I think you hit on something here I never considered. Social interaction. I do not think there is any objective measure by which one considers such experiences valuable. There are certain things I like, certain things I do not, and I go for the ones I like. While I do not know why, those things I like I sometimes like to share with others. A piece of music, a movie. Why did you post about Bruce Cockburn's music, his book? I am not sure there is any reliable objective measure why one likes something other than a general propensity to avoid pain and to maintain comfort. Now if you recall Maharishi said the mind seeks a greater field of happiness. Because he was hawking TM, he skewed the concept to correspond with his metaphysic (the transcendental field, the unified field). You do not need a field. Basically I think it comes down to you like stuff, and don't like other stuff. The rationalisations come later. If there is any objective evidence for that previous sentence it might be split brain experiments. When one side of the brain of people with this condition are asked to explain why the other side of the body did something, it makes up an explanation.
The whole spiritual trip is a post hoc explanation fabricated to explain why something you like, in this case some kind of meditation for example, or the experience that is supposed to result from that, should be valuable to someone else. Spiritual endeavours are really quite a complex bother, all these things that one has to practice or think about, so to get someone to get involved in it really requires a real snow job. You have to bury them with advertising about how great things will be if they do this. You need an intellectual framework to explain why doing such atypical things will benefit. To get someone to come around to your ideas about what you like, it may not matter if it doesn't really work. You make up this because you are socially wired to a certain extent, and a successful social interaction results in feeling good. So there really is not much of a reason for saying such experiences as spiritual experiences are valuable, you hawk them that way, just as you would a certain artist, a good restaurant, a walk on a nice evening. Because social interactions are on an individual level, I would say the ego is involved, that level of personal identity that thinks it is running the show. The ego provides the explanations. From a scientific level, the experiments that indicate the brain comes to decisions often as far as 7 or 8 seconds prior to that decision comes into conscious awareness. That would mean you are not really in control of anything. Life goes on this and that way. Stuff happens, you think you do stuff. Hawking TM or hawking Bruce or hawking Hawking resuls in satisfaction. Whatever floats your boat. As for experiences of unboundedness, I really don't think of them that way any more. The spiritual trip is the strangest con in the universe. Suppose I put it this way: How would you like to be exactly the way you are for as long as you are? This is what I am offering you. It will take you about 40 or 50 years, and you will have to do all these different things, adopt crazy ideas, do exercises, sit quietly, eat special foods, take weird medicines. Want to jump in an try this out? In order to get people to do what you like, you have to be more devious in your enticements. It all comes down to 'I like this, and I want you to like it too'. Psst, I have some secret stuff that other people do not know, and if you let me tell you, and you do what I say, you will be able to say every day 'I'm gonna help people! Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me! ________________________________ From: "TurquoiseBee turquoi...@yahoo.com [FairfieldLife]" <FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com> To: "FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com" <FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com> Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 8:33 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. :-)