Reality, Empirical/Transcendent, Experience/Knowledge, Unification of
Material and Spiritual Sciences and the Coming Paradigm Shift
(#1415) SMN, Free Will and Unification of Paradigms
(#1470) Religion/Spirituality, Energy/Information and the Unification of Material and Spiritual Science
(#1638) Trusting the flow, the Cosmic Dance, the natural holistic process (#1638)
(#1639) Breaking the Code of Secrecy, the Cosmic Dance includes Light and Dark, the Process of Awakening, the Human Collective Paradigm Shift, plus some comments from the I Ching (#1639)
(#1640) Paradigm Shifts and the Changing Nature of what is 'Fact' (#1640)
(#1663) System Theoretic Metaphysics and the Unification of the Transcendent and Empirical Sciences
Also see other excerpts from my discussions with the Society for Scientific Exploration.
We are in full agreement on the principles and premises but I disagree with some of your conclusions. You present arguments against the utility of empirical knowledge and empirical science but these are not what I am talking about. One needs to carefully distinguish between relative and absolute or empirical and transcendent.
> When Carlos returns, he tells Juan that he has
> dutifully studied up on Juan's culture, history, etc, and is
> ready to work with Juan. Don Juan smiles, because he knows that
> there is nothing in any book anywhere that can possibly prepare
> Carlos for the real training he is about to embark on.
"culture, history, etc" are purely empirical forms of knowledge - their scope does not go beyond the story of the world that arises from our experiences of its outer form - they dwell upon the appearance of reality rather than delving into its deeper nature. Thus they cannot prepare one for a journey of discovery into the deeper nature of reality. Hence Don Juan's smile at the naivety of Carlos, who obviously had not learnt to distinguish between empirical and transcendent and who had no idea of the deeper nature of transcendent reality.
To give an example, imagine a hypothetical scenario where there is a computer generated virtual reality, like a highly advanced computer game, that is occupied by a sentient character. That character may believe in the illusion of its senses and think of itself as an object in space. It may acquire all kinds of knowledge about other objects in space and all kinds of particulars about the story line of the game and the dynamics of the game but all of this is empirical knowledge. Such knowledge only deepens one's entanglement in the game and is actually an impediment to transcendent realisation.
If the character was to look beyond the game and enquire into the transcendent aspects of its situation it would realise that it was not an object in space but instead a coherent information process and so too were all 'things' in that world. It could enquire into the transcendent information processes that underlie the existence and functioning of the empirical illusion and thereby understand its holistic context on a deeper level.
But this enquiry is a process of deepening one's experiences, not just intellectualising - there is no possible way to begin with a belief in objects in space and then intellectualise one's way toward a transcendent perspective, only experience will do that. But knowledge that has arisen from other's experiences of the transcendent will help open one up to the possibility of those experiences and will help one coherently integrate those experiences into a growing understanding.
The character would realise that the nature of that world was very different from its appearance. Thus it doesn't matter how much it learns about the appearance of reality, this will not in any way prepare it for discovering the nature of reality. But if one was to acquire knowledge about the nature of reality, this would assist in the process of aligning with the greater reality and of participating in it more fully. Knowledge of the deeper nature of reality is transcendent knowledge (sacred or spiritual knowledge).
Thus I disagree that "there is nothing in any book anywhere that can possibly prepare" one. There is nothing in any book of empirical knowledge but if one turned to sources of transcendent knowledge then that can prepare one to some degree. For example, if I totally and unthinkingly believed in the illusion of my senses and in a materialist objectivist perspective on reality where I was nothing but matter in space that was jostling about randomly and somehow manifesting myself. If I also beleived in my cultural conditioning and thought of myself as an individual in society where my purpose was to earn money to buy consumer goods and to satisfy desires. These are all part of the game play and do not give any insights into the nature of the game. From such a foundation of purely empirical knowledge I would not be open to or prepared for engaging with the deeper transcendent reality.
However if from that perspective I was introduced by subtle degrees to the sacred knowledge of Vedanta and yoga or any other mystical paradigm (not religious dogma) and I came to understand the distinction between empirical and transcendent (Maya and Brahman) and also the deeper nature of my Self and of all things, I would then be more open and prepared to engage with the deeper transcendent reality. But the process of engaging with that deeper reality is still through direct experience, however appropriate knowledge is required to coherently seek out and meaningfully comprehend those experiences.
> I perceive that we are on the precipice of great human
> evolution - so much so that the momentum of this
> evolution simply can no longer be contained. However,
> we are still carrying around old paradigm, fundamental,
> unstated assumptions that we are barely cognizant of -
> specifically - we still scientifically and conceptually
> think like the materialistic middle ages - we are stuck
> in materialistic view as to how we perceive the world in
> every area of our culture - specifically and most
> importantly in the sciences!!
We both agree that there is a need to shift the old paradigm. But you also seem to propose that any attempt to do so is futile and worthy only of a condescending smile. The paradigm will evolve due to the acceptance of current knowledge of the transcendent and also due to experiences of the transcendent. Knowledge arises from experience and the sacred knowledge that we have has arisen from countless spiritual experiences. As our experiences deepen so too do our ideas about those experiences.
reality -> spirit -> experience -> ideas -> words
That which underlies experience is refered to as absolute reality and that which arises from experience is refered to as relative reality. To use the computer game analogy, the actual computational dynamics is the absolute reality that underlies all experiences in the virtual world and the mythology of objects in space and of worldly experiences within the virtual world is the relative reality. Experience is the bridge and therefore plays a vital role but it is not the whole situation.
> it is the experiential that gives us the "deeper"
> understanding of that reality, not the intellect.
I agree that ideas should not precede experience because they arise from experience. But once experiences arise, ideas about them also tend to arise. To purely intellectualise is to take the ideas that have arisen from experience and to 'calculate' with them solely within the context of the discourse of ideas. This causes the discourse to become detached from its grounding in experience. You assume that I propose a purely intellectual approach - I do not. My own process of discovery has been founded on personal experience, spiritual experience, spiritual practice, meditation, inspiration and intuition. It has been a process of personal alchemy and of self- transformation, subtly penetrating into the deeper reality and experiencing it as holistic states of being. Only later do I attempt to express the insights gained in the form of ideas and symbols expressed using scientific analogies. I agree that ideas cannot convey experience but experience does give rise to ideas, it is these ideas that I am discussing.
If one is seeking to escape a mind made trap and a conceptual framework of ideas that has become detached from experience and thereby from reality, one needs to overcome mind with awareness and to return to direct experience. But for one who has achieved this and who daily dwells with spiritual experiences then mind is no longer a tyrant but is instead a useful tool, the issue then is not how to experience reality but rather how to understand the experiences. For this one needs ideas that are able to comprehend the nature of those experiences and to comprehend the deeper context. As our experiences of reality deepen so too will our ideas about those experiences and in this way our understanding grows.
> We have yet to fully understand, then integrate
> into our thinking and our sciences, that consciousness
> existed before matter. We are fundamentally not material
> beings seeking greater realms of consciousness, but
> conscious beings seeking greater realms of material
> experience and interface. Culturally, intellectually,
> philosophically and scientifically, we still think backwards.
> we have become lost in materialism, so much so that we
> think that we are evolving into consciousness. Oh dear!
I agree, that is why we need to adjust our ideas and concepts based upon deeper experiences. We need a paradigm shift and that is exactly what I am talking about.
The growth of understanding requires both experience and mythologising, both experiment and theory. For example, knowing about recipes and nutrition and so on will not in any way convey the nature of the experience of food to someone who has never experienced it. But for someone who routinely experiences food an understanding of recipes and nutrition and so on can help that person to comprehend their experiences and to participate with food on a deeper level.
Another example of the relationship between experience and knowledge is our experience of materiality. Through the empirical senses we experience an empirical world. This is what is described as the physical universe, it is the experiential context based upon outer appearances of things, it is the virtual world that is experience by characters within the game. We each to varying degrees experience ourselves in a materialistic context.
From these experiences contless ideas have arisen and further produced countless symbols such as words, concepts and whole conceptual frameworks such as materialist science, objectivism and so on. These ideas cannot convey the experience of materiality to someone who has never experienced it but for those who routinely experience it they have helped us comprehend our experience of materiality on deeper and deeper levels. Thus we learn to participate more fully in it.
The growth of technology and civilisation is a product of this deepening participation in it. This knowldege has also penetrated through to the limits of materiality in the form of quantum physics, and through this gateway we may come to understand many of the non- material aspects of reality as well and gradually penetrate through to transcendent knowledge of the situation.
In the same way that ideas about materiality may allow us to participate in the material world to greater degrees, so too can ideas about spiritual experiences help us to open up to them and to comprehend them and participate in that wider context in more coherent ways.
Thus ideas without experience are fantasy but experiences without ideas are incomprehensible and without symbols they are unspeakable. It is true that the absolute reality is itself beyond all words and ideas but certain words and ideas can be useful and meaningful if they convey knowledge of the transcendent aspects of the context. But one must always remember to avoid bluring the distinction between symbols, ideas, experiences and the underlying reality that they arise from. If used wisely they can lead people toward direct experience of the transcendent reality rather than just lead them into the game play of relative reality.
> The ability to telekinetically interface with matter
> would add much more to scientific understanding than
> simply theorizing how that would be so, don't you think?
I fully agree, but why stop there? Once such experiences are accepted the real issue is how to comprehend such phenomena and to explore what else is open to our experience. By this I do not imply "simply theorizing" but rather theorising that is connected to experience.
A science of the transcendent is a vital adjunct to our growing experience of it. As psi phenomena become more prevalent and influential there will be a corresponding paradigm shift that accomodates the energy/information dynamics, the nature of consciousness and experience, and the general holistic nature of reality. There will be a paradigm shift toward a more transcendent perspective and the ideas that I am discussing are a part of that paradigm shift. The experiences must be incorporated into our world view and that is the main purpose of the ideas that I am discussing.
> Materialism is not what the future integrative science
> is about. In the future, science will be all about the
> scientist becoming enlightened with their own
> interpersonal training which will then give them the
> appropriate perspectives from which to develop quantum
> science - deeply reestablishing their connection with
> the source of all reality, then building the scientific
> models from that re-established perspective.
That is a good description of the process of my own work. I am not 'enlightened' but I have experienced many profound intuitive insights (reading from the Akashic record) and these inspire and guide my work. Just because I use the language of mathematical science do not simply assume that it is a purely intellectual exercise otherwise you will misunderstand it.
Your example of the telephone conversation is one that I have often used before. It illustrates the nature of the inner (causal) and outer (observable) aspects of systems. I have discussed this general phenomenon of inner/outer at length throughout my website (http://www.anandavala.info) and also in several postings to this group. Rather than being an argument against the conceptual approach that I propose it is in fact one of the major realisations conveyed by that approach. It is an argument against purely empirical science but it is also an argument for the benefits of a transcendent science that comprehends both inner and outer aspects of reality.
The arising paradigm is one that encapsulates the idea that every system has both inner and outer aspects (related to purusha and prakriti from Vedanta). There is no such thing as inanimate matter (pure outer with no inner) and the entire universe is conscious in some form. Systems have a coherent information flow within that manifests awareness and the ability to perceive, interpret, experience and respond to stimuli. They also have an outer form of observables that may produce stimuli in the perceptual field of other systems. Thus systems experience and are able to be experienced.
The entire universe experiences itself from countless perspectives. Experience is intrinsic to the process of existence. This is the coherent flow of information (spiritual or transcendent dynamics) that underlies the appearance of the empirical world, which is just a perceptual 'illusion'. To see the world without that illusion is to see it as pure spirit (the game character would see it as pure computation). The absolute reality is one of dynamic energy/information, not one of objects in space.
Knowing this gives one a different perspective on experience itself; rather than being an accidental product of our material brains it is an intrinsic aspect of reality. Thus through self-enquiry and meditation we may penetrate through the veil of appearances and come to directly participate in the underlying reality. Knowing this provides motivation to seek such experiences and to take them seriously when they occur. Otherwise one would never seek them or would brush them asside as delusions or halucinations or superstitions.
We agree that energy/information phenomena underlie the arising of the phenomenal world but you seem to suggest that the underlying dynamics is incoherent and incomprehensible. This most likely arises from a bluring of the distinction between empirical and transcendent. I propose that it is both coherent and comprehensible, but not in terms of empirical concepts (such as objects in space), but in terms of transcendent concepts (such as spirit or information). Just as a computer game character may experience a world of people, places and things but these concepts are useless for comprehending the deeper computational nature of their context. However computational concepts can capture the coherent information dynamics that manifests the entire virtual reality.
To continue with the telephone example, it illustrates several things. Firstly it describes a situation where the subject and object are separated so that the subject can only access the outer observables of the object but cannot access the inner flow or experience of the object. That is why looking outward into the world is participating in the world illusion - it is playing the game rather than penetrating into the nature of the game. But if the subject and the object are one, as is the case in self-enquiry (swadhyaya in Vedanta) then one has access to the inner aspect (one's own consciousness). Thus holistic knowledge can arise through self- development and experience of oneself.
The scenario also illustrates the limits of empirical knowledge and how transcendent knowledge can be useful. You propose that the observers of the telephone signal know nothing about the inner dynamics of the situation and nothing about the general context in which the signal arises. They only have access to a decontextualised signal about which they know nothing. This is an analogy for someone who knows nothing about the underlying dynamics of their world and who operates solely by experiencing the observables without any comprehension of the wider context.
But suppose that the observers had a deeper understanding of the situation. They not only had access to the observable signal but also to an understanding of the nature of the inner dynamics that gave rise to the signal and also to the general context in which the signal exists. Any intellignece organisation is an example of this, they not only observe the signal but they also have an understanding that it is a mobile phone signal and that there is most likely a conversation occuring between two humans. Therefore the obvious way to analyse the signal is to decode the data as a mobile phone signal and then to get a human to listen to the signal in an audio frequency range. In this way the system could extract more meaning from the observation rather than just rely on pure experience of a signal without any understanding surrounding that signal. Thus a deeper understanding can lead to a deeper and more coherent and meaningful participation in the situation.
Another example, one may experience influencing a REG machine but what is actually taking place? What is the underlying dynamics that produces the experiential context? How can one coherently comprehend and integrate this experience? How can one maximise one's effectiveness in influencig events? The analysis "Mathematics of Intention.doc" in the files section of this forum is a recent first attempt to address this issue. It attempts to go beneath the outer appearance of the situation and to comprehend the underlying energy/information dynamics thus potentially leading to a deeper understanding of the holistic context. It is not "simply theorizing" but is rather an experimental/theoretical approach that gives quantifiable predictions that can be tested by experiment. Thus there is experience (experiment) and ideas (theory).
In conclusion I propose that just as the empirical aspect of reality is to a large degree coherent and comprehensible using empirical concepts, the transcendent aspect is also coherent and comprehensible using transcendent concepts. This is illustrated to varying degrees by the various mystical traditions. They cannot give you the experience but they can help lead you to it and to comprehend it coherently and thereby integrate the experience.
There is already a mature spiritual science (e.g. Vedanta amongst others) and there is already a mature empirical science (e.g. modern science). What I propose is a science that connects with both of these and illuminates how they relate to each other, thereby providing a bridge between them. Obviously, this will not give anyone an experience of the holistic reality but it may help some people to approach such experiences and to make sense of them when they occur.