Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

OUT THERE OR IN THE MIND?

My blogging, reading and, writing are moving towards the mystic and the supernatural.  That’s odd for a person whose life span falls in a time when science is king, religion has been ‘disproved’ and no reality is recognised except that what we can sense for ourselves, or with the instruments  science has provided (like the telescope). Yet exclusive reliance on the scientific method can lead us to ignore other forms of exploration. Perhaps history will prove science to have limited our thinking  just as much as religion did in the dark ages.

The idea of reality can be over-simplified and used as an excuse. What we can see and hear and feel for ourselves is  not a complete picture. Owls and eagles have better sight than we do and can see things that we can’t. Dogs can smell things that we can’t. The fact that something is not real to us is no proof that it does not exist. We can’t see or touch the force of gravity, but we regard it’s existence as proven because it’s effect can be observed. Some other forces, often psychological in nature have enough consistency to win our grudging acceptance. There is a vast stock of unexplained mysteries with putative links between Action A and Event B. In many of these people hypothesise an intermediary force and ascribe the outcome to divine intervention (religion) or auto-suggestion (psychology). In both cases we postulate an unseen force. Sometimes scientists try to apply their method of forming and testing a hypothesis, and in the field of psychology progress has been made. We know something about how human minds work, and something about how one mind can influence another. Not much progress has been made in the field of religion, possible because science is thought to have disproved God. What is the point of investigating a relationship that is obviously impossible?

Science has greatly extended our knowledge, but every step forward seems to reveal a new mystery, and in terms of understanding ‘life, the universe and everything’ no end is in sight. It may turn out that what science has revealed to us is just 1% of what remains unknown. So labelling anything as ‘impossible’ is quite daft.

I feel fully justified in believing that there really is SOMETHING OUT THERE. By OUT THERE I mean BEYOND THE REACH OF SCIENCE AS WE PRACTICE IT. And if if I use the word SUPERNATURAL I mean BEYOND OUR CURRENT CONCEPT OF NATURE. I believe in the existence of currently unknown forces that impact on our reality. I find the writings on the subject fascinating. A much more difficult issue is whether such a force has a conscious will. It may be that such forces are neutral, but that a few exceptional humans have discovered a way to manipulate them. In that case the force operates in a Good or Evil manner dependent on the motive of the human concerned. All professions develop their own jargon, so two people might use quite different terms to describe their interaction with the same force. Christians use words like GOD and seek to influence the force  by PRAYER in order to promote GOOD. Others might have evil intent, and employ different language, yet be dealing with the same ‘neutral’ force. If you think that way, then God and the devil exist only in the human mind. That makes the personal God of my evangelical period seem unlikely. But in the end it is all about words and we are talking in a place where NOBODY KNOWS. If God exists in my mind, enabling me to tap into a force and get a good result, then that  is a form of reality. Perhaps rules and rites and rituals and visible symbols really are important because they focus the mind. And the fact that I can identify God as a mental concept does not prevent God also existing in some physical form in some reality, somewhere. We don’t know.

My recent reading includes Shamanism (Nicholson), The Believing Brain (Michael Shermer), Imagery in Healing (Achtenberg), The Cloud of Unknowing (Anonymous). The High Flier (Susan Howatch).  Shamanism: Archaic techniques of Ecstasy. (Mircea Elaide). The Golden Bough (J.G.Frazer), Witchcraft, Violence and Democracy in South Africa (Adam Ashforth). (Plus a fair knowledge of The Bible). New suggestions would be welcome.

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