TED Conversations

Luis Javier López Arredondo


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Where do thoughts come from?

Where do thoughts come from?
A thought active connections in the brain or vice versa?
If I control my thoughts, do I control my brain connections?
Consciously I do not control my brain... Are my thoughts random emanating of pure subconscious?
Do I really control my thoughts?

Topics: mind philosophy

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      Nov 20 2012: Dissagree.
      Yes - know yourself.
      But then
      Do your own thinking.
      If you are starved of evidence, then there is no way you will be able to think.
      If the evidence you have been given came from another's mouth or book: test it! If you can't test it, then it is probably a lie.
      If you have faith in the untestable - send me money.
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          Nov 20 2012: It's all good Don.

          I would wish you peace. But peace is not appropriate in the face of ignorance.

          Instead. I'll wish you clarity.
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          Nov 20 2012: Not in you Don,
          We are not the only commentators here.
          I see a lot of ignorance in assumptions based on dogma printed above and below.
          no one seems to have done any research, or in arrogance expect us to assume they have - without the benefit of quoting sources.
          That is ignorance as far as I'm concerned.
          i generally commit to long posts in order to avoid leaving huge holes of assumption.
          But many are talking in shorthand making alusions to phantom cyphers that haven't a hope of being correctly de-cyphered. All holding onto keys for fear that understanding will expose what is being hidden.
          I will give my keys freely - when i speak with someone, I intend to be heard well enough for understanding - should anyone be bothered fully read and ask for clarification - as you have done..
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        Nov 20 2012: Mitch,
        Have you read William K. Clifford's "The Ethics of Belief"?
        He advocates the strictest evidentialism I've seen. He raises the requirement of evidence to the rank of an absolute moral rule: "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."

        Do you see a problem with this statement? How do I know how much evidence is "sufficient"? And how can I test this very statement? In fact, very simply. I just apply this statement to itself. Why should I believe this statement? It crumbles like a house of cards under its own weight as any absolute moral rule would. This is what the power of "self" does to our proud ego. This statement of Clifford is a faith statement, nothing else.

        It is ironic that immediately after stating this absolute moral rule, he makes two exceptions to it: "We may believe what goes beyond our experience, only when it is inferred from that experience by the assumption that what we do not know is like what we know." (this refers to scientific inference). But how are we to verify this assumption?

        and " We may believe the statement of another person, when there is reasonable ground for supposing that he knows the matter of which he speaks, and that he is speaking the truth so far as he knows it." This is necessary so that we build upon experience of others and don't reinvent the wheel. But how do we verify the other person's credentials and expertise? Reality changes so fast that a person who was considered an expert a year ago may now go fly a kite as many mortgage brokers did. But even Clifford does not dare to go as far as you do. Shall we stick to our own thinking or shall we open our minds to ideas?

        Speaking of research, you might also be interested to understand better circumstances and reasons to believe: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-belief/
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          Nov 21 2012: hi Arkady,

          I'm glad you noticed ;)

          Well, from the get-go, I have a good idea what Clifford will be banging on about - simply from the title. It contains 2 words "Ethics" and "Belief". Both of these words have no real definition. I call them "garbage bin words".
          I have cracked "belief", and i suspect "ethics" is burried in the dynamics of the autobiographical-self "quadrad" structure. i am dealing with that in my current thesis.
          Blief has another name: perception. Perception is the topological sortation process by which sensory data is converted into information.
          An "informatum" is a reference object formed by and used by a "self" as part of the process of maintaining definition of self. The entire thing is organised around "advantage". Advantage being the field of possibilities which lead to self-continuity(survival).
          This process is part of the negentropic flux loop - whereby we delay entropy into a local flux-pause - at the expense of a flux reversal outside of the "self".
          We make the mistake of assuming closed systems - no system is closed beyond the temporary flux loop of the self.
          An assumption is an insuficiently trained perception which leads to noisy informata.
          I have also rendered "morality" into a the "advantage" frame.

          You know the words "reified" and "deified"? These words pertain to untrained, possibly untrainable perception - they always result in noisy informata.

          Also .. Consider the Mandelbrot set - unlike some fractal phenomena it is a-periodic. In fractal layering, one must obtain 2 clear samples . To assume periodic self-similarity, one must have 2 clear samples of different levels of the system - if there is periodic self-similarity, all subsequent samples are predictable. If it is a-periodic, there can be no prediction.
          The Bayesian learning system is remarkably effective at a-periodic prediction but it is fallable.
          The unknown is not to be feared simply because it is dark - but we harm ourselves if we do not attempt to illuminate it.
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        Nov 21 2012: Hmm... negentropic flux loop... Mandelblot set...

        I feel like my little son who was learning to read a year ago. He would read a long word, pause for a while, then read it again as if trying to remember it and say with fascination "that's a long word..."

        I love to look up stuff like this. I've seen Mandelblot sets in computer screensavers, but never tried to figure out how they work. Interesting. Reified and deified... I never used these words in English, but I know them in Russian. I can see how people reify God and deify things all the time. Both processes seem to cause idolatry - worshiping things. Too often our mind works backwards.

        Usually, when we want to confirm a rule, we need to check if there are exceptions. This is a tenet of scientific method laid out by Carl Popper. Yet, here is a quote from an ABCNews article
        reviewing the book "Judgement Under Uncertainty":

        "A famous study by psychologist Peter Wason neatly illustrates how we tend to look only for confirmation of our ideas, seldom for disconfirmation. Wason presented subjects with four cards having the symbols A, D, 3, and 7 on one side and told them that each card had a number on one side and a letter on the other. He then asked which of the four cards needed to be turned over in order to establish the rule: Any card with an A on one side has a 3 on the other. Which cards would you turn over? (The answer is below.)

        These are just a few ways in which we systematically fall victim to psychological illusion.

        Answer: Most subjects picked the A and 3 cards. The correct answer is the A and 7 cards."

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          Nov 21 2012: Hi Arkady,
          Everything should conform to observation. All else is speculation.

          Yes there are pitfalls in the way people think, but close observation overcomes most of these. There are exceptions, but not enough to make a difference excpt one: the local minimum. I will go into it if you want - because it is a fundamental knowledge.
          Everything I say is observable. ANd I am very happy to be corrected, so long as the erro rcan be observed.

          The Mandelbrot set is another fundamental knowledge - as part of Chaos theory.This includes the description of seemingly random results from simple systems and formulae, also the endless repetition of certain patterns and shapes(fractals). Chaotic systems always demonstrate a fractal property, but some linear systems can have this property too. Until very recently, scientists and mathematicians dealt with "linear" systems and assumed that the universe was fully described by them - e.g. that platonic primative shapes can be combined to describe all shapes - when any non-linear phenonomenon was observed, they were ususally dismissed as "oddities" and pushed aside. This kinfd of assumption turned out to be a 3000 year old mistake. It has been demonstrated that the vast majority of phenomena are fractal and chaotic.

          So I was referring to 2 different classes of "deduction"(a form of prediction): 1. that if a system sampled at 2 levels is self-similar, then it will be self-similar at all levels - from the infinitely large to the infintesimally small. 2. If the samples turn out to be not self-similar, then the system is chaotic. Many people mistake chaotic samples as stochastic noise. Threr may be such a thing as "random" but there is definitely a thing called "chaotic". I speculate that there is no random and the word "stochastic" simply refers to an undiscovered chaotic sytem influencing the observation.
          I recommend the book "Chaos" by James Gleik - it is a good read.

          I will have to continue in a second post.
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          Nov 21 2012: SO. There is observation and there are the methods of prediction based on observation.

          Prediction is observed to be an essential property of life. All life must seek sustinence - to do that, it must predict the location of that sustinence, either through awareness or in-built reaction.

          In the more sophisticated living organisms such as humans, the property of prediction is far greater than that posessed by simple organisms. Here is a very good presentation of how prediction works in humans - it mentions the Bayesian learning/predicting system.:

          It has been observed that the Bayesian system operates well in neural networks. It is not constrained by linear or rational ruleset limitations because it captures the system dynamic through "trial and error" and stores that dynamic as a "pattern recognition" in the network itself.It has also been observed that the Bayesian prediction system has better success at predicting chaotic outcomes than does reasoned deduction or mathematics - but, it often does not do as well as deduction and math with exactitude in linear systems - unless it is fully "trained. Mathematical and deductive formulae are not adaptive, Bayesian prediction is adaptive.

          I accept that we have flaws in our perceptions - but I also know why we have those flaws and how they work. I also know that, given enough training, the flaws dissapear.
          I can describe to you exactly what a perception is, and I can explain in an observable way that "observation" is a process coupling between senses and perception.

          I am working on the notion of entropic flux loops - entropy is described as the flow of energy from ordered to disordered states - this is stated in Newtons laws of physics - but I add that none of it is proven outside our own locality. But in our observable locality it is observable that all selves are loops in entropic flow
          Locality is all we need - anything that enters it becomes local
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        Nov 22 2012: Mitch, great post. We seem to follow similar paths in our interests. I'll read more about chaos. What I read about it links to many, many things. First of all, it links to "self". I recently became interested in religion. Oddly, it greatly stimulated my interest to science. Especially, my interest in questions "why do we believe things?" "When do we know that we 'know' something?" This lead to realizing that these questions are circular. As we observe outside world, we perceive "self" as much as we perceive the outside world. Then I thought about religious concepts - free will, omnipotence, omniscience. I realized that these concepts are circular as well. Then all these circularities in the New Testament - greatness through humility, life through death, the golden rule. Then the name of the Lord - "I AM".

        Then I started to come across various circular scientific and mathematical concepts. Fibonacci numbers: they start with 0,1 - basic concept like "yes" and "no", "existence" and "non-existence". Each next (future) number is the sum of the present (self) and the previous (past): 1,2,3,5,8,13,21, etc. Each number has "memory" of its predecessors and predicts the next. Their occurrence in nature is amazing. They describe patterns of sunflower seeds, pine cones, model reproduction of rabbits, and also shapes of galaxy and hurricane spirals. They are also related to golden proportion used throughout classical art. Hurricane Sandy had a shape of Fibonacci spiral: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/10/fibonacci-hurricane-sandy/.

        Fibonacci numbers are closely related to self-similarity and fractals. Did you ever cut broccoli or cauliflower? Just today I came across a romanesco broccoli in a grocery store. I've never seen it before. Amazing shape. In my opinion, we can either look at a galaxy or a broccoli, or a fern, or the devastation of the hurricane Sandy. All of them are manifestations of "self" - "I AM".
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        Nov 22 2012: Another example - exponential function. It is a number multiplied by itself. It is a derivative of itself and an integral of itself. It erases the difference between addition and multiplication. It is a solution of vast majority of differential equations in physics. Periodic functions are, in fact, a combination of exponential functions with complex arguments. Periodic functions also represent a circularity. By the way, Fibonacci spiral is a logarithmic spiral.

        It's strange. These references to "self" are everywhere. Do you think, I'm obsessed with "self" and circularities? In everyday life, it's hard to have a conversation with other people about these topics, but in this forum I find a great number of people who seem to think like me.

        Thomas Bayes, English mathematician and theologian. Georges Lemaitre, Belgian astronomer and a priest, the founder of big bang theory. Gregor Mendel, founder of genetics and a monk. Hmm... Is there a link between theology and science? Perhaps, it's called "self", "I AM"... What controls our thoughts? - "Self". As everything else in this world.
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          Nov 22 2012: Hi Arkady,

          The circularity you percieve is an artifact of language.
          Send me your email and I'll send a copy of my half-finished thesis - it deals with all this.
          It is very much work-in-progrss, but the key ideas are in place. - just needs some indexing, tidying up, graphs, diagrams and source references. I expect to have it in publishable form in a few weeks.

          The last part of my thesis deals with "I Am". Essentially it is the initial "self". the hypothesis states that a self is a wave in entropy - an inflection in the entropic gradient that cancels the entropic potential - a phenomenon we percieve as "order" ( "order" is a very fluffy term .. one would do better to simply concieve of it as an energy "flow"). Order is no more than a pattern that persists in time - the force of entropy seeks to break-up such patterns and leave a homogenous, featureless "smear". The self is a "standing-wave" in this process from pattern to no-pattern.
          So what happens is that the energy flowing into the "self" maintains the self-pattern, then flows-on beyond the self. That energy which departs the "self" is "super-entropic". in other words, what passes out of the self is even more homogenised than what default entropy would produce. Thus, the amount of entropy is balanced over-all .. a conservation of entropy. The best illustration is that highly ordered "food" goes into an animal, and highly disordered "waste" goes out.
          In the universal context, it is the gradient of entropy which spawns "selves" - so you can concieve the departing energy as a "field". Within that field, the entropic gradient is steeper - and spawns new "selves" to occupy that gradient. This happens recursively with each "self" creating a niche for new selves in the field created by its existence. So then the great "I Am" is the outer macro-wave, which spawns ever smaller selves from galaxies, to stars, to planets, to animals, plants, bacteria and then to atoms and then to particles - and beyond. A spiral.
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          Nov 22 2012: The model also explains gravitational and electro magnetic fields.
    • Nov 20 2012: Yes indeed Don, “Know thyself” and this is not about recognizing ourself in the mirror :)

      By how we react to situations we come into or the thoughts that come into our mind, we determine the road we are taking.
      “Know thyself” is knowing where the 'road' we are on is taking us. Do we really want to go there??

      I am not sure where "proof" comes into this, other than maybe proof that we do have the freewill to change our route for the better.
      We may have to fight and kill the Philistines in our life and march around Jericho a couple of times. Our life can be very difficult to change, but we're worth it.
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        Nov 20 2012: You wouldn't want any proof wandering into your temple Adriaan, it might upset your excuses and justifications for all those philistines you plan to kill.

        Loose lips sink ships my man - you would do well to keep it close - else your victims might escape..
        • Nov 20 2012: It would help to know what the Philistines in the OT represent. Every name of a city or a person has a spiritual meaning that connects to our being on a journey.
          When the Children of Israel were fighting the Philistines it represented our good intentions fighting off our selfish intentions. God does the actual fighting, but as long as we 'keep our arms up,' we'll be fine.

          You are right, ships can sink, but they also have purpose, just like a body.
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        Nov 20 2012: Not interested in your secret society machinations.
        Light does not shed darkness.
        Your secrets betray you.
    • Nov 21 2012: Mitch what are you referring to with "your secret society machinations" ?? I am trying to explain things, not keep anything secret. Because light does shove darkness away.

      Does anything spiritual fall in that category with you? Do you believe matter is all there is?
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        Nov 22 2012: Adriaan,

        I percieve that you are a good man, but I also percieve that you are stuck.
        The allure of the hierophant is the coveting of keys.
        A hierophant is defined by the keys on his belt.
        And on his belt they stay .. why is that?
        It is because all must do favors to the hierophant before the door will be opened.
        You say that the OT requires keys?
        I smell hierophants - I do not trust them, and I suspect their motives.
        let us assume that these keys are like lamps, and that the robes of the hierpophant is a bushel.

        No .. A true man gives away keys - it's not as if they are consumed by giving.
        If the writers of the OT were true men, they would not pervert these keys by their secrecy.
        They were exploiters.
        And I think you need to understand that in order to get those keys uncovered and in plain sight.
        I am not asking a small thing here - I am asking you to write the bible of the good man - to de-frock the hierophant and emancipate his victims of darkness.
        • Nov 22 2012: Thank you Mitch, and you're right, being stuck is never good. I may support the spiritual interpretation of the Bible because that is what makes all the contradictions and absurdities make total sense. I have absolutely no problem with science, as long as it does not go beyond its limits of the senses.
          In fact being stuck is another way of saying, being 'a slave in Egypt' because one of the "keys" in Genesis is that Egypt does represent knowledge, facts.
          Many Bible figures also go to Egypt (even Jesus) because we do need to learn facts and be knowledgeable. We do not become doctors by walking into an office. When , however, we limit ourselves to that activity and don't use it, we become slaves in Egypt.

          And yes, "You say that the OT requires keys?" God gives Revelations accommodated to the receivers (over possibly millions of years). Parents also adopt their communications with children about Santa, sex etc for their acceptance but also very much for their protection. If we had been given all the facts and manuals, most people would try every possible way to change them and 'I'll do it my way! (the 2 trees in Eden).

          --"It is because all must do favors to the hierophant before the door will be opened."--
          No one, ever, has to do me a favor. My website is always open, I have no way of telling who, or how many visitors there are. I often leave links related to a subject, if TED allows. You, or anyone else, can get on my websites (via profile) and read, download and use anything you want.
          Often people start reading with the desire to find something that does not make sense or is just plain wrong. Over time that approach can change.

          An interesting thing can be found in the link below, about Genesis, when a search is done for the word "because." Many times things in the Bible are strangely written, then the word "because" is used to explain the reason why.

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        Nov 22 2012: Hi Adriaan,

        I spent a good long time in the company of the religious of all sorts.
        I observed the hierophant to be the great exploiter.
        There is an alure that corrupts in the power given to the gate-keeper.
        Then there is another kind of man. This man throws open the doors.
        This is the man we call "prophet"
        He is the man who found the key, opened the door, ripped the door off it's hinges and threw the keys down.
        He became un-stuck from teh allure of teh power in the keys.

        I will read the material of your link, but I note that the original Latin is not included - I would have preferred the author had the honesty to include the original latin for the reader to translate for himself - and extend the spirit of teh analysis for himself. I resent the assumption that the reader is without the skills required.
        These are the subtle devices of teh hierophant.

        you say "If we had been given all the facts and manuals, most people would try every possible way to change them and 'I'll do it my way! (the 2 trees in Eden)."

        Here is where you are stuck.
        You assume Sin in a heart. I observe that SIn is placed into a heart. And so did Jesus - when he mentioned "stumblig blocks".
        These keys in the Bible are no more than footseps in the journey out of darkenss.
        If one were so disposed, one could obtain the state of the journey by examinind anything in depth - even a stone will reveal this.
        The true faith consists of teh steps of one's own feet as darkness is left behind.
        To read the bible and rest there seems to me like the parable of teh woman who looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt.
        It is teh motion of the man departing darkness that is a light for all - it is in the deeds not the words.
        You are a good man - I would enjoy to see your works.

        • Nov 23 2012: Mitch, thanks for replying. I am sorry that your experience with religions has not been very positive, but I'd like to think exceptions are possible.
          I have absolutely nothing to gain by how people respond to what I say or provide links to. I put out birdseed, take it or leave it :)

          --"but I note that the original Latin is not included"--'
          There are so few people nowadays that know Latin that this was not included. And yes some translations are better than others, and even a good translation may have a few words in it that people do not agree with. I'll try to find a digital Latin copy and email that to you.
          There is some info on Wiki regarding the "Arcana Coelestia." Also, as you probably know, at the time this first volume was written (1749) it was normal for any intelligent person who wrote a noteworthy book, to write it in Latin.

          About sin. At birth we all have only (hereditary) tendencies toward sin and goodness. When we do not 'brake the cycle' and accept and practise the sins, they become ours.

          Your last 6 sentences I fully agree with 100%, especially the last one LOL We will be known and judged by our fruits that we have done in freedom, not by what we've read.

          It is not the words, or the thoughts, but the deeds! Perfect!
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        Nov 23 2012: I will go on a little bit as it is clear that there is a burden here to take up.

        The division of science and religion is entirely artificial.
        Those who engage in observing this division are under the glamour of domination.

        It is a lesson to us all that our hearts are exposed, both you and I, by our conflicts. And in this, we bare the darkness of our forebares.

        The true struggle is not us aginst us, it is us against the darkness we have inherited.

        I note that these battlegrounds were not defined by us - but by the darkness our ancestors contrived.
        We are not them, yet we bare their legacy.

        Yes, honour our parents, but honour to the very depth of our ability - even into the fullest light of our criticism. WHat we are bequethed must be sorted - wisdom from cruelty - before the fare is fit for the feast - to do otherwise is to be poisoned and become the princes of darkness.

        The theme of the topic was the question of where thoughts come from. Using this as an oportunity to enter the battlegrounds created by our fathers' failures is not an answer.

        Elsewhere in this thread, I have contributed to the advancement invited by the question.

        I would respectfully ask you do the same - and quote your souces and structure your observations such that the reader can participate in your observation - and gain the gift of light rather than suffer the jingling of keys beneath arrogant robes.

        The children plead for light, and are violated by the locked door - and the very wall in which it stands. How is it, that the plea for light is not met by light - except through subservience to the wall?

        What is this we do to our children?

        We do to them what our fathers did to us, untill the day we refrain - and this is the quest.
        • Nov 23 2012: Mitch there is one book I would very much like to share with you, The word "thoughts" appears 80 times and includes descriptions of our thoughts as well as even the thoughts of spirits and angels. This book is not written by Swedenborg but could be seen as a compilation of the close to 30 (religious) books he wrote.


          It says "Thought is spiritual speech" and is caused, directed and shaped by our affections. Our affections, taken together, are ruled by one king. This 'king' is referred to as our ruling love.
          Really appreciate your thoughts and a very poetic expression of them.
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        Nov 23 2012: Hi Adriaan,

        Many thanks for the link - I appreciate you taking the effort!

        Not all my experiences with the religious have been negative.
        However, it was the very contrast that sent me searching further - to discover why it is that the same bag can contain such light and such darkess both? What is it that I can give to sort the grain from the chaff? And so I did - and continue to do.
        I am as tainted by the stain as any other - but it is by my own eyes that light enters - literally.
        I appreciate the calls from fellow seekers "come! See this .. or that." and so I look - and so it is not all worth looking at - some of it is an invitation to put my head into darkness and be lost in it.
        SO I have had to walk in my own boots.. Sure, it is our power to walk a mile in another's shoes, but beyond that we are shod like horses to pull ploughs and carry them at their pleasure - to suffer the mistakes and perversions of other men.
        It is by the prints of my own boots that I now judge my next step. And it is by that path that I can tell the calls of perversion from the calls of compassion. By this method, I have found lights far greater than my own - in living men. THose dead are embers that fade into ashes arranged on teh brows of the phoney messiah. And one need not look so far for truth - it is plainly at hand - as is heaven or hell.

        I am quite happy that some need the aproximate circles of words such as "spirituality", however, this circle also encompasses delusion and ignorance. we cannot just take these words and say - look there is spirituality! Have we been closer to see what is truly in that circle?
        Part of my task is to make that examination - and deliver understanding in replace of assumption. Then when a mouth utters "sprituality" there will be no doubt as to what lies inside it.
        So I search in the deepest observations of what we are - what we have truly found - then to cast the dross from the seed within the chaff - for my eyes, and my companions.
        • Nov 23 2012: Mitch, right on! "we cannot just take these words and say - look there is spirituality!"
          Precisely, even though Jesus says 'heaven is within you' that does not mean it is inside an organ or any physical part of our body.
          That was, initially, what Swedenborg was going to research and find which organ was Jesus talking about, the seat of our soul.
          That was the beginning of a long process of the opening of his eyes.

          I just sent you an email with a connection to read the first link above, in Latin. It is also possible to compare it to different translations. I really hope it helps your search and if there is anything else please do let me know.
          There is also another reading option, with also a word-search tool but I think you'd have to register in order to use it. I'll look into that.
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        Nov 24 2012: Hi Adriaan,

        It's much appreciated.
        Let me explain my stance a little:

        At one time I was deeply involved in the spiritual search, I spoke at length with clergy of many denominations, read all accessable bibles, visited temples of many kinds and spoke to the adherents therein.
        I also spent a year studying the phenomenon of proselytisation.

        After years of this it became plain that theree was no truth to be found in the mouths of humans. Certainly there was a lot of good intent and enlightened vision, but all tainted by ... something.
        So I retireed to secular life for a while and just kept the spiritual search going at second priority.
        Strangely, the seach continued around me without my actively searching, I found myself on the "ley lines" of human influence with contact with British royal mythology and ancient druidism also threads of Isreael winding through history into my life.
        Another thread opened up - the emergence of neural topology and chaos math which I followed actively for a few years - doing my own computer modeling and experimentation.
        It is through the coalescence of all this that I now percieve the "something" that taints us all.
        It is perception .. to be more precise, it is secondary perception - it is a flaw in language itself.
        we make the error of persisting in our autobiographical selves - fictions. These autobiographical selves are simulations running in "world views" world views consist. largely, of things we are told and taught - not hings we personally observe. Our world views accumulate the cumulative error of all the mouths and ears through which it has passed.
        This leads us to be living in total fiction.
        The Arcana Coelestia may well provide an incisive roadmap.
        In the mean time, I am preparing a thesis which is a structural method to help with all this.
        I perceive some urgency in this - the tower of babel was(is) not a fiction.
        • Nov 24 2012: Hello Mitch, thanks so much for sharing. Much of what you say, my wife went through on her level.
          As a young girl she had a NDE and no one she talked to, over the years and in several religions, could explain what it was she went through. Explain away, yes but she knew it was a very real experience, and had no doubts about that. This made her very un-interested in religion, to put it mildly.
          During our courtship this came up and when I said that her experience was normal and could be explained, she was flabbergasted. Now I'm wondering, did she marry me for me, or for my religion? :)

          You seem to describe a group-game where one whispers something in the next person's ear and that one passes on what he/she thought was said. There too, yes, we go through the process of accessing our memory and knowledge of words to see what interpretation of our ear makes sense as to what the person was saying. We do not want to sound ridiculous to the next person either, and maybe stop the game. Life, I guess is not much different. But still, we have to go by what makes sense to us and, in a way, gives us peace.

          If there are in your great and determined research certain areas of deep interest, with maybe specific questions, please do feel free to email me and we'll see what can be done and who I can pass them on to.

          We came to Canada in '78, so our kids could go to a church-school that did not exist in Nederland.
          I am no minister, in fact a drove a city bus for 28 years. But, as Swedenborg says, what is the use of knowing if you don't put it to use or share it with others.?
          Ten years ago we lost our 29 year old daughter who was to get married the next year. In situations like that a belief system can make or brake us. I'd like to think it made us into, at least, more helpful people.

          BTW it so happens there is something regarding the tower of Babel..
        • Nov 24 2012: Hi Mitch, just looked at this website and it really allows a deep study of the Bible text (without registering) and the thought behind that text. BTW we do believe that these thoughts are from God..
          This Project is also translating the Bible based on the spiritual interpretation. This is sometimes quite different from someone translating it according to existing assumptions or conditions. E.g. the value of numbers are kept the same. No measurements are transfigured to miles or inches because the number itself has a meaning, which is condition, not the distance.
          On the right the Bible text can be selected and I recommend to click on "study," however, just below is to just "Read the Writings" where you could select "AC 1" at the bottom to read the text of Arcana Coelestia #1. Below on the right is the option to read the Latin text.

          Enjoy and have a warm weekend. Here snow is on the way..
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        Nov 24 2012: Hi Adrian,

        The "world view" is far more than a group game. It is a basal unit in the gestalt organism we call "society".
        A good lot of the "error" of the "chinese whispers" is generated by self advantage. In other words, the truth was bent to breaking and continues to be bent as more self advantage is leveraged by exploitive individuals. The only escape from it is the test of direct observation.
        Unfortunately, one's world view can build to such a large body, that there is simply not enough time in a life to test it all.
        I resonate for the loss of your daughter. I lost a brother some years ago. The sudden discontinuity in our world-view leads to great uncertainty and pain .. all our predictions and expectations are rent. Here is one place where religion can help - to smooth-out the great chasm left by death.
        However, the true self has only sadness, not injury. The discontinuity of world view is an issue for the autobiographical self .. the core self is not so affected. It took me about 2 years to recover from my brother's death .. losing a daughter would be worse.
        Many thanks for the links - I appreciate your help!
        To me, the tower of babel is a description of how we become lost in our own cleverness and lose our hearts and lives in the process. THis is exactly the process of world-views and the function of language. THe tower rises and falls with the language and accumulation of aberent world-views - over and again. The comming fall will be significant due to our error in appreciating our true risk, and our arrogance in thinking the risk can be mittigated - when, in truth, it can only be shifted.
        The survivors, if any, will need to know how to stop building these monsters.
        • Nov 25 2012: Hi Mitch, thanks for your reply. What helped our dealing with the loss of our daughter was indeed our religion (or look at life). The is portrayed in her memorial service,
          This website was used at the time and I made her the theme. What it says here might help you too, regarding the loss of your brother.
          We felt happy for her, being promoted to the position of angel, but yes, for us it was a tremendous loss.

          Our llife depends so much on how we use and control our thoughts. Because with how we conrol our thoughts we form our character. I compared it to 'spiritual vision' before, and in whatever direction we aim that vision, that's where we are headed. What direction we're going is like deciding what to love. Based on what we love that's what our character becomes.
          Lots of people seem to disregard that freedom and see it as not real. To me that is unrealistic. We can, and do, think about anything we want or react to any thought that pops up.
          A few years ago I had such an experience. My wife was sending money to our kids in Colorado. As I was got close to the post office, the thought occured to me that I could easily put the money in my pocket and no one would be the wiser.
          I see the spiritual world as real and influential. That it was not me bringing that thought up but that some bad spirit was trying to make me do an evil deed. So I chuckeled and told it to get lost.
          How different that situation might have been if I had been confinced that this was me doing the suggesting. Maybe that would have made it easier to see it as having value, a good way to go.
          These days there are so many mental situations in which the spirit is totally disregarded. E.g. depressions are seen as a chemical imbalance, as if that's the only cause. I see it as a TV signal that is fine, but a receiver that needs repair.
          I know this is putting it very simple, but what do you think?
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        Nov 25 2012: Hi Adrian,

        I see it as posessing an "executive" function.
        A bit like watching water run through sand.
        The water is the exploration of possible outcomes.
        This is exactly what autobiographical self does - it generates possibilities from which the "executive" chooses.
        The executive is part of the core self - it posesses "policy" - our "moral" rulesets, which, although not testable in the short term, have some evidence of being beneficial in the long term.
        One major policy would be honesty. At the onset of a potentially dishonest possibility, the executive will consult policy and dismiss the dishonest impulse. On further examination, the executive can run the scenario over a longer timespan - usually it will find that the dishonest option will cause a divergence of the auto-self constructs .. which would represent an unecessary injection of "noise" into our relationships (having to maintain lies). After a while, the executive would not need to run the long-term projection and would cement it as habitual policy.
        The notion of being "recievers" is a fascinating concept. I have observed it often. At the moment I am exploring it in terms of social dynamics - ordinary physical phenomena with an emergent property formed by our social interactions. However, this effort is partly undertaken to isolate the non-ordinary component. So that the "signals" are not all taken as the same thing. There is an observable dynamic of network systems to develop unresolved "cachements". For instance, I can train a simple network to recognise the letters of the alphabet - but it will have problems with the letters O and Q, also V and A .. it "percieves" these as "the same thing" - they occur in the same cachement - and it takes considerable training to get the network to develop 2 distinct cachements in order for it to have tthe discrimination.
        So too is the distinction between normal social dynamic and extraordinary perception. Fine distinction is the art of wisdom.
        • Nov 26 2012: Hi Mitch, as I said, my picture is a simple one. When I talked about a TV signal and a receiver, it only meant to portray a connection. In this case between our mind (spirit) and our brain (organ, matter).

          Maybe that book Arcana Coelestia is not as thought provoking and applicable to our daily life, because it 'only' explains Bible text on a spiritual level. You seem to go much deeper.
          On the KemptonProject site we can 'Read the Writings' (with which are meant Swedenborg's religious books) but we have to know the initials to get started.
          The book above is AC (followed with the paragraph number you want to read)

          Another book I would very much recommend is Heaven and Hell (HH) Talk about where our thoughts come from..!!! We have not only heaven within us, but also hell and both would very much like our attention and support.

          The next book is all about God, what He is and how we relate to Him as images and likenesses. Title is Divine Love and Wisdom (DLW).

          This should keep you off the street for a while :) I sincerely hope you are interested in this information and approach. If there are any thoughts about "Where thoughts come from" these are the books that, I honestly believe, can lift the veil.

          In the famous book "Life After Life" the psychiatrist Raymond Moody devoted a whole chapter on Swedenborg, and as you know it helped my wife too. In Swedenborg's time the cutting edge of medicine was the use of leaches. NDE was an almost unknown concept.
          IOW for some reason and in more ways than this, he was very much ahead of his time.
          I hope you'll give it a go.
          All the best

          And again if you just want to get the English versions, just holler
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        Nov 26 2012: Many thanks Adriaan (and also Don for the valuable prompting).
        It will certainly "keep me off the streets" as it were, even though I have a current deficit in street activities - but enough time to digest new perspectives.

        I have specific markers for such things as heaven/hell and afterlives .. but these are not high priority untill I have dealt with the pragmatic observable dynamics which will polute higher percetions if not properly "nailed down".
        The pragmatic-observable strips away a lot of historically unexplored assumption. What was once assumed to be divine has shown itself, without doubt, to be banal physical phenomena. Without doubt because these things can be repeated ad infinatum without the intercesison of any deity.
        I am not attempting tpo be inflamatory by this observation - but if I am to do spitituality and degree of justice, it must be on the basis of my utmost honesty.
        There still remains the work of discerning the dynamics at work between short and long term policy in the realm of "morality". This also applies to such things as tangible/intangible benefits in a business case - all inextricably linked as far as our moral behaviour is concerned - and remains as a divide between the proponents of politics into adherents of governing of(facism) and governing for(democracy). I observe that western democracy is currently indistinguishable from facism - the shift being from one of communality to one of dominance(See Pinker's talk on modes of language).
        And similarly in business where the intangible benefit(communality) is rejected in teh favor of teh tangible(reciprocity). And further to the demise of the mode of "leadership" at the hands of hierachial(dominance) behavior overpowering communal modes arising from teh advent of agriculture.
        IN short, I aim to plot a path forward for mankind to return to the practice of communality. Which can only happen after a great catastrophy. Which is ensured by teh tower of babel - so we better be prepared.
        • Nov 26 2012: Yes Mitch, what kind of catastrophy would it take to change anything? Is it not so that we cannot change the world, but we can change ourselves?
          Some people do indeed need a personal catastrophy, the loss of a marriage, house, job etc before there is a wake-up moment that drinking might be the problem that caused it all.

          I think we can only change ourselves, and when enough people realize that, this will become a better world. The less we give hell a chance to be present in this world, the more 'room' for heaven that will create. In line with what Don says, make kindness the first reaction to the world around us.
          So my first advice is: read Swedenborg and share where possible.
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        Nov 26 2012: So what is this spirit stuff.
        What is it made .
        What holds it together.
        How does it generate thoughts, or hold consciousness.
        Are there spiritual neurons, and spiritual atoms, and spiritual electrons.

        We dont seem to know much about this concept, at least not much based on evidence.

        Is spirit just an argument from ignorance, or perhaps a metaphor for what we don't understand about life and consciousnesses?
        • Nov 26 2012: High Obey.
          --"So what is this spirit stuff."-- . etc"
          In one of the links I mentioned to Mitch (http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/documents/DLW.pdf) it is described in the first paragraph. Basically it is the spiritual substance, love. Few know what love is, but the general consensus is that it is not nothing.
          Love brings people together like gravity works on the natural level. Don't worry, there will be no evidence of whatever I say. You choose not to read any books or explanations, so don't worry, you'll never be forced to change your perspective (even after your body dies). Just as I cannot and should not (or have the least wish to) persuade anyone into buying anything they don't want to. I have even less power or wish on the spiritual level to make you accept and love something you choose not to.
          Everything I put out as one puts out birdseed. Take it or leave it.

          I believe there is a spiritual world or realty that gives life to matter, whether it is a flower or a neuron. We are a spiritual body in a material body. When a man dies he is still a spiritual man, just as a woman is still a spiritual woman.
          Life is above the natural world, and only 'connected' by way of the "science of correspondences" (You could Google that).
          It is that level of life that gives us freewill. It is not caused by loose neurons.
          May I suggest you read some stuff and then see what you may want to talk about? As they say, what do you have to loose?
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          Nov 26 2012: Hi Obey 1,

          As far as I can tell, spirit seems to be the gradient of entropy.

          No matter how you gain entry to it, it's still pretty amazing and wonderful. And results such as kindness, compassion, humility and clarity always result.

          At the moment I'm exploring the idea of living creatures being akin to little waves on the universal entropic gradient line. The patterns maintained by the peak of teh wave are what we observe as a "self" - a local zone where entropy is suspended. But what we do not observe is the super-entropic "tail" that balances out the peak. Since it is the gradient of entropy which fuels everything, the super-entropic tail presents a sub-environment favouable to more selves. from that, one can postulate a "mother wave" who's tail contains all of life. From there it would be fractal. I am yet to construct a useful mathematical model.

          It would be interesting if Wolfram's computational ideas might be translated into the actual gradient of the negentropic wave. This would extend the model to encompas such things as galaxies, stars atoms and particles - all these demonstrate negentropic properties.
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        Nov 26 2012: Hi Adriaan,

        Totally agree - loss is often the catalyst to improvement.

        The "marker" that I have kept for heaven/hell is from observation - this is the seed from which I will draw my bearings. It is:
        "The inhabitants of hell have free licence to torture each other without let or hindrance. Conversely, the inhabitants of heaven have free reign to bless each other without limit."
        I have also observed that one may occupy special places in this schema - there is the white circle and the black circle. THese are like fortresses, with the generally light and teh generally dark surrounding them.
        But it seems that the dark agregates around the white circle, while the light surrounds the black.
        Those in the white circle cannot be touched by anyone in the general darkness - those in the black are impervious to the generally light. But the fortresses contend. A being of light has no one to fear but the black master, the black master is ever at peril from the white.
        It may be wishful thinking, but I believe that there can always be more light, while darkness is limited by its final resting place of nothing - and is defined by the light.
        The "gods' which I have observed moving here and there are somewhat nebulous .. they seem to manifest through humans and animals .. they are most noticed through the transformation of circumstance - the topology of reality seems to concentrate and flow in their presence. If you do sacrifice to them, the bless you, if you deny them, they bless you, if you do their work, you join them .. become them .. - it is a blessing, but all that is done as a god is at the will of that god - and the blessing of a god remains with that god - i.e. all that incredible power and vision is of the god. It is a trap to believe that any of it belongs to the worshiper - who becomes simply a channel.
        • Nov 27 2012: Hi Mitch, I'm very curious how you observed the situations you describe. I believe Swedenborg's spiritual eyes were opened and he communicated with those in hell as well as those in heaven.
          Good and evil are opposites, so as opposites they do not mingle, communicate or even influence each other in the next life.

          God's blessings are bestowed on all in heaven and enjoyed by all. Many having had a NDE can tell you the immense, overpowering love they felt. Actually they can't, it is inexpressible, but still very real.

          Your final statement seems sort of right, that life, or its blessings are not our own, we are receivers of life and of its blessings. Although we do have the feeling that life, very much, is our own. Otherwise we would not feel human.
          The heavenly situation is to love others more than oneself. Which seems impossible here but is normal in heaven. Heaven is the result of the quality of our character, which again is determined by what our loves are.
          When we pass on, we wake up in the same spiritual world we are in now, but then we go through two stages if on our way to hell, but three stages if we are on our way to heaven.
          Part of that is because we have an internal and an external mind. We are, and control the external mind, God governs and changes the internal according to how we handle the external one. God protects our freewill as the apple of His eye.

          This shortened version of Heaven and Hell starts with what happens after we die..
          It's always good to know where we're headed.
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        Nov 27 2012: Hi Adrian,

        The experience of heaven and hell? well the "hell" experience concerned a road rage drama I got involved in - many years ago. We 2 combatants engaged in all sorts of dangerous hate-filled agression, and in the midst of it, there was no policeman, no external agency whatsoever to prevent what we did to each other. And afterwards, we parted on a merry ways filled with the hatred radiating out of us. That was the clearest example - very instructive. I have observed the dynamics when one refuses to play .. the general light and dark. With the free blessing .. well, you will know it .. those in light elevate each other to great brightness.

        With gods .. yes, well, I once made a dedication to Durga, Mahishha and Shiva .. kind of by accident .. I made a set of flutes based on teh Mysore festival of Durga. It was in honour of teh wood that came to me from a fellow in Barrow-on-Humber .. he had gotten some rosewood furniture from a local lord who's family were expelled from india along with the Raj. We worked together to have the set made, and in the process I was advised by a north Indian fellow who directly translated the full legend of Durga from a sanskrit document that had been in his family for .. a long time. Durga is essentially the General deity of "overcoming" .. In India, the spirituality is not kept in stone buildings on Sundays - it is a true religion. Durga has her own musical scale(Raag) - as does Shiva. They are played at different times of the day. They both have a creative and destructive aspect. Mahishha was an imortal demon-spawn who attempted the invasion of heaven, and was finally defeated by Durga in a 100-day war. Mahishha, being a demon has no Raag, but is manifested by the Raj - who were also defeated by Durga.So the flutes were made in that 100+ year old wood in the culturally specific scales - Mahisha being teh indic equivalent of the western diatonic scale. (contd).
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        Nov 27 2012: The scales were tuned to the exact frequencies of theofficial Raags - using the 22-note chroma of southern India. Once they had been proven to be true by my north Indian friend, I took them as display piecvces to the various folk music festivals as part of my cultural jehad.
        The story and the flutes attracted some remarkable events - such as a 50-foot auric flame erupting from my tent. The personas of Durga and Shiva came visiting through various people with blessings and demonstrations of power. Dark people who entered that flame were struck to the ground and required medical attention. These avatars now carry their flute-totems, who knows where. I retain Mahishha in trust. This is an example of the true sacrifice. Of course, When made the offers, I denied the advances. Both sacrifice and denial granted me blessing. I will not work for lesser gods.

        In regard to life after death, well, My own NDE experiences revealed no such thing - nor any necessity for such a thing. But as I say - these are "markers" - experiential "stubs" I have not persued any deeper knowledge, and will not do so until I have removed as much of the common phenomenology as I possibly can. I have no room for error, and no tollerence for halucination. If there is something, it had better be the real deal.
        This is where your links will help - even the dross describes the contours of what lies beneath.
        • Nov 27 2012: Hi Mitch, --". .the spirituality is not kept in stone buildings on Sundays - it is a true religion."--

          So true! A long time ago I had a discussion with someone and he asked when I practised my religion. When I said 24/7 he was very surprised.
          Religion should be part and structure of a good life. To only be kind and good to people around Christmas is ridiculous and does no good, does not change the world.

          I think the link to DLW will tell you what we believe about God and how He works. For one thing, He is not looking after us only on Sunday mornings either. :)
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        Nov 27 2012: Yes, I think a lot of damage has been done to the "spiritual" component of human community.
        The continuity has been harmed. My experience with Indic culture illustrates this quite well.
        I also get a lot of insight through my work with traditional music. The cultural skeleton is preserved through it, and it is remarkably robust.
        As always, I lay the schism of human cultural integrity firmly at the door of money and the psychopath. I suspect the psychopath formed at the divergence when humans started eating meat. Money is a direct result of agriculture - it arose along with slavery and the practice of dominance which has since supplanted the true nature of leadership.
        This represents a 25 thousand year deviation from our true place in the world, we have deviated so far that I suspect few, if any at all, would recognise it, let alon return to it. But one does what one can.
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        Nov 28 2012: Thanks Adriaan.

        So if spirit is love. It is essentially a concept. it does not exist in the sense our bodies do.

        Rather it is closer to being a feeling. That may be expressed in actions or words.

        Love is not a physical entity.

        Sounds like spirit is just a metaphor.
        • Nov 28 2012: I think spirit is more real (and loving) than any 'cloud' of matter. The more you go inside matter, the more you can look through it.

          "So if spirit is love. It is essentially a concept. it does not exist in the sense our bodies do."
          Right, it does exist but not as our material body exists. The spiritual realm is the cause and the physical world is the effect of that cause.

          Just as every single move we make (on purpose) with any part of the body is caused by a love. A love to stay healthy, to survive, to express, to see, to submit, etc. Our body language is the expression of our mind/spirit.
          Just because science cannot detect or measure anything beyond matter, does not mean that beyond matter nothing exists.

          Obey do you see men and women as the same, but just having different bodies? What if their minds are at least as different as their bodies are.. These couple of pages are about the origin of that difference http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/studies/Origin_of_Masc-Fem.pdf
          Let me know what you think, OK?

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