Michael Hoffman wrote:
>> Time is only open-ended as far as our *knowledge* about the future. The future is single (I hold this because it's the simplest world-model) and closed and already exists. Forking only describes our lack of knowledge. Only 1 future is possible: that which has always existed. Past, present, future all popped into existence, crystallizing forward and backward, at the timeless moment of creation.
Jason Wehmhoener wrote:
>This begs the question, if the future is crystallized, why do we not have knowledge of it? (My answer would be that we CAN have knowledge of it, but I'm not sure why we don't ALWAYS have knowledge of it, why are we ever "wrong"?)
Michael Anderson wrote:
>You see egoic free will as illusory, as the experience of time as "flowing" is itself illusory. ... The sense of timelessness and "eternity" was extremely powerful, I had a remarkable feeling of omniscience.
Experiencing a *sense* of omniscience is not the same as having omniscience. You can feel like you are in a position to know everything, to jump out of the usual lack of knowledge, without actually knowing everything or jumping out of lack of knowledge. Part of this sense of knowing is that the mind during loose cognition is so brilliant and creative, and so prone to feedback-loop build-up, it *does* discover certain transcendent revelations and lofty principles.
Such a state of mind presents the unrestrained feeling of knowing everything, together with actual strong potential to have insight into the highest principles of time, self control, will, and moral agency. However, the mind does not actually break any laws of restricted knowledge. It breaks out of the accustomed restrictions and ruts of thought, but it does not actually gain the ability to remote view or to see the specific content of the future.
Michael A wrote:
>And yet, there is a sense in which the illusory remnants of my ego still maintained themselves throughout the experience, and certainly they reasserted themselves "afterwards". In this respect then, I cannot myself predict my own future actions, although I should be able to in some sense, since I still carry the memory of that experience within myself.
You seem to associate having a clearly engaged ego with predicting your future actions. On the other hand, you seem to associate loss of ego with the ability to see the content of your future. Predicting one's future actions is a topic in itself.
Normally, we feel that we have partial ability to reach into our own future and predict our actions. In the loose-cog state, this sense is diminished, and we can radically lose confidence in our ability to predict or control our near-future actions. This can lead into a control-vortex, loss-of-control experience.
Michael A wrote:
>How do you resolve this apparent contradiction? Did I simply not experience ego death thoroughly, or is my present ego cognition simply "forgetting" what it already discovered?
I'm not following your expected reasoning completely. You seem to assume that experiencing ego death thoroughly would enable you to predict and thus see the content of the future. I don't see how experiencing ego death would somehow suggest seeing the particular content of your future.
Michael A wrote:
>Shouldn't conscious precognition become available through ego death? Suppose one could in fact gain precognition through ego death.
A fundamental axiom I adhere to is that we cannot have precognition. That is, the simplest model of ego-death does not drag in the highly and unnecessarily speculative hypothesis of precognition. Intuitively perceiving the fixity and eternal preexistence of the future is completely separate from having precognition.
Michael A wrote:
>For example, let's say that during ego death I come to the realization that I will raise my right hand in five seconds.
That's an extremely arbitrary and dubious premise, which is not needed for the simplest theory of ego-death.
Michael A wrote:
>How would this square with the very powerful "illusion" that I have the ability, on some level, to then choose NOT to raise my right hand, thus contradicting myself? Is that choice simply not available to me somehow? It seems to be such a "real" choice, it is simply hard for me to accept that I would not be able to make that choice. Would my hand simply raise itself against my own "will" somehow?
Actions happen through the will. If the universe forces you to decide to move your hand, it will do so by secretly injecting into you the will to do so. In the normal, tight-cognition state, we claim authorship for this will, but in the loose-cog state, we perceive this will being forced upon us, into us.
From the point of view of our initial state of knowledge, the choice might produce outcome A or B. But that only describes our incomplete knowledge. The choice has already, timelessly, eternally been cast in stone, together with all past and future thoughts, states, and acts of will.
We can intuit, grasp the coherent plausibility, or perhaps even perceive *that* the future is fixed. We can understand the nature of the future, or this grasp this aspect of the future. However, this is *entirely* different than knowing the particular *content* of the future. Understanding principles of time and the future is entirely different than knowing what particular states lie in the future. "Seeing" the *fixity*, frozenness, or preexistence of the future is not the same thing as seeing the *content* of the future. We still remain ignorant.
So much of determinism is drawn by the passionate wish to see the future -- people always define it foremost, like they define science, as a method of predicting. I can't relate to this overzealous insistence of the importance of seeing the future.
Like pop spiritualists come to spirituality with a strongly preconceived expectation that the purpose of spirituality is to make you feel nice, so do scientists and determinists come to the philosophy of science with a strongly preconceived expectation that the whole raison d'etre of science is "to predict", to know the future.
Whence comes this modern obsession with divining the future? I take it as axiomatic that we *cannot* see into the future, except in the weak sense of posing scenarios that seem to be possible from the point of view of the current limited state of knowledge. I am not trying to view the content of the future -- I am only intent on focusing on the idea that the future already exists. We assume that other places now exist, but we would never assume that that somehow entitles us to *see* those other places through remote viewing.
Remote viewing and precognition both are unrelated to the basic theory of ego-death. You can have the full insight and experience as I define it, with never having any psychic experience of remote viewing or precognition.
The theses of Cahill's book correspond with the concepts Elaine Pagels' book The Gnostic Paul associates with the lower Christians, the psychics, which in Valentinian thought were refered to as "Jews" as opposed to the Greek "Gentiles". Pagels' book portrays the encoded category "Jews" as believing in free will, literalism, supernaturalism, and the ideas associated with later Christian orthodoxy. The Valentinian category "Gentiles" described the Fate- oriented worldview of the initiated, dwelling on the illusory aspect of personal moral responsible agency. I posted a clear two-column list of "psychic" vs. "pneumatic", or "Jew" vs. "Gentile" concepts in the JesusMysteries discussion group a month or two ago, which I extracted from the book The Gnostic Paul. Cahill's book, described below, supports Pagels' characterization of what the Valentinians meant by "Jews" or the Jewish metaphysical world-model, which in Greek culture might be called the naive view of the uninitiated. The Jews seem to have lacked a prominent sacramental mystery-religion -- entheogen use was only by the prophets, not by the general Jewish populace except the Hellenistic Jews of the diaspora.
The Gifts of the Jews : How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way
Everyone Thinks and Feels
List Price: $14.00
Paperback - 291 pages (September 1999)
Anchor Books; ISBN: 0385482493 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.71 x 7.99
>From the editorial reviews:
He begins with Avraham (Abraham), who heard a voice and was willing to follow it, and explores how that voice made Avraham's descendants think and believe in ways that were so radically different as to change even the concept of time.
The evolution of human sensibility shows how the ancient Israelites transformed the idea of religion by gradually introducing monotheism, and equally transformed our sense of time and history. Beginning with Abraham's departure from his Sumerian homeland, the ancient Hebrews broke with the repetitive cyclical image of history assumed by most ancient religions to forge what Cahill terms the ``processive'' worldview. In this perspective, the present and future become more important than the past, for they are open to change, progress, and hope. Cahill also credits the Hebrew Bible with bequeathing to Western civilization such seminal ideas as the interior self (e.g. in David's Psalms),
The Jews introduced to the world a radically new conception of reality. Supplanting the ancient view that man's life on earth is cyclical and predetermined (except for the occasional intervention of capricious gods), the Bible teaches that the future is determined by our present actions. This being the case, human behavior is morally significant, man is free, and progress is possible.
His contention that the Bible introduces the "modern" sense of time, history, and the nature of human relationships... seems persuasive
...reveals the critical change that made western civilization possible. Within the matrix of ancient religions and philosophies, life was seen as part of an endless cycle of birth and death; time was like a wheel, spinning ceaselessly. Yet somehow, the ancient Jews began to see time differently. For them, time had a beginning and an end; it was a narrative, whose triumphant conclusion would come in the future. From this insight came a new conception of men and women as individuals with unique destinies--a conception that would inform the Declaration of Independence--and our hopeful belief in progress and the sense that tomorrow can be better than today.
Excepts from reader comments:
... because of the Jews the mindset of the Western world shifted from one in which the fate of all people is fixed in the stars, and life is predictable and inescapable, to the belief that life is always progressing forward. ... I find it hard to swallow that this evolution occurred exclusively within their religion.
Explains how a small band of people departed from their neighbours by revising their view of the universe and themselves. Viewing time as linear instead of cyclical.
What is the impact of this novel way of thinking about ourselves? For one thing, the linear view of time is the basis for all Western scientific thought. Without such a concept we could never recognize how evolution controls the flow of life.
Adopting the new view of time imparted the concept of free will, which allowed us the freedom to pursue such inquiries.
The concepts of both monotheism, and individual identity, were created by the ancient Jews.
The Jews moved us from a cyclical to a processive worldview. They gave us the concept that time has a start and an end, and replaced the world seen as a wheel by a world as a journey. Life came to have value and people developed a conscience.
To claim that our very concept of time evolved from one of cyclical and unbreakable repetition with no end and no beginning to our current "processive" notions of past and future because of the Jews begs more questions than Cahill tackles. Among them are how the Egyptians managed to spend decades building monuments that were intended to last forever if they were convinced it would all be for naught when the next cycle began anew.
The Prophets not only did not condone irresponsible behavior, but they preached against it and thereby contributed immeasurably to civilization.
From the 1,000 plus years that Cahill outlines in his book we can trace this evolution from Abraham and the germination of the idea of monotheism to the thoughts of the prophets concerning social justice and personal responsibility. What a long, long way from the binding of Isaac we came in this book!
end of reader review excepts