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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #11
Ibrahim
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Re: The Supernatural

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
I feel that every person should be given such an opportunity.
Ah but we are given this, countless times each day; that we choose to squander or ignore such opportunities is another matter entirely...
What do you mean? The fact that something exists at all is itself supernatural, or that what we label as "ordinary" or "mundane" is, if viewed from another angle, extraordinary?
I would not have been able to put it that succinctly myself but yes, all existence is supernatural. Of course, with me that is just an article of faith, and it won't do as a rational argument in favour of religion- i am aware of that.

But if there's any type of fiction capable of filtering the extraordinary from the ordinary, it is the Weird.

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #12
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Re: The Supernatural

The tendency for our species as a consequence of the type of consciousness we possess (sentient and sapient) is largely to see things definitively and invariably; to get rid of bugaboos and see the world as a static thing. This would seem to contradicted by religious belief, but I'd argue it strengthens it, particularly Monotheism, as this world is not part of the supernatural one and one's particular religion is the only correct one. Another consequence is that we have grown arrogant in the total explanatory power of our consciousness, e.g. the materialist doctrine, when the parameters of what we can actually perceive are very limited.

For most, I'd say that supernatural fiction is another way to hold the beliefs of an unseen world safely at bay by neutralizing it as art, and escape from this one which in many unspoken cases, is unbearable.

“Evolution cannot avoid bringing intelligent life ultimately to an awareness of one thing above all else and that one thing is futility.”
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #13
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Re: The Supernatural

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
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As to supernatural or spiritual perceptions, I believe those can also be a form of faint glimmering beyond our physical capacity (if not, more often, purely mental illusions and emotional distortions of the senses). But such experiences are so personal, that they cannot really be shared with others. The responses from telling others, will not be meaningful beyond gaping disbelief and blank stares; in other words, deeply unsatisfactory. Such experiences are best left transformed into the arts, where some meaning may be destilled from it.
I explained this to someone recently. If someone does in fact encounter something supernatural, then it must be frustrating beyond belief to communicate it to another person.
Yes, and I think the worst is from the social perspective. It can damage your relations. Because the supernatural experience will separate yours from the experiences of others, it will make you unique. If you try to convince others, you will be looked upon as an oddity, perhaps not mentally stable, cuckoo, even being unreliable. So the inability to reach others with which to share the experience, will make you feel isolated and lonely.

Our brain sensory system is focused on the material reality in which we live our organic lives, and this mentally confined limitation also protects our sanity, it keeps us on track with our body's function. Having supernatural (I don't mean spiritual such as sensing the presence of God or the wholeness of Nature) experiences, in which other dimensions poke through the veil of material reality, or seeing ghosts, can damage your sanity. And it will socially isolate you from others.
I believe we are most susceptible to ghostly experiences in times of deep personal crisis, if our mental barriers are crumbling. Without this mental protective wall, we are vulnerable to outside forces, and ghosts, demons, or nature spirits, may in such a situation poke in upon and reach us.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #14
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Re: The Supernatural

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post

It sounds paradoxical, but I sympathize with both the believer and the skeptic.
It is a constant source of contemplation for me that the Islamic credo consists of both a denial ( there is no god) and an affirmation ( but god).

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #15
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Re: The Supernatural

I very much agree with DarkView's observations.

It may also be that the materialistic era, beginning with Darwin and the Industrial Revolution, has closed our senses to supernatural experiences. Today we only believe in what is materialistic, and therefore our minds are dulled and block out and saves our sanity from anything that might challenge that foundation of belief. In more mystic ages, the mind was more open and accepting of ghostly and supernatural events, and therefore may have experienced more of it.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #16
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Re: The Supernatural

Quote Originally Posted by Knygathin View Post
It may also be that the materialistic era, beginning with Darwin and the Industrial Revolution, has closed our senses to supernatural experiences. Today we only believe in what is materialistic, and therefore our minds are dulled and block out and saves our sanity from anything that might challenge that foundation of belief. In more mystic ages, the mind was more open and accepting of ghostly and supernatural events, and therefore may have experienced more of it.
Also of importance is our own brain's plasticity, because even if our minds are just figments of a greater phenomenon, given form and identity while down here, we're still encased within this body and are subjected to it's various whims and mechanisms.

We all may not be mathematical prodigies, but if we practice and think mathematically for a long period of time, for years, we will eventually earn a respectable use of the ability, because we have conditioned our synapses to be fired in that way. Same happens with modes of thinking. If we are used to think in reductionist/materialist terms all our lives, it becomes physically impossible for the brain to be unable to consider other modes of observation. This is why many scientists and engineers (not all of them, of course) don't even consider the possibility of the non-physical's reality, let alone experience it, whereas artists and musicians are more open to it. David Bowie's various supernatural encounters are a good example.

I remember a very moving fragment I read in Darwin's autobiography, some time ago, where he mentions how he used to deeply enjoy poetry, music and art before he plunged into his naturalistic research, yet, at the time of the writing, he was unable to do so. He didn't write this as some obnoxious science nerd at youtube, he was very sorry about it and couldn't understand why that had happened to him. He went further to say that he believed such loss was detrimental to his own intellect and feared that it could also affect the moral character of a person. (or something along that line. I read it two or three years ago) That's neuroplasticity at work.

On another note concerning the brain's ability to open itself to these phenomena, Aldous Huxley makes a similar point somewhere in the beginning of The Doors of Perception, where he mentions that when the brain relaxes and is no longer worried about preserving the physical stability of the organism, induced, he claims, by reducing the amount of glucose that goes inside it (a process that can be set into motion by ingesting certain substances, like mescaline, or through meditation, intense exercise, fasting, insomnia or self flagellation) then abilities and occurrences that have no physical use fo survival, become manifest.

This makes sense, because an ability like, say, telepathy, has no real evolutionary advantage. It may work among populations of organisms that lack any other form of communication, but not between humans. It is easier to just say something directly to someone, than go through the tiresome process of transmitting a sensation or idea and see if it sticks. (Telepathy does not work as it is advertised in movies and bad science fiction literature. You don't hear someone else's voice inside your head. The CIA and various other intelligence agencies around the world have invested millions of dollars in psy research and maybe they have found ways to train telepaths. All abilities are trainable, after all. However, as successful, or not, as they might have been, it is always easier to just open a clandestine line of communication between office and agent than requiring to the esoteric and the non-physical.)

Stanislaw Lem wrote a very good story where he briefly talks about this idea as well, Lymphater's formula. I'll translate to English from my Spanish translation of it, so forgive me if there are differences between this and others's edition: The abilities that an organism displays in just one out of every two or three hundred cases are of no use at an adaptive level, because evolution, sir, does not find any joy in the contemplation of these infrequent phenomena, as magnificent as they are, let alone think about them. It's end is to preserve the continuation of the species, and it always chooses the safes way to do so.

Anyway, people die...
-Current 93


I am simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #17
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Re: The Supernatural

I was contemplating this thread while in the shower, and just made two notes in my notebook, as follows:

"If someone says, 'You must not imagine x, because x contravenes the laws of physics,' this betrays the fear that the laws of physics are not absolute."

"The known is merely the fuel for the flames of imagination to consume."

"人生夢幻耳" - 高井鴻山
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Old 1 Week Ago   #18
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Re: The Supernatural

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
I was contemplating this thread while in the shower, and just made two notes in my notebook, as follows:

"If someone says, 'You must not imagine x, because x contravenes the laws of physics,' this betrays the fear that the laws of physics are not absolute."

"The known is merely the fuel for the flames of imagination to consume."
If the universe is an "accident," then it seems natural to suggest that its "laws" are contingent, which suggests that they could change at any given moment. Perhaps we take the regularity of nature for granted. Quentin Meillassoux argued for this position - or something like it.

Assuming there is a region beyond the realm of science, or beyond the reach of visibility, then it seems highly unlikely that it contains intelligence or reason, unless it is malevolent. I'm assuming, of course, that the invisible world shares important overlapping similarities with that which is visible. In other words, speculations regarding that which cannot be seen ought to provide some form of explanatory power with respect to what we encounter on an everyday level. This is why Schopenhauer's metaphysics is so much more compelling to me than Hegel's - or anyone else's for that matter.

"Supernatural" would simply mean "beyond nature" in this case.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"

Last edited by Mr. Veech; 1 Week Ago at 11:30 AM..
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Old 1 Week Ago   #19
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Re: The Supernatural

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
I was contemplating this thread while in the shower, and just made two notes in my notebook, as follows:

"If someone says, 'You must not imagine x, because x contravenes the laws of physics,' this betrays the fear that the laws of physics are not absolute."

"The known is merely the fuel for the flames of imagination to consume."
If the universe is an "accident," then it seems natural to suggest that its "laws" are contingent, which suggests that they could change at any given moment. Perhaps we take the regularity of nature for granted. Quentin Meillassoux argued for this position - or something like it.

Assuming there is a region beyond the realm of science, or beyond the reach of visibility, then it seems highly unlikely that it contains intelligence or reason, unless it is malevolent. I'm assuming, of course, that the invisible world shares important overlapping similarities with that which is visible. In other words, speculations regarding that which cannot be seen ought to provide some form of explanatory power with respect to what we encounter on an everyday level. This is why Schopenhauer's metaphysics is so much more compelling to me than Hegel's - or anyone else's for that matter.

"Supernatural" would simply mean "beyond nature" in this case.
I'm somewhat drawn to the idea of malevolence, and not merely chaos, as being the 'principle' of the universe, as I discussed a bit on a different thread. The idea of humanity as being experiments in suffering, or as food, in a sense, for this malevolence I also find appealing.

“Evolution cannot avoid bringing intelligent life ultimately to an awareness of one thing above all else and that one thing is futility.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Sunset Limited
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Old 1 Week Ago   #20
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Re: The Supernatural

Karnos: Several interesting points in your post.
From Lem's theory then, it is not automatic that we evolve to ever greater advancement, but rather are kept in status quo. It's the changes in environment that forces evolutionary change. However, it is also interesting to reflect on whether Man is becoming a reflection of the greater Universe, a Creator in himself, and therefore will be able to shape and mold future evolution. Unless it becomes too great of a task, that ends in catastrophy.

qcrisp: "The known is merely the fuel for the flames of imagination to consume."
That is a very inspiring standpoint!
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