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Reclaiming our Spirit World

Sun, May 27, 2012

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by Eric Geiermann

I graduated from Michigan State University in 1990 with a major in Psychology. I was the first in a working class family to make that move. The death of Detroit was well under way when I graduated high school in 1983. I’m still paying for the education. I tended to wander somewhat on a whim. I had already rode a bicycle from Detroit to Yellowstone in the summer of 1985 at the age of 20. My first notable act after graduating from Michigan State was to sell my car to come up with gas money and go to Alaska with a friend to look for work. We arrived in late April. I was living in a tent and down to my last $20 before landing a job with the Department of Fish and Game. My main qualification was “Yes, I can shovel snow.” We set up a salmon tagging operation in the Alaskan wilderness to collect data related to the Exxon Valdez disaster. That lasted a few months until a co-worker began to get homicidal and nearly killed the lot of us on one rare sunny day. So I flew back to Detroit. Soon thereafter, I was working in Southwest Detroit training chronically mentally ill adults to earn money doing custodial work. A part of me became a Black man that year. A year later, I was a rolling stone again. This time, I was headed to Portland with a girlfriend. I found that it was not Ecotopia, yet. But there were jobs selling coffee. We left and came back to Detroit. She was pregnant, and I was under the gun, so to speak. So we got married. It wasn’t long thereafter that I was working as a prison guard and then a probation officer for the health insurance and a steady check. I stomached that for nearly five years. I still dream of prisons. Sometimes, I am the inmate. In fact, I was in jail again last night in one of my dreams, but we were all humans. I then became a house painter and worked when I felt like it. Now, my son is 18, and I do as little as possible except things like gathering wild edibles, observing Nature, and maintaining my spirit. I worry little about my future.

Guy invited me to write something for his blog. I was impressed that he asked me. To me, Guy has been in fearless pursuit of the truth. He brings it in spades, and none can validly renounce the truth he has revealed regarding our current predicament. We can all stand on his shoulders. If only I could add something that is not redundant? I think Michael Ruppert is on to the next step and the right path. It is the spiritual one. It has resonated deeply with me since I first learned to walk and meditate at the same time in Nature in around 2005. I found oneness with Creatures and Creation. I moved with such ease and peace that doe and fawn would continue browsing within an arms reach of me. They knew where I was at spiritually. I think it is time that we all share in the Awakening.

A recurring theme these days is that people seem to turn more to the spiritual side as things unravel. I’m seeing evidence of this on Facebook where I have regularly posted articles related to the topics we discuss here. Instead of responding to me or my gloomy irrefutable reality, they post wise words, in another thread of course, in a religious context often associated with some beautiful image from Creation. There is a growing positive energy in that. I am beginning to see the truly religious as potential assets to the future in the sense that they seem to be taking a spiritual turn within the context of their religion that incorporates Nature in response to doom. Maybe that will be the impetus to mass awakening to the laws of Creation and its Miracles? From that, we may begin to see that we owe the Creator and Creation a great deal more respect than we have given from the material paradigm? As people lose the material, they seem to naturally turn to both the Natural and Spiritual. The big picture of redemption seems to be coming into focus now, and it is the picture of Peace in Nature, or the Garden of Eden. Even the bible thumper sees that message in a flower as the rest of the world darkens, and that flower holds their spirit in awe while the cross on the wall collects dust in the shadow.

Most people are far from intellectual, but they have given their spirit to religion in these dark times. This time around, the spirit knows its connection to Nature in the grave context of Nature’s current decline. It is an inescapable truth now. Rush can play on the radio. Fox can disseminate unending propaganda. People can continue to shop while they still can. But none can completely ignore the greatest sin of all when they leave their homes and look at the world around them. The great sin gnaws at them unconsciously, and they learn to find solace and hope by wrapping their religion in Natural Beauty. That may be the seed taking hold in the cracks of old sidewalks and parking lots?

So while they are vastly quiet when I post articles that clearly point toward the doom we face, I respond by “liking” the spiritual beauty they are expressing in the best way that they can. And they post more of it. It is a unifier. They soon begin to give thanks for the rising of the sun and enjoying the beauty of the day. I think an ethic on behalf of Creation is evolving beneath the surface. It may turn out to be one step above the land ethic Aldo Leopold hoped for? They cannot articulate it. But their spirits are finding the compass. The heart is being directed to Creation and its Miracles in these dark times.

From this ethic and concurrent resource decline, I believe that tyranny/fascism will be defeated. It will have not the energy nor the will of the people. The power structure may play whack a mole with us for a time, but it will be supremely transparent, and more will rise and gladly choose whole spirits in the place of dreary oppression for the sake of mass death to enrich those upon the throne of the pyramid. On the one hand, we are shown the greatest darkness. On the other, we are shown the salvation of Nature and Us. Intellectual understanding is not needed. It is simply a great unfolding of our true Nature under the impossible circumstances that seek to make humans nothing but complete consumers and cattle on a dying planet. We are of this Creation. We know it deep down, 99% of us. The greedy could never be satiated, and their hand is now laid bare, visible through all the propaganda and ideology of consumption. It need not be articulated. It is simply there before us for all to see. The hologram was killed by unlimited greed. The spirit was prepared to fill the gap, and it is already pouring in.

I am still learning about the Beauty of Creation from things I have long taken for granted. I am still learning from the Robins, the House Sparrows, and the Cardinals outside of my most recent window. The Robin and the Cardinal have a beauty in their song that I never tire of. The Cardinal’s song changes with the time of day, and there are variances within these changes. His morning song is followed by the afternoon song. There is a spirit that moves within his utterances. The one outside my window has been informing me for a couple of weeks now. And when I went off on a meditative walk at night with the cardinal imprinted on my soul, a cardinal awakened nearby. Or, perhaps he was in a dream, and he sang his afternoon song at night while I passed by. My spirit enriched again! Energy absorbed and disseminated. Who else noticed? More will in the future.

We will come to fully love again that which created us, even if we cannot say it now. Even if we are too late, it is the good fight that lies before us. Material Death before Spiritual Dishonor. It is my M.O.

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Time is running out to support Mike Sosebee’s film. To learn more, click here. Final trailer is embedded below.

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Please help this dog. Ollie is a young Doberman paired with a superb, hence broke, friend and student.

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McPherson’s latest conversation with Sherry Ackerman for Transition Voice was published 23 May 2012. It’s here.

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Next-day update: McPherson will be interviewed on Shift Shapers radio Wednesday, 30 May between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. The interview will be carried in the San Francisco bay area by KBBF 89.1. Podcast will be posted in this space within a week or so.

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52 Responses to “Reclaiming our Spirit World”

  1. Robin Datta Says:

    Thank you, Eric, for another perspective. 

    Reclaiming our Spirit World

    There is nothing of valie to be reclaimed: nothing of value was ever lost.

    I first learned to walk and meditate at the same time in Nature in around 2005.
    It is known as Kinhin in Zen, a Mahayana tradition. Mahayana has a position superficially akin to Protestantism in Christianity (vis-a-vis Catholicism) or Reform vis-a-vis Orthodox Judaism However, even the Theravada traditions prescribe walking Meditation. 

    Ultimately, the meditation fades into an awareness – an awareness that is aware that it is beyond beginnings and endings, and has always been there “unawares”. Chopping wood and carrying water then are realised as phases in the continuum of meditation.  

    I think it is time that we all share in the Awakening.

    The path has to be travelled by each individual personally. Those who have gone ahead can and sometimes do mark the path and act as guides. The Awareness will recognise Itself in others, and will also recognize those others in whom It is unobscured.

    Most people are far from intellectual, but they have given their spirit to religion in these dark times.

    It can neither be given nor taken. Nor does It do any taking or giving, for all things are within It: there is no one to take from or to give to. The One without a second. 

    The spirit was prepared to fill the gap, and it is already pouring in.

    It is not within space & time, yet includes all of space and time: being universal, homogenous (not lumpy: perfectly evenly distributed), isotopic (without directional orientation: appears the same no matter which direction one looks through it). It has nowhere to flow: its entirety is at every point in space and at every instant in time.

  2. Eric Geiermann Says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Robin. I did not know much about the history of this type of meditation. I picked it up reading the works of Tom Brown, Jr. I also think reading Siddhartha by Herman Hess, before I went on my bike trip to Yellowstone, was a big influence on me. I saw rivers in a much differnet way after that. My bycyling buddy at the time was into Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Wouldn’t be surprised if the Zen was in effect at times way back then.

    I will check out the Alan Watts video. Looks interesting.

  3. Eric Geiermann Says:

    For anyone who is interested in walking meditatively through Nature, I recommend learning first the techniques of the stalk hunt. That is the ability to move silently without being seen. It takes practice and the technique will increase balance, stealth and awareness. One can further hone this skill by walking through more challenging terrain in the dark as your skills develop. This strengthens the rest of your senses and you become even more like a cat.

    Then learn to do this with splatter vision. That is walking without a visual focus. Your entire visual field becomes like peripheral vision. This allows you to be more aware of all movement and changes your perspective into a holistic one. It helps you to see wildlife before you disturb it.

    Pause frequently and soak it all in. Pause especially after having made noise or to clear the mind, if needed. The goal becomes the reading of the ripples in the pond, and not be the creator of them. It is a very peaceful way to move through Nature. Animals will begin to feel at ease with you because you are moving as they do and not as a conqueror from the civilized world.

    You will then be ready to begin your communion with the spirit-that-moves-in-all-things. This spirit uses the language of heart, dreams, signs and symbols. Begin to listen to it and use it. When you are not the hunter, put that on your heart and send it out. Let them know you come to share and be one. They will know you.

  4. Robin Datta Says:

    Some may seek stealth at hunting: much depends on one’s objective. 
    This is more along the lines of the Theravadin traditions. 
    Instructions for Walking Meditation

  5. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Our preps include psychic numbing,
    A emotional kind of down-dumbing;
    We use it as pre-
    PTSD
    And hope it helps deal with what’s coming.

  6. Robin Datta Says:

    Sacred and profane
    Cogitations in the brain
    Serve sectarians a quorum
    Though a pons asinorum
    In the matter of supernal and mundane

  7. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    In spite of our search for a way
    To say what words cannot portray,
    At the end of the day,
    We’re speechless, but hey,
    The ineffable’s hard to convey.

  8. john rember Says:

    Eric:

    In Robert Bly’s The Sibling Society, he has a chapter that describes physical brain differences in children raised surrounded by TV and computer screens compared to children raised in forest or farm environments. Bly’s evidence isn’t substantial, but his assertion makes sense, and is certainly backed up by anecdotal evidence that the screen-raised are different enough from us old farts to be considered a new species.

    The “oneness with nature” that you experience as a developmental step comes as a birthright, I think, to those not raised in an urban environment. There is even a kind of unity between hunter and prey that is subjectively spiritual. It suggests that if there is a basis to morality, its at a level much deeper and more complex than that touched by mundane civilizaton.

    Also, in my years of teaching, I noticed that while my students could be considered conscious beings, the big decisions of their lives were made at an unconscious level. Who they married, what their career was, whether or not they were self-destructive, how they reacted to happiness, and so on, were never conscious process.

    Watching them convinced me that becoming conscious is a life-long process, and that most people never become conscious about their fates. It also convinced me that the unconscious is an entity, one that lives and thinks within us, and doesn’t always have our best interests in mind.

    Why wouldn’t a marriage, or a family, or corporation or country also have an unconscious? Why would we think it has our best interests in mind, especially since Western Civilization has made at least three serious suicide attempts since 1910?

    One of the distinctions we can make between the natural world and the human one is that the natural world demands you be conscious, and the human one demands that you tune into a dark collective blindness. I’d be interested if your work with the mentally ill provided any evidence to support this supposition.

  9. Kathy C Says:

    The unconscious has all our evolutionary interests in mind – ie survival long enough to reproduce. Isn’t it our conscious (self aware) mind that has gotten us into this mess. Without it wouldn’t we still be back in the jungle or savannah, eating, drinking and making babies? Don’t other creatures that aren’t self aware cause less trouble for the planet? Aren’t we in the words of Craig Dilworth “Too smart for our own good, and too dumb to change”? Frankly I think self awareness is going to be an evolutionary dead end.

    I don’t know what anyone really means by spirituality. What is a spirit? Isn’t that just another name for a soul? I love nature, I like stopping and listening and paying attention to plants and animals but I don’t feel any need to call that by a special name. I think in fact that when I quiet my thoughts, it is my unconscious brain that gets to just enjoy, much like a cow enjoys chewing its cud. If I was to call anything my spirit it would be my unconscious brain not my busy busy self aware brain. But they are both me and when my brain turns into a mush of chemicals they will both be gone, the only thing that then could be called my spirit is the memories of me that others have of me, and those will become mush eventually too.

  10. Robin Datta Says:

    Waves subside into the ocean and leave no trace of themselves.

  11. Kathy C Says:

    “Waves subside into the ocean and leave no trace of themselves.”

    Yet they can leave substantial damage in their wake as they did in Japan

    Humans individually (as likely as a species) will subside into the earth they are made of but they also will leave substantial damage in their wake.

  12. Kathy C Says:

    The difference however between waves and humans is that waves subside without caring back into the ocean leaving no trace. Humans cannot stand that they might do the same, cannot stand to just be another species of mammal. They have grandiose ideas about how important they are, and desperately desire immortality by god, fame, making a difference, joining the grand oneness or whatever way they can imagine they continue or matter. We are just another species, like birds, and bacteria, subject to the laws of nature and no where near as successful it would seem as the horseshoe crab. Per wiki “The earliest horseshoe crab fossils are found in strata from the late Ordovician period, roughly 450 million years ago.”

    I have no problem with people meditating, getting close to nature, getting clear about their part in nature. I just think we should be clear that we are just mammals with a new adaptation that is not working out so good, not the pearl of creation or evolution.

  13. Tom Says:

    We took paradise and put up a parking lot. (J. Mitchell)

    What’s interesting is that we may kill ourselves off and take a lot of species with us, ruin the biosphere in the process and yet, as in the past millenia, it all gets reabsorbed, sorted out (down to the atomic level), cleansed and sequestered as a natural by-product of the earth.

    Maybe in hundreds of thousand of years the earth will bring us back to try again. Hopefully we’ll get it right one of these times. Probably not though – humanity looks like a failed experiment to me.

    If we all worked for the good of the planet and each other (yeah, right), limited reproduction (here’s where we fall down hard) and our whole civilization was set up for this personal journey of self-discovery (bringing us right to where we are) we wouldn’t have these problems (but we’d probably have others, knowing us).

  14. the virgin terry Says:

    benjamin, why do u refer to yourself as a donkey? i’m starting to appreciate your rhymes. gotta love talent. too bad poets are the ultimate starving artists, unless they become successful songwriters.

  15. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Hi virgin! Thanks! Benjamin the donkey is an old cynic in Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” :D

  16. Christopher Says:

    Interestingly, there is an essay with very similar subject matter up at Dmitry Orlov’s blog:

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2012/05/sustainable-living-as-religious.html

  17. Robin Datta Says:

    Before the perceptions of light, sound, touch taste and smell are concatenated into a concept that is labelled the “world” there is an awareness that is “I”. Everything else is predicated upon that “I”, the sine qua non of all else. But the most obvious can be the most difficult to recognize. 

  18. john rember Says:

    Kathy C.:

    If I may go all didactic on everybody, Spirit and Soul are opposites of a sort. A sample compendium:

    Spirit is male, soul is female.
    Spirit is sky, soul is earth.
    Spirit: Mortification of the flesh. Soul: flesh.
    Spirit: High hopes. Soul: Deep dreams.
    Spirit: Mind. Soul: Heart.
    Spirit: Bach. Soul: Barry White.
    Spirit: Neon. Soul: Blood.
    Spirit: zeitgeist. Soul: Gesthemane.
    Spirit: health. Soul: suffering.
    Spirit: wealth. Soul: charity.
    Spirit: form. Soul: content.
    Spirit: faith. Soul: mystery.

    Hope this clears things up. If there are such things as moral imperatives, one of them is to start life out full of spirit, and end it full of soul.

  19. the virgin terry Says:

    ‘What is a spirit?’

    to me spirit is consciousness. from whence it comes in the process of life, and where it goes if not to oblivion upon death? mystery.

    my pet cat of 12 years (i’ve had her 11) is in very bad physical shape, most likely in a lot of pain. but i don’t know that for sure. she’s getting rapidly worse. my head says put her down while my heart balks. now that she’s manifestly near the very end, i have remorse for not having been more indulgent and appreciative of her, especially in recent months. this ties into j.r.’s musing about awareness of fate. of course we all know we and our loved ones are mortal, but until that fact is up in your face, it’s easily forgotten.

  20. Kathy C Says:

    VT if you love your cat and think she is in pain, be merciful, have a vet kill her. Its easy and quick and probably what you would want for yourself. Its funny people often fail to write wills and yet will write living wills. Deep inside most people know that a little bit longer life is not worth the pain.

  21. Kathy C Says:

    Frankly John, I don’t think I have a spirit or a soul, just a program in my brain that among other things is complicated enough to become self aware and create fictions that it is something more than an organic computer.

    In the neuroscience literature are numerous accounts of what we loose when we loose or have damaged parts of the brain. It is clear that what we deem self is lodged in brain matter and various parts of self disappear when specific parts of the brain are damaged. One type of damage can erase your ability to feel when you see a loved on. Such patients will assert say that their parent looks just like their parent but is an impostor. They expect to feel something when they see the parent but don’t so their brain says despite looks that is not the parent. The brain creates an explanation for the lack of feeling upon site of the parent.

    They have found that brain is in fact quite good and quick at inventing explanations out of thin air.

    For folks who want to know more about how the brain works I would recommend the writings of
    Antonio Damasio
    Michael S. Gazzaniga
    Vilayanur Subramanian Ramachandran (Phantoms in the Brain)
    Daniel M Wegner (The Illusion of Conscious Will)

    I find such stuff far more interesting (and helpful) than thinking about soul and spirit, which in my opinion are nothing more than ideas that we invent because we can’t stand to believe that we are mortal mammals.

  22. Kathy C Says:

    My theory is that we evolved as hunter-gatherers. All our basic programs and instincts are right for that life style and wrong for our domesticated lifestyle. We are self caged. Watching animals in zoo cages and watching animals in the wild should be enough to show us why being in nature feels so good. I don’t think we need to hypothesize soul or spirit to make sense of our connection to the natural world. We are beasts of nature. However like our domestic animals we have had some changes in our genetics and major changes in our upbringing that make us unable to revert fully to our natural way of living. Still it attracts us just as the caged dog wants to run free.

  23. Cathy Says:

    Congratulations to all! Your comments have proven your theories.

    I’m drowning in your esoterica……

  24. john rember Says:

    Cathy: Don’t drown. You can breathe down here, really.

    Kathy C.:

    When I first started teaching, I told my more mortality-obsessed students that angst about the human condition and the condition of the world was an option, and that happiness wasn’t rocket science. All it required was a passion, a toleration for the perceptions of others, a willingness to live in the moment, and a determination to put your energy where it could do some good.

    Over time, of course, I realized that for some of them, happiness really was rocket science, and they couldn’t get to it without superhuman effort. Their passion was for unhappiness, their existence firmly grounded in a bleak future, and their energy given over to defeatism and victimhood. That doesn’t mean they weren’t right, but it did mean they were focused on the things that made them unhappy.

    Likewise the subjective experience of spirit and soul. As I implied above, I think it comes as a birthright to humans, but organized religion and industrial civilization can destroy it, given enough time and power. But it does exist for me, and if I look around, I see evidence of it in a good many other people, and I think it is probably an essential component of happiness.

    That’s not to say I believe in an afterlife–even if it does exist, it is going to be a hell of a change from this mortal coil–but I’m willing to consider that the natural world usually finds something useful to do with waste products, and consciousness is a waste product of the human organism–it may be like honey in an abandoned hive, once the body goes if I may use a hokey metaphor.

    As for the neuroscientists you cite, they come from an extreme if not obsessive end of the scientific material spectrum, and they are no better at explaining the phenomenon of consciousness–much less the quasi-phenomenon of time–than Genesis. Theoretical physics cannot explain how material reality even exists, and yet these folks believe in it like Christians believe in the reality of Christ in the human heart, with about the same measure of scientific evidence.

    You really should revisit Ernest Becker’s Denial of Death, a book you’ve recommended on this site, especially the last chapters, where he offers a reconciliation of soul, spirit, and the tragic human condition. Listening to a Barry White album will have the same effect.

  25. Frank Mezek Says:

    Guy,

    I see the fire is very close to The Mud Hut.The latest seems to indicate that it is spreding East away from you.Hopefully that’s the case.Mogollon and Willow Creek are declared safe.Those must be within
    walking distance from you.

    This begs the question in general about fire danger.Elaborate please when you get a chance.

    Stay well and safe.

    Please,anyone who has talked to Guy about this let us know here.

    Thank You.

    Double D

  26. Kathy C Says:

    John, I am not aware that the neuroscientists I listed are at any extreme end of any scientific effort
    Ramachandran
    “He is the Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition,[1][2][3] and is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychology[4] and the Neurosciences Graduate Program[5] at the University of California, San Diego.”

    “Antonio Damasio (born February 25, 1944 in Lisbon, Portugal) is David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California, where he heads USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute and Adjunct Professor at the Salk Institute. Prior to taking up his posts at USC, in 2005, Damasio was M.W. Van Allen Professor and Head of Neurology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. His career at Iowa lasted from 1976 to 2005. Besides being a well-known researcher in several areas of neurology and neuroscience, Damasio is the author of several best-selling books which describe his scientific thinking. “As a leading neuroscientist, Damasio has dared to speculate on neurobiological data, and has offered a theory about the relationship between human emotions, human rationality, and the underlying biology.”

    Michael S. Gazzaniga (born December 12, 1939) is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he heads the new SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind. He is one of the leading researchers in cognitive neuroscience, the study of the neural basis of mind. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences.

    Daniel Wegner might be the only one who is a bit controversial but still “Daniel M. Wegner (born 1948)[1] is an American social psychologist. He is a professor of psychology at Harvard University and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is known for applying experimental psychology to the topics of mental control (for example ironic process theory) and conscious will,[1][2] and for originating the study of transactive memory and action identification. In The Illusion of Conscious Will and other works, he argued controversially that the human sense of free will is an illusion.”

    Perhaps you think they are because you don’t like what they are discovering – taking the human mind and exploring its biology and function, removing it from spirit, soul and mystery.

    I don’t remember recommending Becker’s book only his theory. I found it difficult to read – full of psychobabel. However his basic theory that it is denial of death that causes our negative views on sex and feces to be valid. He proposes as I remember that this is because the fact that we have sex and poop just as animals do reminds us that we are in fact animals and mortal. Thus sex has to be romantic and bathrooms have to be deodorized. Lots of people come up with good theories and then in the end get uncomfortable with them and try to back pedal – Steven Pinker comes to mind.

    When I talk of mortality often I am accused of being obsessed with it. I think I am just honest and accepting about it and in fact those who so accuse me are terrified of their own mortality. The fact is that we all die. Why shouldn’t that event of our life that is certain and of high impact be talked about?

    My ability to deal with death made it possible to be a Hospice volunteer, giving love and support to countless people without getting depressed. It made me able to hold babies in Haiti that might die overnight, and come back each morning to care for those still living. In fact I remember a baby who died while I was in the room. The novice said to the nun _sister this baby just died” then picked the baby up by the feet and carried it out. In Haiti they live close to death. We hide it in nursing homes, hospitals, and pretend that embalmed corpses look good.

  27. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    I’m made of primordial soup:
    My awareness comes from brain goop;
    It models what’s essential,
    It’s self-referential,
    And it might be some kind of strange loop.

  28. john rember Says:

    Kathy: These people represent a faction in neuroscience. Just because they’re part of the medico-scientific establishment doesn’t mean that they’re the only faction, or that they’re right. Since when do we cite the highest credentials of industrial civilization to prove that someone is right about the brain and consciousness? The next step is to cite the Pope.

  29. Cathy Says:

    For those of us who were worried about the proximity of the mud hut to the wildfires in NM, I just got a note from Guy as follows:

    “All is well here. The fire is about 8 miles due north of here, and the wind is blowing out of the southwest. As a result, Albuquerque and Santa Fe are blanketed in smoke. Its clear here, though.

    I’m headed to Oceanside shortly and looking forward to the break. Guy”

    Cathy

  30. Kathy C Says:

    I am always interested in the mind John, do reference me to some of these other neuroscientists who have different views.

    But it is true that when a specific part of the brain is damaged specific functions are lost. It is true that damage to the brain can remove the person we knew. It is common for caretakers of Alzheimer patients to say “Dad (or whoever) isn’t there anymore”. And when a person gets amnesia from head injury, they don’t know who they are – they have lost their past memories and in essence are clueless without them. Did they lose their soul or just have a temporary or permanent loss of Brain function? “Anterograde amnesia is a loss of the ability to create new memories after the event that caused the amnesia, leading to a partial or complete inability to recall the recent past, while long-term memories from before the event remain intact.” These people are stuck in the past – nothing that happens to them sticks, they are forever stuck at the point of time when they had brain injury. Is their soul stuck there too?

    Whatever these things mean about consciousness they are real and documented.

    What you seem to offer in your little spirit soul writing seems as unsubstantiated as anything from the Bible. But with modern surgery and brain imaging we can see what part of the brain is injured and note what functions are missing. We can then see if the same functions are missing in others with the same damage. If it proves consistent, we can then conclude that a particular function is done by a part of the brain, not by some insubstantial soul or spirit. We can also note that when the brain turns to mush nothing about that human works anymore. Everything about spirit or soul is conjecture and often wishful thinking. Experiences that people relate to have that are spiritual can be duplicated by brain stimulus or chemical stimulus.

    Why would I cite the pope – he is not a scientist. Any rate what is wrong with returning to the non-existence from which we emerged. It never bothered me one bit to be non-existent. Never bothers me to sleep (I hate waking up) and oh I am glad for the non-existence of anesthesia when I had surgery. I am hopeful that death when it comes will be non-existence. One life is enough.

  31. Kathy C Says:

    Benjamin that may be your best limerick.

  32. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Kathy C., thanks, but I like this better:

    My awareness comes from brain goop
    ‘Cause I’m made of primordial soup;
    I model what’s essential,
    I’m self-referential,
    And I might be some kind of strange loop.

    The way I work is write, post, and then start to edit haha! :D
    Wegner’s da MAN in my book. I’m a huge Susan Blackmore fan too. :)

  33. Kathy C Says:

    Fukushima worker hunting from overseas
    Posted by Mochizuki on May 30th, 2012 ·
    Tepco related companies are starting to hunt Fukushima workers from overseas.

    The conditions look like typical false information for nuclear working job.

    The newspaper below is for Japanese Brazilian.

    http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/05/fukushima-worker-hunting-from-overseas/

  34. the virgin terry Says:

    thanks for the update on guy, cathy. he’s so gracious in making nbl what it is, with him often in the background, giving others chances to shine. i’m glad he’s ok. he’s more valuable than appreciated, aren’t u, guy? (smile)

    ‘Whatever these things mean about consciousness they are real and documented.’

    true, but the mystery remains. or else the horrific surrealization that our existence is purely chemical, mechanical, random, meaningless. i prefer mystery. i prefer/need at least an illusion of meaning and purpose and value. although i ironically understand how such a preference/’need’ might be merely a built in biological survival mechanism in a mechanical, chemical, random, meaningless surreality.

    i feel all shook up about my kitty friend, kathy. with a conflicted and racing heart i tried to kill her myself today. i failed, and to my great relief, did her no significant apparent harm in the process. i won’t bore anyone with details. let’s just say i feel blessed by the outcome, and blessed to have an appointment tomorrow to have her professionally euthanized. this morning i gave her her favorite food, canned tuna juice and flesh. tomorrow i’ll offer the same. last meal for the condemned.

    kathy, i’m glad u’re still with us, blessing us with your wisdom, knowledge, honesty, and compassion. for a meaningless bag of bones, blood, etc. etc., if that’s what u are, u’re awesome.

  35. the virgin terry Says:

    kevin, up to now i haven’t followed your sage advice that periodic short fasting is healthful. today, being all shook up, it’s easy to follow, as appetite has receded. it’s late in the evening, i’ve eaten nothing all day, don’t plan to until tomorrow after kitty’s gone. maybe the start of a habit? perhaps it’s a particularly good idea to acquire some acclimation to deprivation, in anticipation of the future.

    victor, i’m sort of enjoying watching the lengthy film on imperialism and propaganda u provided a link to a few days ago. even bitter truth is spiritually cleansing, and it’s somewhat comforting to know that others are also grappling with surreality with honesty, sanity, and difficulty.

  36. john rember Says:

    Kathy C.:
    You can begin by reading that book you’ve been recommending on this site, Ernest Becker’s Denial of Death.

  37. Robin Datta Says:

    My awareness comes from brain goop

    The primacy is with the awareness, the ground for the perceptions of light, sound, touch taste and smell that are concatenated into a concept of a “world” that includes a concept of “brain goop”. 

    But it is true that when a specific part of the brain is damaged specific functions are lost. It is true that damage to the brain can remove the person we knew.

    But grokking that there is no “I” is quite another matter. 

    …..Did they lose their soul or just have a temporary or permanent loss of Brain function? 

    They never did have a soul or a self in the first place. 

    The Diamond Sutra – A New Translation by Alex Johnson, Chapter 14:

    Such a person will be able to awaken pure faith because they have ceased to cherish any arbitrary notions of their own selfhood, other selves, living beings, or a universal self. Why? Because if they continue to hold onto arbitrary conceptions as to their own selfhood, they will be holding onto something that is non-existent. It is the same with all arbitrary conceptions of other selves, living beings, or a universal self. These are all expressions of non-existent things. Buddhas are Buddhas because they have been able to discard all arbitrary conceptions of form and phenomena, they have transcended all perceptions, and have penetrated the illusion of all forms.”

    …….These people are stuck in the past – nothing that happens to them sticks, they are forever stuck at the point of time when they had brain injury. Is their soul stuck there too?

    The rest are stuck in the past, present and future.

  38. Robin Datta Says:

    consciousness is a waste product of the human organism

    Consciousness is the ground of the universe, of spacetime and matter-energy. It manifests discrete entities, each experiencing itself and identifying as an “i”, although there is no “I”.

    Aryeh Kaplan the physicist and Kabbalist of the last century, develops this in his book Innerspace.

  39. Kathy C Says:

    John, Ernest Becker (September 27, 1924 – March 6, 1974) was a cultural anthropologist and interdisciplinary scientific thinker and writer. He is not a neuroscientist. He did no studies on the brain. He died before most of the modern brain science came into effect.

    As I said I recommended his basic theory, not the book. I wouldn’t want anyone to plow through that. Have you never heard of anyone accepting part of a book not all of it? Largely he seemed to be refuting Freud on theories about sex which I thought appropriate. If I had a copy of the book on hand I would check out to see if your perceptions of the last chapters are correct but I think I got it from the library.

    You seem to want to discredit well credited scientists who are on the cutting edge of neuroscience as no better than the pope, despite their having done research rather than inventing stuff. So if we can’t trust these scientists, perhaps we cannot trust climate scientists. Perhaps they are no better than the Pope or the Bible on the fate of the planet?

    Ah well doesn’t matter. I am going to die. You are going to die. Likely every human is going to die before they expected to die as collapse takes hold. It becomes ever more likely that humans will go extinct along with other mammals that have a measure of self awareness. So it goes…..

  40. Kathy C Says:

    John, I just previewed a few pages of the final chapter of Denial of Death on Google books. I promise to never again mention the book. I knew it was full of psychobabel but worse than I remembered. I will never even mention his name again for I wouldn’t want anyone to labor through that. I think however his basic theory is right and one only has to look at how we prettify death with our coffins and makeup on corpses to know we deny the reality of death. You only need to check out modern bathrooms to know that we can’t stand the reality of our need to excrete waste – flush it down quick and cover the smell. Perhaps art is also that desperate attempt to pretend that we are NOT MAMMALS by God and hope that talk of souls or spirits will prevent us from returning to the non-existence from which we sprang. I would bet all my possessions that we don’t exist after death but of course if I am right I don’t get to gloat about it much less call in any bets.

  41. john rember Says:

    Kathy C:

    Neuroscientists study the brain by dissecting it, bit by bit, and then they cannot find a whole, functioning, perceiving brain. Go figure.

    The scientific-material ideology/industrial complex is better referred to as scientism, a religion that is just as oppressive and destructive of the human as the Catholics or the Baptists ever were. You seem to relish your position as one of its enforcers.

    Note that you take Eric’s essay, which talks of the spiritual as an essential component of his world view, and say that it doesn’t exist. I would say instead that you cannot perceive what he’s talking about, and therefore it doesn’t exist for you. That doesn’t mean he isn’t talking about something real.

    I don’t think anyone who reads your words doubts that humans are mortal mammals. That’s belaboring the obvious. But humans are also conscious mammals, and their consciousness is worthy of study and respect.

    You’ve spoken often of your abusive childhood and a religious upbringing tinged by violence. Isn’t it possible that those things have become the lens through which you view the joy, and spirit, and soul of this flawed but beautiful world?

  42. navid Says:

    John – “The next step is to cite the Pope.”

    Siting multiple works by different science researchers who gained their insight from the works of all those in their field – versus – the Pope.

    Kathy, thanks for the warning for “Denial of Death” (psychobabble is a terrible thing to experience ;)

  43. Andy Brown Says:

    Eric, I realize I’m a little late to this party, but I appreciated your essay, and I got to thinking about an article I’d written on the related subject of spiritual practice in a utopian (politicized pagan) scene. So I put the article, Witchcrafting Selves up on my blog if you have any interest in reading an anthropological paper on (or nearly on) the topic.

  44. Robin Datta Says:

    The scientific-material ideology/industrial complex is better referred to as scientism, a religion that is just as oppressive and destructive of the human as the Catholics or the Baptists ever were.

    The Rumbling of Distant Thunder

    “It’s among the major failures of contemporary Western culture that the keepers of its religious traditions have so signally failed to deal with the core issues of our time.”

  45. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Perhaps, as some people say,
    The world’s consciouness on display,
    Or else everything’s matter;
    With poo set to splatter,
    Why fight? — we’re fucked either way.

  46. Robin Datta Says:

    I would say instead that you cannot perceive what he’s talking about, and therefore it doesn’t exist for you. That doesn’t mean he isn’t talking about something real.

    To reject what cannot be perceived as non-existent is akin to Descartes’ fallacy. What can be perceived is a subset of what exists. Just because something cannot be perceived, it does not follow that it does not exist.

  47. Andy Brown Says:

    What a pleasure it is to amass,
    Some wisdom along with the gas,
    As you sum up the times,
    with some Limerick rhymes,
    and masquerade here as an ass.

  48. navid Says:

    If it cannot be perceived, it cannot be studied by science.

    Hence, science stays out of the “spirit” business.

  49. Guy McPherson Says:

    With thanks to Eric Geiermann, I’ve posted anew. The latest is here.