I actually wanted to do a post last saturday, but some stuff did hold me up.
Anyways, lets get into it. Ive got quite a lot of stuff i want to write about. But with what should i begin? Well, propably with the beginning. Lets define some fundamental things that will always pop up in discussions about parapsychology, consciousness and so on.
First of all, what are the current most popular beliefs out there?
If im allowed to do so i’d sepeate them into 3 groups. First of all, theism. You all know that one. In public its sometimes the only one of those groups that gets associated with the word belief, buts its clearly not the only one of them that fits the meaning of it. Theism is a broad field; fundamental to it is that there is atleast one god. There could be more though; it would be still theism. (Let me quote a source of wikipedia here… http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theism . Its not worth much since wikipedia is also kinda corrupted these days, but that one should get it kinda right). Its propably the largest group worldwide with various subgroups (you know, christianity, etc…).
The second group is materialism (nope, im not dividing that up into physicalism and naturalism and all that stuff). Fundamental to it is the assumption that everything is material. Everything. Including our consciousness. As much as i can say its pretty popular over in the US (Especially in various fields of science that are closely based on matter, like neuroscience). Europe seems to be a bit less aggressive about that, but its still here. Many people relate materialism closely to atheism; but in my opinion those two can be clearly seperated. You dont have to believe in a god to think that there isnt only material out there.
And that brings me to the final group. Some of you may say that its a subgroup of theism, but just like i already wrote, non-material-beliefs dont necessarly need a god. Two good words to describe that group propably would be spiritiualism/dualism. Those two words can be related to each other (depends on your definition of them), but they dont have to be. That group holds the belief that there isnt just only material out there. And thats basically it. Things like life after death and paranormal phenomena are getting related to it; the first one is propably one of the things thats pretty popular in that group, the second one not necessarly so. But besides that, both are not clear indicators for it.
Anyways, as you can see it seems like there are clear definitions. Reality is, there arent. There is way too many stuff out there that cant be clearly defined as a part of any of those groups. And well, there are propably many out there who would punch me for sticking their beliefs in any of those.
But basically these are the larger ones. If you go to a random internet discussion plattform that you know about, it will be basically two or more people of one of those 3 groups that are trying to boost their egos. If you really want to know more, read science papers or something. Not just the mainstream science, the others too. It will help you so much more doing that instead of discussing with people that are already sure what they want to believe. They wont budge anyways.
Anyways, since i want to talk a bit more about some ‘paranormal’ things, let me try to define some of that too:
I would gladly refrain from defining that if i could. Its propably one of the most talked-about things out there since humanity exists. So, what is consciousness? Some out there describe it as self-awareness, others as a combination of behaviour, emotions, awareness and all that other stuff. And well, there are also materialists out there that claim that it doesnt exist at all, but lets ignore them for now. If we take the rest of them, it may be a combination of various of that stuff. Self-Awareness and Awareness in general are propably a big part of it. And since self-awareness comes with various other things (like the act of thinking; did you ever try to be self-aware without thinking about youself?), they are propably included too.
What doesnt have to be included though are memories (and emotions dont have to be either; i know i mentioned them before though). But as always, it can be included since you cant clearly define those things unless you make assumptions.
I already wrote that one (the title…), huh? Its basically the science of everything that is ‘paranormal’. Stuff like ghosts, life after death and especially psi are getting related to that. Western science usually treats that one like the black sheep of the family. Thats propably related to various frauds in the past (the rest of western science had those things too though; but as usual, no one cares about those) and the fact that this science is mainly based on subjective experience. Its not like the other kinds of science arent based on that; but most of them can be measured with machines or stuff like that. Most of parapsychology cant. Therefore most scientists of matter-related science fields wont take anything of it seriously (and thats a sad thing 😦 ).
NDE & OBE
Those 2 words are insanely common these days when you are talking with dualists about life after death. NDE stands for near death experience. That kind of stuff are the moments where people are being conscious while they are getting in life-threating situations (or while they are clinically dead). Moments where they shouldnt be capable of observing anything at all; but some of them still do. They are linked to quite a few symptoms like a bright light, seeing your dead relatives, etc. There are lots of theories for it out there (materialistic, dualistic…whatever.). Materialistic theories are often related to drugs and the effects of chemicals. Also science is capable of triggering a few of those described sympthoms (if its the same experience as living trough the real deal…i dont know, i never had something like that. Thats a subjective thing after all). Dualistic theories are based on the notion that there exists something seperate to our body. Therefore all of that is possible, no probs.
OBE stands for out of body experience. They are related to NDE’s in that way that they often occur while NDE’s are happening. They dont have to though. OBE’s are the act where people are leaving their body; or atleast they say so. Many of them are reporting various things they saw while the where flying around. There are cases where that stuff was accurate and true. A bit frightening in my opinion, but its out there. Materialistic theories try to explain it just like they do with NDE’s. OBE’s can also be triggered with the stimulation of the brain (and again, i dont know if that would feel the same as the real deal). And well, i heard that you can actually learn to do that stuff freely. Eastern spiritual science is propably something that could help here. Dualistic theories are trying to get around that with the notion that a spirit exists (not all of them of course).
To be honest, i dont know anything about theistic theories for both of them. I may assume though that those would be similar to the dualistic ones.
Thats propably enough for today (and im out of things to define for now anyways). You may want to remember at this point that these are not explicit answer to the meanings of those things. Especially consciousness is something that cant be clearly defined. Also, in all of that stuff there is a lot of subjective experience involved. Something that science these days likes to ignore. But well, i hope that i gave some of you a bit of insight on how you can define these things.