Does your toaster get tired of making toast for you every morning? Well, that might not quite be how it goes. But some believe that all things possess consciousness. What matters, they say, is how and how much a thing organizes energy.
In my youth it was a juvenile joke to ask in a mock psychiatric tone, “DO YOU HEAR VOICES?”
Mature people realize there’s nothing funny about psychological suffering. But I think the joke was directed at the medical establishment’s understanding of mental discomfort instead of at the afflicted. At least, that’s how I saw it.
We shouldn’t laugh at people who suffer in mind and soul. By the same token, there’s nothing funny about how unusual psychological phenomena tend to be regarded by the medical establishment.
The tweeted article (above) seems to be headed in the right direction. But it overlooks two important factors that could play a role in hearing voices—spirituality and transpersonal psychology.
Spirituality and transpersonal psychology are usually linked. But they are not necessarily identical.
A Catholic churchgoer, for instance, may understand spirituality but knows little about transpersonal dynamics. And adherents of transpersonal psychology may have little appreciation for the Catholic belief in the Communion of Saints and the related idea of intercession.
There are many different stripes and colors among the spiritually sensitive.
So what is transpersonal psychology?
My understanding is that tangible connections among persons at a distance can be perceived by those sensitive enough to perceive them.
This can involve sensing others’ thoughts, feelings, their scent, what they see, hear, smell or physically feel. It can also involve a kind of subtle body awareness – to include sensuality and sexuality – because subtle bodies are said to interpenetrate.¹
For many people this is just New Age or Far-Eastern fantasy. And for most psychiatrists, it is simply “magical thinking.” However, for a certain percentage of the population, it is not fantasy nor delusion. For some, transpersonal psychology is quite real and far more complex and nuanced than a silly, reductive phrase like “magical thinking.”
This leads to another factor often overlooked or ridiculed by the medical establishment: The possibility of demonic deception. Quite possibly some voices could be caused by a demon messing with a person’s head.
That is a very uncool idea these days. Not in vogue. Great stuff for movies. But definitely not real. Debate over… shut the door. People who believe in demonic influence must be mentally ill.
That is, the medical trumps the spiritual paradigm.
Why does the medical establishment mostly turn a blind eye to spirituality and transpersonal psychology? Presumably this is because the majority of its practitioners are too worldly and conceptually biased to appreciate the subtler, finer aspects of life.
Some doctors might go to church, temple or mosque. But it is doubtful that they sense higher (and lower) mystical states to any great or advanced degree.² If they did, they would probably be monks, sisters or hermits instead of medical professionals.
Hence the mainstream dismissal of important spiritual possibilities.
Funnily enough, when I first became interested in Catholicism a priest pointed to his heart and confided in me by saying, “I hear a voice, right here.” He may have been speaking figuratively, but from our conversation he seemed to be saying that this voice tells him what is from God and what is not from God, and also serves to guide him.
Being a smart guy, this priest keeps his ‘voice’ under wraps. If that kind of terminology got out, his enemies might brand him a so-called schizophrenic, which could hinder his ability to help others.
Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves ~ Matthew 10:16
For the most part, psychiatric theories have a pretty firm grip on the public imagination. Many folks parrot the latest trends and politically influenced classifications as if they were the Gospel Truth.
The medieval Church once controlled others through fear and persecution. Today, science exerts its own kind of ideological influence. But the control is so pervasive and complete that most are hardly aware of it. They conform. They believe what the doctor tells them.
You don’t think so?
Take a look at sites like Quora.com and read how some individuals completely accept medical explanations (and labels) given for their psychological suffering. Some almost seem to enjoy playing the role of “good patient.” They praise their doctors for illuminating the “truth” about their illness. And they seem oblivious to alternative explanations.
Sadly, when alternative explanations are ignored, healthier remedies could also be ignored.
So instead of experimenting with, say, the Catholic Eucharist as well as attitudinal and behavioral changes for the better, sufferers take the latest medications on the market.
God only knows how those medications (arguably a euphemism for drugs) may affect the rest of their body. Long term side-effects (arguably a euphemism for harmful effects) are often downplayed but a quick reading of scientific journals reveals that known harmful effects can be debilitating, even lethal.
Let me be clear: I am not anti-meds. If drugs help a person to cope or if they protect innocents from potentially violent individuals, they probably should be administered. But I believe drugs should always be taken with a view toward finding a better solution.
We must consider alternatives and critically assess the medical and religious ideologies of our time. An integrative approach that includes medical science and spiritual teachings would probably be optimal.
Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind ~ Albert Einstein
¹ In Eastern philosophy, this involves the doctrines of adhyasa (superimposition) and karma transfer. This kind of interior perception could also include sensing the spiritual environment and influences associated with another person. In contemporary parlance, good or bad vibes.
² The academic study of religion terms this the numinous, after Rudolf Otto‘s and later, Carl Jung‘s adaptation of the Latin numen. Some say that numen is based on the Greek nooúmenon. The English term first appears in 1647.
Millennials might not know about Max von Sydow’s legendary acting career. The Swedish-French actor has starred in films as diverse as Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957), The Exorcist (1973) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).
In 2016, von Sydow reappears in another medieval style drama, Game of Thrones.
Spoiler alert for Game of Thrones, season 6 !
Playing the role of the Three-Eyed Raven, von Sydow leads the young Bran Stark through a mystical adventure of destiny fulfillment.
In the scene below, Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven journey through time to witness an incident that shapes the noble Hodor’s life… and death.
The adult Hodor is a gentle giant with a disability. He understands what others say but can only speak the word “Hodor.” He is a loyal companion to friends but seen as a ‘simpleton’ by foes.
Because the past and present are linked in a temporal loop, Hodor’s adult death retroactively causes the onset of his boyhood disability.
Before his death disables him back through time, the youth speaks perfectly. But the event of his death ripples back to adolescence, causing him to undergo something like an epileptic fit. And this brings on his speech impediment.
The only word Hodor speaks as an adult is also the name everybody calls him by, “Hodor.” This is a portmanteau of a repeated cry heard just before his death:
HOLD THE DOOR!
In his final hour, Hodor sacrificially holds a wooden door shut to prevent evil creatures from killing his friends. His friends survive but the wily creatures hack through the door and destroy him.
This development left me spellbound. The implications are grand. Especially when we consider that time is relative. And not just in sci-fi but in science.
The Hodor cycle got me thinking about how people struggling with difficulties, psychological or otherwise, could actually be doing some kind of noble service in ways – and on other levels – that we are only dimly aware of.
Most MDs and psychologists would probably dismiss this as “unscientific.” And fair enough. But can we fully understand the human predicament from the perspective of a microscope, test tube or brain scan?
I don’t believe so. And it would be equally unscientific to ignore alternatives, no matter how far-fetched, without giving them a fair hearing.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I love MLK and his dream.
I believe we should all strive daily to make it reality. Not just for people of color but for all kinds of marginalized groups and individuals. Sometimes people are discriminated against merely because they are different.
This is sad.
I suppose animals have always herded, flocked and swam together, picking on those who fall behind or to the outside. But we are human beings, not animals. We have the brain capacity to reroute and overcome our animal biases. At least, some of us do. Others seem so entrenched in their rigid or pathetically elitist ways that they just seem unmovable. But let’s hope that’s just how they seem and not how they are.
So in the title of this blog entry, I am talking about a nighttime dream while I was sleeping that was not like MLK’s visionary dream.
Mine was not a dream about the way things should be. Rather, it was a kind of realpolitiks dream. A dream about struggle, cunning and power.
On the other hand, when I think about it, maybe my dream isn’t totally dissimilar to MKL’s “I have a dream.” After all, the results are based on merit, not on prejudice about size.
Here’s the link to my dream. You decide:
Recently I updated an older post about parallel universes that was just barely adequate. A lot has happened around the world since I wrote the early piece. So I decided to give it an overhaul.
And I did. But it wasn’t easy. Theories about the multiverse can get pretty dense. And trying to make that accessible without totally misrepresenting what people are saying is a challenge.
The outcome was quite good but a bit dry. I knew that I really should have written a light intro and conclusion. But I just ran out of steam. And, wanting to get it out there, posted it as is.
Today I’m in a lighter, refreshed frame of mind so wrote a touch more for the intro and conclusion. No other changes. But I think my tweaks really help. So that’s why I’m formally introducing the revised version here at earthpages.org.
Earthpages.ca is like a testing ground. I can tell who my true supporters are. They like my stuff for its content, even if the writing style sometimes is a bit uncool. So I thank you for your early “likes.” Your support means a great deal to me.
Earthpages is a labor of love. But it feels pretty stale if it doesn’t connect with anybody at all. If I wanted that kind of life, I could have been academic with rows of snoozing students, totally not caring about learning and, instead, calculating the minimum grade they need to get where they want to go.
Don’t laugh. I was a TA. That’s how it can be.
With the exception of two or three bright lights, most of the students seemed pretty uninspired and uninspiring.
Thank God for the internet and a much bigger fish pond! 🙂
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.
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.
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?
Coffee is my only drug. Thank God it’s cheap. I’ve tried going off and generally have felt like half a person when doing so. Or, by way of analogy, a house with the top floor missing.
However, this article got me thinking. Maybe I’ll intersperse a little more water among cups.