On 10/23/2014 5:04 AM, Michael Jackson mjackso...@yahoo.com [FairfieldLife] wrote:
Well said Barry - and I agree with every word
/You failed to answer Barry's main question: what is the value of the spiritual life?/

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

*From:* "Xenophaneros Anartaxius anartax...@yahoo.com [FairfieldLife]" <FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com>
From:* "TurquoiseBee turquoi...@yahoo.com [FairfieldLife]" <FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com> *From:* "anartax...@yahoo.com [FairfieldLife]" <FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com> 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 terms?

, 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 valuable.

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 seeking.
*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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