Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Scientific challenges to the beliefs promoted by the Brahma Kumaris so called "World Spiritual University"
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ex-l

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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post23 Feb 2016

Arbit wrote:Hinduism probably originated some 5000 years ago and has evolved over the centuries. Despite its warts, it thrives and draws seekers from around the world. IMO, several simple yet profound aspects of Hinduism have kept it relevant, whereas others that came before and after it have disappeared or struggle.

Many of us were attracted to the idea of a "Spiritual University" precisely because we were sincerely interested such things as the history and development of the human soul and religions. Instead, what did we get ... a dumbed down "bubble gum wrapper" sized version?

I suppose discussing the sustainability of the Hindu social and psychological model *could* be related to this topic in the way it influences Indians attitude to life today ... their collective genetic memory. I would have to agree with you in some elements, e.g. regarding the pluralistic model versus the monotheistic imperialist models of Islam and Christianity. India has a lot to thank the Sikhs for ... for saving it from become an Islamic state.

I also think you're also asking valid questions regarding why only Lekhraj Kirpalani or Virendra Dev Dixit speaking to God from their limited frameworks.

Wouldn't "God" interested in meeting new and more interesting people, and having slightly more interesting conversations?

Perhaps you ought to start a separate topic, e.g. "Re-evaluating Hinduism Post-BK".

Personally, I think climate and geography has a lot more to do with the success of any civilisation, and that their religious elements are relatively minor components to it ... except where it is a limiting factoring, e.g. not breeding (as per the BKs and others), or hereditary adherence only (as per Judaism and Zoroastrianism). I struggle with the whole idea of "Hinduism" as a separate religion. I tend to see "Hinduism" as just one express of the ancient animistic way of life that existed all over the world before the great empire builders started to utilise religion as a political tool.
Mr Green wrote:Karma ... Victims of circumstance like to make themselves feel better by believeing that perpetrator will get what goes around. It doesn't happen.

I tend to agree. It's largely just a mental "yukti", like forgiveness in Christianity, to help victims cope with their loss.

As a univeral mechanism acting on matter, it requires a *lot* of explaining that I just have not seen existing. You would have to remove these genetic causes/observations from the equation, and keep removing other explainable phenonema, and then see what was left.

I think you (Arbit) mentioned cases of good evidence of reincarnation ... which I know of. Could these be cases of genetic memory too? Personally, I can see the attraction of the soul equation as being stronger in such cases.

So where does "karma" exist? In the genes or the soul, or bits of both?

Genetic differences on the other hand ... I know a lot of Australians who are genetically equipped to survive up to seven days without water. They just drink beer instead.

Professor Hayes states elsewhere, “By sequencing the complete genomes of [two Africans] we were able to add 1.3 million gene variants to the [Human Genome] databases that weren’t there previously – simply because people hadn’t looked in Africa”.

I had not even heard of "genomic medicine" before. It's amazing the things you discover are going on in life when you don't spent all your waking hours going, "Baba, Baba, Baba".
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post25 Feb 2016

ex-l wrote: However, I might be able to accept that different zones of the BK movement prioritise different approaches.

If I am right, you were with BKs from pre-1976 in the UK. I joined them much later, in a different place, under a different teacher, who happened to be highly educated. Every teacher and center is different and emphasizes a value system personal to the teacher. In some sense the teachings also evolve to fit the times and the audience. BK Shivani emphasizes something different on TV today. Teachers at other centers run the show differently. These are other reasons for the difference in our perceptions.
These are still a very good and pertinent questions to ask ... how much is "our karma" and "spiritual influences", and how much is magic karmic voodoo? And how much of an influence ... and to what extent ... do "positive thoughts" or "remembrance" really have in changing such things?

What proportion split would you suggest?

Clearly our character is molded by genetics, our schooling, prevailing societal environment, parenting, work we do on ourselves (including any type of meditation), etc. That does not preclude the possible carry over of sanskars of a soul form one life to another, if reincarnation is indeed true. Remember, passing of memory genetically is only being established now, whereas the other influences have been known for a while. As for the split, it likely is different for different individuals, but I am only guessing.
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post25 Feb 2016

Do you know what is taught in esoteric Hinduism about all this stuff? Or Buddhism? Buddhism sure likes making extensive lists of all kinds of things.

In Western esoteric systems, perhaps borrowed from the East (I don't know for sure) they talk about the etheric body, a non-physical or subtle physical "mental" body between the physical one and soul. It is not really referred to in BKism - except, perhaps, as "mind" or "vibrations" - which would have its influence on others too.

Going back to the original post, mice passing a fear response to a smell down to their children, even via artificial insemination, is there an alternative explanation for it?

Elsewhere, a book has been published called 'Not in your genes'. which concludes is that, whatever mental health issues youngsters may have, it’s mostly due to parental maltreatment (often unconscious) rather than any genetic inheritance.
“Consciously the only reason I have written the book,” he explains, “is that I became very aware of all the evidence about the Human Genome Project (HGP), which startled me.” And that evidence is that when is comes to conditions such as ADHD, bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia, all of which exact a terrible toll on youngsters, genes play little or no part.

“No gene has been shown to have any significant effect on any psychological traits,” James insists. “That’s just a fact. Now the HGP scientists haven’t concluded from that that genes do not have an effect. They have said they just haven’t found them yet. There have been so many studies of genes now – with mental illness there have been 115, all finding squiddly diddle.”

"With psychosis – whether it be bipolar or schizophrenia – there is just a mass of evidence that something has gone horribly wrong in the family."

For too many, he says, the “genes thing” has become “like a religion”. If you sideline genes, when considering why youngsters suffer mental health problems, that leaves parents in the firing line.

I am not sure of the author's standing. He's described as an "eminent clinical psychologist" who wrote the books, "They F*** You Up" and a follow up on child-care, "How Not to F*** Them Up" and does not dismiss genetic influences or the physical transmission of traits. He also discusses "epigenetics", chemical patterns passed on from parent to child.

As an aside, I agree with your observation regarding the variances and unevenness in BK teaching systems, Arbit, and it's troubling on a practical level and even on a quasi-mystic BK level.

It interests me that in the Global Function document I linked to recently, they are attempting to standardise a version of BKism at least outside of India (I believe it is not being promoted inside India) that itself is at variance to the original teachings. It plays up to worldly good standards or expectations, values clearly rooted in - say - Western Liberalism rather than BK Murlis.

Of course, I would have to regard it as not entirely sincere, a convenience to impress, and bit of a facade.

How did your teacher/center-in-charge cope with the discrepancies, limitations, failed predictions etc? Were they that different from the BK mainstream? Indian or Western?
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post26 Feb 2016

ex-l wrote:I think you (Arbit) mentioned cases of good evidence of reincarnation ... which I know of too. Could these be cases of genetic memory too? Personally, I can see the attraction of the soul equation as being stronger in such cases.

So where does "karma" exist? In the genes or the soul, or bits of both?


If the reincarnation is an unrelated family, which seems to happen frequently, then we have to rule out genetic transfer from the same person from life to life. Moreover, character traits, e.g., optimistic disposition of a person, could get transferred through genes, but can entire memories of incidents involving other individuals transfer genetically?

Ultimately "karma" has to exist in the soul, which then influences genes, where you are born etc., for the "law" of karma to work. But I have no proof that'll meet prevailing scientific standards.

Incidentally, there have been cases when a person's character has changed due to a brain injury. In one instance, a person lost a part of his prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain that ultimately decides what to do once all inputs from different parts of the brain are received). This person went from being gentle to violent. This is all well-researched and documented. So if a soul carries the sanskars, it sure seems to need the physical body to stay true to itself.

I find this stuff fascinating. A whole new world opens up when you stop being adamant about one "fact" or another.
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post26 Feb 2016

If you accept the soul theory, which I am not dismissing, spiritualists also talk about "walk-ins" or "soul exchanges" ... by which they mean souls who enter other people's bodies when the first suffers a near death or traumatic experience etc, or where two individual souls agree to switch places when, e.g. the first soul has gone as far as it can in its development and is ready to move on.

Apparently the concept also exists in Hinduism (link 1/link 2 taken at random).

"Karma" existing within the soul and being a very general thing, like conscience, I could cope with ... rather than a vast invisible mechanical structure delivering back kicks in the ass to everyone who has kicked someone's ass. Bad states of mind lead us to make bad decisions which kick us in the ass etc. I've certainly seen that in my own life.

But it's still very far from a complete model of influences and the proportionality of them.

I am remembering of one of the well know good cases of reincarnation; a kid born with a birth mark where allegedly he was killed by a blow, his fear at meeting his previous assailant, and his ability to identify places or objects. How else is that explained?

"Science" it is not a bad thing but it is limited too. Many have spoken of the need of spiritualists to apply scientific rigour to their beliefs and practises which I agree too ... unlike the BKs who gone about for decades claiming to be a "University" just because they say they are when really they are at a kindergarten level.
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post26 Feb 2016

It is putting the cart before the horse to ”fit” everything into a preconceived theory.

In this case I am talking about how, out of the billions of lives that have existed, there's extremely few cases where there’s any evidence whatsoever for reincarnation. That evidence must be duly noted for what it is but, given the paucity of such evidence - or even if there was more of it - the ”reincarnation" explanation of it is only one of many possible explanations. It would be a mistake to place one’s full conviction with it.

For example, to say ”unrelated families” is to deny how much common ancestry there is. Only a genetic map of the individuals involved could eliminate the possibility that a ”memory” was carried genetically, still leaving open the possibility, but not proving beyond doubt, that it was instead carried by a reincarnated "soul".

The other thing about genetics is, it's mainly about ”predisposition” - that genes get switched on & off, and mutate, according to other factors. It's known as epigenetics. EG we all have genes to have two arms and two legs, but if a parent’s alcohilism affects the genes, that may affect the genes and the child is born stunted.

Is that the child’s karmic desserts or the calculable effects (again karma but basic, not supernatural) of what a certain amount of alcohol over a certain period of time on a certain genetic predisposition can cause?
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post26 Feb 2016

Pink Panther wrote:... to say ”unrelated families” is to deny how much common ancestry there is. Only a genetic map of the individuals involved could eliminate the possibility that a ”memory” was carried genetically, still leaving open the possibility, but not proving beyond doubt, that it was instead carried by a reincarnated "soul"

That's a very fair and valid point. In the cases I have read about, there's not that amount of exactitude or depth of analysis.

Given the Western dominance of "Science" as we know it, the soul hypothesis is never going to happen. That's an argument that was lost sometime between the great debates of 19th Century and the rise of Materialism and the debunking of spiritualism in the early 20th Century.

And, let's face it, there's no money in it, no career advantages, no corporate interests ... so who is going to fund what study, and for what purpose? What's the point? They are still struggling with cancer, AIDs, the common cold, and other real world problems.

There could be a purpose, from the point of view of social control but, on one hand, religionists, at least in India, appear to have cornered that market already without rigid evidence and, on the other hand, it does not even stop those who believe in it from being naughty or cheating on their taxes etc.

Unfortunately, those making the money out of the idea, everyone from the New Age authors recycling tales, to astrologers and spiritualist psychics, lack the collective interest to do the science. And many of them, or the spooks they consort with, lack all integrity and consistency, e.g. Joe Fisher who wrote 'The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts' did take his research into claims of past lives seriously, travelled the world tracking down stories and found them strangely inconsistent. That is to say, he often found *part* of the story was true enough to give the semblance of veracity but when the dots on the i's and the crosses on the t's were checked the story and the spooks all fell apart.

I would strongly recommend it to any would be and current BK adherent.

Joe also wrote 'Life Between Life' and 'The Case For Reincarnation and Predictions'.

Sadly, he killed himself aged 53, throwing himself off a cliff, claiming that the spirits were still after him for having written his final book exposing them. A great shame really, his works were well researched from the point of view of a believer who actually invested himself in pursuing the truth, or lack thereof, of his beliefs. The Dalai Lama, himself, wrote the preface to 'The Case For Reincarnation'.

In science there is the saying, "without a theory, there are no results" and that is half the problem. Last time I looked, it still rejects the concept of a non-material soul, or a non-material anything for that matter, therefore anyone doing anything in the area would find themselves outcast as a crank.

Perhaps study would only be possible in Anthropology?

I read that for over 40 years, one Dr. Ian Stevenson, Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and Director or the Division of Personality Studies at the University of Virginia, documentated over 3000 cases of children from all over the world with so called past life recall. He wrote, 'Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation' in the 1960s and 'Children Who Remember Previous Lives' in 1980s. I guess he is dead now too.
It seems the word belief does not exist in Dr Stevenson's dictionary , and with clinical detachment, he has investigated each and every of the 20 cases. He has avoided philosophy and religion talk etc and does not have his own agenda which he his trying to promote. There are many books on reincarnation written by those who want to make a quick buck, or those promoting a particular religious thought or simply to become popular and appear on talk shows and then charge people (gullible) on an hourly basis. Dr Stevenson is not driven by any such factor. Reading his methodolgy, he has actually gone about the research as any skeptic would. He has not believed the case story and then looked for evidence that would support such a case story, he has looked for the evidence any skeptic would. The presentation of evidence gathered is fantastic showing the corroboration of each evidence. The best thing I liked about his research was that he actually attempts to rule out any fraud in each case story. Unbiased and honest. The use of the word "suggestive" speaks for his style used in the book throughout. He does not attempt to force any philosophical, religious thought down the reader's throat. You are free to make your own conclusions
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post27 Feb 2016

ex-l wrote: In science there is the saying, "without a theory, there are no results" and that is half the problem. Last time I looked, it still rejects the concept of a non-material soul, or a non-material anything for that matter, therefore anyone doing anything in the area would find themselves outcast as a crank.

Basic philosophy of science, or the scientific method, requires that any proposition needs to be disprovable. Being provable is valid only insofar as any proof lies within certain criteria or parameters. e.g. a mass has gravity, a force which causes things to fall toward itself. It is provable by repeated tests therefore accepted as fact, but still it’s potentially disprovable if one day things thrown in the air don’t fall back down.
    Theory - bullsh** defies gravity
    Hypothesis - You can tell the difference between cowshit and bullsh** by throwing them in the air.
    Experiment - Using various patties of dung from known sources of male and female bovines, throw each in the air in turn, note where each ends up.
    Proof - If the theory is true, the one that falls back down will always be the cowshit.
If neither provable nor disprovable, any number of disparate claims are equally true or equally false. The Olympian gods could be having a real laugh at humanity as they manipulate us down the ages to believe that crucified carpenters and angelic Sindhi jewel merchants are ‘god’. Or maybe it's the Aztec gods that make everything happen.

So you could claim that there is an immortal, non-physical entity called ‘atma' that carries the effects of physical actions is a hypothesis that might explain otherwise inexplicable ”memories”. An OK hypothesis. Can it be proven that it is the mechanism by which such ”memories" arise? Can it be disproven? Is the existence of a ‘result’ reason to accept any postulated cause, regardless of provability?

It could equally be postulated that we live inside some kind of cosmic computer program a la ”The Matrix” or that all of creation is Vishnu’s dream. That even the notions of soul, religion, science, disprovability et al are part of that dream or that Matrix but none actual reality. The idea of reincarnation is also part of this cosmic computer game or virtual reality.

No, for me, there is plenty of more definite, if still provisional*, certainties to be getting on with in life to worry about dealing with the many incredible, fanciful or, as you call it ex-l, the extraordinary claims from all around but which provide no equally extraordinary evidence, instead asking us to accept on basis other than valid testing. If it's to do with abstracts and behaviours, e.g. believe X and your life will be better, believe Y and it’ll be worse.

Well, all we might choose to accept X as a "working model” or a metaphor, we might live ”as if” we each are 'a soul' or a manifestation of the Universal Mind, or whatever, but we should, as best we can, know the difference between models & metaphors and the actual realities they describe or comment on. The menu is not the meal, the review is not the performance

(*If you think about it, no knowledge can be other than provisional).
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post28 Feb 2016

How could one "prove" spirit/soul?

So what's your position now, are you anti- spirit/soul, i.e. take it at face value that we are just what you see ... a little bit of chemistry and some bio-electrics?

In the West, faced with the rising tide of psychicism in the 19th and early 20th Century, relatively young Science set out mostly to debunk the threat to its model and Spiritualism has never quite managed to recover since ... despite many reasonable minds attempting to research and make sense of it.

I note even to this day in the Royal College of Psychiatrists ... albeit I would pressume a fairly marginalisation special interest group where Brahma Kumari Sarah Eaggar has influence (the Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group) ... some professionals are working with the spirit/soul model. See, ‘Soul Consciousness and Human Suffering.’ Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 4 (1): 101-108. Andrew Powell (1998).
Now I am certain there is no such thing as death except leaving the body behind like a suit of old clothes. This belief is based on my own spiritual practice and in recent years has been supported by a number of studies on near-death experiences. But I am a psychiatrist, not a priest, and in the setting in which I work it would be wrong to wear my personal beliefs on my sleeve. Instead, where appropriate, I begin by asking my patients if they believe that life truly begins with birth and ends with death.

I don't think Powell is a BK proper, although he is BK friendly and may have borrowed their terminology.

I see he (Powell) gets a credit in Neville Hodgkinson's latest waffle, "I Know How To Live, I Know How To Die: The Teachings of Dadi Janki". Published by John Hunt Publishing aka O Books where other BKs have been published.

Nev forgot to send us a review copy again. Sigh. He makes claims about his book containing "findings at the frontiers of science" ... but as he also has a chapter about Janki lecturing on the "Power of Honesty", I already have the Razor I borrowed from Occam pulled from out its sheath. He mentions, briefly, changes in genes.

It starts off my recycling all the usual ******* ... absolutely dishonesty given what we know now about the early days.
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post29 Feb 2016

My position on ‘soul” i.e. atma is that it is the ultimate deception of the ego. ”I” shall live forever is just another trickster saying ”I” have no ego - a straight out self-contradictory statement.

Alan Watts put it nicely when he said there is no more egoistic endeavour than seeking to overcome one’s ego. To replace ”body-conscious ego” with "soul conscious ego” is to replace an easily recognisable trickster with a much more slippery, far trickier trickster.

Lekhraj was brought up in the ”atma/paramatma” paradigm and did his best to understand and make sense of it’s inherent contradictions, but he couldn’t see the fundamental traps inherent in it, the wood for the trees. He was no iconoclastic revolutionary, he wanted to turn it to his advantage. Another victim of the vedic system, passed on down the generations

My point was as stated in the previous post - that soul can’t be proven or disproven either way, therefore it is of equal value as any other idea that can neither be proven nor disproven. Who says there is no Santa Claus? Sure lots of parents pretend to be Santa, that doesn’t mean Santa isn’t real, maybe he does live in some misunderstood form as ‘the spirit of Christmas”. But does ”the spirit of Christmas” have an eternal own being or does it cease to exist when people stop acting "as if” it is a thing? When Christmas etc is not practiced or known - where is Santa then?

If BKs are right, then any Christian who says they experience the Living Christ, or have accepted Jesus into their heart are merely projecting or understanding their emotions according to an idea. It is real for the believer, to the non-Christian it can easily be seen they are working to a model ”as if Jesus exists” which allows for their experience.

I am not against "as if" models per se, people need some avenue to explore intangibles, and language itself, no matter how precise, is always a kind of ”as if” model, all language is metaphor.

Soul (in the Vedantin and BK way - an eternal self) could be seen as an "as if” working model. The evolution of all religions can be seen this way -> if people live ”as if” the religious idea they grow up with is true, then society is more likely to follow the morality and rules of that teaching, that religion.

These different religious teachings are largely answering the question ”why” one should act in certain ways.

The ideas of different religions arise because human beings developed dualistic thinking and rational thinking, so they have a sense of right and wrong inherent in them, based on the golden rule found in all traditions and religion and Parenting 101, namely the teaching ”how would you like it” or ”do unto others what you would have others do to you".

Neuroscience has found a simpler own humanist answer - ”mirror neurones” or ”compassion” neurones - the neurones that fire in empathy when we see another’s experience, whether of food, sex, pleasure, love, pain, suffering, so that we have a visceral experience of what others experience. Sociopaths lack these responses as do people with some other conditions, and for them, no religious teaching or moralising makes any difference.

Whatever the religion or lack of, if a person is a good person they are a good person whether they are a polytheist, monotheist, atheist, scientist, lyricist! In the same way, no matter what they profess or what they believe, doing to another what they would not like done to them is a low act.

Beware wolves in sheep’s clothing, by their actions you know them etc etc.
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post29 Feb 2016

What on earth are you saying! I have perfectly adequate evidence to suggest that Santa Claus is omnipresent ...

omnipresent-santa.jpg
omnipresent-santa.jpg (78.29 KiB) Viewed 3545 times

Hmmn, a weak analogy there, I thought, because there's only one Santa but, in theory, there's a soul for every body (... down to a certain level, possibly); and we have better understanding of physics to be able to argue against the possibility of him delivery presents to every good child down chimney pipes. Especially since the invention of central heating and 1970s interior decoration.

One could argue a better analogy would be that it's like primitive societies arguing over the existence of pineal gland prior to modern brain surgery ... we just don't have the tools to detect or dissect a soul.

Personally, I remain ambivalent to either school of thought due to a lack of any immediately relevance in my life. No one will ever get the science funding to research it, so it will always remain a question of faith. Unlike the BKs, Mike George and 10,000 other New Age authors, I don't make a dollar off the idea so it has no real value.

Why though, the faithful might ask, do I try and be as good and moral in my life if there is no reward?

On the other hand though, I am curiously looking forward to death and finding out for sure ... If it's all true, I'll 'do a Harry Houdini' on you.*

On a positive, non-mystical note, it's said Henry Ford the motorcar builder believed in reincarnation and hence it gave him the will to carry on working and learning for life. So, I can accept the 'means to an end' argument and respect Science for chipping away at the granite block of blind faith and ignorance.

* (As one of the world's leading stage magicians, in the 1920s Houdini turned his energies toward debunking psychics and mediums. He was part of a Scientific American committee that offered a cash prize to any medium who could successfully demonstrate supernatural abilities. Before Houdini died, he and his wife agreed that if he found it possible to communicate after death, he would communicate to her a specific coded message.

Not long after his death, the "Houdini Séances" began with Bess Houdini offering $10,000 to anyone who could help contact her husband. In 1928, a man named Arthur Ford announced that he had received a message from Houdini himself. After reviewing the message, Bess Houdini validated the message as one that indeed used the code shared between her and her husband. She then claimed it was faked.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was a firm believer in spiritualism, refused to believe any of Houdini's exposés believing that Houdini was actually a powerful spiritualist medium, and had performed many of his stunts by means of paranormal abilities, and was using these abilities to block those of other mediums that he was "debunking"

A dynamic of disagreement which continues unchanged until this day, e.g. over hypnotist Derren Brown, magician James Randi and others
).
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post01 Mar 2016

but, in theory, there's a soul for every body

    ... in theory, there’s an alternate you in a parallel universe.
    ... in theory there’s a paradise with 72 virgins for every martyr, and for the best martyrs, some of the virgins will even agree to lose their virginity to them, while for the martyrs who died just to get the reward, their advances will always be thwarted, a "Carry On..." movie set in Paradise (or is that Hell?).
    ... in theory, a soul is a coalescence of physical energies generated by previous actions.
    ... in theory, extra terrestrials are hiding themselves but watching and waiting for us to evolve to the next level so they can reveal themselves to us .
    ... in theory, I have made my point.
Just to be clear where I stand. ”Soul” is as valid an abstraction of part of the human experience as, um, body odour! Every body has an odour. It even continues after death for a while! No speculation needed. We know that for sure! Is that body odour eternal? Well, that’s taking a step into the never never. One could argue theories for yes or no on different bases, that the odour dissipates then coalesces again with a new infant - the Reincarnation Olfactory!!

And even after death, hair and nails keep growing, they can be found intact after hundreds of years, even thousands, so a theory could, on that basis, be put forward that the soul resides in the hair and nails and with the DNA they carry, the whole person will be resurrected - as per the beliefs of Zoroastrians, fundamnetalist Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses (though I don't think any refer to DNA).

Prove me wrong! It's no more or less absurd than any other "theory” that is undisprovable. The only way people go along with any one of these undisprovable theories over another is that they want it to be true, it suits what they want to be true, i.e. again, ego.

You could semantically argue that ‘soul' exists as real as, and as much as, emotions, thoughts, or BO. Do any of these exist without a whole, actual person from whom they "emanate"?

There are many co-factors that create the conditions for a person’s existence to occur and be the way it is, let alone give rise to the abstracted things from that person that we call a condition, an emotion, a thought or a body odour, or even their ”soul”. But to presume that everything that makes up these co-factors is unnecessary for these to have existence, let alone to exist autonomously and immortally, that is a stretch.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was a firm believer in spiritualism, refused to believe any of Houdini's exposés, believing that Houdini was actually a powerful spiritualist medium, and had performed many of his stunts by means of paranormal abilities, and was using these abilities to block those of other mediums that he was "debunking"

There is a very funny South Park episode (an animated satire - South Park were the first to make public what Scientologists actually believe). In the particular episode, they take aim at John Edwards, the spirit medium and all "psychics". He is probably the most famous, sincere and authentic sounding of the commercialised spirit mediums.

The boys see how gullible the adults are and decide to prove he is a fraud. One of them decides to study all the tricks used by psychics, demonstrate his abilities then reveal how he tricked them. But even when he does, telling them it's all trickery and how he did it, the adults refuse to believe, insisting he has "the gift". A bit like in the Life of Brian where Brian’s denials that he is the Messiah only proves to the believers that he his.
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ex-l

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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post01 Mar 2016

Ah, but it's not the mediums who are fraudulent and erroneous, it's the spirits they channel ... and they're really *not* being fraudulent and erroneous, they're just knowingly "testing us" because they are all wise and know what we need (vis-à-vis the BKs and their god spirit, wah Baba!).

BTW, I think the Science Proud Christian Cats debunked the hair and nail growing business. It's not that they grow, it's just that the flesh retreats. As Science Focus points out, there no need for zombie barbers required.

I think you're being a little rash with your analogies.

What I'd like from the spiritualists is a proportional break down of influences, starting from the most cosmic (expanding universe, movement of the tectonic plates and climatic cycles etc), right down to the biological (DNA, cultural) and a sound explanation and demonstration of karmic mechanics within its place.
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post02 Mar 2016

So hair and nails don't keep growing much after death. There’s another urban legend debunked. Ta. That’s one theory out of the picture. The difference you picked up on is that it is a theory that can actually be proven or disproven through fairly straightforward means.
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Re: Reincarnation & ‘sanskaras' or genetic memory?

Post02 Mar 2016

Well, this particular scientific finding is a good start but like any good scientific finding, it merely begs more questions like,
    How many generations is information passed down for,
    How random or predictable a phenomenon is it, and
    What are the limitiations of it, e.g. it is just at the most general/instinctual levels, or does it reach up to highly specific memories like "past life memories?
Despite calling itself a university, BKism is really not about asking questions or developing understanding. It's about stopping thinking and plugging questions in order to have a nice experience (ignorance is bliss). I've had many an argument with some particularly blockheaded BKs that BKism is not about "understanding", that one cannot understand it ... it's merely about acceptance. The acceptance of Lekhraj Kirpalani's "idée fixe" ... and acceptance through perpetual repetition, e.g. "spinning The Cycle" meaning repeat to yourself that Time is only 5,000 years long, and identically repeats until your brain reforms its neutrons sufficiently for you to believe it as a fixed truth.

It's an interesting problem for the spiritualists ... can they devise an experiment that proves conclusive evidence for their beliefs, and what would that be? It would certainly be a good idea that they must before being allowed to practise. BTW, I think James Randi still offers a $1,000,000 reward for such proofs.

The religionists and spiritualists, BKs included, have no interest in trying to. Interfaith endeavours have not reach the level of investing their colletive multi-billion-dollars of nefarious earnings into actually proving any of the metaphysics they spout.
"Why should we bother ... why risk gambling against a good business formula?", they think. "Business is booming already! We've made it into the upper class market. Twaddle works just fine on most of our targets, and on the rest we just feed them high fat and carbo-hydrate sweeties" (... as a side note, inducing hypoglycaemia is a known gateway for trance experiences).

Could it really be done ... bottling a soul for dissection and artificial 'insoulation' later? Or will it not always remain in the realm of metaphysics and beyond Science? I do think Science needs a little humility and to admit its limitations.

Of course, if this is true about DNA, perhaps we can look forward to genetically modified DNA upgrades ... a few chromosomes of extra courage and intelligence, and the removal of family neuroses, along with blue eyes and blonde hair?
An idée fixe is a preoccupation of mind believed to be firmly resistant to any attempt to modify it, a fixation. Although not used technically to denote a particular disorder in psychology, idée fixe is used often in the description of disorders.

Cognitive psychologists disclose the well-nigh unlimited capabilities and eagerness of human beings to ward off contradictions inter alia by closing their eyes to data that are at variance with their assumptions, to come up with evidence to support their idée fixe and seem unable to notice any information which might disturb their belief.

The idée fixe becomes at its furthest extreme so powerful as to render any other ideas or life projects meaningless.
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