A Void to Avoid? Knowledge, Physics, Causality, Free Will, & the Realm of Spirit

nightmares

Turning emails into an essay, even when using only one side of the conversation (never mind two), is notoriously difficult. What makes writing compelling is that it can be (or invariably is) a medium for transmitting the author’s (or authors’) brain state(s) at the time of writing; this is what makes rewriting so tricky, even at the best of times.

In the following exchange between myself and Yevaud, we ended up agreeing that words are essentially worthless, and perhaps worse than worthless, when divorced from that soul transmission. In order to convert this private exchange into a blog post that replicates the energy of our exchange, & the urgency of it, the simplest way from A to B is a straight line, i.e., to reproduce the dialogue with occasional edits or changes for clarity, etc. So this is what I have done. Yevaud was more inclined to turn it into an essay and to this end he provided some links & other material, which he will probably add in the comments section.

Also, since email exchanges are not composed as thesis presentations, there was no clear starting point for this part of the discussion, hence what follows of necessity starts in mid-flow.

Jasun to Yevaud:

I think that any kind of information that offers coherence & understanding tends to foster hope; hope to understand, and therefore have some sort of control in one’s life. I guess you may be right that there is stuff out there that is designed to generate despair, but I’m not sure that it is separate from the Hope Industry, since clearly, generating despair is also a way to increase the demand for hope, and to increase people’s vulnerability & susceptibility to believing in the narratives on offer.

I’m not familiar enough with Montalk, but I’m pretty sure that, if he is offering an understanding of the universe, then he is also offering a way to apply that understanding in some way, like keys to the matrix or whatever; my overall skepticism isn’t about Montalk specifically but about knowledge in general. For me, Castaneda has come as close as I will ever need anyone to get in terms of providing a coherent model for understanding the universe, and still it didn’t work. It doesn’t work for me because it’s always based on the notion of using the will, using the intellect (not that they are the same thing), that somehow acting on knowledge amounts to power, that true knowledge is something that can be acted on.

I still think the information in Castaneda is largely good (that’s my guess), but it no longer matters to me because it’s not really applicable in the day-to-day way. This is why I’ve ended up with psychology as the only knowledge system that I continue to use and apply, because it seems to keep it in the realm of self-examination, which I think is the only place we can really exercise any kind of control anyway.

Yevaud to Jasun:

I get where you are coming from re: intellect/will/knowledge/power.  I have been stuck for a very long time on how to “use” such knowledge, and approach it semi-scientifically (as in empirically determining what “works” and does not “work”).  The problem of course is that for the last few years there is nothing I could legitimately attempt to manifest, using these approaches, without being sure that I was not upsetting some kind of cosmic balance, flattering my ego, or doing some other similar thing that would lead me astray.  What works for me in this latest exploration (of the Montalk material) is that (1) it puts closure on some of the doubts I’ve had regarding the reality of anything beyond the physical that is truly accessible to human consciousness; and (2) for me it reinforces the necessity of prioritizing a connection with spirit (as opposed to psyche) above all else as an organizing principle in life.  Not in head-in-the-sand kind of way, but rather as an understanding of the “why” of anything one undertakes in one’s daily life.

One thing you might find interesting: I read an article last night that lays out (in some plausible mathematical detail) what is so dangerous about staring too long and hard into the void: in a nutshell, it establishes a resonance pattern with futures in which you are more firmly locked into darker realities.  I don’t read this as an injunction to remain ignorant of darkness so much as a caution about psychic hygiene and maintaining appropriate psychic defenses if one is called to undertake that research.  Thoughts?

Jasun to Yevaud:

You talk about doubting the reality of anything beyond the physical, doubting that it’s accessible to human consciousness. I don’t really see how or where you’re able to draw a clear line about what is physical and what is not; for example, emotions can be understood as physical processes in the body and, regardless of whether we choose to interpret them that way or not, they’re certainly accessible to human consciousness. I’m not sure it’s possible, or desirable, to posit anything beyond the physical, access or not. For anything to have any kind of manifested existence, it seems to me it must have a physical dimension to it, unless we make some dichotomy between energy and matter, which doesn’t seem to be good physics.

You also wrote something about prioritizing a connection with Spirit as opposed to psyche, which I don’t understand. Not that I don’t understand the theoretical difference between psyche and spirit, but I don’t understand why you would oppose those two things. My guess is that you are expressing a desire to connect directly to the source of life and be guided by that, rather than by psychological patterns, or one’s unconscious?

As for the danger of “staring too long and hard into the void” and getting “more firmly locked into darker realities.” I think there’s an assumption in this about the meaning of darkness that makes it difficult for me to relate to this particular model. If you substitute darkness for unconscious, then what? Also, what is staring into the void exactly? I don’t see the research and investigations that I do as staring into the void. I don’t see mapping and trying to understand the various workings of mind control, child abuse, sexual trauma, psychic fragmentation, or even apparently Satanic agendas, I don’t see any of this as staring into the void, per se. Insofar as it is an emphasis on the darker aspects of reality, then it seems to me that it mirrors, and even answers, a deep compulsion in me to seek out what is hidden from my conscious awareness, but that is nonetheless influencing my actions in ways that I do not understand.

So all of this is potentially a means to know myself. The void I would be staring into then would be the void of my own trauma, which is an aspect of my psyche, or the condition of my soul. Regarding psychic defenses, I think the goal is much closer to relinquishing all such defenses than it is to establishing them; defenses from what? From establishing a resonance pattern with futures in which I am more firmly locked into darker realities? As I see it, what causes fixation, destructive compulsion, addiction, et cetera, isn’t to do with what one puts one’s attention on so much as the kind of attention one gives it. I think that the challenge of looking into these hidden realities, especially when they seem to directly pertain to myself, is to remain ambivalent, to allow what I am discovering to remain ambiguous, to resist the need to concretize anything or to identify, and/or identify with, any of this.

 

I suppose I view all of this as a potential trap, and yet one that has to be entered into as the way out is not through avoidance but passage through. Put differently, the fear of getting locked into “the lower circle of hell” is likely to prevent one from going all the way into that circle, in which case, one will always be locked into it by the very same fear of that happening…

Fear is a funny thing, tho I am only just barely laughing….  a titter will have to do 🙂

Yevaud to Jasun:

I think we are probably working towards the same goals, but have different models for doing so.

The question of what is physical vs. what is not physical is a good one for me to try to wrap my brain around.  A first cut at defining “physical” in this context is any phenomenon that is measurable using instruments based on electromagnetic energy, which is I suppose equivalent to saying anything that involves electro-weak forces (and, to the extent that both gravitational forces and strong-nuclear forces do cause measurable interactions with photons, those forces as well).  But I take as axiomatic (as do most systems other than conventional modern Western philosophies) that “consciousness” ontologically precedes matter, or (if you will) our physical world is some kind of simulation, in a sense, not the ultimate Reality.  This seems almost obvious to me by contemplating the extremes of what we understand as space (large and small) or the extremes of time, but I guess it is not obvious to others.  What I doubt or question is the accessibility of these more “real” dimensions to human consciousness, which is more or less a question that is equivalent to whether human beings are simply epiphenomena of this less-than-absolutely-Real physical dimension, or whether we are some kind of extrusion from a more real dimension (“Spirit”) into this physical one.  For the latter to be true, there would have to be some mechanism that connects our more “real” (“spiritual”) parts with our physical bodies, but for the most part modern neuroscience has ruled this out. (As you mention, psychological phenomena can be thought of as “merely” chemical interactions.)  *Except* if quantum events can cascade up to macro levels, and there is now evidence that they do: in biological systems.  [See note below regarding Jan Irvin and your digression.]   In particular, olfaction (long known to be deeply tied to memory) appears to possibly be a macro-level quantum phenomenon.  Then the inherent randomness of the quantum level of reality (shown empirically not to be derived from hidden physical variables) can directly interface with our macro biological world.  And thus freewill can enter our human realm, “magick” is possible (at least in limited degree) and it is possible to communicate with the more real realms (which I take to exist, axiomatically, though possibly not for human beings).  I hope this helps to clarify what I mean by “physical” and “spirit”.

“Psyche” is more difficult to define, because it occupies a border realm, and perhaps may be thought of as the interface between Spirit and physical body (if such a thing as a human spirit really exists), and because that interface must necessarily consist of representational structures that model and organize physical reality in a way that Spirit can functionally operate upon it, this would include (maybe synonymous with) psychological patterns, whether they are ultimately “caused” by epiphenomena of neurochemical interactions, or “spirit”.  [Causal inference is a deep rabbit hole in epidemiology, and it can be difficult, though not impossible, to come up with a satisfying definition of “cause”. However, yet another way of expressing my doubt/question about human Spirit is to ask whether all “causes” can be explained neurochemically, and I have other thoughts on this, below.]

Regarding “darkness”, I think the word has multiple meanings in this context, and you are correct to question my use of this term for what seem to be (upon further reflection) different concepts.  Your use of the term seems to largely refer to parts of the psyche that lie outside ones awareness.  In that sense, I don’t see a problem in trying to expand ones awareness, because, as you point out, expansion of awareness leads to less influence by these unknown factors, and therefore (in my hypothetical model) more freewill, or more chance for Spirit to make choices.  But in my last few communications, I have meant something else by “darkness”, more akin to black magick (if you will): operations of Will that reinforce the divorce of lower ego (defined as the self-reinforcing and self-referential psychic interface between spirit and matter, which tends towards self-preserving behavior) from Spirit.  In other words, desperate attempts of the lower ego to remain independent of Spirit, and resist the inevitable resorption.) These willful acts can be large or small, but the kinds of explorations you have been making (say, involving AC) entail very extreme acts of harm, inflicted upon seeming Others (in the physical world) but really upon Oneself (if seen from the vantage point of Spirit).

[As an aside: if we are all just physical epiphenomena with no deeper reality, then these acts of Will are all morally justified, since the law of the jungle operates here, and any act that bestows an advantage to oneself or ones tribe is “good”:  do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.  Of course, even with my doubts, I believe that there *is* a deeper reality to human beings, and so I view “do what thou wilt” as deeply false, if “thou” is understood to be the lower ego divorced from Spirit.]

With this meaning for “darkness”, I think there is some danger in investigating, because such investigations, if done too quickly without proper ballast in other parts of ones life, tends to draw in more of the same.  In a previous email, I have tried to explain how this might occur, but I don’t think my explanation is the only model that works; in any case, by many other accounts, it seems to be empirically true.  As part of a healthy psychic immune system, one may very well need to dig up some of this darkness (seems so in your case), i.e. one needs exposure, so I am not taking a black-and-white view of this. And, to extend the physiological analogy, if you happen to have a deeply integrated viral infection (HSV, which integrates itself into the host genome, or CMV, comes to mind) then more energy is needed in carrying out this “self-vs-other” recognition; thus, in your case, if you believe the infection is deep, further exploration may be justified.  However, I do think there is a danger of delving too deep too quickly.  Vaccines are conceived as controlled exposures that confer immunity, but the corresponding full-on infection can be lethal.  So, what I’m really saying is that, when involved with such investigations, it is a good idea to keep oneself psychically healthy with balanced, positive energy in other areas of one’s life.

Note re: quantum mechanics as a nefarious plot.  Perhaps.  I certainly have not, myself, conducted the experiments that demonstrate the necessity of this model (e.g. Young’s double slit experiment, at least not that I can remember, though something like it may have been part of a physics lab long ago in my undergraduate days).  However, taking such experimental evidence as given, I don’t see any way around the mathematics of quantum mechanics.  On the other hand, personal experience with meditation and magick suggest causal pathways beyond the conventional models; alone these could be dismissed as wishful thinking, but interacting with enough other people whose positions I respect seems to suggest that my experience is not isolated.  As to the idea of “causation”, the discipline of causal inference accounts for randomness via stochastic process theory (carefully defined in this context), so one can still posit a purely neurochemical model of causation without appealing to Spirit.  However, to quote a short story I really like (The Magician and Laplace’s Demon by Tom Crosshill): “’Cosmological symmetry breaking is well established,’ I said … ‘Quantum fluctuations in the inflationary period led to local structure, from which we benefit today.’ ‘Yes, but whence the quantum fluctuations?’ Ochoa chuckled…”  Indeed, whence the fluctuations?  What lies beyond the randomness built into our physical world?

FYI, here is the short story, which in addition to being entertaining, kind of explains my worldview a little bit.

One other thing that occurs to me after the wall of text I just sent you:  why so much intellectual energy used to expound upon an issue that, if I really believed in Spirit, should be lived intuitively rather than intellectually?  I think the answer is that it’s a personal struggle, parallel to your own.  I’ve made a living for 30 years by thinking rationally/scientifically/mathematically.  However, if the position I have been arguing is true, it is worth defending in my real life, it is worth living by. In that case, it calls for another way of making a living (nurse, vet tech, counselor, or even worker-bee at Costco).  So, to a certain extent, this is all a way to use the shovel I currently possess to dig my way out of the deep hole I find myself at this point in my life.  We are all excavating.

Jasun to Yevaud:

Epic.

I agreed with all of that, at least the parts I grokked. I should have more to add later.

I think we both know that we are more than “epiphenomena of this less-than-absolutely-Real physical dimension.” Whether we can believe what we know & whether it is desirable or wise to believe it, I don’t know.

Isn’t this a matter of what can be experienced and what can be thought about/languified, and the limitations of a form of perception that can only recognize what CAN be thought about, vs. one that does not require thought or interpretation in order to experience?

In other words, not so much a question of whether Spirit is accessible to human consciousness, but to which aspects of human consciousness?

There appears to be one aspect, the ego or false self, that can only exist in isolation from Spirit. Ergo, by definition, spirit will never be accessible to that aspect of human consciousness.

This is a terrible conundrum for the mind-based identity system to face. Yet since it is the Reality behind reality, face it it/we must.

There is a joke, or Joke, in here, if we can only be loose enough to “get it.”

Yevaud to Jasun:

To continue beating the language-horse … I was thinking about this on my drive home yesterday (I sometimes have a 90 minute commute), it all boils down to what “randomness” really means.  . . . That short story I mentioned really gets to the meat of the issue with zero math.  If you toss a coin 100 times, there is nothing physical that prevents you from getting heads 100 times in a row.  However, this is an extremely improbable event in our world.  Why?  I think the answer involves choice (as suggested in the short story).  Consciousness, what it means to “observe” (another point of contention among theoretical physicists attempting to understand the meaning of quantum mechanics), involves *choosing*.  God’s gift to us is our ability to choose.  The current cultural paradigm, led by Science, is attempting to rob us of choice, and thus can be considered to be blatantly satanic.

….

The main reason for digging into the quantum mechanics research (mostly via Wikipedia) was to see how much context I might be missing myself.  My physics training is limited to undergraduate work in the 80s, and a lot has happened since then.  There still seems to be no real consensus among physicists on what quantum mechanics really means, and one runs the risk of sounding extremely uneducated if all of the opposing viewpoints aren’t at least acknowledged.  However, my impression still stands:  physicists want determinism, they really do seem ideologically committed to it.  I wonder if it is ultimately circular:  “Science shows us that human minds are merely a deterministic bag of chemicals, we know this because physics -> chemistry -> biology -> neuroscience, and we know from physics that the world works like a billiard table, because … we’ve assumed it’s fully deterministic”.  Thus your impression that language (mathematics or otherwise) is not the way out of this mess is probably spot-on, and anyway I already “know” this in my heart, I’m just too cowardly to admit it!

 

35 thoughts on “A Void to Avoid? Knowledge, Physics, Causality, Free Will, & the Realm of Spirit

  1. Jasun, thanks for making this available for people to comment. Much of our conversation was abstract, trying to get at concepts that lie beyond language, using the limited tools of language. Some of this is about my own need to understand why I devoted a lifelong career to language and science.

    Some background for those who are interested in joining the conversation: Jasun’s post emerged out of an ongoing private correspondence between us over the Crowley material and the odd mock-sacrifice video filmed on the CERN campus. I want to issue a few acknowledgments about the conversation and some of the notes I will include here later in the Comments section: First, I am not trained as a physicist. I minored in physics as an undergraduate 30 years ago, and my knowledge could thus be criticized as outdated and somewhat superficial. I am, however, highly trained quantitatively, and operate professionally in the biomedical science arena, hence semi-fluent in the language of physics and fully fluent in the methods of science (though I disagree with universal the application of the latter, especially to humanistic concerns). Here in the Comments I will lay out some of the material Jasun and I discussed, in a slightly more streamlined (if boring) format, with some extra information, and some links. Again, I don’t claim to know everything about the topics we have been discussing, and I am always updating my perspectives and beliefs based on what I learn from others.

  2. One of the first things I want to say in response to (or upon reflection on) the dialog Jasun posted is to try to outline some of what I see as the moral dimensions of the problem. Using the language of occult, the basic question comes down to a choice between the so-called right-hand-path (RHP) and left-hand-path (LHP), or (in the language of some “fringe” writers*) service-to-self vs. service-to-others, recognizing that these two dualisms may not be perfectly equivalent.

    From as absolute a moral perspective as one can conceive as a human, is it proper (or at least allowed) to manipulate, exploit, and consume other beings, including human beings, to gain advantage for oneself or ones tribe? Crowley asserts “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”, but is this really justified (whatever apologies his footnotes make)? What ultimate metaphysical harm may come to one by following this law? If there is no “metaphysical”, i.e. nothing beyond the physical realm, then surely Crowley’s law is justified. For then every moral perspective (including altruism, which is closer to my own self-conceived path) is simply a preference, and the consequences of any moral perspective adopted by an individual or a society are limited to its downstream causal effects within the physical realm. Although the consequences of bad behavior can propagate down through generations and limit the survival of ones progeny, history shows us that this is not always the case, and the very worst murderous offenses can often lead to substantial material rewards (e.g. genocide of Native Americans). Might is right, the Law of the Jungle. Only if there are consequences outside the physical world does it make sense to prefer some moral systems over others, from an Absolute perspective (as opposed to an heuristic/provisional perspective that leads to a pragmatic, if relative, morality).

    This frame underlies the substance of our dialog, and places it in context with the other subjects Jasun writes about.

    *Note: Jasun mentions that some of our conversation was inspired by material written by “Montalk”, who is probably in the category of fringe science/metaphysics. I was reading some of his speculative scientific material, which I found rather interesting. However, I am less sure about the material on extra/infra-terrestrials, as I am agnostic about the physical existence of such beings.

  3. A more streamlined version of my attempt to define “physical” (which Jasun points out is a word that is not entirely well-defined in the context of this conversation), with some URLs: A first cut at defining the physical world is the set of all phenomena that can, in principle, be measured using the instrumentation developed over the last several thousand years (especially the last 500) in the context of what we understand, conventionally, to be the domain of science. These instruments are largely or exclusively based on the forces of electromagnetism, but by virtue of known interactions theorized by the Standard Model of physics, the physical world by this definition would also include phenomena arising from gravitation and strong and weak nuclear interactions. Note that all chemical phenomena (and therefore all biochemical phenomena) are based exclusively on electromagnetic interactions. “Nonphysical” phenomena would then consist of anything other or more than the phenomena studied by (credentialed) physicists.

    I take it as axiomatic that the physical world is not the ultimate layer of reality. This is assumed by almost every system outside conventional modern Western Science, and it is almost obvious if one contemplates the extremes of what we understand to be space (astronomical/cosmological scales and subatomic scales) or what we understand to be time (the Big Bang and the ultimate fate of the universe). A related line of conjecture from within modern Western thought is Bostrom’s Reality-is-a-Simulation hypothesis [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis]. However, the assertion that the physical world is merely a subset of ultimate reality does not immediately lead to the conclusion that human beings and human minds necessarily entail nonphysical dimensions. The human mind may still merely be epiphenomenon of neurochemical interactions, the nonphysical world lying beyond our ability to communicate or interact causally. We could all be sim characters interacting in a simulated computer environment, with no way to communicate or influence our players or creators. Thus, what is required is a true mind/body duality. Not only must there be a nonphysical layer of reality, there must also be a causal interface between that layer of reality and the physical. In addition, for this interface to be relevant to human morality, the nonphysical must be capable of causally interacting with the physical world at scales of space and time in which human concerns operate, i.e. the “macro” or “classical” scales of physics. (In addition, it is desirable that the interaction must display the attributes of “intelligence”, although because it is difficult to define intelligence, I have been very sloppy about this dimension of the problem.)

    At first blush, neuroscience seems to rule out a dualistic interface. Many if not most aspects of personality have been demonstrated conclusively to be entirely based on neurophysiology and neurochemistry. However, the physical system that comprises the mammalian brain is nonlinear and complex to an extreme degree, theorized to exist in a state of self-organized-criticality [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-organized_criticality] wherein very small changes in state can lead to qualitatively distinct effects in macro-level behavior. This opens up a question as to whether the quantum effects — effects observed at the smallest scale of our physical world and which display some strange and counter-intuitive attributes — scale up to the macro-level world of human activity.

    In another comment, I’ll go into more detail about quantum effects and whether they might scale up to the macro level, but Wikipedia provides a tolerably readable article on the basics and history of quantum mechanics, and how it differs from classical/Newtonian physics that seems to describe our familiar world of human activity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics

  4. by using science/math/physics as a (s)hell game that is fake but works- they are removing “gods influence” or “quantum decision” or “souls” or whatever- from the Matrix, isolating our Matrix and ourselves from the larger network.

    think, the carpet from The Shining- the 3D where your college education “works” is the red cube

    sorry, I bet that degree was expensive..

  5. Friends, I am tempted to sing: “Don’t bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to me”. Contemplative meditation and silence are proven theological antidotes to the magic and often troubling power of the human voice especially when it is in a race to either the bottom or the top of our intellect’s desire to survive by ‘winning’. You are both coming from good places but danger lurks. We can hurt our health with extraneous efforts to break open the Seven Seals in a fluster. As prisoners of ego, most of the time; it dawns on us that our thoughts are not original but reflections of a greater wisdom and knowledge and that it is just unreasonable to think we can think ourselves beyond Hope…

    • Vivian, thanks for your words of wisdom. I agree that meditation and silence are important antidotes, and they are the other half of the “equation” (if you will), certainly incorporated into my life (and more and more as the years go by).

      The endgame of this discussion (to be fleshed out later in comments when I have time) is that Science has a “satanic” energetic signature, in the sense of it being ideologically committed in opposition to Spirit and freewill. This has been an exercise mostly for myself (maybe Jasun too, or at least with his indulgence) and perhaps others like me, who have straddled the fence for a very long time, wondering why the material world led by Science seems so dead, but not fully willing to trust the Spirit either. By using the tools of language/math/Science, the aim is to show that Science as an explanation for consciousness leads to a dead end (long a go Kurt Goedel did something similar in a very formal way, but nobody really listened to him other than to exclaim “what a mathematical genius!”). This (Hopefully) leads to confidence in abandoning language/math/Science and trusting the other voice.

  6. OK, more about quantum mechanics. Remember, a large part of the inspiration for the conversation between Jasun and myself was the CERN thing. WTF is CERN really doing!? To approach the question from a “balanced” perspective (meaning, not immediately reacting to the CERN video with OMG human sacrifice!, but neither rushing to dismiss it merely because Serious Physicists would never do such a thing), it might be helpful to think about physical models and what they might really tell us about our human reality, if anything.

    What are quantum effects? These are effects observed at the smallest scale of physical reality, which seems to disobey many of the conventional rules we assume of the physical world. The first oddity of the quantum world is that the constituents of atoms behave non-deterministically, in a manner that seems to imply an intrinsically random layer to physical reality. Albert Einstein and others thought that the apparent randomness of subatomic phenomena was merely the result of incomplete or missing information about the physical system being investigated, the so-called Hidden Variable hypothesis [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_variable_theory ]. John Bell proved that for hidden variables to exist (within a system under observation) certain mathematical relationships must hold [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell%27s_theorem ], and empirical evidence has since demonstrated that they do not. Later theories have tried to recover strict determinism by proposing that the hidden variables lie not within the system under observation, but within the environment that functions as the observer of the system [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_decoherence ]; these theories are not universally accepted among physicists, and have been criticized by some as dependent upon circular reasoning [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einselection ]. The second oddity of the quantum world is its seeming dependence upon the Observer, famously illustrated by the thought experiment affectionately known as “Schrodinger’s cat” [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat ] and followed up by “Wigner’s friend” [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wigner%27s_friend ], by which physicist Eugene Wigner tried to argue that “consciousness” was a necessary component of quantum measurement.

    These two oddities have disturbed theoretical physicists to such a degree that they have fueled passionate discussions for almost a century, culminating in the formation of several opposing camps, with diverse interpretations of quantum mechanics [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics ]. There are numerous attributes that can be used to compare and contrast these various interpretations, and probably the most relevant ones for this discussion are whether the interpretation is deterministic, and whether it privileges a special role for an “observer” entity. For in positing either intrinsic randomness, or else a causal role for a privileged observer to influence an otherwise deterministic system, a theory is admitting that there are ultimately factors that causally interact with the physical world yet are non-physical (at least in some sense). Thus a human brain may be simultaneously physical yet causally influenced by something that is nonphysical, according to the definition I have used above. This opens up the possibility of a dualistic mind that exists (or could exist) independently of the physical brain, meaningfully interact with the physical world, and thus suffer nonphysical consequences as a result of actions performed or experiences encountered in the physical world.

    There is yet one objection, that quantum level phenomena are only observed at scales much smaller than is relevant to human activity. This apparently follows from Heisenberg’s inequality [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle ], which seems to suggest that any intrinsic non-determinism should be limited to very small scales. It has been suggested that the “non-determinism” typically encountered in biological systems is entirely thermodynamic, i.e. explained by classical physics, i.e. hidden variables (states that cannot be measured for reasons of logistics or practical feasibility rather than fundamentally theoretical reasons) and not based on random behavior intrinsic to the physical world. I think that the objection can be answered in two ways. The first is that thermodynamic randomness is ultimately a result of quantum fluctuation. Consider a system that starts out with no classical indeterminacy (say, a perfect solid crystal cooled to absolute zero and subsequently irradiated by a perfect laser), but whose thermodynamic properties (heat transfer) nevertheless evolve non-deterministically as a consequence of quantum-level fluctuation. The second and more convincing response is that the behavior of enzymatic interactions must necessarily involve quantum-level properties local to the molecule, and the nonlinear cascades typical of biological systems thus may be triggered by intrinsically random events. There is some evidence emerging that this is so: photosynthesis and olfaction (the latter known to be closely associated with memory in mammalian brains) may be partially driven by quantum-level phenomena [ http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160715-organisms-might-be-quantum-machines ]. If you recall that mammalian brains are potentially in a state of self-organized-criticality, and consider that many physical processes familiar to biologists could be driven by quantum-level indeterminacy, then it seems reasonable to entertain the notion that quantum effects are observed at the macro level, specifically in biological systems and especially within the mammalian brain.

  7. The scientific point of view appeals to me up to a point, just as the religious point of view does: up to a point. The magical point of view in some ways seems to be a synthesis of, or a midpoint between, the scientific and the religious; the artistic point of view, imaginative, creative, is the one that I feel most comfortable with. When I read the comments by Yevaud, I feel that I’m somewhat out of my depth, but I also feel grateful I’m not equally bound by the need for a rational understanding of existence. I appreciate the scientific point of view most especially, as in this case, when it’s applied to interpretations, questions, that relate to spiritual subjects. I am equal parts sceptic and believer (gullible), and the two sides seem to be in constant struggle, if not war, to achieve dominance over one another (or perhaps balance between the two). There are things I feel that I know, but as soon as I try to think or talk about them in rational terms, I am obliged to doubt them. Rationality seems to demand doubt, almost to be equivalent with doubt. I think skepticism in all things is good, insofar as it entails a constant questioning, a checking, of what is real and what is true and what is experiential, at any given moment; but there is a difference between questioning and trying to shut down, oppose, or blot out any ideas that undermine one’s sense of identity. (I am dictating this so it is going in a less structured fashion than typing; I am also playing with my cat as I dictate.)

    Anyway.

    The point by Yevaud that I most wanted to address is the one about morality relating to physical and/or metaphysical existence. The idea is that Crowley, or whoever, might have been fully justified in endorsing certain forms of action if he believed, and especially if it were actually true, that there was no larger context or consequence for our actions than the purely physical. (Of course, Crowley, like all magicians and religious or mystical types, did not believe this, but anyhow.) To me what Yevaud is addressing here is the question of nihilism more than pragmatism. A purely materially-based perspective, in which self-interest seems to be justified and there is no other consideration besides the gains of food or sex or power or whatever else the organism requires, seems to only really be feasible with an organism that cannot question its materiality or the limits of its materiality. In other words, one that (unlike human beings) is not able to posit questions, possibilities, from a sense of self-awareness, but that is acting mechanically, biologically (not that these are synonymous), so there are no real decisions or questions involved. Everything is instinctive. When it comes to human beings, then even if their philosophy is that all we are is meat with electricity going through, they are still able to contemplate this and experience the corresponding anxiety, or whatever else it stirs in them. There is no margin for real pathology to develop in deterministically, biologically driven kinds of organic existence, just as whatever pathology exists in the so-called animal kingdom is negligible, as compared to what we see in the human realm.

    What I’m trying to get at here is that, with self-awareness confronted by mortality and the limits of our biology, enters the inevitability of nihilism, a sense of crushing futility which can make existence all but unbearable and so drive us into kinds of behaviors, behaviors that, while also geared towards a kind of self-interest, are generally destructive both of others and, in the deeper sense, of oneself. What interests me about Crowley, and what I’ve been attempting to explore in the work I’ve been doing offline, is that there seems to be a magical/metaphysical rationale for extreme immoral or amoral behaviors (the path of transgression), one that entail committing extreme physical acts of abuse, ritual or otherwise, sacrificial violence, and other forms of extreme behavior, that bring about a correspondingly extreme change in the consciousness of those engaged in these behaviors. The Marquis de Sade comes most easily to mind here, and I am currently attempting to read a biography of De Sade precisely in order to better understand this subject. But right now Nature calls, quite literally. I will end now and try to continue this stream of thought tomorrow.

  8. hmmmm, a magical/metaphysical rationale for extreme immoral or amoral behaviors..
    crazy is as crazy does
    pay the piper – buy the ticket, take the ride -etc, etc
    happy birthday !

  9. To me, Crowley is clearly an agent for the government/intelligence and …… extreme immoral and amoral behaviors have intentionally been normalized over the past century+. We are in the wings waiting for the day when ‘sex with children’ is okay.

    Crowley’s wikipedia page is like a biography, extremely thorough, as if…… Crowley still matters to this day or at least the official spooks want him and his magick to matter. Ahhh yes, the spooks and their Baphomet worshiping… wasn’t George Bush reading about goats 15 years ago on this day. Hmmmm. Let them eat cake!

    Time for Satan and Lilith (Babylon/Aphrodite=Whore) be put to rest.

    Jasun, you always write about psyche (Psyche) but fail to include Eros. And yes, it does matter. And no, Eros is not about sex. Eros = Love. Words are used as weapons….

  10. There is something between the physical and Spirtual world that cannot be explained in terms of physics. I was looking at a CGI of a asian girl that looks exactly like a real person. Since we tend to replicate our world in computers (I don’t get why yet), I was thinking that probably soon this girl will get a conscience and ask to herself (and the world around her) the cause of her existence. Trying to understand the rules of the world where she lives. We could see her in the simulated world and it will be obvious for us to understand her existence as a 3D reflex of a 4D world (our world). We could even restart the computer (stop time) and she will not notice it. If only we could bring her to our world and show her that everything that she takes for granted is only a simulation made by an idle programmer from a superior dimension… or we could wait until she realizes that she can build her own simulated world.

  11. Some of the comments Jasun’s post has generated caused me to briefly doubt myself in appealing to the hyper-rational viewpoint (which I would be the first to admit is fundamentally flawed). However, lately in other venues, I’ve been reading a number of articles or FB comments that use Science to condescendingly talk down to anybody who rejects the false dichotomies set up in this society (credentialed authority vs. benighted hillbilly, nihilist scientist vs. fundamentalist Christian, literal human sacrifice vs. meaningless prank without context, etc.)

    I think their is value in fighting back, using the methods the “enemy” has created. By using science and language to deconstruct the lies, by demonstrating that a critic of nihilist Scientism need not be ignorant of science, one points to a third alternative.

    And while it’s tempting to simply sit back, surrender, and allow God’s Will (or Whatever) to manifest, some things are worth fighting for, if for no other reason to recognize who you really are.

    • @Yevaud – I appreciate that you called out the practice of some scientific rationalists to insist on applying that philosophical lens to absolutely everything whether it’s appropriate to do so or not. Art is not science, nor is religion; emotions are not necessarily rational, yet there are some who think that they must be tortured to fit the scientific rational model. That flattens and cheapens life of mystery, synchronicity, and beauty. I don’t insist on applying the tenets of mysticism to science, and don’t see why the reverse is so often attempted, like people who think because science exists, then God cannot. I was actually thinking about why that would be so recently when I was walking down the street, why some people cannot see past that worldview, and had the realization that they may simply be dogged materialists, little different than a person who can only think in terms of money, or power, or real estate. They only difference is the exact manifestation. I find it deeply aggravating, like trying to have a meaningful conversation with someone like Donald Trump.

  12. It is a struggle to find one’s voice, that is, locate and amplify the transmission of the Soul/Spirit, and for me also this seems to entail pitting two internal viewpoints against one another, neither of which is true or complete, in this case, the credulous mystic (who believes everything but also knows stuff at a non-mental level), and the skeptical scientist, who doubts everything but who can’t access that non-mental knowing, or refute it, either.

    It’s also an opportunity for the rubber of belief/faith/knowing to meet the road of practical application of same.

    • @Jasun – I used the Blade Runner soliloquy on death above, and I think I may have accidentally hit on something usefully symbolic in this context. Roy Batty is a machine, but he is programmed for consciousness and begins to think on his own as he amasses experiences. Thus he is unique and his viewpoint and memories are as valid as any “real” human. He’s a pretty good icon of a human programmed by social convention and conditioning, who grows beyond it, the flame of the credulous mystic consciousness burning in the lamp of the computer. Substitute material body for machine and how different is he from any man? It’s so transcendent it’s almost Sufi, the created contemplating the creator and finding that to be more of a mirror than he bargained for.

  13. hehe, don’t doubt yourself yevaud. all inquiry from the heart is good. and you seem like the type.
    so, yeah, sorry. was totally doing that on purpose. only to counter all the science in this particular post.
    I think I did this to the Joseph Farrell fan too.

    science has prolonged friends lives. enabling them to live and spread joy to others.

  14. A lot of this is over my head. I didn’t read the the whole post, or the comments. What I did read, I didn’t understand it completely. So with what follows, bear that in mind.

    As we peel things back, Newton’s models worked, up until the point they didn’t. Quantum models: same deal. They don’t explain all the data. Will future models? I bet no. They’ll work up until the point/level they don’t. Then it’ll be on to the next thing.

    Coincidentally, I’ve been reading a lot of Montalk’s writing recently. The alien/ufo and paranormal stuff, primarily. It resonates with me.

    In the same way we influence and ‘farm’ and exploit everything on the planet, maybe other lifeforms are doing the same thing to us. That’s my bet. Everything’s got to eat.

    The insidious deceptive elements apparent with ufo/alien phenomena, seem horrific. It’s bad enough they seem to have a massive strategic advantage over us. To then conceal and use trickery in their actions? It’s awful. But then, we do the same thing to life lower on the chain.

    I don’t know what aliens “are”, or if they’re “from” someplace. Doesn’t seem important. It’s a phenomena that exists. That’s all that matters.

    The psychological explanation will always be a reasonable one – even if one is lucky/unlucky enough to have an encounter with the phenomena, I suspect. Particularly for those who value scientific explanations of things.

    • I distrust any material about aliens (or even “aliens”) at this point, since a great deal of these phenomena appear to be human-staged as part of the ongoing organized abused programs. Maybe they have successfully generated beings, either from elsewhere or the human unconscious, or both, but if so then we’re still talking about effects as if they were causes. Maybe we always are. Certainly that’s the metaphysical model, that the casual world is really just downstream effects from a hidden dimension. I lean towards a more “ad vaita” non-dual approach, that form is the expression of consciousness rather than a side effect of it. Most of these models whether mystical or scientific seem to be hierarchical. To even speculate whether there are nonhuman entities feeding on us, we’d have to find the limits of human consciousness to know whether those entities are us, or not…?

  15. @Fleurdamour: I think there is a continuity between art, science, religion, and magic and that they are complementary, like different lenses for a single “device” (perception). Like the senses, they need to work together to work at all.

    Yesterday I was walking in the forest with my wife & wondering how it was that so many people could imagine that things in existence lacked consciousness when consciousness is all we know, ourselves. Her response led to an insight that we project unconsciousness onto nature and existence in general to the degree that we are ourselves unconscious. I’d say this is the real difference between a coherent perceptual lens and one that obscures, not whether it is scientific or not, but whether it is conscious, and to what degree, and thereby allows everything that is being observed and analyzed to be conscious, also. This seems like a mystical viewpoint, but if so, that only underscores the bankruptcy (lack of consciousness) of the so-called scientific one. (The mystical viewpoint has its own equivalent drawbacks.)

    • @Jasun – Your wife sounds very wise. I think a lot of humanity’s problems can be attributed to projecting our limitations instead of owning them.

      And it’s amazing how walking gets the brain going, isn’t it?

    • @Jasun: consider the use of “model organisms”:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_organism

      Does this add any context to the concept of “sacrifice” at the hands of Science?

      (Remember what I said about science being ultimately “satanic” on the CERN thread? I realize that I haven’t finished writing down the full argument whose trajectory ends with this idea, but as I mentioned, I started to doubt myself. I will finish at some point in time…)

  16. @Yevaud: I am a bit unsure how to apply model organism here just yet, as it is such a new concept. What are your thoughts?

    Perhaps unrelated, tho not to the larger subject, you may recall this which I posted at RI some time ago, based on Rene Girard’s teachings. I happened upon it today (while discussing the death penalty on Faceborg with a Christian), and was struck by the line bolded below, in contrast to your point about science:

    VIOLENCE & THE SACRED

    • It is not that the sacred is violence but that Man’s reaction to the sacred is violence.

    • All reactions are reactions against. In contrast, the natural response to the sacred is awe, which is expressed as surrender.

    • “The hidden function of the sacred has been to get people to sacrifice to it.” The reason is that, when faced with God/the sacred, Man experiences two things: 1) His mortality and expendability. 2) His inferiority—from which he deduces his “sinful” nature—as apart from God/the sacred.

    • Man’s defense against “shock and awe” in the face of the sacred is to try and appease God by making offerings. Man offers up life in place of his own.

    • Every sacrifice is a surrogate for the self.

    • The true response to the sacred is the self-sacrificial “act” of surrender. To surrender is to become one with God (be devoured by God), which is to allow the sacred to possess us and dwell within us.

    • To avoid the true response of self-sacrifice, Man re-creates God in his own image, as a vengeful demon demanding sacrifice. He then selects and slays “the other,” both in place of himself and in lieu of the impossible act, that of killing God.

    • Man thereby defiles the sacred and brings it/God down to his own level. This is instead of rising (and sinking) to meet the sacred on its level, of which he feels incapable and/or unworthy.

    • The original sin is projection, first of the sacred onto an external “God,” and then of the shadow of the sacred, which is sacrificial murder. Worship of the divine is therefore the fundamental “satanic” act, satanic in the sense of what is adverse or opposed to God’s will.

    • Worship increases the gulf between the sacred and the profane, and that gulf can only be bridged by violence (sacrifice). “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12)

    • To conceal from himself his hubris (defiance of God/the sacred), Man had to create a surrogate “other” onto which to project his fear and hatred of the divine. Woman was the obvious other to receive that projection. Since Mankind includes Womankind, however, the violence goes both ways, and branches off into many subsets of otherness, not just biological but sexual, racial, religious, political, and so on.

    • The irony of this is that all of mankind’s in-fighting is the result of a collective agreement: the agreement to deny, defy, reject and despise God/the sacred.

    • Children make the “best” sacrifices because they most closely represent the true nature of the despised otherness—innocence and purity. And children remain the one oppressed “other” that crosses all borders, whether of sex, race, or denomination.

    • In the war of Man against God, the child—representing the sacred, divine self—is hence both the first and last casualty, the original and ultimate “other.”

    • @Jasun. The point of the “model organism” (or “animal model” as the term is commonly used) is that it is a euphemism for mass animal sacrifice. Which can only happen if you view animals as so many objects to be used (in response to your wife’s observation). This is a HUGE part of Science, but it seems like we never talk about it. And while “murine models” (mice) are the usual victims, I’ve worked in or near facilities where monkeys and dogs (i.e. creatures we are more inclined to think of as human-like or human companions) were also used.

      Re: worship as a satanic act, I don’t know. It seems very predicated to me on one particular Abrahamic interpretation of “God”. I take a more Gnostic (or Gnostic Christian) view, where the God that is commonly worshiped is actually a false god, and the true Source (or Sophia or Whatever) is fundamentally inaccessible to the human mind in Its Entirety, although communication is possible via a special channel created for that purpose (Christ, if you want to call it that). However, that latter part is still a working hypothesis, I’m still figuring out what it means to communicate with the ultimate Source, if it’s even possible at any level. I feel that it is, but I’m still working out how.

  17. I was reading an article that made me think about you guys. It says that emotions generate the production of hormones in our bodies, demonstrating that emotions (which are not physical) have a physical response. Good emotions make us happy and generous. Bad emotions make us stressed and sick. So what we think is not physical, it is and can be measured.
    About animals, my father worked for a long time in a rabbit farm. For him animals were absolutely consciousless. He thought it was ridiculous to think that animals could “feel” or have any emotion. People try to give everything a conscience like the one we have, we try to make the world like we are instead of understanding it. Same with sacrifice. Somewhere says that you can kill a man if you are defending yourself, or your country, because what makes killing a bad thing is the intention. So you can kill, but you can’t enjoy killing because the intention is what makes you a bad person. I think this thought is the best excuse for every stupid act we have done as human kind. But the truth is that we are here now thanks to science.

  18. @Yevaud: you are making worship & communication synonymous? Acc to one site (Etymology): “The word is derived from the Old English weorþscipe, meaning worship, honour shown to an object, which has been etymologised as “worthiness or worth-ship”—to give, at its simplest, worth to something.”

    This doesn’t sound so bad & could even be fairly close to communication; it also brings to mind a quote (RAW?), “Communication is only possible between equals.”

    On the other hand: “In the New Testament various words are used for worship. The word proskuneo “to worship” means to bow down to Gods or kings.[Wikipedia]”

    This is closer to how I meant the word, to bow down to, subjugate or submit to, and explicitly entails a relationship of non-equals. (God does not worship man.)

    The main point for me is that to worship presumes a separation between that which worships and that which is worshipped.

    This seems to relate to science (on the surface the opposite of a worshipful attitude): “science (n.) mid-14c., “what is known, knowledge (of something) acquired by study; information;” also “assurance of knowledge, certitude, certainty,” from Old French science “knowledge, learning, application; corpus of human knowledge” (12c.), from Latin scientia “knowledge, a knowing; expertness,” from sciens (genitive scientis) “intelligent, skilled,” present participle of scire “to know,” probably originally “to separate one thing from another, to distinguish,” related to scindere “to cut, divide,” from PIE root *skei- “to cut, to split” (source also of Greek skhizein “to split, rend, cleave,” Gothic skaidan, Old English.”

    Ironically, this brings to mind one of the most resonant (to me) lines from Crowley’s Liber Al: “Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt.”

    Distinguishing animals from humans and viewing them as objects makes them fit for sacrifice (as a surrogate for the self). To ritually (& science can also employ rituals) slay an animal is to observe both the reactions of the slayed and of the slayer, oneself, and to to bring about change (in consciousness) in conformity with will.

    I think it is also a desperate, possibly futile, means to try and abolish the illusion of separation between slayer & slain, Man & God, by tapping into (by violence) the deeper layers of consciousness where there is a continuum between all things (death is the leveler?). If the murine model is a stand-in for the self, then ritualistically killing, torturing, or sexually abusing another (whether rat, monkey or child) is an attempt to experience what they are experiencing vicariously (as in compulsive re-enactment of trauma), and so merge with them.

    • @Jasun, I think I tend to avoid the word “worship”, especially when it means to “bow down” in subjugation. “Communicate” is also probably problematic for different reasons. I tend to think more in terms of “recognition”. God as Source, or Ground-of-Being, is so large that it’s hard to think of communication as occurring between equals; on the other hand, I don’t think of such an entity as requiring subjugation, as It would not have an ego-driven need for such a thing, and anyway I am part of It. Of course in saying this, I’m projecting all kinds of things from my own ego, and making all kinds of hidden assumptions.

      Which is why I feel more comfortable trying to get at this with science (if I’m going to do the language-based thing at all); for all of its many flaws, science does recognize the limits of language (you have to define your terms before you can use them), while other philosophical approaches can get kind of sloppy.

  19. I never actually finished the full-text version of the argument I intended to make here in the comments. I’m happy to do so, but it seems like the readership isn’t interested in it (which is fine, I don’t take it personally … I’m used to writing long academic tracts, part of my job description, but it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea). However, there is a related topic up at RI (under the “The Mandela Effect” thread, http://rigorousintuition.ca/board2/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=40034. On that thread, Jasun reproduced some of my personal emails on the subject, which I will quote again here (slightly revised):

    ***
    The Mandela Effect is eminently testable. The folks at https://www.reddit.com/r/DimensionalJumping have devised several really easy experiments to *intervene* on ones personal timeline, they are much more straightforward than any, say, Wiccan ritual, requiring only some basic meditation skills (and I mean basic). I’ve tried a couple of them, they do kinda work. Yes, it’s a form of low magick, but …. if you don’t believe in the fundamental malleability of Reality, then there isn’t really any danger, and if your experiment comes up null, all you’ve really lost is an hour of your time (less time than it takes to dredge up old Moonraker videos from your attic.)

    I have to be clear that I view these methods as potential experiments that can show the malleability of reality in a *prospective* fashion. It can’t prove anything “scientifically”, but it can demonstrate, on an individual basis (in the same way meditation does) certain provisional truths about the nature of our reality/realities. An individual can undertake these experiments and discover, for themselves, that the results are null, and of course that’s the end of it for that person. I’m fine with people who have done that. But to make fun of the concepts without ever testing them out, well… that says a lot about ones spirit of inquiry.

    ***

    I would take responsibility for my statements on the RI forum itself, except that I don’t have an account there (and don’t want one). However, the fact of having posted that text means that Jasun will inevitably encounter an obvious objection: any observed effects of the “jumping” experiments are explained by confirmation bias. And of course, confirmation bias is absolutely, exactly what the phenomenon entails. However, this dismissal completely ignores the fact that *everything* the “I” experiences is confirmation bias. Our entire experience of reality consists of selecting small bits of data from an infinity of phenomena, from a space that has a fractal structure (i.e. there is no end to the detail one can select). The real question is how much control the “I”, the experiencer, has over what is selected. I hypothesize: much more than we’re led to believe. The limits of this control are testable, and should be tested. This relates to some of the material Jasun and I have discussed in the context of this thread.

    What is at stake is the ability of the “I” to exercise some control over its experience, in a world (the one Jasun, I, and the readers of this blog seem to be sharing) dominated by powers that demand totalitarian control over our awareness. Reclaiming our experience is a potentially revolutionary act. And colonization of our awareness is ultimately the objective of all the perverse varieties of black magic Jasun has examined on this blog.

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