Archive for January, 2012

A Sincere Call for Responses

January 12, 2012 8 comments

ATTENTION: Religious and spiritual folks who read this blog, I have a question for you and I am very interested in your responses. This is more than idle curiosity, however, for it cuts to the core of both spirituality-as-such and of what I plan on studying in my return to college.

What is your response to (and/or explanation of) the strongly apparent necessity of the physical brain to metaphysical mind? Neuroscience more and more finds direct correlates between brain states and mental states; how does this affect you and your worldview? Do you have any particular religious and/or philosophical responses? In short, what does this seemingly causative relationship from “brain” to “mind” mean?

I have my own ideas, here, but I’m looking for the ideas of others. Please share!


Its a Conspiracy!

There is no need to uncritically accept conspiracy theories, and it is high time that “spiritual” people in the United States bring the light of reason to their socio-political views. There is no worldwide organization in total control of the world’s economic and political structures. The Illuminati was a short-lived attempt by a Bavarian atheist to infiltrate occultism and use it as a tool for popularizing secularism (a worthless effort, given that occultism was already largely in favor of political secularism, at the time). The Freemasons do not rule the world’s banking system; if they did, I would not be working retail and worrying over going into debt for college. The Bilderberg Group is just a group of big business and high finance gamers trying to get in on more and more successful business investments; it may be crass and selfish, but it isn’t shadowy or sinister.

Even the “1%” are not in a deliberate conspiracy of social or economic control. The fact is, they don’t need to hide what they’re doing or why. Who’s going to stop them? All it has ever taken is a little political nudge here and there and most people will pretty naturally fall in line with a pro-business agenda. Why? Because a pro-business agenda looks exactly like a pro-individualist agenda, and who doesn’t love freedom?

The principle of parsimony (popularly known as Occam’s razor) states, quite simply, that all other things being equal, the explanation which requires the fewest assumptions is the correct one. This means that an explanation which takes account of all evidence without injecting unnecessary assumptions is the correct explanation, while its neighbor which has added even one assumption above and beyond the evidence is at least partially wrong.

With this in mind, we simply do not need the Illuminati, or the New World Order, or the Grays cloaked in near-earth orbit to explain the problems in this world. A healthy mix of greed, fear, and incompetence are more than enough to cause an economic collapse, tyrannical laws and social instability. And, quite honestly, aren’t these enough to worry about without dragging unrealistic paranoia into it?

I have a hypothesis. It seems to me that many “conspiracy theories” work in two directions at once: on one hand, they provide a scapegoat, which is everybody’s favorite mechanism for avoiding blame for the state of the world; on the other hand, conspiracy theories provide an ersatz consolation in that they send the message that, “Well, at least somebody is in control of this mess!” The fact is that people (and societies) are more often buffeted by the winds of fate, pushed around by the tides of luck, and bogged-down by the flotsam and jetsam of good, old-fashioned human incompetence. Still, even if everything is going wrong, it is somewhat comforting to think that some understandable, human agency is both maintaining and benefiting from the seemingly implacable scenario of earthly life. And, to some extent, there are plenty of humans who do benefit from such things. But these aren’t shadowy cabals; they’re us. Even the “99%” in America (with the obvious exceptions of the extremely poor and the homeless)—the middle and upper-middle classes especially, but not exclusively by any means—benefit directly from the hellish conditions of other parts of the world. This isn’t a reason to merely feel guilty, but is worthy of serious attention. Even the “1%”—who do rule the world, after a fashion—aren’t evil sorcerers committing intentional human sacrifice; they certainly do evil, but not out of a will to do evil; they, like all imperfect people, are doing what they think is best for themselves and their families. Almost nobody does something “bad” because they want to do “bad”; usually, evil is committed out of a misguided and narrowly-focused zeal to do good.

So, let’s stop with the black helicopters, the Illuminati, and the like, and face the very real, very serious problems which we do have before us—problems which are spoken of not in shadowy, pentagram-laden grottoes, but openly in board rooms, congresses and parliaments, shareholder meetings, and trade conventions. The problems may arise from nature, but they are bound-up and intensified by ignorance, irrationality, and a callous disregard for the broader needs of others.

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