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The Real Alternative


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The old New Age, hippie saying “Be Here Now” taken to the extreme

Today’s tweet caught my eye not because I believe it. Cummon. The idea is that a large chunk of history never happened and we’ve just artificially filled in the gaps.

From a commonsense perspective this is rubbish. A quick web search brings up all sorts of historical persons and acts during this “phantom time.”

We have lots of records. Physical records.

However, I mention the idea today because, well, it did give me pause over something maybe related.

Some schools of metaphysical thought claim that we can’t be sure of anything but the present. For all we know, they say, the universe is huge, flickering bunch of “presents.”

So this present that I’m writing in is really – according to the theory – just a present with a lot of true, false or simulated memories.

The next flicker could be an entirely different present (with an alternate set of history and memories) and I wouldn’t know the difference.

This next present would be just as real as my current present. And then in the next flicker, who knows… an entirely new set of memories, history, beliefs.

Image – cwamkid.blogspot.ca

For those adhering to this idea, each moment is just as true, false or simulated as the next. And there could be countless flickering streams, all happening or possibly alternating at once.

Freaky?

Yeah, a bit.

But I think the notion is intellectually impossible to disprove.

If you find it hard wrapping your head around this, consider a computer processor. When multitasking, the processor alternates bits of data at super high speeds. Data flies through the processor so fast that tasks appear simultaneous to the user (for example, streaming music, transferring files and blogging).

But again your data is alternating at great speeds.

Could we be the same?

Obviously this is not a question to make the headlines in a 21st century where we’re mostly worried about lunatics with bad haircuts bombing us into oblivion.

But in the 91st century, who knows?


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Progress and political correctness in the context of religion

Stylistic tweaks… move toward present tense:

[earlier] … I just revised my earthpages.ca entry on the Hindu sage Ramanuja. The revision was several days in the making and I’ll probably make a few more stylistic tweaks. But here it is… for now.


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Is science objective? Is objectivity possible?

Yes, yes yes. Finally someone is addressing these issues.


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Plato – One of the all time great thinkers


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Philosophy is useless, theology is worse?

Some older readers might recognize the title/lyric from a 1980s Dire Straits tune, “Industrial Disease.”

That sentiment might seem somewhat cynical but, in a way, I can see where Dire Straits was coming from. When I wrote about the social thinker Michel Foucault in my PhD program, I could sense that some of the most powerful players in my life at the time either didn’t give a damn or just didn’t understand.

One professor, so I heard through the grapevine, apparently said that “a university is a place where a professor gets a paycheck.” Well yes, but that’s pretty cynical. This guy ended up shafting me at the last minute, effectively trashing my chances at getting postdoc funding.

Pearls Before Swine – Pieter Brueghel via Wikipedia

Another professor was so incompetent that he got visibly upset at the very idea of my studying Michel Foucault. He thought Foucault’s work abrogated morality. I had to explain to this guy that Foucault was interested in how some moralities are highlighted while others are ignored at a given moment in history. Foucault wasn’t advocating the abandonment of morality.

The bottom line?

Even academics can be incredibly callous, uncaring or just uninformed. However, that doesn’t mean we should give up and stop looking at society in intelligent ways. But be beware. A lot of people won’t get what you’re saying. And some might even try to turn your wisdom against you.

Didn’t someone else say this a long time ago?

Do not cast your pearls before swine…”

Jesus, of course, was talking more about holiness and spirituality. But I think his teaching applies to many fields, and sadly, to more than a few people today.


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EP Today – Total revision on entry about Pantheism


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EP Today – Does Psychiatry reinforce people playing “good patient”?

Today’s Top Tweet (above) points to an issue that demands mature reflection. Instead of the often extreme views presented at web sites like Mad in America or, at the other end of the spectrum, the baffling ideological hegemony of the APA, there is a third stance positioned somewhere between those polarized perspectives.

With regard to today’s tweet, just because someone has a delusion or perception that a drug effectively blocks, it does not necessarily follow that the thing the person was deluded about or perceiving does not exist.

For example, say a person thinks that terrorists, the CIA or perhaps the mafia are after them. Then a drug calms the person down and, so it turns out, she or he is never murdered as previously feared.

Does it logically follow that terrorists, the CIA or the mafia do not exist? No, it means that these entities do exist but that they were probably not after that person.

Same thing with spiritual entities, good and bad, one could argue.

I applaud this man for writing about his experience but, with all due respect, it seems he is relieved to feel better and playing the role of “good patient”—and I’m sure many in the psychiatric community would approve of that.

Problem is, that kind of thing can lead to and reinforce superficial claims about the nature of reality. And THAT, in my opinion, can hurt people who actually do sense demons, angels and, who knows, maybe ETs.

Life is rarely as simple as either/or. Although some psychiatrists and members of the general public might like us to think so. I think the wisest thing the author of the tweeted story says is, “I don’t know for sure.”

MC

 Apple totally dissed WikiLeaks this week – here’s why (AAPL) (businessinsider.com)

 Federal Investigation into WikiLeaks ‘Vault 7’ CIA Hacking Intel Dump ‘Rapidly Unfolding’ (libertynews.com)

 Ex-CIA chief: No, the government is not spying on you through your microwave (stripes.com)

 Analysis: Forget spies, public should worry about scammers (bostonherald.com)

 Tech sector scrambles after CIA hacking allegations (rappler.com)