God, shruder than the devil, if you breath it in nothing will happen to you, but if you make it your main diet you will surely die???

          • Jethro

            My stress level the last couple days….
            what’s your answer?

          • Craig

            I will have to agree sometimes I think my ergo strikes out greater…
            but then again science seems to be winning on this forum…

          • Jethro

            The answer is, “There’s nothing stronger than god!!!” Spirituality is that which has no mass. If you can test it, it’s not spiritual. But science makes a good argument against woo.

          • Patrick Gannon

            Photons and gluons have no mass and we test them all the time!

            I think spirituality or at least what some would call a spiritual experience can be tested with brain imaging. There will be a particular pattern and release of chemicals associated with the experience – so spirituality can be (and probably has been) tested.

            Yeah, I know – the nitpicker.

            Nothing stronger than God? Can God create a rock so heavy that He can’t lift it?

          • Craig


          • Kristen

            Science can’t win a thing…you know the scriptures about ignoring men obsessed with words and how the Serpant wants people on the scientific and educational boring Tree of Knowledge. Don’t fall for it all, thats the game, Patrick lost his faith for whatever reason and is now deeply stuck on the Tree of Knowledge until he refinds it. Satans fun game…don’t play.
            Science is based on what those scientists can personally prove with their closed minds…everything else is available to those with open minds.
            To be locked into science is akin to living in a cave in the dinosaur age, it can only explain 50% of everything. Boring fanatical flat Earthers!

          • Patrick Gannon

            “Science can’t win a thing” says the gal whose very ability to communicate here depends on the veracity of quantum field theory.

            You believe in talking snakes?

            Using Jewish scriptures to defend your god is a losing game, Kristin, unless your god is Satan, (and indeed many early Christians thought Jesus came to save us from Yahweh). He’s a murderous, sexist, racist, homophobic tyrant. Fortunately he’s just a myth, whose foundation has been completely eroded. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that few on this blog are going to be convinced that your god exists by virtue of primitive mythological texts.

            How do you prove something with a closed mind? If your mind is closed, how can you question a thing in order to prove or disprove it? Science would not exist if it had a closed mind. That condition is quite clearly where religion comes in. Science tries to prove that its theories are wrong. Have you ever heard any religious leader try to prove that his religion was wrong? Who really has the closed minds? Science is open to the possibility that it is wrong, and it will change its theories if sufficient evidence is provided to overcome those theories – but you won’t change your views no matter how much evidence there is, will you? So who has the closed mind?

            It is the religious who live in the dinosaur age. Many of them even think their ancestors lived with the dinosaurs – stupidity and ignorance run roughshod over fundagelicals steeped in cognitive dissonance. There is a direct correlation in level of IQ and education, and belief in gods. Why does your god influence the smartest among us, to deny his existence?

            As for “boring fanatical flat Earthers,” who was it that believed the earth was flat, and who was it that debunked this idea?

          • Craig

            How about viewing this as the first individuals who had the attributes needed to understand a concept of creator and creation evolved around 6000 years ago.
            I am for evolution and change but again even your responses only answer how and not why. And even the great motivation speakers all claimed once you know why the how falls in place or phrased makes sense…
            Science works from hypothesises maybe science could ask the question why is this reality and evolution taking place and not how…
            Great chats and shared info. I do not debunk science I applaud it but still marvel at how evolution retains original processes and have not found a short cut to evolve better and faster. Let’s me think of one of Dean Knotz’ books about how seeking short cuts resulted in ladding on a path of no return entrapped in the shortcut…

          • Patrick Gannon

            It’s hard to say when the first creation myths were first developed, because they were all based on oral tradition. The oldest writing is the Sumerian creation myth, written around 1600 BC. The biblical creation myths (there are two different stories in Genesis), were written much later; probably after the Babylonian exile. Humans began agriculture some 10,000 years ago, so I would expect that creation myths began developing at least that far back – but I’m not sure we can know for sure unless cave paintings or some other archaeological evidence supports earlier creation myths.

            Science is not as concerned with the why, as it is with how. When “why” is answered with, “God did it,” that is detrimental to determining the “how.” It’s the coward’s way out. I would argue that once we know the “how,” the “why” of it is often irrelevant, or blatantly obvious.

            The only “why” that matters is “evolution.” How do you define a “shortcut?” I think evolution has taken innumerable short cuts. It can’t throw out the program and start again. It has to keep hacking the code it has to work with. That’s why you get so many strange evolutionary developments like the optic nerve running right across the front of the retina. The only reasonable “why” in that, is that evolution “hacked the code” for eyes and developed a “quick fix” (in evolutionary time). Running the sewage system through the playground strikes me as another evolutionary shortcut, but then again, as Jethro pointed out, the grass is always greener above the septic field!

            Why evolution works is based on natural selection. The “why” part, isn’t that difficult to understand. If you adapt to your environment and pass on your adaptations, your species evolves – otherwise it dies out.

          • Craig

            Nicely explained thank you.

            A lot of the animal anatomy is assumed a change in evolution but could also very well be the same as the original for a yet unknown reason. Like a kangaroo with three kids being carried simultaneously. A very effective way to ensure genetic or race survival. What has prevented us from having the same ability as we are more threatened as kangaroos..

    • Craig

      Energy carries on, the life within?
      Life cannot die it just leaves a manipulatable entity? Is this what this means.
      I rather view this as memories becoming communicated sources that change generations to come… Transforming humanity one generation at a time…

      • Jethro

        The memories of us may very well be all that’s left and we carry on in that manner only. My deeds may form deeds that carry on forever which in turn could be how we live on forever. We also operate with energy which cannot die but may be transformed. Raphael has experience communicating beyond this life so I would ask him about it. I personally have not had the experiences to share.

        • Patrick Gannon

          Raphael “claims” experience communicating beyond this life.

  • Spiritual_Annie

    I realize that this is Neale’s column, but as there seems to be some differing opinions about what it means to be “Spiritual,” I thought a conversation about it might be helpful.

    First, there’s the dictionary definition:


    1. religious, spiritual concerned with sacred matters or religion or the church

    2. spiritual, unearthly concerned with or affecting the spirit or soul

    3. spiritual lacking material body or form or substance

    4. apparitional, ghostlike ghostly, phantasmal, spectral, spiritual, resembling or characteristic of a phantom

    Some have disagreed with me on my saying that one’s definition of Spiritual is individual to each person. I would say that definitions 1 and 2 allow us to define what is Spiritual for us as individuals as terms like “sacred matters” and “concerned with or affecting the spirit or soul” are all open to one’s personal interpretation.

    For example, I consider myself to be a Spiritual person rather than a religious person, so there’s that distinction for me. However, I consider my Spirituality to be sacred in nature. I honor it, practice it, and live it as much as I’m able. Because my Spirituality is the core of my life, I see all actions I take as my Spirituality expressed. Prayer, meditation, visualization, politics, economics, ecology, world relations, personal relationships, communication, what I put into my body, how I care for my dog–everything. Some of it I express well, and some of it I do not. However, I don’t believe in gulting or shaming myself for being imperfect.

    Which brings up what I don’t believe is necessary for one to be Spiritual. I don’t believe that being Spiritual means being perfect. I know that I’m a work in progress. I also don’t believe that being Spiritual is the equivalent of being saintly. I’m a human being, not a saint. When called for, I believe my Spirituality can be expressed in outrage at injustice, can be confrontational when untruths are being told, and in a myriad of other ways. In other words, I don’t live the life of a monk (though I consider this a as one way to express one’s Spirituality), but I am engaged with life.

    Certainly no one needs to reply, but I’m curious as to how others define being “Spiritual” or express their own “Spirituality.”

    Love and Blessings Always,

    • Patrick Gannon

      Although you will see that I disagree with you – it is a good topic. If you were suggesting that I was the one who disagreed with whether each individual could define the word as they chose, that’s not me. I only pointed out that you said it. My opinion is that it devalues the word and makes it less useful. Of course each individual can define any word any way they want, but I don’t think it’s helpful for a “global conversation” if people don’t agree on the definitions of key words in the discussion. I see little value in starting from a place of confusion.

      What you seem to be defining now is the meaning of the word “sacred” which according to this definition includes politics, business, and other things not normally associated with either “sacred” or “spiritual.” By expanding the meaning of “sacred” beyond its original meaning, you expand the meaning of “spiritual” so that we can include whatever we want – which makes the word useless, unless each individual specifies exactly what they mean by that word. Is that practical? The word “unearthly” would seem to rule out sectarian stuff. If it’s “unearthly,” what does that have to do with the things of this world, like our political views? I’m sorry, but I find your argument unpersuasive, nevertheless I accept that the word is being watered down bit by bit to the point of uselessness.

      When I became single and started dating, I listed myself as “spiritual but not religious.” Over time it became clear that the word “spiritual” means woo, so I would no longer use that designation, though in the Carl Sagan definition of the word, I do experience spiritual moments that feel unearthly.

      • Spiritual_Annie

        “Because my Spirituality is the core of my life, I see all actions I take as my Spirituality expressed” (emphasis added) does not mean all things are Spiritual or “sacred” in and of themselves. It means that I act from my Spirituality as often as possible, whether what I’m acting on or about is Spiritual or not.

        • Kristen

          Hi Annie,
          I really struggle with the word, so never use it purely because to me is has no clear definition…words are a means to communicate with others, so when words are open to self determination or interpretation I tend to avoid them. Im insanely literal, so if I read anyone using a word, I expect to know what they mean, words shouldnt need debating or discussing.
          Said with a smile…I was the one that bought up that I dont like the word, I dont like the word perception either, it really has no meaning other than a view formed when facts arent available.

  • An interesting paradox.
    God can neither be proved nor disproved.

    • Patrick Gannon

      Hmm. Not sure about that. I don’t think God can be 100% disproved, but depending on the definition of “God”, then if God exists, one would assume that he/she/it could prove his/her/its existence if it chose to, so I would leave open the possibility that a god, if it existed, could prove its existence beyond any doubt.

      Some individual gods can be disproved pretty thoroughly. Zeus, Apollo, Dionysus, Thor, and Huitzilopochtli, among countless others have been pretty well disproved. Do we still need to disprove them? Yahweh has also been thoroughly debunked and is in the same category, His sheeple just doesn’t know it yet. The possibility of personal gods who interact with our natural world is also now effectively debunked, but a deist god who created a universe and then left it alone, remains a faint possibility for now.

      • Kristen

        Completely wrong….God has been proven many many times to those He choses to prove Himself to, and if thats not scientists or those who block His existance then so be it, I’d the same.
        You can’t speak for other people, and nor can any scientists.
        Science CANNOT say God has been disproven, they can only state what they have proven or witnessed personally.
        It could never be anything more than your personal belief that God doesn’t exist, just as many believe. If God stood in your bedroom and gave you a thousand proofs, you would probably check into an asylum and self declare hallucinations and a brain tumour anyway…why would He even bother? I wouldn’t.
        Said with a smile, you make me laugh at your stubborn niavity, when you don’t push it too far.

        • Patrick Gannon

          Unfortunately, that subjective “proof” you mention, is essentially worthless as objective evidence for the existence of the supernatural. We know how these experiences are manifested, and they are a product of our brains. Some education about advances in modern neurology would explain this to you if you were courageous enough to challenge your beliefs.

          Many scientists are still religious, but when science first began, almost all of them were. They continued to use God to explain things their new discoveries couldn’t explain. Even Newton left a place for God, since his math couldn’t explain all the observations of the cosmos. Einstein later removed that “god of the gaps” and over time, more and more of those “god of the gaps” explanations have gone away, making God smaller with each loss.

          Even in the early days of science, there were those who understood Newton was wrong… “Sir Isaac Newton and his followers have also a very odd opinion concerning the work of God. According to their doctrine, God Almighty wants to wind up his watch from time to time: otherwise it would cease to move. He had not, it seems, sufficient foresight to make it a perpetual motion.[28] (Leibniz). In due course, it was discovered where Newton went wrong or fell short.

          Scientists actually tried to prove God. They tried very hard to prove that there was some unknown force that impacted our material world, and which would explain things like “miracles” psi and other supernatural phenomena. They utterly failed. Instead they demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that there is no interactive force, soul, god, consciousness, etc. that affects us in our natural world. If you are suggesting that your god influences who believes and who does not, then you must acknowledge that he influenced science to debunk himself. That seems an odd way to engender faith.

          As I agreed, science cannot disprove god. You can’t disprove something that doesn’t exist. You can’t disprove unicorns or fairies; but it makes no sense to believe in them since the likelihood that they exist is so exceptionally small that it’s ridiculous to do so – same with the gods, who have the same evidence. If your god truly existed, he could choose to prove himself. You suggest that if I experienced your god in my bedroom that I would go visit a shrink, and you are absolutely correct. I know that such visions are products of the brain. If your god really was extant, then I would expect it to prove itself to the entire world in an incontrovertible way that was at least as high in confidence as the scientific confidence that he does not exist.

          You suggest that your subjective experiences are real. I understand that, because I’ve had such experiences myself. The earlier ones had more of a Christian flavor to them, a couple later ones had Neale’s ONEness flavor to them. Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and other religious people have similar experiences, but all of them are wrapped up around their personal beliefs. If everyone had the exact same experience – the exact same god – then perhaps this phenomena of yours would have some credibility, (aside from the fact that we know it is produced by the brain). Since all the experiences are different, and all are associated with personal beliefs, this works strongly against the idea of a universal god.

          There are many people who have had exceptionally strong experiences – more real than reality itself. Deanna Laney was one such person, who had a religious experience in which God told her to drop huge stones on her children’s heads – so she killed two out of three of them. leaving the baby brain damaged. Her experiences were every bit as real, every bit as powerful, every bit as persuasive as yours – or even more so, considering what her delusions led her to do. Do you really believe some god told her to kill her kids, or do you believe she suffered from delusions? She is just one example of a number of such psychotic delusions, said to be divine experiences. If her subjective experience is open to question – so are yours.

          I don’t think I’m the naive one here….

          • Craig

            Patrick you are amazing, know a lot, make clear precise points. What is love for you, not lust and sex, love…
            If you know and experience these you know and experience the presence of God. Small but wonderful as is that same difference the right attitude makes. Eish we say in Africa when we are both amazed and puzzled. Eish Patrick…

          • Patrick Gannon

            I go with Robert Heinlein’s definition. Love is that condition in which the happiness of another is essential to your own.

          • Craig

            Have you shown this love or experienced it?
            That is what the Hebrew God is all about compassion… The eve of human kind the one that protects, restricts or just keeps within measurable parameters…

          • Patrick Gannon

            Of course I have. Do I seem that cold-blooded? LOL.

            You know you drive me crazy when you talk about Yahweh, the Hebrew god, being all about compassion. Genocide, slavery, racism, sexism, homophobia, discrimination against the disabled, infanticide, etc. are not associated with “compassion.” The Hebrew god is a mythological monster.

          • Craig

            Patrick, the biblical records are lost in translation and meaning. You have researched these records well. You have balanced yourself in close to perfect ability to use your accumulated knowledge without second thought…
            It takes me hours to find what I am looking for to confirm what a say… You seem to literally spit the answers out.
            I use phrases in English that means something you do not know so do you use phrases and words I need to first research before I answer. If that can happen in our time and age, just think how confusing it must have been to explain an entity that is larger than the small world you know…
            I believe it is these generational linguistic gaps furthered by less informed individuals to imply the opposite of what was said…
            The creator, big bang, evolution, call it what you like is literally the meaning of the Hebrew word YHVH not the translated literacy phrased concept intended to explain the unexplainable.
            Thoughts, focussed and actions coordinated achieve lasting and desirable results. Would you agree with this statement. If so that is the Hebrew God I am referring to.
            All the issues you refer to are modern terminology. Let’s say those fostering by applying this life principle versus those applying an alternative life principle… What do we have? Differences and how do we resolve this… If not by physical force (men like manner) then by brutal hatred (women scorned) or by dialogue… Which was the intended way for that reason Job being recorded before the rest of the scriptures.
            To become better we should communicate, ask assist and help each other – prayer. When we do this that Hebrew God which is focussed positive actions makes our returns more worthwhile…
            What have I tried to show. Using our dominant animal nature is forceful, discarding, and normally very brutally cruel. That has been depicted in ancient scripts. What has also been depicted is the mindful thought provoking and attitude changing process… Generally these alternatives were placed in parallel versions of the same message by different messengers. And reading them literally as so many do we all understand them exactly as you do. But reading them as thought over applied wisdom being shared you get a different understanding.
            Wait, weren’t you also the one that confirmed that a lot of the ancient scripts were recorded millennia or centuries after first being introduced.
            Are you willing to accept that the only reality of God every really introduced to human kind was knowledge based actions achieve greatness?
            I you are then you may be able to understand that YHVH and Yeshua are not myths or mystical entities but the only truth in application brings about result, on going evolution. Nothing more nothing less.
            Restrict evolution to single cultures and communities and we have what we have to do, diverseness that makes humans believe they are greater and worth more than the next life. Even if we kill for something to eat as we do not know how to apply plant, harvest eat…

          • Craig

            Sorry no you are a very concerned person. Your paradigm may cause you to project yourself as coldblooded… I am ice hearted…

          • Patrick Gannon

            I responded to a post following this, but got a message that the post was no longer active, which I guess, means you are editing it, or deleted it. I’m going to post my response, since it’s already written:

            Craig, I could be wrong, but from my perspective, you are attempting to do the same thing that Neale, and Jethro and many others attempt to do, in order to hold on to the concept of god. You are trying to redefine the word. You are trying to put lipstick on a pig, in the words of Sarah Palin.

            What I’m suggesting is that this is not going to work. The words “God” and “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” or “Allah” have too much baggage associated with them to be of value. There was no supreme being that handed the texts down – or surely he could have directed the writing in such a way that it would sustain its truths through the millennia. We know the texts can’t be trusted to be accurate, or correctly interpreted, assuming what we have is a reasonable facsimile of the original. So why hang on to them so desperately?

            What you’ve essentially done is make a good argument for why these texts are no longer relevant. They were written for different people, in a different time, and their original meaning has been lost.
            As you’ve admitted in other posts – we’ll never know the original meanings, because there is no agreement on translations and interpretations, and there are no originals – none – so it’s a bit of a fool’s game, isn’t it?

            I would agree that knowledge based actions are capable of achieving greatness, but I fail to see how that is a reality of some god. Knowledge tells me there are no gods, so why include them in the argument? The idea of gods is superfluous. It adds nothing to the solution – only complicates it and adds more potential points of disagreement. We don’t need gods to explain our existence, and we know they have no impact on our natural world, even if they do exist. So let’s ignore them and get on with living full lives in this only time we ever get.

            You have failed to explain to me in terms I understand, why Yahweh is not a myth. We know Yahweh is a myth, because the major foundations upon which he is based, are all myths or flat out wrong. We’re not positive about a historical Jesus, though we know his story is largely mythical, but no six day creation, no two-person DNA bottleneck, no global flood, no mass Exodus from Egypt and no conquest of Canaan, leaves Yahweh up the creek without a paddle.

            What I don’t understand is why you cling so tightly to a debunked god. Surely you aren’t afraid of Hell; or is that part of the equation? Do you fear punishment if you fail to believe the right thing? Why can’t we get the message of peace, love, understanding, compassion, etc. across without resorting to imaginary gods? Neale might have had a shot at that, if he had just avoided the woo.

            Humans act as they do, because we evolved to live in tribes for protection, companionship, cooperation, etc. Today we have to get people to see that they are all part of one large tribe – the human genome – and start letting go of the small personal tribes we all attach ourselves to. Neale created a new tribe, just like every other denomination or sect that separates from Christianity as he did. You seem to want to hang on to a mythical, primitive, tribal god whose character and reputation are deeply flawed. Why? What’s the attraction? There must be some pagan sun god or something that isn’t such a creep as Yahweh, that we can embrace as an analogy for being good. Yahweh doesn’t cut it. He’s a bad guy. I know,. I read the book.

            If we can admit that the gods are dead, then that could remove a whole lot of the tribes that are contending for membership, and perhaps serve to unify us; to move us from System1 thinking to System2 thinking, in which we don’t make gut-reaction “tribal” decisions, but think through our options carefully and critically. That would be a welcome advance in human evolution! Embracing Yahweh is to go back and reverse evolution, to return to savage, primitive roots. No thanks. I would suggest we bury Yahweh, and pick another, more pleasant, poster child if we have to have one.

          • Craig

            Patrick, you have said a lot my only reply is that words and actions is all that will ever shape and transform the way we experience and live out life.
            As there is no proof as to why we exist I will continue claiming a creator. I used names and terms known and have explained how the actually really in ancient scripts. That is how I debunk manmade religions and tribal existence.
            I cannot debunk the creator or possible reason… So we can stop repeating that argument. Let me read the literature I have been advised to… Maybe I can then have a stronger defense for the creator…

          • Patrick Gannon

            “Let me read the literature I have been advised to… Maybe I can then have a stronger defense for the creator…”

            Sure. That works. I’ve probably heard all the major arguments for a Creator, (kalam cosmological argument, unmoved mover argument, necessary being argument, ontological argument and so on) and all they do is complicate the issue; but please do provide your best arguments and we can discuss them.

            What one necessarily ends up with, if one proposes a Creator, is “turtles all the way down.” Someone now has to explain how the Creator came into being. If everything has a cause, then what caused the Creator? These arguments have all been pretty well sliced and diced, but let me know if you come up with something new!

            Personally, I’m agnostic on a Creator. I think it is incredibly unlikely that there was a Creator, but what we know now, tells us that even if there was, this Creator has nothing at all to do with us. This Creator may have put it into motion and then went on vacation. He doesn’t affect particles in our natural world, so he’s moot.

          • Craig

            Agnostic acknowledging that it is unknown. Not atheist stating does not exist. Yet you argue as a atheist. Interesting, we should know our Opponents…

          • Patrick Gannon

            I’m agnostic with respect to a deist god. I am an atheist with regard to a theist god. Deist gods don’t interfere with us. Theist gods do. Theist gods have been fully debunked. Deist gods are hanging on by a thread.

          • Craig

            Theism claims both theist and deist possibilities.
            In my mother tongue we would say “draadsitters”. Implying people cautious to make a stand concerning a point in discussion.
            Theist is one God, deist multiple… Well that I did not know. Thanks for the info. But how are they both linked to theism…
            Another discussion on a future blog if God permits.

          • Patrick Gannon

            Never hurts to check with Wikipedia….

            belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures.

            belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.

            I think you are referring to monotheism (one god) versus polytheism – many gods.

          • Kristen

            An emotion…plus knowing you would do anything to protect others, often at the expense of yourself, expressed through caring.

          • Craig

            I agree, but need to ask what about the automatic responses? E.g. those to save someone at theexpence of someone else?
            Is this also love or is it self-justification a destructive impulse if I may???

          • Patrick Gannon

            I have to jump in. This is a fun philosophical point. Keep in mind the System1 and System2 thinking neurologists tell us about.

            Scenario 1: The trolley car. You are standing by a switch and as a result of your position, you can see a trolley car barreling down the track, headed for 5 people, all of whom will be killed. You can throw the switch and direct the trolley to another track and kill only one person. What do you do?

            Scenario 2: You are standing on a bridge and the same five people on the track will be killed by an oncoming trolley car, but you can stop the car if you throw a very large man in a wheelchair off the bridge in front of the trolley car. What do you do?

            Most people in scenario 1 will probably throw the switch. Their System1 thinking will kick in and suggest that it’s better to kill one than many. A System2 thinker, might consider that he/she should do nothing, because in that case they are technically innocent of killing anyone, whereas if they throw the switch, they intentionally kill one person.

            In Scenario 2 almost everyone will go with System 1 thinking. This option requires active personal participation in killing someone, and for most of us, it is ingrained in us through our tribal evolution, that killing an innocent is wrong. Most people would not throw the fat man over the bridge. Only a System 2 thinker would even consider throwing the fat guy off, because the consequences of killing one person are less severe than the consequences of five dying.

            Not sure how much this has to do with “love” but you mentioned saving one person at another’s expense, and if that’s a love decision, then perhaps this bit of philosophy is applicable to the question.

            Is the happiness of any of the people in the two scenarios essential to my own happiness? Probably not, so I would not say I love them, even if I ultimately decided to kill one to save the others.

            Now the genetics within me could make this decision simple. If a close genetic relation is on the track – evolution tells me to save them first, so my genes get passed on.

          • Kristen

            Too hypothetical….but yip, instincts would only make the choice for us if it was a relative or someone we knew.
            Huge difference between people dying and killing someone, as you point out.
            My only solution is to never go near train tracks, lucky there are none near me!

          • Craig

            Patrick. My life experience is turn around and walk away. What must happen will happen. You need not burden your conscious with this.
            But if someone was bullying another that cannot defend themselves then I will respond. Why I do not know it just how my hardwire works…
            Not a religious view but a cognitive conditioning may be the correct way to explain myself.

          • Patrick Gannon

            “My life experience is turn around and walk away.”

            That may not be a bad move. There is no right or wrong answer to this thought experiment.

          • Kristen

            I think everyone is different, all with instincts though. I personally have a belief that we will never be put in ‘hypothetical’ situations that are beyond our personal grasp, so cant get into that headspace BUT I wouldn’t save the life of anyone who knowingly causes the suffering of others, should be capable of saving themselves just like mem or who has no will to live. Im pro execution, pro suicide and pro euthenasia, on the basis that Im opposed to suffering. In other circumstances I would need a clear conscience so would funtion on that basis…that I did everything I could and trusted my decisions at the time. Thats my personal psychology so I never have regrets or think about ‘what ifs’.
            What would your realistic, not far fetched hypotheticalm example where we may need to save someone at the expense of someone else?

          • Craig

            See response to Patrick.
            He although he was the son learnt obedience through what he suffered, and after overcoming the suffering to understand obedience he became a mediator for others. That is a view I keep reminding myself of. I must understand and do so that I can help others…

          • Patrick Gannon

            Depends on the gospel you read. Luke does not have a suffering Jesus. The only part that suggests suffering is in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was alone whining about his upcoming crucifixion. The text says he was alone, so how did anyone know to write about it? In any event scholars believe this scene was added, to negate Luke’s assertion that Jesus didn’t suffer. There are older versions of Luke that don’t have this scene in it.

          • Craig

            Many such questions can be asked about many scriptures, that is not my intent to highlight these. I just like bringing back to context not content.

          • Kristen

            Seek and ye will find

          • Patrick Gannon

            I did seek! How do you think I came to the conclusion that there were no gods? it didn’t just pop into my mind one day.

          • Craig

            Patrick seeking god is not like gaining knowledge it is more like applying specific principles that unit people in peace joy and righteousness. Forget about what others did wrong, we all do wrong period. Forget the genocide and think of the life lesson of how our lives contribute to genocide even when we are not actually involved… Leaving all to government and welfare charity organisations…

          • Patrick Gannon

            How and when do gods unite people in peace, joy and righteousness? That is not my experience. I need only pick up a newspaper or turn on a TV news show to see that this is not true. Gods and their religions divide and separate people. Neale speaks often of “separation theology” not seeming to understand that in adding yet another religious sect, he added to the problem.

            You want me to forget the genocide committed, commanded and condoned by the mythical Yahweh, when these things define his very character? Should we forget about Hitler’s genocide, or Pol Pot’s, and worship them? I don’t get your point.

            The life lesson is that we should not allow belief in imaginary beings to lead us to doing horrible things like genocide or other aspects of biblical morality.

            I see no reason to seek any gods, given that they can have no impact on our natural world. They are moot, even if they exist.

          • Craig

            Do not blame God blame humanistic evolution for that is what is responsible for the things you are placing at God’s doorstep…
            As a parent I remind and even get angry but I do more harm by interfering than letting experience shape my kids.

          • Patrick Gannon

            Why shouldn’t they be placed at Yahweh’s doorstep if he’s responsible for them? Are you suggesting that Yahweh created malaria, polio, scarlet fever, smallpox, AIDs, Ebola, earthquakes, floods, asteroids, war, pestilence and Donald Trump, so the experience could shape us?

            Isn’t that last one just a bit extreme?

            The mythical Yahweh interferes in human events again and again, leaving terror and devastation in his wake, so indeed, he is a good example of what not to do when raising kids.

          • Craig

            No those things exist so that evolution can progress as it should or as people think it should.
            Have you made yourself a millionaire… If yes why continue to achieve the second, because it is possible and if you find enough supporters you will excell…
            That is how you are debating god. No need to the creation can be recreated if needed… And this is where and why people seek a need to believe, hope for something better hereafter. If this time means nothing then let’s forncate get drunk and eat… But the bottom line is we both believe this life means something for some reason and that is why we continue contributing on open forums…
            A friend of mine said if we cannot make it work here how can we think we can make it work in for example Australia…
            If we cannot agree on a principle guided lifelife on earth how can we expect to agree on one after death. For this reason my commenting. I owe it to no one as I know no one on this forum.
            You and I do it because we get a kick out of being heard we strive on being acknowledge and have not yet evolved into humbleness yet…

          • Patrick Gannon

            LOL. I have little use for humility, but I’m usually smart enough to know when I don’t know something, and to keep my mouth shut on that subject, or to ask a lot of questions, or start reading.

            Indeed, if one cannot find a way to give their life purpose, then I have no problem with fornicating, eating and geting drunk, as long as they don’t hurt anyone else. That doesn’t give my life meaning, god or no god; and I think most people are similar. Just because atheists are confident that personal gods don’t exist, doesn’t mean that they become evil people. The prisons have a lot more religious people per capita than atheists incarcerated. Atheists never burned anyone at the stake for not believing the right thing.

            One thing that I don’t think many people realize is that physicists were not thrilled to learn that they are correct about how our natural world works. Virtually all of them wish it was not so, and that there was an afterlife, as long as one didn’t spend eternity being tortured by ornery demons. It is what it is, and we need to accept the truth and figure out how to deal with it. I think we will be able to deal with it OK, when we stop lying to ourselves.

            I have little interest in being humble. That’s what religions expect of us.

    • Jethro

      Some statements “about” God can be proven or disproven scientifically. The idea that there is God, is the existence.
      A person is determined mentally fit by what they determine to be real or not based on what the majority of all other humans believe to be real or not. This is why nobody is institutionalized for believing in God, only institutionalized for what they believe “about” God.

      • Patrick Gannon

        “A person is determined mentally fit by what they determine to be real or not based on what the majority of all other humans believe to be real or not. ”

        That may have been true at one time. At one time, the majority believed the earth was flat and at the center of the universe. The idea that the stars in the sky were suns with planets going around them was proposed by Giordano Bruno. They didn’t institutionalize him – they burned him at the stake, because the majority believed otherwise!

        Today, a person may be determined to be mentally fit by what science, rather than religion, determines to be real or not, and this determination is not based on
        the ignorant, uneducated opinion of the majority, but on compelling, objective evidence. I would say our situation has improved considerably as a result, though I suspect that a lot of religionists, including New Agers, would love to go back to burning scientists at the stake, rather than challenge their most cherished beliefs.

        Will we institutionalize people for believing in gods a hundred years from now? Perhaps so, although by then I think we will have “cured” the condition.

        • Jethro

          That was fast!
          “That may have been true at one time.” I’m afraid it’s still true today. Hopefully science will find a way to easily detect malfunctioning neural pathways and correct the problem but the majority will still determine if a person needs to be checked in the first place, then the problem of deciding what ideas need to be changed will take place. You may have everyone checked for the problem of believing in God and have that fixed, but the pope won’t. As long as the majority believes in some deity, the deity will be accepted as normal thinking. The majority still rules in psychology when determining sanity. Thankfully the way we treat insanity has changed a great deal but nothing else has changed… Yet.

          • Patrick Gannon

            Of course you are correct, that as far as the sheeple go, we decide what is normal and what is not, but in the case of mental illness, those decisions should be, and are being removed from the ignorant masses by trained, educated, intelligent medical health professionals. I am hopeful that we’re going to see some dramatic changes in how we address mental health in the decades ahead, given how quickly we are learning about the brain works, thanks to new imaging, mapping, and other techniques.

            It’s not that the neural pathways are necessarily malfunctioning – they are like a path through the woods that gets used again and again and again till the path is very clear and easy to traverse, and it becomes difficult to get off of that path in order to try another. Human brains are lazy. By default, we tend to take the simplest path.

            Until something better is proposed, it seems to me that the same techniques used to lay down these “damaging” tracks in the first place, which was through repetition, should be the same way that the tracks are slowly overwritten. Repeating the real facts, providing real, compelling information, creates the opportunity to take a small step off to the side of the main path in order to investigate a side path – even if for no other reason than to try and prove that the person who told you to get off the main path is wrong. Any attempts at using self-education to challenge beliefs, are generally beneficial. As more and more side paths are taken, the main path begins to erode and fade. The trick is to figure out how to speed this up.

            As for the pope, it will be interesting to see whether the Catholic Church can survive. It is wracked with ongoing corruption, financial and sexual scandals, but most of all, its very reason to exist has been debunked by DNA evidence indicating that we did not come from two individuals, and thus there was no original sin. Without that sin, there’s no good, theological reason for that Church to continue to exist. The financial issues may cause it to implode. Banks around the world became so concerned by the corruption and money laundering that they refused to work with the Vatican Bank until it was reformed – a process that is not going well, as I understand it.

          • Craig

            NLP seems to be tapping into forming hooks or guides so that one can develop the ability to deal with neurological deficiencies….

          • Patrick Gannon

            What is NLP? I thought I asked this in another post, but don’t recall seeing an answer.

          • Jethro

            What is NLP?

          • Patrick Gannon

            What does the acronym stand for? Here are some options I found:

            NLP Neuro-Linguistic Programming
            NLP Natural Language Processing
            NLP Nonlinear Programming
            NLP Natural Law Party

          • Craig

            Patrick and Jethro
            Neuro-linguistic programming.
            Correct I did not answer this so again a lesson, Craig is a poor communicator.

          • Patrick Gannon

            I was afraid you were going to go with that one… From Wikipedia:

            “NLP has since been overwhelmingly discredited scientifically,[9][10] but continues to be marketed by some hypnotherapists and by some companies that organize seminars and workshops on management training for businesses.[11] There is no scientific evidence supporting the claims made by NLP advocates and it has been discredited as a pseudoscience by experts.[9][12] Scientific reviews state that NLP is based on outdated metaphors of how the brain works that are inconsistent with current neurological theory and contain numerous factual errors.[13][14] Reviews also found that all of the supportive research on NLP contained significant methodological flaws and that there were three times as many studies of a much higher quality that failed to reproduce the “extraordinary claims” made by Bandler, Grinder, and other NLP practitioners.[10][12] Even so, NLP has been adopted by some hypnotherapists and also by companies that run seminars marketed as leadership training to businesses and government agencies.[11][13]”

            Not very convincing….

          • Craig

            Never did that research although know that teaching your mind through actions make it easier for us to do many things.
            I prefer brain gym literature above positive mind literature…
            Our brains create linkslinks and patterns through what we do and not what we read…. Cognisance is but just us finding ways to remember and recall or use information and has nothing to do with what we can do and achieve. We need to master the application…

          • Patrick Gannon

            Sorry, but can’t let this go… You said, “Our brains create linkslinks (sic) and patterns through what we do and not what we read….”

            That’s incorrect. When I read a book, my brain is being altered as I read it. When I go to sleep at the end of the day, some portion of that book will hopefully be committed to memory and that means my brain is being altered. Any memory alters the brain’s connectome.

            A musician watching and listening to another musician who is actually playing the music, will have the same brain patterns in their head, even though they aren’t actively playing the music.

            I agree that having information is one thing, and using it is another. I try to do both, and you and Jethro in particular, ask good solid questions that allow me to use some of the information I’ve obtained. I welcome your presence here, even if I sometimes struggle to figure out what you’re saying, because you are both open minded enough to question the woo that others here seem incapable of doubting.

          • Craig

            Wait I understood we alter memory not brain patterns…

            Listening is an action implying changing pattern.

            Listening is not the same as reading as reading creates memory and nothing else…

            My understanding.

          • Patrick Gannon

            Memories are brain patterns.

            When you have a memory, a token – for lack of a better word – tells the brain to go into the same pattern it had when the memory was formed. If you are put into an fMRI machine and told to remember something – let’s say a little poem. Later on, let’s say a couple weeks later, they put you back in the fMRI machine and tell you to remember the poem. The machine will show that your brain is in the same state – it has the same connections, as it did when you first memorized the poem.

            In the course of remembering, however you are re-writing the memory and it can be modified a little or a lot based on what else is going on at the time.

            Why would listening and reading be any different? In both cases you are taking information into your brain. In one case it comes in through the ears, in another it comes in through the eyes, but it’s the same information. You can read a poem and create memory patterns in your brain, or you can have someone read it to you, and create the same memories. The memories will differ slightly, particularly if you associate the information with how you received it, so that could be incorporated into the memory.

          • Kristen

            Hi ya,
            I never knew that about musicians…I can make it odder..Im not a musician (Im insanely autistic when I try to play an instrument, like knitting, my brain just cant do it) but ‘feel’ and experience every instrument and word as if I was the entire band and singer, especially drums….boy, my brain must be more ‘different’ than I thought. I dont need to experience things, I can feel it through watching others or listening, even foods. I know I love pumpkin pie yet have never had it. In a book I become a character, like an actor.
            Do you know of any brain studies on this, where observational input and memories are so strong, presumably mixed with a vivid imagination, that the person can ‘feel’ as if they were there?

          • Patrick Gannon

            Yeah, it is a pretty interesting phenomenon. I can watch a sport, for example that I’ve never participated in, and my brain will have similar patterns as the person performing the sport – but only up to a certain point. A person who has actually performed the sport, or played the music, or whatever, will have even more similarities in brain patterns. For example, I was a gymnast in high school, and I can “feel” or “sense” (not sure that’s the right word), what the performer is doing, because my own motor neurons are activated when I watch. I can “feel” a backflip since my motor neurons have been activated in the past by that activity, and they get activated when I watch someone else do it. The motor neuron sections of the brain will be active in a person whose fingers have actually played the music, but not in a person who hasn’t, so the amount of “mirroring” apparently depends on one’s prior experience.

            I’ve read about this in several articles, but one of the best descriptions, that included information about these studies, was in a Great Courses book: “Brain Myths Exploded” by Prof Indre Viskontas.

          • Kristen

            Yip, really interesting, and fun. Although I cant play music well I can work it out by ear so can visualise my hands at a piano, on drums or write the sheet music. I played with playing water glasses in my head as well, think I have that one mastered with Whiter Shade Of Pale in my head! Will try it for real one day, I do far too much in my head but not physically!
            I coached gymnastics for many years, I was useless at it, too lanky and uncoordinated, but was a good coach able to ‘feel’ it.
            My mother has just retired from judging at Commonwealth Games and World Champs etc, her brains too old and too full to keep doing all the exams every 3 years!
            Ill take a look at that book.

          • Jethro

            Human thought is a constant study as is anything having to do with the human body. The brain is not the same as thought unfortunately. They must be studied separately, I think you should already know that. I used neural pathways not even in general but I got my point across. We will know many things about the brain before we understand thought. We have come a million miles since Freud in understanding why people think the way they do. From a lawyer friend of mine, Judges, juries, and lawyers are using the studies in court cases because it has been found that men are deficient in some sort of thought until age 28. I wish I could give more information. It was passing info in an unrelated conversation. Turns out when your really good at what you do, very prominent people invite you into their homes and talk. You know, Sheeple. I have had some very respected customers. I’ll say politicians Federal, state, and local. I’ll say entertainers, country music and movies. Pro sports… They’re all sheeple Pat. Your a science sheeple. Doesn’t make you right or wrong, your just another person with an opinion.
            It is not “sheeple” who decide someone is not sane. The average person is the first witness though. Mental healthcare professionals are the people who decide, finally, if a person is fit to take care of themselves. Due to financial restrictions, a few people make it past a very stressed and over worked caseworker or Psychiatric Dr., therapist, or Counselor. The business has changed since the 70’s, and I am very thankful for that!! If you weren’t crazy going in, you were crazy coming out!!!!! These days people are actually regaining a normal thought process through treatment, first inspired by Carl Rogers who found that if you show a person kindness and respect, you get better results. Pat… Kindness and Respect get better results. Not just the lack of personal insults. People believe what people believe and as long as nobody is being harmed I’m ok with that.
            I really couldn’t give a hairless rats Tukhus about the pope or the catholic church considering they have tortured more people than early psychologists. You wasted your explanation on me. Tukhus is a Jewish word for butt, I’m using it as tail.

          • Patrick Gannon

            “The brain is not the same as thought unfortunately. They must be studied separately, I think you should already know that.”

            Disagree. Thought is not the brain, of course, but it is the product of the brain. You can’t have thought without one, hence it makes no sense to study them separately. If we truly want to understand thought – how we think, you can’t study them separately. You can’t take thought out of a brain, and study it by itself. It is the result of brain activity. In treating thought as something separate from the brain, we ended up with the crappy psychological help you mentioned. Invoking what we’ve learned from neurology, is rapidly providing us with new ways to address mental health issues. You can’t just fix a thought – you have to fix the brain that produced the thought; and we do that with a range of techniques ranging from counseling to chemicals to meditation, and other techniques. We don’t change thoughts – we change the brain, which in turn influences the new thoughts.

            “We will know many things about the brain before we understand thought.”

            Well sure, because we can’t know anything about thoughts without understanding the brain. They go hand in hand.

            When I use the term “sheeple” I refer to people who mindlessly follow the directions of others. I would agree that many of the people you mentioned are, or can be, sheeple. I deny the label. Who do you think I mindlessly follow? You may see me tout certain scientists and their work here, but you don’t see me looking for studies that debunk them, so that I can be confident of my trust.

            Science does not mindlessly follow the directions of others. It utilizes a process designed to uncover the truth, regardless of what the thought masters dictate that we should do.

            Jethro, I’m not particularly interested in kindness and respect here. Spirited debate over ideas is fantastic. Personal insults are not. There’s a huge difference. Some ideas and organizations are deserving of contempt and derision – like the Catholic Church, and like the idea that there are personal gods who interfere in our natural world, or psi effects that violate the laws of physics. I don’t really care if people are offended when I question their beliefs and subjective experiences. Perhaps it will shake them up and get them to take a closer look at themselves.

            I use the same technique that Neale does – repetition. I may not personally get anyone to change their beliefs, but I may be setting a stage to make it possible for people to change their own beliefs, when, over the next couple decades, they discover that what I’ve been saying is now the established wisdom. If I’m still around, I promise I won’t say, “I told you so!” That will show my kindness and respect!!! LOL

          • Jethro

            There’s not a part of the body not effected by the brain. You believe we cannot take thought out of the brain and study it. Communication is the extraction of thought for study. We can find out what a person is thinking by asking. A neurologist can tell us why a person is thinking or not thinking, but cannot tell us what a person is thinking. A neurologist can run tests in which he/she can state the highest probable emotion being felt by understanding what part of the brain is active, but cannot tell you how that person will handle the information. Thought is studied by a neurologist through the physical actions of the brain during thought and a psychiatrist may heal neurological problems when thought is required to perform some sort of exercise to get past a problem which would probably result in the brain opening a new path, but the two sciences are very different. One is physical, the other is…. Spiritual.

          • Patrick Gannon

            Sure we can study the communication that the thought produces, but the thought itself takes place in the brain. I’m not sure if we’re talking past each other or have an actual disagreement.

            Neurologists are making progress towards telling us what we are thinking. A number of experiments have been performed in this regard. In one experiment, a patient in one city was connected to a device that monitored and measured brainwaves. The patient was given a single word, like “Hello” or “Brick” or something simple and the patient “thought” the word, creating an identifiable brainwave pattern. That brainwave was converted to binary data and sent over the internet to another patient in another city, and the IP data was converted back to brainwaves and put back into another patient’s brain, who then “heard” or “sensed” the word spoken by the first patient. The brain wave pattern in both patients was identical. Neurologists can identify simple things that we are thinking, and as we map more and more of the brain, this ability will increase. One day, we may truly have a lie detector that is completely accurate.

            There is no question that psychiatrists address certain problems with counseling, but the reason the counseling works – if it does – is because the physical nature of the brain is being changed. The shrink having the patient lay down new tracks over the old painful ones; or attempting to deal with physical neurological issues in the brain itself using drugs. In both cases, what has to change, if there is to be progress, is the physical brain.

            The recent FDA approval of expanded tests using MDMA for PTSD is an example They are combining two techniques – using drugs to put the brain into a receptive state that allows memories to be cleared of damaging angst, through counseling techniques that leverage the brain’s intentionally modified state, to modify the brain in order to remove or deal with the problem. Both drug and counselor are working together to change the physical nature of the brain, to leverage its “plasticity” in order to help patients overcome debilitating mental health issues.

            The thought takes place in the brain, and if you want to study it, you have to study the brain, because it exists nowhere else. As agreed above, you can transform the thought into a form of communication and discuss the content of the thought – although, depending on the nature of the thought, that will be based on something subjective, rather than objective. When we can truly monitor thoughts in the brain, then we can discuss them with complete objectivity.

            You can call the counseling “spiritual” if you want to – continuing to water down the word so it loses usefulness – but the purpose of the counseling is to manipulate the matter in the brain, which in turn manages and produces the thought. Thoughts don’t exist in the “ether.” They only exist in the brain. How could it be otherwise?

          • Jethro

            Your correct Pat, there is enough going in studying the brain that we could easily get out of hand in our conversation. While I have not had experiences talking to confirmed ghosts, I have had to re-route my thoughts and understand chemical exchange in the brain. I had to learn about the different parts of the brain to understand thought for sure, but there is a separation in thought and brain that I may not be speaking of properly. I would use specific locations but have forgotten much of the terminology and I’m sure the Hypothermopotimus is not at the lower center of the brain. We can be psychiatrists or counselors because all brains are the same and have the same predictability. We can use the same treatment to fix different problems. If I can get you to associate your need for drugs as something that is ruining your life rather than improving your life you will more than likely quit but it’s still not guaranteed. It’s a battle of experiences and a battle of chemicals, natural and unnatural to the brain. I have to address the thought which is tied to memory, which has related the foreign chemical to pleasure which is tied back into thought. I must change the thought, I must relate the drug to “Not” Pleasure before the client is ready to contemplate change and that’s just the beginning! We can’t just use chemicals and/or surgery on the brain to fix thought. We can only do that with other thoughts and understandings. Most people make it past substance abuse without medication. Most people come to rehab through a court order not believing they have a problem and there is no drug that makes anyone want to go to rehab, quite the opposite actually.

          • Patrick Gannon

            Interesting comments. I’m interested in the growing use of microdosing hallucinogens or using MDMA to put the brain in a state that makes it more receptive to counseling that changes those thoughts, by rewriting the brain. One day the court order may include a prescription with it – one that helps the counselor be more effective. I read an article recently that predicted that most of our mental health issues would be resolved within a decade! Pretty bold prediction, if you ask me, but when you look at our rate of progress, it might be in the ballpark.

            Yeah, I’ve been dealing with an issue in the Hypothermopotimus… Any suggestions? LOL

          • Jethro

            I think the Hypothermopotimus can only be treated when submerged in waters of extreme temperatures. Particles interact with the Hypothermopotimus and actually consume fecal thoughts produced by poor attitudes and give life to those short lived particles. The treatment is so dangerous and painful that it’s not recognized by anyone outside of an ancient volcanic island in the middle of an ocean located near the center of the earth, aside from that your doomed!…. I had to put on my hip waders to get through that load of crap.

            I personally do not agree with using drugs to “enhance” a persons brain, beyond returning the chemicals of the brain to “normal”. When we alter the chemical distribution of the brain we can damage the normal function making someone dependent on drugs to maintain a “normal”. We are fighting against that very thing when getting someone to stop using in the first place. After an amount of time away from drugs, they can then be diagnosed properly for help with returning the brains natural chemical production and distribution. A psychiatrist will determine that need by asking the client/patient how they feel. A neurologist can actually run some tests to physically know without relying solely on patient input.
            People who are not tested extensively before microdosing of any medication could be harmed rather than helped, people who are having problems so much so that they know there is a problem, has know idea what “normal” is, they just know how they wish to feel. I don’t wish to feel lethargic therefore I do not wish to take any medications for anxiety. But, what in the world is normal anyway?! Medicated until I’m desirable to me or medicated until I’m desirable to others? When we remove a person from society, say put them on an deserted island, they come back a few years later a little strange to some people. Chemicals in the brain maybe effected by diet, but it was solitude that created the effect. The brain, in conjunction with the body and prior experiences created a new normal to handle the effects of solitude. Time and new experiences will fix it, not medication. Medication should always be short term with an end, whenever possible. with that said, I know its beneficial for some people to need drugs all their life.

          • Patrick Gannon

            I can understand why you would have a negative gut reaction to drugs. The drugs being used for neurological research, and that are proving to be very successful at addressing certain conditions, are almost all hallucinogens – and they aren’t addictive – at least not anywhere as addictive as the drugs used by people whose lives are falling apart. The people who you interact with are on crack, cocaine, heroin, demerol, codeine, and other opioids that are highly addictive. Microdosing with hallucinogens is proving to be very successful in helping people break those addictions, and they seem to have long term results. You don’t have to keep taking the hallucinogens. You rewrite the brain, put out the trash, and pick up and move on.

            Nobody is suggesting that hallucinogens be sold like candy from the corner drug store, but they are proving to be a valuable tool in the arsenal of mental health providers. Keep reading, Jethro.

          • Jethro

            The gut reaction is because the point is to eliminate drugs if possible. But as I stated above, there is enough going in studying the brain that we could easily get out of hand in our conversation. My particular scope of practice is removing drugs, using drugs is under another scope. It’s not for me to decide if someone needs help with drugs either, it’s only ethical to help those who ask and are determined to need it by meeting specific criteria. I’m sure it’s possible they may do wonderful things out there and find good uses for class 1 drugs. It’s not for me to decide but I can hope so.

          • Jethro

            “When I use the term “sheeple” I refer to people who mindlessly follow the directions of others.” I understand how you use the word sheeple and I have agreed with the term on several occasions. There is a crossover point though when the followers turn from sheeple back to average people. People instinctively do what others do to maintain an appearance of normal, to fit in, or hold a position of status. It’s human to do so. We don’t want the village looking at us as different. I just read a story about a guy who was burned at the stake for being different. He said the earth was round.
            “Jethro, I’m not particularly interested in kindness and respect here. Spirited debate over ideas is fantastic.” Yes, debate is fantastic for a person who is dealing with facts that are supported by physical, visible objects that have been explained in detail and the results can be recreated at will. Some subjects in spirituality cannot be recreated at will. It’s comparing an apple and love in a gravity test. If you drop an apple and love from the same height, which one hits the ground first. We don’t run around saying love doesn’t exist, The argument for what love is can also be debated from here to doomsday. If we listen to some spiritualists, that’s tomorrow Lol. Scientists, whether neural or psychiatric, have found out many things to explain many things, but it’s not common knowledge and may never be, unless everyone goes a little nuts like I did and has reason to find out more. I had a psychiatrist tell me that prayer was the best medicine for my problem if I chose to not swallow a pill everyday of my life. He said nothing about God, he just stated actually that I could think my way through it.
            “Perhaps it will shake them up and get them to take a closer look at themselves.” Perhaps, and that’s not a bad thing, as a matter of fact it’s a great idea. But I have always found there’s a better way if we choose to take a better look at our approach as well.

          • Patrick Gannon

            Thanks for your comments. For me, I would prefer to be the person that the rest of the village looks at as someone who doesn’t quite fit in. The little kid who pointed out that the emperor was wearing no clothes was such a person. I understand the need for people to be sheeple – it’s the tribal instinct ingrained in us over hundred of thousands or even millions of years of evolution. That evolutionary need to be part of a tribe, is no longer an advantage in our new environment.

            In order for what are now scientific truths to be distributed, is going to take an overhaul of our educational system. Adults may never get educated, particularly those whose beliefs are going to prevent them from researching things that go against their cognitive biases. The answer has to be in the education of our kids. Our parents generation had a very hard time accepting evolution – even many of our generation, but by and large – aside from home-schooled or intellectually challenged fundagelicals, the young generation accepts evolution. This will happen for the core theory/standard model of physics in the decades ahead and the tide will turn. After all, the sun did eventually stop going around the earth….

            My literary hero, is a character that I’m sure Neale knows – Jubal Harshaw, a wise old curmudgeonly character in Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.” I’m personally nothing like him, but this mannerisms and character are near and dear to my heart, and something I aspire to emulate. Nonsense need not be tolerated. Here are a few Jubalisms, and other favorite passages from the book….

            “A desire not to butt into other people’s business is at least eighty percent of all human ‘wisdom’…and the other twenty percent isn’t very important.”

            “Gratitude is a euphemism for resentment.”

            “Have you ever known me to be rude to a lady?” “I have seen you be intentionally rude to a woman. I have never seen you be rude to a lady.”

            “Democracy is a poor system of government at best; the only thing that can honestly be said in its favor is that it is about eight times as good as any other method the human race has ever tried. Democracy’s worst fault is that its leaders are likely to reflect the faults and virtues of their constituents – a depressingly low level, but what else can you expect?”

            “Christ was crucified for preaching without a police permit”

            “No matter what I said they insisted on thinking of God as something outside themselves. Something that yearns to take every indolent moron to His breast and comfort him. The notion that the effort has to be their own . . . and that the trouble they are in is all their own doing . . . is one that they can’t or won’t entertain.”

            “I’ve found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts so much… because it’s the only thing that’ll make it stop hurting”

            But that’s not all people laugh at.”
            Isn’t it? Perhaps I don’t grok all its fullness yet. But find me something that really makes you laugh sweetheart… a joke, or anything else- but something that gave you a a real belly laugh, not a smile. Then we’ll see if there isn’t a wrongness wasn’t there.” He thought. “I grok when apes learn to laugh, they’ll be people.”

            “Government! Three-fourths parasitic and the rest stupid fumbling – oh, Harshaw concluded that man, a social animal, could not avoid government, any more than an individual could escape bondage to his bowels. But simply because an evil was inescapable was no reason to term it “good.” He wished that government would wander off and get lost! (96)”

            “Were you born stupid, Heinrich, or did you have to study?”

            And one of my favorites:

            “God forbid that I should ever be a good influence on anybody.”

            Go Jubal!

          • Jethro

            Those are awesome quotes. Thanks for sharing. My new frustration relief saying: “Were they born stupid or did they have to study!?” Vickie laughed when I suggested a bumper sticker for the truck, “God forbid that I should ever be a good influence on anybody.” She knows me too well. I would have been burned at the stake in the village too. I don’t know if I’m above average or below average but my experience has proven I’m not average.
            An overhaul of many things would be desired by myself but an overhaul usually means changes not in my favor.

          • Craig

            I thought insanity is when we continue doing the same thing while expecting a different result…

          • Jethro

            Lies!!! it’s all lies! Sanity does not exist! Muahahaha…

          • Patrick Gannon

            “If we weren’t all crazy, we’d all go insane.” Jimmy Buffett.

          • Craig

            Bowled over…

        • Craig

          I know of a few institutionalized already for not being able to explain the concept of God to themselves…
          It’s a crazy world with bright ideas but little manifestation.

  • Raphael

    From the Union of Concerned Scientists:

    “If you had to pick one person to control billions of dollars in agricultural research funding, what qualifications would you seek?

    Right-wing radio hosting experience? A history of climate denial? A background devoid of any scientific degree or even relevant formal expertise?

    You just read the resume of Sam Clovis, President Trump’s nominee for chief scientist at the US Department of Agriculture. (Oh, and under “special skills” he might add spreading racist and homophobic slurs, and conspiracy theories about everything from climate science to President Obama’s birthplace…)¹

    The Clovis nomination epitomizes the President’s attitude toward science: in a word, contempt.”

    This is what the American evangelicals, who overwhelmingly voted to elect Trump, admire and support in this president. This is the danger not of spirituality, which is not anti-science or anti-reality, but of religion, especially of fundamentalist religion.

    Interestingly, this type of religion works very well with, favors and supports American corporatocracy, which is another word for fascism, and forms an unholy alliance with it, in a manner that parallels the way in which Catholicism allied itself with empire in former times.

    • Patrick Gannon

      “This is the danger not of spirituality, which is not anti-science or anti-reality, but of religion, especially of fundamentalist religion.”

      Completely agree when it comes to fundagelicals, but I think you are giving spirituality a pass it doesn’t deserve, depending on how the word “spirituality” is defined. Certainly if spirituality is defined as having a belief in gods, souls, consciousness, essential essence, or similar fields, energies, forces, psi, or whatever term you want to use, and these things are believed to have some impact in our natural world – then that definition of spirituality is definitely anti-science.

      This is a difficult issue for you “spiritual” people whose spirituality is based on anti-science beliefs, as you now find yourself on the same anti-science side as the Trumpers you bemoan.

      • Raphael

        The difference is significant: the spiritual outlook differs from science, but spirituality does not actively oppose science.

        American fundamentalist religion actively opposes science, through dangerous political involvement which challenges the separation of church and state.

        • Patrick Gannon

          That’s a rational and logical response, but aren’t those who believe in spiritual woo, indirectly supporting those anti-science fundies?

          Mainstream religious believers indirectly support terrorists by insisting that their primitive texts are sacred, holy, inspired, or literal, and in so doing they support those who do what the words in those texts tell them to do.

          Aren’t woo believers essentially doing the same thing? They believe in the same woo as the fundies, maybe even more so; since most fundies don’t go for all the ESP/psi stuff.

          There are two sides, and the woo spiritualists have chosen the anti-science side, and therefore they are, at least indirectly, supporting the fundies, who, as you correctly pointed out, want to degrade the line of separation between church and state. I see it as a simple matter of degree.

          • Raphael

            There is a lot of confusion out there.

            I am personally very leery of all mass movements and collective world views and beliefs, because in my view “group think” equals the end of individual thinking and the beginning of conformism, loyalty and being lead by an authority, whether it is an intellectual authority or a more primitive form of leadership.

            I cannot speak for others…I am of the type that goes west when everyone is heading east, would rather remain silent when everyone else is talking, and would rather claim ignorance when everyone else is claiming to have it all figured out.

            I won’t debate with you about what you call “woo”. There are a lot of false claims among new agers, which have to do with competitive human nature. Everyone wants to be “someone”…many claim to be healers, visionaries, shamans, psychics, etc, and you know that their claims are based on a basic need for attention, as well as, in some cases, a desire to make an easy living. But there are a few, very few, real cases of authentic “paranormal” gifts, most of which come from traditional indigenous cultures.

            Believe me, traditional Native Americans look at new agers in the same way you do…with extreme suspicion. Their traditions are not based on fairy tales. wishful thinking or make believe, but on thousands years of experience.

          • Patrick Gannon

            “But there are a few, very few, real cases of authentic “paranormal” gifts, many of which come from traditional indigenous cultures.”

            I’m not sure we can accept these cases as “authentic” until it’s confirmed under scientific scrutiny; and to the best of my knowledge, this does not exist. The paranormal itself cannot exist unless the laws of physics are wrong. That’s a pretty big step to take, isn’t it?