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Thread: Emerson to James and Whitehead

  1. #1
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    Jan 2015

    Emerson to James and Whitehead

    If Transcendentalism and spiritual insight is a road less travelled, there is a reason for that. It was the road most travelled for most of humanity at all times before nature was made subservient to anthropomorphed gods with interpreters. People were encouraged to think and ask questions in places that true love flourished, I say.

    "Tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time
    . —Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self Reliance"

    The most common response I have received to The Road Less Traveled in letters from readers has been one of gratitude for my courage, not for saying anything new, but for writing about the kind of things they had been thinking and feeling all along, but were afraid to talk about.

    I am not clear about the matter of courage. A certain kind of congenital obliviousness might be a more proper term. A patient of mine during the book's early days happened to be at a cocktail party where she overheard a conversation between my mother and another elderly woman. Referring to the book, the other woman said, "You certainly must be very proud of your son, Scotty." To which my mother replied, in the sometimes tart way of the elderly, "Proud? No, not particularly. It didn't have anything to do with me. It's his mind, you see. It's a gift."

    I think my mother was wrong saying that she had nothing to do with it, but I think she was accurate my authorship of The Road was the result of a gift—on many levels. One part of that gift goes way back. Lily, my wife, and I had made friends with a younger man, Tom, who had grown up in the same summer colony as I. During those summers I had played with his older brothers, and his mother had known me as a child. One night a few years before The Road was published. Tom was coming to have dinner with us. He was staying with his mother at the time, and the evening before he had said to her, "Mom, I'm going to have dinner tomorrow night with Scott Peck. Do you remember him?"

    "Oh yes," she responded,
    "he was that little boy who was always talking about the kinds of things that people shouldn't talk about."

    It is not enough to know the history of Transcendentalism in shamanism cum hermetics alone. It is not enough to study nature alone or even as Thoreau would want and you might enjoy. If we want to apply what is true in nature we have to do some heavy lifting.

    I found it in the writing of R. M. Bucke before I found it in Yoga, but it always was "within" even if I succumbed to denial wrought by logic and social denials of a collective consciousness called cosmic or sensed in the prose of Whitman.

    For Emerson Karma has a Compensatory flavor in his essay titled Compensation.

    "Punishment is a fruit that unsuspected ripens within the flower of the pleasure which concealed it. Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed, for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means, the fruit in the seed."

    For me it has an element of much less punishment and much more Purpose. Hinduism is so much more punitive than the intense one-ness of real beauty, perhaps because of the dogma which has corroded the feelings So I found more in Raja Yoga and other more intellectual at - one -ment, but the really intense things are not very intellectual when they happen. Maybe it is more a case of getting ready to take the intellect out of the way - sometimes. You might develop an entirely different Mantra and method which works for you, and you can trust.

    As you read about great adepts who de-materialize or ascend are you learning about ghosts or a way energy acts through the influence of soul and mind? I think so - but it takes a long time to discuss these things with those who debunk ghosts (which I have done satisfactorily).

    Vedanta's God is within all or as Jung said about William James's "nichts als" - 'nothing but' - the universal mind and union, James impressed Carl Jung. That is a loose interpretation that takes us to Yoga and an ecumenical society Vivekananda, Krishnamurti, Joseph Campbell, Mircae Eliade and Carl Jung had in their extended family. James is the father of the Pragmatic philosophical school of thought which seeks for what works rather than trying to prove things through direct inference and forcing ideas upon events which get in the way of real observation.

    I see the influence of the likes of Yogananda, William James and other members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which is connected to the Illuminati of Goethe to Carlyle and Emerson. Clearly Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell were charmed by the thought of James who preceded them at Harvard. Some people see it as a close relationship with God, I see it as a close relationship with 'all that is' within the universe. That includes every individual who is part of a design that harmonizes and creates. They crossed paths with Chardin, and the Charmed Circle of Gertrude Stein, which brought intellectual emancipation and insight galore to Paris where art and ideas ran amuk existentially and beyond. When Gertrude first met Whitehead a bell rang in her head telling her he was a genius, the only other time this happened was when she met Picasso.
    Last edited by R_Baird; 04-09-2016 at 07:09 PM.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2015
    And if Transcendentalists are to include the Illuminatus Goethe who introduced this art to Emerson's mentor Carlyle and thus Ruskin (To Cecil Rhodes) we are at a convergence of the Perennial Philosophic impulse. It was borne in the Logos and Harmonic therein according to my interpretation of Tesla who brought us the technological means to implant thoughts in our minds soon (Omega Stations like Pine Gap satellites and Cheyenne Mountain near where he demonstrated his wireless energy associated with the Earth Energy Grid).

    In all the neo-hermetic appropriation of the same philosophies throughout the last two millennia we must keep racist ideology uppermost if we are to actually be humanists or secular humanists in the Jeffersonian mode. Yes, Bey, Wilson and Mc Kenna as well as Aldous are just neo-alchemists despite some who say they are alchemists in the case of Huxley and Terrance McKenna.

    Jean Lafitte was a pirate and alchemist or hermeticist (AKA humanist). Bey needs to stay closer to his childhood fantasies perhaps. Lafitte funded Marx and Engels on the way to attempting a true communism. Marxism sought a natural order borne of Rousseau and it is a transcendent philosophy compared to the pursuits of money and power we are directed by. All we can apparently hope for is that Esalen or some similar organization will be capable of making mankind free of religion and mind control as Lafitte intended. But the word Marxism is not going to be useful to that end. Communism never existed in any nation but it too is a useless word now. There is much to be recommended in the roots of Unitarianism or Yoga.

    "Marxism and Secular Humanism: An Excavation and Reappraisal

    Edwin A. Roberts


    The special issue of Nature, Society and Thought (NST), “Religion and Freethought” (volume 9, no. 2 [1996]), is a commendable contribution to a dialogue long overdue within progressive intellectual circles. As a longtime active member of the skeptical and secular humanist community, on the one hand, and at the same time a proponent of dialectics and historical materialism on the other, I have often been frustrated by the lack of engagement between the two traditions. In my experience, a general disrespect exists among secularists for Marxism, which often is dismissed as a dogmatic or outmoded belief system similar to religion.1 I have also witnessed a general disinterest on the part of Marxists for secularism, which often is seen as providing nothing new or interesting to their own perspectives. In many ways both of these attitudes are the result of misunderstandings about what these two traditions actually stand for, and I believe that a more active dialogue between the two schools is necessary.2 As a first step in this direction, the contributions in the NST special issue are quite encouraging.

    Two important articles are Norm R. Allen Jr.’s critical intervention into the important topic of religion and Black intellectuals and Lotz and Gold’s discussion of religion and the new physics (1996). As an African American, I appreciate Allen’s comments on Stephen Carter and Louis Farrakhan, which are insightful and long overdue in this context. Also commendable is his sharp analysis of the vacuity and confusion in the theology espoused by many Black intellectuals. Lotz and Gold’s review essay on the new “God-seeking” in cosmology and physics is important because it deals with an issue of pressing concern to many skeptics and humanists irrationalism within science itself. Their essay helps to show that such irrationalism cannot be fought simply by reference to extreme doubt or pure empiricism. Lotz and Gold make a good case for the claim that only a critical methodology like dialectics can enlighten us on how contradictory patterns of stability and disequilibrium can coexist in nature without encouraging irrationalist speculation. The most important essay in the collection is “The Challenge of Explanation” by Fred Whitehead (1996). It is stimulating, informed, and thoughtful on many levels, and sets a tone indicative of the direction I believe this debate should take. As an attempt to establish a firm groundwork for a Marxist engagement with the issue of religion and freethought, however, his discussion is lacking or incomplete, I believe, in crucial areas. I propose to continue this discussion by addressing some of the important weaknesses, points of contention, and possible areas of convergence existing between Marxism and secular humanism.

    In what follows, I shall excavate much valuable but largely forgotten or overlooked material concerning this issue, and reappraise the chances of developing a better understanding among adherents of both schools. Four areas need greater investigation in order to advance our understanding of the relationship between Marxism and secular humanism. The first is the critical analysis of scientific explanations of religious phenomena. The second is a more through evaluation of specifically Marxist studies and critiques of religion. The third concerns the clarification of the role atheism plays in understanding the ontological, epistemological, and historical status of religion. The fourth is the reevaluation of the history of humanist and Marxist encounters, with a focus on the reasons why a convergence between these two essentially progressive intellectual trends has, to this point, proved so illusive."

    Many philosophical debates hover and flutter around dualistic deceits and get no advancement towards a truth or perfect potential such as Divine Providence or Nirvana contemplates. Should we expect our religions to give up the jargon and incessant referral to out-dated dogma in order to find commonality and Brotherhood. If some people need to act out and be superior in their own mind while seeking approval it is not a crime. But when laws and structured norms make basic freedoms into what society says is against the culture how can we allow abuses to continue, as in the case of the treatment of women.

    "For Sartre, the human being is pure existence... One must define humanity anew out of the nothingness of an empty freedom.... that is open to everything."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 04-09-2016 at 04:08 PM.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2015
    The great Emperor Constantine who had as his children's tutor a man named Lactantius who I say was fomenting the Flat Earth idea long before it became useful in keeping serfs cowering on the Noble's soil and awaiting the day he came to reward them with the opportunity to become sword and later cannon fodder; made a major decision. He decided after years of due consideration to not take Arias as his guide even though his personal beliefs were in line with none of the eventual Resurrection, born immaculate and Salvation game. Arias was like many others who knew the original Christians or sensible people had no reason to buy that recurring myth also said about Plato (immaculately a God). Arias wanted to retain what the Celtic Church maintained even after Constantine went with the great money-making scam that included people buying special dispensations and paying for forgiveness rather than good acts being the way to the mythical nether lands. I say you see Arias in the word Unitarian for good reason and Emerson went even further to re-build equality for all humans.

    "One of the most famous public speakers of his day, Ralph Waldo Emerson drew all sorts of listeners. A scrubwoman who went to his lyceum lectures is reported to have said that she didn’t really understand him, “but I like to go and see him stand up there and look as though he thought everyone else is as good as he is.” A version of this story appears in most Emerson biographies. Sometimes it is a workman or farmer who braves a snowstorm to hear Emerson talk and explains his devotion by saying, “We don’t know what he said, but we’re sure he’s giving us the best there is.” As Wesley Mott, the founder and president of the Emerson Society, puts it: “People went away tremendously uplifted—and had no idea what they just heard.”

    Two hundred years after his birth on May 25, 1803, Emerson is recognized as the architect of American intellectual culture. School syllabi swell with his works and most Americans assume some familiarity with his thought. Aphorisms such as “hitch your wagon to a star,” “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” or “trust thyself” pervade the American mind, although some people may not know that Emerson coined them.

    Emerson is also “the most recognized and revered figure in the Unitarian movement,” proclaims the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society. His advice to greenhorn ministers in 1838 still inspires those who climb the pulpit stairs today: “The true preacher can be known by this, that he deals out to the people his life—life passed through the fire of thought.”

    In other ways, though, things haven’t changed much since Emerson’s day. More people admire Emerson because of his moral character, his reputation for brilliance, or his nobility in the face of loss than understand what he actually believed and wrote. He is sometimes presumed, for example, to have sanctioned unbridled individualism, been an atheist, or preached an easy, feel-good optimism. Emerson felt misunderstood in his time, too. But take heart, ye who would draw nearer the Sage of Concord.

    Getting a clearer image of Emerson—and perhaps even a feel for the extraordinary and complex human being he was—will be easier this year. The bicentennial of the birth of this American Plato is being marked with exhibits, conferences, and lectures at universities and public libraries across the country. The Unitarian Universalist Association also plans to celebrate Emerson’s legacy. The Historical Society and the UUA are sponsoring addresses this spring by two leading Unitarian Universalist Emerson scholars, Wesley Mott and David M. Robinson, along with an exhibit and curricula about Emerson’s ministry and influence. New books—including Robinson’s The Spiritual Emerson from the UUA’s Beacon Press and Barry Andrews’s Emerson as Spiritual Guide from the UUA’s Skinner House Books—will mark the occasion. And Emerson will be a palpable presence at the UUA’s General Assembly in June, where an unprecedented number of religious liberals is expected to gather in Boston, cradle of American Unitarianism and birthplace of Ralph Waldo Emerson."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 04-22-2016 at 09:17 AM.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2015
    The Eastern philosophical outreach or invasion of America and the West has been a net good thing. However, there are many people including those who worked at Lululemon (maybe still true) who have only experienced the cult and not the true potential gifts of Yoga. It is also true that the Mindfulness movement originator was right to leave out the dogma which Buddhists now decry he did, in favor of some corporatist greed enslaving agenda. You should experience both sides of this argument enough to be able to argue either side - there is good value in both points of view.

    The fact that the founder of Mindfulness was getting approval from Emerson's intellectual progeny does not escape me.

    "In 1979, a 35-year-old avid student of Buddhist meditation and MIT-trained molecular biologist was on a two-week meditation retreat when he had a vision of what his life’s work—his “karmic assignment”—would be. While he sat alone one afternoon, it all came to him at once: he’d bring the ancient Eastern disciplines he’d followed for 13 years—mindfulness meditation and yoga—to people with chronic health conditions right here in modern America. What’s more, he’d bring these practices into the very belly of the Western scientific beast—a big teaching hospital where he happened to be working as a post-doc in cell biology and gross anatomy. Somehow, he’d convince scientifically trained medical professionals and patients—ordinary people, who’d never heard of the Dharma and wouldn’t be caught dead in a zendo or an ashram—that learning to follow the breath and do a few gentle yoga postures might help relieve intractable pain and suffering. In the process, he’d manage to reconcile what was then considered fringy, New Age folderol with empirical biological research, sparking a radical new approach to healing in mainstream medical practice.

    Not exactly a modest scheme, and in retrospect, it seems astonishing that this nervy young guy—Jon Kabat-Zinn, the originator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)—would manage to pull it off. And yet, as the now oft-told origin story goes, he convinced the Department of Medicine and the hospital administration at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical Center that this idea was worth trying. With a core body of “interns”—anybody on staff who wanted to learn about meditation—he set up shop and began putting patients through an intensive 10-week (now 8-week) program of weekly classes, yoga postures, 45-minute guided home-meditation practice six times a week, and an all-day retreat during the sixth week. The idea was to teach a set of active self-regulation skills that patients could practice by themselves to help them cope with medical conditions—chronic pain foremost—for which standard medical remedies, such as drugs, rehab, and surgery, had proven less than completely satisfactory. The program was, Kabat-Zinn recalled later, “just a little pilot on zero dollars.”

    There was just one small impediment to this plan: how was he going to persuade mainstream Americans that this approach wasn’t just New Age hokum? From the beginning, to have any chance of touching people in a deep way and motivating them to be open to meditating fairly intensively, he approached the challenge by adopting a mainstream and commonsensical American vocabulary that described meditation as a way of paying attenton and cultivating awareness in everyday life, and by using practices that were equally accessible and straightforward. Mindfulness is often spoken of as "the heart of Buddhist meditation." Kabat-Zinn's approach would be to offer training in mindfulness in ways that were implicitly anchored in Buddhist teachings, but in a universal and mainstream American idiom and framework.

    And since it was unfolding within a hospital and academic medical center, the entire program would take its place under the ethical umbrella of the Hippocratic Oath, namely, "First, do no harm." As he has said, “I bent over backward to structure it and find ways to speak about it that avoided as much as possible the risk of its being seen as Buddhist, New Age, Eastern Mysticism, or just plain flaky.”

    Kabat-Zinn emphasized that this was to be a high-demand program, meaning that patients would be expected to take full responsibility for developing their own inner resources. In other words, they should fully engage themselves, not just go through the motions. They needed to work hard every day but without—paradoxically—striving for any particular goal, like relief from pain. They might, however, hope for healing, but only in the sense that it meant “coming to terms with things as they are.” The idea was that hard-won mental and emotional acceptance could generate an inner shift in experience that often resembled a kind of cure—or as he put it, “As you befriend the pain, it can begin to go away.” At the same time, sounding more like a football coach than a spiritual teacher, he said, “I’m a strong advocate of getting tough with yourself. ‘Kicking butt,’ so to speak, or ‘Getting your ass on the cushion.’ You don’t have to like it. You just have to do it."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 04-23-2016 at 04:17 PM.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2015
    There is a direct connection in the psychic and spiritual genre or continuum between Emerson and William James. They are often considered as the top philosophers from America. I would go further to say James could be called the greatest psychologist (Jung thought so) of scholastics or modern thought. In what follows Mr. Taylor says Bertrand Russell was the most egregious interpreter of William James and because I suspect Alfred North Whitehead was a very Jamesian person in all things, I cannot imagine this was not part of what made Whitehead and Russell have their falling out. I propose Emerson, James and Whitehead could be called the Boston Brahmins if some alliteration is needed, if Whitehead is not Boston enough you could argue for Thoreau if you are a naturalist, Stein if you are eclectic and need a woman's touch. Then there is Bucky Fuller who I personally consider in another area of the country (Princeton or Philly) and of even greater importance to all fields of wisdom acquisition.

    "At his death, William James (1842-1910) was variously described as "the greatest of American psychologists," "the most famous American philosopher since Emerson," "the most powerful and convincing" apologist for psychical research, and a man whose "death leaves vacant a place in the world of English letters which no living writer and thinker can fill."[2] History has generally served to confirm this evaluation.

    James's Principles of Psychology, Varieties of Religious Experience, and Pragmatism[3] are still widely read and discussed. Modern analyses of James's writings abound[4] and his place in intellectual history seems assured. Yet for all the attention that James's work has received, there are core elements in his thinking that were largely ignored or misunderstood both during his lifetime and in the years following his death. These are the basic psychological, metaphysical, and epistemological principles of "pure experience" that collectively bear the label "radical empiricism."

    The goal of this volume is to introduce James's doctrine of "pure experience" and illustrate the extent to which the basic import of his ideas was sidestepped by his contemporaries. To do this, we reprint James's two fundamental papers of 1904, "Does consciousness exist?" and "A world of pure experience" and responses to these papers appearing between 1904 and 1915.[5]

    As will be readily apparent, the two James papers do not make easy reading. While James was a brilliant stylist whose popular writing was a model of clarity and persuasive power, he was also a complex, sometimes contradictory thinker whose technical writing could be subtle in the extreme. This is particularly true of the two papers of 1904, both of which not only present ideas that are likely to run counter to the reader's habits of thought but do so in a fashion that is largely non-linear.[6]

    To increase the accessibility of James's papers, we will devote the first portion of this introduction to an analysis of the core ideas from which James fashioned his radical empiricism and illustrate this analysis with material taken from the documents themselves. The remainder of the introduction will focus on the response to James. After offering suggestions as to why James's views were not more favorably received and accurately interpreted, we will summarize some of the issues raised and misconceptions perpetrated both by those who were critical and those who were generally sympathetic to James's overall program.

    The Basic Documents

    In September of 1904, in two closely related articles published in the Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods,[7] James articulated a metaphysical perspective designed to provide a radical reformulation of certain fundamental problems of philosophy and psychology. Termed "radical empiricism," James's metaphysical arguments brought to mature formulation a series of ideas that had long been developing within his thinking.[8] Roughly speaking, these ideas can be grouped under three headings: a) the continuity of experience; b) the metaphysics of "pure" experience; and c) the epistemology of experienced relations.

    The continuity of experience. James's argument for the continuity of experience first appeared in 1884 in a seminal paper, "On some omissions of introspective psychology."[9] In an analysis that became the basis for his famous account of the stream of thought,[10] James criticized "orthodox" empiricism for reducing experience to a succession of stable, distinct, substantive elements-ideas, images, percepts, sensations-elements that can be held before the attention and introspectively examined. For James, this punctate, discontinuous view of experience, which overlooks and falsifies "immense tracts of our inner life,"[11] is completely at odds with the dynamic, flowing, stream-like quality of consciousness. Experience, in James's view, is every bit as much an affair of transitions and relations as it is of the substantive ideas and images on which empiricist analysis has traditionally focused:

    "...When we take a rapid general view of the wonderful stream of our consciousness...our mental life, like a bird's life, seems to be made of an alternation of flights and perchings...The resting-places [substantive parts] are usually occupied by sensorial imaginations of some sort, whose peculiarity is that they can be held before the mind for an indefinite time, and contemplated without changing; the places of flight are filled with thoughts of relations [transitive parts], static or dynamic, that for the most part obtain between the matters contemplated in the periods of comparative rest..."[12]
    James's argument for the continuity of consciousness in experienced relations lies at the very heart of his radical empiricism. In 1909, for example, in the preface to The Meaning of Truth, James characterizes the essence of radical empiricism in terms of a postulate, a statement of fact, and a generalized conclusion that make the centrality of experienced relations abundantly evident. His postulate is "that the only things that shall be debatable among philosophers shall be things definable in terms drawn from experience." His statement of fact is "that the relations between things, conjunctive as well as disjunctive, are just as much matters of direct particular experience, neither more so nor less so, than the things themselves;" and his generalized conclusion is that "the parts of experience hold together from next to next by relations that are themselves parts of experience."[13]

    James's postulate places him squarely within the tradition of empiricism; but his statement of fact and his generalized conclusion take empiricism to its logical extreme.
    "To be radical," as James puts it, "an empiricism must neither admit into its constructions any element that is not directly experienced, nor exclude from them any element that is directly experienced. For such a philosophy, the relations that connect experiences must themselves be experienced relations, and any kind of relation experienced must be accounted as 'real' as anything else in the system."[14]
    Without the argument for continuity grounded in the fact of experienced relations, as we will see, neither James's metaphysics nor his epistemology of pure experience would have made any sense. As he put it himself:

    "...continuous transition is one sort of a conjunctive relation; and to be a radical empiricist means to hold fast to this conjunctive relation of all others, for this is the strategic point, the position through which, if a hole be made, all the corruptions of dialectics and all the metaphysical fictions pour into philosophy."[15]
    The metaphysics of pure experience. James's metaphysics of pure experience is aimed directly at the dualisms of mind and body and knower and known (subject and object, thought and thing, representation and represented, consciousness and content). In its classical form, mind/body dualism dates from the appearance of Descartes' Meditationes de prima philosophia.[16] For Descartes, everything that exists is made of one or the other of two radically different substances-body and soul. The essence of body is extension; that of soul is thought. Body is spatial and tangible; soul unextended and intangible. Ever since Descartes posed the problem in this fashion, the issue of how spatial body can affect or be affected by unextended soul has bedeviled Western thought.[17]"

    But with the advent of science proving the existence of what was called ESP and being able to duplicate the soul or mind functions with machinery things are less dualistic. I still find the words soul, spirit and mind are less exact than they should be, and maybe this will always require people to discuss due to the physical and psychical components.
    Last edited by R_Baird; 04-24-2016 at 06:06 PM.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2015
    Emerson is said to have resigned his pulpit due to issues with the Eucharist and practices of worship which set the living love of Jesus up in ritual beyond human experience. I regard this as a proof that his Arian or true Christian roots were also known in earlier Cathar times when the men, women and children went singing hymns to the "living love of Jesus" into fires set by the Catholic heathen crusaders for power. If you knew the "living love" inside "all that IS" would you need anyone preaching at you, or would you simply DO what love and Right Thought commands? The Three Magi are an allegory for the three laws of the magi including Right Thought - Right Action. This Magian through line or history goes way Way back in human evolutionary gnosis or wisdom acquisition.

    The Cathar Troubadours and Celtic (actually Keltic) roots were even known to Augustine despite his issues with Pelagius. I have a through line of history that would make Emerson one of the very few true Christians of his era or any era since the time of Yeshua and his brothers. This whole book titled Emerson: the Major Prose, is not here for free but that kind of thing and more about transubstantiation is in it.

    The essence of spirituality knows no borders or has no limits or need for Popes, Gurus, Archmandrites, or any forceful interpreters to set up stations between you and the love which Brotherhood and ecumenicism can bring. I see people like William James and Whitehead 'get IT'; or Teilhard's Omega Point and Bucky's 'creative realization' as Divine Providence in action. In his writings about the book Cosmic Consciousness you can see enlightenment was fully comprehended by William James. But there is more than a stream of consciousness in enlightenment even though that can be seen as what Bucke and James seem to think. Though James may have been radical and empirical for his era I think he is not very radical and a lot more compassionate even though some people seek to compare him with Skinner who became a psychological guru long after James was dead.

    Alfred North Whitehead is a panentheist luminary and philosophical genius with the heart of a true mystic like the great sages and alchemists of the dark and hidden past. I especially like these brief words of his.

    "Mathematical physics presumes in the first place an electromagnetic field of activity pervading space and time. The laws which condition this field are nothing else than the conditions observed by the general activity of the flux of the world, as it individualises itself in the events."

    When he spoke to the students of Harvard in 1940 he identified the issues facing the difficulty of getting a real education just as Joseph Campbell did around the same time in a speech to his Sarah Lawrence students. I often quote Campbell's address titled Permanent Human Values and I highly recommend or insist that everyone read it. It can be summed up in these words often quoted from Whitehead by Ralph Nader.

    "Duty arises from our potential control over the course of events. Where attainable knowledge could have changed the issue, ignorance has the guilt of vice."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 04-25-2016 at 11:08 PM.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2015
    If I do not do an interview with William James as a channeler (A device used by many including Jane Roberts and Blavatsky) I will do it as a 21st Century researcher and bounce things off him which support his views (and others like Crookes before him). I think the world is ready to see how the spiritual sciences are more than proven correct - versus the reductivist dogma of managed mind control submitting bodies to torture and brains to drugs.

    In fact I think this idea will serve up at least ten other sages of the past who deserve credit for what they presaged or knew and which lead to truth now being discovered.

    RB: "First of all, Mr. James I must tell you what an honor you do me by agreeing to join me in this venture to explore the psychic realms you did so much lucid and insightful work upon."

    WJ: "Carl Jung told me you are worth talking with, and I respect his opinion."

    RB: "I know he certainly respected yours and I have quoted him quoting your book Pragmatism more than once."

    WJ: "I knew that when I was alive, and I should have gotten together with him on that experiment you say you would like to continue, addressing divination and the source of collective knowledge."

    RB: "Are the two of you able to follow all the current scientific discoveries which have proven or nearly proven all the great researches you addressed in your waking lives?"

    WJ: "Only when the experiments are done by people whose psychic brainwavelengths are sufficiently mutable or similar to the brainwavelength we operate upon."

    RB: "That is something I wondered about. I might have thought the ability to access any bandwidth of energy when discorporate or dead might have been greater."

    WJ: "We do not think of ourselves as 'dead' per se. We prefer to express our soul from this realm rather than return to all the strife and confusion of your living selves, is all..."

    RB: "So, you are ascended and have fully integrated all your past lives, then."

    WJ: "Carl told me you are a 'buttinski' ..."

    RB: " So, sorry, sir...."

    WJ: "I understand your excitement.. Now as I was saying... The bandwidth of collective knowledge which my souls collect within are not just those of lives I have lived in the material realm, but the extent to which I have coalesced them is the extent to which my bandwidths can function and I am not yet fully realized or 'ascended' as you used that word we laugh about in this realm. It has so many attributions of demons, angels and dogma which drag it down."

    RB: "Can you read my mind?"

    WJ: "Yes, when you are more focused I can access your present thoughts.. But right now you are running in hyperdrive... so no... However, I do know you understand the issues of dogma and what you call CONstructs or the ways energy can almost seem to gain a "self" of it's own. And yes, there is only one self in this event horizon or Earthly plane who has integrated all the local bandwidths, but many of us are sufficiently aware and tuned in so we can go to other planetary or galactic realms as well as the local dimensional alternatives that have such variety and joy or the opposite. Have you read the former Harvard Professor who has already done much work in recent times addressing the psychic proofs I was trying to make? The ESP Enigma: The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena, by Diane Hennacy Powell is worth a read, as much as your Michio Kaku at least."

    RB: "I saw the Time article or interview with her detailing your theory about the brain being like a prism breaking bandwidths into colors. Is Harmonics and color the way science will go forward on these matters?... But have you read a mind which has the current science proving what you said over a century ago when here in my world?"

    WJ: "Frankly that kind of ego exercise is not important.. But yes, I have read your thoughts about what Kevin Lee and the researchers at the University of Virginia into the lymph system connections of the psychic points and chakras to the brain, and some other things you have read or experienced which you have sorted together in that 'busy-mind' of yours. You do not write these things in an easy way for other people to grasp, especially the Pythagorean harmonics and Logos connections... You are not as bad as Bucky, though... He-he. He wants you to do this with him some day."

    RB: "Boy, there are so many questions running through my head.. Can I assume that people who have died or left the material plane are more completely known in terms of their research, in your realm.. What do you call your realm? Is Professor Morowitz's great work known fully by you and Carl?.."

    WJ: "You are 'tripping' - to use a word from your hippie friends. Yes, we know more about the thoughts and researches of those who have 'passed over' as my generation might call it. So you can be sure we knew what he compiled in that article Re-discovering the Mind which you have beaten to death... I cannot make sense of all I know about how all these things connect to Don Robins and Mesmer or Pythagoras for you or your brain. I expect after today you will be better able to focus your thoughts so I can work with you more easily.. but time will tell.. he-he.. Time is a biggie for you! I feel you have had enough for the present and must say goodbye."

    RB: "Well, he is gone and I am still 'tripping' so maybe the reader would like to hear some more about his insights and era which built upon Walt Whitman and many others. Williams James, was so impressed by Cosmic Consciousness, that he devoted an entire chapter in his own great work, THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE, written some four years later, to examining Bucke's incredible findings. Some friends of mine called me the Cosmic Kid for many years after I carried on about Bucke's great book which was way ahead of it's time and was undoubtedly wrong about many things as well. I had some difficulty with his history and saying things that limit each of us to only so much insight or knowledge, but that was almost fifty years ago and at the time I could not really say I was right or if he was.

    On a lighter note, if you watch the movie Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts you will see her character working on a movie bringing Henry (Brother of William) James to the silver screen as Hugh Grant's character had once highly praised him to her. It is a moment which makes my heart jump each time I watch the movie. I can only imagine the intellectual environment the James boys grew up in."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 04-26-2016 at 06:51 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    The next offering would carry on discussing what was important about the book Cosmic Consciousness. The specific area would focus on what Sir William Crookes also worked on with Daniel Dunglas Home. (see Home in the Air) It would address bi-location as observed by Hecateus and others who saw Abaris and Pythagoras doing things similar to what R. M. Bucke wrote was done in front of all skeptics of his day (in Montreal).

    Before you reject what you have already read as "sheer bosh" as Freud did to Jung, you should read what Jung recounts from his life; in the same year he read James writing about Bucke's book.

    "While Freud was going on in this way, I had a curious sensation. It was as if my diaphragm was made of iron and becoming red-hot -- a glowing vault. And at that moment there was such a loud report in the bookcase, which stood right next to us, that we both started up in alarm, fearing the thing was going to topple over us. I said to Freud: "There, that is an example of a so-called catalytic exteriorisation phenomenon."

    "Oh come," he explained. "That is sheer bosh."

    "It is not," I replied. "You are mistaken, Herr Professor. And to prove my point I now predict that in a moment there will be another loud report!" Sure enough, no sooner had I said the words than the same detonation went off in the bookcase.

    To this day I do not know what gave me this certainty. But I knew beyond a doubt that the report would come again. Freud only stared aghast at me. I do not know what was in his mind, or what his look meant. In any case, this incident aroused his mistrust of me, and I had the feeling that I had done something against him. I never afterwards discussed the incident with him."

    WJ: "Yes, my brother Henry and I certainly were lucky or got hit with the best end of that ugly stick... So you want me to amaze people with some things I said about Bucke and his work on an evolution of the mind and even his de-materialization stuff which Crookes also supported. Yes, Crookes was a great scientist and you are right to credit him as the father of Quantum Physics. You have a pretty good handle on this stuff due to what Lydia showed you, but I will go past what I knew when I was in the material world - which I see you are baiting me to do."

    RB: "Will we go so far as to address new technology to harness the World Mind and alternative dimensions which Lydia also showed to me?"

    WJ: "She did not show all of that to you. You have gone some distance past what she showed you. I think Whitehead was a better Mathematician than I ever was, and his words might be more appropriate to what you are trying to formulate. You often quote what I think applies - "Mathematical physics presumes in the first place an electromagnetic field of activity pervading space and time. The laws which condition this field are nothing else than the conditions observed by the general activity of the flux of the world, as it individualises itself in the events." But I read you as also trying to see if we can tell you how that man disappeared from the chair so many times in front of those skeptics and one day never came back; just like Lydia told you she would some day have happen to her."

    RB: "Bait you?.. I would not want to break any rules or upset you in any way."

    WJ: "I cannot even conceive of the emotion of frustration or annoyance anymore. Rules, do exist in nature but they too vary according to factors we too, have much to learn about. I know you know constants depend on some of those factors already. We are not so much further ahead of you, as you hope. And the only thing about all of these questions which do not fit into our plan or hopes is that you do not have confidence in what we are or who you can be, and how this is all possible. Yes, you get adamant and are effusive in your arguments but you get too upset by the ignorant who assert the paradigm logic or denial of all things soulful. Remember how Crookes laid out the argument proving the petty jealousy of these people mimicking that which was made necessary during the Dark Ages. You know Freud was a neurotic or those other words you use for him, don't be so concerned, you will never do more than Crookes who was expert in optics, astronomy, chemistry and almost every hard science. He was still ridiculed after all the awards and notoriety, because the lesser lights in science need to appear as big and capable rather than use their mind and present actual science. You know I was regarded well enough at the top university but I still had to suffer fools."

    RB: "Yes, but mankind does not have the same luxury of time at the present. We have technology that can make humans redundant or implant wireless ideologies to make a Matrix that will ensnare all soulful energy and perhaps even consciousness. I know you and Carl or even modern physicists with all the Nobel Prizes said these things, but the average person only sees black and white fears and BELIEF in boogeymen as the way to go. Have you kept up with the USA Presidents such as Bush Family evangelicals?"

    WJ: "I lived during Tammany Hall. I learned politics is for fools and pay it no heed. Yes, Carl would agree there are dangers and he has told me about being called a Nazi. He has your attitude about some of this insanity. If the robots do take over the day to day operating and thinking for most people then humanity will not have so many babies and in time this too will balance out... OK I see what you are thinking about how this basically allows billions of people and their creative potential to die a soulful death of immense and tragic proportions but I also see you know you cannot stem the tide by yourself. In fact that nagging thought you have about just letting it all go and simply enjoying yourself might be best for you; we will still welcome you here."

    RB: "I cannot be guilty of that kind of mendacity, even though it is best for me. I agree with Whitehead on this when he said: 'Duty arises from our potential control over the course of events. Where attainable knowledge could have changed the issue, ignorance has the guilt of vice.' It bothers me a great deal to hear you say this even though I know you are probably right. But I am as always looking forward to my death of body and ego. And when rejoining the collective I am hopeful I will not have as much recall of this go round as you do."

    WJ: "However you also sometimes think you will eventually have to give up your megalomania or martyr complex in favor of the Zen you think you are able to do, or BE. Yes, I love those word games or bardisms you employ as if you really truly know what the great Bard actually did know. You cannot fool me, if I am who you think I am, and not even if I am an hallucination as some psychologists would tell you I must be."

    RB: "Waxing philosophical while acting all-knowing is an ego game sir. I thought you felt you were above this. Your work was even used as a Zen insight of some significance but there are many Zens and more than a mere stream of consciousness to grasp, unless I am wrong about the whole body of your research and those who followed you, including Jung. Your profession has a bad rap for pursuing fads and chasing each other's entrails seeking for what is not even visceral. Philosophically and metaphysically you must have learned more since your death, and yet that science or art has not really advanced a great deal either. I acknowledge no belief in self and only a sense of SELF as you must know if you can read me."

    WJ: "Well you certainly do say that, and have for many decades. But you also say in one of the divination techniques you were proficient at - that the self must first fully develop. Your giving is too mechanical or Nichomachean, too much a contemplation or accounting and not as full of heart as perhaps you might have learned if you had become a parent. It is good to do this logical back and forth nonsense, I had not realized how much I miss my ego."

    RB: "But the fact that you can say that proves you stand outside the self when you observe that, does it not?"

    WJ: "Ah, now I see why Bucky wants to do this with you... The observer of the observed, he has told me you do understand his concept on that. But he and Jung both think you have more work to do on Synchronicity even though they do not agree themselves, fully. So yes, you can now see we work on growing our understandings here just as mortals must do and we did as mortals."

    RB: "I wonder if Bucky grokked Affinity as well as Feynman. You probably have followed the Higgs proofing and got a hoot out of it, did anyone doubt it would be proven? As we discuss these things I think you are helping me see how to stop my overly obsessive need for knowing. Was this your intention?"

    WJ: "Yes, it was, and it is impressive that you can see that and give me credit even though it was also you, or the SELF in you."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 04-26-2016 at 12:09 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    If we consider influences on William James or his enduring legacy and impact on others this effort would fast become another Seth Speaks. It could be a triple volume endeavour without going too far into Emerson or the twelve steps program which the founder of that group gave William James credit for having been a founding member - due to his despair or his need to associate with some credentialed sources. The matter of secret societies which Whitehead also researched is one that I think has importance to William James research due to his father's role in Swedenborgian thought or what became Theosophy and even influenced George Washington. The concept of channelling is most relevant in Swedenborgian beliefs - and I humbly suggest the great hallucinations he suffered are shared in the lives of many people who suffer depression during traumatic growth periods of their lives. Hitler and shared hypnosis (Animal magnetism or Mesmerism) or trance channelling is all part of the continuum of dream state and other visionary experiences - reality has become amorphous.

    I have not had these kinds of experiences even though I have had things more real happen from the 'great beyond'. I like to think my explorations have yielded more fruit than hallucinations and that I have shown the likes of Blavatsky and Bulwer-Lytton (or others who founded new churches or religions) as frauds even if they did actually believe the angels they spoke with were real. They had a better grasp on history through their understanding of things called occult and which had been forbidden by the Church even though within the Church you had many occultists making new constructs to control people with. The thread on Swedenborg is worth serious study.

    I do not accept the propositions forwarded by the next author about religion. I regard spiritual pursuits outside ecclesiasties as more of a real religion and I define religion as what you do, not what you say you believe as you join powerful groups to gain influence. If this person credited James as a founder (along with Emerson who was influential in the philosophy of James) of the New Age; I would agree. These so-called New Age gurus are many and there is really nothing new in any of them.

    "William James (= WJ), who lived from 1847 to 1910, was considered the father of American Psychology. He also came from a Swedenborgian family. Approximately a century ago, he combined his interests in theology, philosophy and physiology and started the first college program in Psychology at Harvard University. Probably every academic Psychology Department in this country can trace its roots back to William James and the first Psychology textbook: The Principles of Psychology. In fact, many campuses even name major campus buildings after him, including the Psychology Department’s building on the Harvard University campus (right across the street from Cambridge’s Swedenborg Chapel, by the way!). There is no doubt about the fact that WJ was a major historical figure in the study of the social sciences in this country. But did his Swedenborgian perspective travel along with this influence in academia?

    “James inherited his lifelong interest in religion from his Swedenborgian father”, Henry James, Sr. (Niebuhr, 1997). They both felt that religion was the most important aspect of a human being, and that it had the capacity to change lives. One would hope that with all of WJ’s fame and notoriety among the well educated people at the turn of the century, that the New Church would spread through his influence on academic curricula. This seems like the obvious path of the transmissions of these ideas.

    But something happened that filtered out the emphasis WJ placed on religion, even though his focus on the human mind was adopted. Perhaps it was due to the emerging modern age of science. Maybe it was because Darwin wrote a widely read book during that same era, entitled the Origin of Species, which de-emphasized theology. For whatever reason, religion went out of vogue on college campuses, around the same time that psychology was established as a new discipline. Even though WJ was a theist and encouraged people to study the spiritual aspect of human life, this “most important of all human functions” according to WJ, was not widely studied by most of his students and followers on college campuses (Gorsuch, 2003. So, the majority of the psychologists of the twentieth century studied people, but ignored religion, as if it was irrelevant."

    Darwin was very religious and his book did not negate theology as this person says. It did change the lies in many religions or cause them to adapt to meet a better understanding of the evolving human brain, mind and soul, which James and Bucke certainly are a part of, alongside Transcendentalists and Eastern religions which have many disciplined offshoots like Yoga.

    WJ: "Ok, you want to grill me on the nature of Illuminati origins of my Swedenborgian father. I see you have written many volumes on the whole arena and done a yeoman's research for many years if not all of your adult life. I think we agree on the current position you have although you still say things on either side of the issue. Yes, Swedenborg and others have experienced attunements due to depression and despair or trauma due to health issues like Tesla experienced and caused him to think he might actually be an alien. But you are wrong to withhold your commitment to what you are now engaging in with me. It is no illusion or hallucination, it is no different than what Swedenborg experienced or at least not much different; just because you are not dreaming or not experiencing visions. You prattle on about what Jung wrote in his foreword to the Tibetan Book of the Dead but just because a person sees what they BELIEVE as represented in their cultural gods or angels does not mean the representation of the fundamental energy has not one iota of validity. I think my father taught me well, and I have learned more about these matters than you have."

    RB: "Good we are stipulating to the groundwork about the cultural nonsense including one specific group of people who are pursuing some mythical New World Order when in fact the same elites have sought both good and bad things for at least five millennia. You agree the occult has been used and abused and people seek visions to validate their BELIEF rather than do the hard work of real research. I do remember at the age of four having adult conversations about the "Is god Dead" Nietzschean debates that were transforming normative religious following. I can see now how my father applied his knowledge and desires to make a real difference through me, vicariously giving me a burden or curse that has made my life what it is. One of the categories of experience my father tried to teach me or encouraged in me was a "Pixie mind". "

    WJ: "For you it would be difficult to have visions or do that kind of work; because you have a fear of mental disorders despite understanding how to avoid depression. You are not as much of a researcher in these matters as Jung - and you admit that. So be clear - you cannot fool mother nature.. He -he. An hallucination is a strictly sensational form of consciousness, as good and true a sensation as if there were a real object there. The object happens not to be there, that is all. But yes, we would not waste this time with you if you had not experienced many attunements or what you like to somewhat foolishly call At - one -ments in your jester role as a Bard like Blake who followed in Swedenborg's radical footsteps just as many other radical Enlightenment or Illuminized people have. In this realm the people you call neo-Druids are still evident but real Druids are just as hard to find. Rome was indeed very effective in their effort to wipe it out. Yes, it would be nice if such a Brotherhood could be real again but as you note it was sell outs to power from these same circles who created the castes and top-down hierarchies."

    RB: "I learn more as the Fool than as a wise man. Do you think the over-indulgence in easy-answers from religion has corroded real disciplined wisdom to a dangerous level?"

    WJ: "That is a certainty, but remember old scholars are not always happier and just because someone gave up on schooling does not make their soul useless. Your focus on karma and purpose is not good for every person even though it is a good psychological modality."

    RB: "Does a person who says he or she is happy actually know what Happiness is? Aristotle had as good a handle on that as we do today even with all the genetic factors considered. But depression is a state of mind which has definite physical and emotional challenges. The issues are many including nutritional and self-medicating factors in which I include some religions as associated inputs."

    WJ: "What do you think about the genetic explosion of potential answers? I like to think we will be far better off because of these understandings - some day."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 07-11-2016 at 05:13 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    My oldest brother sends me a complex attempt to connect philosophies across the imaginary border of East and West. Plato would have had regular contact with the likes of Yuhin who I suspect aided in turning the tides against Alexander - from within.

    This is from the Nobel winner Naipaul's cousin, similarly prolific in writing and also from Trinidad. He did an excellent paper for the Simone Weil conference which I sent to you. I believe I have heard both cousins interviewed on CBC writers' programmes, Sheilagh Rogers and Writers and Company.
    PS I probably told you Balkrishna used to go in a group of students for regular chat sessions with Bertrand Russell no doubt at Pembroke Lodge, when studying in England

    ----- Forwarded Message -----
    From: Balkrishna Naipaul <[email protected]>
    To: russ baird <[email protected]>
    Sent: Monday, July 24, 2017 2:39 PM
    Subject: Re: Paramananda

    Dear Russ,

    Good to hear from you. The Katho is one among the earliest Upanishads which is highly influenced by both the Bhagavad Gita and Sāṃkhya Yoga. However, there are several forces that play significant roles in assessing the spiritual accuracy in most Hindu thought, which separates philosophy from ritualism. Indeed, while most of the Katho Upanishad deals with the philosophical aspect of the nature of the soul, there is the underlying aspect of the spiritual in the manner in which Yama presents to Nachiketas. For this reason the doctrine of Mīmāmsā plays a significant role in the doctrine of acceptance. Along with this is Sruti, which takes precedence in that its authority comes from Śabda or verbal testimony, as part of the pramanas necessary as investigative tools to bring a particular work into general acceptance. By contrast smriti has more to do with what is remembered from which the Itihasas, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, are brought into being.

    With regard to Plato, or for that matter, Somerset Maugham, neither knew very much about Vedanta. Indeed, Plato paraphrased much about the charioteer and the rider mentioned in the Katho Upanishad, as he did with his so-called parable of the cave. On the other hand, Maugham borrowed much from Christopher Isherwood, even though he hardly acknowledged it, but did not seem to understand much.

    The Katho Upanishad is not an easy task for the western mind to grasp, especially those who have been schooled in Christian doctrines. However, I will be happy to meet with you to discuss any questions you have.
    Best Regards.


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