!! Course Assignment !! Metaphysics & Mystery – Complete Questions & Answers !
I just finished the Metaphysics & Mystery course I started several weeks ago. I had first intended to participate with the actual class (apparently 2000 participants), but I really do not fair well with schedules, due dates, or specific meeting times.
Sorry. I guess you’ll have to sue me.
But, I did go ahead and finish the course asynchronously (where I shine). It was an interesting course, and, although the instructor and organizers were less than inspiring (more on that later), I did come away with a quite tantalizing and thought provoking list of questions.
The questions and my answers I’ve included in this post. If you wish to comment about my answers, about the questions, the topics – well, just about anything – please do so in the comments section below. Do keep in mind, though, these answers (and their questions) are a work in progress. They are a reflection of how I might feel about a topic at this particular time, influenced by a myriad of factors.
You can read all of my course reviews here.
Let’s get started….
The course website is located here.
Here is my MEGA list of questions and answers, although, the course was not really formally arranged this way. There were a few “invitations” at the end of each session, but the bulk of these questions arose from the lectures themselves, or from my reaction to the information in the lectures.
I compiled these primarily because they are the fundamental questions I wanted to address in my research as I pursue my uThM program. Many of these are essential to defining the underlining understanding of reality, the external world, death, life, theology and the supernatural.
Here we go!
What is the fundamental, underlining question that brought you to the course?
I would have to say, “why am I here?” is the root cause of all my research. It is the foundation and springboard to other questions like, “what is death?,” “what is the nature of reality?,” “who is God, really?,” “what will happen when I die?,” and “what is consciousness?”
None of these other questions can really be answered comprehensively without first addressing the question of “why am I here?”
Of course, more fundamental is the question, “Am I here?” For, there is really no existential way of knowing I am here. No reliable method to quantify my existence here. And, then I would have to define “here.”
But, the main reason I took up this course was the advertisement I saw on a Youtube video where Lauren Buckley asked the question, “why am I here?”
Here is the video that drew me to the course:
I was immediately fascinated by Lauren and her questions, her comments, her emotional responses to those unanswered questions. How science has abandoned her. How it is bankrupt, hollow, and unable to provide adequately.
Although, I do not necessarily share her desire or need to be “connected,” I do share her deep seated longing to know why the hell am I here? What or who has initiated all of this? And what in the world do they want from me?
What are you drawn to, attracted to on the deepest level?
At the core of my being, the fundamental elemental foundation of who I am, once you strip away the defense mechanisms I’ve built up over a lifetime of interacting with others, with society, I would say what I am drawn to the most, what truly, intrinsically attracts me is revelation.
Metaphysical, spiritual, supernatural transformation.
If I could choose only one thing that I had to devote the rest of my life to, it would be this. Self discovery and personal actualization.
Granted, I’m not a new ager by any stretch of the imagination. I do not seek power from crystals. I do not use magical power in an attempt to contact the dead.
But, I am on a journey of self discovery. A journey of external discovery. What it means to exist, to be born, to live, to die. I wish to uncover the impetus behind those states of being.
I desire for it to be much more experiential in the future. Honestly, I hope I can find a way to peel back the curtain and stand in the presence of God, ask him all these questions.
List all the things you are most passionate about?
Self-discovery. My uThM program. Writing novels and interacting with the characters I create (if I’m actually creating them). The natural world and attempting to discover its metaphysical secrets. The experiences I have with God. Discovering and exploring the transformative power of the Bible as God’s supernatural message to his Creation. Reading and learning about new and fascinating subjects.
What is behind that excitement? Why are you passionate about these things?
For as long as I can remember, from a very early age, I have recognized the fallacy of normative life. I came to the conclusion as a child, if this is all there is, I’m really not interested. Count me out. I would like my refund, please.
I was first fiercely angry. Angry at my parents. Angry at the world around me. Angry at God for creating me – for not bothering to ask me if I wanted to be born. For not giving me a choice in any of this.
Then I learned the anger does nothing. It quickly degrades into self-sabotage. Instead, I began to search for answers. For solutions to the problem of suffering, of duality, of the horrible depravity humans seem to perpetuate.
I found Buddhism and started my journey to pierce through the veil of delusion, to find nirvana, reach enlightenment, where I could leave all this behind.
A few years later, I experienced a supernatural event, where I was exposed to the living, transformative power of God’s word. That moment changed me from the inside out, set me on a new path to answer the same underlining question.
This has driven me the rest of my life. An incessant desire to leave this world, to finish this race, to be united with my Creator. To understand the purpose for my life on this earth.
This quest has led me to today, where I am now systematically, methodically, and persistently searching to uncover answers to the age old questions of life and death and meaning.
I’m excited to uncover the truth.
What do you really, really want?
If I am completely honest, I want this life to be over. I’m not depressed or suicidal, but I also don’t particularly appreciate what they say life has to offer. I do not find satisfaction or fulfillment in the things that most people seem to find those things in. I have no interest in an intimate relationship with someone else. I have no interest in fostering friendships with people. I find no commonality or any particular allegiance with political systems or governmental institutions or organizations.
I have no innate drive to build or create or amass wealth or power or influence. I have no predilection to help my fellow man. It stands to reason why I would question not only the meaning of my existence here, but likewise the original motivation to burden me with it.
What decisions, actions, and activities make you feel most alive?
I feel most alive, most alert, most engaged when I’m studying or learning or exploring something in my own space, at my own pace, with no limitations or obligations on my time or productivity. I am energized by questions and questioning. Delving beyond the normative, the mundane.
I also find great satisfaction in solving problems, coming up with solutions, and finding ways to live comfortably outside of normalcy.
What evidence do you have in your life for why you are here?
The only evidence I have for an existential causation would be the bible. It is the sole mechanism that has spoken to me, that has wrought a transformative force over who I am from the who I was.
This is very unique in it enforced its iteration not by my own volition, but in spite of it. I had no desire to “become” a Christian or to accept the gospel. In fact, I had spent quite some time previously searching the bible for evidence that God was a hypocrite, a murderer, and a liar. Never once during those formative years did I have any supernatural, transformative experience.
Yet, at that particular time, in that particular place, utilizing the same text, by reading, my mind was literally opened and I could see. I could no longer deny the existence of God or the truth in the bible, not because I logically or rationally agreed with it. No pastor or bible teacher sat me down and convinced me. I simply could now see the truth for what it is. No longer could I accept what I had previously been convinced of. My Buddhist philosophy and world view simply fell away. Abruptly and without warning, I could no longer meditate, and this lack was filled with an insatiable craving for the Word.
This knowledge, this revelation – it has never abated. There is no explanation for it, as I had never desired it. I had never been raised within it or really exposed to it.
This singular experience is the only lifeline I hold on to. If not for it, I would have become a predator and started hunting long ago.
Review your day, focusing on moments where you had the sensation, awareness that you were making a choice. Describe what you were feeling just before you made that choice.
I would say the feelings I had just before I made the choice that I did would be a little fear, apprehension, skepticism but mostly annoyance. It was a voice mail and I had to decide if I would call the person back. I chose not to. Honestly, I simply did not want to hassle with the person calling. I already had what I really needed, by their tone, the person obviously did not want to deal with me or my issues, so I simply decided to delete the voicemail and move on with my life.
What are possible motivations that led you to the choice you made that you were not initially aware of?
Fear that I would be asked to do something I didn’t want to do, that I would have to make changes in my life that I did not want to change. They would be painful changes and I wanted to avoid that pain.
Now that you are aware of those previously undiscovered motivations, how does that change your original choice?
I think I would have called them back. But, I have a much better view of things now than I did before. It is possible that I could not have made the changes I needed to make. It’s possible the call back would not have resulted in avoiding issues in the future, regardless. There is no way to tell, and so there is no way I could have made a different decision.
Select something that you used to “know,” but now have discovered you actually did not “know.” What has changed in you (for you) from when you thought you knew to now knowing you didn’t know?
I thought I knew my country and my government was at least to some degree benevolent, for the most part, they would look out for my best interest, they would make exception when it was clear they were in the wrong.
I now know different.
My government and my country are predisposed to malevolence. They are not awoke to the common good, to ethical behavior, to my own well being. In fact, I mean nothing to my government, except for when my taxes are due or when they can exact and exercise authority over me.
My government does not care at all if I live or die, if I am healthy or ill, if I have adequate food and water and shelter, or if I’m living out on the street. Bureaucrats know only one thing – power. They are corrupt to the core, evil, sinister, and the rest of us only factor into their re-election strategies.
My country and my government have betrayed me. This is what I now know.
How do you know differently what you know now from what you thought you knew? If it is different, how? If it is not different, how do you really know now?
One difference is before I took the government at its word. They made me an offer and I expected – counted on them – to live up to their obligations in the future. I had no evidence to support my confidence in them other than this is what everyone told me would happen. I was assured by everyone that I could count on my government to stand by me.
When I needed them most, they abandoned me.
Today, knowing that my country and government are inherently corrupt is based on experience. More so, I am certain my government is undependable, unreliable, inadequate to keep the promises it has made to its citizens. It is ethically and morally bankrupt.
This is how I know now when I did not know then. First hand experience.
What do you think you know now that doubt is beginning to creep into? How does this doubt affect you? What would it take to re-affirm what you think you know? What would it take to ultimately discredit what you think you know? Knowing these answers, do you think you “really” can know something? How? Why?
When a change occurred at work, I thought I knew for certain my job would be in jeopardy. There was no possible way my position would be spared the bloodletting sure to come. In fact, I was sure I would be only one of many who got the axe once it started to swing.
But, now it has been two months since the transition. No one has been fired. No one has been laid off. No one has been reduced in hours. In fact there have been zero changes at my work. I now have the best schedule, the best oversight (none), and the best quality of life. I can truly see myself staying at my work no matter what happens. Even if I end up living in a van (because of the government’s failure to live up to their obligations), I still think I will keep my job. Even if Yang is elected and we get the Freedom Dividend (long shot), I could still see myself keeping my job for the foreseeable future, just to add to my savings.
I do believe it is still possible that I will get the ax in the future. The only thing to dissuade me from that would be time to prove me wrong, and several years from now, still be working the same schedule at the same employer.
Do I know whether or not I will get laid off or fired in the future? No. Does this cast a shadow on the idea that it is impossible to know something with any certainty? I think it could. Do I know with some level of certainty that if I let go of a rock it will fall to the ground? Yes. Why? Testing. Falsifiability. I doubt there has ever been an instance (on earth) where someone has let go of a rock (or any object) and it has floated in mid air. So, I can state (and know) with some certainty that gravity as a force exists. There are a multitude of evidential examples like this.
Now, can I know what some level of certainty that I would have been fired or laid off by September 2019? I had a list of antidotal evidences to support this conclusionde. Likewise, it was not at all logical to keep my position open (or the position of so many others) especially since the new boss was looking to save money for the company. Our department is also currently WAY overstaffed, and our customer base has been cut by at least 25% over the last year. There is no rational reason to keep me on.
Yet, I remain employed, with no talk about me being let go in the future.
With that in mind, can I know now that I won’t be fired or let go in the future? Can I explain why I have not been fired yet? There are some explanations to account for the status quo. The new boss is still learning their job. They are in a new sector entirely and we are not accustomed to high turn over. I also fill an important roll for scheduling (if you wish to keep my shift open). No one else wants to do my shift, so if they got rid of me they would most likely have to close the department for those days.
Yet, what the past two months prove to me is 1. I have no predictive capabilities. 2. Logic appears to be subjective. My logic may not be your logic and vice versa. 3. I need to capitalize and leverage the current realities and current environment to mitigate unknown challenges in the future, realizing that no matter how much preparation I do in advance, there is no way to be certain what will happen at any given point in the future.
Can I know anything? I know I can’t know that.
What is the opposite of truth?
The opposite of truth is madness. And, madness is synonymous with the world. Our customs, traditions, our dependences and tendencies, idiosyncrasies, they all revolve around a lie – the lie – and we have all, each one, been deceived.
The opposite of truth is us.
What is your evidence that life on earth is genuinely “alive?”
The only evidence that I have of the aliveness of life on earth is 1. Our persistent state of awareness and 2. The persistent state of consistency.
I pray every night for God to take me in my sleep, and I drift off with great anticipation, with wonder and hope that he will hear and accept my prayer. Yet, every morning, I awake. My body and my mind become conscious and aware of my surroundings, and then I realize that my prayer remains unfulfilled.
I’m not really certain that being alive is really all that worth it, if this is what you call living. Though I am warm, I am clothed, I am (over) fed, I am satiated, I am lost, I am rudderless, I am ungrateful, I am full of and consumed with regret for the wrong decisions I’ve made and for the betrayals I’ve suffered at the hands of those I’ve trusted.
Yet, undeniably, I still remain alive. All prayer to the contrary.
What is your view of the external world? What is your evidence that the external world is as you believe it is? What would be required for that belief to change? If you no longer believed what you currently believe about the external world, what would you believe instead? Why?
I personally, currently, believe the external world does exist as I preceive it to exist. It is tangible. It is physical. It is stable and consistent in its processes and its properties. The external world is fallen. It is cursed. Diseased. Subjected to futility (purposelessness). Poisoned by the deceiver. It is subsequently lost, unrecoverable, and destined to complete and utter destruction.
My evidence for this view? 1. Look around. The earth is dying. The earth is unraveling. 2. It is clearly predicted in the bible. 3. The bible is verified, for me, by a metaphysical experience that happened to me years ago that supernaturally transformed the direction of my life (against my will).
At this point, I don’t think anything could change my view point. One possible tempation to discredit my view would be for humanity to develop a cure for death and disease, to correct the destruction of the environment to a sustainable global model, to end all suffering on the planet and usher in prosperity and justice for everyone, and to be ruled from within by a benevolent internal code that seeks the good for all in all things – ending corruption at its root.
The other temptation that might persuade me to give up my view of the ultimate demise of the external world, and what might be required to bring about the dramatic transformation described above, is the contact of an alien race, whose technological and sociological advancements would bring about real and lasting (and quantifiable) change in this world and for all people on earth.
Of course, I do not think either of these options are humanly possible. 1. Man is corrupt always in all things. 2. Aliens are misclassified angelic beings (same as ghosts) and they are hell-bent on deceiving as many people as possible. If at some point an “alien” race does make contact, they may seem harmonious and offering good intent, but to those who have the spirit of God within them, we will see these betrayers for who they really are.
If I somehow lost my faith in the biblical message, the faith of Christ, that he died on the cross, rose again to pay the purchase price to redeem me from my sin, I don’t think I would believe in anything anymore. I would adopt the admonition in 1 Corinthians 15:32 “If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”.”
If I was not in mortal jeopardy and had life left in me, I would personally start collecting wives. Oh, and I would also become a serial killer.
But, I just don’t see this as an eventuality.
What experiences you or others have had have you discounted because they did not fit into your world view and belief system?
I discount paranormal experiences and also alien encounter experiences, but not for the reasons one might think. I do not believe aliens are life forms from outer space that had their origin from evolutionary processes (or that they were somehow our progenitors). Likewise, I do not believe ghosts exist as departed human souls that are trapped between this world and the afterlife due to some kind of traumatic event at their death.
This does not fit into my world view.
Rather, aliens are demonic beings (fallen angel or demons) who are bent on deceiving as many people as possible and lead them away from a faith in Christ. Likewise, ghosts (or unclean spirits) are not trapped departed human spirits, but are demons with the same goal in mind – deception of the human race.
Both appear to be accomplishing their goals.
Why don’t these experiences fit into your world view and belief system?
The bible is (or should be) the final authority in a believer’s life and, though it doesn’t discount the existence of either of these (as I think it clearly points to both) the manifestations people experience commonly today are by and large sinister.
I personally do believe there are other life forms in the universe. I am convinced there were other life forms before humans. I believe mars was once an inhabited planet and a similar history played out among its people. But, this is purely speculation. (Can you imagine that? Speculation from a fiction writer. Shocking!)
Likewise, I do believe there are disembodied humans spirits. Case in point, Samuel was brought back from the dead by the Witch of Endor. But, does that explain the multitude of sightings we hear about?
There is a great delusion coming and it will envelop both the unbeliever and believer alike. Paul calls it the great falling away. I think a component of that will be the scientific verification of the spiritual realm (a false realm of dead humans) and supposed first contact with alien life. When they come, I believe they will usher in the anti-christ and will do great miracles and may even offer the claim to a cure for disease and death.
But, it will all be a sham. It will be a delusion. Smoke and mirrors. Jannes and Jambres magic rather than first man magic.
What would be required for those experiences to fit into your world view and belief system?
As I stated above, aliens and disembodied human spirits ARE already incorporated into my world view and theology, but not the phenomena that is presented today to the masses.
It is the same for charismatic gifts. I am not a cessationist. I would argue that the bible clearly states all the gifts are for today, that they never ceased, and that the idea that “when perfection comes” refers to the bible is ridiculous. Perfection is Christ alone.
What I disagree with are what is so often propped up as spiritual gifts today. Charismania is rampant in Christianity for several reasons, but more so than any other reason, a lack of faith. People (like the Jewish people of Jesus’ day) cried for a sign. Give us a sign! Let us have your power so we can be drunk on it? Have you been to a modern charismatic church? They are certainly off their rockers. It is not the move of the Holy Spirit, it is, just like alien and paranormal encounters, wolves in sheep’s clothing – demonic influences.
How would you change if those experiences were undeniable, despite not fitting into your world view and belief system?
I would have to forfeit my world view and belief system. It is a spiritual, metaphysical discernment that has no basis or justification. I am aware of it and convinced of these things. Aside from the hand of God moving on me to correct error (which I have experienced as a non-believer) there is nothing that would convince me these manifestations are anything other than demonic chicanery.
What does it mean if others are experiencing supernatural phenomena, but you are not?
It means they are under the influence of demonic forces. The problem with this question is it presupposes that supernatural phenomena is a positive experience. If you define supernatural as: ghosts, aliens, witchcraft, woo woo, etc. These things are all from the devil. If you are including genuine prophecy, biblical revelation, and direct experience with the divine (God), then I would say it “could” be positive, but typically the examples we have so far rarely paint a very positive experience for the experiencer.
Would I want to pierce the veil and stand in the presence of God? My knees are already knocking. Do I want to be visited by an angel? To be honest, they seem to be quite intimidating to say the least. A fallen angel – no way! Demon? Are you out of your mind? I would prefer a nice, quiet existence, waiting for the Lord’s return, at peace with my fellow man, just how the bible says I should strive to live.
How do we ascertain knowledge?
I think you would first need to define knowledge. What is knowledge? It is a piece of information, a perception and perspective on that piece of information. It is an acknowledgment of the possession of a truth. But, there is also false knowledge, which is the possession of that which is untrue.
We can learn it, like 1+1=2. That is a piece of knowledge. 1+1=3 is false, but we can believe it to be true. So, false knowledge is only knowledge to the degree in which we believe it to be true. Once it is discovered (by us, not necessarily by others) to be false, we can no longer say we possess knowledge.
So, knowledge (to be knowledge) must be qualified as true (from our perspective) whether it is actually true or not. It must be perceived to be true by the observer.
How do we ascertain this knowledge? The acquisition of knowledge can be achieved by various means. Rote Learning allows us to gain knowledge through repetition and familiarity. Mathematics is rote. Most formal education is rote learning. The collection and assimilation of facts and data. Experiential Learning allows the acquisition of knowledge through direct experience. The school of hard knocks, for example. It is the direct assimilation of knowledge by way of lesson through life experiences. Learning from other people’s mistakes is an example. Touching a hot stove and quickly pulling your hand back is another. Revelation is a fascinating method by which we acquire knowledge. This is often accomplished through the mystery that remains behind the veil, where human capacity simply has no ability to conceive or formalize the severity or complexity of reality. It is the acquisition of known knowledge, what we did not know previously and what we had no means of learning any other way. It is simply gifted to us by the one who is in charge. A great example of this is the authentic gift of speaking in tongues. Not the charlatan demonic demonstrations present in most charismatic churches today. No, the biblical description of speaking in tongues, where by circumstance, one is found in a position where no one speaks their language and they are supernaturally gifted with the ability to speak another language so that the gospel can be preached. Prophecy is another example, where it would be impossible for the prophet to have derived that information beforehand any other way.
Intuition is a second cousin to revelation as knowledge, though it is not nearly as accurate most of the time. Whether it be due to familiarity, proximity, predictability of the human condition, it is really unclear how someone can know information without having learned it. Most have just a particular feeling about something or someone. . Instinct is a peculiar method by which we are more than simply entrusted with a particular piece of information, we are, rather, encoded with it. This is knowledge transmitted by our DNA. We carry it with us and it is activated by specific environmental stimuli. We are often helpless against instinct. And, yet, unlike the animal world, humans are able to overcome this force, this mode of mind control, and express self-determination. Lastly, we also learn through Reference. This is through the collective compilation, organization, and retention of human knowledge and wisdom that has previously been ascertained. This storehouse is then referred to at future event points, as a means of lesson, to illuminate our present decisions. It is the learning by others mistakes.
How do we come to know something?
What is it first to know something? Previous statements above cast a shadow on whether we can be confident that we can know something. Of course, cognition is not a requirement for knowing something. There are many unconscious beliefs and pieces of information we know that we are unaware that we know. My body knows how to breathe, but I have not a single idea on how I know how to do that. My body knows how to repair itself, yet in the specifics of this operation, I am at a loss.
It is in the question, how do we “come to know?” It is asking for the fundamental process by which we acquire know(ledge). As described above, there are several means by which we acquire knowledge. Is this how we come to know? I believe these to be the same thing.
How do you know that you know? How can you be sure you know? Are you certain you know that you know?
I am cognizant of my knowing. I am aware of it. I am able to “show” or showcase the knowledge I am in possession of. I am also able, by reason and logic, to run experiments to test the veracity of that knowledge. Likewise, the knowledge we assume to know stands or falls over time on its own merit and internal reliability. I have “come to know” that gravity exerts a force on the rock that I let go from my hand. It falls to the ground. I know that I know this piece of knowledge because 1. The very nature of executing the act (being able to drop the rock). 2. I can repeatedly pick up the rock and drop it. Over time and repetition, this serves as its own internal legitimacy of both the veracity of the piece of knowledge itself and of my possession of that knowledge.
How can I be certain I know this piece of knowledge? There is no absolute certainty. There is only degrees of confidence in the past repetitious experimentation. It does not guarantee the next test will not return a false result. It simply offers the likelihood of its falsifiability. Thus, it is impossible to know with complete certainty that we know the piece of knowledge as we move forward through time.
We can, though, state with some level of high certainty that we did know that we knew something at any given fixed point in the past. If I drop the rock and it falls to the earth at 11:05am on Tueday, August 2, 2019, we know with 100% accuracy that the rock fell.
So, we can know we know, but our certainty that we know that we know is only plausible in the past. There is no certainty of knowing that we know in the future, there is only the probability that we might know something. Being aware that we know is likewise linked with consciousness. If I hold a rock in my hand while I am asleep (unconscious), and the rock subsequently falls from my hand and hits the floor, but I do not wake up, I do not know that I know the rock fell. The rock did fall. This is a piece of knowledge. But I am not cognizant of it. When I awake and notice the rock on the floor, I then know the rock hit the floor. But I am not aware of knowing the rock hit the floor while I was asleep (nor did I know it hit the floor).
Is there an example where I can know something without knowing that I know it? Is it possible to know the rock hit the floor while I was asleep but not know that I know the rock hit the floor? I don’t believe this is possible.
How do humans differ from the rest of life on earth?
From an evolutionary perspective (which, at its base, a religious argument), humans are distinct from the rest of life on earth as we have ascended higher on the tree of life than any other creature. Our brain capacity is much greater, allowing us to develop language, tools and technology, and we have assumed control and influence over the earth and all that are on it.
From a biblical perspective (again, religious argument) we were a distinct creation from the earth, from the plants, from the animals. We are unique, separate, set apart for a specific purpose.
One of the purposes was to multiply and spread over the earth, take dominion over all the earth and “subdue it.”
Additionally, and maybe more fundamentally, humans are self-conscious and self-aware. I don’t believe we can say either about plants or any other animals. All other life on earth seems to operate purely based on instinct. They reproduce out of an innate dictate from within, perceptually driven by messages encoded in their DNA.
Humans have this same instinctual drive, yet we can overcome this drive and it can often be suppressed by logic, reason, emotion, and abstract thought. One example is the drive to procreate. Most humans heed the instinctual call for us to propagate. But, through the centuries, men and woman, very a multitude of reasons, have chosen not to listen to that message encoded in our genes.
A cougar is a predator. He is a genetically engineered killer. A brutal and heartless murderer. Yet, he is driven solely by the messages in his genes. There is no moral balance, no conscience, no ethical calculation. These things are missing from the animal world, and are ever present in the human one.
Though, it is quite fascinating when you stumble upon the exception of serial killers who seemingly have no capacity for conscience, ethics, or moral equivalency. They kill simply because they can. Simply because there are no moral boundaries present, holding them back, restricting their behavior, if not their corrupted thoughts.
Do these serial killers more closely relate to the cougar, who is also a brutal mass murderer? Are human murderers more animalistic?
It is a fascinating set of questions that I would need to research more before offering an opinion.
If we not only lie to others but often to ourselves about why we make the choices we make, how can we unearth the real motivations behind our choices?
I think the best method to discover our true motivations for the choices we make is to utilize multiple perspectives. The easiest way to do this is through the use of other people. They offer unique perspectives that are highly distinct from our own. Our motivations are often blind to the way we see the world and ourselves. Other people can quickly size up your decisions from a somewhat objective perspective or, at least, an external perspective. The difficulty with this application is humans are inherently flawed and always possess ulterior motivations, self-serving agendas, and will almost always skew the results. You will not get, from them or anyone else, a completely unbiased view of your motivations.
Another approach is to practice shifting your own perspective. This is often difficult to do, but with practice can lead to some genuine self-discovery.
One way is to formulate questions that are formulated from a different perspective than your own. By asking these questions repeatedly for each decision you are analyzing, they can sometimes reveal hidden, unseen motivations driving your decisions.
Another option is to take your decision and ask it a series of recursive questions aimed at breaking down your decision to its fundamental core component. Several iterations will often reveal the underlining motivation behind the decision itself. This process can quickly strip away the surface reason you thought you had for making the decision.
What are the differences between the three paths people use to explain reality? Science, Religion, and Philosophy?
I would argue these are all the same path, seeking to understand and explain reality. Science attempts to (or claims to) limit itself to natural, external, verifiable experimentation (which it doesn’t). Religion typically expresses its explanations from a very orthodoxic point of view, often slipping into dogmatic formation, ritualistic expression, and can hold critical views of personal diversity in beliefs and worship.
Philosophy attempts to blend both, while subtracting limitations.
Philosophy is primarily driven by its underlining tenants of logic and reason. These are the main weapons to ascertain truth and reach, through various methodologies, a clear explanation of reality. It can delve into areas Science cannot (or typically has not), such as the metaphysical, supernatural arena. Philosophy can also take up theological arguments about God and the nature of man and life and death. Science would often (in its purest forms) limit itself to biological mechanism for these subjects, and would not have any idea where to begin with theology or God, simply concluding, “I can’t address that, it’s not science.”
Philosophy, in comparison to Religion, is not shackled by dogmatic formulation. Religion often has “no go” zones, or improper beliefs and speech (typically referred to as heretical). This limits Religion’s ability to delve into the depths of the external world, the supernatural world, and the psychological world, often self-limiting based on fear or out of a desire to preserve orthodoxy.
Philosophy (proper) has none of these. Academic philosophy certainly does. Do they, really? I wonder. If they do not, that would be added reason to pursue philosophy as a major. I will research this in the future.
The real aim is to combine all three. They have only been separated due to the persistent resistance to biblical and divine authority. Philosophy dances around the edges of theology, but without any real supernatural intervention (from the Holy Spirit) and, thus, their efforts are largely in vain, as truth is spiritually discerned. The atheistic, pantheist cult we call modern Science strenuously objects to theological subjects both out of fear and an overarching appetite for sin.
The only solution is biblically grounded, theological study that incorporates all of the tools available to us, without excluding anything as heretical or off limits.
Are there any other paths to explain reality?
Other than science, religion and philosophy? Possibly experience. That transcends all three of the others, but also incorporates all without bias or limitation inherent in a singular approach. Though we can explain reality in a vacuum as well, without direct experience, thought learning, formal or otherwise.
But, learning and experience are tools of method, whereas science, religion, and philosophy are perspectives of thought, world views, each with their own distinct apparatus.
With that in mind, we can use learning and/or experience to explore each of the other three in order to grasp a clearer view of reality. So, I would have to ultimately conclude there is no other path to explain it.
Is there a difference between explaining reality and experiencing reality? What are those differences if any? How are they different?
This is a fascinating idea. I would say, yes, there is. Much of quantum mechanics can be adequately explained so that the basic tenants can be effectively understood, but rarely if ever will we, as individuals, be able to actually experience the forces of quantum mechanics in person.
Experiencing reality is one of the main desires I hope to accomplish in the future. As a Zen Buddhist in my teen years, I know well the concept of piercing through the veil, to view what is not commonly viewed, to surrender oneself to the collective whole.
There is much still I want to learn, much explanation still to explore and learn about, but I also want to spend considerable time in direct experiential expressions of faith, of the natural world, in supernatural communion with God.
If there is but one path to verifiability: thinking, observing, contemplating, proposing, testing – what can we say of supernatural experience?
The bible depicts a resurrected Christ much differently than the pre-crucified one. He was able to appear and disappear at will. He was able to ascend into the clouds. C.S. Lewis claims Jesus’ resurrected body was more “real” than ours are. That heaven is more “real” than earth.
This is supported by quantum mechanics, that our “reality” is one of delusion, that it is simply for the benefit of the observer.
In Revelation 20:11, we find the great white throne and Christ was seated on it. The earth and heaven fled from his face. Think about this. How is it possible for everyone who ever lived to be standing there before the throne, yet both earth (where people have existed for thousands of years) and heaven (where God has existed forever) have now departed. They are no longer dwelling places for man or the divine.
So, where are we? What is under our feet? What is overhead? It is either something entirely new, or it has been there all along. The spiritual world is actual reality, our external world is the fabrication.
Supernatural experience seems to violate the forces in our natural world because there are additional laws outside of our own existence. We do not fully understand the origin or nature of angelic beings. A direct reading of the text will leave you scratching your head and a little terrified of one day coming face to face with one of these creatures. I believe this is why much of the bible (especially the supernatural elements) have been mythologized away.
I would contend, our world, our reality, is but a shadow of a much larger reality that we cannot hope to comprehend.
Are verifiability and supernatural experience diametrically opposed? How? Why?
They are diametrically opposed with our current three/four dimensional limitations. If we are operating solely from a naturalistic worldview, with the underlining fundamental understanding being that the external world and its reality is ultimately the result of natural processes over time, then this conclusion has no capacity to explore or explain supernatural phenomena.
Likewise, to approach this kind of extra-terrestrial phenomena from a woo woo, magical, Wiccan, New Age movement perspective, you are unleashing the very processes (verifiability) that would allow you reproducibility and authenticity. If you do not precisely define your terms, and operation with a high modicum of rationality, then there is no way others will likely agree with you, accept your thesis, or even really understand what you’re saying.
What do you believe about the external world?
This is a loaded question. From my Buddhist days, I have thought there existed a singular reality. It is not relative in the sense that my reality is mine and your reality is yours and it’s a choice. Jesus works for me, but Gandhi works for you. Both lead to heaven equally.
I would dispel this attempt to erode the divinely authorized judgment of Christ on the entire world.
Likewise, I would assert that there is only one true/valid world view. Either the Christians are right or wrong. The Muslims are right or wrong. The Buddhists are right or wrong. Mormons…are just wrong.
The alternative, of course, is we are ALL wrong and either the atheists are correct and nothing occurs after death, or there is an entirely different world view that best expresses and describes reality that we cannot even comprehend (such as, a pink alligator with a penguin as a pet is the creator).
In my view, the external world is as it appears. It is physical on the macroscopic level. Undergirding this is a substrate of probability, the elemental is essentially a matrix as we have imagined that supports the program of our existence.
Outside of this matrix like existence and physical locality (bound by the property of time), is a separate “world,” a distinct dimensional expanse, maybe multiple, maybe endless numbers of them. This is the true origin of God, if such does or can exist. Heaven and earth are both much like the rest of our contrived reality – constructs. As described before, they will ultimately be destroyed.
Once the time has come, this reality we know, this world, this universe, this fundamental existence will cease to be and we will be translated into full members of that other expanse, becoming “Sons of God” just like the angels.
This is like our eternal life but much more complex and with, I’m certain, a much more dramatic history.
What do you believe about yourself in relation to the world? What convinces you this is true? After all this time, what continues to convict you of this view?
While a Buddhist, I experienced a supernatural event that instantly and permanently transformed me. By reading just one verse, half a chapter, the scales fell from my eyes, the veil was lifted and I could, for the first time in my life, I could see. I could see that God was, indeed, real. He was all powerful. He was the one in control behind the scenes.
I now know, even all these years later – I cannot still deny – God’s existence, supremacy and our ultimate collective destiny.
Nothing on this earth matters. It is a vapor. It is transitory. It is a way lay.
Is there a distinction between knowing and believing? What is that distinction?
Only by perception. If we think we know something it’s because we think we have some substantial evidence to support it. Belief requires ZERO evidence and it simply aligns with our (or we align to its) worldview and adequately describes reality as we would like or as we think it should be.
The distinction is perception of supporting evidence, not evidence itself (hence, the creation vs. evolution debate as both sides view the same evidence but come away with different conclusions).
So, in that sense, it is possible to know our beliefs are true because of the supporting evidence we have for it. Then there are what I would call qualified and unqualified beliefs.
How much of your world view is cultural, familial?
Very little. My familial upbringing was entirely secular. In fact, much of what I was taught as a child I now hold to be discredited or highly delusional. Culture is a lie. The system of government we have is a lie. The formal religious systems are a lie. The educational system is a lie. The very foundational moorings of our culture we are taught growing up is predicated on all these lies. Money is the God of the world I live in. Power is the elixir. Fame is the opiate.
My world view is firmly established from the bible. Built on the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus being the chief cornerstone.
I await the end. The judgment. The redemption. Paradise.
The instructor claims religion is bankrupt. What are your thoughts on that view?
False religion is bankrupt. Ritual religion is bankrupt. Counterfeit religion is bankrupt because adherents are deceived into following doctrines of demons or doctrines of men. These will always fall short and will never fulfill the intended purpose of rightful religion: the salvation of the soul.
Jesus said that the Father desires worshipers that will worship him in spirit and in truth. This is not happening in the modern religions of today.
The instructor claims he does not care to start a conversation by defining terms. What are your thoughts on that approach?
If you do not define your terms then you are simply two people talking at each other or around each other, chasing each other’s tails. We can argue all day long, using the same vocabulary, but if the meanings are different, we are not engaged in dialogue, we are simply making a lot of noise.
You MUST define your terms. If you are concerned about poisoning the well, you can take caution against that. But, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Well, I think you probably should throw the baby out. Or, maybe just not have the baby in the first place because babys are awful and they grow up to become monsters.
What is your definition of metaphysics?
Any phenomena or discussion of said phenomena that is outside the scope of modern scientific inquiry. It can cross boundaries between science and religion and philosophy, and focuses on those things that are above the physical, external world and its processive explanations of change, growth and death.
What is your definition of spirituality?
Spirituality is defined specifically as that which deals and pertains to or originates from the spiritual realm. This would encompass many aspects of Religion as well as philosophy, but also the paranormal and demonic and angelic beings. Unexplained phenomena (i.e. missing hikers), and alien encounters.
What is your definition of religion?
Religion is the formalization and institutionalization of spirituality. It typically forms dogma, precepts, and requires one to live by a particular code of conduct. Usually is centered around a founder, often long dead by the time the movement officially becomes a religion.
What is your definition of new age?
New age is a canopy term used to collect all paganistic religious belief systems and world views into one category. Theoretically, these include a subset of religious and spiritual beliefs that seek unity and moral freedom above God’s supremacy and righteous judgment. But, in reality, all religions besides the Way described in the bible are part of the New Age. Even Christian cults would be included.
What is your definition of supernatural?
That which is, by nature, manifestation, or implication, metaphysical. Above what we understand to be the physical world and its processes. Anything that has no explanation in the external physical world – that cannot be explained by natural processes.
A caveat to this would be alien life. While this could certainly be attributed to metaphysical origins (demon deceptions), it could also be attributed to the natural processes we all know and love, but on a grander and much more universe based (rather than terrestrial based) scale. In this case, alien life would not be supernatural, as it could be explained by natural processes.
Oh, and Supernatural is also one hell of a television series!
What is your definition of consciousness? Are there different kinds?
I only know of one consciousness. My own. I become aware of my surroundings when I awake in the morning. I become aware of my own thoughts, feelings, regrets, desires, appetites, fears, and these direct and shape me throughout the day. I don’t recognize the exact moment, but at some point throughout the night, my awareness is extinguished and I slip out of consciousness and into unconsciousness (or, maybe I just cease to be conscious and there is no unconsciousness when asleep). I’m no longer aware of my surroundings or my existence or my emotional activity.
Consciousness and awareness are very similar if not the same. Can one be conscious and not aware of their surroundings? Isn’t the state of being conscious the process of being aware of our surroundings (outward and inward)?
From day to day, those states of awareness knit together a tapestry of consistent experiences, with enduring memories that allow us to move through time and space with an internal consistency of the self. The I that was me yesterday is the same I that is me today. I can predict with some high probability, the I that will be me tomorrow is the same I from today and yesterday.
So, there appears to be not only consciousness/awareness, but that this state of being is persistent beyond each session.
I am persistently conscious (aware) of my world and myself throughout the course of my life. This awareness of both, compiled together with its persistence, affords me the ability to operate in various ways within my own environment, as well as develop a highly complex self-identity that grows and changes through the course of ones life (which in essence is the collection of sessions of consciousness – what we call days).
Different kinds of consciousness? I would argue every consciousness is uniquely different and utterly unknowable except by its own operator (and God). My consciousness might be similar to your consciousness, since we are both human. But, there is definitely no evidence to support, no reason to presume, that our conscious experience is close to identical. People see things very differently from each other on a fundamental level. But the similarities that do exist allow us to form communities and cultures out of them.
Is a dog conscious? Are whales conscious? Are insects, rodents, all varieties of animal life conscious? Are trees and plants and flowers conscious?
There is simply no way to tell.
Does consciousness require communication with another consciousness in order to be considered conscious? No. There are definitely conscious people who cannot communicate with anyone. Victoria Arlen was locked inside her own body, unable to communicate at all with anyone for four years, but was certainly conscious much of that time and can now recount the horrors done to her by caregiving and hospital staff. Another child was locked inside his body for 12 years unable to communicate. But, he was certainly conscious (he, too, recounts abuse by the hands of caregivers and staff – what is wrong with you people).
So, it is entirely possible to be conscious and aware but not be able to communicate.
Dogs are alert. Dogs, for the most part, are susceptible to human interaction. When we call them, they often respond. I can call on a slug all day long, every day, and it simply will not respond.
But, neither could Victoria and she was conscious.
Is consciousness connected to autonomy of movement? If a creature can move about, does that indicate conscious awareness?
No, because, again Victoria had no autonomy of movement yet she was conscious.
I don’t believe there is any way to tell if another creature is conscious besides the self. Different kinds of consciousness are, too, impossible to determine.
What is your definition of intelligence?
It is the ability to take in and assimilate information, adapt it, and utilize it to accomplish given tasks. Information assimilation, information adaptation, information application. Learning a language. Learning mathematics. Learning any subject requires this kind of intelligence.
It is the ability to arrive at the correct solution or answer. Solve a problem. Develop and manage a system to produce a desired outcome.
What is your definition of reality?
Reality is the fundamental sum of parts of the substrate that we exist within. There is only one reality. There are many perspectives of reality. Each and every consciousness entity has its own perspective of reality, but they are all perceiving the same reality.
Reality is existentially how things are.
What is your definition of perspective?
Perspective is how we view, perceive reality. It is a subjective lens by which, through which we view reality, especially the external world. Everything is colored by perspective, even how we view ourselves and our thoughts and our feelings. Perspective originates from the complex formation of the I through successive sessions of conscious awareness (days). These sessions tied to memory form the development of the personality, the I, and I seeks out interaction with something else like it. It views the world around it, the other life forms around it, with specific conclusions and beliefs.
Is any conscious person any more conscious than another person? How do you know?
At first response, I would say no. Consciousness is binary, like a light. You are on or off. A light can be brighter than another light, but if the light is on, it is conscious.
But, that being said, this I think proves the distinction between consciousness and awareness. If two men are sitting blindfolded in a room, each has his hand on an object. The first man says the object is a piece of cloth. The second man says the object is a tree. A third man standing outside of the room, looking through a one way mirror sees the first man is touching the material of the shirt of a woman sitting silently in between them. He also sees the second man is holding a branch that the woman is also holding. So, the first man is aware of one piece of information. The second man is aware of a different piece of information. But the third man has multiple pieces of information. It can be said all three are conscious (even the woman, unless she is asleep or dead). The two men are aware of two distinct perspectives. The third man can be said to be more aware than the first two men because he has more accurate information which provides greater context. But, he is not any more conscious than anyone else. They are all conscious (unless, again, the woman is sleeping or dead – at this point it’s still unclear).
Are non-human life forms conscious? How do you know?
This was brought up by the instructor that a rock is conscious and the type of consciousness the rock has is silence. I say, ridiculous. First off, silence is not a type of consciousness. Silence is the absence of sound. And, in reality, there are very few places that have true silence.
People often say the woods or being in nature means you’re surrounded by silence. This is FAR from the truth. The forests are teeming with the sounds of life and those sounds echo night and day. It might be a different kind of sound, but it is certainly not silent.
Second, there is no evidence to support inanimate objects (like a rock or dirt) having consciousness. I could possibly venture plants might have consciousness, since they are actually alive. But, even this I doubt highly.
Are non-human lifeforms conscious? Is a dog conscious. I’ve answered this in previous questions, stating that, for the most part, it is impossible to really know what an animal experiences simply because we are unable to communicate with it.
Communication is the link to our assumption that other humans are conscious. They can express similar experiences that the I’s have experienced. There is commonality. This is not so between humans and the animal kingdom or the plant kingdom or the inanimate objects of the earth.
Are earth ecosystems conscious? How do you know?
This is an idea put forward by environmentalists and new age woo woo types that claim whole eco-systems are alive and have a spirit and are entities in and of themselves. Even the instructor made the comment that bodies of water have consciousness and are alive.
I disagree with this statement at the surface level. But, I would argue it is an intriguing question that I wish to explore in depth at my lake property (that has now, just today, been restored).
Let me explain as a side note here. A year ago, I had a heart attack and was rushed to the local ER to clear a blocked artery and get a stent. To make a long story short, even though I had been promised by the VA when I moved that they would cover any emergency care at my local hospital if ever needed, after the heart attack they decided they did not have to pay, and I found myself on the hook for around $80,000 in medical bills.
It’s been a year now of fighting with the VA every day, going through their ridiculous appeals process, only to end up being turned down again. The VA simply said, “We don’t want to pay. We don’t have to pay. We’re not going to pay.”
As a last ditch effort, I resubmitted a request to the local hospital asking them (begging them) to forgive the entire debt, and told them what the VA was doing.
I found out today, prayers answered, they are releasing me from the debt entirely. My life has been restored. For the last year I have had this massive weight hanging over my head. I thought for sure and was preparing to be literally homeless, as a bankruptcy would strip away my paradise property and my house.
But, now both have been restored. My future is again open to me and I can once again start back down the path I had originally set out on.
So, with that said, I wish to explore this topic in much greater detail at my lake property in the future.
Is the planet conscious? How do you know?
I just don’t believe it is. The planet is destined to be destroyed by fire. It is a sphere of molten rock and dirt. I don’t believe it is alive. I could be wrong, and I do think once this experiement is finished and Christ returns for his Bride and all is done and finished and all stand before the great white throne of judgment, both heaven and the earth will flee from the face of God and the bible is clear, “there was found no place for them” (Rev 20:11).
So, the earth is a temporary dwelling place for humanity. One day this earth will be no more. Alive or not, matters very little. It has a fixed destiny. There is simply no saving it.
Is the universe conscious? How do you know?
This is a fascinating question, and I know eastern belief systems claim consciousness (big C) is the underlining creator of all things. They say there is a universal consciousness that not only gave birth to our universe but to multiple universes.
I honestly don’t know what exactly the universe is. I don’t know if it is infinite or finite, if it is flat or laid out somehow on a spherical plane. What contains the universe and what is that thing outside containing it?
There is, of course, no possible way to answer these questions. We believe the universe is only visible to the edge. Not that this is the end of it, necessarily, but the theory states the universe (much like the surface of the earth) is curved, and so the edge to us is simply the universe bending out of view.
In fact, as the universe expands, it will one day reach a point where the stars are so far apart from each other that everything will be just black and all of our stars in the sky will be too far away to see. There will be no astronomy anymore, no history. In fact, if there is still a planet at that time, the earth will quickly forget its adventures in space, or that there is even a universe with other stars. There would only be earth, and that earth and solar system would be all we knew.
Of course, this will never happen. Christ will return before this and will judge the inhabitants of the world, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth and then there will be those who are saved, who will join the ranks of the Sons of God.
And then who knows what we will be doing for eternity. I can’t wait.
Can humans communicate with plants?
I’m going to have to say no, simply because, in all of human history, we have yet been able to do so. I think the question still remains if plants are even conscious. Greater still, if they are conscious, sentient, are they aware? Are they aware of us? Are they aware of themselves? They don’t seem to really mind our interaction or intrusion. Or, they can’t communicate that in any way we can receive that communication. We raise plants. We cultivate them. We eat them. They do not protest. In fact, our relationship with plants is a symbiotic one. We grow them and eat them and this is actually healthy for our bodies. We exhale carbon dioxide and they use that to produce oxygen. In fact, this is where we get our oxygen to breath.
I do not believe they can communicate. I do not think they are aware. I don’t believe they care. And, I don’t believe they are sentient or conscious. They were put here on this earth as food for man and animal alike.
Do animals have language? Are they capable of communication?
I do think animals communicate. Some even attempt to communicate with us. Domestic cats are the perfect example. Scientists fixed cameras to cats and monitored their behavior when they went outside. Among some of the shocking behaviors, one discovery they noted was, cats do not meow to other cats. They make all sorts of other noises and sounds to each other, but meows are specifically reserved for humans.
It is a fascinating discovery. I wonder what they are trying to say?
Animals speaking with other animals? I do believe this is done regularly. Animals speak to each other for mating purposes, and to provide information about threats. Interspecies communication also occurs in the wild. But, it is not to say animal communication and language is as developed as human communication. There are two possible reasons for this.
1. Humans are higher on the evolutionary chain than the rest of the animal kingdom and, thus, our language development is much mor evolved.
2. God created humans uniquely. We are not animals, but we are created in the image of God, and are destined for eternal life. Animals were created separately and for a distinct purpose. We are not the same. Will never be the same. And, when the earth ends, all the animals living at that time will end also.
How did humans achieve technological and medical advancements?
There are primarily two options at play. We either developed these advancements because of the evolutionary development of our brains over vast expanses of time, or we were endowed with a highly complex brain by God, a brain with the capability to solve complex problems.
There is a third option, but this is typically discounted. In the Book of Enoch, the author describes how angels fell from heaven to earth and took it upon themselves to share with humanity all kinds of different knowledge and tools. They taught them how to make fire, how to write, how to fight, etc. Basically, the author of the Book of Enoch is claiming that all of human advancement is due to the angels of Genesis 6 that left their place in heaven and took wives of the daughters of men.
Do I believe this account? (shrug). I don’t know. I think it’s fascinating idea to ponder. It would explain alot of human development. The explanation is not needed, really. But…what if it were true? What if the ideas we have about our origins and about our progress are utterly and completely wrong?
What is it like to be you?
From my own perspective, my own experience, for the most part, it is not half bad. I have gathered in my life a large collection of regrets. Choices I wish I could have made differently. Choices I never had the ability to choose. Opportunities that I let slip by.
But, there are also decisions I’ve made that have meant everything. Things I’ve done that now I can reap the rewards of. And those dividends (no, I’m not talking about money) are quite good.
What is it like to be me, though? Specifically? I go to sleep every night asking God to take me from the earth. I tell him I have no interest in being here, that if he wanted to take my life and give it to someone else who is dying – someone who wants to live – I would be ready and willing. Even if it means being in the grave for thousands of years until Judgment Day arrives, I’m okay with that. I mean, I could actually get caught up on some sleep.
But, then again, and especially now that he has rescued me from my own government, I am grateful for the life he has given me.
When I wake in the morning and realize he has decided to not grant my prayer from the night before, I take a moment to thank him for his choice. I thank him for what I have, for what I do, for who I am and I ask him to watch over me today, and that he would make me productive, that I don’t squander the time and opportunity he’s given me.
I spend much of my day preoccupied with a variety of pursuits. It is a leisurely lifestyle, one of hikes in the woods and bike rides to the beach and some travel (though I’m not particularly fond of travel).
I think a lot. Wrestle with ideas of philosophy and theology and mathematics and murder and mayhem and all sorts of sinister things that I certainly would have obsessively pursued if God had not saved me (and saved you from me).
I find fascination in God’s creation, in untouched and lonely places. Silent spaces. I marvel at life other than my own. Ponder its existence, at the world living outside of my influence. What is it for them to live to feed to die? Will I die and will they come to pick the flesh from my bones? I hope I can be of some use once I’m gone.
I think a lot about death. It is a predisposed predilection, I’m afraid. But, at least I have a healthy outlet, right? I guess my stories are not just fiction, they’re officinal. Perhaps a means of self-medication. Better than cocaine, I suppose. But, who’s comparing.
What is it “like?”
It is like a torrential rain, sometimes it is hard to hear over the deluge of voices screaming in my ears. Then again, other times, it is a deafening silence, when which I long to hear things other than words, other than terrestrial sounds – voices of the deep. Whispers. Secrets.
I don’t think we can do justice when answering this question.
What is it like to be something else? Give 3 distinct examples. How do you know what it is like?
To be honest, I have no idea. I would have to venture it is similar in some respects to being like me. But similarities are quickly lost as you dig beneath the surface. Something means anything. A rock. A tree. A deer. A bear. I often wonder what it must be like to live out in the open, to not have a permanent shelter, a place you call home. But, this experience is not out of the scope of human existence. Most people in the world live this way.
I do think, for the sum of all, the life of animals in the wild is a brutal and unforgiving and short existence. How God justifies this, I have no answer. It would be better for him to simply destroy us all and then to release the earth from its curse, than to allow another innocent creature to suffer.
But, I am not God. Nor do I speak for him. It is his name on the line, not mine. In fact, my name and my records mean nothing. When, in the end, everyone stands before the throne and answers for what they’ve done – the bible promises that I will not have to give account. Another will give account in my place. And all God will see is the work the other has done on my behalf. In this I place all my hope. How could I not? Any other alternative and I am doomed. Any other justification I use, and in any attempt I try to stand on my own merit, in that merit I will fall.
No, I cast my lot in him. He is my only hope. But to be something else? I have no idea.
The instructor claims a rock’s primary consciousness is silence, that the rock is “blasting” silence. What are your thoughts on this idea?
I simply disagree with the premise. First, silence cannot be “blasted.” It cannot be heard. It is not a property or an object. It is the absence of sound. Second, there is zero evidence that a rock is conscious or that it moves or thinks or is at all sentient. This argument derives from the instructor’s delusion which is caused by his personal worldview that claims there is life and consciousness everywhere except for the passe notion that God is life.
The instructor claims that, if people realized non-human life could feel and suffer, they would stop destroying the environment. What are your thoughts on this view?
I vehemently disagree. I don’t think it would matter. Look at the amount of suffering that goes on in the world today by the hands of human beings against human beings. They do not perpetrate this evil simply because they rationalize their actions based on the other people being non-people or that they somehow don’t feel or can’t suffer. People are brutal, disrespectful, evil, and corrupt, just as a matter of doing business. At the core, in their fallen state, they are evil all the time, with no remorse, no conscience.
The fact that they don’t believe the environment is alive and can feel and suffer has literally no bearing. They pollute the earth and destroy the environment all in the name of expediency and profit. This is why there is no hope to save the planet. Humans would not change one single behavior if they thought the planet was alive. They might if the planet rose up and declared war on the human race. The one thing humans dislike more than anything else is their own suffering. But, only if it’s at their door. If someone else is suffering, that is acceptable. If all people were in jeopardy of losing everything, though, then maybe they would do something. As long as some people would be able to get away with something, they will do it.
The instructor claims if you go out into the woods and sit by a rock, even if you don’t believe in it, you will feel the rock’s consciousness. What are your thoughts on this view?
Sorry. I do this quite regularly. No special woo woo feelings come to mind. I don’t second sight a consciousness coming from the rock, pleading with me to stop sitting on him/her/it/unicorn. This is just new age babble.
What are your thoughts on the concept of soul?
This is an interesting subject that I hope to devote more time to in the future. The instructor is correct, the Hebrew word does mean spirit or breath and it is the combination of clay and breath that made the soul or the living being.
But, there is one verse he failed to mention, which leads me to believe he was cherry picking his Scriptures. Matthew 10:28 states, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
From this verse, we can only come away with the realization there is somehow a distinction between the body (the clay) and the soul.
Maybe he is referring here to the reality that if someone kills me today, I will technically die, but that death is temporary. It is, what Paul called, a sleep. We are all promised at some point in the future, a resurrection of all who have ever lived or who will live, and all will be gathered together in one place (not on earth), and there will be great and many books open and each one of us will stand before the throne and will be judged by everything we ever said or did.
No one will enter paradise because of what they did or didn’t do. No one is good enough. There is one chance here. One option. That is Christ. If we have accepted the provision he made for us, then our names are written in the Book of Life. If we are found in that book, none of the actions written in the other books will be held against us.
But, if we are not written in the book of life, our judgment stands. We will be tried based on the evidence. And we will be found guilty because we are guilty, each and every one of us. We will all be sentenced and the sentence will be carried out. We will be thrown into the lake of fire for eternity. This is the destruction of both the body and the soul in hell.
If the soul = body + breath. If we lose the body and the breath, there will be no soul and, in that case, we have lost the soul as well.
I cannot comprehend how this is possible or how hell differs from death (where you also lose the breath and the body). I’m sure, when the time comes, it will be explained to us.
But, there clearly is a distinction. Those who can kill the body but not kill the soul. This is physical death. Somehow, the soul remains beyond death. But, at judgment, the one we should fear can kill both the body and the soul in the lake of fire?
The instructor claims all reality is a story with set boundaries. Whenever an experience violates the boundaries of that story, it is perceived as magic, until the story is changed to allow for that experience. What are your thoughts on this idea?
I would agree that our perception of reality, our perspective has set boundaries. Reality itself is reality and those boundaries that define do not change. What defines something as terrestrial or supernatural is our perspective, our world view. If an event contradicts what we feel to be true, then it is considered heretical to our beliefs. We will either discount it as a fraud or we will place it in an unexplained category as supernatural or magic.
It is said that our mind is always attempting to incorporate stimulus into our existing belief structure, or how we see the world around us. This allows us to maintain an internally consistent view of reality. People therefore go to great lengths to wrestle away contradictions. Look how long it took for the world to shift to a heliocentric explanation of our solar system.
The instructor claims human technological advancement is part of the natural world, since humans are part of the natural world (evolution). What are your thoughts on this idea?
I personally would not claim human technological advancement is part of the natural world or that humans are part of the natural world. We are separate and distinct from the animal kingdom, from nature. If you accept evolution, of course you would have to agree. But, I think evolution is a religion and reject it outright. Thus, I also reject this idea that humans and their tech are natural.
What is your definition of love?
I would say it depends on which love you are referring to. Are you talking about eros? Philo? Agape? There is love that is physical and sexual in nature. Attraction. Not really all that interested to be honest with you. Physical relationships are riddled with land mines and presupposition, and typically consist of two selfish people trying to get something from the other person.
Philo is brotherly love. It is better described as esprit decor. It is a binding commonality between kindred or like kind. It is a friendship, a fellowship among equals. This too, I have little interest in. The last friendship I ever had died out several years ago, simply because I had neglected over the course of several years to feed or water it. I’m just not built that way and relationships of all shapes and sizes take relentless work and are inherently flawed.
Lastly is Agape. This is the love Christ had for us all, willing to die for us that we might live. It is the kind of love espoused for married couples, which really never materializes. It is not an emotion or a feeling but a commitment. It is a promise to the other to put their best interest above your own. Christ is constantly working on our behalf, constantly seeking the good for those who love him.
This love from God I’m interested to learn more of. It is what drives me to the desolate places, where I can be alone with him, without distraction, unrestrained, undivided. It is, in theory, the reason the monk enters into his cell and closes the door behind him. He sacrifices his life in the world for the inner life of sanctification, of communion, of transformation.
What is your definition of attraction?
I do believe attraction is a force. It is an intangible force that exerts a draw betwen two objects. It certainly requires no reciprocity, as one can be attracted to another and not have that attraction returned. I can be attracted to a person in a pletonic fashion, engaged by their creativity, by their personality, their inner spirit. I can also be attracted to an inanimate object, or to an idea, a thought, a belief. I do think attraction is real and powerful, but it can also be very misleading and carries inherent risks.
The instructor claims the love in the world is increasing. What are your thoughts on this idea?
I completely disagree with this idea. In Matthew 24:12 it states, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Not only is the love of so many today growing cold, but it is directly caused by our rampant and increasing sin and insanity.
This will only get worse the closer we get to the end.
What did you think of the course overall?
I found this course on a youtube video advertisement, I assume because I had been doing many searches over the last few days for metaphysics. I was at first excited about the idea, then when I found out it was free of charge, I jumped in (I don’t typically pay for educational resources – just like I don’t pay for college tuition).
But, after the first week, I quickly discovered it was the same woo woo principles underlining most every class with the same or similar nomenclature.
I think the term metaphysics has been coopted by the new age, occult movement to mean something rather illusive, unintelligible and highly politicized. It is not philosophical dialog, not genuine discussion – it is the pushing of an eco-friendly, socialist, vegan, evolutionary, eastern religious agenda.
And, that’s fine. I just wish they would say that in the first few lines, so I know I could just skip it altogether.
The last course I was in, from a prestigious university no less, and still, nothing but nonsensical, far eastern drivel masquerading as consciousness research.
To be completely honest, I think it would have been a better course if Charles had taken a back seat and just let Lauren take over. Her questions were rather enticing, and rather intoxicating. She was asking some of the very same questions I’ve been asking for years.
I think it’s time to give up on metaphysics as a term. I have a few introductory books to read on the subject, and a course put out by TTC, which I have started but have not finished. I may have to limit myself to theology as a course of study, but that seems quite restrictive. I’m not interested in studying just about the bible, especially not in a vacuum. I want to explore topics of science, about quantum mechanics, about death and the afterlife, about nature and the supernatural, and the paranormal. Many of these topics are considered off limits in religious circles. But, metaphysics, as an accurate umbrella term, I think is doomed.
But, overall, it was an okay class. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Well, I would recomment the trailer to people, the one with Lauren talking and asking her questions. Other than that, I’m really glad I didn’t fork over any money for the course. It would not have been worth it. I did get to answer all these questions, though. So, there is that.
And, that’s it! Until my next course review…..
Excerpt from Seeking Light Aurora:
Thomas opened the front door of the diner and leaned inside, holding himself up by the door frame.
“What’s the matter?” Terrance said, looking away from Peg and Carol. They were all huddled together at the counter.
“Her truck is still freaking out. I’ll try to keep her busy for as long as I can, but I’m running out of ideas.”
He looked over at Derrick who was quietly sitting at the back booth reading one of his books.
“You’ve got to keep her busy,” Terrance said. “We don’t have any other choice.”
“Look –” Thomas hesitated. “This isn’t all on me you know. I’ve already told you. I don’t know jack shit about trucks or engines. I’m sure as hell not a mechanic.”
“It’ll be fine,” Peg said.
“We all know there’s nothing I can do to fix that truck.” Thomas was shaking his head. “She’s going to figure out that something’s up. What if she starts asking questions?”
“Stall her,” Terrance said. “We just have to keep her busy for a little while. Remember, whatever it takes.”
“But, what about –” Carol had tears welling up.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Terrance said. “We’ve all been through this before.” He looked at Thomas. “Just take a deep breath and relax.”
“Relax my ass,” Thomas said. “Save that bullshit for her, okay?”
“Just keep her occupied in the garage as long as you possibly can. She’s focused right now on getting her truck fixed, so use that.”
“Whatever you say.” Thomas pushed off the door frame and let the door close behind him.
“It’s not going to work,” Carol said. “She’ll figure out something is wrong and that will be it.”
Terrance put his hand on Carol’s arm, gently trying to reassure her.
“It’ll work, Carol,” he said. “Have faith. It’ll work. Whatever it takes.”
Buy my book Seeking Light Aurora to find out what in the world is going on at this strange, out of the way diner in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness!
Click here and grab your copy today! Buy the three book omnibus and get the ENTIRE story for less!
But, you better strap in, because this is definitely not child’s play. People are getting hurt right and left – it just might be you next!
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