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    Thread: What does spirituality provide that science doesn't?

    1. #1
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      What does spirituality provide that science doesn't?

      I don't mean this to be contentious, Im seriously interested.

      I'd classify myself essentially a rational materialist, but yet I feel the interconnectedness of all things, not just on the earth, but the entire universe. They're connected through atoms (atoms that make up my body were forged in stars and came originally from the big bang, have existed in dinosaurs and other creatures before ending up for now in me) through evolution (my ancestors were repitles and primates etc... even plants and single-celled creatures way back) through biology (human embryos go through stages where they have gills... and a young embryo of almost any species is hard to tell from any other species). I'm also connected to everything through my thoughts and experiences and feelings... if I think about the distant stars then my thoughts connect me to them... I often meditate on the beauty of nature and feel something like love well up in me that seems to radiate out into the world.

      And yet I see no need to believe in a soul or spirit. As I suggested in my non-religious, non-spiritual reincarnation thread, the idea seems superfluous and irrelevant to me. I suspect people originally came up with the idea of a soul because science had not yet reached the level it's at today and it saw things as being totally separate rather than interconnected. Now through things like Sagan's Cosmos and the writings of lots of physicists who find quantum interconnectedness in all things, I'm just wondering... is the idea of a soul or spirit even necessary anymore?

      And when I say this I'm not trying to be a jerk... I'm really curious. I'd actually like to hear from some people if there is anything else the spirit does that isn't already covered... not just by science, but also by being a sensitive and compassionate person. I'd also be interested in any books or websites that relate to this idea.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 02-05-2010 at 10:27 AM. Reason: because I'm obsessive/ compulsive and can't stop editing things...
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      Antagonist Invader's Avatar
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      Science provides explanations; information.

      Spiritualism provides the human being with a broad range of experiences and
      ways of viewing the world. It doesn't rely on rationality, doesn't need to,
      because it's besides the point of what it's accomplishing. When a spiritual
      person has a "supernatural experience" they're going to get a lot more out of it
      because they may attach literal meaning to it. If one were to view their experience as a rational product of the brain it may still feel good, sure, but it's
      never going to have the same impact.

      is the idea of a soul or spirit even necessary anymore?
      Necessary how? For life? No.. Probably not. That doesn't mean it should be abandoned.
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      Thanks Invader, you do make a very good point. It's just that as a rational person I find it hard if not impossible to believe in a supernatural soul that can't be seen or discovered in any way other than by subjective feeling.

      I suppose when I say "is the idea of a soul even necessary anymore?" what I'm getting at is that newer sciences are reaching toward areas that formerly were entirely the domain of spirituality (like the connectedness stuff I posted above). And while you're right, science's KNOWING isn't the same as spirituality's FEELING or BELIEVING, modern science and its ideas come fairly close in many ways. Especially when coupled as I said with being a compassionate and sensitive person who meditates and feels profoundly aware on a visceral level of this connectedness and related phenomenon.

      It's not just that science TELLS us we're connected to all things... I also profoundly FEEL it and always have... even before I was aware of any of this science. But I've never been able to accept the idea of a soul or spirit. So I guess my point is, if I don't believe strictly that I have a spirit or soul, but I still feel this profound connectedness and meditate on nature and feel love pouring out of me, isn't it very nearly the same thing?

      Would I be considered a spiritual person? Or if I mention this idea to people who really believe in a soul would they consider me an outsider?


      <<<<<< >>>>>>>

      Ok, I thought of a better way to put it...

      If I profoundly FEEL the connectedness that's normally thought to be the realm of the spiritual, even if I don;t believe in a supernatural soul, aren't I still getting essentially the same benefits as somebody who DOES believe in a supernatural soul?

      It seems to me (and again, Im NOT trying to be contentious... I hope nobody takes offense at this) that the idea of a supernatural soul is like a focal device to allow us to think about something that's hard to imagine otherwise... sort of like a focal device in a dream (like if you're having a hard time flying so you imagine you're in an invisible plane or whatever). It helps to focus the mind's power and attention. But if you can focus that attention without needing the focal device, then maybe its unnecessary for you?


      <<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>


      Yes, science provides explanations and information, as you said, but from it we can draw inferences... which affect the way we FEEL about the universe, about the world, and ourselves and each other.

      Maybe this can get the idea across a little better:



      ... Science = Spirituality in some degree?

      .... these guys are NOT your father's scientists!! (I'm looking at YOU white lab-coated, crew-cut-wearing black-rim glasses guys from the 50's!) Those are the kind of scientists people often think about when you bring up scientists... the guys in this vid seem more like spiritual people, don't they? I believe they ARE spiritual, only they don't believe the spirit is anything supernatural... it can be entirely natural and still every bit as amazing and miraculous as the supernatural spirit some people believe in.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 02-05-2010 at 12:06 PM. Reason: Obsessive/Compulsive Editing Disorder

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      I'm not exactly sure. I think that in order to be considered a spiritual person
      you need to attach some meaning to the experience that has something
      to do with a soul or spirit.

      The belief in a soul is not irrational, anyways. Is has something to do with
      thinking that an immaterial thing like consciousness can never come from
      something as material as a brain.

      [edit] I'll read the additions to your post tomorrow (and the vid), must now crash.

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      OK.

      I do believe the brain is what creates and sustains the miraculous, marvelous, wonderful thing we know as consciousness. I can't say exactly how... and I believe it's quite possible that to some extent consciousness is an illusion. But none of that makes it any less miraculous of a thing. I just don't see a need for a soul to do what the brain is capable of doing. So perhaps I'm just saying that the soul is exactly what the Greeks originally meant when they coined that word... the mind. In that sense I absolutely do believe in a soul... I just don't see why it needs to be an ethereal thing outside of the natural order.

      [edit] I'll read the additions to your post tomorrow (and the vid), must now crash.
      Gotcha~! Appreciate it.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 02-05-2010 at 11:33 AM.

    6. #6
      Drivel's Advocate Xaqaria's Avatar
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      Spirituality is an exploration of the self. To grow physically is to extend outwards into the material world. To grow spiritually is to grow 'inwards' towards the self. Hinduism calls this Atman/Brahman. Atman is the self as it is experienced in this life; the self recognized by a human body. Brahman is the "One Self" of all things. Ultimately, Atman and Brahman are the same. Atman is merely a projection of Brahman.

      In more direct language, spirituality is the qualitative aspect of human experience. Scientific discovery cannot lend value to our experiences. Science will never answer questions like, "Is this good?" or "How can I be happy?" "What is the purpose?" This last question is important because typically, anyone who tries to use science to answer it ultimately concludes that there is no purpose. This really isn't an answer, since there is a very real yet unquantifiable feeling within ourselves that says there is; which is what leads most of us to ask the question in the first place.

      I'd like to stress as I did in your reincarnation thread, the supernatural does not exist. You believe this already, but it seems like you feel like all spiritual/theistic people don't. This isn't true. The greatest parts about deep spiritual exploration are those moments when the seemingly mystical aspects of our world become clear and you finally understand why they are natural and very real.
      Last edited by Xaqaria; 02-05-2010 at 12:40 PM.
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      I'd like to stress as I did in your reincarnation thread, the supernatural does not exist. You believe this already, but it seems like you feel like all spiritual/theistic people don't
      Ok, very well said!! Yes, I guess the quote I just pasted in is what I'm wondering about. Not so much stating, just wondering about. So... many spiritual people don't believe the spirit must be supernatural then? That's one of the main points I guess I've been wondering about and trying to ascertain through these threads. As you can tell, I don't know much about the whole thing. And I really appreciate you making this response. I'll look into the terms you posted.

      Atman is the self as it is experienced in this life; the self recognized by a human body. Brahman is the "One Self" of all things. Ultimately, Atman and Brahman are the same. Atman is merely a projection of Brahman.
      Reading this... yes, this is something I really like! The idea that somehow there's a single uber-consciousness and each of us are an aspect of it reflected in an individual. I don't know how this idea can be reconciled for a rational materialist (if that's even really a good description of me?)... but I LIKE it!!!

      Science will never answer questions like, "Is this good?" or "How can I be happy?" "What is the purpose?" This last question is important because typically, anyone who tries to use science to answer it ultimately concludes that there is no purpose.
      Ok, thanks for giving me a chance to re-state my question a little better. I don't believe that science necessarily holds all the answers... I suppose it would be better to say that (in my view) these questions can still be answered, just without needing to resort to a supernatural means. So... not science, but the human, feeling part of myself answers these questions.

      I think a big part of the reason for this thread is that I see a lot of christians in here saying that atheists can't be moral, or can't have a purpose in life. But I do understand that's not really the Christian view per se... just certain people probably overstating their views for the sake of argument. So in part this thread is to explain that none of us fit into those neat and reductive boxes that the "other side" tends to put us into during an argument. I come closest I think to being a "rational materialist atheist", and yet I have many qualities that are usually ascribed to spiritual people. And in pondering the mysteries of the universe I often reach a state that many would consider a religious rapture state.

      Though I may soon have to find a different label to apply to myself... or just tear it off and throw it away!
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 02-05-2010 at 01:18 PM.

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      Hungry Dannon Oneironaut's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post

      It's not just that science TELLS us we're connected to all things... I also profoundly FEEL it and always have... even before I was aware of any of this science. But I've never been able to accept the idea of a soul or spirit. So I guess my point is, if I don't believe strictly that I have a spirit or soul, but I still feel this profound connectedness and meditate on nature and feel love pouring out of me, isn't it very nearly the same thing?

      Would I be considered a spiritual person?
      Sounds very Buddhist to me. It is just a matter of language and semantics. We now call the soul 'ego'. We now call spirit 'consciousness'. Spirituality and science are both methods for discovering the truth. And when you strip away the dogma and ignorance of either approach you will find that they are discovering the same truth, through different approaches. Science looks outward into matter and asks "how?". Spirituality looks inward at consciousness and asks "why?". Science cannot answer why. Spirituality cannot answer how. But they are both a quest for truth and they do overlap, just using different words and different methods.

      Look at it this way: science is a type of spirituality, a revolutionary type. And I would like to make the distinction between spirituality and religion. Religion is not looking for truth. It thinks it already found it so it doesn't look anymore. Religion is about belief, spirituality is about exploring consciousness and knowing it.

      But it all boils down to the nature of consciousness. And although I love science and I believe in science 100%, it is impotent in knowing anything about consciousness. The closest it comes is measuring brainwaves. Us lucid dreamers are way ahead of science on this front. All the tools we need to explore consciousness are in our bodies. Specifically our brains and our nervous systems.

      Now, rational materialists believe that consciousness is created by the brain. Spiritual people believe that consciousness creates the brain, and all matter for that matter.

      What is the truth? It appears that science is becoming less materialistic ever since Einstein.

      How do you feel about psychology? Is psychology a science? Is psychology a spirituality? Depth psychology gets into strange things like collective unconscious and archetypal realms, etc...

      The truth is bigger than any method used to discover it.
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      I don't think these are simple seperate things in the world.

    10. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      I don't mean this to be contentious, Im seriously interested.

      I'd classify myself essentially a rational materialist, but yet I feel the interconnectedness of all things, not just on the earth, but the entire universe. They're connected through atoms (atoms that make up my body were forged in stars and came originally from the big bang, have existed in dinosaurs and other creatures before ending up for now in me) through evolution (my ancestors were repitles and primates etc... even plants and single-celled creatures way back) through biology (human embryos go through stages where they have gills... and a young embryo of almost any species is hard to tell from any other species). I'm also connected to everything through my thoughts and experiences and feelings... if I think about the distant stars then my thoughts connect me to them... I often meditate on the beauty of nature and feel something like love well up in me that seems to radiate out into the world.
      You are already spiritual as far as I am concerned. Maybe not the most spiritual, but you're not 100% materialistic either. Spirituality as I understand will always make you feel 'connected'.

      The value of spirituality versus pure materialism is it gives you a deeper sense of being. And a deeper meaning behind everything. That deeper meaning however, is entirely up to you. But I think you will find that the deeper meaning you would create is more or less the same as others!

      In my opinion human beings are naturally spiritual (seeking connection between all things). Spirituality is so fundamentally human, there are spiritual themes that connect all the religions of the world. Spirituality is so fundamentally human, that when something takes away our natural spirituality - we become angry and disillusioned.

      There are two great institutions that took away spirituality from us. One were the great monotheistic religions. The other was materialism. How did a religion like Christianity take away spirituality? Remember that spirituality CONNECTS you to things. Christianity didn't connect us to anything! It told us God and heaven were thousands of miles away!!! It told us we were sinners born to sin, and that women were serpents! How can we even connect to each other? How can men connect to women, when women were this shameful thing with serpents in their head making them lie and deceive if given a moment to speak?

      Then Christianity tells us pagans are hell bound devil worshipers! And what exactly did the pagans worship? Except NATURE? There were stories about pagans literally dancing and singing around a tree as they loved and honored it - and this practice was considered HEINOUS!!! Christianity didn't just disconnect us from our divine origin *or the big bang in your case!* it completely disconnected us from nature!

      We are not born to sin.......we are born desiring that interconnectedness. And the church just didn't allow us to do this thus it's mighty power over the world eventually crumbled. Now came the era of enlightenment!! Science was promising. And learning about nature we can once again LOVE nature. Deism was short and brief but sweet. Unfortunately, the RELIGION of science was born, and that was MATERIALISM. Which creates the idea we are nothing more but physical beings who are the result of some random accident.

      Materialism doesn't serve us or liberate us in any way. There wasn't any reason to love ourselves, nature, or the Universe with materialism. Materialism wasn't actually founded on science - because the truth is everything is energy and reality is much stranger and weirder than materialism would ever let on. Christianity and materialism together created a vacuum that needed to be filled. And that was our natural spirituality - the desire to experience the interconnectedness between all things.

      And yet I see no need to believe in a soul or spirit. As I suggested in my non-religious, non-spiritual reincarnation thread, the idea seems superfluous and irrelevant to me. I suspect people originally came up with the idea of a soul because science had not yet reached the level it's at today and it saw things as being totally separate rather than interconnected. Now through things like Sagan's Cosmos and the writings of lots of physicists who find quantum interconnectedness in all things, I'm just wondering... is the idea of a soul or spirit even necessary anymore?

      And when I say this I'm not trying to be a jerk... I'm really curious. I'd actually like to hear from some people if there is anything else the spirit does that isn't already covered... not just by science, but also by being a sensitive and compassionate person. I'd also be interested in any books or websites that relate to this idea.
      Travel back in time into our animistic roots. The interconnectedness that you talk about was a fundamental belief in animism. In animism, everything was connected! Everything has a spirit. Animism is so fundamental it's actually the closest to scientific truth. We are searching interconnectedness now. Which is why the movie Avatar was so popular ...TSAHAYLU!!

      Rather than spirit being this imaginary thing that people just arbitrarily made up, it would seem that spirituality was a genuine experience that ancient people had. They felt this indescribable thing all around them, in them and in each other. This interconnectedness that transcended their physical bodies, that was called spirit. Science talks about the same interconnected phenomenon, it just uses different terms and approaches the phenomenon from a different perspective.

      The problem isn't that the idea of a soul goes against science. The problem is the DEFINITION you attach to the word soul. Soul doesn't have one definition. It doesn't have one understanding. Today even there are two main camps of what the soul means. In one it means consciousness that transcends the body. In the other it means a vehicle for identity - the ego.

      It's good to understand that soul means different things to different people. My friend told me that the soul eventually dies, but you continue existing. This made no sense to me because my definition of the soul was "consciousness transcending the body"....If my consciousness died..well then how the hell could I be conscious later? Then I understand that his definition of the soul was actually the ego, not my consciousness. The truth is, we both believe the same thing!! But we use vastly different terms

      Semantics! Words are completely MADE UP so its more important to understand the MEANING when another person uses a term. Because it could be different from yours! Look at the R/S thread, atheists and theists argue against and argue for TWO DIFFERENT Gods.

      Oh yes, I forgot to say, even the definition of "consciousness transcending the body" runs into all sorts of semantic issues. Well what does it mean to transcend the body anyways? Are we talking about consciousness continuing to live after the body has died? The definition is more encompassing than this. It would also mean if you could feel, tune into, or sync with someone elses thoughts and emotions - then your consciousness has transcended the body because it has connected to something outside of the body.
      Last edited by juroara; 02-05-2010 at 06:48 PM.
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      Juroara, you always surprise me and I find myself agreeing with everything you say.

      The common belief is that all scientists are materialists or that science has proven that materialism is true. No, it hasn't. Newtonian science has thought that all things have material causes. Science only investigates material phenomenon. It uses material tools to observe material phenomenon. It only accepts objective results. And so it should. That is what lead science to be so great. And science is great! But now science has already learnt that matter is energy and that energy can't die. Science is learning about how consciousness affects energy and matter. Science is learning about how observation collapses a wave, etc. We no longer live in the Newtonian world. Well, it takes a long while for the masses to catch up. Heck, lots of people still don't even believe in evolution.

      However, many scientists are spiritual, but very rarely religious. The assumption that consciousness comes from the brain is challenged because their are many many living creatures that don't have brains but display consciousness. Including plants.

      Science has a lot to offer that spirituality doesn't, (technology)
      and spirituality has a lot to offer that science doesn't.

      Spirituality offers a technology of evolution of consciousness to free us from delusion and suffering by liberation of consciousness from the ego and from the self. Science may be able to offer that someday maybe, but it won't be any easier than it already is. More than likely science will just be able to verify it. Eventually spirituality may have nothing to offer that science could.

      I think, if you are a seeker of truth, you should look everywhere. You should accept science and you should look within at your own consciousness. Erase the edges of your consciousness.
      Last edited by Dannon Oneironaut; 02-05-2010 at 10:16 PM.

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      I think if you can't feel anything at all, or if your just a shell, then you've lost your soul.

      We're not going to get anywhere until science and spirituality start working together...which i don't think may happen seeing as scientists who do this are discredited and ridiculed. People don't accept spirituality in general. Maybe Fear of something they don't understand?

      I seen this documentary on "On Demand", where they were scientists that were discussing intelligent design on some sort of "lecture" or "presentation" where they were providing evidence of some sort. I mean some of the audience started to SNAP. Beating on the tables, yelling, cursing, Booing the people that were giving the presentation.

      There are people that have written books on intelligent design in which they have lost their jobs, got beaten down. Look at people like Martin Luther King or Malcolm X, that have been killed by teaching positive things.


      But to the original post, yea, I agree with Dannon and Xaqaria.

      Spirituality explains a holistic truth, that means it doesn't go into the details, it provides the whole picture. Straight to the point. While science, works out the small details that lead up to the big picture.
      Last edited by Majestic; 02-06-2010 at 12:00 AM.
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      Antagonist Invader's Avatar
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      Based on several of the statements made about souls/spirits here, this really is a semantics deal. What does 'supernatural' mean to you, Dark Matters? You made it clear that you think that something like the soul would have to exist outside of the natural order of things, which lends some insight into what you think a soul has to be in order to be called a soul or spirit. What if, some years from now, we discovered a way to measure it (assuming of course that it exists at all)? If anything exists in the first place it is already a part of the natural order of things. But that's why I'm asking that you explain what you mean when you say things like that.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dannon Oneironaut
      We now call the soul 'ego'. We now call spirit 'consciousness'.
      Like this for instance. I never thought the spirit/soul were different, and I certainly never would of thought of the soul as the ego, nor of the spirit as the mind. Dannon's claims make it clear that we think differently on the issue, quite contrary to what he claims about us having the same thoughts on it.

      Quote Originally Posted by HaRd_WiReD
      We're not going to get anywhere until science and spirituality start working together.
      You speak of them as if they were people who held grudges against one another. Science is a tool we use in order to objectively observe and draw conclusions about everything inside the universe. Spirituality is likewise a tool for the individual as a means of, as Xaq already explained, exploring the self.


      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters
      Yes, science provides explanations and information, as you said, but from it we can draw inferences... which affect the way we FEEL about the universe
      Sure, but unless your feelings are being analyzed and explained, it's no longer science. It's a feeling, an experience. A pretty picture may instill powerful feelings. Is that science, spiritualism, or neither? You don't have to answer that, I'm only making a point.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Invader View Post
      We now call the soul 'ego'. We now call spirit 'consciousness'.

      Like this for instance. I never thought the spirit/soul were different, and I certainly never would of thought of the soul as the ego, nor of the spirit as the mind. Dannon's claims make it clear that we think differently on the issue, quite contrary to what he claims about us having the same thoughts on it.
      Sorry, I didn't think that others might not be clear on why I call it that. I call the soul the ego because the what is usually meant by the soul is an individualized spirit. Right? A soul is an individual, right? Someone is a lost soul. When people lose their ego they feel like they are losing their soul.

      I never said that the spirit is the mind, I said it is consciousness.

      I call spirit consciousness because what is usually meant by spirit is the life within us but is not so individualized as soul. bUT you do bring up a good point, Invader. See, we have denied the inner so much that we can no longer even see it clearly and our language is all fuzzy.

      Let us translate spiritual or metaphysical terms into psychological terms.

      Here is something a Guru said when asked about science:

      Q: ONE OF THE BASIC PROBLEMS OF SCIENCE IS LANGUAGE. SCIENCE IS GROWING BECAUSE WE HAVE A CLEAR DEFINITION OF WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. ONE OF THE BASIC PROBLEMS FOR A SCIENTIST, WHEN THEY ARE TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE INNER JOURNEY MEANS, IS TO DEFINE CLEARLY, FOR EXAMPLE, WHAT CONSCIOUSNESS MEANS. MOST OF THE SCIENTISTS DON'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONSCIOUSNESS, AWARENESS AND THE CONSCIOUS MIND. THEY ARE USING THIS TERM IN THE SAME WAY. SO I WOULD LIKE TO ASK YOU IF IT'S POSSIBLE TO HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING ABOUT THOSE TERMS.

      Yes, there is no difficulty. Words can be defined clearly. The difficulty is not because of the words, the basic difficulty is coming from somewhere else.
      That is, the scientist, deep down, does not believe that there is anything inner. He may say so, he may not say so, but his whole training, his whole education, makes him trust only objects which he can dissect, which he can observe, which he can analyze, which he can compose, create, uncreate, find out their basic constituents. His whole mind is object-oriented, and subjectivity is not an object.
      So if he wants subjectivity to be put before him on the table, that is not possible; that is not the nature of subjectivity. So the scientist goes on finding everything in the world except himself.

      A great barrier exists, and the barrier is that there is nothing inner. When you cut a stone into pieces, what do you find? -- more stone. You go on cutting smaller pieces, smaller pieces; you get to molecules, you get to atoms, you get to electrons, but still you have not come to anything inner. They are all objects.
      He would also like life to be found in the same way, and because he cannot find life in the same way, he starts denying it. And consciousness is even more difficult a problem; because he cannot touch it, dissect it, find out its constituents, he simply rejects it. It does not exist.

      So this is his prejudice. Because of this prejudice, he gets confused. And this prejudice can disappear very simply, if he hypothetically accepts -- I'm not saying he has to believe it, just hypothetically he accepts that if there are things outside, then it is something very scientific to accept that there must be things which are inner, because in existence, everything is polarized by its opposite. The outer can exist only if there is an inner. The unconscious can exist only if there is consciousness. This is the simple dialectics of life -- and he knows it, in existence everywhere he will find the same dialectics. Everything is opposed by its opposite. And they both are in some strange way complementary to each other -- opposing, and still complementary to each other.

      Denying the inner is a very unscientific attitude. So first one has hypothetically to accept that the inner exists. Secondly, one has to understand that the methodology that works for the outer cannot work for the inner. Simply because the inner is the opposite dimension, the same methods will not be applicable. You will have to find new methodology for the inner. And that's what I call meditation: this is the new methodology for the inner.

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      Member Scatterbrain's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Car˘usoul View Post
      I don't think these are simple seperate things in the world.
      "Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both."

      - Carl Sagan
      Car˘usoul and acatalephobic like this.
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      Member strael's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dannon Oneironaut View Post
      His whole mind is object-oriented, and subjectivity is not an object.
      So if he wants subjectivity to be put before him on the table, that is not possible; that is not the nature of subjectivity. So the scientist goes on finding everything in the world except himself.

      A great barrier exists, and the barrier is that there is nothing inner. When you cut a stone into pieces, what do you find? -- more stone. You go on cutting smaller pieces, smaller pieces; you get to molecules, you get to atoms, you get to electrons, but still you have not come to anything inner. They are all objects.
      but aren't observable objects what create our subjective inner? something feels a certain way (we are conscious) because of the brain's objective composition. neurons, electrical signals etc.

      and to that carl sagan quote..yes. I could not have explained it better.
      Last edited by strael; 02-06-2010 at 03:46 AM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by meepkin View Post
      but aren't observable objects what create our subjective inner?
      You're walking a tightrope here my friend.
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      peaceful warrior tkdyo's Avatar
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      to me...the idea of a soul as something that lives on after you die was simply an answer to the fear of death (im meaning in the way op refered to one). If such a thing does exist...it will be considered supernatural until it can be measured...if some kind of machine invented can measure it, then suddenly its natural and science can study it. Until that day, no, of course there is no need for one.
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      Quote Originally Posted by tkdyo View Post
      to me...the idea of a soul as something that lives on after you die was simply an answer to the fear of death (im meaning in the way op refered to one). If such a thing does exist...it will be considered supernatural until it can be measured...if some kind of machine invented can measure it, then suddenly its natural and science can study it. Until that day, no, of course there is no need for one.
      I guess some may think of it that way, others (not me i am agnostic in everything) have a different type of way seeing things. You don't die because you can never die. One picture is gone, another shows up. Life is not the end, nor is it the start, it's just a moment just like when you die, a moment. I don't think i will ever stop being an agnostic in these types of things because there are too many unanswered questions. Life really is a moment though. There is no past, there is no future, there is only the moment. A future is brought on by the chain of events your life brings as it's moment changes to another moment, and another moment. Life does not go the way we plan for a reason. If i had to believe in 1 thing though, i would believe my " Life is not the end, nor is it the start, it's just a moment" line. But belief and the real thing are much different. Obviously something as big as this we cannot ever understand with our brain, so we go the simple approach which is "you live after you die".
      Last edited by LucidFlanders; 02-06-2010 at 05:49 AM.

    20. #20
      Member strael's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Car˘usoul View Post
      You're walking a tightrope here my friend.
      Ah sorry, I should have worded it differently, so he wouldn't think I was pushing my objective-based-consciousness opinions onto him.
      I thought that he was saying that the inner could not be explained by looking at objects (debatable). Unless I'm defining the inner in a different way than he is? (conscious, subjective experience)...or ironically I have overlooked his point that

      "the scientist, deep down, does not believe that there is anything inner. He may say so, he may not say so, but his whole training, his whole education, makes him trust only objects which he can dissect, which he can observe, which he can analyze, which he can compose, create, uncreate, find out their basic constituents."

      Then again it does come back to what I said..I don't see how consciousness can't be objectively analyzed in some way (maybe not effectively at present, but atoms were once a mystery to us, and look where we are now.) Or I should just shut up and read up about consciousness, understand the various viewpoints and concepts before I even attempt conversation.

      But yeah...Trying to understand things as much as possible doesn't take away from the wonder and meaning of life, it only enhances it, in my opinion...as other people in this thread have said. The feeling I get when I think of how amazingly tiny we are, the immense complexity of things, the mere fact that I am actually existing. Those very hard to explain "Aha!" moments (which seem to come and go in a flash) are enough for me.

    21. #21
      Member Scatterbrain's Avatar
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      I don't see the point in asking what's the meaning of life. The question itself is meaningless. Really, what possible satisfactory answer could there be? "We're training to go to heaven", "We're reincarnating over and over again to attain nirvana", the question of meaning could be applied to these answers themselves. Like enquiring about the origin of things, it comes back to an endless loop.

      We ascribe meaning ourselves to the things around us; It's paradoxical to think there's an universal law of meaning to our lives.

      And that's where most "spiritual" beliefs fail in my opinion. It's commonly held by them that a meaning or purpose is strictly required in life to have any sense of fulfilment or enjoyment. Yet that's not true; Right now I'm listening a piano track I enjoy very much, I have no idea what it is about or what "meaning" it has, and that doesn't make it any less beautiful.

      I find it ironic that the very persons who look down onto science and point out the subjectivity of conscious experience will be the ones who try to apply a bunch of objective rules and dualisms to it.
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    22. #22
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      Wow... some incredible responses here!!! I can't respond in detail to all of them - I'd be here all night doing that -- but you've given me a lot to think about and look into.

      And once again, as the thread progresses, I realize my wording in the initial post was poor and that's doubtless leading to some misunderstandings of just what I meant.

      The title... I probably shouldn't have used the term SCIENCE... but I don't know how else to express it in only a word or two. What I meant by it is just "non-supernatural". When I chose the term science I was including the entire worldview predicated ON science... not just the actual process of study and dissection. IE a worldview that's entirely compatible WITH scientific discoveries... that doesn't include a soul in the religious sense, that can live forever in heaven or hell etc.

      And when I call myself a materialist... I see that's also a poor term. Again, I meant pretty much the same thing I did by SCIENCE... just that I don't believe in the supernatural or magic etc. I chose the term on the fly in the other thread without a full understanding of exactly what it means. So now I realize materialism refers to a more old-fashioned idea and it doesn't describe me at all.

      Wow... so much to digest in this thread!! This is exactly the kind of responses I was looking for too... thank you!! I need to start looking into some of these ideas.

      I'll look at this thread again in a bit, after I begin to absorb all the information overload! I'm sure I'll have something to add to it then, but for now I'm just overwhelmed with it all! This is a fantastic community you guys have here!!

    23. #23
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      Quote Originally Posted by Scatterbrain View Post
      I don't see the point in asking what's the meaning of life. The question itself is meaningless. Really, what possible satisfactory answer could there be? "We're training to go to heaven", "We're reincarnating over and over again to attain nirvana", the question of meaning could be applied to these answers themselves. Like enquiring about the origin of things, it comes back to an endless loop.

      We ascribe meaning ourselves to the things around us; It's paradoxical to think there's an universal law of meaning to our lives.

      And that's where most "spiritual" beliefs fail in my opinion. It's commonly held by them that a meaning or purpose is strictly required in life to have any sense of fulfilment or enjoyment. Yet that's not true; Right now I'm listening a piano track I enjoy very much, I have no idea what it is about or what "meaning" it has, and that doesn't make it any less beautiful.

      I find it ironic that the very persons who look down onto science and point out the subjectivity of conscious experience will be the ones who try to apply a bunch of objective rules and dualisms to it.
      The meaning of life is to find out the meaning of life. Or the object of the game is to find out the object of the game! HaHaHa!

      Is anyone looking down on science here? I think that we all have the utmost respect for science. I know I do. Are you talking about when we post things that spitituality can provide that science can't?

      As far as finding a tool that can measure consciousness, I don't think that it is possible. Consciousness is non-material and even non-energetic. I think the closest you can come is to observe the effects of consciousness. THe only tool possible to observe consciousness directly is consciousness itself. Well, maybe the nervous system has something to do with it. If you can build a tool that is as subtle and sophisticated and sensitive as the human nervous system, then it might be possible. But until then, why don't people just look for themselves?

      Because even if a machine can measure consciousness, that still won't fulfill the role that spirituality plays. The role of spirituality somehow has to do with evolving consciousness in the crucible of an integrated ego, then liberating it from the ego.

    24. #24
      Beyond the Poles Cyclic13's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xaqaria View Post
      Spirituality is an exploration of the self. To grow physically is to extend outwards into the material world. To grow spiritually is to grow 'inwards' towards the self. Hinduism calls this Atman/Brahman. Atman is the self as it is experienced in this life; the self recognized by a human body. Brahman is the "One Self" of all things. Ultimately, Atman and Brahman are the same. Atman is merely a projection of Brahman.

      In more direct language, spirituality is the qualitative aspect of human experience. Scientific discovery cannot lend value to our experiences. Science will never answer questions like, "Is this good?" or "How can I be happy?" "What is the purpose?" This last question is important because typically, anyone who tries to use science to answer it ultimately concludes that there is no purpose. This really isn't an answer, since there is a very real yet unquantifiable feeling within ourselves that says there is; which is what leads most of us to ask the question in the first place.

      I'd like to stress as I did in your reincarnation thread, the supernatural does not exist. You believe this already, but it seems like you feel like all spiritual/theistic people don't. This isn't true. The greatest parts about deep spiritual exploration are those moments when the seemingly mystical aspects of our world become clear and you finally understand why they are natural and very real.
      I like this breakdown much, nice Xagaria.

      I recommend the op take a step back from literals of language for a moment, and look at it for its merits and metaphors that it alludes and points to with it's words...

      "Spirit" isn't ever used as this tangible physical essence that can be shown like my finger..

      "Spirit" is essentially an appeal to meaning...

      And meaning, is unavoidable...

      For one to even assign a lack of meaning is to assign meaning in some regard...

      "Spirit" is so lovely in that it's inescapable...

      Even those disregarding "Spirit" are regarding it...

      To point a finger in a direction is to acknowledge the direction it points.

      No one can disagree because their disagreement would be assignment of meaning in that direction...

      If they truly didn't acknowledge they would say nothing.

      Ha.

      Any impulse to strike the keyboard is an admission of "Spirit".

      "Spirit" surrounds and encompasses all.

      It turns the thoughts you have about it.

      Humble yourself to it.

      Last edited by Cyclic13; 02-06-2010 at 02:29 PM.


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    25. #25
      Drivel's Advocate Xaqaria's Avatar
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      When I began contemplating the spirit, I first turned my attention to the places that the word had worked its way into our (western) culture. What does one mean when they talk of "raising ones spirit(s)", "the spirit of '76", "team spirit", etc.?

      All of these things suggest a relationship to embodiment and well being. The spirit then that these are referring to is an essence. To have team spirit is to posses the essence of your team, to act as a part of that team, to act for the team as a team. Spirituality then would be the development of one's connection to that essence of their self and to the essence of those things with which they share fellowship.

      The ability to happily respond to any adversity is the divine.
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