Friday, May 27, 2016

Premature Explanations







In my last post, I used the expression “premature explanations.” I was referring to the habit of some people who try to explain things away too quickly -- especially if it’s something too weird or at odds with their worldview.  I notice the affliction is popular with diehard rationalists and with people who lack the ability to listen.

As for me, I want the full story about something before I try to arrest and place it inside the cage of my explanations.  For example, I would describe and try to understand the extraterrestrial visitor that lands on my lawn.  But we know that the instinct of many would be to shoot first and ask questions later.  It takes a kind of courage to question the unknown.  To blast it down on sight is the mark of unreasoning fear.

What I’m objecting to is a certain impatience when confronting strange or unexplained matters.  The imperial instinct is always to explain, reduce, utilize, and in the end, colonize.  In short, explanation may become a form of anticipatory control, a gearing up for exploitation.

Ah yes!  This strange, different, other fact, event, person!  Explainers, come on over here and bring your sledgehammers!  Get that ontological imp of the perverse!  Give him the sledgehammer treatment, boys!  Hammer the bugger into shape so that he fits into our worldview, looks like us, and quits giving us insomnia!   

I’m not saying we bow down before the enigmatic for the thrill of it.  But I am opposed to false clarity and misleading uniformity.  If we look closely around us, we’re surrounded by deviants, irregularities, incompatibles – impossibles.

Premature explanation is the enemy of my aim in this blog: which -- without scientific or religious prejudice -- is to see how far we can go in the liberation of consciousness. 


  



Friday, May 20, 2016

Activists for Consciousness?





In writing the Introduction to The Man Who Could Fly, I noticed that in almost every behavioral science, there are small groups of individuals interested in phenomena that break the paradigm.  Of the sort that interests me, paradigm-breaking shows up in branches of medicine; in physics; in anthropology; in history; sport; the arts; animal consciousness; magic and religion; mesmerism, hypnotism; psychical research, parapsychology, transpersonal psychology – and philosophy. 

There’s always a minority, an invisible college, passionate to explore the outer limits of consciousness, and ready to transcend the mainstream. Maybe this invisible college is meant to serve as recurrent reminder of our forgotten human potentials.

There are all kinds of activists, lobbyists, causes.  What does it take to qualify as a consciousness activist?  Here’s my short list of defining marks.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Immortality and Transcendence: Nonsense or Supersense?

 



No matter the enchanting wonders of 21st century technology, immortality and the search for transcendence will always tempt our imaginations.   However, neither of these topics seem to interest today’s educated masses or for that matter the uneducated.  There are of course notable exceptions, and there seems a slowly massing movement of what I like to call consciousness activists.   

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mind at the Center of My Worldview

 



Now and then we should take time out to acknowledge our teachers, the ones that made a difference in the progress (or regress) of our life-journey.  Let me recount how I escaped from a serious mistake inflicted on me by the uncritical reception of scientific materialism. This, more than an intellectual mistake, is also an existential disaster.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

When Lack of Consciousness Kills

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Most of us have heard horror stories of mistakes made in a medical setting; I recall one about a surgeon leaving a pair of scissors in a patient’s body after sowing her up. But the shocker was reported in the BMJ on May 3rd:

According to surgeon Dr. Martin Makary, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. is error committed by medical professionals. 700 lives a day snuffed out because of a lapse of consciousness is no small thing.   Annually, it amounts to 251 thousand souls; 9.5 percent of all deaths in the U.S.

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