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The Improbability of Hyperspace Options
 
gibran2
#41 Posted : 1/17/2011 8:27:44 PM

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burnt wrote:
Quote:
I strongly believe that aspects of the psychedelic phenomena cannot be explained within the confines of existing scientific knowledge.


Such as?

Why does it matter? It’s only my belief.
gibran2 is a fictional character. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.
 

STS is a community for people interested in growing, preserving and researching botanical species, particularly those with remarkable therapeutic and/or psychoactive properties.
 
joedirt
#42 Posted : 1/17/2011 9:46:19 PM

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burnt wrote:
Quote:
I strongly believe that aspects of the psychedelic phenomena cannot be explained within the confines of existing scientific knowledge.


Such as?



On the one bad experience I had with DMT that was bad I sat in a perfectly dark room with my wife. When I say perfectly dark, we covered the windows and cracks in the door.

During the peak of the trip I sat up (actually I came up gasping for air as I'd passed out initially) and noticed that a orange light was being emmited from the center of my wifes chest. The entire room was completely lit up with this light. I asked her if she could see and and of course she couldn't see anything.

Now you could argue that my pupils dialated and allowed me to see the room with what-ever fragment of light was there or we could argue that I was seeing the room some other way.

Is it outside a scientific explanation. probably not. Do I as a scientist have a good explanation of it today? Nope.

Want another example?

Mushroom trip. Deep into my own world when I saw a vision of a co-worker arguing with his wife ( don't know her). She then lobbed a coffee cup across the room and hit him in the eye with it. The next day at work he had a cut under his eye that wasn't there previously. Of course I didn't ask and therefore can't make any real statements about it....

Every example I'd give would be total subjective and would not be the basis for any sort of scientific examination.....

Just out of curiosity what kind of answer would you require burnt? How would you scientifically test the fact that I saw a light come from my wife and light up the room?

BTW I was once the scientist that believed anything and everything would come under the scrutiny of science. I also believed that everything had a scientific answer. Today I'm a much more humbled, and experienced, scientist and I realize that we scientists barely know anything. A lot of what we know is also likely to be proven wrong in the future. Most of the science (I'm a Medicinal Chemist) we do at work is ultimately wrong. Most of our hypothesis fail and we end up looking for other answers. Many times we don't ever get adequate scientific answers, but the projects move forward anyway.

Science is not the end all be all. In fact science is quite arrogant and this arrogance causes many scientists to forget that it's the mysteriousness of the world that drives teh creative mind to break free from the 'science-of-the-day' to go on and make great discoveries. IMHO.


If you are going to pick and choose what you quote from this to make your point then please use this...

"Just out of curiosity what kind of answer would you require burnt?"

Cheers
If your religion, faith, devotion, or self proclaimed spirituality is not directly leading to an increase in kindness, empathy, compassion and tolerance for others then you have been misled.
 
embracethevoid
#43 Posted : 1/17/2011 9:53:43 PM

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The objective world is all there is, every experience you have had is encapsulated within it and mediated by it. We do not understand even a mere fragment of the objective world, it took a long while to even ascertain the existence of EM waves. What we know from observation is a bare glimpse. This is because translating the language of the universe into the language of man is a difficult feat and it only gets more and more difficult as we learn more.

Given how young science is, it is incredibly arrogant of people who claim to be men of science to be skeptical of anything they know nothing of. That's not science, that is delusion! The only thing we learn from science are counter examples of the clearest kind that none but the foolish will argue with. Science does not however explain what is actually going on. It never will either.

Regardless, both sides are at fault. Objective reality is flawless, never will it break. Every effect has a cause. Yet still, objective reality is more magical than we could possibly hope to imagine yet people look for the magic in the inane. The magic is only clear once one opens their eyes to their true nature.
 
actualfactual
#44 Posted : 1/17/2011 10:08:29 PM

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Quote:
Given how young science is, it is incredibly arrogant of people who claim to be men of science to be skeptical of anything they know nothing of. That's not science, that is delusion!


i concur Stop
 
Virola78
#45 Posted : 1/20/2011 10:28:26 PM

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wrote:
Quote:
I strongly believe that aspects of the psychedelic phenomena cannot be explained within the confines of existing scientific knowledge.

Such as?


Consciousness in general?

I like to imagine burnt defending philosophy on a science forum Very happy

“The most important thing in illness is never to lose heart.” -Nikolai Lenin

I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
 
joedirt
#46 Posted : 1/20/2011 10:41:04 PM

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aloneits wrote:
Quote:
Given how young science is, it is incredibly arrogant of people who claim to be men of science to be skeptical of anything they know nothing of. That's not science, that is delusion!


i concur Stop



As a man of science I double your concur!

Break through science almost never occurs from the skeptical mind. Although the skeptical mind is a critical part of scientific evaluations...I don't think that skeptisism needs to permeate the scientists life.

Stop and look around at this world? What the hell is this? For me that's how science starts....and yeah I wish I could do more pie-in-the-sky research...

Once you start saying oh that's just a pile of carbon atoms bonded to other carbon atoms...you've lost the magic. Sure it's just atoms, but what exactly are those?...and so the rabbit hole is slowly but surely excavated. But the irony is that the more we tease it apart the more nothing we find....that is fascinating.
If your religion, faith, devotion, or self proclaimed spirituality is not directly leading to an increase in kindness, empathy, compassion and tolerance for others then you have been misled.
 
sameoldsongam
#47 Posted : 1/21/2011 1:11:30 AM

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embracethevoid wrote:
Given how young science is, it is incredibly arrogant of people who claim to be men of science to be skeptical of anything they know nothing of. That's not science, that is delusion!


Why would you not be skeptical of something you know nothing of? I don't see where that is indicative of delusion. Is it better to attribute merit to something you know nothing of?
 
gibran2
#48 Posted : 1/21/2011 1:31:39 AM

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The original point of this thread was that we should be skeptical about everything, yet not close our minds to possibilities.

Some scientifically-minded people find it very easy to be skeptical of certain phenomena explained in terms that don’t fit their current understanding of reality, such as consciousness being separable from the brain/body, yet these same people are not at all skeptical when the unknown is explained in familiar, comfortable terms, such as explaining all psychedelic phenomena in terms of brain/drug interactions.

I was prompted to begin this thread in part because I see that some supposedly rational, scientific people seem to maintain a double standard with respect to explanations of the unknown: explanations that closely fit current scientific understanding and that sound “scientific” are viewed by these people as somehow superior to explanations that would require a radical shift in how we look at reality.

My point was that ANY explanations we might use to explain something as unknown (and likely unknowable) as the “ultimate” or “true” nature of reality are almost certainly wrong. It seems silly that we argue about which explanation is “better” or more plausible given that they are all probably wrong.
gibran2 is a fictional character. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.
 
embracethevoid
#49 Posted : 1/21/2011 3:00:17 AM

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sameoldsongam wrote:
embracethevoid wrote:
Given how young science is, it is incredibly arrogant of people who claim to be men of science to be skeptical of anything they know nothing of. That's not science, that is delusion!


Why would you not be skeptical of something you know nothing of? I don't see where that is indicative of delusion. Is it better to attribute merit to something you know nothing of?


Neither, don't judge it. Freely observe.

gibran2 wrote:
The original point of this thread was that we should be skeptical about everything, yet not close our minds to possibilities.

Some scientifically-minded people find it very easy to be skeptical of certain phenomena explained in terms that don’t fit their current understanding of reality, such as consciousness being separable from the brain/body, yet these same people are not at all skeptical when the unknown is explained in familiar, comfortable terms, such as explaining all psychedelic phenomena in terms of brain/drug interactions.

I was prompted to begin this thread in part because I see that some supposedly rational, scientific people seem to maintain a double standard with respect to explanations of the unknown: explanations that closely fit current scientific understanding and that sound “scientific” are viewed by these people as somehow superior to explanations that would require a radical shift in how we look at reality.

My point was that ANY explanations we might use to explain something as unknown (and likely unknowable) as the “ultimate” or “true” nature of reality are almost certainly wrong. It seems silly that we argue about which explanation is “better” or more plausible given that they are all probably wrong.


All of these explanations are perfectly correct to the people explaining them. You just need to translate from their language to yours. When people tell you something, they are telling you objective truth filtered through their brains.

If that which is observed is the only objective truth then that is also what created us, birth is a mere illusion.
 
burnt
#50 Posted : 1/23/2011 10:38:13 AM

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Quote:
"Just out of curiosity what kind of answer would you require burnt?"


None of your answers are in anyway indicators or something stranger then we can suppose going on. Pretty much every single person alive has had some subjective experience whether on drugs or not on drugs that was just weird. People have dreams that come true, people predict things that they think were impossible, people know things that they couldn't have known.

My point is that there is no reason to invoke magical explanations about consciousness to explain them. Our brain evolved to look for patterns and find causes for those patterns. Many weird phenomenon can be explained in this context.

The kind of answer I am looking for is something like: I smoke dmt and I all of a sudden I could jump through walls. Which of course never happens. Nothing that happens on dmt contradicts current scientific hypothesis about consciousness being generated in the brain. If dmt is a drug that alters perception then all else follows. That is all I am saying nothing more. Its not about being right and wrong. I'm just pointing out an obvious explanation that is often ignored. This has nothing to do with spiritual beliefs or deeper meanings its an obvious fact.

When you take drugs your brain changes and you see shit.

Quote:
Some scientifically-minded people find it very easy to be skeptical of certain phenomena explained in terms that don’t fit their current understanding of reality, such as consciousness being separable from the brain/body, yet these same people are not at all skeptical when the unknown is explained in familiar, comfortable terms, such as explaining all psychedelic phenomena in terms of brain/drug interactions.


Yes but again you ignore that there is evidence for one and none for the other. No one has evidence that consciousness survives after bodily death. Near death experiences are not evidence as they can be induced by altering brain chemistry.
 
gibran2
#51 Posted : 1/23/2011 3:53:37 PM

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burnt wrote:
...

When you take drugs your brain changes and you see shit.

Quote:
Some scientifically-minded people find it very easy to be skeptical of certain phenomena explained in terms that don’t fit their current understanding of reality, such as consciousness being separable from the brain/body, yet these same people are not at all skeptical when the unknown is explained in familiar, comfortable terms, such as explaining all psychedelic phenomena in terms of brain/drug interactions.


Yes but again you ignore that there is evidence for one and none for the other. No one has evidence that consciousness survives after bodily death. Near death experiences are not evidence as they can be induced by altering brain chemistry.

One thing you seem to be forgetting is that the brain is always “on drugs”. That’s how the brain works. When you look in a mirror and see your reflection, it’s your brain “taking drugs” (releasing and receiving neurotransmitters) that is responsible for the construction of the image you ultimately “see”.

When the brain is in one state, you have one kind of experience that we can call “everyday reality”. When the brain is in another state, you have a different kind of experience that we call a “psychedelic experience”. We have evidence that when brain state is changed, perception is changed. There’s no argument there at all.

But once again, you take a leap of faith and jump to the conclusion that one type of brain state shows us what is “real” and another shows us something that is “illusion”. There is no scientific evidence (and there can’t ever be) that can prove our everyday reality is “real”.

This oversimplifies, but if we have two brain states, and two measures of “reality”, then there are 4 possible combinations:

1. Normal state is real, DMT state is real
2. Normal state is real, DMT state is illusion
3. Normal state is illusion, DMT state is real
4. Normal state is illusion, DMT state is illusion

There is no way to scientifically determine which combination is true (or if any of them are true).

Your bias is that you prefer #2 over the other 3 possibilities. There is no evidence that any one of the possibilities is more likely than any other. (Using the original analogy, this is equivalent to having two marbles in the box.)
gibran2 is a fictional character. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.
 
joedirt
#52 Posted : 1/23/2011 5:25:36 PM

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burnt wrote:
Quote:
"Just out of curiosity what kind of answer would you require burnt?"


None of your answers are in anyway indicators or something stranger then we can suppose going on. Pretty much every single person alive has had some subjective experience whether on drugs or not on drugs that was just weird. People have dreams that come true, people predict things that they think were impossible, people know things that they couldn't have known.

My point is that there is no reason to invoke magical explanations about consciousness to explain them. Our brain evolved to look for patterns and find causes for those patterns. Many weird phenomenon can be explained in this context.

The kind of answer I am looking for is something like: I smoke dmt and I all of a sudden I could jump through walls. Which of course never happens. Nothing that happens on dmt contradicts current scientific hypothesis about consciousness being generated in the brain. If dmt is a drug that alters perception then all else follows. That is all I am saying nothing more. Its not about being right and wrong. I'm just pointing out an obvious explanation that is often ignored. This has nothing to do with spiritual beliefs or deeper meanings its an obvious fact.

When you take drugs your brain changes and you see shit.

Quote:
Some scientifically-minded people find it very easy to be skeptical of certain phenomena explained in terms that don’t fit their current understanding of reality, such as consciousness being separable from the brain/body, yet these same people are not at all skeptical when the unknown is explained in familiar, comfortable terms, such as explaining all psychedelic phenomena in terms of brain/drug interactions.


Yes but again you ignore that there is evidence for one and none for the other. No one has evidence that consciousness survives after bodily death. Near death experiences are not evidence as they can be induced by altering brain chemistry.


I agree nothing that I said proves anything...and you are right almost everyone has had unexplainable phenomena happen to them.

..but the answer your looking for wouldn't support what we are talking about at all...it would support that DMT makes you super man....I don't think any one here is claiming that.

How did my entire room light up from the center of my wifes chest? You can invoke all kinds of scientific answers and none of them will answer how it happened. Proof...certainly it's not..and I said as much.

But how could you prove that DMT allowed me to see a light emminating from my wife's chest that lit up the room...or any other strange phenomena that people see?

I agree with other posts...it's far to easy for scientists to say this doesn't fit in our little world. In some sense we scientist have a tendency to make science our religion and as soon as we do we loose the magic... That's really my primary point.

As a scientist it's obvious that DMT crosses the blood brain barrier and acts at the various 5-HT receptors and a few dopamine and norepinephrine receptors as well. It's easy to say it's all just neurochemistry...cause it is.

What I'm getting it is bigger than that. Is our brain a receiver? Is this reality...aka your reality simply determined by the relative concentrations of neurotransmitters and receptors in your brain? Are the mind and brain separate. This is a big question and most scientists won't try and tackle it because WE DON'T HAVE ANY WAY TO PROVE IT. This fits squarely in the realm of direct experience.

I experience a light emminating from the center of my wife's chest that literally lit up the entire room such that I could make out all the details just as if someone turned the light switch on. The best my scientific brain comes up with is my pupils dialated and allowed my to pick up extremely small amounts of light so that I could see the room. My other side say's WOW that was amazing I wonder how that could have possibly happened.

I've also merged directly with an amazing white light...no way to prove that to anyone else either unless they directly have the experience. Again it could all be neurochemistry or it might be something bigger.

Please note I'm not claiming anything to be mystical or magical (although I do have my theories and opinions)...but I'm sure as hell allowing for the possibility...and at least on the surface it doesn't appear as though you are.

Science is not everything.....just because we can't prove something doesn't make it not so..... and just because we can't prove something sure as hell doesn't make it so.

I'm just allowing for the possibility...because anything less wouldn't be good science to me.


If your religion, faith, devotion, or self proclaimed spirituality is not directly leading to an increase in kindness, empathy, compassion and tolerance for others then you have been misled.
 
joedirt
#53 Posted : 1/23/2011 5:27:37 PM

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hey burnt I agree...it is an obvious explanation that does often get ignored.....but is there more to it than that.
If your religion, faith, devotion, or self proclaimed spirituality is not directly leading to an increase in kindness, empathy, compassion and tolerance for others then you have been misled.
 
actualfactual
#54 Posted : 1/23/2011 6:07:30 PM

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Quote:

I've also merged directly with an amazing white light...no way to prove that to anyone else either unless they directly have the experience. Again it could all be neurochemistry or it might be something bigger.


Yourself, Rising Spirit and I have all had the same experience with becoming the white light both on an off drugs (it happened to all of us drifting off to sleep as well). I believe there must be a biological/neurochemical reason for this but it feels like so much more..

Since multiple people have all had this same experience independently it further validates it in my mind. I was a strict materialist before this experience but my current view is that the light is pure uncut consciousness and our bodies are some sort of receiver..

I could be wrong of course but I think this is at least as likely as consciousness living solely in my head!
 
joedirt
#55 Posted : 1/23/2011 6:16:55 PM

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aloneits wrote:
Quote:

I've also merged directly with an amazing white light...no way to prove that to anyone else either unless they directly have the experience. Again it could all be neurochemistry or it might be something bigger.


Yourself, Rising Spirit and I have all had the same experience with becoming the white light both on an off drugs (it happened to all of us drifting off to sleep as well). I believe there must be a biological/neurochemical reason for this but it feels like so much more..

Since multiple people have all had this same experience independently it further validates it in my mind. I was a strict materialist before this experience but my current view is that the light is pure uncut consciousness and our bodies are some sort of receiver..

I could be wrong of course but I think this is at least as likely as consciousness living solely in my head!



I 'believe' it is what we tap into during deep sleep.

A human go easily go 30, 60, 90 day's with out food. Most humans diea after a week or two of no sleep.

I've been expirmenting with fasting and it has taught me a lot. The first day of a water fast is incredible hard. The second day a little hard. The third day you wake up feeling like a million dollars, and you have a level of energy that is astonishing considering you haven't had food in 72 hours or more hours.....where does this energy come from? Glycoloysis? Hardly. Doesn't all add up.

I personally believe that food feeds the body, but the mind receives some level of nurishment from deep sleep. I 'believe' that we tap into the source during this period. This view is shared by Buddhists monks...though I read about their experiences after formulating some of my own opinions. I've asked many professors in grad school and many active scientists....this is unanswered to me. After 30 day's with no food...after 60 day's with no food were does this mysterious energy come from when people wake up everyday?

Note I've only ever fasted for 4 day's but I've read accounts of many people doing it for 4 weeks..and they all report the same thing. Incredible lightness of mood, clear headed thinking, and amazing amounts of energy.

Yes I 'believe' there is something very mysterious about deep sleep.

Check out this book: "Tibetan Yogas of dream and sleep" I suspect you would enjoy it.

Cheers
If your religion, faith, devotion, or self proclaimed spirituality is not directly leading to an increase in kindness, empathy, compassion and tolerance for others then you have been misled.
 
burnt
#56 Posted : 1/26/2011 9:43:31 AM

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Nice post joedirt. Yea its interesting your wifes chest lit up room. At first I thought you mean it just lit up but if it lit up other objects in the room that certainly is an interesting effect! There could be lots of potential explanations but it wouldn't matter there is no way to prove it. My walking through wall example was a bit over the top I think this effect you bring up is more in line with what I mean. The thing about it though is I don't think its unanswerable. Its a tough question but not impossible.

Quote:
I've also merged directly with an amazing white light...no way to prove that to anyone else either unless they directly have the experience. Again it could all be neurochemistry or it might be something bigger.


Certainly been there and don't want to discount other possibilities but why does it need to be more? It could be more. I just happen to not want to jump to conclusions until more evidence is presented. I've jumped to conclusions in the past and it could have ended up not so nice. Seen it end up not so nice for others too.

We know psychedelics can delude. This is obvious to anyone whose had a certain kind of paranoid style bad trip.

Quote:
But once again, you take a leap of faith and jump to the conclusion that one type of brain state shows us what is “real” and another shows us something that is “illusion”.


Well our brain evolved to be in a certain state because that state encouraged survival. That picture or reality is at least the one most useful if you want to survive. People with psychosis are obvious examples of people whose picture of reality is distorted. I think its similar with dmt except dmt isnt necessarily directly creating delusions but its altering perceptions to the point where the picture gets less accurate. Or another way to put it might be that certain perceptions begin to dominate over or inhibit other perceptions to where you see tons of geometric shapes instead of your wall.

I still won't accept that its like marbles in the box for the simple reason that there is evidence for these things so its not all a black box. Again epistomology aside because I don't want to have a circle discussion.
 
imPsimon
#57 Posted : 1/26/2011 1:12:01 PM

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joedirt wrote:
The third day you wake up feeling like a million dollars, and you have a level of energy that is astonishing considering you haven't had food in 72 hours or more hours.....where does this energy come from? Glycoloysis? Hardly. Doesn't all add up.


Note I've only ever fasted for 4 day's but I've read accounts of many people doing it for 4 weeks..and they all report the same thing. Incredible lightness of mood, clear headed thinking, and amazing amounts of energy.


Your body is full of energy. When you dont get your energy from food your body will start to
chew away on muscles and body fat.
The reason people have the feeling of "amazing amounts of energy" doesn't have to be actual energy and
if you think about, no energy have been consumed so it's more likely to be
some psychological effect.
If you were to take a fat line of amphetamine when you are very tired all of a sudden you feel like
you could run a marathon. All you are doing is fooling your brain into thinking it has all that
energy which otherwise comes in the form of carbohydrates.
 
jbark
#58 Posted : 1/26/2011 2:41:21 PM

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I think I am losing my marbles over all of this. Shocked

First of all, thanks Gibran2 for a fantastic post and a great thread. Thanks also to Burnt for your musings and your counterpoints. And of course the contributions of others who remind me why I spend so much time in this place. Very happy

My jetlagged and delerious thoughts on the question at hand:

I think a simple way of understanding this difference in perspectives is to acknowledge that most of what is "unscientific" is based on a high incidence of inductive reasoning (tracing an effect back to a “cause”). However, and quite ironically, most of what is commonly taken as scientific knowledge is ALSO a product of inductive reasoning:

Every life form we know of depends on water for existence,
therefore every life form depends on water.

Many then arrive at another proposition, through this "scientific" induction, that everything alive definitively requires water in order to be considered "LIFE".

This is an inductive, and potentially erroneous proposition. It is important to understand that the proposition describes what has been found to be consistent ONLY WITHIN THE SYSTEM IT DESCRIBES, and not only fails to take into account the possibilities outside of this system, but also, and more astoundingly, neglects to leave room for other possibilities within the system itself.

Every object with mass in the universe is attracted to every other object with mass via a force known as gravity, therefore gravity is the force of attraction between two objects.

Newtonian physics. A workable model of classical mechanics which accurately describes most instances of “attraction” between objects. But, we now know, it is at the very least incomplete, at worst just wrong. Newton readily admitted arriving at his infamous laws through induction. General Relativity explains gravity as an attribute of the curvature of space time, and not technically two objects “attracting one another”. And now, according to quantum mechanics, the mechanism that governs this “attraction” is the elusive gravitron, which is theoretically massless!!

So the above proposition, that was arrived at through induction, was the basis of physics for nearly 250 years, but has now been proven to be, although a still employed and workable system, ultimately false and a patent misrepresentation on many levels.

To me this is the crux of the problem underlying science and its methods and conclusions: the denial that it too is subject to a (arguably much lower) degree of inductive reasoning. Extremely effective at describing systems and providing a workable and consistent description of reality, but nevertheless extremely restrictive with respect to truly understanding anything outside its scope (and very often even within its scope...)

What is interesting in Gibran's model is that regardless of the degree of induction (the number of known marbles, let us say) it does not actually increase the probability of "knowing" what colour marbles are ultimately in the box. We are dealing in such large quantities of the "unknown", that all attempts to identify the contents of the box, be they based on the understanding of a number of related systems (the "known" marbles in the box), or blind guess, are all conjecture and have virtually the same probability of being correct:

ZERO.

Or zero’s next door neighbour.

Science is very good at explaining the “how” even if it is really only at the very beginning of this cause and effect (and often effect and cause) explanation. It is not the purview of science, nor has it ever been, to explain the “why”. So to affirm that a psychedelic state is simply a neurochemical one is to, very accurately, describe the mechanisms at work - the how – but is nevertheless ultimately only a tiny fraction of what is really going on - the why.

The problem is that all alternatives to science provide answers to neither the how, NOR the why. And hence are subjected to much (often deserved) derision by those of a scientific/rational materialist mindset. Because if, as Gibran2 points out, all answers are marbles and accorded equal weight, given that they all have roughly the same probability of being correct, there is no ruler for how far-fetched any idea really is:

We are all swans.
We are alien beings playing a game.
We are soulless animals that live, fuck, die and cease to exist.
We are God.
I am God and you are all products of my infinite imagination.
We are marbles.
I have lost my marbles.

All of these propositions, according to the marble analogy, hold equal weight in that their individual chances of actually being correct are the same.

So where does this leave us? In a position where we have no choice but to revel in questions, and forget answers. Let science describe its systems, let it ask the questions it needs to. Let every other discipline, or lack thereof, ask its own questions. And let’s all leave the judgments at the door. Accept that we will never know all, and that every ostensible “answer”’s purpose is simply to encourage more questions. BUT PLEASE CONTINUE TO ASK QUESTIONS.

It is our purpose.

Just do not mistake the question for an answer, for the answers to all questions are further questions.

JBArk the question
Jbark's the spot
JBArk is a Mandelthought; a non-fiction character in a drama of his own design he calls "LIFE" who partakes in consciousness expanding activities and substances; he should in no way be confused with SWIM, who is an eminently data-mineable and prolific character who has somehow convinced himself the target he wears on his forehead is actually a shield.
 
gibran2
#59 Posted : 1/26/2011 5:31:16 PM

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burnt wrote:
Quote:
But once again, you take a leap of faith and jump to the conclusion that one type of brain state shows us what is “real” and another shows us something that is “illusion”.


Well our brain evolved to be in a certain state because that state encouraged survival. That picture or reality is at least the one most useful if you want to survive. People with psychosis are obvious examples of people whose picture of reality is distorted. I think its similar with dmt except dmt isnt necessarily directly creating delusions but its altering perceptions to the point where the picture gets less accurate. Or another way to put it might be that certain perceptions begin to dominate over or inhibit other perceptions to where you see tons of geometric shapes instead of your wall.

I still won't accept that its like marbles in the box for the simple reason that there is evidence for these things so its not all a black box. Again epistomology aside because I don't want to have a circle discussion.

First, I agree completely that we have evolved to have brain states that are advantageous to our survival. After all, if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be here. I don’t necessarily agree that DMT alters perceptions “to the point where the picture gets less accurate”. Just the opposite could be true:

We are not capable of sensing many phenomena that are constantly present around us, such as radio waves. The fact that we aren’t sensing something that is present shows that our normal mode of perception gives a less accurate picture of our environment. If you could suddenly sense all frequencies of radio waves, you’d have a more accurate picture of your environment, but not necessarily a more useful one.

Likewise, if DMT allows us to somehow “sense” things that are always present yet not ordinarily perceived, then the alterations to perception it causes gives us a more accurate picture, not less accurate.

Finally, I’m not sure you understand the “black box and marbles” analogy. The black box represents the unknown. The marbles in the box represent characteristics of reality that actually exist, which are presently (and possibly forever) unknown. Occasionally we reach into the box and take out a marble, so that after a while, we have a sizeable pile of marbles outside of the box. The marbles outside of the box represent characteristics of reality that we know.

Using the analogy, it’s reasonable to guess, in spite of the large number of marbles we’ve removed from the box, that there are countless many marbles still remaining in the box, so any speculation about the marbles in the box – about the unknown – is likely to be false.

We could also compare reality to a large photograph or a jigsaw puzzle – the known is a small region of the photo or a single piece of the puzzle, and the unknown is everything else. We can describe what we see, but outside the context of the whole photo/puzzle, we can’t even be sure if what we see is what it seems to be.


jbark wrote:
...The problem is that all alternatives to science provide answers to neither the how, NOR the why. And hence are subjected to much (often deserved) derision by those of a scientific/rational materialist mindset. Because if, as Gibran2 points out, all answers are marbles and accorded equal weight, given that they all have roughly the same probability of being correct, there is no ruler for how far-fetched any idea really is:

We are all swans.
We are alien beings playing a game.
We are soulless animals that live, fuck, die and cease to exist.
We are God.
I am God and you are all products of my infinite imagination.
We are marbles.
I have lost my marbles.

All of these propositions, according to the marble analogy, hold equal weight in that their individual chances of actually being correct are the same.

So where does this leave us? In a position where we have no choice but to revel in questions, and forget answers. Let science describe its systems, let it ask the questions it needs to. Let every other discipline, or lack thereof, ask its own questions. And let’s all leave the judgments at the door. Accept that we will never know all, and that every ostensible “answer”’s purpose is simply to encourage more questions. BUT PLEASE CONTINUE TO ASK QUESTIONS.

It is our purpose.

Just do not mistake the question for an answer, for the answers to all questions are further questions.

JBArk the question
Jbark's the spot

Very nice post. It’s clear you know about the unknown. You don’t know the unknown, but you know about it. Smile

One fine point that I’m not sure I communicated – although the unknown is vast and the possibilities may literally be infinite, that doesn’t mean that anything is possible. For example, the Mandelbrot set has infinite detail, yet the detail is all “Mandelbrot-like”. No matter how deeply you zoom into the infinite detail of the set, you’ll never see a likeness of your grandma’s face. (Unless your grandma’s face looks like a Mandelbrot fractal.)
gibran2 is a fictional character. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.
 
jbark
#60 Posted : 1/26/2011 6:00:12 PM

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gibran2 wrote:


One fine point that I’m not sure I communicated – although the unknown is vast and the possibilities may literally be infinite, that doesn’t mean that anything is possible. For example, the Mandelbrot set has infinite detail, yet the detail is all “Mandelbrot-like”. No matter how deeply you zoom into the infinite detail of the set, you’ll never see a likeness of your grandma’s face. (Unless your grandma’s face looks like a Mandelbrot fractal.)


Ahh sweet sweet infinity and its myriad paradoxes.

I have often queried about the nature of infinity:

If, for example, we have an irrational number 3.999999999... that continues to infinity, does it not get infinitely larger? Or is there a distinction between "infinitely larger" and "larger, infinitely?" Clearly, 4 is larger than the irrational number above, but the latter is infinitely large, by growing infinitely, no?:evil: If not, which is the larger of the two, the irrational 3.99999... or the rational 4?

And likewise a number approaching 0, infinitely, grows infinitely smaller from the other side of the line (-0.11111111...). But how can something grow infinitely smaller? Infinitely larger is an easier concept to grasp than infinitely smaller, for the mighty 0 seems like a clear stopping point, and dividing and subdividing infinitely just seems improbable at the very least.

Infinity is clearly not all encompassing, as in your mandelbrot example and those cited here.

The famous example of the arrow conundrum (pencil and floor in modern times) comes to mind (two of zeno's paradoxes blended, as told to me by my father, who inadvertently mixed them up). If an arrow is shot at a target, at some point, it covers half the distance to the target. And at another point in time, half the new distance. And a fraction of a second longer, half that. If it continues halving the distance, which mathematics demands it does, it will NEVER hit the target. But anyone who has shot an arrow knows that arrows do hit targets (and anyone who has been the target of an arrow is probably just as unsure and equally as lost as meSmile ).

So this is a failing of our mathematical model of the universe, and serves as an illustration of the nature of our models: theoretically sound, but not always practically applicable. Any good scientist should take this into account. I am sure I am not covering new philosophical ground here, but I find these examples illuminating, and they serve to remind me that while we endeavour to model the universe, it evades our modelling, our characterizing, our compartmentalizing. It is as confounding as the very impossibility of the notion of infinity.

Yet we speak of infinity with authority. With conviction. With a troubling certainty.

You heard it here first: infinity does not exist. At least in an infinite universe.

JBArk the infant it of divinity

JBArk is a Mandelthought; a non-fiction character in a drama of his own design he calls "LIFE" who partakes in consciousness expanding activities and substances; he should in no way be confused with SWIM, who is an eminently data-mineable and prolific character who has somehow convinced himself the target he wears on his forehead is actually a shield.
 
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