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Potatoguy

Traditions, Superstitions, Omen, and the like

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TheCupboard said:

"I can't explain this, and I'm not going to try to explain it, because my perspective is imperfect and the experience can not be recreated within my limited means."


Because (not directed at you or anyone in particular) it is cowardly and unproductive. You can't progress as a society if you don't differentiate between what is right and what is wrong. That necessitates differentiating between people who are right and people who are wrong. If people don't stand for something then they don't get anywhere.

People have their quips, some people are open about them and others are not. Cheers!

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What you are describing seems to be "the right to pass judgment" and "discriminate among options". Which are important things and valuable. If we can't decide or at least approximate right and wrong, our hands can be tied. I will attempt an elaboration of my position

If I saw something out of the ordinary or felt the presence of some intangible beings that were mentioned earlier, I think that is not necessarily supernatural or preternatural. It is probably paranormal. And paranormal doesn't necessarily imply the existence of a creature acting on our world causing the effect, although it could.

I think everyone can believe in paranormal phenomena. The fact that it can happen to a person who believes in ghosts and one who doesn't, implies common ground and a common experience. Paranormal must necessarily exist because we are not perfectly knowledgeable beings.

One important tool I believe Fraggle pointed out in one of his posts was: can we mirror some conditions of this phenomenon and create a similar result as the paranormal activity? Can we tinker with the variables of the unexplainable situation and come up with at least one plausible alternative that doesn't imply supernatural? If we can, then it doesn't look good for the supernatural, if we can reproduce the effects with *only a few common variables* and not even having to replicate the paranormal situation in its entirety.

For example. I have taken dissociative drugs before, and they entirely reproduce the effect of meeting people that aren't there. The drug separates the mind from the body because it is a hallucinogen that antagonizes (blocks) the NMDA receptors in your brain. NMDA receptors are incredibly important to a person's ability to learn, imitate, and apply learned behavior. Dissociatives are things like animal tranquilizer, PCP, cough medicine, laughing gas. They are different from hallucinogens like LSD where LSD basically mimics the serotonin neurotransmitters in your brain which hijacks everything into creating vivid hallincations. Dissociatives are different because they cause your brain to actually misfire constantly and the body loses perceptual input. Some things that happen: ears ringing (hearing impairment), Lilliputian and Brobdingnagian optical illusions, numbness in the body, loss of taste and smell sensations. When the brain and body do not talk to each other, interesting phenomena happen. I hear voices of people I know, and it's like they are sitting right there in the room with me as we joke and talk. I close my eyes and feel myself hurling through a spatial void. I see aliens and feel them communicate with me. In fact, scientists are so amazed at the power of dissociative drugs that they say giving a rat ketamine or PCP is the closest thing you can do to give the rat schizophrenia. It's true. When I trip, it's like there are intangible beings in the room with me. I know exactly what the poster means when they say "intangible beings" because I've met a ton of them. They don't have names, bodies, or even a physical appearance that can be described. The only thing that can be described is the feel and the adventures they take me on, all while I'm sitting on a stool looking at the carpet, for example. The only thing that's happening? My brain has nothing to do right now because the body isn't talking to it. So my brain creates signals of its own. It creates its own reality. That's how powerful the brain is, it creates my reality and it is entirely subjective to any drugs I take and my individual neurochemistry.

"OKAY, but what I saw, I was sober when I saw it. Go be an annoying druggie somewhere else."

The rebuttal to that objection is this: people dissociate and hallucinate all the time, and they do not take drugs. It is all in the neurochemistry, because that is the entire world, as far as you are concerned. People can have schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder and their reality can only be described to me as: imagine if I was on drugs and could never sober up. People meditate and disconnect the mind from the body, and they think thoughts that normally they would never think of or they see colors in the backs of their eyelids. They can go in sensory deprivation chambers. They can look at something for a REALLY long time and derealize themselves "wow this person looks totally different after I stare and study them for 30 seconds without looking away or blinking"

So when I hear people talk about inexplicable phenomena, I hold my tongue. I felt a lot of those things too, except my brain invented the whole thing by itself, based purely on circumstantial factors that can be predicted, reproduced, and other people can reproduce identical events without any misdirection or bias.

The last thing is this: if you have an active imagination when you take hallucinogens, you can create a hallucination of your own design. If you have an active imagination when you are sober, you can create your own reality, for a short time. But a time long enough to see a paranormal event.

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fraggle said:

I'm afraid I don't.


I was thinking of the brickwall as a metaphor for having different experiences.

fraggle said:

Suppose that I did everything you said, and after much effort I fail to have any interaction with the spirits you mention. I have to assume that you believe such a result is possible.


It's not like you partake in some ceremonies, and stuff happens within a set amount of time, if that's what you're about. In my case it took 5 ceremonies over the course of 1.5 months before anything happened to me personally. So, yes, your mileage may vary, however it is a rather rare occurence (sub 10%, I'd guess) that you'd not get anywhere at all.

There will be no guarantee given by me, or anyone else, for that matter (at least I hope nobody does). Visiting the church every sunday does not guarantee you a place at god's side either.

fraggle said:

What would be your response to this result? Because I'm guessing the response would be something like: you haven't made contact yet; you have to give more before you receive; you aren't doing it right; you're being too skeptical; you're the one holding yourself back, etc. Is that right?


It would be neither of those, honestly. I will only ask you if want to keep trying. It is neither within my rights to blame you, nor is it within my rights to tell you something will happen when you feel certain that it won't.

The point of giving and taking is a fundamental rule for us. The "giving" that you do is the time you spend to learn the ways, and prior to any ceremony your knowledge will be put to the test anyways. So there's no excuse in regards to not having learned enough, as much as there is no excuse in regards to not having been tought enough. A ceremony may be fun, and even exhilarating, but it is a serious commitment for yourself and for others involved in it. You may also choose to just learn the ways, and not partake in any ceremony at all, which was what I chose for myself at first, but things turned out otherwise for me, which I am glad for.

fraggle said:

This for me is the problem, because it sets up a double standard - if you follow the ritual and get the intended result, it's evidence it's true, but if you don't get the result it's because you were doing it wrong. And not wanting to turn the discussion uncivil or insulting here, but this is the kind of mental trick that's commonly used by cults and con-artists. Go and read about Scientology's practices for example.


I know about scientology's methods, if religion ever had its own "3rd Reich" it's them. But that's just my opinion.

I get where your "double standard" is coming from, and the cases in which people chose not to keep "going"- yet still believed, should be mentioned here as well, since they make up a considerable chunk of the cases in which nothing ever happened (Some however felt "rejected", for lack of a better term, and moved on). They were certain that specific things wouldn't happen to them, yet they still are a part of it. Again, the cases in which people did not get "anywhere" at all, are rare. I frankly do not know why it is that some people can say with clarity that they won't be "seeing/experiencing" anything, eventhough they would like to, because there could be different reasons for this. It's not like they were not "fulfilling a specific requirement". It's at this point that the concept of a shared-reality can be employed, I suppose.

fraggle said:

I don't think for a second that what you believe is anything like Scientology or any of those cults by any means. But my point is that those groups use tricks to mislead people and lie to them. I don't want to be lied to in this way; sticking to what's objectively observable and repeatable is a way to avoid this.


It is even worse. Within my religion there are scammers as well, some of which even running websites to lure people in for their own monetary benefit, doing harm to us as well in the process.

If you were to join my religion, nothing would be asked of you, other than that you carry your own weight. The people I learned the ways from never asked me for anything more than that, and they never would have. They were willing to share their knowledge with me as much as I am willing to share it with others. It's a long story though, so if you're really interested in reading it, I guess I can send you a PM when I get the time to write it all up thoroughly yet compact enough.

fraggle said:

No - by falsifiable I mean that it can be disproved. It doesn't sound like your beliefs can ever be disproved and you seem to admit this ("You're free to [...] try to convince me that I'm wrong, but you won't succeed"). Anybody can be wrong and deluding themselves about the things they believe, but in your case it seems like there's no way you can ever know this - apart from falsifiability what criteria would you use to distinguish your beliefs from delusions?


The reason why I said "You can try to convince me that I'm wrong, but you won't succeed", is because people tend to make a sport out of questioning us, or other religious people, for their jollies. More often than not, people discuss things to test and solidify their own resolve, rather than questioning it, or being interested in hearing someone else out to learn something. Make no mistake: I may be a highly religious person, but that does not mean I am an easy push-over. Not that I am trying to imply you'd try to do so.

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Sure Bowb said:

The reason why I said "You can try to convince me that I'm wrong, but you won't succeed", is because people tend to make a sport out of questioning us, or other religious people, for their jollies. More often than not, people discuss things to test and solidify their own resolve, rather than questioning it, or being interested in hearing someone else out to learn something. Make no mistake: I may be a highly religious person, but that does not mean I am an easy push-over. Not that I am trying to imply you'd try to do so.


All in all I think fraggle respects your right to be defensive, he's just pointing out that it sure is nice to have the "have faith" or "trust in God" escape hatch that all religions seem to have. In fact I also respect your right to be sensitive about your beliefs. I wouldn't want to be around people who started grilling my meat just because I walked in the door.

We are truly a product of our environment. There have been long periods in history where it was the complete opposite. The religious person questioning the heretic or agnostic or apostate for some sport or the jollies. Sometimes losing the argument had bad repercussions. Like really bad, so bad the punishment was practically the punishment for treason against a king. There are in fact many places in the world today where the questioning sport is practiced by the religious person.

One difference is, a scientist put in a position of power has never executed anyone for disbelief. The same can not be said about a theist put in a position of power. :p

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TheCupboard said:

All in all I think fraggle respects your right to be defensive, he's just pointing out that it sure is nice to have the "have faith" or "trust in God" escape hatch that all religions seem to have. In fact I also respect your right to be sensitive about your beliefs. I wouldn't want to be around people who started grilling my meat just because I walked in the door.


This is very nice of you. Thanks, both of you.

TheCupboard said:

We are truly a product of our environment. There have been long periods in history where it was the complete opposite. The religious person questioning the heretic or agnostic or apostate for some sport or the jollies. Sometimes losing the argument had bad repercussions. Like really bad, so bad the punishment was practically the punishment for treason against a king. There are in fact many places in the world today where the questioning sport is practiced by the religious person.


True... This was part of the reason why I kept looking for years to find religions which I would fundamentally agree with, due an inclusive nature, rather than being oppressive. It was a prerequisite for me to even get involved at all.

TheCupboard said:

One difference is, a scientist put in a position of power has never executed anyone for disbelief. The same can not be said about a theist put in a position of power. :p


Right. I would like to add though, that in cases of disbelief it is likely that it did not necessarily have to be an actual religiously motivated background. I think that religion has abused it's influence in the past, or has been abused because of its influence, for that matter.

This is why I can understand a lot of the spite as well, at least in regards to where it comes from. Still I find it sad when former "misdeeds" are being projected onto others, or myself. Doubly so when it should be abundantly clear, that I am not affiliated to a christian religion, for example.

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Sure Bowb said:

This is very nice of you. Thanks, both of you.

Thank you for a respectful discussion; while obviously I don't share the same beliefs you do, it has been interesting nonetheless.

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