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Yeheshuah
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Shiva,

Your point by point analysis is appreciated.  Let me take just a couple of points for now:

Let us begin with a simple three-valued logic of true-false-indeterminate.  In this system, what is not classified under the three-valued semantics will be termed meaningless.

This (^) is not clairverbalism.

While what I said would be clear to those of us schooled in formal logic, I can see where it would be taken as unclear.  I don't speak down to my interlocutors, in the hope that we will have common ground to work from.  Where I fail to find that , I will try another route to make things clear when possible, or try to supply the groundwork, or encourage someone to look in a different direction for assistance.  Sometimes, however, the solution is to study more.

Bhakti practice with Jesus taken as the object of devotion, however, brings about self-transformational experiences that convince me of the efficacy of belief in a risen Jesus.

What? ???  It sounds like you are saying that indulgence in belief in something that did not happen is going to change you (or has changed you). "Self-transformation" into what? Into a self that is based on delusion?

The power of such practices, I think, are often assessed subjectively.  We look at the sense of peace created or cleanliness or holiness, etc.  This all matters not a bit, of course, unless it plays out somehow in practice; the knowledge via fruits test I mentioned earlier is relevant here.  Of course, I can't establish such things online.

But the delusion point is a good one, though, I think, mistaken.  I seem to recall making a similar point 15 years ago to the thelema-93 yahoo group Bill Heidrick used to haunt.  (Maybe a few of you remember that forum.)  My point back then was that the typical view of magick was delusional, because it saw a place for the precipitation of objects, levitation, etc.  Delusional, however, is a word with more than one use, one being clinical.  In the clinical sense, religious beliefs are not in and of themselves delusional even if mistaken.  And it would be a strange thing to claim that every position one holds must be correct.

There is wisdom in what you say regarding the importance of silence, though I am not under any demand that I am aware of to be silent from those who are my teachers.  There is a reason why we keep our magickal weapons wrapped in silk and hidden from view.  My hope in entering this conversation was, in part, to test the strength of my own position, which is why it has not been wrapped in silence.  It has been well tested so far. 

Yeheshuah

Love is the law, love under will.


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Tao
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"david" wrote:
On the subject of health, studies show that the most mentally healthy families have a "transcendental" value system.  This is not necessarily a metaphysical belief but it may include being e.g. a member of a church or the like.

Citation, please.


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Shiva
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"Tao" wrote:
"david" wrote:
On the subject of health, studies show that the most mentally healthy families have a "transcendental" value system.

Citation, please.

"Studies," have been cited. You know, church surveys and governmental analyses of phone conversations. I'm considering a study of the mental health of jihadists.
"Families that pray together toward Mecca five times a day, stay together."
"Tribes that behead infidels together display better mental health than those who do it alone."
😉


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Anonymous
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"Shiva" wrote:
"Tao" wrote:
"david" wrote:
On the subject of health, studies show that the most mentally healthy families have a "transcendental" value system.

Citation, please.

"Studies," have been cited. You know, church surveys and governmental analyses of phone conversations. I'm considering a study of the mental health of jihadists.
"Families that pray together toward Mecca five times a day, stay together."
"Tribes that behead infidels together display better mental health than those who do it alone."
😉

Is this a humorous interlude or does it mask a proper point you want to make?


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Shiva
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"david" wrote:
Is this a humorous interlude ..?

;D


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Tao
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"Los" wrote:
As I was hinting at before, these foundations are not contradicted by quantum mechanics, and they are not contradicted by the existence of multi-valued logic systems.

Actually, that's not true. [Nor is it indeterminate ;)] To take just one example, intuitionistic logic specifically denies the laws of excluded middle and double negation elimination.

"Los" wrote:
These foundational principles are tautologies, and while they can't strictly be "proven," they can't be violated because even to try to argue against them requires one to invoke them. Go ahead and make an argument against these principles without assuming that each word you utter is equal to itself.

Yes, they are tautologies within the classical framework but saying they can't be violated ignores logical systems that do violate them. Your "Go ahead..." challenge calls for the sort of informal argument that the mathematical structure of logic is meant to eliminate. I'm sympathetic to Shiva's desire for clarity so I won't throw a bunch of logical operators into this post but, whether it fits our common sense, linguistics, or epistemology or not, if the maths bears it out then it is logically valid. And intuitionistic logic presents a mathematics that does not require two of your presumed tautologies.

"Los" wrote:
The fact is, these logical principles simply seem to just *be* the nature of reality. They apply to everything, including themselves. They apply to any alternate universe you could imagine. They would even apply if nothing existed (because nothing would be nothing and not not-nothing).

Actually, what's more likely is that classical logic and its attendant tautologies "just seem to be" because they are used by the very tools and computers (the human mind/body complex) that invented them. If alternate logics that dispense with these foundations and remain mathematically consistent hadn't been discovered, I'd be in your corner, Los. It does "seem" to the experiential mind that they are just the way things are. But maths shows us they are just one way to evaluate reality and, given that they are the way that feels most comfortable and seems most true, shouldn't they then be the first up against the wall in our stripping away of our misconceptions about ourselves?


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Azidonis
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"Los" wrote:
the nature of reality.

...is chaos.

"Los" wrote:
They apply to everything, including themselves. They apply to any alternate universe you could imagine. They would even apply if nothing existed (because nothing would be nothing and not not-nothing).

Something cannot be applied to nothing, for there is no-thing to apply the something to.


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wellreadwellbred
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"Azidonis" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
the nature of reality.

...is chaos.

If so, what is the practical implication of this, to expect the unexpected?

Even if microscopic phenomena are objectively random, according to several standard interpretations of quantum mechanics, so that quantum mechanics can not specify the outcome of individual experiments but only the probabilities, hidden variable theories reject the view that nature contains irreducible randomness, positing that in the processes that appear random, properties with a certain statistical distribution are at work behind the scenes, determining the outcome in each case. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randomness

Also, Azidonis, even if we can not specify the outcome of microscopic phenomena, but only their probabilities, what is the direct and practical relevance of this situation, for the lives we live in our immediately discernible non-microscopic surroundings?

"Azidonis" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
They apply to everything, including themselves. They apply to any alternate universe you could imagine. They would even apply if nothing existed (because nothing would be nothing and not not-nothing).

Something cannot be applied to nothing, for there is no-thing to apply the something to.

So what Azidonis? The laws of nature are not invalidated by the lack of something for them to function upon. 


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Yeheshuah
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Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law!

Los,

We are on the last day of the feast.  Can we achieve a breakthrough? I will try.

You wrote: "you cannot make an argument without assuming that each word is equal to itself.  Can we both agree with the foundational principles of logic, and can we both accept that these are necessary preconditions of thought (and not "faith" in the sense that religious faith is)?"

Words are, indeed, equal to themselves.  That is if I say "A", then I have said "A".  In the world of medium-sized dry goods, to steal a phrase from the philosopher JL Austin, the world does seem to operate according to a traditional logic.  Now, they have come up with some interesting challenges to this.  A small piezoelectric tuning fork was placed in a superposition.  That is, it was both vibrating at a specific frequency and not vibrating at a specific frequency.  So our science is building up toward the Schrodinger's cat experiment.  Also, if you read the text from Schrodinger, he intended the cat to be in contradictory states, because the thought experiment was meant to undermine the Copenhagen Interpretation via a reductio ad absurdum.  It is theoretically possible, though highly improbable, that a medium-sized dry good such as a person would ever be in a superposition. 

The value of considering weird results in physics is not to offer some account of what happened to Jesus... that is, I am not saying he is in a superposition... but rather the value is to simply show the possibility of being both intellectually honest and committed to a logical system other than the traditional logic.

On your point that the use of logic and evidence is not the same as religious faith, I am inclined to agree with your point.  But clinging to a logical system uncritically, as clinging to a particular geometry or outdated picture of the solar system, moves the thinker from a position of conditioned knowledge toward something like religious faith.  (The main reason I have for insisting on the use of alternative logics, by the way, is that you originally objected to the claims of faith on the ground that they were meaningless and in the same category as the sentence "Fuzzy green ideas sleep furiously."  All I want to do is clear the ground for making meaning.  Then we can go on the assess the validity of particular beliefs.)

So can we agree that logic is the precondition of thought? I am inclined to say no.  Other positions once thought to have the force of a mathematical certainty have been abandoned.  Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawking argue that something can come from nothing.  Einstein showed that the world is characterized by non-euclidean geometry. 

I think part of the problem with non-traditional logic is that it is not intuitive.  Your examples of meaningless English utterances suggest that where you lack a picture of what is meant, you call a proposition meaningless.  But just because we can't intuit the meaning of a proposition does not mean we can't use it meaningfully.  We can do the math for 10-dimensional space without having a picture of that space. 

Your question about my alternative logic is a very good one.  I am going to stop here, but please let us come back to that question.

Oh, one more thing.  Is your position an uncritical attachment to traditional logic? The fact that you have given thought to how logic arises out of meaning argues that you have given some thought to the position you hold, so I would not characterize it as uncritical.  But there is a danger.  Many intelligent logicians who are familiar with your linguistic points still find it reasonable to develop logics that, for instance, abandon the principle of excluded middle.

Yeheshuah

Love is the law, love under will.


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jamie barter
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"david" wrote:
What we deny about ourselves and our limitations will mould our self-image.  Via projection any denial impacts on our map of the world.  In effect these denied parts of ourselves (of reality) are the dark side of Yesod/Moon. This denial influences thinking (Hod), emotions and desire (Netzach) and it becomes a feedback loop of illusion which is what the Khu is.  Initiation then is facing up to any of these denied limitations and bringing the Tiparethic Light of reality into the elemental sephiroth.  This is the subject matter of this thread of course.

Yet again, the phrase “the Khu” is bandied around, this time by the monkey david (again) once more without any clear definition of what the term is meant to consist (ditto with clarification of his particular usage of “initiation”).  “The Khu is a feedback loop of illusion” – I don’t think even the organ grinder Los ever put it in those terms; does anybody have any idea of what the hell is being talked about, who could then enlighten the rest of us who don’t?  It’s rather ironic in a thread in which so much emphasis has come to be placed upon the semantic meanings of more abstract words like “true”, “belief” “evidence”, etc., etc., that more concrete proper nouns such as these can’t receive a more satisfactory exposition.

Wishing you a happy third feast day of the reading yea, and therefore not not-wishing you a happy third feast day instead  😮  ;D,
N∫oy


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Shiva
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Khu 🙂 (Egyptian): The human spirit-soul, closely connected with the heart (ab), and considered to be everlasting; usually depicted in hieroglyphics in the form of a heron. Massey makes it equivalent with manas [mind].
- http://dictionary.babylon.com/khu?&tl=/

khu 😀 (plural khus) noun: In ancient Egyptian mythology, a part of the soul or spirit which left the body after death. 1983: "Yes, the Khu was a light in your mind while you lived, but in death, it must return to heaven." - Norman Mailer 
- http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/khu

According to Budge, “Khabs” literally means “star,” whilst “Khu” literally means “spirit”. Another translation is “starry sky” and “spirit-soul,” respectively, which is close to the same thing. In Crowley's “new comment” he says:

"Khabs is the secret Light or L.V.X.; the Khu is the magical entity of a man …
Khabs means star … This “star” or “inmost light” is the original, individual, eternal essence.
The Khu is the magical garment which it weaves for itself, a “form” for its being beyond form,
by use of which it can experience through self-consciousness."
- http://www.erwinhessle.com/writings/khabkhu.php [/align:z777ucgk]

[/align:z777ucgk]

Khu ;D = the causal body ["soul" body"], resident at Tiphereth, Geburah & Chesed.
- Shiva


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jamie barter
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Excellent Shiva, you have bothered to give a reply on the subject even though it was not yourself I had been querying.  Leaving aside any possible (in)accuracies in your exposition and the fact that The Book of the Law's usage is at variance with such received knowledge on the subject, the question now is whether Los (and therefore, by extension, david) subscribe to this particular view in their usage of the terminology.  (Or whether they might not not-subscribe, of course! ???)

и ∫oy


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Anonymous
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"Shiva" wrote:

According to Budge, “Khabs” literally means “star,” whilst “Khu” literally means “spirit”. Another translation is “starry sky” and “spirit-soul,” respectively, which is close to the same thing. In Crowley's “new comment” he says:

"Khabs is the secret Light or L.V.X.; the Khu is the magical entity of a man …
Khabs means star … This “star” or “inmost light” is the original, individual, eternal essence.
The Khu is the magical garment which it weaves for itself, a “form” for its being beyond form,
by use of which it can experience through self-consciousness."
- http://www.erwinhessle.com/writings/khabkhu.php [/align:3d7vr95j]

[

Link the knowledge found in the following
 
http://www.erwinhessle.com/writings/khabkhu.php

with that found here

http://www.erwinhessle.com/writings/scottframe.php  (A Qabalistic Framework)

to get an overall cosmological viewpoint of Khabs and Khu.  For a further and imo, more accessible clarification, go here  http://thelema-and-skepticism.blogspot.co.uk/2015_02_01_archive.html

The question though is do people who consistently ask about these definitions genuinely want to know about Thelemic Practice and it's relation to how we deal with the Khu or are their queries the result of some other problem?


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Shiva
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Um, I just wanna keep it simplr. "I cant reed and I cant rite; I sleep all day and Im drunk all nite."

In the beginning, around 1967, it was my understanding that Khabs was the Master and Khu the servant. With Khabs being "star" or "light," we have little trouble seeing it attributed to Kether. Perhaps the Khu attributions are where there are variable accounts. The terms, higher mental plane, causal plane, causal body, inner order, second order, soul, Ego, all come to mind, and I suggest that these are all names for the same thing: Khu.

My understanding, which is of course, my interpretation, has not changed since '67.

The next level down is the Ka, or the Lower Mental plane, concrete mind, emotional, devotional, astra;-mental comples called the persona.

All the above is tucked neatly into a Ha, a physical body, where it starts to independently grow and unravel right after birth. Isn't it interesting that HeruRaHa can be seen as "Horus as the Sun Incarnated?

"Aum ha!" also seems to imply a "grounding" or a "manifeststion" in matter.


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Los
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"Yeheshuah" wrote:
We are on the last day of the feast.

Woooooo! Par-tay!

The third night is traditionally chili night. 

Words are, indeed, equal to themselves. [...]  Now, they have come up with some interesting challenges to this.  A small piezoelectric tuning fork was placed in a superposition.  That is, it was both vibrating at a specific frequency and not vibrating at a specific frequency.

Again, this is not a challenge to the foundations of logic. In the experiment you're talking about, one method of measurement says the fork is vibrating, while another method of measurement says the fork is not vibrating. Those are the properties of the fork in that state: it's in a state where method A describes it as B, and where method C describes it as D -- and it's not not-in-such-a-state.

You're looking at the issue too narrowly. All the law of identity says is that whatever the fork is, that's what it is. Whatever the properties are. You can't violate that law by giving an example where the properties seem contradictory or are difficult to explain.

Indeed, your very argument that this experiment violates the foundations of logic depends on the foundations of logic being true.

You can't get around this point.

The value of considering weird results in physics is not to offer some account of what happened to Jesus... that is, I am not saying he is in a superposition... but rather the value is to simply show the possibility of being both intellectually honest and committed to a logical system other than the traditional logic.

I think we need to be careful to distinguish between what I'm calling the foundations of logic (the three laws) and "logical systems." I'm not totally sure what you encompass within the bounds of "traditional logic" and "classical logic" (and whether or not you use those terms as synonyms). But so far I have not been defending any particular logical system, where "logical system" is understood to mean a particular system of classifying the truth values of claims.

I have merely been defending what I call the foundations of logic, which appear to be the inescapable facts of reality that shape our ability to conceive of things. Based on those foundations, there are all sorts of logical systems one could construct, some of which might be more or less useful in different contexts. For example, I earlier agreed with you that the two-value logic system of which you were speaking (in which every statement has to be "True or False") is not a useful system to use (I even argued that the law of non-contradiction shows that this system is not mutually exclusive). You and I could -- and we should -- talk about which logical system or systems would be useful to use in which contexts. But any system one comes up with is necessarily predicated on the foundations of logic: whatever system one constructs, that system has the properties it has, and it doesn't not-have those properties.

On your point that the use of logic and evidence is not the same as religious faith, I am inclined to agree with your point.  But clinging to a logical system uncritically [...] moves the thinker from a position of conditioned knowledge toward something like religious faith. [...]  Is your position an uncritical attachment to traditional logic? [...] I would not characterize it as uncritical

I'm with you here.

So can we agree that logic is the precondition of thought? I am inclined to say no.  Other positions once thought to have the force of a mathematical certainty have been abandoned.

Your last sentence here is a non-sequitur. I gave you the explanation for why the foundations of logic (those three laws) are necessary preconditions for thinking. The fact that there have been subjects on which people have reversed conventional wisdom is in no way a challenge to my explanation. 

Your question about my alternative logic is a very good one.  I am going to stop here, but please let us come back to that question.

So let's get into it. I've been asking you for pages now: what is your alternative logic? Describe its properties -- and remember, for you to be able to do this, it has to have those properties and not not-have those properties. Your explanation of it necessarily begins from the foundations of logic. There is no getting around that.

But go on and explain your system. What categories do you have for describing claims? Why do you have those categories? How do you tell whether a claim falls into a given category?


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Los
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"Shiva" wrote:
With Khabs being "star" or "light," we have little trouble seeing it attributed to Kether.

Since you've decided to take up this subject, I'll gladly respond to you, Shiva.

I prefer to attribute the Khabs (the True Self) to Tipareth (which is the sun, star, "light" of the individual -- that individual's actual, True Self). Perhaps it's better to say that the Khabs best corresponds to Sephiroth 4-6 and the paths running between them.

The Khu is the faculty that produces the illusion of individuality. Perhaps we could attribute it to the Veil of Paroketh, but really for all practical purposes we can attribute it to its products: Sephiroth 7-10 and the paths in between. Sometimes I use "body and mind" as a shorthand for the Khu: really the body and mind (or, even more accurately, the sense that "I" have a body and mind that are "mine") are the products of the Khu. For the purposes of Thelemic practice, these products of the Khu are its functional equivalents, so it's fine to consider the Khu to be a rough synonym for the body-mind complex.

The gist of Thelemic practice is that the uninitiated individual is consistently distracted from reality by illusions of the Khu (illusions that arise within the consciousness, Sephiroth 7-10). The function of Thelemic practice is to shift the individual's attention away from the Khu and onto the Khabs, and the different practices proscribed in Thelema are different ways of "shaking" the mind out of its usual lethargy of dull mental routine.

What I've just outlined above is not the only way to place these concepts on the Tree of Life, but it's the way that I think is most convenient.


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Shiva
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"Los" wrote:
I prefer to attribute the Khabs (the True Self) to Tipareth (which is the sun, star, "light" of the individual -- that individual's actual, True Self). Perhaps it's better to say that the Khabs best corresponds to Sephiroth 4-6 and the paths running between them.

The Khu is the faculty that produces the illusion of individuality. Perhaps we could attribute it to the Veil of Paroketh, but really for all practical purposes we can attribute it to its products: Sephiroth 7-10 and the paths in between.

Okay, I can accept it that way. This attribution would leave the "supernal triad" above Khabs and "in the dark," but Binah is Black so it would fit. It would also seem that Khabs is limited by the so-called Abyss.


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Los
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"Shiva" wrote:
This attribution would leave the "supernal triad" above Khabs and "in the dark," but Binah is Black so it would fit. It would also seem that Khabs is limited by the so-called Abyss.

Yep. I think this makes more sense since the Supernal Triad represents the idea of manifestation, rather than actual manifestation. Hence the Supernal Triad being structured with its "point" up, rather than its "point" down, like the other two triads: the other triads are reflections of the Supernals in the actual, manifest universe. Also, this positioning depicts the concept "I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union": the Supernal Triad shows Kether dividing into Chokmah and Binah, and then the actual and individual triads show the combination of Sephiroth back into Tipareth and Yesod. Every individual Self (Tipareth) and self-consciousness (Yesod) is the reunification of these elements in a new way (the way DNA works, incidentally, does indeed mean that this process is governed by "chance").

But again, this is far from the only way to attribute things to the Tree. The Tree is just a map: a convenient way to conceptualize and relate certain ideas and aspects of our experience.


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Tao
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"Los" wrote:
I think we need to be careful to distinguish between what I'm calling the foundations of logic (the three laws) and "logical systems." I'm not totally sure what you encompass within the bounds of "traditional logic" and "classical logic" (and whether or not you use those terms as synonyms). But so far I have not been defending any particular logical system, where "logical system" is understood to mean a particular system of classifying the truth values of claims.

I have merely been defending what I call the foundations of logic, which appear to be the inescapable facts of reality that shape our ability to conceive of things. Based on those foundations, there are all sorts of logical systems one could construct, some of which might be more or less useful in different contexts.

Intuitionistic logic can be succinctly described as classical logic without the Aristotelian law of excluded middle (LEM): (A ∨ ¬A) or the classical law of double negation elimination (¬ ¬A → A), but with the law of contradiction (A → B) → ((A → ¬B) → ¬A) and ex falso quodlibet: (¬A → (A → B)). Brouwer [1908] observed that LEM was abstracted from finite situations, then extended without justification to statements about infinite collections. For example, let x, y range over the natural numbers 0, 1, 2, … and B(x) abbreviate the property expressed by the following claim in which the variable x is free: there is a y greater than x such that both y and y+2 are prime numbers, i.e.,

∃y(y>x & Prime(y) & Prime(y+2))

Then we have no general method for deciding whether B(x) is true or false for arbitrary x, so ∀x(B(x) ∨ ¬B(x)) cannot be asserted in the present state of our knowledge. And if A abbreviates the statement ∀xB(x), then (A ∨ ¬A) cannot be asserted because neither A nor (¬A) has yet been proved.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, emphasis mine.


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gnosomai
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Struck by the repeating pattern of talking past one another that seemed to characterize my interactions with Los and the current discussion on this thread, I decided to go back to its origins, the OP, to see if I could find a source of clarity. Unsurprisingly, I found there exactly the same seeming misconception that I found in his posts on Heruraha and which I pointed out to him over there. He never accepted my read of the situation -- which is understandable: it is very difficult to see one's own shortcomings when one has invested so much in defending them -- but seeing them again pushed me to consider that, as they haven't been questioned on this thread by this crew, perhaps I'm the one reading them wrong. To that end, I've decided to bring them into the discussion to see if there are any other supporting or undermining thoughts regarding them.

"Los" wrote:
In all real subjects of study, people who work with the material learn more about the subject and come to a better – more nuanced – understanding of the subject than the people who founded it.

Take biological evolution, for example. Darwin laid out the main principles of evolution, and evolutionary theory is today still recognizable as consisting of ideas he laid out, but we today understand it in much greater detail than Darwin did. On several points, modern understanding of evolution departs significantly from Darwin. We could make a similar case for pretty much any real subject of study.

Thelema – being a real subject of study – is in theory no different. We would expect that the people working with it would be able to reasonably discuss their work: what they hope to accomplish, why they think their goals are actually real, how their chosen practices work to help them reach these goals, how they know their chosen practices do so, and the criteria by which they can determine that their practices have indeed worked.

It’s similar to any other real field of study. People who study a field need to answer these questions for themselves, and if they can answer these questions for themselves, they can explain their answers to others as well. And if a so-called “expert” in a field is incapable of answering these questions? Well, it doesn’t speak very strongly for his or her expertise, I’m sure we would all agree.

For my part, at least, you would be correct. I do agree. In "fields of study", everything you say above is practically useful and, therefore, in order not to get hung up on semantics, we'll call it true. For anyone "studying" Thelema, your desire for aims, goals, and methods which can be rationally discussed and dissected prior to the beginning of study are all dead-on.

"Los" wrote:
Construction workers can do it, nuclear technicians can do it, computer programmers can do it, and so too should Thelemites be able to provide their answers to these questions.

What just happened? We went from establishing best-practices for study and jumped course to create an analogy to three professions that, for the most part, are not involved in the study field. The first two are cogs in machines. Button-pushers and concrete-pourers. I mean, not to undermine the importance of vigilance and ability in our nuclear technicians but, if Homer Simpson can manage that job with only the occasional meltdown, there's not that much creative thought required.

And that's the crux of the issue with your development here. You appear to be jumping all over the map, cherry-picking your analogies as they suit your purpose and glossing over their difficulties. The closest you get to a useful analogy is your use of computer programmers but, by your use, you show a lack of understanding of what good programming is and how it works.

To get us back on solid grounding, might I suggest that we return to Crowley himself and begin with his definition of Magick. Since his first theorem devolving from this definition is that "Every intentional act is a Magickal act," and since I think we can agree that discovering one's True Will is not a matter of study but is, more correctly, an intentional act, it seems appropriate to start there.

"Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will."

Science and Art.

This hearkens back to the alchemical process of Solve et Coagula, something clearly meaningful to Crowley since, despite all of his changes to the Atu in his tarot late in life, Solve et Coagula remains highlighted in The Lovers and Art.

Science: In this, we find something close to the "study" that you establish as the be-all-end-all of your Thelemic Practice. It is the analysis of the world as it is, only possible by looking beyond surface appearances and discovering the workings underneath. It is the carving up of what one knows into all of its component parts, not only to discover what makes each of them tick but also to amass a store of raw materials for the actual work ahead. If we need professional analogies in order to illustrate this step, we might look to researchers, explorers, and psycho-analysts. To bring it a bit closer to home, we might just consider the kids who need to take their computers apart in order to figure out how they work. Or a high school biology class frog-dissection.

Specific to the discovering of one's True Will, this might include the analysis of first-hand records of those who have discovered their True Will and their methods for doing so. At a more fundamental level, it might involve the investigation of what "True Will" is or an analysis of how our own individual person works in order to create a solid framework on which to build our subsequent method.

Art: Once the component bits are understood and available, the actual work of Magick is the reassembly of them in novel ways to create new expressions of reality, otherwise known as "Change". A construction worker or nuclear technician does not engage this step: they simply follow the instruction handed down to them from above. Change is effected, but it is not through their "Will". They are agents, carrying out the wills of others. We can evaluate their "success" based on whether they follow those instructions well or poorly. For an actual magician -- or intentional creator -- this step requires something else, call it desire, call it inspiration, intuition, the muse… If you can actually give an accounting of what you hope to accomplish and why you think ahead of time that it will be successful, thus giving you "good reason" to begin the process, then you are not engaging Art. You are merely following out a preconceived plan, one that recreates present conditions. You are building an Ikea desk by following the instructions.

"Los" wrote:
However, there is one key difference between the task of discovering the True Will and those other fields of study: in those other fields of study, failure – when it occurs – is overwhelmingly obvious because the criteria for success can be judged by anyone. When a construction worker fails to construct a house properly, it’s obvious as all hell. But discovering the True Will is a process for which only one individual – the individual in question – can ever observe the criteria for success. This means that aspiring Thelemites could dupe themselves (and continue to dupe themselves ) for a very long time, convincing themselves that they’ve discovered their True Will when in fact they’re simply following some kind of fantasy.

For that reason, having clear criteria for success is all the more important for a Thelemite. I submit that it is impossible to discover the True Will without having a crystal clear understanding of one’s goals, how one’s practices enable one to achieve these goals, why one would think that such practices *would* enable one to achieve these goals, and the criteria by which one judges success in these practices.

Somehow, you continue to represent a construction work as a field of study and nobody called you on it. Nevertheless, as I think has been established based on the foundational definition of Thelemic Magick, the practice of discovering one's True Will is not merely a "field of study" it is a creative act. You can certainly study that act once it's been accomplished -- or even while it's in progress -- but the discovery itself is an act. An Art.

Since you like analogies so much, let's try one on that actually fits. Consider the architect, creating a house on a blank sheet of paper that our construction worker will eventually help to erect. His "Science" -- architecture school and prior experience in the field -- tells him that, in order for whatever he's about to create to be called a house, it will probably require, at minimum, four walls, a ceiling, and a door. Beyond that, the creation of "house" is entirely up to his own ingenuity in recombining the raw materials that he has accumulated -- materials he's familiar with, shapes and forms he's aware of, etc. How do we judge that he has successfully accomplished his goal? Is it just in evaluating whether his final product has four walls, a ceiling, and a door? Of course not. There is something else, something that he has to discover along the way, through trial and error, many erased lines and crumbled up sheets, that will determine whether the final plans represent "house" in a way that is not only effective but also individually representative. Only the architect himself can make that determination. If you see that as him "duping" himself because his angular glass and steel shard of innovation doesn't fit in with consensus-opinion of McMansion repeatability, I can't see that as supportable.

Unless you can actually give me multiple first-hand accounts of True Will discovery that establish its consistency across all seekers, I can't see it as supportable for the topic under discussion either. I sincerely doubt this is possible. I suspect, in fact, that what you're actually doing is extrapolating what you consider to be your own discovery of your own TW and presuming it to be generally applicable. You've bolstered this by reasoning and skewed everything toward the Science half of the equation. This is what's led to your stripped down explication of four practices. They worked for you, your analysis is well-reasoned, therefore they will work for everyone.

32. Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise.

Looked at another way, when Picasso tossed out all his paints but blue, was there a way to chart out what he was going to accomplish over the next period of his work and how one might evaluate if he had succeeded? Of course not. Did he have specific goals in mind that he was aiming to fulfill? No. He relied on the Science he has already performed -- years of classical training and prior experience in figurative painting -- and reconfigured it into novel new expressions. It is only after the work has been done, after the innovations have been attempted that he can evaluate whether or not they've been successful. And, even once that evaluation has been made, there is no 1-to-1 correlation that we can make to another's work. To suggest to a young painter of today that he should toss out all his paints but blue in order to find success because it worked for Picasso is silly.

And yet this is exactly what this post is attempting to do. It suggests that all Thelemic Practice can be broken down into concrete objective steps along the lines of instructions that might be given to a construction worker for cutting a 2x4. It turns Thelemic Practitioners into cogs who must know ahead of time where they will land. Besides the fact that this is practically impossible, the structuring of one's practices along these lines seems to be dangerously limiting.

Magick requires Science, but the actual work of it is Art. Both must be present. One doesn't want to emulate the laboratory researcher investigating the properties of graphene isolated from the practical potential of those properties. Nor does one want to be the mindless artist who throws paint at a canvas insisting that he's just releasing some inner genius over which he has no control -- and whose art looks just as uncontrolled. One must respect both halves of the equation and allow them both their space. There is a time for analysis and there is a time for synthesis. It is important that they don't get mixed up.

"Los" wrote:
As a result, it is in the interest of every practitioner to interrogate his or her methods of working with a sharp critical eye.

It is in the interest of opening a serious Thelemic dialogue about goals and practices that I start this thread. We cannot claim to adopt “the method of science” if we are uninterested in objectively evaluating our practices and subjecting them to the closest possible scrutiny. To the contrary, we should welcome the opportunity to do so and rejoice if someone is able to demonstrate to us a flaw in our thinking, to demolish an illusion we hold dear.

Heartily agreed. We should all regularly evaluate our own practices. However, I would amend that it is not in the interest of every practitioner to constantly interrogate his or her methods. One must dance with Dionysos at night and analyze with Apollo during the day. When practicing, one must do the work. When analyzing, one must adopt the critical eye. To conflate the two is completely counterproductive. This is the driving force behind the A.'.A.'. requirement that all aspirants work through all the methods, whether they find them to be immediately useful or not. There is no way ahead of time to determine which set of practices will work for each individual to advance them up the tree. It isn't until one tests them out on oneself -- until one has the experience -- that one can decide whether that practice was effective or not. And there aren't necessarily objective metrics by which to measure success at any stage along the way. Just as Picasso had to decide for himself whether his blue period was, in fact, representing truths about himself, it is up to us to decide, for ourselves, whether a certain practice is revealing truths about ourselves.

For you to try to step in and evaluate those determinations from an "objective" perspective is no more nor less useful to the individual practitioner than an individual art critic giving his evaluation of a series of paintings. It tells us much about the critic and his reaction to the art; it tells us nothing, really, about the artist, his process, and his inner search for truth.


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Shiva
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Somehow, I managed to earn a doctorate in Oriental Medicine and a PhD in Education. But my curriculae never once required or included a course in statistics, or philosophy, or logic. I don't know which of these subjects included the "logic" lingo being posted, but to me it's Klingonese or Abstrationese. Holy Bovine!  Please tell me, in what "course" (course title or subject matter) would I have encountered these esoteric terms and formulas, if I had enrolled therein?


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Yeheshuah
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Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law!

Shiva,

Most of what is being discussed would come up in graduate level courses in philosophy (which is where I encountered the material for the first time) or in mathematics courses.  At Michigan Technological University, where I work now and again, the heavier logic courses are taught through the computer science department.

It is interesting that you never encountered the lingo, but not surprising.  My wife and her colleagues are steeped in the sciences, and not one of them has ever taken a logic course.  Mathematics is the lingo they speak, which is actually more useful than logic.  Logic mostly is useful for linguistic conundrums as far as I can tell.

Some of the material here, by the way, is homegrown rather than industry standard.  It is all part of the joy of the game.

Yeheshuah

Love is the law, love under will.


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Tao
 Tao
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My introduction was in undergraduate metaphysics in the philosophy dept. at NYU. It was just a passing reference at the time since many in the class didn't have a background in formal logic from which to build but, for me, it was a seed planted that demanded further investigation.


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
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"david" wrote:
Exactly.  My theory is that once someone (student, head of an Order or guru) accepts, literally without good reason, that there are other planes and an astral body then this is the door (unfortunate pun) to a long journey of self-delusion, fantasy and well, BS.  Amazingly, this is hammered home by Crowley early on in the famous "philosophic validity" quote but it still gets wilfully ignored.  Such is the human ego.

What are you counting as "good reason" here, literally or otherwise?

For instance, if a person has experienced astral projection, do you consider that "good reason" for him or her to accept that such an experience is possible?


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Anonymous
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"Michael Staley" wrote:
"david" wrote:
Exactly.  My theory is that once someone (student, head of an Order or guru) accepts, literally without good reason, that there are other planes and an astral body then this is the door (unfortunate pun) to a long journey of self-delusion, fantasy and well, BS.  Amazingly, this is hammered home by Crowley early on in the famous "philosophic validity" quote but it still gets wilfully ignored.  Such is the human ego.

What are you counting as "good reason" here, literally or otherwise?

For instance, if a person has experienced astral projection, do you consider that "good reason" for him or her to accept that such an experience is possible?

Once more, I think you missed it.  Astral OBE experiences are very real for those who go through them but those experiences do not prove anything other than the brain functions in different ways at different times for different people.  Gleaning evidence and with logical assessment proves things but experiencing different states doesn't. 


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Los
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"Michael Staley" wrote:
For instance, if a person has experienced astral projection, do you consider that "good reason" for him or her to accept that such an experience is possible?

I think even people who haven't experienced astral projection have very good reasons to think that it's possible for someone to have the kind of experience that is commonly called "astral projection."

That is to say, I think it's well-supported by evidence that someone can have an experience where it feels like he's leaving his body. Of course, feeling like you've left your body and actually leaving your body are two entirely different claims. If these astral travelers actually are leaving their bodies, then this could be easily demonstrated with a simple experiment. By doing so, the traveler could also win a million dollars from the James Randi Educational Foundation.

What are your thoughts on the subject, Michael?


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Azidonis
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"wellreadwellbred" wrote:
"Azidonis" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
the nature of reality.

...is chaos.

If so, what is the practical implication of this, to expect the unexpected?

Think what you want.

"wellreadwellbred" wrote:
"Azidonis" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
They apply to everything, including themselves. They apply to any alternate universe you could imagine. They would even apply if nothing existed (because nothing would be nothing and not not-nothing).

Something cannot be applied to nothing, for there is no-thing to apply the something to.

So what Azidonis? The laws of nature are not invalidated by the lack of something for them to function upon. 

He wasn't talking about the laws of nature. What he said was, "The fact is, these logical principles simply seem to just *be* the nature of reality."

Meaning, that he is applying "these logical principles" in a manner which makes them "seem to just *be* the nature of reality".

Do you people actually read posts anymore, or just hurry along to fire off a quick retort?

"And in the word CHAOS let the book be sealed; yea, let the Book be sealed." - Liber B


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christibrany
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Just for fun because sometimes I like debating and mostly I don't I will say, because this is the current topic at hand , have either of you, Los or, David, ever tried or had an OBE and or astral projection?
if so, how was it?
if you never tried, why didnt you want to?
If you did try but it didnt happen , why do you think it 'didnt work'?
please indulge me 🙂


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Los
 Los
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"Azidonis" wrote:
What [Los] said was, "The fact is, these logical principles simply seem to just *be* the nature of reality."

Meaning, that he is applying "these logical principles" in a manner which makes them "seem to just *be* the nature of reality".

No.

Would you please go back to just posting a gibberish sentence every now and again? It really looks for all the world like you're trying to communicate, and it's just sad.


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Los
 Los
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"christibrany" wrote:
Just for fun because sometimes I like debating

It's not "debating" to ask people about their personal experiences.

have either of you, Los or, David, ever tried or had an OBE and or astral projection?

I've never seriously tried, no.

if you never tried, why didnt you want to?

It seemed way too silly. On the face of it, the idea is absurd because there's no known mechanism by which consciousness could "leave" the body; in fact, evidence seems to suggest that consciousness is a product of brain chemistry (and, as such, necessarily part of the body).

Now, this doesn't mean I think that it's impossible for consciousness to leave one's body: I just think that there are no grounds for thinking it is possible, and I also think that the evidence we do have -- including all of the accounts of people having so-called "out of body experiences" -- indicates that the probability of it being possible for one's consciousness to "leave" the body is so extremely small that it would be a waste of time to entertain the notion seriously.

Again, it's obvious that people do have experiences that feel as if they're leaving their body. But nothing suggests that anybody actually is leaving their body.


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Los
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"Los" wrote:
"christibrany" wrote:
have either of you, Los or, David, ever tried or had an OBE and or astral projection?

I've never seriously tried, no.

I'm assuming , by the way, that you're not asking about performing rituals "astrally" or about "rising on the planes" exercises, both of which are imaginative techniques that I have a good deal of experience with and neither of which involves actually leaving the body.


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wellreadwellbred
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"Azidonis" wrote:
[...]

"wellreadwellbred" wrote:
"Azidonis" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
They apply to everything, including themselves. They apply to any alternate universe you could imagine. They would even apply if nothing existed (because nothing would be nothing and not not-nothing).

Something cannot be applied to nothing, for there is no-thing to apply the something to.

So what Azidonis? The laws of nature are not invalidated by the lack of something for them to function upon. 

He wasn't talking about the laws of nature. What he said was, "The fact is, these logical principles simply seem to just *be* the nature of reality."

Meaning, that he is applying "these logical principles" in a manner which makes them "seem to just *be* the nature of reality".

Do you people actually read posts anymore, or just hurry along to fire off a quick retort?

"And in the word CHAOS let the book be sealed; yea, let the Book be sealed." - Liber B

Logical principles are not invalidated by the lack of something for them to be applied to, meaning, that the said logical principles would still be valid, even if nothing existed, as already pointed out earlier in this thread:

"Los" wrote:
The fact is, these logical principles simply seem to just *be* the nature of reality. They apply to everything, including themselves. They apply to any alternate universe you could imagine. They would even apply if nothing existed (because nothing would be nothing and not not-nothing).

Azidonis, do you disagree with Los' in that:

"Los" wrote:
Any act of thinking or language has to begin from [...] the principles that logic rests on ...

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Anonymous
 Anonymous
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"christibrany" wrote:
Just for fun because sometimes I like debating and mostly I don't I will say, because this is the current topic at hand , have either of you, Los or, David, ever tried or had an OBE and or astral projection?
if so, how was it?
if you never tried, why didnt you want to?
If you did try but it didnt happen , why do you think it 'didnt work'?
please indulge me 🙂

Yeah in my late teens, myself and a friend were completely fixated on it.  My introduction to occultism was with  my favourite book, Ophiels' The art and practice of astral projection.  In retrospect this guy was a crackpot but at the time he was my idol.  Like I said I was in my late teens and had a penchant for escape from reality. Maybe I just wanted to be Dr Strange lol. 

You have to laugh.  Before this I had a self-help book on self-hyptotism and a book on Ninjitsu.  This is when attempts at disconnection from the physical body began and I used to retreat into worlds of visualization.  These exercises were relaxing for a while but take it from me it did not go towards helping with anything in the real world. 

Anyway I believed this guy, Ophiel when he was giving the usual spiel of accept without question that these planes exist , the naysayers are just afraid so don't talk about it to them, astral projection/occultism is an art not a science blah blah.  All the usual binds and tricks for fantasists, crackpots and idiots to convince themselves they are somehow the special few, a misunderstood elite of psychically gifted magical master race crap.  Now give him his due he did say that "occult powers and knowledge can help you improve your physical life but generally not in the way you think it would." However he would come up with garbage such as a warning not to "contact dead relatives (who are still wandering around the inner planes)" and I'm sure he would've give some BS reason why cabbalsistic magic sometimes "doesn't work."

To summarize it, he said the reason we should learn astral projection is because everything that happens on "the earth plane" has already happened on "the inner planes" therefore it behoves us to learn how to "go in" and manipulate these "inner planes" and presto!  You then attain everything you want. He consistently explains how mastering astral projection is a great launch pad for cabbalistic magic.    He said master this and you will be a "successful person" and he claimed that all "successful people" already do this "inner plane work" but unconsciously, when they sleep at night and enter their astral body on the astral plane ie the "dream-realm."  How could one argue with that?

Worse, Crowley (famous for his common sense stance) fell for this crap also as he recounts how his "astral body" was so strong that "it" (lol)  used to visit friends and have conversations with them and they could recount the details.  Notables such as Goethe also talked crap about "dopplegangers" wandering off and talking to people.

Nevertheless I used to work on mastering astral projection so I would cake my room in incense and visualize my body from the other side of the room and then mentally wander into visualized cities and/or "happy places" (did you see that episode of Frasier about the "happy place"?  Hilarious.)  One day when I did this I had obviously dozed off but I appeared to have woken up during a dream.  The "place" I "awakened" at was a few streets away from my bedroom,  by a stream and the sky became so blue it was really blissful and I was 100% convinced that "I" was by this stream whilst my "physical body self" was back in my bedroom asleep.  My first impulse was to "get back" and revive my "physical body self" as I feared I would die if I never got "back in."  Not questioning the validity of all this completely confirmed the spiel in Ophiel's book and kept me entangled in self-delusion for a very, very long time.  In fact I was highly offended when Los on another forum was pulling me up on the validity of my wacko metaphysical claims due to the fact that I had stupidly identified myself as an occultist and due to my lack of understanding of the writings of Crowley.   


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
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"Los" wrote:
"Michael Staley" wrote:
For instance, if a person has experienced astral projection, do you consider that "good reason" for him or her to accept that such an experience is possible?

I think even people who haven't experienced astral projection have very good reasons to think that it's possible for someone to have the kind of experience that is commonly called "astral projection."

That is to say, I think it's well-supported by evidence that someone can have an experience where it feels like he's leaving his body. Of course, feeling like you've left your body and actually leaving your body are two entirely different claims. If these astral travelers actually are leaving their bodies, then this could be easily demonstrated with a simple experiment. By doing so, the traveler could also win a million dollars from the James Randi Educational Foundation.

What are your thoughts on the subject, Michael?

In my own case, Dr. Randi's wallet would be quite safe from my blandishments. I projected only the once, and was never able to repeat the experience. Being unable to astrally project to order, it follows that I would be of little use to Dr. Randi. I am of course quite familiar with the "explanation" that what I experienced was dream or hallucination.


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Yeheshuah
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Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law!

Los,

So here we begin.  I was trying to determine what route is the most beneficial to us for developing a logical framework with room for the mystical.  Rules of inference must be derived from the language and experience of the mystical.  So that seems to me a bad route to head down as you don't seem to accept the meaningfulness of such talk.  Because you have made room in your thinking for multiple values (e.g. true, false, indeterminate), I think the semantic route is most promising.  So we will start with a consideration of truth values.

The language of truth is a pre-theoretic language, which is to say that its rules for proper usage are developed through the many uses that have cropped up over the millenia.  During that time, one special arena for language use that has developed is the arena of the mystical.  Very often the practitioners of the mystical find it necessary to speak in terms of contradictions.  The tao which is called the tao is not the tao is a mystical claim that masks a contradiction, for instance.  So, regardless of the metaphysics of such language, in order to capture the language of the mystical, a set of values must be developed that allows for contradictions.  Not to do so is merely to define the rules of the game so that the mystic isn't allowed to play.  In other words, not allowing for contradiction merely begs the question, Why not allow contradictions? It cannot be because human thought is in principle incapable of thinking in terms of contradictions.  The existence of the mystical traditions of the world refute that notion.  (Another way to put the same point is that people who do not allow for contradiction artificially limit language use to the bounds set by personal preference rather than the pre-theoretic evidence of language and experience.  Trying to fit mystical language into scientific language is merely to ignore the mystical in favor of the scientific, which is not a principled analysis of logic and truth values, but a personal choice.)

This is where we will start, Los.  I hope we will build something worth using.

Yeheshuah

Love is the law, love under will.


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Los
 Los
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"david" wrote:
he said the reason we should learn astral projection is because everything that happens on "the earth plane" has already happened on "the inner planes" therefore it behoves us to learn how to "go in" and manipulate these "inner planes" and presto!  You then attain everything you want.

And he can teach you how! All for the low, low price of five payments of $19.95! (or, probably more accurately, for the low, low price of feeding his delusions of being a great spiritual teacher)

He said master this and you will be a "successful person" and he claimed that all "successful people" already do this "inner plane work" but unconsciously, when they sleep at night and enter their astral body on the astral plane ie the "dream-realm."

Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
Homer [thinks, pulls out money]: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

Worse, Crowley (famous for his common sense stance) fell for this crap also as he recounts how his "astral body" was so strong that "it" (lol)  used to visit friends and have conversations with them and they could recount the details.

Don't forget the story where he was "astrally" visiting someone in Japan and used his astral body to knock something off her shelf. I mean, if it were actually possible to do something even remotely like that, it could be demonstrated.


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Los
 Los
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"Michael Staley" wrote:
I am of course quite familiar with the "explanation" that what I experienced was dream or hallucination.

And your implication -- inferred from the fact that you place "explanation" in scare quotes -- is that you consider this is an insufficient explanation.

I'm curious why. You surely are aware that realistic-seeming dreams and hallucinations are relatively common, so what grounds would there be for thinking that you experienced something else?


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 18 years ago
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"Los" wrote:
"Michael Staley" wrote:
I am of course quite familiar with the "explanation" that what I experienced was dream or hallucination.

And your implication -- inferred from the fact that you place "explanation" in scare quotes -- is that you consider this is an insufficient explanation.

I'm curious why. You surely are aware that realistic-seeming dreams and hallucinations are relatively common, so what grounds would there be for thinking that you experienced something else?

They're not "scare quotes" - what an odd terminology - but simply double quotation marks.

I was there, I had the experience, and I'm quite capable of making my own mind up, thank you very much. Equally, it's no skin off my nose if you "Sceptical Thelema" johnnies - or anyone else for that matter - dismiss it as a dream or an hallucination. The same goes for my magical and mystical experience over the years; your intellectual analysis of my experience is of no consequence to me and of even less interest.

Don't be scared by the quotes, by the way; wouldn't want you cowering in a corner, now would we?

Innerlecshuals - don'cha luvvem???


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Los
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"Yeheshuah" wrote:
So here we begin.

It would seem so.

So we will start with a consideration of truth values.

Let's. What I'm going to do first is outline a method for evaluating claims that I find to be the most accurate and reliable (and, not coincidentally, the method that I am convinced that nearly everybody uses when evaluating the vast majority of claims they encounter in their daily lives).

I'm doing this so that we can figure out some common ground before we get started discussing mystical claims. If we can't agree on the foundations of how to go about evaluating claims, we're just going to be talking past one another when you try to introduce mystical claims.

I think it's necessary that we establish from the start what we mean when we say that we consider a statement "true." What I mean when I say that a statement is "true" is that it corresponds with reality. It's true that I'm sitting in a chair right now, and it's not true that I'm sitting on a dinosaur.

Please note that when I say things like this, I'm not making any ultimate ontological claims. I'm merely saying that a "true" statement is one that appears to be consistent with reality, so far as I'm able to tell. It's thus pointless to try to argue against me by suggesting that I'm in the Matrix: even if I were in the Matrix, it's still true that I'm sitting on a chair (in the Matrix), and it's not true that I'm sitting on a dinosaur (in the Matrix).

I don't suspect you would raise that objection, but I want to be sure that we're as clear as we can be from the get-go.

The next point I'd ask you to consider is that when it comes to evaluating claims, we should strive to accept (by which I mean "consider to be true") as many true claims as we can and to not-accept (by which I mean "not consider to be true") as many not-true claims as possible. This is practically a tautology. To put it into different words, I'm saying that if a claim corresponds with reality, our goal would be to accept that it corresponds with reality, and I'm saying that if a claim doesn't correspond with reality, our goal would be not to accept that it corresponds with reality.

Obviously, since we're limited, fallible humans operating with limited, fallible rational abilities, it may not be possible for us to achieve such a goal completely, but we need something to strive for in order to set up our standards. Without a goal, we wouldn't be able to construct a system that allows us to reach that goal.

As a result, I think the best way to evaluate a claim is to try to determine whether we have sufficient reason and evidence to think that it corresponds with reality. If we decide that it does, we should accept it. If we decide that not enough evidence and reason exists to determine that the claim corresponds with reality, then we should not accept it. [By "not accept it," I do not mean "accept that it is false" or "accept the contrary of the statement to be true"]

So for example, take the claim "My car is parked outside." Right this minute, I accept that this claim is true. Why? Because I have sufficient evidence and reason to suggest that this claim most likely corresponds with reality. I know that I parked my car outside. I know that the neighborhood is safe and that car theft from right in front of someone's house is practically non-existent. I have no reason to think that anybody has moved my car. And I have parked my car in front of my house thousands of times, and it's always been there when next I went to use it. All of those pieces of evidence, put together, convince me that I can accept this claim (that is, that I can think that this claim most likely aligns with the actual state of things, so far as I'm able to tell).

In contrast, take the claim, "I am currently a winner of a million dollars." Right now, I do not accept that this claim is true. Why? Because I do not have sufficient evidence and reason to suggest that this claim most likely corresponds with reality. I'm not aware that I have entered any million-dollar contests recently. I have no reason to think I'm under consideration for a million dollars or that I have any possibility of being selected to win a million dollars if I were. Also, my life's worth of experience has suggested that people randomly winning a million dollars is so rare as to basically never happen.

For those reasons, my position is that I don't accept as true the claim "I am currently a winner of a million dollars." This does not mean that I think the claim is false or that I think the claim "I am not currently a winner of a million dollars" is true.

Let me repeat that because this is an important point and not just semantic hair-splitting: This does not mean that I think the claim is false or that I think the claim "I am not currently a winner of a million dollars" is true.

I am not claiming ultimate or absolute knowledge of any kind. For all I know, I guess it's possible that someone has selected me to win a million dollars, but even if it were the case, I don't currently accept it as consistent with reality because there's not enough to support it.

Now, colloquially, I might say as a kind of shorthand "I know I'm not a million-dollar winner," but it's just a linguistic shortcut to say that I've currently got no reason to think it's true.

I'm just setting this up to figure out where we agree or disagree so far. Please indicate anywhere that you disagree with any of this. For the time being, let's just set aside "mystical claims," and we'll get to them in a bit. As a system for evaluating claims, where do you disagree with anything that I've said?

in order to capture the language of the mystical, a set of values must be developed that allows for contradictions.

What do you mean by "capture the language of the mystical"? Are you suggesting that "mystical claims" should be evaluated in ways different from the ways I've suggested above? I'd be curious to hear why. What reasons are there to take a bunch of claims and treat them in a different way from other claims?

Not to do so is merely to define the rules of the game so that the mystic isn't allowed to play.  In other words, not allowing for contradiction merely begs the question, Why not allow contradictions?

No, I'm not setting up the rules so that mystical claims aren't allowed in: I'm setting up the rules to create the most useful and accurate system for evaluating claims. If we agree on the basics of a system of evaluating claims -- and if, in fact, we use this system to evaluate 99% of claims we encounter -- but  you're looking to make exceptions for a certain class of claims, then the question isn't "why not allow this class of claims?" The question is "Why should we make exceptions for this class of claims?"

In order for this conversation to proceed, we need to have a base of agreement, which means you have to go through the first part of this post and explain very clearly where you disagree with what I've proposed.


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Los
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"Michael Staley" wrote:
They're not "scare quotes" - what an odd terminology - but simply double quotation marks.

Surely, you've heard the term "scare quotes" before. It refers to quotation marks used to show that the writer wouldn't have phrased things that way himself (or that he's using the word in quotes in an ironic or non-standard sense).

But if I've taught you a new term, then super.

And if I have attributed an incorrect opinion to you, then I apologize, and ask to know what explanation you think is accurate for your experience.

I was there, I had the experience, and I'm quite capable of making my own mind up, thank you very much.

Sure. So what did you decide about it and why? 

Innerlecshuals - don'cha luvvem???

What a weird little man you are.


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Michael Staley
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"Los" wrote:
And if I have attributed an incorrect opinion to you, then I apologize, and ask to know what explanation you think is accurate for your experience.
"Los" wrote:
Sure. So what did you decide about it and why? 

I took it at face value as an experience of astral projection on the basis of my intuition, and still do.

"Los" wrote:
What a weird little man you are.

Golly, that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me. Don't go giving me ideas, now.


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Los
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"Michael Staley" wrote:
I took it at face value as an experience of astral projection on the basis of my intuition, and still do.

So you are of the opinion that you actually left your body and that it wasn't just a dream or hallucination?


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Michael Staley
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"Los" wrote:
"Michael Staley" wrote:
I took it at face value as an experience of astral projection on the basis of my intuition, and still do.

So you are of the opinion that you actually left your body and that it wasn't just a dream or hallucination?

My, you're quick on the uptake, aren't you.


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Los
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"Michael Staley" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
"Michael Staley" wrote:
I took it at face value as an experience of astral projection on the basis of my intuition, and still do.

So you are of the opinion that you actually left your body and that it wasn't just a dream or hallucination?

My, you're quick on the uptake, aren't you.

So then your post had exactly the meaning that I attributed to it back in reply 386.

Now that we've got that settled, I'll repeat the question I asked about your meaning: You surely are aware that realistic-seeming dreams and hallucinations are relatively common, so what grounds would there be for thinking that you experienced something else?


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Yeheshuah
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Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law!

Los,

Actually, this may come as a surprise, but I have no real objections to how you are talking about truth.  There are problems with talking in terms of correspondence, as this is theory-laden terminology, but overall I think you are correct with regards to what the language of truth is about.  (I use a disquotational approach to truth, so that the sentence "It is snowing outside my window" is true if and only if it is snowing outside my window.  This places the meaning of truth as a linguistic phenomenon.)

The problem with your last set of notes, as I see them, is that it does not matter if 25% or 99% of language operates under the picture of truth you have illustrated for us.  The fact is that there is a portion of language that has developed which does not operate under that picture.  If we are to characterize it appropriately, we must find another picture of meaning and truth-values to work with. 

Put it this way: I am not asking for a special dispensation for mystical language.  The mystical language was there before I ever arrived on the scene.  What I am interested in is characterizing what mystical language takes itself to be about.  This can't be done by artificially demanding all language conform to the picture of truth you have given us.

Yeheshuah

Love is the law, love under will.


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Aleisterion
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Los,

I've experienced out-of-the-body events as well. They were almost always events which took place in the dream state.  But they were much different than that. The dream is a function of the brain; dreams are the brain's way of venting stress, and are usually silly. There is the phenomenom of controlled dreaming, of course, and this is nothing more than conscious intevention. I've done that too. But nothing compares with the out-of-body state, which is indescribably apart. No hallucination could compare with it. I cannot do it on command, but it has led to experiences which have dramatically changed my life, which mere dreams have never done. Is this not proof enough of a difference?


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Los
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"Yeheshuah" wrote:
there is a portion of language that has developed which does not operate under that picture.

Well, some people assert that a portion of language does not operate under that picture.

I'm asking you to justify that assertion: why do you think we should evaluate certain claims differently than the way that we evaluate all of the other claims? What's the justification for doing this? 'Cause some mystics say so?

I'm open to being persuaded that these claims need to be evaluated differently, but you have to explain why.


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Los
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"Aleisterion" wrote:
I've experienced out-of-the-body events as well. They were almost always events which took place in the dream state.  But they were much different than that.

Okay, I accept that they were different from other dreams that you've had.

Is this not proof enough of a difference?

Sure. I'm perfectly willing to accept that this sort of dream is different from the kinds of dreams you usually have. But you appear to be engaged in a specious kind of reasoning based on this classification you've developed: you seem to be arguing (and correct me if I'm wrong) that dreams are products of brains, that these so-called "out of body experiences" don't feel like other dreams, and that therefore these so-called "out of body experiences" are not products of brains.

The flaw is in the second premise: just because they don't feel like other dreams doesn't mean that they're not dreams and doesn't mean that they're not products of your brain just the same.

I'm not trying to minimize the importance of these experiences to you, but I'm pointing out that you have no reason to suppose these dreams are anything other than dreams. There are no grounds for thinking that any part of you actually "left" your body.


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Michael Staley
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"Los" wrote:
"Michael Staley" wrote:
"Los" wrote:
"Michael Staley" wrote:
I took it at face value as an experience of astral projection on the basis of my intuition, and still do.

So you are of the opinion that you actually left your body and that it wasn't just a dream or hallucination?

My, you're quick on the uptake, aren't you.

So then your post had exactly the meaning that I attributed to it back in reply 386.

Now that we've got that settled, I'll repeat the question I asked about your meaning: You surely are aware that realistic-seeming dreams and hallucinations are relatively common, so what grounds would there be for thinking that you experienced something else?

I have already told you that I considered the possibility of dream or hallucination, but that my intuition told me otherwise. I'm aware that in your eyes my intuition is not a good enough reason for my assessment of my experience, but that's not my opinion.


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Anonymous
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"Los" wrote:
Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
Homer [thinks, pulls out money]: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
[.

Occult- logic right there.

"Aleisterion" wrote:
Los,

I've experienced out-of-the-body events as well. They were almost always events which took place in the dream state.  But they were much different than that. The dream is a function of the brain; dreams are the brain's way of venting stress, and are usually silly. There is the phenomenom of controlled dreaming, of course, and this is nothing more than conscious intevention. I've done that too. But nothing compares with the out-of-body state, which is indescribably apart. No hallucination could compare with it. I cannot do it on command, but it has led to experiences which have dramatically changed my life, which mere dreams have never done. Is this not proof enough of a difference?

I'm with you.  The weird and intense vivid quality of these "awake dreams" is highly unusual as I recounted in my experience but......so what?  They happened whilst you were dreaming and in and of themselves they do not prove anything.  Even if it happened whilst you were at work or visiting your friends it still doesn't mean that consciousness can detach from the body.

When people try to convince me that consciousness can attach from the body I ask them to consider these three points;

1) someone whose brain matter is damaged also has their consciousness damaged.

2) when a creature is dead there is also no apparent consciousness and that's why we exclaim that it has died.

3) the brain and CNS are made up of biological chemical reactions which produce consciousness and when we introduce certain external chemicals to those processes we, in effect change consciousness until the chemical effects have "worn off".     

As Los said there has never been a successful experiment whereby a person can consistently and persistently detach consciousness to effect change in the physical world such as knocking over a physical object or the like. 


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