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Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Thanks

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  • John Smythies
    Hi David, Thank you for your most interesting comments! Well, I am a Realist not an Idealist. I hold that our intellect describes the world but does not
    Message 1 of 70 , Jan 10, 2011
      Hi David,
      Thank you for your most interesting comments! Well, I am a Realist
      not an Idealist. I hold that our intellect describes the world but
      does not constitute the world. But I feel that the idea of 'another'
      world has been transcended by material dualism. That is because
      "common sense" normally thinks of consciousness as being embedded
      somehow in its brain in 'this' (the common or garden physical))
      world. Whereas the new evidence (from neuroscience, introspective
      psychology, and NDEs) now suggests that consciousness is not 'in' the
      brain, but is embedded in its own world spatially (geometrically and
      topologically) outside the physical world. That is, phenomenal
      consciousness is in the 'next world' already! Or rather the entire
      Universe contains the ontologically independent existential physical
      world (NOT the conceptual world of physics) as well as a number of
      ontologically independent phenomenal worlds (one for each conscious
      individual), the whole forming one dynamically and causally
      interactive organism.
      It seems to me that Paul Brunton is using two different senses of
      'see' in his statement (following Hume's mislead).
      I support the following position:

      There are two different legitimate senses of 'see'
      (1) We see external physical objects using the entire representative
      mechanism of perception (object-eye-brain-visual field in
      (2) We see hallucinations, after-images, eidetic images, etc. using
      only the last link in the above chain.
      But I do not 'see' 'myself' doing this seeing. That is because it is
      the 'I' that is doing the seeing. When Hume complained that when he
      looked around in his field of conscious experience he could only find
      a collection of sensations and never any Self, he was overlooking the
      fact that it was his Self that was doing this searching. One can say
      that the Self, by introspection, experiences the fact that it is
      seeing (or hearing, etc) but it does not make sense to say that the
      Self can see itself doing this.
      I support Berkeley when he says
      �How often must I repeat, that I know or am conscious of my own
      being; and that myself am not my ideas, but somewhat else,
      a thinking active principle that perceives, knows, wills and
      operates about ideas. I know that�
      I am therefore one individual principle, distinct from color and
      sound; and, for the same reason, free from all other sensible things
      and inert ideas.�

      Your statement about "an apparent world of sensible appearances"
      lead to all sorts of fascinating by-ways that I will return to later.
      best wishes

      On Jan 10, 2011, at 9:02 AM, dgallagher@... wrote:

      > Welcome, John.
      > Regarding material dualism, my experience is that phenomenal and
      > physical
      > space are aspatial dimensions of Intellect. As Paul Brunton wrote:
      > "Man
      > sees the world all right, but seldom sees himself in the act of
      > seeing the
      > world." Broad, Price and Carr move the discussion closer to the truth.
      > Your question: Do Plato's transcendental "ideas" include, as well
      > as pure
      > mathematical ideal forms and ethics, in addition transcendental
      > experiences of what H.H. Price called "another world"?
      > I feel the question, as phrased, presumes a dualistic dichotomy
      > between
      > "this" and "another world", and that's why I included the Paul
      > Brunton quote
      > above. What, ultimately, is experience? If one follows the
      > discourse of
      > Plotinus, based upon Plato, the distinction between two worlds is an
      > artifact of our customary way of thinking which produces an
      > apparent world of
      > sensible appearances.
      > Brunton coined the term "mentalism", which is starkly opposed by
      > unadulterated materialism. According to Brunton's rubric, Plato and
      > Plotinus are
      > mentalists or, perhaps, idealists. Thus, all phenomenal observation
      > of a
      > spatial nature is not what we presume it to be constrained, bound
      > or blinded
      > (chained in Plato's cave) as we are by our customary mode of
      > thinking. Thus
      > limited, our predilection is to reason discursively from hypotheses
      > downward to conclusions rather than intuitively upward to first
      > principles. Our
      > conditioned presupposition of a distinction between science and
      > theology
      > would make no sense to the ancients; a distinctionless distinction.
      > My take on Plato: There is no other world. What is, is Intellect.
      > Plotinus and Proclus would have us aspire higher still.
      > There will assuredly be other views within the list.
      > David Gallagher
      > In a message dated 1/9/2011 8:00:47 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
      > john.smythies@... writes:
      > Dear Greg,
      > I certainly feel that William James and Henri Bergson were on the
      > same wavelength which I, in general, follow. As a material (post-
      > Cartesian) dualist I hold that the relation between brain and mind is
      > causal (in both directions) and not one of identity (see my book "The
      > Walls of Plato's Cave"). This causal relation can be either
      > excitatory (mostly), or inhibitory (James's filter).
      > Material dualism was adumbrated by C.C. Broad and H.H. Price and
      > more fully developed by the astrophysicist and cosmologist Bernard
      > Carr and myself. This holds that the phenomenal space of
      > consciousness (occupied by the Self and its spatially extended
      > sensations) and physical space (occupied by atoms, etc) are two
      > different cross-sections of a higher-dimensional space. (This theory
      > is thus akin to brane theory in modern physics).
      > I would like to ask the group whether they think that Plato's
      > transcendental "ideas" include, as well as pure mathematical ideal
      > forms and ethics, in addition transcendental experiences of what
      > H.H. Price called "another world". This is where NDEs may come in.
      > I know Ed and Emily well and have a high regard for what they are
      > doing in this present day's arid climate of eliminative materialism.
      > a bientot
      > John
      > On Jan 9, 2011, at 4:21 PM, gregshaw58 wrote:
      > > Dear John,
      > >
      > > John Uebersax more than ably answered your questions about the Red
      > > Book and I find your exchange with Jung to be fascinating,
      > > particularly his remark that he steered clear of psychedelics
      > > because he was already "too close to that world" to use them. The
      > > content and process of the Red Book would suggest that was
      > > certainly true.
      > >
      > > As to how psychedelic visions might be characterized, as you
      > > obviously know, this has been a lively question for many
      > > researchers. If we follow the model of William James, who saw the
      > > brain as a filter rather than the cause of consciousness, that
      > > would change everything in this debate. The filter theory is
      > > discussed with an attempt to reconcile it with contemporary science
      > > in Irreducible Mind, edited by Edward Kelly and Emily Kelly see
      > > pages 603-639. They mention your providing mescaline to Huxley and
      > > others on page 543, fn 41. Perhaps you are already familiar with
      > > their work.
      > >
      > > In any case, thanks, John, for answering John, and welcome Dr.
      > > Smythies to this site.
      > >
      > > Greg
      > >
      > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, John Smythies
      > > <john.smythies@...> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Dear John,
      > > > Thank you very much for the information about the Red Book. Very
      > > > helpful!
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > On Jan 9, 2011, at 12:54 PM, John Uebersax wrote:
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > I'd be curious to know if your conversation touched on
      > psychedelic
      > > > > substances as well. Jung is reputed to have replied, when asked
      > > > > whether he'd used such substances himself, something to the
      > effect
      > > > > of no, and he wouldn't want the "responsibility". Did the
      > subject
      > > > > of such substances come up in your conversations? Any other
      > > > > observations you might care to share based on your meeting with
      > > him
      > > > > I'm sure would be greeted with much interest here!
      > > > >
      > > > > John Uebersax
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Jung never took any psychedelics himself. I recall that he told me
      > > > that he was too close to that world himself to do so! So what
      > can we
      > > > say about the psychedelic experience? Does it give us access to
      > > > Plato's world? Some background first:
      > > > Mescaline was discovered by Western science in the early 1880s in
      > > the
      > > > Mexican cactus peyote. This resulted in a flurry of reports in
      > > > scientific journals by prominent scientists such as Weir Mitchell
      > > > and Havelock Ellis. Then interest in it ebbed until the 1920's,
      > when
      > > > two books on its psychological effects were published one by
      > Rouhier
      > > > in French and Beringer in German. Then it fell out of sight again
      > > > until 1951, when I happened to read Rouhier's book. This contained
      > > > the chemical formula of mescaline, which I noticed is a close
      > > > relative of adrenaline. This led Humphrey Osmond and myself to
      > > > propose the first biochemical theory of schizophrenia whereby a
      > > fault
      > > > in adrenaline metabolism occurs so that psychotomometic substances
      > > > like mescaline might be produced in the brain.
      > > > This paper was also read by Aldous Huxley in Los Angeles who wrote
      > > > to me asking, if I was ever coming to LA, whether I would
      > administer
      > > > some mescaline to him, as he always wanted to see what the mystics
      > > > experienced for himself. I replied that I was not planning to
      > go to
      > > > LA myself but that Osmond happened to be going there shortly. This
      > > > led to "The Doors of Perception" and all that followed from that.
      > > > The question remains is where do the marvellous psychedelic
      > visions
      > > > come from? We know how psychedelics work on the brain. They
      > > stimulate
      > > > serotonin 2A receptors. So are the visions merely the product of a
      > > > chemically stimulated brain? Why then are they more beautiful and
      > > > meaningful than any natural scene? Or was Aldous right in invoking
      > > > Henri Bergson's theory that a specific function of the normal
      > brain
      > > > is actively inhibit the activities of the Collective Unconscious?
      > > > The great British neurologist Macdonald Critchley wrote
      > > > "The usual emotional content of the hallucinosis is best
      > > described as
      > > > one of amazement, awe, interest and delight. The character of the
      > > > visions is such as to impress the most prosaic and unimaginative
      > > > scientific observer in a manner of which no natural beauty or
      > > > grandeur is capable. Almost all writers have insisted that the
      > most
      > > > skilful pen or brush could not do justice to the marvel of the
      > > > hallucinations."
      > > > One of Rouhier's subjects said that she had received "an
      > experience
      > > > of unimaginable art, unforgettable, and of an intensity for which
      > > > there are no words and which it is necessary to experience in
      > order
      > > > to understand."
      > > > The jury is still out on this question. The answer may come from
      > > > NDE studies. Have you been following the latest, and remarkable,
      > > > developments in the scientific study of these NDEs (Near-Death
      > > > Experiences)? In case you haven't, I attach a paper i recently
      > wrote
      > > > on this topic. I also recommend the book Mindsight: Near-Death and
      > > > Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind [Paperback] by
      > > > Kenneth Ring (Author).
      > > > best wishes
      > > > john ���
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > ------------------------------------
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Melanie Mineo
      Forwarding these from John ________________________________ From: John Smythies To: Melanie Mineo Sent: Thu,
      Message 70 of 70 , Jan 14, 2011
        Forwarding these from John

        From: John Smythies <john.smythies@...>
        To: Melanie Mineo <melonyfelony@...>
        Sent: Thu, January 13, 2011 11:28:54 PM
        Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Thanks

        Here they are Melanie,

        Kenneth Ring. “Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind.”
        Sold by: Amazon.com, LLC


        Jean-Pierre Jourdan “Deadline” (in French)

        Excellent for Francophones

        and one more
        Volume 21, Number 4, 201-221, DOI: 10.1023/A:1024054029979

        Hyperdimensional Perspectives in Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences
        Robert J. Brumblay
        AbstractRecent theories of modern physics predict that the universe has more
        dimensions than are apparent to us. Many near-death experiencers report the
        perception that there are more dimensions than we are commonly aware of. These
        two statements might be related. This article examines the possibility of
        additional dimensions (hyperdimensions), what they would seem like, and whether
        they seem to be described by the unusual visual perspectives found in
        out-of-body and near-death experience accounts. I examine some implications of a
        hyperdimensional model of the universe.

        On Jan 13, 2011, at 4:44 PM, Melanie Mineo wrote:

        Dear John -
        >Thank you!
        >Unfortunately, we are not set up to receive attachments on the group site -
        >would you be able to send them again, directly to me?
        From: John Smythies <john.smythies@...>
        >To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
        >Sent: Thu, January 13, 2011 2:32:34 PM
        >Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Thanks
        >Dear Melanie,
        >Here are some references plus abstracts (attached). Hope they are
        >On Jan 12, 2011, at 5:47 PM, Melanie Mineo wrote:
        >> John,
        >> Re:
        >> "Also the new data from NDE studies (Jourdan and others) shows that
        >> real vision is possible without a functional eye or brain. It is the
        >> Self that sees—the brain and eye merely allow it to focus on the
        >> material world..."
        >> Would you be able to provide citations for the work of Jourdan and
        >> others?
        >> Quite interesting.
        >> Thanks!
        >> ________________________________
        >> From: John Smythies <john.smythies@...>
        >> To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
        >> Sent: Wed, January 12, 2011 4:31:17 PM
        >> Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Thanks
        >> I would say that the "eye of the mind" is phenomenal not
        >> metaphysical. It has its own ontology and is not just a logical
        >> construction. It (as the Self or transcendental Ego) is the most real
        >> existent there is.
        >> Seeing is not necessarily knowing. Neurological cases of associative
        >> agnosia can see perfectly well but they cannot recognise (know) what
        >> they see. In contrast, cases of blind sight cannot see the object
        >> but they can recognise what it is. This is because the gnosis pathway
        >> runs from retina to the lateral geniculate cortex, and by-passes the
        >> primary visual cortex: the latter relates to conscious seeing.
        >> Also the new data from NDE studies (Jourdan and others) shows that
        >> real vision is possible without a functional eye or brain. It is the
        >> Self that sees—the brain and eye merely allow it to focus on the
        >> material world: to act, in other words as the filter proposed by
        >> Henri Bergson and Aldous Huxley.
        >> John

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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