Author Topic: Spirituality  (Read 2313 times)

Sriram

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Spirituality
« on: November 21, 2020, 05:46:30 AM »
Hi everyone,

Starting off from the thread on 'Is casual sex immoral'.......I thought I will (once again) explain what my idea of spirituality is.  And let me add that this is not just a theoretical idea that I subscribe to. I have lived all my 67 years only working with this philosophy....and very happy thereby.

1. Spirituality is not about religion. Religions arise due to spiritual needs in people but are largely cultural and of local flavor.  We can use religion to grow spiritually but it is not necessary.

2. Spirituality is relevant to everyone including atheists...because it is basically about what the human condition is and why we live and die. It is about the meaning of life and it objectives.

3. From the objectives and meaning of life should arise morality and the issue of right and wrong in an absolute sense.  Since spirituality is secular and common to all humans and life forms...absolute morality is also common and secular. It has its basis in life and its purpose.

4. Spirituality is not really about God, though it could begin with that quest. It is about what 'we' are. It is about the Self, the Subject....around whom life revolves.  What are we, why are we here, what is our purpose, what happens when we die...and what are we supposed to do while we are here?   

5. Based on such questions.....some secular ideas have been arrived at which I have found to be largely common to almost all spiritual philosophies around the world. These are as follows...

6. We are basically souls which are living in or connected to the body and mind. Our Personality (what we are in this life) is developed not by chance but by the influence of the soul on our body and mind. Our Personality is therefore a reflection of the soul.

7.  One of the main attributes or properties of the soul is Consciousness. Through consciousness the soul uses the body and mind to function on earth.

8. It is like a person sitting inside a robot  and using it to perform some function. The robot has most of the attributes of the person and in a sense represents him. It is similar with the soul and Personality.

9. The process is a form of spiritual evolution in which the soul gets born and reborn in different bodies (including animals). In the process it goes through many experiences and develops higher levels of consciousness. The essential difference between different people is in their level of spiritual development.  More developed means less selfish and less intensity of needs and desires.

10. Eventually after many births and after sufficient development....the Higher Self of the individual becomes apparent.  This can be seen as a spirit that is connected to the individual soul and is drawn nearer and nearer as the person develops.  This is the God that we normally relate to every time we worship any deity externally.

11. In course of time the idea of an external God will become redundant and the person will start relating to this Higher Self.

12. Eventually the normal self will drop off and we will realize that we are the Higher Self and that the lower self was only a projection.  This is normally seen as the objective of every individual soul on earth.

13. With this will end the need for any more rebirth. What happens beyond that is unknown.

14. All these things can be experienced and understood through spiritual practices like Yoga and other systems. If you want evidence that is the only evidence.

15. If you insist on external evidence, NDE's and reincarnation studies by Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker of Virginia university, can be referred.

Hope this helps.

Cheers.

Sriram

torridon

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2020, 07:48:03 AM »
To a certain extent, I could go along with 1,2,3,4,5.  From 6 onwards, I'm out of it.  Too speculative, not safely grounded in observation and empiricism

Gordon

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2020, 09:44:06 AM »
I don't even get past 1, since the 'meaning/objectives of life' notion in 2 sounds like reification to me, the later claim of absolute morality isn't justified, and after that the list descends into grandiose woo involving souls, reincarnation and the like.

To add: we've covered the Stevenson/Tucker stuff before - it's pseudoscience.



« Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 10:12:35 AM by Gordon »

Bramble

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2020, 11:03:59 AM »
I can’t get past 1 either. As a story this just doesn’t work for me. It rests on assumptions I don’t accept and quickly veers off into territory that I find at best implausible and at worst distasteful and alienating.

I’m all for a good story, and humans have come up with some great myths, many of which have the critical feature of not taking themselves too seriously. The best encapsulate the ambiguities of being human without trying to tie up the loose ends. They therefore manage to resonate with people everywhere and leave folk to their own way.

For me the trouble with Sriram’s story is that is masquerades as fact. One either finds these ‘certainties’ appealing and relevant to one’s life or one doesn’t. And I don’t. Quite why they appeal to Sriram I really can’t imagine. Perhaps he’d like to tell us.

Owlswing

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2020, 01:19:44 PM »

One either finds these ‘certainties’ appealing and relevant to one’s life or one doesn’t. And I don’t. Quite why they appeal to Sriram I really can’t imagine. Perhaps he’d like to tell us.


I don't think Sriram needs to explain - it is like all religions/belief systems - you either believe in them or you do not! YOU clearly do not. Sriram clearly does!

Where does he state that he has any requirement or expectation that anyone else should or would?

Owlswing

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« Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 04:10:38 PM by Owlswing »
The Holy Bible, probably the most diabolical work of fiction ever to be visited upon mankind.

An it harm none, do what you will; an it harm some, do what you must!

Bramble

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2020, 02:19:04 PM »
Hi Owlswing,

I'm rather puzzled by your response. Where did I say that Sriram needs to explain himself in any way?

I merely suggested that he might. It was an invitation, nothing more. And only because I'm curious. Are you never curious about other people? Do you think it presumptuous to ask? Personally, I'd feel rather pleased if someone took an interest in my posted views and would be only too happy to answer their questions if I could. Sometimes people ask you to explain your paganism to them and you've always seemed very willing to oblige. Is there some particular reason why you think Sriram should take exception to my invitation? If he doesn't want to respond he can just ignore me. He usually does anyway  :o

Sriram did start this thread, after all. Presumably he thought others might be interested in what he had to say. In fact, he hasn't said anything here that he hasn't already said on many previous occasions, which might suggest he feels we still haven't really got it. But to what end does he reiterate his beliefs? We've debated pretty much all of this stuff to destruction over the years and never really got anywhere beyond not agreeing with each other.

This place has become something of a battleground of opinions. I generally find that rather sterile and instead of just telling other folk why they are wrong would rather try to understand why they think differently from me. Sometimes one has to ask, but people are of course free to answer or not as they see fit. It would, however, strike me as curious if someone took exception to being asked. I'd find it hard not to wonder what they were trying to hide.






Owlswing

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2020, 04:17:49 PM »

Hi Owlswing,

I'm rather puzzled by your response. Where did I say that Sriram needs to explain himself in any way?

I merely suggested that he might. It was an invitation, nothing more. And only because I'm curious. Are you never curious about other people? Do you think it presumptuous to ask? Personally, I'd feel rather pleased if someone took an interest in my posted views and would be only too happy to answer their questions if I could. Sometimes people ask you to explain your paganism to them and you've always seemed very willing to oblige. Is there some particular reason why you think Sriram should take exception to my invitation? If he doesn't want to respond he can just ignore me. He usually does anyway  :o

Sriram did start this thread, after all. Presumably, he thought others might be interested in what he had to say. In fact, he hasn't said anything here that he hasn't already said on many previous occasions, which might suggest he feels we still haven't really got it. But to what end does he reiterate his beliefs? We've debated pretty much all of this stuff to destruction over the years and never really got anywhere beyond not agreeing with each other.

This place has become something of a battleground of opinions. I generally find that rather sterile and instead of just telling other folk why they are wrong would rather try to understand why they think differently from me. Sometimes one has to ask, but people are of course free to answer or not as they see fit. It would, however, strike me as curious if someone took exception to being asked. I'd find it hard not to wonder what they were trying to hide.


I have, on occasion, been asked about my beliefs and experience has taught me that, in most cases, it is not always wise to answer.

Owlswing

)O(


The Holy Bible, probably the most diabolical work of fiction ever to be visited upon mankind.

An it harm none, do what you will; an it harm some, do what you must!

Sriram

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2020, 04:48:05 AM »

Thanks Owlswing...!  :)

Bramble...

I don't ignore anyone. It is just that, when I think a conversation would go into a dead end....or if a person gets nasty....I  don't bother to continue.  What is the point in repeating the same arguments and getting the same ad hominem comments?

The problem is that, even though this is a Religion board people think that their atheist views are the default correct views... and that everyone else needs to explain and justify themselves.  I don't bother to encourage such  'superior' attitudes.

The problem also is that there are no meeting points at all. I do try to identify areas where there can be some discussion in spite of differing beliefs. Areas such as Anthropic Principle, unconscious mind, influence of observation and consciousness on matter, randomness, Phenotypic plasticity, NDE's, issues regarding the Self...etc...... can be meeting points on which I do try to discuss....but with no positive response at all. It is always the same old dismissive arguments. 

So, it is better to state my view and leave it at that. Let everyone make whatever they want of it.  Or alternatively, I should stop posting altogether.... which I resist doing because posting here helps me think and bounce my views off some people who don't see it my way.  That is helpful.

Having said that, I do however clarify and hold conversations whenever I find it conducive and healthy. 

Nearly Sane

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2020, 05:05:13 AM »
...


The problem also is that there are no meeting points at all....
  It would help discussion if you did not go for such egregious strawmen. As I have often posted, I have more in common with some theists on this board than some atheists. Your naive and simplistic approach to this is something I suggest you need to consider and adapt to a more rounded and less generalized approach

Sriram

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2020, 06:26:58 AM »
  It would help discussion if you did not go for such egregious strawmen. As I have often posted, I have more in common with some theists on this board than some atheists. Your naive and simplistic approach to this is something I suggest you need to consider and adapt to a more rounded and less generalized approach


See what I mean....! ::)

Nearly Sane

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2020, 09:54:36 AM »

See what I mean....! ::)
I see you retreated into ignoring what I wrote to just feel self satisfied with your generalisations. Engage with the individual posting and  their individual posts, not with your preconceived ideas.

enki

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2020, 12:24:09 PM »

See what I mean....! ::)

Unfortunately your posts so often seem to contain a stream of assertions which when challenged, either those challenges are ignored or met with a kind of misguided sense of superiority on your part so it becomes hard for reasonable discussion to take place.

Because of that I usually say my piece, and in the absence of any reasoned reply, I simply leave it at that as there doesn't seem any point in going any further(as for instance in the 'Is Casual Sex Immoral' thread.). As regards this particular thread, where you yet again state what you mean by 'spirituality', I happily accept that is what you think, even though I disagree with many of your points. I could quite easily challenge most of what you say but what would be the point? If you even bothered to reply, you would probably suggest that I don't understand, or accuse me of 'scientism' or lump  everyone together in some such derisory language as 'You people are in severe denial. I guess nothing can be done.... :(

(Shrugs shoulders)
Sometimes I wish my first word was 'quote,' so that on my death bed, my last words could be 'end quote.'
Steven Wright

Sriram

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2020, 02:17:42 PM »
To a certain extent, I could go along with 1,2,3,4,5.  From 6 onwards, I'm out of it.  Too speculative, not safely grounded in observation and empiricism

What kind of empirical observation can one expect for mental states and levels of consciousness?

There is significant evidence for the soul through NDE's and for reincarnation through Jim Tucker's research. You can't expect measurable and precise evidence for  these phenomena.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l7bcb3aoGc    Dr.Jim Tucker's presentation..

https://uvamagazine.org/articles/the_science_of_reincarnation    An article about the specific case of Ryan Hammons.

torridon

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2020, 05:10:28 PM »
What kind of empirical observation can one expect for mental states and levels of consciousness?

There is significant evidence for the soul through NDE's and for reincarnation through Jim Tucker's research. You can't expect measurable and precise evidence for  these phenomena.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l7bcb3aoGc    Dr.Jim Tucker's presentation..

https://uvamagazine.org/articles/the_science_of_reincarnation    An article about the specific case of Ryan Hammons.

All the relevant evidence points to mind and brain being aspects of the same thing; mind function correlates brain function; the development of mind mirrors the development of brain; pathology affecting the brain produces a corresponding deficit in cognitive function.  All the evidence from neuroscience and cognitive science supports this understanding and there is no counter evidence, or even any supporting rationale that would substantiate a hypothesis involving a 'soul' somehow inhabiting a body and 'using' its brain.  There is no evidence for such and it makes no sense.  All you have is claims of exotic mental phenomena that characterise a dying brain that could be construed as consistent with traditional beliefs about souls; you would need an awful lot more than that to overturn the 'materialist' scientific understanding.

Sriram

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2020, 04:05:03 AM »
All the relevant evidence points to mind and brain being aspects of the same thing; mind function correlates brain function; the development of mind mirrors the development of brain; pathology affecting the brain produces a corresponding deficit in cognitive function.  All the evidence from neuroscience and cognitive science supports this understanding and there is no counter evidence, or even any supporting rationale that would substantiate a hypothesis involving a 'soul' somehow inhabiting a body and 'using' its brain.  There is no evidence for such and it makes no sense.  All you have is claims of exotic mental phenomena that characterise a dying brain that could be construed as consistent with traditional beliefs about souls; you would need an awful lot more than that to overturn the 'materialist' scientific understanding.


Well..there we go again.

I don't know what you expect as evidence in such matters....but the type of measurable and precisely predictable evidence that you get in physics is not possible in such areas.

NDE's and data collected by people like Jim Tucker are enough to point towards the ideas of a soul and reincarnation being strong possibilities. These are not just beliefs based on some ancient teachings. They can move into the hypothesis stage IMO.

I have already linked the opinion of researchers and doctors on NDE's in another thread.
 
Thanks & Cheers.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 04:07:54 AM by Sriram »

torridon

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2020, 06:39:14 AM »

I don't know what you expect as evidence in such matters....but the type of measurable and precisely predictable evidence that you get in physics is not possible in such areas.


Well that is just a typical get out clause for the fans of magical thinking.  Of course there won't be any evidence of magic, because it is, er, magical.  Not going to cut it with anyone who cares about truth and facts. If you claim some sort of being inside happily interacting with a body and a brain then it would be detectable by instruments too, so we would expect to see evidence of it everywhere.  But there is none whatsoever.

torridon

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2020, 06:49:30 AM »

NDE's and data collected by people like Jim Tucker are enough to point towards the ideas of a soul and reincarnation being strong possibilities. These are not just beliefs based on some ancient teachings. They can move into the hypothesis stage IMO.


They aren't 'strong possibilities' at all, if that were the case then there would be many groups investigating these phenomena.  Fact is, all you have is one or two scientists working in that field, the vast majority of scientists regard such research as fringe and maverick.

Neither are these ideas amenable to treatment by hypothesis other than testing if people claiming out of body could see hidden objects which of course has been tried and drawn a blank.  The whole suggestion that people can see whilst disconnected from their optic nerves is totally insane, it makes a mockery of all we have learned about the complexity of the visual system and how it works in reality.


Sriram

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2020, 06:54:46 AM »
They aren't 'strong possibilities' at all, if that were the case then there would be many groups investigating these phenomena.  Fact is, all you have is one or two scientists working in that field, the vast majority of scientists regard such research as fringe and maverick.

Neither are these ideas amenable to treatment by hypothesis other than testing if people claiming out of body could see hidden objects which of course has been tried and drawn a blank.  The whole suggestion that people can see whilst disconnected from their optic nerves is totally insane, it makes a mockery of all we have learned about the complexity of the visual system and how it works in reality.


Why should it be detectable by instruments...and why is that even necessary?  If you can internally realize that you are different from the body and brain....that is all that is necessary. 

The problem is that you think of the soul as some external supernatural entity. The point is that it is YOU. Just do some introspection and self analysis and you will find that you are not the body and brain but are only interacting with them.

torridon

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2020, 08:43:23 AM »

Why should it be detectable by instruments...and why is that even necessary?  If you can internally realize that you are different from the body and brain....that is all that is necessary. 

The problem is that you think of the soul as some external supernatural entity. The point is that it is YOU. Just do some introspection and self analysis and you will find that you are not the body and brain but are only interacting with them.

Something that can interact with a brain can interact with a detector.

Sriram

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2020, 11:16:34 AM »
Something that can interact with a brain can interact with a detector.



The brain has evolved to interact with the soul and its different levels of consciousness. Which instrument can match that?!

The soul is YOU. You cannot and don't need to interact with yourself using an instrument. That is absurd.

You just need to stop looking outwards and look inwards. You will then realize that you are different from the body and brain.

torridon

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2020, 11:33:06 AM »


The brain has evolved to interact with the soul and its different levels of consciousness. Which instrument can match that?!

The soul is YOU. You cannot and don't need to interact with yourself using an instrument. That is absurd.

You just need to stop looking outwards and look inwards. You will then realize that you are different from the body and brain.

So, there are three things interacting here, body, brain and soul, but you cannot say how the soul manages to interact and you are content to merely hand waive away the objection that the soul and its means of interaction are not detectable by instrumentation despite being easily detectable by the body and the brain. Hand waiving is not going to cut it where a description of detail and mechanisms is sought.  This summarises what is wrong with this thinking :

https://www.fiberintheboro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/then_a_miracle_occurs.jpg

Does an ant go about its business because ant brains evolved to interact with ant souls ? How about an octopus with its multiple mini-brains, are they all interacting with multiple mini octopine souls ?
« Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 02:12:53 PM by torridon »

Outrider

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2020, 11:44:37 AM »
Starting off from the thread on 'Is casual sex immoral'.......I thought I will (once again) explain what my idea of spirituality is.  And let me add that this is not just a theoretical idea that I subscribe to. I have lived all my 67 years only working with this philosophy....and very happy thereby.

Thanks for engaging :)

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1. Spirituality is not about religion. Religions arise due to spiritual needs in people but are largely cultural and of local flavor.  We can use religion to grow spiritually but it is not necessary. 2. Spirituality is relevant to everyone including atheists...because it is basically about what the human condition is and why we live and die. It is about the meaning of life and it objectives.

I'm guessing that spirituality isn't about a lot of things - many people seem to see religion as an example, at least, of spirituality, others seem to  spirituality as an attempt to have the benefits of religion without the restrictions, or a corruption of religion - but this doesn't give any real understanding of what it is.  There is a presumption in this that not only is there a 'meaning' to life - which is far from a given - but that you have some sort of insight into what it is, but you've not given us that, you've just asserted that spirituality has something to do with it. What to do with it?  Without any understanding of what that purported meaning is, there's nothing to inform of us of what you think spirituality is.

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3. From the objectives and meaning of life should arise morality and the issue of right and wrong in an absolute sense.

Arguably, if there were an 'absolute' meaning to life then it might be possible to conclude from that an absolute morality, but given what I've said above this sense of an absolute morality isn't substantiated here, either.

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Since spirituality is secular and common to all humans and life forms...absolute morality is also common and secular. It has its basis in life and its purpose.

Again, that might follow - however, even an absolute 'meaning' or 'purpose' to life wouldn't necessarily result in an absolute morality; it might, it's difficult to see how an absolute morality would be valid without a definitive purpose, but the reliance doesn't go both ways.  You'd need, once you'd articulated what this 'meaning' was to then show why or how that leads to a particular morality.

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4. Spirituality is not really about God, though it could begin with that quest. It is about what 'we' are. It is about the Self, the Subject....around whom life revolves.  What are we, why are we here, what is our purpose, what happens when we die...and what are we supposed to do while we are here?

The study of the self is... biology, psychology, perhaps philosophy depending on what 'level' you're looking at.  This still isn't giving any meaningful explanation of what 'spirituality' is - I can appreciate that, if it's not about how the body or the physical brain operate then you might feel that you could exclude biology and psychology, but how does your depiction of 'secular, non-religious' spirituality differ from philosophy?  What are we, why are we here, what is our purpose, what happens when we die, what are we supposed to do until we do die... these are all philosophical questions.  I'm not ideologically opposed to considering spirituality as a synonym for philosophy (or even that branch of philosophy which considers these issues - metaphysics?), but my impression is that when people use 'spirit' and 'spirituality' they're not using it in the sense of a purely philosophical enquiry.

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5. Based on such questions.....some secular ideas have been arrived at which I have found to be largely common to almost all spiritual philosophies around the world. These are as follows...

6. We are basically souls which are living in or connected to the body and mind. Our Personality (what we are in this life) is developed not by chance but by the influence of the soul on our body and mind. Our Personality is therefore a reflection of the soul.

And this is where the shark gets jumped.  There is this idea that the concept of a 'soul' is somehow universal, that every culture has come up with some equivalent and therefore it's a common theme across cultures which gains validity from that cross-cultural existence: how can so many diverse groups come up with the same idea in isolation from each other.  The overlap of the concepts, and the isolation of the cultures, has been vastly overstated; the ancient Egyptian concept of 'ka' is vastly different to the idea of a karmic cyclic idea of 'Atman' or the Shinto dual ideas of 'nigitama' and 'aratama', whilst the evidence of communication between the ancient cultures is well-established.

This claim then runs full-tilt into the wall of empiricism; if whatever this 'soul' concept is influences our personality, why can't we see it working? We can track influences on our manifestation of personality in brain activity, we can show how the two strongly correlate; and we don't see any gaps we can't explain.  We can't conclusively demonstrate that there's nothing else at work, but the system doesn't need anything else to be complete, and we don't see any strong evidence for effects without demonstrable causes that we could attribute to this 'soul' influence.  If we can't see the influence, then in what meaningful way can we say that 'souls' have an effect - and if it has no effect in what way is it real?

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7.  One of the main attributes or properties of the soul is Consciousness. Through consciousness the soul uses the body and mind to function on earth.

Given our collective inability to even meaningfully define consciousness, claiming to attribute it to some other equally ill-defined concept seems a bit of a leap.  As to the idea that our consciousness uses our body and mind to function on Earth; the implication here is that there is a basis to think that our 'consciousness' operates somewhere else as well - do you have a basis for that claim?

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8. It is like a person sitting inside a robot  and using it to perform some function. The robot has most of the attributes of the person and in a sense represents him. It is similar with the soul and Personality.

Except that it isn't: one of the other posters (NearlySane?) has gone to great lengths to explain how the brain-computer analogy very quickly breaks down under investigation, and this is one of those instances.  Our brain isn't just an 'antenna' for some beamed-in signal, our brain is a constantly developing, changing, evolving record of our experiences that actively shapes the ongoing manifestation of our personality - who we are isn't just a static reaction to a changing world, it's a constantly changing tumult of activity in dynamic interaction with our environment - who we are is a constantly moving feast related to the status of our brain, and to suggest that some external 'motivator' or 'urge' acting  upon that is in any way a determination of who we are is to fail to appreciate how the brain works.  It might, conceivably, be some sort of 'energy' or power-source for something, but to imagine that it is a strong influence on our personality requires it to somehow actively mimic the constant changes of brain structure which requires a convoluted and complex mechanism which is lacking in any of the explanations I've seen.

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9. The process is a form of spiritual evolution in which the soul gets born and reborn in different bodies (including animals). In the process it goes through many experiences and develops higher levels of consciousness. The essential difference between different people is in their level of spiritual development.  More developed means less selfish and less intensity of needs and desires.

What are you basing this on?  I'm presuming that we don't have actual memories of any of these past lives, so on what are we basing this idea of souls being reborn?  How do we explain the massive increase in the number of human beings over time with no observable significant decrease in other lifeform numbers (distribution, yes, but not total counts) - is extinction of some species an indication that we no longer need that 'level'?  Given that the only animal we have any evidence of higher-reasoning in is humans, how does spending a cycle as, say, a cockroach differ from a cycle as a horse?  How come no-one has a cycle as a lifeform somewhere else in the universe - are 'souls' some uniquely evolved trait of Earth?

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10. Eventually after many births and after sufficient development....the Higher Self of the individual becomes apparent.  This can be seen as a spirit that is connected to the individual soul and is drawn nearer and nearer as the person develops.  This is the God that we normally relate to every time we worship any deity externally.

So now we have spirits and souls, which are different, and Gods (although this isn't about religion?)... and no clear definition of any of these concepts?  I appreciate this is intended as a brief account, and I appreciate the you may be trying to condense a lot into a few sentences, but I'm afraid I'm starting to get lost - what's the difference between a spirit and a soul? What's the difference between one of those and a god?  Can you come back down from being a god to being a cockroach?  Why is a god 'higher'/better than a cockroach - if, as I think you've suggested elsewhere, 'evolving' spiritually is about absolving yourself of wants, how is a cockroach not the ultimate lifeform?

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11. In course of time the idea of an external God will become redundant and the person will start relating to this Higher Self.

I suppose that means I'm half-way there, right :)

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12. Eventually the normal self will drop off and we will realize that we are the Higher Self and that the lower self was only a projection.  This is normally seen as the objective of every individual soul on earth.

So the objective of life on Earth is to no longer want to live on Earth - that sounds like depression, not spiritual evolution.

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13. With this will end the need for any more rebirth. What happens beyond that is unknown.

How come we don't know that bit, but we do 'know' this much, without any way to demonstrate it?

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14. All these things can be experienced and understood through spiritual practices like Yoga and other systems. If you want evidence that is the only evidence.

Given that we have immeasurable reams of evidence of human beings entering unreliable states of consciousness, even compared to the questionable reliability of our usual waking state, surely you can appreciate how inadequate that is?  If nothing else, surely you can see how susceptible to confirmation bias it must be.

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15. If you insist on external evidence, NDE's and reincarnation studies by Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker of Virginia university, can be referred.


Both Stevenson and Tucker have been well-critiqued in other places, calling out the confirmation bias and case selectivity in their work, but I not that since the last time I recall looking at the Tucker appears to have caught 'quantum' from someone like Deepak Chopra.

O.
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bluehillside Retd.

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2020, 12:07:27 PM »
Sriram,

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Starting off from the thread on 'Is casual sex immoral'.......I thought I will (once again) explain what my idea of spirituality is.  And let me add that this is not just a theoretical idea that I subscribe to. I have lived all my 67 years only working with this philosophy....and very happy thereby.

That’s called a non sequitur - a basic mistake in reasoning. That you have subscribed to some beliefs for a long time and are happy with them says nothing to whether they are “just a theoretical idea” notwithstanding.

Not a good start.

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1. Spirituality is not about religion. Religions arise due to spiritual needs in people but are largely cultural and of local flavor.  We can use religion to grow spiritually but it is not necessary.

Well, perhaps you should start by telling us what you mean by “spirituality” but ok…

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2. Spirituality is relevant to everyone including atheists...because it is basically about what the human condition is and why we live and die. It is about the meaning of life and it objectives.

“what the human condition is and why we live and die” are different questions (one philosophical, the other biological) but are legitimate questions to ask. As – so far at least – I have no idea what you think you mean by “spirituality” though there’s no way to know whether, if it did exist, it would have anything to say about these matters. 

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3. From the objectives and meaning of life should arise morality and the issue of right and wrong in an absolute sense.  Since spirituality is secular and common to all humans and life forms...absolute morality is also common and secular. It has its basis in life and its purpose.

So now you’re claiming there to be objective morality? Well, as the evidence suggests that morality is no more objective than, say, aesthetics, perhaps you’d better try at least to demonstrate the claim rather than just assert it.

Good luck with it though.   

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4. Spirituality is not really about God, though it could begin with that quest. It is about what 'we' are. It is about the Self, the Subject....around whom life revolves.  What are we, why are we here, what is our purpose, what happens when we die...and what are we supposed to do while we are here?

What happens when we die seems very likely to be nothing as “we” cease to exist, and having a “purpose” begs the question of why there should be one at all and who or what decided on that.       

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5. Based on such questions.....some secular ideas have been arrived at which I have found to be largely common to almost all spiritual philosophies around the world. These are as follows...

6. We are basically souls which are living in or connected to the body and mind. Our Personality (what we are in this life) is developed not by chance but by the influence of the soul on our body and mind. Our Personality is therefore a reflection of the soul.

7.  One of the main attributes or properties of the soul is Consciousness. Through consciousness the soul uses the body and mind to function on earth.

8. It is like a person sitting inside a robot  and using it to perform some function. The robot has most of the attributes of the person and in a sense represents him. It is similar with the soul and Personality.

“Souls” eh? Well, again if you want with a straight face to claim such a thing then by all means tell us what you mean by it, describe its properties and tell us how anyone should investigate and verify the claim. So far, all you have is baseless white noise. 

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9. The process is a form of spiritual evolution in which the soul gets born and reborn in different bodies (including animals). In the process it goes through many experiences and develops higher levels of consciousness. The essential difference between different people is in their level of spiritual development.  More developed means less selfish and less intensity of needs and desires.

10. Eventually after many births and after sufficient development....the Higher Self of the individual becomes apparent.  This can be seen as a spirit that is connected to the individual soul and is drawn nearer and nearer as the person develops.  This is the God that we normally relate to every time we worship any deity externally.

I’ve always thought this narrative to be rather sweet on its face, but fairly pernicious in its effect. It allows the person who thinks himself to be more “spiritually developed” than people and species that lack his supposed wonderfulness – and when you convince yourself of that, you have a powerful rationale for all sorts of unpleasant behaviours. Fortunately there’s no good reason to think this folkloric naivety to be true, but there it is nonetheless.   

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11. In course of time the idea of an external God will become redundant and the person will start relating to this Higher Self.

Woo.

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12. Eventually the normal self will drop off and we will realize that we are the Higher Self and that the lower self was only a projection.  This is normally seen as the objective of every individual soul on earth.

Woo squared.

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13. With this will end the need for any more rebirth. What happens beyond that is unknown.

But as just making stuff up to explain the unknown is your stock in trade, why stop there?

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14. All these things can be experienced and understood through spiritual practices like Yoga and other systems. If you want evidence that is the only evidence.

Then it’s not evidence at all – it’s just a narrative that some find to be persuasive. If you want to claim evidence, then you need to provide something independently investigable and verifiable. Just now, you’re abusing the term to suit your beliefs. 

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15. If you insist on external evidence, NDE's and reincarnation studies by Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker of Virginia university, can be referred.

They can be, and then dismissed for their lack of rigour. You may as well claim that thunder is evidence for Thor, or that quantum effects are evidence for pixies.   

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Hope this helps.

It doesn’t.


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I don't ignore anyone. It is just that, when I think a conversation would go into a dead end....or if a person gets nasty....I  don't bother to continue.  What is the point in repeating the same arguments and getting the same ad hominem comments?

That’s not true. What’s actually happening is that you’re so convinced of your rightness that you just will not engage honestly with reasonable challenges. The only thing close to ad homs here is your stock response of blaming others’ cultural perspectives for not just agreeing with you.     

That doesn’t sound very “spiritually developed” to me.

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The problem is that, even though this is a Religion board people think that their atheist views are the default correct views... and that everyone else needs to explain and justify themselves.  I don't bother to encourage such  'superior' attitudes.

You need to look up something called the burden of proof. If you want to claim gods, souls, spirituality etc and expect these clams to be treated more seriously than just guessing then it’s your job to justify your beliefs. So far, all you’ve done is to assert them – not justify them.     

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The problem also is that there are no meeting points at all. I do try to identify areas where there can be some discussion in spite of differing beliefs. Areas such as Anthropic Principle, unconscious mind, influence of observation and consciousness on matter, randomness, Phenotypic plasticity, NDE's, issues regarding the Self...etc...... can be meeting points on which I do try to discuss....but with no positive response at all. It is always the same old dismissive arguments.

No, there is a meeting point – it’s called reason. When your reasoning is false or doesn’t exist at all though (see above), then all you offer is more white noise.

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So, it is better to state my view and leave it at that. Let everyone make whatever they want of it.  Or alternatively, I should stop posting altogether.... which I resist doing because posting here helps me think and bounce my views off some people who don't see it my way.  That is helpful.

Also not true. You don’t “bounce” your ideas at all – you assert them, and then ignore or criticise the people who challenge them so as to avoid the challenges themselves.

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Having said that, I do however clarify and hold conversations whenever I find it conducive and healthy.

Actually, generally only when people agree with you. Prove me wrong about that though – why not try at least to address the arguments you’ve been given here? 
« Last Edit: November 23, 2020, 01:42:14 PM by bluehillside Retd. »
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DePfeffelred the Ovenready

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2020, 02:08:06 PM »
Hillside says.
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So now you’re claiming there to be objective morality? Well, as the evidence suggests that morality is no more objective.
Provide the evidence.
Note to atheists.

However many facts you have I have them too.

Outrider

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Re: Spirituality
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2020, 03:37:08 PM »
Hillside says.Provide the evidence.

Japanese cultural mores vs Chinese cultural mores vs Russian cultural mores vs Maori cultural mores vs the various Native American cultural mores vs Aztec cultural mores vs Incan cultural mores vs Olmec cultural mores vs... and on and on and on...

O.
Universes are forever, not just for creation...

New Atheism - because, apparently, there's a use-by date on unanswered questions.

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