How can we know there's no death

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Sum
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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by Sum » Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:57 pm

ashley72 wrote:I don't know if my attentive nature continues after physical death...because I'm still alive. I can only speculate about such things.
I agree. Nothing wrong with speculation, as long as we recognize it as such.
But I can directly see that my attentive nature is what observes my egoic mind at play. I can also directly see my egoic mind arguing about such conceptual matters.
What do you mean by "I"? I know Tolle talks about this, but in my opinion he doesn't take it far enough. If "I-2" can observe "I-1" arguing about concepts, what about "I-3" observing "I-2", "I-4" observing "I-3", and so on ad infinitum? It reminds me of a dream I had once, where I dreamed that I dreamed that I was dreaming. Going back one step of observation doesn't prove that particular "I" is any more the real "I" than the "I" being observed.

What about the possibility of split consciousness? The brain has the capacity for self-observation, and in extreme cases of schizophrenia can even segment itself into multiple discrete identities. This doesn't prove one identity is any more "real" than the other identities.

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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by Sum » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:11 pm

smiileyjen101 wrote:I wouldn't look at nde for evidence of permanent death, but to clair abilities for evidence of permanent life.Their bodies may not have returned, but many communicate after their bodies are well and truly 'gone'.
Jeffrey Long's book "Evidence of the Afterlife" was mentioned earlier in the thread. I applaud his effort to take a systematic, scientific approach to understanding whether or not "clair abilities" reflect an actual ability to communicate with the energies of people that have died.

It is a good first step, but unfortunately his study design didn't rule out other possible explanations, and as such was flawed. I was disappointed to realize this, once I got into the meat of the book.

I don't deny that there could be some truth to such abilities, but unfortunately there doesn't appear to be clear evidence for them at this time. Hopefully someone will take another stab at systematically studying these claims. It's not that difficult, for example, to design a study that places a telepath in a laboratory and determines whether they are able to accurately determine what color the person is thinking of more often than would be possible through chance alone. The studies I've read that have done this have failed to find evidence for supernatural claims. This doesn't prove they don't exist, only that they haven't been supported yet by reliable evidence.

Sum
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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by Sum » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:19 pm

ashley72 wrote:NDE'r are claiming their experiences are evidence of an afterlife. Which is completely invalid because they have a brain when the experiences occur.
Again, I agree with your logic. I just don't see you applying it to your own beliefs :)

Every belief, including your belief that consciousness exists independent of your brain, is "completely invalid" because you have a brain at the time you experience that belief. It's impossible to separate the potential influence of your brain on your beliefs, as long as your brain is alive.

Sum
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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by Sum » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:55 pm

ashley72 wrote:
randomguy wrote:But the deep stillness that Tolle talks about, doesn't contain mental imagery...."Out of body Experiences", "Tunnel Experiences", "Seeing the Light" that are popular amongst NDE'r. All these experiences contain the perspective of an individual "I" observing.... which is the egoic mind at play.
I believe Tolle also talks about an individual "I" experiencing deep stillness. The experience may be free of mental concepts, but it is rife with "emotional" concepts, and there is still an individual "I" having the experience.

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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by Sum » Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:11 pm

Webwanderer wrote:
karmarider wrote: 'I don't know' is a healthy recognition. 'I can't know' is a belief in limitation that stifles the growth in understanding. And there has been considerable discounting of the value of feeling or intuiting as a legitimate path to greater understanding.
There seems to be an underlying assumption that "feeling" and "intuiting" are somehow superior to "thinking", but why is that? Don't emotions and intuitions still require a brain in order to exist? If the brain is dead, how can we experience emotions and intuitions?

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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by Webwanderer » Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:15 pm

Sum wrote:
Webwanderer wrote:
karmarider wrote: 'I don't know' is a healthy recognition. 'I can't know' is a belief in limitation that stifles the growth in understanding. And there has been considerable discounting of the value of feeling or intuiting as a legitimate path to greater understanding.
There seems to be an underlying assumption that "feeling" and "intuiting" are somehow superior to "thinking", but why is that? Don't emotions and intuitions still require a brain in order to exist? If the brain is dead, how can we experience emotions and intuitions?
It is an assumption that thoughts and emotions solely and uniquely originate in the brain. How does one measure consciousness? Certain instruments can measure brain waves, but it is an assumption to conclude that brainwaves are all there is to consciousness. Again, NDE'rs routinely report clear and expanded awareness at times when brainwaves and heartbeat are flat lined. It seems likely that the measuring instruments may be insufficient to tell the whole story on consciousness and being.

WW

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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by Webwanderer » Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:11 pm

Rick wrote:
Webwanderer wrote:Saying I encourage just the opposite is either inaccurate or out of context
I put a link in that particular post of mine you've taken exception to. Go and re-read the thread the link points to. Note the differences between the second and third (your) posts. The one before yours encourages a distancing from thought, points toward simply resting in objective awareness and allowing thoughts to come and go without touching or labeling them. This is as Tollesque as it gets. Yours points to rolling up the sleeves and diving into the mind by deliberately creating thought to conquer unwanted thought. One points toward resting outside the mind as the still, quiet observer, yours encourages greater involvement with mind, a kind of fighting fire with fire. These are two starkly different things.

At risk of beating a dead horse, Tolle defines as plain as day, in a recent video, the opposites in The Power of Now approach verses the LoA approach. He is quite clear about the fundamental distinctions. When ever you take up a LoA approach you are by default in opposition to The Power of Now approach Tolle teaches. Pure Awareness and ego are mutually exclusive approaches. It can not be any other way.

But of course, there is nothing wrong with the LoA approach, it just isn't Tolle's Power of Now approach, and we should be absolutely clear about that.
My sense it that your concerns are the result of perceiving in a specific context - not wrong, just unique to the broader perspective to which I was writing. Context issues are commonly the case in so many of these debate threads.

Tolle's teaching is much about silent observation of thought. But to what end? To recognize that we are not what we think we are? Again, to what end? Why does Tolle consider it important to see through our thought identification?

Abraham's teaching is much about observation of emotions. To what end? To recognize that we are out of alignment (as with negative emotions) with our true nature? To what end?

Why does Tolle say to watch thought and Abraham say to watch emotions? Do not either of these approaches lead to the same space of clarity from identification with egoic perspective. Aren't thought identity and being out of alignment the same thing - at least much of the time? Are both not addressing the same problem of human pain and suffering due to misperceiving one's true nature? Isn't it fair to conclude that we are not our thoughts nor our emotions. And as they are both linked in experience is it not a good thing to have perspectives and understanding that is inclusive of both?

Abraham takes it a bit further than Tolle (in my estimation) in teaching that directed thought can actively influence emotions, and that less stressful and happier thoughts lead toward a sense of alignment with our true nature, which at its heart is the Love of Source. Painful emotions are indicators of resistance to which Tolle's teaching agree is in part what thought awareness can help overcome.

As To LoA, it is an element of Abraham's teaching but far from being the whole story. LoA is at least as much about understanding focus of attention on resistance, and the persistence of painful experiences, as it is about stuff. The primary focus of Abraham's teaching is conscious alignment with our true nature, not essentially different from Tolle. One can however focus on what differences they find and attract more of the same, or one can focus on their commonality and find ever more unity.

Tolle teaches that by simply resting in silence and disengaging from thought identification there is a natural return to a more peaceful state. Abraham teaches the same and recommends regular meditation. Abraham however, also teaches that taking a more active role in focusing thought more positively is also helpful in breaking cycles of the negative thinking that leads to painful experience.

Tolle is a physically focused being that has contributed greatly to the understanding of our true nature. Abraham is a non-physically focused beingness that has contributed greatly to the understanding of our true nature. Both have much to offer. There is no need to see them as contradictory.

WW

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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by Sum » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:10 pm

Webwanderer wrote:It is an assumption that thoughts and emotions solely and uniquely originate in the brain. How does one measure consciousness? Certain instruments can measure brain waves, but it is an assumption to conclude that brainwaves are all there is to consciousness. Again, NDE'rs routinely report clear and expanded awareness at times when brainwaves and heartbeat are flat lined. It seems likely that the measuring instruments may be insufficient to tell the whole story on consciousness and being.
It's not just an assumption, it is a proven fact that the brain plays a pivotal role in defining our thoughts and emotions. If there is some other mechanism that is independently responsible for thoughts and emotions, no reliable evidence has been provided in support of this mechanism. The burden of proof is on those insisting that thoughts and emotions are possible when the brain is dead.

I understand that NDE'rs have reported awareness when they have flatlined, but that doesn't prove they actually were aware at the time. There are other possible explanations. For example, Elizabeth Loftus has a body of research showing that human beings have the capacity to subconsciously construct false memories, and believe they are actual memories with absolute sincerity.

I'm unaware of any scientifically controlled studies that have provided reliable evidence for consciousness when the human brain is dead. That doesn't prove it is impossible, and indeed since you can't prove a negative, we will never be able to prove that anything is impossible. However, that doesn't mean these experiences reflect a supernatural reality.

I love to read about NDEs and have an open mind about them. I just don't believe we have reliable evidence yet that they are anything more than a human phenomenon with an entirely natural explanation.

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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by smiileyjen101 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:00 am

Sum quoted: smiileyjen101 wrote:
I wouldn't look at nde for evidence of permanent death, but to clair abilities for evidence of permanent life.Their bodies may not have returned, but many communicate after their bodies are well and truly 'gone'.

Sum said: Jeffrey Long's book "Evidence of the Afterlife" was mentioned earlier in the thread. I applaud his effort to take a systematic, scientific approach to understanding whether or not "clair abilities" reflect an actual ability to communicate with the energies of people that have died.
It is a good first step, but unfortunately his study design didn't rule out other possible explanations, and as such was flawed. I was disappointed to realize this, once I got into the meat of the book.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply Sum.

Can I ask though, if you have a headache coming on, do you start looking for a corn on your big toe, or do you just treat the headache?

As an empath/clair person, I am now through long years of experiencing, recognising and adjusting to it, I am now able to pretty quickly and accurately determine the source of things, but I don't 'create' the things and nor do I have the ability to 'make' them happen, so being able to 'test' them in scientific rigour ... I am happy that they are looking more at energy fields and measuring them. There is a study about to be published about energy levels in a room that were monitored and had 'significant' changes while an energy healer was in the room and healing a patient. The energy level stayed elevated for a few minutes after the healer left the room and then returned to normal. This was a co-contribution across psychiatry, physics and electrical engineering. I love the 'convergence' of disciplines now occurring in science.

But at the same time I'm not going to over-rule experiential logical reasoning and personal evidence until such time as they have an answer that 'fits' the situations. If they would get over the notion that its not real they could do so much more to understand it.

I now know the difference between psychological dumping dreams and precognitive 'viewings' whether asleep or awake by the resonance of the energy vibrations. I now know whether physical stimuli is mine or another's - when I was younger I didn't. I got hospitalised for suspected appendicitis and went through all the horrors of doctors trying to determine if it was or wasn't appendicitis or if my appendix was about to burst. I was doubled over in the pain, my boss drove me to my doctor, my doctor called an ambulance, other doctors performed invasive testing procedures and were totally confused that all the physical symptoms were there - but the 'cause' - any inflammation in my appendix wasn't.

After hours of complete hell, all of a sudden I fell into this calm, sleepy numbness, the pain disappeared and muted to a very low numb kind of throbbing in my belly. I actually upset a senior doctor who wanted to perform more tests on me and was refusing loudly because I was 'fine' now and just wanted to be left alone to sleep. He became abusive!

The next morning I found out my boyfriend had been admitted to the same hospital with a burst appendix. He'd been operated on in the middle of the night. He got out of there before I did, as that one medico wanted to continue to perform even more invasive tests and operations and was even suggesting radical surgery for some ailment he had predicted I had. I didn't have that ailment. It's not the only time that a less stronger person would have succumbed to unnecessary options.

Now I know the difference, even if I am sharing another's pain, now I know that the 'space' around it - which also has a resonance of energy, and the logic that can be applied if one gives a thing a little 'space' can be interpreted by the cognitive brain.

When my daughter was in childbirth at the end of last year I was a cat on a hot tin roof at home, mutedly bearing her 'labour' with her - but I could separate in that 'space' between us. When things got dangerous for her and the baby, I couldn't help myself but to ring the hospital to get an update on what was happening with her, and it was confirmed it had just gone pear shaped. I called again when they'd done an emergency caesarean and 'something' was terribly wrong, my girl was slipping - they couldn't speak to me when I called, she was post op haemmoraghing. To 'know' these things by feeling them is just a wider appreciation of energies in motion. To live with them, requires a very high level of being able to recognise what is real, what is not, what is 'mine', what is not, what I am able to respond to, and what I am not. It takes a huge amount of acceptance and respect and compassion.

After the birth of my grandchild my daughter and I had a conversation - my 'uncanny' calling the hospital had freaked her partner and others attending her out, and made her laugh with me, but also feel compassion for their 'concern' and angst. In a 32 hour labour and delivery I only called the twice - when shit hit the fan. We laughed, we needed to strengthen the boundaries between us - to separate a little even though our relationship has always been one of respectful independence on both sides, we cannot help but 'feel' the experiences of the other. As her primary carer for a long time and with a medical condition needing my 'attentive nature' at times that she was not able to respond to her own dangers in her body functions we had kind of blurred the boundaries and it had become normal for us to operate like that.

A few weeks later the baby got dangerously and suddenly ill, I first called their place, got no answer so I called the hospital and found they were in the emergency room. It wasn't about interfering, it was about understanding what it was I was feeling. That one really freaked her partner out because I 'couldn't even know they were at the hospital to call there'.

So we've made a pact. She will text me whenever something is happening that is likely to upset my equilibrium, rather than not tell me in an effort to not have me 'worry'. I worry more when I feel something I don't understand, as soon as I know what it is I can logically and respectfully deal with whatever it is. I'm great with the facts of a thing.

It's really cute now. I get a text.. xyz is happening.. will let you know.... I text back, thanks, hugs all. and can let my 'feelings' just resonate without concern. Until I understood and accepted all this I would either be wrongly diagnosed with something that wasn't mine, or at the other end of the scale I would ignore something that was mine and needed my attention.
I don't deny that there could be some truth to such abilities, but unfortunately there doesn't appear to be clear evidence for them at this time. Hopefully someone will take another stab at systematically studying these claims. It's not that difficult, for example, to design a study that places a telepath in a laboratory and determines whether they are able to accurately determine what color the person is thinking of more often than would be possible through chance alone. The studies I've read that have done this have failed to find evidence for supernatural claims. This doesn't prove they don't exist, only that they haven't been supported yet by reliable evidence.
I don't think they are supernatural. I think they are natural and either denied or misunderstood. From this perspective there is lots of clear evidence, but they have to be taken in context and as they occur.

My whole being would go 'pfffftttt' at reading anyone else's mind - it's not my place or business. Its love... the energy of love and compassion that links us at this higher level, not the factors of perception and perspective and ... I don't know how else to say it but it's not a parlour game and to use or treat it so is .... not impossible maybe, but ....so out of line with what it is.

It's the same with clair abilities - you get idiots saying well they could give you the lotto numbers.... that's the limited, materialistic perspective that just has no place, no substance and cannot be 'entertained' in that light.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by Webwanderer » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:06 pm

Sum wrote:It's not just an assumption, it is a proven fact that the brain plays a pivotal role in defining our thoughts and emotions.
And it's a proven fact that a radio plays a pivotal role in generating music, but that says nothing of the origin of the music. A scientist without the tools to measure radio waves could demonstrate by manipulating certain radio parts that he could affect the sound the radio was generating and falsely claim proof that the radio was the origin of the music.
If there is some other mechanism that is independently responsible for thoughts and emotions, no reliable evidence has been provided in support of this mechanism.
Who decides what is reliable evidence in any matter of such consequence? A single first hand report may be insufficient, but tens of thousands make for a different level of consideration.
The burden of proof is on those insisting that thoughts and emotions are possible when the brain is dead.
As has been evident in these discussions, adequate proof is unique to the individual.

WW

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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by ashley72 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:14 pm

Webwanderer wrote:
Sum wrote:It's not just an assumption, it is a proven fact that the brain plays a pivotal role in defining our thoughts and emotions.
And it's a proven fact that a radio plays a pivotal role in generating music, but that says nothing of the origin of the music. A scientist without the tools to measure radio waves could demonstrate by manipulating certain radio parts that he could affect the sound the radio was generating and falsely claim proof that the radio was the origin of the music.
If there is some other mechanism that is independently responsible for thoughts and emotions, no reliable evidence has been provided in support of this mechanism.
Who decides what is reliable evidence in any matter of such consequence? A single first hand report may be insufficient, but tens of thousands make for a different level of consideration.
The burden of proof is on those insisting that thoughts and emotions are possible when the brain is dead.
As has been evident in these discussions, adequate proof is unique to the individual.

WW
You and a few other regular contributors on this forum need to recognise that just because something is possible does not mean that it is probable. Often, possibility and probability are confused with each other. Many times folk on this forum seem to think that the mere possibility of something happening must mean that it absolutely will happen. This is, of course, not true at all. The probability of these remote possibilities is a big fat zero based on all the available evidence. I'm not going to bother posting here all the objective evidence that thoughts preside in the brain, because Based on past experience there are a number of contributors who will argue till the cows come home that "we don't know for sure this... & will argue without any plausible evidence that its just as probable that thoughts preside outside of brain function."

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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by Webwanderer » Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:53 am

ashley72 wrote: You and a few other regular contributors on this forum need to recognise that just because something is possible does not mean that it is probable. Often, possibility and probability are confused with each other. Many times folk on this forum seem to think that the mere possibility of something happening must mean that it absolutely will happen. This is, of course, not true at all. The probability of these remote possibilities is a big fat zero based on all the available evidence. I'm not going to bother posting here all the objective evidence that thoughts preside in the brain, because Based on past experience there are a number of contributors who will argue till the cows come home that "we don't know for sure this... & will argue without any plausible evidence that its just as probable that thoughts preside outside of brain function."
Ash, why do you bother posting such ideology yet again?. The debate is pretty much over. We are just going around and around. You believe in certain scientific conclusions. That's fine, enjoy them. Saying it once more, or a hundred times more, will not make it any more true. It will just make you believe it more strongly than you already do. It will not however, change my opinion that current scientific instruments are incapable of a full reporting of what happens at the death of the body. And scientists who already believe in a certain conclusion will likely find whatever 'evidence' that will support their conclusions.

You can state 'til the cows come home' that no one has ever come back from being permanently dead and be satisfied with such exclusiveness. I would even agree to an extent with such an exclusive preposition of 'permanently' dead. That does not however, account for those who were not 'permanently' dead and did recover to tell of some very interesting and relevant accounts of consciousness beyond the body perspective's reach. It's clear that we define death differently. You seem to see death as a state, where I see it as an event. You are trying to control the definition to control the discussion. So we have an impasse. I simply don't see death as a state.

There is an enormous body of anecdotal evidence, on out of body consciousness, that hasn't come close to being explained by the science you promote. It may satisfy you, and that's fine. It's your choice what you choose to believe. It's your choice what you choose to discount. But repeating over and over again your belief, based on your preferred definition, will never satisfy the question of consciousness surviving the event of bodily death.

WW

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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by Yutso » Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:25 am

Whatever ones philosophical views about the nature of consciousness, whether it is ultimately material or non-material, we do not know and cannot know.

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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by far_eastofwest » Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:28 am

yutso.... great post and sums it up entirely in just a few words!!!
There is nothing harder to find than a black cat in a dark room
Especially when there is no cat....

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ashley72
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Re: How can we know there's no death

Post by ashley72 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:26 am

What I find most interesting about the "afterlife" believers is they love to selective use sciencific instruments such as "flat-EEG" readings as evidence that an NDE'r must have been dead during the NDE. But as soon as other clinical studies are thrown at them.... they quickly protest....and say things like "science doesn't have all the answers. This sort of behaviour is referred to as "confirmation bias" or myside bias... which is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. :wink:

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