From: "Michael Jackson [FairfieldLife]" 

To: "" <> 
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 12:04 PM
Subject: Re: [FairfieldLife] Re: Belief in God is a form of mental illness

Well said Barry - and I agree with every word

It's NOT that I'm saying that seeking spiritual experiences ISN'T valuable. I'm 
just pointing out that almost no one in history has ever stepped up to the 
plate and made an objective, scientific case for what that value might be. 

Most teachers or seekers just *assume* that these experiences they have or 
claim to have had are valuable, but when called upon to do so, they can't 
really produce any strong arguments for WHY they are valuable, or WHAT that 
supposed value is. I'm suggesting that this oversight is epidemic in the world 
of "spiritual practices," the elephant in the room that no one ever talks 
about. The people promoting these practices just *assume* that these 
experiences they're having or seeking are *worth* having or seeking, and debate 
the supposedly best ways of achieving them. But I don't know of very many who 
have taken that "step back," beyond the assumption, and have tried to make a 
case for WHY they're so intent on achieving these things. What is it that they 
hope to "achieve," and WHY would others want to do so?

Answers such as, "Well, I want to have these experiences because Jim Flanegin 
said that I would be a low-vibe slime until I had them the way he has" do not 
count.  :-)  :-)  :-)

It's the same problem I see with religion in general. The people urging others 
to join their religions don't seem to ever offer any real-world, 
payoff-in-this-lifetime reasons for doing so. They just *assume* that there is 
a payoff, and try to bluff their way through without ever specifying what it 
is. Millions and millions of seekers over the ages, and almost none of them 
have ever come up with a real *value* for all this seeking they're devoting 
their lives to. I'm NOT suggesting that there isn't one, just pointing out that 
no one ever seems to talk about it if there is. 


 From: "TurquoiseBee [FairfieldLife]" 
To: "" <> 
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 4:33 AM
Subject: Re: [FairfieldLife] Re: Belief in God is a form of mental illness

From: "Xenophaneros Anartaxius [FairfieldLife]" 

From: "TurquoiseBee [FairfieldLife]" 

From: " [FairfieldLife]" <>

The question for 'spiritually' oriented individuals would be, is there a way to 
construct a system that gives us these experiences of unboundedness that does 
not also wreak havoc with this gullibility weakness in the human nervous system.

But that would presuppose that there is an actual VALUE to these "experiences 
of unboundedness." That has not been established, merely assumed by centuries 
of religious fanatics trying to convince others that its value trumps 
everything else. 

I would suggest going back to the starting point and, if you want to invent a 
better system,
 make a case for these
 types of experience having a value in the
 first place. Most religions have never tried to do this. They just make 
declarations like Maharishi did, along the lines of "The purpose of life is to 
achieve these experiences of unboundedness," which then become dogma and are 
repeated and believed by successive generations of believers. But he never said 
WHY these experiences were supposedly worth achieving. 

Start now...what do YOU see as the VALUE of these "experiences of 
unboundedness" you speak of? If you can't establish that they *have* a value, 
then why do we need a system of *any* kind to achieve them?

Systems already exist, but they are inefficient and quirky, and at best we just 
stumble into them. If the value to the individual is great enough, they will 
find a way. What was of value to me though, might not be of value to another.

I have found these experiences valuable...

HOW? I cannot help but notice that you have avoided my question. DEFINE this 
"value" that you have "found" in these "experiences of unboundedness." How 
*exactly* did they improve your life (or anyone else's life), in objective 

, but it has also been very interesting how they have ultimately played out for 
me. Sam Harris is also promoting those experiences in his new book Waking Up, a 
Guide to Spirituality without Religion. 

And, like you, without presenting a convincing reason WHY they might be 

These experiences can be fantastic, one can get attached to having them but as 
to how they can be interpreted is another question. What you are told in a 
particular tradition might not be a particularly good way to describe them if 
they tend to reinforce an impacted belief system. My view, at the moment, is 
the nervous system is relieving itself of something, but it is difficult to 
tell just what that something is. I would say the interesting spiritual 
experiences are just artefacts of the system normalising itself, so they are 
not really of real import. 

Then why "construct a system to give people these experiences?"

If one is seeking heaven and trying to avoid hell, one is missing the point of 
the search, for the point is to discover the commonality of both, and avoid 
being sucked either way. 

WHY is anyone seeking *either*? And where did you make the connection between 
these "experiences of unboundedness" and "heaven" or "hell?" 

For me as time went on such experiences tended to damp out, everything kind of 
flattened out, until one day on a walk there was this shift in which the world, 
as it always had been, was identical with what I had been

I'm not sure you get my point. You, like Sam Harris, are talking about finding 
alternative -- theoretically better or more benign -- methods of "giving people 
these experiences of unboundedness." But it strikes me that neither of you have 
ever taken a step back and told us WHY you or anyone else really *wants* these 
experiences in the first place, and more important, what objective *value* 
these experiences bring to your life or to the lives of others. 

I *understand* what you're saying...I think. I'm just pointing out that you and 
Harris both seem to sound as if you're inside a herd of lemmings presenting 
options for a new direction in which to run, without ever making a case for WHY 
you are running in the first place.  :-)


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