The Real Alternative

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Spirituality, Religion and Psychiatry – Time for Better Integration

My doctorate is in Psychology and Religion, so this topic is very close to me. I’ve been advocating for better integration among several different fields for decades (see my initial thesis proposal, 1991-92). It’s nice when you see culture finally catching up.

I was tempted to say “duh” at the end of the above tweet. But that’s only because I’ve met with such mindless, brainwashed and sometimes nasty thinking over the years in this area.

English: Pink Floyd performing at Live 8 in London

Pink Floyd performing at Live 8 in London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Choosing to drop the cynicism, however, I just posted the tweet without the “duh.”

As the old Pink Floyd song goes. “We don’t need… no dark sarcasm in the classroom.” I have encountered my fair share of derision and don’t want to be “just another brick in the wall.”

Some folks become proverbial bricks in the wall out of ignorance. Other choose for their own dark reasons. In either case, it’s time to peacefully dismantle those ideological obstacles to growth and true mental and spiritual health.

To me, that’s equally important as cleaning up the environment, feeding the poor and all the other problems we’re faced with. If we don’t address the root causes of global distress, how can we hope to alleviate the symptoms?

Image via Twitter

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Proclus – A good example of how all spiritual beliefs are not the same

Woman teaching geometry, from Euclid's Elements.

Woman teaching geometry, from Euclid’s Elements via Wikipedia

Proclus (410-85 CE) was an influential Greek Neoplatonist philosopher. Born in Lycia, he moved to Athens for the remainder of his life.

A lawyer by trade, Proclus came to realize that he preferred philosophy so made a study of the classics and beliefs of his time. Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, mathematics and the ancient mystery cults were all under his purview.

Modern writers often call him the last of the classical Greek philosophers.

Proclus’ synthesis of Platonic and Aristotelian systems culminates in his theory that an overall, divine action coordinates all cosmic elements as the soul returns back to the One from which it originally emanated. This One is unlike the monotheistic God of Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths, mainly because it is not a being but rather some kind of creative principle.

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The Problem with Scientism

The above tweet links to a good discussion about scientism. The point I’ve quoted in the tweet is basically saying that some scientists – okay most of them – are so brainwashed into their particular outlook that they either ignore or ridicule other perspectives. This actually happened at a government level in Canada, where our new Governor General (and former astronaut) Julie Payette made an outrageous speech, unfitting for her position.

English: Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie...

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette, STS-127 mission specialist, looks through an overhead window while operating controls on the aft flight deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour during flight day two activities. (Photo: Wikipedia)

At I’ve made a brief sketch of some of the differences between science and scientism:

Scientism has two meanings.

  • One refers to the almost religious belief that science may eventually understand and solve all natural and human problems. This kind of scientism has also been called “scientific fundamentalism.”
  • The second meaning refers to the partial and/or deceptive use of methods generally recognized as scientific. Put simply, some people actively deceive or try to appear scientific for personal, economic or political gain.

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AI – Should we fear, embrace or accept that the battle will go on forever?

I have a sci-fi novel sitting on my HD (external hard drive, so don’t bother trying to hack me, all you sad souls with nothing better to do than to live vicariously thru other people’s private lives) that deals with the issue of AI gone wrong.

Actually, it’s not so much about AI… more about the interface of biological and machine life. Clearly, this is the direction we’re moving toward as a species. But my novel is set thousands of years in the future. I won’t detail any more because, time permitting, I might publish installments at my personal blog.

One of the central themes of my book is that good and evil continue to battle it out through all time. The notion that we are morally progressing over the centuries is flawed because, as so many well-intentioned materialists don’t get, evil imo is real and never going away. Not in the creation of our matter/energy universe, at any rate. Maybe in heaven.

So for me the above tweet is a good, germinal warning of things to come. Or things that may come. Nobody can really know for sure.– MC

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Psychological WiFi – Fact or flaky?

I tend to think this is fact but most of us are not sensitized to appreciate how we are potentially connected on some level. If society – that is human beings – ever evolves so the majority recognizes this kind of subtle connectivity, then claims like this will not be listed under parapsychology but, rather, psychology.

Vincent Brown quoting Steve Jobs via Flickr

What is normal depends on the status quo. We are social animals. And if most human beings believe they are islands unto themselves, then those who see and feel subtle connections probably will be marginalized. Simple as that.

Vincent Brown quoting Albert Einstein via Flickr

I wrote about this for my PhD but had to hint at it through a study of synchronicity. My initial thesis proposal (pdf) was all about this kind of thing. The university accepted me (and my prestigious funding), and then narrowed me down to something more conventional. —MC

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The Religion of Science

It’s the holidays and I don’t have tons of time to expound on this tweet. But I will say that it reflects a theme I’ve been mentioning for several years at Earthpages.

I don’t believe we should abandon science. I get that freezing needle when I go to the dentist and have God and the scientific method to thank for its effectiveness. No, I’m not so extreme as to deny or ignore what the scientific method has achieved.

By the same token, I’m not so extreme to believe that science can solve all our problems or that it perfectly reflects our essentially mysterious world, universe and beyond.

Dave Bowman enters the portal to another world in 2001: A Space Odyssey – MGM – via

In a nutshell, scientists often make claims that reach way beyond the limits of their limited experiments. And many people parrot that ideological “fake news” as if it were the gospel truth.

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Pope wants to update Lord’s Prayer

Probably some Catholics think a lot of what I’m suggesting at earthpages is “of the devil” until it gets its stamp of approval from the Vatican. As if people outside that creaky old apparatus can’t think for themselves or, for that matter, in line with what God wants.

Here’s my article Dec 6: