Those who know me know that I am a fan of Rupert Spira. This is an another great talk.

Those who know me know that I am a fan of Rupert Spira. This is an another great talk.

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Those who know me know that I am a fan of Rupert Spira. This is an another great talk.

There are many worthwhile parts sprinkled throughout, but these stand out to me:

“The only thing that suffering cannot stand is being seen clearly. The reason for that is that at the root of suffering is an illusion. You can’t do anything to an illusion because there’s nothing there. You can’t do anything to the water in a mirage…” (minute 11:02)

Also note the connection between pain and suffering at minute 14:25, where he notes that “suffering is to the mind what pain is to the body…”, and goes on to explain the purpose of suffering.

Finally, note the analogy at minute 22:34 about the separate self.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oWHbsHO2-0&feature=youtu.be

51 comments

  1. Oh boy…..why people love to recycle Spira’s woo woo talks…..

  2. I recommend that you just feel free to ignore this then, nickolasgaspar.

  3. Gideon Rosenblatt thanks for the tip. The truth is that this kind of posts are damaging to people that are not educated or trained to recognize magical language…..so something must be done in order to alert them.

  4. I see. So you are the mystical vigilante, eh, nickolasgaspar? Good luck with that, and thanks so much for all your hard work protecting all of us uneducated, untrained slobs from ourselves.

    Sheesh.

  5. Gideon Rosenblatt hehehehehe oh I love your humorous sarcasm.

    nickolasgaspar it’s called a Paradigm shift

    I have seen – listened to and experienced a great amount of pain and what I might term as suffering in life.

    However (!!) I am willing to hear the man. Gideon Rosenblatt does not send out posts on a woowoo side, he sincerely feels deep within himself this adds or could add benefit. And I am one to find out.

    It’s called Sharing, expanding, A Paradigm shift And Gideon I am willing to watch this and contemplate the value of his words and what you find to be more than helpful!!

    GEEZZZ you naysayers!! _Is everything in your life PUUURRRFECT? It sure as heck not for me. I am knee deep in neuroscience helping others, if they will listen, in recovery. My ideas, although have been proven effective, have also been many medical professionals……….. _Yeah right MicheleElys and the tooth fairy along with TinkerBell are a reality

    yes they were in Walt Disney’s movies!!

    Damn, give ideas a second look and chance. AAARRRGGG!!

    *PS this eye here was ready to rupture immediately 5 years ago, i saved my horses eye and he sees perfectly, the doctor said it couldn’t be done!!

    https://plus.google.com/photos/

  6. Yes, MicheleElys MER, I’m pretty careful about what I share here on G+. And when it comes to understanding consciousness, I find that Rupert Spira offers a very important, non-dual perspective. “Magical thinking” is a phrase that has its uses I suppose because there is a lot of very low quality, lazy spiritual content floating around. But it is also becoming a phrase for dismissing views that extend beyond the current scientific paradigm, as though that edge isn’t constantly expanding over time. I have little tolerance for people who feel it is their self-appointed duty to try to dissuade people from exploring those edges, especially when it’s someone as bright as Spira talking about consciousness.

  7. Gideon Rosenblatt I appreciate you posts, all of them.

    You have Spira once before that I remembered I watch, I thought he was quite provoking in thought.

    Today has been a Brain day off however, this video is saved for later.

    If you find value in this, then there must be something to look at, for I respect your views in life and have appreciated many of your comments and take on life. Just as some others on G+

    Nonetheless, to bash you and anyone else for a way of thinking in part of their life, truly is rather petty. Instead find that piece we have in common and see how the jigsaw puzzle fits. That to me is a paradigm shift.

    It takes no time and the benefit is garnishing an allie, seeing a different perspective that could be plausible, We scientists are discoverers, and must see different venues that lead maybe to an upsidedowninsideout answer.

    I have to admit there are some whose thinking is pretty far out there in “_what in the world are you talking about_” moments, many of them live in Boulder Colorado, many of them are good willed therapist who are not helping people out of their trauma and we have discussions, what is good for the patient from where they stand!!!!! That is the part in which I am interested in hearing when it does come to agony and suffering. Is there another idea!!

    Thats why we like TedTalks, it’s about ideas which broaden the mind!! We didn’t say it’s a pill everyone must take, simply another idea.

    Have a lovely weekend Gideon Rosenblatt

  8. Gideon Rosenblatt I am not here to protect anyone Gideon. Everyone has to protect himself on his own. I am just pointing out that Spira is preying on the gullible and illiterate. People need to educate them self scientifically and introduce themselves to the logical principles,laws and absolutes if they are really interested in protecting themselves.

  9. nickolasgaspar I agree everyone must educate themselves and live their lives. To disparage another for their way of life, well, he is not Jim Jones, Spira is only sharing his view. Why such deep hostile emotions? It’s his view, no one stated you must follow or agree. So simply disagree instead of being verbally disgruntled. It’s a view only.

    If some choose to follow his word to the T, that is their choice. If taht works great, if it does not, they have the ability to change.

    Long ago I went through several swamiji’s, gurus etc………. until one of them was egregiously inappropriate! I left, my choice. Still there were good people I continued to share with, and giggled at times, possibly rolled my eyes. No one is taking away from anyone if they do not choose for them to take. I have worked with 1000’s of people in trauma and agony, even my own injury i worked through, it sucked.

    This is another idea. Your staunch standing speaks of harsh brittleness. No one is forcing you, its a listen to… that is all and a sharing from Gideon Rosenblatt

  10. MicheleElys MER paradigm shifts are valuable and useful in science… trading the philosophical principles of Methodological Naturalism to those of idealism are not….that’s a huge problem. By doing so, we are placing our selves well back in the medieval era. Spira does not practice science. His interpretations on facts resemble a pre Copernican failed model of thinking…there is nothing new there.

    Scientist and doctors are not and should not be treated as authorities. Your horses were lucky that you did not accept the doctor as such. Technical applications are a product of science. They are as good as the science behind them is. In science we do know that or current knowledge is only our tentative position on nature’s “mysteries”.

    Still….it’s our best understanding and it keeps getting better as long as we improve our observations….the procedure is called learinig.

    That does not mean that we need to adapt academic philosophy’s “free inquiry” in science and let the doors open for every crackpot idea to come in and polute our logic , methodologies and auxiliary scientific philosophical principles.

  11. MicheleElys MER Spira is deliberately promoting his views as a product of science…when they are just unscientific philosophical interpretations of cherrypicked, outdated observations.

    Everybody is free to accept anything….and I am free to point out that he is a fraud. He should stay in the pseudo philosophical realm and promote his worldviews from that aspect.

    I am sorry if by pin point the truth about Spira’s new age theology sounds hostile to you….but this is what it is. He is promoting metaphysical concepts on supernatural principles as scientific interpretations. This is just unacceptable.

    Science ONLY deals with descriptive frameworks on OBSERVABLE CAUSAL MECHANISMS. Empirical regularities is all that we observe in nature, in biological structures and mind properties. His ideas are irrelevant to science.

  12. nickolasgaspar , there is little question that science is invaluable for understanding physical reality. You will see from my other posts that I am deeply interested in science and follow much of it closely.

    But our current sciences have not yet been able to crack consciousness. I highly doubt that you even bothered to listen to what Rupert Spira actually said in this video, but if you had, I would be genuinely interested if you could point me to a traditional scientific approach to understanding consciousness – with some sort of real scientific consensus around it – that is actually more accurate than what Rupert Spira is saying here.

    When it comes to questions of consciousness, I believe there is tremendous hubris at work when people like you assume that we have nothing to learn from ancient civilizations on this topic. And to assume that Spira is preying on the “gullible and the illiterate” is simply ignorance about the type of people who do tend to gravitate towards his work. They tend to be highly educated, actually.

    And for the record, if you really do look at your second comment, you most definitely are taking the tone of someone who thinks he is better than what you assume are simply gullible and illiterate people who need to be alerted so that they aren’t “damaged” by this stuff.

    If I were saying that the world is flat, I would understand your position. But we are talking about consciousness.

    So again, if you have a better path to understanding the true nature of consciousness, then why don’t you start there instead of trying to stand in the way of other people from exploring a very legitimate approach to understanding this very difficult topic.

  13. Gideon Rosenblatt

    “there is little question that science is invaluable for understanding physical reality. You will see from my other posts that I am deeply interested in science and follow much of it closely. “

    >OK we agree on that!

    “But our current sciences have not yet been able to crack consciousness.”

    >It depends from the questions posed on consciousness! Not all sentences with question-marks at the end qualify as serious questions.

    I agree, pinpointing the actual mechanism of conscious states is a difficult task…but our advances are HUGE.

    The following moocs prove just that!

    neurosciencenews.com – Free Neuroscience MOOCs

    “I highly doubt that you even bothered to listen to what Rupert Spira actually said in this video,”

    >You are right….from his first arguments I spot pseudo scientific concepts that render his position scientifically useless.

    “I would be genuinely interested if you could point me to a traditional scientific approach to understanding consciousness”

    > I suggest this mooc from the list I posted

    https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/what-is-a-mind

    ” that is actually more accurate than what Rupert Spira is saying here.”

    >Spira’s speculations are unscientific. The philosophical principles behind his interpretations point to unfalsifiable pseudo scientific concepts. They all are in direct conflict with basic Logic. (default position, burden of proof, demarcation -falsifiability, verification etc).

    “When it comes to questions of consciousness, I believe there is tremendous hubris at work when people like you assume that we have nothing to learn from ancient civilizations on this topic.”

    >Oups are you arguing in favor of Divination???? You are pulling the rug under your feet. You can not use “ANCIENT CIVILIZATION” as authority figures….science does not work that way man!

    You need to present the case on why ancient dudes were right about something…not use them as validation to mystical revelations…this is fallacious magical thinking.

    ” And to assume that Spira is preying on the “gullible and the illiterate” is simply ignorance about the type of people who do tend to gravitate towards his work. They tend to be highly educated, actually. “

    >I don’t assume anything. Spira’s work lacks scientific principles..that is a fact. It does not use the principles of Methodological Empiricism to promote his ideas…he is basing his ideas on mystical revelation, ancient wisdom and comforting thinking…he pretends to know things that he can not know and can not prove.

    Highly educated individuals are not always reasonable. Logic is the basis for science and critical thinking…education alone is useless.

    ” you most definitely are taking the tone of someone who thinks he is better than what you assume are simply gullible and illiterate people who need to be alerted so that they aren’t “damaged” by this stuff.”

    > that is your opinion. I am only reproducing the basic rules on how science is practiced. Naturalistic and logical principles are not to be ignored if you are interested in the epistemic value of ideas.

    By evaluating the nature of principles in a concept you immediately identify scientific from pseudo scientific claims.

    Pls don’t turn this discussion to a huge ad hominem attack.

    This is not about me…this about science and its basic structure…this charlatan named Spira ignores this basic structure.

    “If I were saying that the world is flat, I would understand your position. But we are talking about consciousness. “

    >Seriously??? Are you using a “poisoning the well” fallacy? “We are talking about consciousness”? again seriously? Because it is consciousness…magical explanations are allowed???lol

    “So again, if you have a better path to understanding the true nature of consciousness, then why don’t you start there instead of trying to stand in the way of other people from exploring a very legitimate approach to understanding this very difficult topic. “

    >The best way to start is by helping people understand the Demarcation criteria…what is science what is not.

    When they are able to understand this difference…then they are ready to use their education and evaluate any interpretation.

    Everything boils down to the nature of the Null Hypothesis.

    Science has a testable Null Hypothesis (Is the mind what the brain does?). On the other hand Spira has an unfalsifiable mystical Null Hypothesis.

    The conversation about Spira’s woo woo ideology ends there! He can not perform any experiments in order to falsify his hypothesis…..he is not practicing science…sorry man..it’s that simple!

  14. Thanks for the pointers, and actually I appreciate the seriousness with which you are taking this conversation.

    Here is my simple point. At each level of physical reality, our tools need to change a bit in order to capture the nuances afforded by that next level. We can try to explain the processes of life by relying purely on the explanations of physics, but chemistry and biology have proven extremely useful for extending that understanding in ways that physics alone cannot. Biologists know that their tools are far messier than those of their physicist peers and yet they understand that without them or understanding of life would be far less rich.

    My argument is that the study of consciousness requires a similar jump on our tool set to fully understand it. To try to explain it purely from the picture of physics, chemistry or biology is analogous to trying to understand life with only the tools of physics. You can do it, but your understanding will be brittle and it will not explain all that one could with the next layer in tools.

    My point is not that consciousness gets some magical bypass, but that we cannot really explain consciousness without developing a set of tools for understanding the subjective experience. Yes, we will want that subjective experience to integrate with the tools we have for measuring the physics, the chemistry and the biology that undergird it. But if we try to understand consciousness without expanding our toolset to include subjectivity, we are not fully explaining it with the kind of depth that it deserves.

    So, what then are these tools? We have psychology as one set. It is maddeningly less penetrable to the scientific method than is biology, and yet, it still serves a valuable purpose for understanding the subjective experiences of human beings.

    What Spira represents to me is another approach to understanding these subjective processes. Perhaps we will never agree on the need for another layer of tools in order to understand this next layer of reality, but I don’t think it’s useful to simply wave them away without similarly condemning psychology.

  15. nickolasgaspar Fair enough and good points.

    As to my horse and his eye; I’m a scientist and throughout my life I have learned: Can’t has changed! to I can and let’s explore the possibilities to probabilities!

    My life is a continuous example of this.

    I hear you are confirmed on your thoughts and it seems some deep anger or resentment, that could be a faulty perception

    All in all, your view is fair enough!!

  16. nickolasgaspar I truly feel that Gideon Rosenblatt is NOT the perpetrator here Nickolas.

    He shared a view, what he augments in the view may be minimal, I do not see you asking any questions of his further resonance, rather more angrily pointing the finger at him for some concepts of others.

    Asking questions to clarify is a great tool in understanding.

    And !! this leads to furthering the intangible consciousness category which seems to illude our human brain in understanding, and yet, even through neuroscience, we know it is a valid and somewhat tangible piece to be a feeling creature.

    We still question in deep studies the sub and unconscious mind, or Mind itself in neurosciences and behavioral sciences, yet we know these to exist.

    Balancing the pragmatic and the illusive has always been a conundrum for humans, both stupefied to brilliant humans.

    Gideon Rosenblatt yesterday was a brain off day and much needed again admitting I have not listened, only replying to the discussion from my own gut recognition and my educated background. Somewhere in between we all have a meeting ground.

    Have a lovely Sunday with your family.

    Thank you for letting me know you speech comes in November, although you are still slightly on the fence, maybe delving into more studies on the subject

    Cheers

  17. Gideon Rosenblatt to your comment “_If I were saying that the world is flat_”

    There is a GREAT TedTalk on those whom believe the world is flat. Wonderful segue into logic of how many convince themselves of erroneous factoids.

    Cheers

  18. nickolasgaspar & Gideon Rosenblatt I am sharing this piece of Wisdom from my of my FAVS, Seth Godin And you both will resonate however your POV directs you. I found it priceless! Cheers

    The problem with direct experience

    “I’ll know it when I see it,” or perhaps, “I’ll see it when I know it…”

    We’re hardwired to believe and understand the things we can actually experience. That’s why no one argues about Newton’s laws, but most people panic or shrug when confronted with dark matter, Heisenberg or quarks.

    We’re often good at accepting what’s in front of us, but bad at things that are very far away or very very close. We have trouble with things that are too big and too small, with numbers with lots of zeroes or too many decimal places. And most of all, we fail when trying to predict things that are too far in the future.

    Almost nothing in our civilization is merely the result of direct experience. We rely on scouts and technologists and journalists to tell us what it’s like over there, to give us a hint about what to expect next, and most of all, to bring the insights and experiences of the larger world to bear on our particular situation.

    The peril of roll-your-own science, in which you pick and choose which outcomes of the scientific method to believe is that you’re almost certainly going to endanger yourself and others. Anecdotal evidence about placebos, vaccines and the weather outside is fun to talk about, but it’s not relevant to what’s actually going to pay off in the long run.

    78.45% of humans tend to hate statistics because we have no direct experience with the larger picture. It’s easier to make things up based on direct experience instead.

    The solar eclipse is going to happen whether or not you believe it will, whether or not you have direct experience with previous eclipses.

    When we reserve direct experience for the places where it matters—how we feel about the people in our lives, or the music we’re listening to or the painting we’re seeing, we have the priceless opportunity to become a better version of ourselves.

    The rest of the time, standing on a higher ladder and seeing a bit farther is precisely what we ought to seek out.

  19. MicheleElys MER I really can not help you if you are unable to understand the problem with views that masquerade as “scientific”. The only question that someone can ask on this video is…..”have you ever had a course on philosophy of science”? Anger, pointing fingers and everything that you are accusing me are just distractions from the main issue here. Why people have difficulties demarcating science from pseudo science? Is it education, logic or comforting beliefs ?

  20. nickolasgaspar heheheeh N, please do not passively attack me It is beneath your intelligence and you truly do not wear it well.

  21. Gideon Rosenblatt This afternoon my brain was back in motion.

    I do understand what you are pointing to in the area of (the talk) at 14.19 and on for this short segment. And I find it to be of behavioral significance, with neurological attributes signifying the emotional mind and conscious thought. Excellent point.

    And nickolasgaspar I am not near a woowoo – spiritual nor a religious person!! I am a scientist who is genuinely empathic and who has helped 1000’s of people in recovery taking quantum leaps from the agonizing tortures or trauma.

    Check yourself at the door for all that you pontificate!!!!

  22. Gideon Rosenblatt In science our “tools” change a lot! This is why we have so many disciplines and in each discipline we have different explanatory frameworks evolving through time. A great example is gravity and it’s latest working hypothesis as an emergent property of the material space.

    So I guess the big question about your claim is…..what do you mean by the word “tools”? Because in Spira’s talks the only change I can see is his efforts to change the auxillary philosophical principles of sciences. If your argument is that we should change the same principles that gave science the run away success in epistemology, that is just insane and you need to back that up with evidence.

    It took us more than 2.500 years to come up with this Methodological toolbox and now Spira is arguing to get rid of it and go back to ancient and well known, epistemically failed idealistic principles.

    I suggest that we should all update our understanding about the ontology of a phenomenon by receiving information from the relevant scientific discipline. Isolated philosophical questions on a phenomenon are usually misleading and beg wrong questions. A mooc on Cognitive science (Neuroscience and Neuropsychoanalysis) will render things much clearer about the problematic role of philosophical endevors outside from a scientific framework.

    So you will need to outline the “nature” and character of these tools. (Again analyzing the paradigm shifts in describing gravity is a good example in our case).

    You should also point out which aspects of the work done by cognitive science ignore “subjectivity” and what is subjectivity in the first place! Which aspects of our scientific approach is shallow and what methods could give us the suitable “depth” but keep us well inside the scientific realm? The concept of ” Tools” is a vague generalization. Do we really need to abandon our logical absolutes, principles and laws that we reason?

    I am ending here with a question. Have you ever had a course on philosophy of science? Can you identify the principles in Spira’s ideas that render them pseudo scientific?

  23. MicheleElys MER I am not convinced that you are a scientist and even if you were….that renders your claims an argument from authority and nothing more….I think that you have to agree with me on that.

    Do you understand the Demarcation criteria? Falsifiability? The default position on existential claims? Are you aware of the principles of Methodological Empiricism/Naturalism and their role in science? The role of a Null Hypothesis in our metaphysical investigations? Do you recognize the conflicts between Spira’s philosophical principles in his interpretations and Methodological Empiricism’s principles?

    I am not passively attacking you. I am only pointing the basic facts and tools used in science in the evaluation of metaphysical propositions.

    I need to know your background before wasting my time refuting any arguments supportive of magical thinking.

    Spira could be right about the unobservable nature of the mind and it properties….but the same chances to be right has a hypothesis about a cosmic microwave oven “cooking” brain waves in a distant Galaxy. What distinguishes science(knowledge) from pseudoscience is evidence…..and that is the core principle in MN.

    Ideas are good only if they display epistemic connectedness and falsifiability. Null Hypotheses in science and epistemology are based on strict rules and have an important role. Spira’s Null Hypothesis fails in all aspects.

  24. You are attempting to put me in a box, nickolasgaspar​, by claiming I am somehow against the scientific method.

    I am not.

    Do you believe in the usefulness of psychology?

    If so, do you believe it has attained the same level of rigor in terms of scientific method as the hard sciences?

    If you do not believe in the usefulness of psychology, how do you propose to analyse subjective experience?

  25. Gideon Rosenblatt No I am not….since there isn’t A(one) scientific method. Science has a huge array of methodologies depending of the phenomena, hypothesis, discipline, question and goals that we want to achieve.

    Again I am talking about the principles behind the construction of interpretations. Spira’s principles are in direct conflict with those of science.

    Yes I do believe in the usefulness of psychology and all related disciplines. The problem with physchology is that as a science, it has reached the Observation Objectivity Collapse threshold far earlier than any other scientific discipline due to the nature of what it observes. It is almost impossible to avoid interaction with what you observe (ex. Behavior) and its also almost impossible to experiment by making changes to elements that affect our behavior and psychology (ex.our Social environment). It is something that our social organization systems “forbit”!

    By comparing psychology with ex. quantum physics we can see that they share the same problem for more than 100 years. (Observation Objectivity Collapse). The differences between those two disciplines are that Quantum Theory’s technical applications are most welcomed since they don’t meshed up with the dominant socioeconomic structure.

    On the other hand quantum mechanics are pretty accurate in their predictions. Psychology can not claim the same thing but I am convinced that it is not the discipline’s fault. It has to act inside a system that skews and meshes up our observations

    Mark Solms is the founder of Neuropsychoanalysis. I posted a link on his academic course that proves that subjective experience is currently (for more than 35 years) at the center of investigation. I can provide you with a link of his course.

    I can also direct you to a late publication on a new technique capable to help us identify the content of thought by just observing brain patterns!

    So I think that we all need to dig in to the latest scientific knowledge before making claims about the scientific paradigm….that is my humble opinion. Science has advanced our understanding of mind properties and brain functions far more than any Spira can even imagine. By “advancing” I do not claim that we know everything…..after all by growing our circle of knowledge we only succeed in having a much larger perimeter of ignorance. That does not justify magical explanations by any means.

  26. Gideon Rosenblatt I couldn’t help noticing that you avoided defining the word “tools”. I would love to have your thoughts on what those tools are …

  27. nickolasgaspar, I was in the midst of providing another, longer comment, but then just received your reply. So, I will just split out the first part of my reply and fold in the second part in response to your additional comment.

    I thought at first that you were just debating for debating’s sake. But looking back, I’m realizing that your answers appear to be earnest and with helpful intent. So, allow me to elaborate just a bit more. First, background on me. I read a lot of science, and in fact love science, but I do not have any formal training in it, nickolasgaspar – and that includes philosophy of science. So understand that about my background.

  28. Gideon Rosenblatt fair enough. In my opinion, anybody that is interested in science and the reasons why this intellectual “method” had this epistemic success, should have a course on philosophy of science, about Normative Science (the way science should operate) and Normal Science (the way science currently delivers knowledge).

    This can help people distinguish claims with zero or unknown potential epistemic value from claims that can be at least falsifiable.

    We are lucky enough to have access to such courses for free, just by using our internet connections and I can say with confidence that they are eye opening experiences.

  29. Eating dinner right now (and watching The Defenders), but will be back later….

  30. Gideon Rosenblatt enjoy your dinner…..it’s 6 am here….I am getting ready for my MTB ride….before the sun is “up” !

  31. I appreciate your follow up comment, nickolasgaspar. If I’m totally honest, I can see the limits you were sensing in my faith in the scientific method. So, let me try to address that.

    I believe that we have to keep pushing the edge so that more and more domains of knowledge are accessible to the scientific method. The history of science over the last several hundred years has been just that.

    We are making great progress into understanding the physics, chemistry and biology that arise in conjunction with thoughts. And you’re right: it is a very exciting time for that. In fact, there is important work happening in that field here in Seattle where I live.

    The challenge that we face is that we don’t know exactly what someone means when they describe some particular subjective experience that we then map to physical/chemical/biological phenomenon through our tools (and by tools, I mean the technologies and the methods/processes for applying them). To take the classic example: I say “red” and you don’t really know what I experience as “red.”

    This lack of verifiability is a major stumbling block for the scientific method. And please don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not saying that we can’t validate whether saying “red” to someone will or will not light up some particular place in their brain. What I’m saying is that based on our current tools, we have no clue what that experience is like on the inside for that person.

    We may, in fact, get wonderfully precise in being able to stimulate this particular thought and knowing exactly how the underlying physics, chemistry and biology work. But if we don’t understand the experience, we lose something vital. What’s more, it is simply not acceptable to wave that problem of experience away. It would be roughly akin to ignoring embryonic development because it wasn’t explainable by chemistry alone.

    To be clear, what I mean by “subjective experience” is the complex of feelings, thoughts, and perceptions associated with a given moment in time. The lack of inter-subjective exchange and the lack of verifiability it creates is where I see us hitting the limits of the scientific method.

    Over the last decade or so, I have begun experimenting with meditation and have experienced profound shifts in various aspects of my subjective experience (sense of perception, sense of self, etc.). The problem is that the modern tools of science (its technologies and methods/processes) are not able to penetrate my subjective experience and show clearly to you, or anyone else, exactly what these shifts are like for me on the inside. Sure, we can look at the wave the brain waves now synchronize more fully and other physical phenomenon, but knowing what it is like for me on the inside is beyond our grasp. And, as I say, ignoring this leads to a very limited understanding of what consciousness is.

    All of this leads me to the conclusion that we need other “tools” for understanding that subjectivity. Again, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying do that and ignore the physics, the chemistry or the biology. We need to mesh these understandings with the tools for analyzing subjective experience.

    What are these tools? Well, psychology is one toolkit. Meditative contemplation/introspection and concentration practices are still other toolkits. The non-dual ideas of advaitists like Rupert Spira are another, and if you can set aside the problem of not being able to define a null hypothesis, my guess is that you might find them rather interesting.

    The point of all this is that while I’ve never practiced the scientific method as a scientist myself, I am very thankful that we have this framework for understanding the world. With that said, I do think that it runs into some formidable challenges when it comes to being able to test subjective experience and that that is a real limitation when it comes to understanding a vital aspect of consciousness.

    OK. Time to head to bed now. I appreciate the exchange. Hope you had a good ride.

  32. Gideon Rosenblatt

    “I believe that we have to keep pushing the edge so that more and more domains of knowledge are accessible to the scientific method. “

    >What scientific method means to you and how can we push its limits? Can you give an example of “domains of knowledge” that should be accessible to the scientific method?(whatever you define as such).

    “The history of science over the last several hundred years has been just that. “

    >Can you give an example on that?

    “The challenge that we face is that we don’t know exactly what someone means when they describe some particular subjective experience that we then map to physical/chemical/biological phenomenon through our tools (and by tools, I mean the technologies and the methods/processes for applying them). To take the classic example: I say “red” and you don’t really know what I experience as “red.” “

    > You don’t have to know exactly what someone means by saying e.x.”red”. We know what “red” is. Its the symbolic name tag that we give to the stimuli produced by the energy carried from photons when the hit our retina. In my field (graphic artist) we have color scales. Most people can match two different samples of red due to the similarities in the structure of our eyes. Most marketing strategies use specific colors to invoke specific feelings.(ex. fast foods use red etc).

    We do understand what someone means when he says I bought a red car. We immediately understand his preferences and feelings about this optical stimuli. I can not see any value in this classic example. Its an argument from ignorance fallacy. Because we can not directly obserce a subjective experience….we can assume anything about it? No we can not and now we can observe and “guess” what someone is experiencing.

    (here are the links of the publication and the actual paper)

    cmu.edu – Beyond Bananas: CMU Scientists Harness “Mind Reading” Technology to Decode Complex Thoughts-Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences – Carnegie Mellon University

    http://www.ccbi.cmu.edu/reprints/Wang_Just_HBM-2017_Journal-preprint.pdf

    We can interact with the guy and find out his feelings. We reason Emotions a into feelings and through our behavior ,communication skills and brain scans (lately) we can have a pretty good idea on how people people experience things in life.

    As John Searle says, we know that dogs have feelings…..not because they lively express them…but because they share the same biological “hardware” with us. This is a “hiding behind our finger” argument…in my opinion.

    “This lack of verifiability is a major stumbling block for the scientific method.”

    > I will stop here because a. I will need to wait for your definition on the term “scientific method” and b. we do have observations techniques that help us verify stuff about subjectivity.

  33. Quick response because I think we are starting to just see a fundamental disagreement, nickolasgaspar.

    “What scientific method means to you and how can we push its limits? Can you give an example of “domains of knowledge” that should be accessible to the scientific method?(whatever you define as such).” “The history of science over the last several hundred years has been just that. “

    “>Can you give an example on that?”

    The history of science has pretty much been from physics to chemistry and on to biology. There are some exceptions with things like anatomy showing up early on, but even then, they lacked the biological frame which shows up later. In other words, the scientific disciplines moved from simpler, easier to model to the more complex and harder to model. Consciousness is another order of complexity on top of biology and the subjective state, or inner world, is something qualitatively different from the biological substrate that generates it. Just as the biological phenomena are qualitatively different than, but utterly dependent upon, the chemistry that supports it.

    My guess is that you will disagree with this statement about the qualitative difference of this subjective experience and that you believe that all that is needed is to explain how the physical substrate generates that inner experience. Perhaps I am wrong.

    When you say “We do understand what someone means when he says I bought a red car” – how do you prove, specifically, and unequivocally that your internal understanding is the same? It is a classic example because it has still not been fully answered, and will not until we can crawl into the subjective experience of another.

    One of the values that tools like psychology (and even literature and compassion techniques from Buddhism and other spiritual practices) is that they help us to try to feel what that internal experience of other is. This is part of the great wonder and beauty of works of art – an attempt to share that internal state. But these ‘tools’ too all fall short, for we never truly know for sure what the other is actually experiencing inside.

    Yes, we know that dogs have feelings, but can you feel the way a dog does? And if you somehow convinced yourself that you could, how would you truly be able to verify that sensation without actually being the dog that is the subject of your investigation?

    And by the way, thanks for that research. That is seriously cool. I have to digest that more deeply when I get back. Very exciting.

  34. Gideon Rosenblatt I have to ask again the same questions since I see the same mistake that is done by many. History of science isn’t philosophy of science. So the question here is what do you mean by the phrase “scientific method”. How do you push it’s limits and still have a tool that can produce credible knowledge?

    Now the question on how red feels or how people understand red is a great example of a useless philosophical question(in my opinion). Empathy and sympathy is a huge characteristic of many animals.

    Chocolate companies and the food industry use the color red because they are aware of the psychological impact it has on us.

    Interior designers know that a bluish room will force people to feel a room much colder and raise the heat some degrees. A bright redish room will be inviting but will make people leave sooner. There tone of studies on subjective experience that companies take advantage of in their sales.

    Again we know how things feel because we can see how organisms behave and react when they share the same configuration. We share the same biological hardware.

    We can directly see and compare our brain patterns. I think it’s dishonest to claim to say that we don’t have a clue on how things feel. Males buy gifts and escort females to romantic walks because they do know how these feel! Produces shoot romantic comedies and thrillers because they do have an idea about there impact on their audience.

    I think this is a fabricated gap made by philosophy in order to make room for other ideas.

    Now how can you prove that a red car or that a couple are in love? Blood test and brain scans plus behaior!We can tell when someone is in love by his blood profile . We can tell that a person reacts positively to a color by obseving which areas of his brain light up. We can confirm his feelings by observing his choices and his behavior in general.

    “Can you feel the way a dog does”

    >I think this question is a fallacy (begging the question, poisoning the well fallacy). As human beings, our feelings are product of OUR biological hardware . Dogs do not have the neocortex to reason their feelings like we do. We know that dogs see colors differently due to the structure of there sensory organs (eyes). We also know that animals avoid pain since we share the same nerve endings. Common hardware make us behave alike when sensing similar stimuli (sexual partner, food, social competition, pain, joy etc). You won’t find many organisms seeking pain and if you do you can search for the biological differences that force them to have this foul behaviour.

    So yes we can understand how a social animal feels when isolated, when in pain, when hungry but we can not project reasoning on two different organisms.

    Medicine is based on our ability to understand how diseases feel to others and even to animals. We have painkillers and antianxiety pills. We have sleeping pills and creams that treat sunburns and itching. We have vetenary drugs because we can empathize other species’ feelings.

    So I can not use any real value in this question. I only can sense an agenda behind it.

  35. nickolasgaspar, my understanding of the scientific method is fairly standard and doesn’t differ from commonly understood explanations (see wikipedia page, for example). And we push its limits, in the sense that I mean, mostly through our expansion of our ability to make observations as technology improves over time. (Though there are other advances, of course).

    My point in all this is that I believe we will require some as yet unidentified technology to truly experience the subjective state of another being.

    I did not bring up the dog feelings example. You did. And that, like all your other explanations, are simply observations — physically observable behavior and physiological responses that mirror an underlying subjective state that is also occurring. You call it love because my pulse rises or certain hormones are pumping through my system. But I would argue that that is not love, that is simply the body’s physical response to it. The same is true with the color red making me romantic and orange making me want to eat (though I think that’s outdated).

    Since you are raising Searle, this reminds me a bit of his Chinese room thought experiment. We see the output, but have no real understanding of what is happening inside the box.

    With more rudimentary feelings and impulses, those shared with earlier branches of the evolutionary tree of Life, the difference between the physical stimulus and its electro-chemical model inside our bodies are much smaller. But with our ability to internalize imagery and other phenomena with more sophisticated neural networks and brains, the difference between the objective and the subjective grows.

    Something new emerges, something internal. And right now at least, when we try to measure it with the technologies of observation now at our disposal, all we see is the physical echoes of that internal phenomena.

    I will be traveling for the next few days and so unable to respond, but we may well be at the natural end of our conversation here anyway.

    Though we disagree, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity and appreciate the back and forth.

    en.wikipedia.org – Scientific method – Wikipedia

  36. Gideon Rosenblatt I can not see any disagreement, because you haven’t build a case on how science can be pushed in it’s limits, rendering ex. the philosophical principles of Spira relevant and legit and that of science limiting.

    This “scientific method” that you posted is just a description of logical steps that is not confined in science alone. We use them in our daily efforts to troubleshoot and find solutions in a far less systematic way of course.

    But since we do use it as a general description, I will accept it and ask again the same question. What changes in those steps can allow new domains to enter science? What are these new domains and how can we test Spira’s speculations? Are you basing your faith on future technology to do something like that?

    And according to logic, when should someone promote an existential claim?

    Can you identify the philosophical assumptions of science and compare them to Spira’s? Can you see the problem between those sets before we even accept the possibility of future technology able to falsify his concepts?

    Introducing mind properties in addition to nature ….that is an ancient human tactic. Spira is doing nothing new than the same old god of the gaps trick…which he calls mind/consciousness. Yes everything is possible…but the time to give hundred of talks and to publish books is AFTER evidence about a new scientific paradigm are surfaced. Spira is lobbing in favor of a comforting idea based on wishful thought about future technology enabling us to investigate the supernatural. This is not how logic works.

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  39. I’m getting a bit tired of answering your questions, nickolasgaspar. How about you genuinely try to answer mine? It’s a simple one really. Do you really propose that we study consciousness without taking into account subjective experience? If so, why? If not, then how do you do it?

  40. Gideon Rosenblatt I think I send you a list of moocs that you can find answers for all your questions. Subjective experience is just a property of the phenomenon that does not pose any problem in our objective research. I don’t know why people try to hide behind objectivity. We have drugs an and we prescribe them according to the condition or the pain one feels. We deal with subjectivity all the time

  41. That’s like saying that fetal development is just a property of the underlying chemistry, nickolasgaspar without understanding the role that DNA plays. Subjective experience isn’t just some side effect or interesting by-product of the real show that is the material. When it comes to understanding humanity, subjectivity is the show.

    Lower-order neural responses like that of pain is one thing. But there are higher orders of internal experience. To wave that away, to wave things like love, joy, creativity, inspiration, and the many other higher-order experiences of human subjectivity away, is actually rather laughable. It would lead us to pretend that we know what is really happening when we map the neural firings of someone exchanging vows with their loved one or experiencing the birth of their first child. Yes, those nerves are really firing, but if you ignore what that person is really experiencing on the inside in those wonderful moments in their life, then you miss a whole added dimension of the experience. It is missing the forest for the trees.

    I personally don’t know how the scientific method will address this gap. I’ve offered you my thoughts on various approaches, but I honestly don’t know how we will tackle it. What I do know is that to simply ignore this gap is a form of denial about the problem that only serves to keep us mired in ignorance.

    Since you are the one arguing for the inviolability of the scientific method, how would you propose that it tackle this problem? And no ducking behind pointers to MOOCs or complaining about people falling back on age-old customs. Just really try to answer that question.

  42. Gideon Rosenblatt​ no your analogy is wrong. The nature of a phenomenon is irrelevant to the mechanisms involved. It’s just a fact that your symbolic mechanism interprets stimuli and inputs in a subjective way, by default. You are viewing this characteristic idealistically. Subjectivity is not some kind of entity or substance….it’s just the nature of this phenomenon. The nature of this phenomenon is not a problem for our investigations. You are using magical thinking to place this phenomenon in an ivory tower. The phenomenon is way more simple than a magical substance and it is produced by way more complected mechanisms than you can imagine.

    Again you need to take those course on cognitive science in order to understand our current Scientific picture and some lecture by John Searle will also help you get rid off this magical picture.

  43. “The nature of this phenomenon is not a problem for our investigations.”

    So, how, precisely to you investigate it? Again, don’t point me to some course, just answer the question.

  44. Gideon Rosenblatt sorry Gideon, but if you really want to have a credible opinion on a subject like this, I can not see an alternative way than to an academic one. Lectures like this one from ex pottery makers and self proclaimed spiritual teachers are not the right path to systematic knowledge.

    As I told you before, we are finally in the position to identify the actual context of a subjective thought by just observing brain scan patterns. We can actually recognize thoughts by this new technique. Once again biological naturalism provides a way for trustworthy predictions.

    Neuropsychoanalysis, a relative new field, founded by Mark Solms, is an other great tool we have. The breakthroughs in understanding dream mechanisms is evidence of the successful course of this discipline. The tones of epistemically connected studies on how the brain “creates” conscious states is one more positive indication of the advances in Neuroscience.

    neurosciencenews.com – Neuroscience News

    If you systematically follow the latest publications in science, talks like this one sound like medieval superstitious stories that snake oil charlatans used to circulate.

    I can not say anything different than to point out that you just need to update your Scientific understanding around the phenomena called mind properties.

    Thanks for your time.

  45. The difference between us, nickolasgaspar​, is that I am not shutting off one path just because the other bears fruit. I am deeply interested in all of the pointers you have sent my way. You, however, have steadfastly refused to address the problem that there is no guarantee that brain scan patterns in the physical substrate of one brain could, and indeed most likely do, leave a very different subjective experience in the mind of another. The physical echoes of that subjective experience are critically important to understand, but they are not all there is to understand.

    I think we are done here.

  46. Gideon Rosenblatt so you assume that conscious States have a supernatural aspect which BTW we don’t have a methodology to investigate this imaginary realm ….but somehow, by accepting the perspective of this aspect….will advance our understanding ???? It sounds like that you prefer to accept a magical explanation and all the baggage it carries….than logically accepting the default position or a falsifiable null hypothesis as your view on this phenomenon.

    Again I am not rejecting your claims on the unobservable ontology of the phenomenon ……but your irrational position that you hold on existential claims.

  47. You crack me up actually, nickolasgaspar. I use the word “subjective” and you automatically swap in “magic”, “imaginary” and “supernatural” as though the subjective experience were somehow something beyond nature. It is built upon nature, and it is nature.

    You’ve already admitted that we don’t have the “methodology to investigate this ‘imaginary realm'” (as you call it). And despite this admission, you feel some missionary zeal to prevent others from looking for alternative methods for filling in these gaps.

    It would be one thing if you were saying “hey, we can’t measure this stuff but I acknowledge there’s a hole here and I personally don’t believe in these alternative approaches to investigating that hole.” But you are in effect saying “I know our methodology doesn’t penetrate this realm, I don’t have a solution for that, and I’m going to try to stop you and others from using alternative approaches to investigation.”

    This is where the scientist turns into the religious zealot.

    Again, I think this conversation has reached its useful end.

  48. Gideon Rosenblatt

    “I use the word “subjective” and you automatically swap in “magic”, “imaginary” and “supernatural” as though the subjective experience were somehow something beyond nature.”

    >OK I am sorry if your intention was not to introduce any supernatural explanation….but it would be nice to explain what other realm except “the physical” is there to hold responsible for our experiences…when in your previous post you stated the following!!!!

    “The physical echoes of that subjective experience are critically important to understand, but they are not all there is to understand.”

    Secondly, since you accept Spira’s concept as possible a descriptive framework, you actually subscribe to his supernatural explanations. He is introducing mind properties well outside the human brain and in addition to nature….this is by definition a supernatural explanation Gideon!!!

    Yes ..not only I…but “we” as beings and through our most successful methodologies(science) admit that we not only have a method to just tt other realms than the physical….we are not even in the position to assume the existence of other realms !!!!

    The default position for all existential claims in logic is to accept it only after it is empirically verified.

    ” And despite this admission, you feel some missionary zeal to prevent others from looking for alternative methods for filling in these gaps. “

    >Actually no Gideon…if you pay attention to my posts I am demanding from people that irrationally accept these claims to explain HOW these “alternative methods” are in a position to investigate the metaphysical…..AND how on earth can we evaluate their investigations!!!!!!!!!!!!! What is the methodology that validates the results of their investigation???????

    That is all that I am saying! I pointed out again and again..that I can not hold an opinion for these claims directly…they can be true or false….How on earth can we evaluate the truth and knowledge value of the results offered by these alternative methodologies?????

    That is my one and only question to you and you fail or avoid to give me a specific answer.

    This conversation has never started because you are failing to identify my points…maybe its my english….but pls understand what I am saying here.

  49. nickolasgaspar, rather than going back and forth any more on this, I will point you to a book that I am now reading that articulates better than I can the problem that I am trying to explain to you. This is a well-respected neuroanthropologist professor at Berkeley and I hope you will find it useful.

    en.wikipedia.org – Incomplete Nature – Wikipedia

  50. Gideon Rosenblatt So you are not going to bother presenting the methodology capable to evaluate the truth and knowledge value of claims about the supernatural nature of mind properties?

    Well its a way to get to keep your beliefs I guess.

    BTW its one thing to recognize the problem in explaining a phenomenon…and a different one to use non scientific principles and supernatural concepts to explain it.

    The problem here is that you are filling the gaps . Yes we don’t fully understand the mechanism responsible for all mind properties…but in science we do not make up stories..we try to demonstrate the causal role of these mechanisms.

    Again read some of our latest papers on the biology of consciousness

    neurosciencenews.com – Neuroscience News

    Also read about the empirical regularities of brain patterns in relation to the content of our thoughts.

    http://neurosciencenews.com/?s=how+the+brain+consciousness

    http://www.ccbi.cmu.edu/reprints/Wang_Just_HBM-2017_Journal-preprint.pdf

    enjoy

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