Science of the SpiritS


Don't live in your head

Don't Live in Your head
Know thyself!

Who could possibly be against the Socratic maxim?

Well, the ever-insightful Goethe, for once.

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SOTT Focus: MindMatters: Knee-deep in the Weird: Science, the Paranormal, and Popular Belief

After some brief comments on classical worldviews, natural law, populism, the genesis of leftist and postmodern thought, and the history of ideas, we settle on today's topic of topics: the paranormal. What societal structures exist (in academia, the media, the marketplace, etc.) that make the paranormal both in demand as a subject worth learning about - and yet deeply suppressed as something to take seriously in "official culture". What does the Church and orthodox materialist science have to say about the acceptance of the so-called supernatural? And how do we come to know anything even remotely objective about such a topic when the rigor and open-mindedness required to study it is so lacking in officialdom? Join us for this fascinating discussion!

Running Time: 01:38:00

Download: MP3 โ€” 135 MB


State Covid propaganda destroyed public's ability to consent to vaccines - Chairman of UK Council for Psychotherapy

covid propaganda
There follows an open letter from Dr. Christian Buckland, Chairman of the Board of the U.K. Council for Psychotherapy, to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemning the "use of unethical psychological techniques and behavioural science on the unknowing and non-consenting U.K. public". Among numerous harms are that the use of techniques to increase fear, shame and guilt "materially undermined, if not removed, the U.K. population's ability to give valid informed consent to taking a COVID-19 vaccine".

April 28th 2023

Dear Prime Minister,

I am the Chairman of the Board of the U.K. Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), one of the UK's foremost psychological governing bodies. However, I write this open letter in my own capacity. I believe I have a professional obligation to write to you in an attempt to protect the public from any further harm caused by the unethical application of psychological research and practice.

I unreservedly condemn the U.K. Government's use of unethical psychological techniques intended to elicit feelings of fear, shame and guilt, under the guise of behavioural science and insights which were designed to change the public's behaviour without their knowledge and conscious participation. It is now clear that in 2020 the U.K. Government deliberately chose to artificially inflate the level of fear within the U.K. population by exaggerating the risk factors of COVID-19, and concomitantly downplaying the protective factors. We also witnessed the Government's promotion of social disapproval and guilt messaging. These techniques were embedded into a multi-channel, co-ordinated public health campaign designed to change the public's behaviour without their knowledge. Moreover, in tandem with the mainstream media, the Government also proactively suppressed, censored and ostracised any healthcare professional or scientist who suggested alternative responses to COVID-19, or who simply questioned the messaging and measures being implemented by the Government.


Mind, matter and the danger of subjectivism

Mind Matter
It has often been claimed that the material world plays a subordinate role and must take a back seat โ€” behind mind and spirit, or even behind the supernatural world.

However, this move carries dangers since it threatens to steer the gaze inwards a little too much. Thus, Goethe rightly remarked that "Know thyself" is often no good advice: rather, he argued, we urgently need to look into the mirror that other people hold up to us. The trick here is to distinguish between those individuals who are well-disposed toward us and who themselves are far along in their development, and those who are pursuing their own destructive agenda and threaten to draw us into their downward spiral.

No, withdrawing into our own minds is not a solution and quickly leads to irrationality and subjectivism.

Eye 2

A Unifying Theory of Evil

man near lava flow
What is the essence of evil, and which part of the human soul gives birth to it?

This is one of the most difficult questions for civilized man. Many of us can recognize the results of evil intuitively: evil causes vast human suffering; revokes our sense of human dignity; creates an ugly, dystopian, or disharmonic world; destroys beauty and poetry; perpetuates fear, anger, distress and terror; causes torture and bloodshed. Nevertheless, there are always some people who seem to remain ignorant of its presence โ€” or, incredibly, see specific visceral atrocities as justified and even good.

Those of us who have taken a stand for freedom over the past few years know instinctively that a great evil has occurred. Millions of people have lost their livelihoods, fallen into depression and committed suicide, suffered indignities at the hands of public health authorities and bureaucrats, died or suffered unnecessarily in hospitals or from experimental gene therapies marketed as vaccines, were denied the ability to say goodbye to their loved ones or celebrate important holidays and milestones...were denied, in short, the meaningful experiences that make us human.


Scientific American: Social bullying is the best motivator for green behaviour

© Greenbiz/KJNBe Green or Be Gone
"... social pressure had the strongest effect on behavioral change. Such pressure can take passive forms, ... or more active ones, such as home energy reports that compare our energy use with our neighbors ..."
What Makes People Act on Climate Change, according to Behavioral Science
To get people to shift to more climate-friendly behavior, what works best? Education? Payments? Peer pressure?
By Andrea Thompson on April 19, 2023
Though education can be necessary to make the public aware of a problem in the first place, "we find over and over again that it's not very effective" at actually changing behaviors, says study co-author Magnus Bergquist, a psychologist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. It's similar to how knowing that we should exercise more or drink less alcohol doesn't mean we will do so, he explains. "Just knowing what's right, or healthy, or environmentally friendly isn't really a sufficient model for changing behaviors," Bergquist says.

On the flip side, the new research found social pressure had the strongest effect on behavioral change. Such pressure can take passive forms, such as the sight of a larger number of our neighbors adding solar panels to their houses or purchasing electric cars, or more active ones, such as home energy reports that compare our energy use with our neighbors'.
Read more
Can you smell the whiff of Chinese social credit systems - in which the government increasingly becomes involved in bullying people who don't conform to the direction of their leaders?


A new theory of embodied consciousness - Consciousness begins with feeling, not thinking

Forget 'I think therefore I am'. In a new theory of embodied consciousness, the neuroscientists Antonio Damasio and Hanna Damasio propose that feelings are the source of consciousness. Long dismissed as secondary to reason, feelings are where consciousness begins. Without them, consciousness is impossible, they argue - with radical implications for the 'hard problem' of consciousness and the future of AI.
Brain and consciousness
© The Institute of Art and Ideas
Please pause for a moment and notice what you are feeling now. Perhaps you notice a growing snarl of hunger in your stomach or a hum of stress in your chest. Perhaps you have a feeling of ease and expansiveness, or the tingling anticipation of a pleasure soon to come. Or perhaps you simply have a sense that you exist. Hunger and thirst, pain, pleasure and distress, along with the unadorned but relentless feelings of existence, are all examples of 'homeostatic feelings'. Homeostatic feelings are, we argue here, the source of consciousness.

In effect, feelings are the mental translation of processes occurring in your body as it strives to balance its many systems, achieve homeostasis, and keep you alive. In a conventional sense feelings are part of the mind and yet they offer something extra to the mental processes. Feelings carry spontaneously conscious knowledge concerning the current state of the organism as a result of which you can act to save your life, such as when you respond to pain or thirst appropriately.

The continued presence of feelings provides a continued perspective over the ongoing body processes; the presence of feelings lets the mind experience the life process along with other contents present in your mind, namely, the relentless perceptions that collect knowledge about the world along with reasonings, calculations, moral judgments, and the translation of all these contents in language form. By providing the mind with a 'felt point of view', feelings generate an 'experiencer', usually known as a self. The great mystery of consciousness in fact is the mystery behind the biological construction of this experiencer-self.

People 2

A researcher studied the most common last words of suicidal men

Detail of Fallen Angel
Detail of Fallen Angel by Alexandre Cabanel, 1847
*The following contains discussions of suicide and may be triggering to suicide survivors or anyone bereaved by suicide.

When Wellington Lytle checked into a Milwaukee hotel after the 1929 stock market crash, he was down to his last four cents and emptied of hope.

But before he put a revolver to his head, he took out a pen and left the following note:
"My body should go to science, my soul to [Secretary of Treasury] Andrew W. Mellon, and sympathy to my creditors."
Even in his last moments, Lytle wanted his corporeal remains and soul utilized by the world he was leaving. A century later, men still carry this burden โ€” their self-worth is tied to their usefulness.

Today we call these utilitarian men "good providers." And while society ties itself in knots, defining what it means to be a provider, for many men, it comes down to feeling useful.

Unfortunately, when men are asked to lie down in this Procrustean bed, many respond in one of two dangerous ways.


Inside the 'Gateway Process,' the CIA's quest to decode consciousness and unlock time travel

The goal? To convert the energy of your mind and body into a kind of laser beam that can transcend spacetime.
Different Dimensions

In 1983, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Wayne M. McDonnell was asked to write a report for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) about a project called the Gateway Process. His report, declassified in 2003, gives the "scientific" underpinnings โ€” as well as instructions and technical assistance โ€” to help people convert the energy of their minds and bodies into a kind of laser beam that can transcend spacetime. The goal was to "gain access to the ... intuitive knowledge which the universe offers," as well as travel in time and commune with other-dimensional beings.

Even more intriguing, one seemingly crucial part of the document, page 25, went missing for 40 years.

Gateway Process
For a lot of people, hearing about this report was right up there with finding out that the CIA had tested clairvoyance as a spying tool, or that U.S. Department of Defense had been secretly collecting data on Unidentified Flying Objects, even as it labeled UFO spotters as crazy. Non-scientists have long been frustrated by scientists claiming the exclusive right to pose implausible theories with impunity. After all, scientists expect to be believed when they say that 95 percent of what's in the universe is invisible, composed of dark matter and dark energy. They say it's conceptually possible that, as in The Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics, we create new timeline universes through daily decisions. And many lauded scientists embrace string theory, which suggests our universe might be a multi-dimensional hologram.

But when someone tries to apply this information to postulate a deeper meaning behind human existence, many physicists roll their eyes. It's one thing to claim that quantum field theory says the universe comprises multiple energy fields that connect everything; it's another when someone applies that to humans' communing with trees. Scientists' theories are the result of mathematical equations that can be replicated, not human experience, which can be easily faked or imagined. As far as many physicists are concerned, the question "Why are we here?" has the same answer as the question "By what process did we come into being?"

So a project like Gateway that marries science with the human yearning for meaning seemed awfully promising. But, as it turned out, the process was not a gateway between materialistic science and experiential consciousness; it was more like an effort to write a technical manual for the ineffable.


Best of the Web: Forbidden Science

Forbidden Science
© Wkipedia
What still belongs to Science and what does not? Who is to decide what is science and what is para-science or pseudo-science? Some kinds of research are welcomed at one university, but not at another. There are respected scientists, some of whom are Nobel Prize winners, who are ostracized, most of the time by gossip, by various covert activities of their colleagues, simply because they dare to ask questions and research phenomena that others consider as "unworthy". I have already mentioned several such cases, one example being the treatment of the "strange interests" of Alfred Wallace by Encyclopedia Universalis.

Someone - we do not know who it was - decided that a major part of the research of a distinguished scientist should be suppressed - the public should not be told about it, that it is better to tell a lie than to tell an inconvenient truth.

Science in Secret?

A friend of mine, a distinguished French scientist, who is interested in many "esoteric" areas, tells me that one should keep these interests to oneself, otherwise one will be punished; covert actions of others will destroy your scientific career; and that is what he does - he will discuss certain things in private, but will never dare to say them in public. What kind of science forces scientists to work in secret, from fear? What kind of society gives birth to that kind of science?

William Crookes

While reading the remarkable autobiography of Alfred Wallace, Darwin's colleague, the co-discoverer - if not the original discoverer of the mechanisms of evolution, I found the following interesting paragraph:
During the years 1870-80 I had many opportunities of witnessing interesting phenomena in the houses of various friends, some of which I have not made public. Early in 1874 I was invited by John Morley, then editor of the Fortnightly Review, to write an article on "Spiritualism" for that periodical. Much public interest had been excited by the publication of the Report of the Committee of the Dialectical Society, and especially by Mr. Crookes's experiments with Mr. Home, and the refusal of the Royal Society to see these experiments repeated. (Italics, mine.)
Who is Mr. Crookes? And what were these experiments that the Royal Society did not even want to witness? Remember: curiosity is a condition "sine qua non" of a true scientist! The Royal Society was not curious? Why? Perhaps the experiments of Mr. Crookes were not worthy of the attention of the learned society, because they did not suggest anything new?