The Higgs boson explains why particles have mass -- and in turn why we exist. Without the boson, the universe would have no physical matter, only energy.
The cosmological implications are hotly debated. Can God fit in a scientific story of creation?
The answer is "no" for Lawrence M. Krauss, an Arizona State University theoretical physicist. He argued in Newsweek that the Higgs boson discovery "posits a new story of our creation" independent of religious belief.
"With enough data, physics would make God obsolete, he said. "If we can describe the laws of nature back to the beginning of time without any supernatural shenanigans, it becomes clear that you don't need God."
What will be enough evidence for science to prove that there is no god?.
I had stated in another conversation about this that no matter what science proves, the religious will just say that it is still some divine intervention. God allowed us to see this etc. etc. instead of simply showing himself. Groan!.
"Alternative medicine guru Deepak Chopra said in a YouTube video that the boson hints at a divine interconnectedness of all things.
"It only strengthens the notion that the universe comes out of a nothingness which is everything," he said."
At the end of the day, even a slap in the face does not wake people up. They ask us to prove the lack of existence of god, we give it to them in so many instances and yet they still choose to be delusional simply based on feelings rather than facts.
As usual with Huffington Post news stories, I always encourage you to read the comments as this is where most of the action happens.
>> "God is cosmic music resonating in 10-dimensional hyperspace." - Michio Kaku
I am not a fan myself of any form of mysticism because it leads to realms of thought that cannot be objectively tested. Mystical statements like this one sound profound, but I am dubious that they have any meaning.
My philosophical outlook runs in an entirely different direction. While religion is—in my estimate—and should be viewed as a much-too-simple attempt to explain how the world works, the confusion it has brought along with that attempt has caused great difficulty and placed new obstacles in the path of understanding.
The natural tendency of the intellect is to invent where it does not yet understand. That tendency is responsible for wonderful works of art that decorate human history, but it also represents illusion that must be cleared away so that genuine understanding can take its place. It is a delicate process to separate reality from all the available versions.
Romain stated that the mystical experience itself is "empirical," but is only understood subjectively. In other words, it is a direct experience of whatever it is that "is," but when transcribed into language, subjectivity pours a hard filter upon this task.
In meditation, one is only concerned with "what is," nothing more, nothing less, so I don't really see it as invention where one does not yet understand, but as something that is transduced, usually into a symbolism. If you think about what science is, it's entirely this. It's a transcription of the universe, the scientific intellectual understanding is only a transcription of what is. In other words, the M-Theory that theoretical physics describes is only understood within the intellect through concepts, symbolisms such as the ones in mathematics, etc. But this experience that is induced through meditation is a direct experience of what M-theory is only attempting to transduce.
Angelica of the Rugrats said something once that I thought was interesting, she said, "If you have to ask, you'll never know." Alan Watts said it's like trying to bite your own teeth or touch the tip of your finger with the tip of your finger, you could never get to it as long as you're only intellectually attempting to understand, because your understanding will always be a concept, it will come from the illusion that you're separate from everything else, it will be based upon the ego.
I think that's why sunyata in Buddhism is described as a "void," but not void as in empty space or nothingness, but as a kind of ultimate consciousness or ultimate space in which everything can happen. Sort of like the universe in all of its infinite totality realizing for a brief moment what it is, but not through intellectual concepts or symbols, but through profound intuition which doesn't require intellectual probing. So, this type of knowingness doesn't have to explain how the world works in a complex intellectual manner, and I think that's why it's simple yet at the same time does represent the universe in all of its complexity.
Anyway, I'm not sure if any of that was understood, but here's an old video I found of Alan Watts on the topic of "The Void."
And concerning "objective tests," the work of Strassman seeks to have something like this on mystical states looking at brain activity, the function of DMT, its role in respect to consciousness, etc. but I have a whole other take on this that would take much more paragraphs, but for now, I'll just end this here. I wanted to elaborate on Michio Kaku's quote, because you mentioned that you're dubious about the semantics of the statement. Maybe on another post. Strassman's book, btw, is titled "DMT: The Spirit Molecule."
The religious always have a liberal understanding of "what is". Their faith extends what they believe to be empirical. Ask any God-believing man and they will never admit that they are merely imagining God, but that they are sensing him. In that respect, Buddhism is no different. The goal of meditation, then, is only empirical because the dogma at the core of Buddhism implies objectivity when there is no empirical proof that this is true.
In Buddhism, we are told that the material world is not "real" because of dependent origination, similar to the law of causality. We must then practice detachment in order to see the "truth", because in Buddhism, attachment is ignorance about the Noble Truths. Already, Buddhism differs from scientific atheism in that science studies the empirical -- the material world -- whereas Buddhism claims that the material world is false, and reality exists only in another dimension where all our minds reside.
I would call this cessation to detachment epistemological nihilism, but Buddhism would frame it differently, since they derive the "truth" from the 4 Noble Truths, and not everything else that people consider real. Ironically, by following this logic, the pursuit of science becomes ignorant, and the apathy of everything becomes wise -- the exact opposite of what most of us would consider.
But how did Buddha first learn of his 4 Noble Truths, if in fact everything we know are not real? We learn that he came up with these Truths as an ascetic. He claims he is only man, not God, and yet men cannot invent truth, so that makes him the sole recipient of these truths that he learned, not invented. We must take his word for it.
It's just like in the Bible. The prophet "discovers" objective knowledge in which we must accept, because anything we come up with on our own is surely not real. How did Jesus discover the 10 Commandments? How did Buddha discover the 4 Noble Truths? It's special pleading, as in: "It is impossible to know the truth, except as I have..."
It doesn't matter that Buddhism is internally consistent, if it even is; if we attack it at the foundation, the axioms in which all else must build on, we see through the illusion and mysticism in which they call religion.
1. Life is suffering.
2. The origin of suffering is attachment.
3. The cessation of suffering is possible.
4. The path to the cessation of suffering is... (leap of faith) Nirvana!
We can attack each one of these Noble Truths, or we can attack the proclaimed existence of an idealist dimension, reincarnation, and the existence of Nirvana. Buddhism may take less leaps than Christianity, but it still takes on the same patterns and forms of religion.
P.S. There is also no evidence that Jesus didn't know anything about Eastern religion, if he in fact existed. But Buddhism had spread through the Greek in Antiquity, when Alexander the Great made contact with India. Several Greek philosophies have seeming similarities with Buddhism, like Pyrrhonism.
When I say "what is," I mean literally what is intuitively felt rather than a Christian's hunch that he feels "God in his heart," as Matt Dillahunty often says, you don't want to metaphysicize heartburn.
Usually, when a Christian says it, he or she isn't under any kind of physical distress or experiencing some kind of blissful elation, they will usually blurt it out of nowhere, and I'm not sure what they're basing it on, a gut feeling, butterflies in the stomach, who knows?! But in eastern religion, this is very different. The objectivity that is involved in Buddhism isn't easily articulated nor facilely understood, especially if you're coming from a background of western religious thought.
Perhaps you're familiar with the term "nonduality" in eastern philosophy. You mentioned that Buddhism says the material world is "not real," but I felt that you may have interpreted that literally, because you attributed to a kind of nihilism. And it's easy to do that, as ideas in eastern philosophy such as "sunyata" are often translated in English to "void," but this is not a void of nothingness or unreality, that should be made clear. I'll try and elucidate that by attempting to define "nonduality."
Put simply, nonduality is the dissolving of the subject-object duality, the subject of experience and the object that is being experienced, i.e. the world, the universe, your life, essentially. The experience of nirvana, nirvana is often translated to 'blow out,' is the dissolution of this duality to what is a direct experience of what's often translated from Buddhism 'ultimate reality,' in Hinduism, this is ultimate reality is referred to as "Brahman." Brahman cannot be an object of its own knowledge since it is completely dissolved of all duality, so then it is something that is intuited rather than intellectually groped.
I want to take an excerpt from one of Alan Watts books that further describes this point, and I'll start below after the hyphens and end it with another set of hyphens:
The point is that the attempt to talk about, think about, or know about ultimate reality constitutes an impossible task. If epistemology is the attempt to know what knows, and ontology the attempt to define "is-ness," they are clearly circular and futile procedures, like trying to bite one's own teeth. In a commentary on the Kena Upanishad, Shankara says:
"Now a distinct and definite knowledge is possible in respect of everything capable of becoming an object of knowledge, but it is not possible in the case of That which cannot become such an object. That is Brahman, for It is the Knower, and the Knower can know other things, but cannot make Itself the object of its own knowledge, in the same way that fire can burn other things but cannot burn itself."
In the same way, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says:
"Thou couldst not see the seer of sight, thou couldst not hear the hearer of hearing, nor perceive the perceiver of perception, nor know the knower of knowledge."
Or in the words of a Chinese Buddhist poem:
"It is like a sword that wounds, but cannot wound itself; Like an eye that sees, but cannot see itself."
Here's the link to the entire excerpt: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/34810265/Alan-watts
The world is not false as unreal, so this is not a nihilistic doctrine, nor is it acosmist which is the opposite of nihilism. Buddhists call this falsity "maya," an illusion created by perception, but again, this is not an illusion as to mean "unreal," it's an illusion in the sense that it's a provisional perception created by the ego or consciousness.
You know, the paradox in eastern philosophy concerning the whole "seek and ye shall find" game is that reality or truth or the universe, whatever you'd like to call it, is already a given, we're embedded within it and are a part of it. And the illusion involved in this is that you're somehow separate from it, this is the illusion that consciousness can create or the "ego," so in a sense by this coming into conscious awareness or egoic realization, you deviate from the holistic. But since most of us live out our lives within the sense of this "ego," we have this illusion that we have to search for "truth," because through the assumption of the ego, we have started out from the very path of illusion.
This is why there's a lot of rhetoric in eastern philosophy such as "the road to here" or "the eternal now." Duality is also emphasized through the yin-yang, which interdepend in such a way that you couldn't have one without the other, but represent all contrasts; black and white, light and dark, silence and sound, self and other, samsara and moksha, free will and no free will; as one.
Also, you do not have to take Gautama's word for it. The entire point of the 4th Noble Truth is to follow the Eightfold Path, it was his own method or technique for inducing this phenomenon in consciousness which everyone has the potential for, so you ultimately do not have to take his word for it, and in fact, he often told people never to take his words too seriously or perhaps literally.
I tend to elaborate needlessly, if you haven't noticed, but the point I suppose is that in eastern philosophy, that there really is no seeker, there is nothing to discover, people create that illusion for themselves thinking they have to go out and discover or find "truth," when if they simply look inward or dissolve the ego, they'd find that they were truth all along. "Tat Tvam Asi" as they say, "Thou art that." Sri Ramana Maharshi once said, "Seek the seeker." The Diamond Sutra says "Buddha didn't attain anything," if you misunderstand that statement, it can lead to nihilism, indifference, and apathy, and "what's the point of it all?" kind of an attitude, but that's not what these sutras are trying to get at. Quite the opposite, but that's what makes this path a razor's edge, it's very easy to fall on one side or the other. The reason it's not an attainment is because liberation actually requires losing something. The problem is that we've already attained something too much, we've attained a false identity, a mask on top of the original true self. So, it's not that we have to get something, but we have to let go of something, and yet it's the thing that we're most proud of, this ego… and who can let go of that? So, behind that ego, of course, we're already liberated, we're already that we which we think we're seeking and yet also putting off.
I realize this post ran on a little long, but it's worth pointing out, I think, that there is vast misconception that surrounds all religion, especially eastern religion if you're a westerner. So, I'm not sure if this elucidated anything for you. You also mentioned that we don't know if Christ knew anything about eastern philosophy. That wasn't my comment, I was quoting Watts. I'm not sure what he was basing that on, but from my own experience in studying comparative religion, there is practically no concepts in the bible that I could attribute or relate intimately with eastern religion.
The entire point of the Eightfold Path is to help you understand the 4 Noble Truths and achieve the end result, which is the cessation of suffering. One could achieve understanding of the 4 Noble Truths without exactly following the Eightfold Path, but not the other way around. As I understand it, the 4 Noble Truths, and dependent origination are the only "truths" in Buddhist doctrine.
Buddhist non-dualism merely describes idealism, as in the mental perception of everything, including the physical world, is the only thing that is real. The exact concept of physical voidness is sophistry as far as the depths of this subject I'm willing to pursue. It could mean void as in everything or nothing, but regardless, attachment to it -- whatever it is -- makes one ignorant in Buddhist doctrine, and unable to achieve the ultimate goal of Nirvana. This is contrary to scientific fields, that spend considerable time testing and proving things about the empirical, physical world in an attempt to justify objectivity without subjectivity, whereas Buddhists are more interested in testing and proving the thought process that goes into, as you say, "intuitive" sensing of what, according to Buddhist doctrine, is the reality that encompass the physical world. This "intuition" that we surely do not naturally possess, despite what Buddhism says, is tantamount to the Christian intuition of God -- an unprovable concept that is sworn into reality by the axioms of the religion. The Buddhist concept that we are all born with the ability to perceive the "truth" is the logical equivalent to the Christian concept that we are all born from God. Either way, we have access to this "truth" whether we pursue it or not. The problem is that, when pressed, we could neither scientifically nor logically prove that idealism is true, in any form, therefore Buddhism cannot be shown to state objective truths (or rather, if it does, it does not hold under scrutiny).
Buddhists like to conflate all nihilistic concepts, or perhaps they like to consider the Nihilism philosophy without considering more generally accepted parts of Nihilism. Sub-concepts within Nihilism, such as epistemological nihilism, is then ironically also implicit within Buddhist writings stating, essentially, that one can never really know anything... besides the "truth", whether you call that Brahman or Nirvana. This is simply special pleading. One does not have to try hard to draw parallels of this and Christian Young-Earth Creationism stating that science is only a test presented by God, and that God is the only true knowledge.
Only a brief inquiry into why we should trust Jesus/Buddha is needed; Buddha admitting that we should perhaps not take him seriously is ironic: people tend more seriously any personality with perceived humility. This presents a paradox: On one hand, we could take him seriously, but if we take him seriously, we should also heed his warning not to take him seriously. The result is that Buddha gets away with a bunch of unfounded claims while denying responsibility for them all at the same time.
But, as I've stated before, one does not need to prove logical inconsistency within Buddhism to disprove Buddhism, one only needs to disprove its axioms. In the same sense, when we disprove Christianity, we do not have to disprove everything written in the Bible, we only have to disprove whether the Bible gives us insight to God. In Buddhism, the whole thing falls apart if we show that the 4 Noble Truths aren't so true after all. And indeed, the 4 Noble Truths is Buddhism's starting point to the is-ought problem (according to G.E. Moore, the naturalistic fallacy, stating that "the assumption that because some quality or combination of qualities invariably and necessarily accompanies the quality of goodness, or is invariably and necessarily accompanied by it, or both, this quality or combination of qualities is identical with goodness."). And so we begin:
1. Life is suffering. (note: suffering is a bad property)
4. Therefore, we should attain cessation of suffering by...
First, the characterization that life is suffering is debatable. Second, even if life is suffering, why is the cessation of suffering necessarily good? There's no evidence that this is true.
From another angle, we could argue that idealism (of all sorts) assumes that perception is reliable. The idea that the physical world exists due to the mind, or that the mind exists due to physical materialism, cannot be proven to be true either way. Idealism of the Buddhist sort makes all kinds of leaps regarding where the mind resides after death, and during reincarnation, and the hierarchy of animals you reincarnate into. There is also no evidence that Nirvana is the "truth" (Nirvana seems to have been invented to justify the 4 Noble Truths).
I'm not really interested in disproving Buddhism. I do not come from a Western religion perspective. I've known people who claim to be Buddhists. The annoying aspect of Buddhism, to me, is that their adherents claim it to be an atheistic, science-based, religion when it is far from the truth. There are figures who have achieved spiritual continuity and are referred to and respected in Buddhism, so it is hard to call it an atheistic religion -- if anything, Buddhism is deist. The spiritual element is hard to ignore. The ideas contained within are buried under 2000 years of sophistry. The point is that Eastern religion surely do differ vastly from Western religion, but in the end, Buddhism is still considered a religion.
Whether you look outward or inward to find God, you are still seeking. You could call the obstruction ego, or faith skepticism. I think they are similar in concept. The idea is that what is evident is not the truth, and so you need to be rid of so-and-so obstruction by taking so-and-so devoted action to discover so-and-so truth. We could substitute various terms within that sentence and it would describe Christianity or Buddhism depending on which terms we use.
I think you are right about the Four Noble Truths. Any step by step doctrine on "how to achieve enlightenment" feels like a square peg in a round hole. The Buddha's stuff is very reflective of his culture. The Indian texts (Dhammapada and such) have a lot of shoulds and shouldn'ts. They remind me too much of the Ten Commandments.
I think some of the later Zen and Taoist writers did a much better job of dealing with the existential dilemma, by zeroing in on the appreciation of pure experience (before it has been interpreted through the crude limits of language). Phrase like, "words are but a finger pointing at the moon," and stories such as The Tigers and the Strawberry (and hundreds of others) do a good job of illustrating the idea. My "Western mind" interpretation is that meaning is derived from a deep sense of appreciation for the full range of human experience (including those that we typically judge as negative or unpleasant, like boredom, fear, sadness...). I would add, likewise, an acknowledgement of all aspects of the self, including those we typically judge as negative traits.
You given me quite a lot to answer—more than a single post can cover so I'll focus on one point which Watts takes up at the beginning of his video, viz, that western philosophy and religion are intellectual while eastern philosophy and religion are experiential.
The implication of his talk, not wholly explicit, is that the latter is a far superior route to understanding reality and the one true key to enlightenment. It cannot be described in words and hence does not fall within the scope of logical analysis. It is safely sealed against rational refutation. Since experience makes no statements, it cannot be accused of fabricating falsehoods.
Such an irrefutable viewpoint is very tempting considering the errors into which reason falls from time to time, but it seems to deny the lessons of science. The contents of the intellect do not always coincide with the reality we experience. Trial and error is the proven method of correcting inaccuracies. We test our ideas against reality and revise them accordingly.
Experiential learning undergoes no such testing. The contemplative is free from all revisions and may continue to develop in any direction. Christian mystics, especially women, often experienced intense ecstatic union with Christ, which Saint Catherine of Siena described as mystical marriage. The psychological reality of the experience is not to be denied, but I am reluctant to call it a true experience of reality, accessible in no other way.
What we learn from science is to combine intellectual and experiential learning, using each to clarify the other. When experiments fail, theory is revised, and the new theory suggests new experimental tests. Both intellectual and experiential learning are valuable when harnessed together. Alone, either can run wild.
"The entire point of the Eightfold Path is to help you understand the 4 Noble Truths and achieve the end result, which is the cessation of suffering. One could achieve understanding of the 4 Noble Truths without exactly following the Eightfold Path, but not the other way around. As I understand it, the 4 Noble Truths, and dependent origination are the only "truths" in Buddhist doctrine."
I'm not sure if you've been following the previous posts on page 4 to this discussion, but I may end up repeating some of the stuff I've typed there. I mentioned Perennial Philosophy, and the point there is that this experience that is sought in Buddhism actually transcends the religion itself, that is because it is ultimately a phenomenon in consciousness, a colossal transformation of consciousness which I would not at all equate to when a Christian says, "I feel or sense God in my heart." For I wonder, if this person who considers himself/herself a Christian would call this sensation "God" if he/she didn't have the name in his/her background. In other words, if they had never encountered religion or the bible or religious concepts, would they attribute this "feeling" to God? I'd wager not. That's the difference. In eastern religion, it boils down to the recognition of this phenomenon, and Hindus and Buddhists don't really have a name for what it is that "is," but for the purposes of discussion and since most of the scripture of Hinduism and Buddhism is in dialectic form and dialogue, it is has come to be named "Brahman." As Edward Teach pointed out in the quote "words are but a finger pointing at the moon," this goes towards the point in my previous post where I tried to explain that this "Brahman" is never an object to its own knowledge, the words are not of the essence, they only refer and infer. Clark thought that since it is an experience, that this seals it away from rational refutation. But this is the point that I've obviously failed to make clear, that the rationalizing is the finger pointing to the moon. Watts said, "Since it is an experience, it is for this reason difficult to put into words." It may be described, but the description will never be of the essence nor pay justice to the experience.
"Buddhist non-dualism merely describes idealism, as in the mental perception of everything, including the physical world, is the only thing that is real. The exact concept of physical voidness is sophistry as far as the depths of this subject I'm willing to pursue."
Some theoretical physicists like Brian Greene and Michio Kaku have analogized "Brahman" or "non-dualism" to the 11-dimensional hyperspace of M-Theory. I'm not sure if you read up on that kind of stuff, but I believe void is probably best translated to how a physicist thinks of voidness which is a pure potentiality. I quoted Kaku earlier, but didn't really define the quote. Maybe I can try to define the quote to better elucidate non-dualism not as the idealism you're accusing of being, but rather as this pure potentiality. Kaku has been quoted saying, "God is cosmic music resonating through 11-dimensional hyperspace." This is a very vague quote, indeed, and the use of the word "God" should probably replaced with universe or multiverse, as Kaku makes sure to be quite clear as to what he means when he says "God." He does not mean an "all-powerful entity," the "God" of intervention and prayer, a "personal God," the God that George Carlin made fun of, he always makes sure to stress this point. He, of course, means God in the same sense that Einstein used it, the God of Spinoza, the God of elegance, order, harmony, and simplicity. I suppose you could relate it to a pantheism or more accurately a panentheism. I've even heard some atheists refer to themselves as "naturalistic pantheists." That could work, too, however I think "naturalistic panentheism" might be more accurate if we're going to relate it to String Theory, because then the "en" portion in "panentheism" could refer to the "hyperspace" that String Theory posits.
Rob Bryanton of the 10thdim YouTube page had a metaphor that I think is useful in terms of attempting to grasp this stuff. He said, "Think of 11-dimensional hyperspace as a place where all possibilities are contained." In music, you do not play all the notes at once, but rather select notes, so in the analogy, the "cosmic music," what we perceive in our perception are the selected notes, and the entire spectrum of notes are all "already there" in this 11-dimensional hyperspace. The universe as we perceive it is a cross-sectioning of these unfolding possiblities that arise from this infinite plenum of permutations that, in a sense, all are "already there." This is precisely what the "Brahman" is in Hinduism. Brahman is described as being a timeless, unchanging, ultimate ground of being that lies behind the apparent multiplicity of the phenomenal world. Michael Talbot's book "The Holographic Universe" is excellent in describing this perspective of the universe.
I know that explanation will not be sufficient for some, but I'll give another that might be a little more clear... or not as it has to do with Philosophy of Mind. I'll quote Steven Pinker, the experimental psychologist and cognitive scientist. He had something really interesting to say about consciousness which I'll quote below.
"The way I think of mind is as a 4th dimensional organ of your body, you cannot see it, because it resides in a higher dimension, but your experience a sectioning of it within the phenomenon of consciousness, but that is only a partial sectioning of it in the same way a plane is a partial sectioning of a cone when it transects it."
I know that quote sounds like something Stuart Hameroff might suggest, but what’s implicit here is that this emergent property of matter, what we call “consciousness” is somehow intertwined with what M-Theorists rave about, the “higher dimensions” which make up String Theory. For instance, to give an example of this “sectioning” in the quote, when you imagine, say, a tree in the daytime spring scenery, you can see it in your mind’s eye quite vividly, you can make out brilliant colours and and even almost hear the wind as it brushes against its branches and leaves. But where is this tree, really? Where is it being projected? We can't make the analogy from the computer's output to a monitor, you see, because the tree isn't really anywhere in your mind. If we were going to take a look at the physical brain, we wouldn't find the tree, instead we may find certain electrical neural patterns, the breaking and forming of chemical bonds and various other fast chemistries, etc. But if we were going to use the computer analogy, then the monitor, where the image is being projected is in within this “sectioning” of hyperspace while the hardware is a direct correlate in the physical brain, they go together. So, what seems to be happening here is that the potentiality to imagine the tree was already there, and according to Hinduism perhaps had always been there. Graham Hancock had an interesting take on this issue, he said, “I don't believe that consciousness is generated in the brain any more than that television programs are made inside my tv.” So, it may be that the brain is the dipstick into this field of potentiality, and can entertain a certain degree of this potentiality. The experience of "sunyata" is not simply the simple imagined tree, but the entire spectrum of possibilities which the tree was only one sub-set of possibilities from an array of infinite possibilities. The void is an experience of the entire array, that's why it is said to be a "ultimate state of consciousness." Terence McKenna once said of this experience that it seems to imply an "end state" in consciousness. Anyway, I'm sure that explanation may not be interpreted as I intended it to be construed, but nevertheless, I'll include it.
I believe that both of these concepts, in a sense, are one and the same thing, the M-Theory is an intellectual grasping of the unseen strings working behind the scenes of the universe while the "Brahman" or "sunyata" is a concept derived from "samadhi" or "nirvana" which would be a direct experience in which the very same thing is realized.
So, to say that this is the logical equivalent of the Christian concept we're all born from God would in itself be sophistry, because one thing I think Hindus and scientists could agree on is that this "hyperspace" originally never had a name, it is truly without name, and perhaps without beginning or end, too, but eastern religion has come to call it Brahman while science has labelled it "11-dimensional hyperspace." It is not a God as thought of traditionally in the west, but it does possess attributes that could be attributed to the God of the west, such as eternality, timelessness, absoluteness, etc. I think Lao-tzu said it best, "The tao that can be named is not the eternal tao."
All right, this is starting to run long again, so I'll respond to one more comment you made. You typed, "Whether you look outward or inward to find God, you are still seeking."
I'm not sure if you listened to that link I left on "the trap of seeking," but it may be worth mentioning something about meditation. I think this is better understood if you realize that what is going on here with meditation amongst Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, etc. is that what they're attempting to induce is a transformation of consciousness in which this insight is distilled. So, words like "seeking" or "goal" are a little tricky here, because when thorougly understood, there really is nothing that is seeked nor any goal that is achieved. The so-and-so obstructions are merely distractions which may prevent this tranformation from occurring in meditation. Since it is an experiment in consciousness that is devoid of any concepts what-so-ever, there is really nothing that is "seeked," not God or soul, and it's from that stand-point which this insight occurs.
In meditation as practiced in Hinduism or Zen Buddhism is a form of quietism. It is the annihilation not only of will but of all effort or desire for effort or thought. Now, that may sound anti-intellectual, however if you were to attempt this, you'll find it's quite a difficult psychological endeavor. It's an experiment in consciousness. Hindus have likened consciousness to a pond of water. The ripples in the water represent your thoughts, the "goal" of meditation is to have the pond become completely serene, then the mind can reflect reality as it truly is. You cannot force your mind to be silent, this would be like trying to smooth the ripples in water with a flat iron. In other words, you cannot rid of your ego with your ego, because nothing strengthens the delusion that it exists more than that. Water becomes clear and calm only when left alone. It is a phenomenon in consciousness in which this insight manifests. Some monks spend their entire lives practicing disciplines in order to attain this insight, and I'd even wager many have died without ever approaching it. I want to make this distinction quite clear, because if you have had this insight, then suddenly all the misconceptions surrounding religion become clearly transparent and therefore could be disregarded. So, in this sense, Buddhism isn't something that you pick up on by studying it or going to a guru, even, or listening to a talk on it, it is only understood through this experience, and while I realize many people call themselves "Buddhists," they may not be "buddhas," meaning that they may have not have had this enlightenment occur. So, it's not something you could simply disprove or dismiss based on its doctrine. Here's an excellent talk that goes over exactly this point here.
Well, something I've mentioned previously, but I don't think you had read the previous posts, but another reason I'd like to mention meditation is because you kept referring to nirvana as a "leap of faith" rather than a tried-and-true phenomenon that can, in fact, occur in potentially anyone's consciousness. If you want a neuroscientific explanation behind this as to why this is so, I'd suggest the work of Dr. Rick Strassman, particularly his book entitled "DMT: The Spirit Molecule." Strassman speculates that what the "satori" or "samadhi" experience of meditation may be is the natural induction of N,N-DMT. DMT is also has its highest concentration in the brain during the REM stage of sleep when the heavy dream state is taking place. And gurus have even said, "Sleep is unconscious meditation, meditation is conscious sleep." So, this is what we do, in fact, every night when we fall to sleep, except what happens is your subconscious thoughts take over, then that is cause for the dream. Now, the very opposite happens in meditation, you don't dream, but in a sense "wake up" and this "waking up" is an awakening from the illusion of separateness, the illusion that you're a bodily finite being separate from everything else, waking into an enlightenment of interconnectedness or "nonduality." So, it is in a way the "ultimate objectivity." Because in meditation one is concerned with "what is," nothing else. So, it is a kind of removal of the egoic chatter or noise that we experience as a kind of necessary accompaniment in our everyday waking consciousness.
I realize that you and I, Chang, disagree on what Buddhism is about, but if we agreed with each other, then it wouldn't be worth our reply since we'd only be preaching to the choir. I'll end off this post with one more quote...
As Alan Watts once said on the topic of meditation, "A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts, so this person loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusions."
Some long answers here. Wasn't going to reply but oh hell - I agree with you Sandi. Whatever proof people get some of them will ignore it or incorporate it to agree with their worldview.
Deep Pick Chopwood is the biggest fraud who ever migrated West. He regurgitates Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, warps quantum theoretical speculations, and pop psychology to publish total nonsense that is fed to the gullible masses as some sort of special knowledge, glossing over the obvious: that where spirituality is concerned, Barnum was right: a sucker is born every minute. He even claimed a special relationship with the late Michael Jackson, who was just as loony, having once espoused the beliefs of the Ponzi-like Jehovah's Witnesses.
The Chopra Center in the La Costa Resort and Spa near where I live offers a ten-day "perfect health" program for $4975, including breakfast and lunch, but not including the room price at the resort. (Rooms go for $240 to $1200 a night. It's a beautiful place with a world class golf course.) I come to the reluctant conclusion that this is a money-making scheme presented as therapy, but then I am a skeptic and a cynic.
As a mathematician, I am particularly sensitive to misstatements about mathematics. Chopra did a review in which he made an absurd criticism of Hawking's book, The Grand Design:
They fail to address Gödel's incompleteness theorem that categorically implies that no mathematical model of cosmos can ever be complete.
I'm not a fan of that book, but this criticism is nonsense—should I say categorical nonsense. Gödel's incompleteness theorems say nothing of the sort. They are solely concerned with axiomatic mathematical systems and say nothing about mathematical models of the cosmos. That is sheer invention.
If you're referring to some of the stuff I posted, I have to be honest in saying that I have never read any Deepak Chopra at all. A lot of the stuff I've been posting is actually a regurgitation of Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley, Ramesh Balsekar, Terence McKenna, Rick Strassman and a few others which don't really emphasize much of Chopra's work.