Sunday, January 27, 2008

Why All Are Wonders

This blog is currently dedicated to the proposition that there is more to the universe than we think. A corollary to that proposition is that there is more to us than we think. There are stories about people lifting heavy cars and trucks off of close relatives in life-threatening situations. But what else are we capable of? There's obviously more to life than watching American Idol, but surely as recovering materialists we are aiming at something more than just being normal.

To be honest, I don't know what we'll be able to do or how we will live when our recovery is complete, but I think the Bible provides a hint: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (King James Version, John 14:12). Sure, none of us walk on water, but there are some of us who, given the latitude and longitude of an unknown location, can draw an accurate picture of what is there (look up "remote viewing"). There are some us who can walk on coals hot enough to melt aluminum and set fire to shoes. And what about the wiccan who managed to win the lottery twice?

So how do we get there? There are multiple paths, including the mystic and hermetic paths that I mentioned in my last post, and yoga. My feeling is that all of the paths are valid (including not taking any of them; it will just take longer); which path is best for you depends on your background and temperament.

I chose the title "All Are Wonders" for my blog because I believe that all of us are have untold capabilities, once we get rid of our baggage.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Book Review: Disappearance of the Universe

According to A Course in Miracles, the universe as we know it is actually an illusion, or a bad dream. In the real world, we are all together with God. That may sound a little crazy to any newbie recovering materialists who may be visiting. Which brings me to this quote:

What would you do if you were sitting quietly in your living room when a mysterious couple appeared from out of nowhere -- and then told you they were "ascended masters" who had come to reveal some shocking secrets of existence and teach you the miraculous powers of advanced forgiveness. Would you call the cops? Call a psychiatrist? Call out for pizza?

Those of you who are further along the path of recovery will no doubt choose the third option. That's a good thing, because you wouldn't want to miss Disappearance of the Universe by Gary Renard, which is the best introduction I've seen to date to A Course In Miracles.

Just to give you newbies a bit of background information, there are two paths available to recovering materialists: the mystic and the hermetic. The mystic path aims directly at union with the Infinite; the hermetic path has the same goal, but the emphasis is on integrating the different parts of the personality and bringing the experience of the Infinite into this world. Recovering materialists should know about both paths in order to make an informed decision. Just for the record, I prefer the hermetic path, but your mileage may vary.

In Disappearance of the Universe, the two characters who appear to Mr. Renard give an exposition of the principles set forth in A Course in Miracles. The book is very easy to follow, with plenty of questions and answers and clarifications of the important points. The concept of forgiveness if covered at length (let's just say that it's not what you think it is). There's also a little plot twist near the end.

After reading this book, I then went on to read the Course in Miracles. You probably will too.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Book Review: Evolve Your Brain

Let's say that an man was hit by a SUV while riding a bicycle and very badly injured. With multiple fractured vertebrae in his neck, and upper spine, the normal medical procedure would involve attaching stainless steel rods to the affected vertebrae. With the surgery, he would be able to walk again, but would face reduced mobility and the possibility of continuous pain. Without the surgery, the doctors said there was a 50 percent chance he would end up paralyzed from the neck down. Which option would you choose in this situation? Now what if I told you that the man in question refused the surgery and was back on the job after 12 weeks with no pain and full movement? How did he do it? To find out, you'll have to read Evolve Your Brain: the Science of Changing Your Mind by Joe Dispenza, D.C.. Let's just say that Ramtha's "White Book" was involved.

Dr. Dispenza's book gives a lot of information about how our brains work, and how we can make them work for us. He also provides an explanation of why it's so hard to get rid of the "baggage" I keep talking about: it's been with us for so long that it's wired into our neural networks. Fortunately, his book explains how to change that.

I would recommend the book to all recovering materialists. Those materialists who are still in denial but have health problems may also benefit.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Book Review: The Gnostic Faustus

Continuing on the theme that some literary works aren't what they appear to be on the surface, let's talk about the Faust story. The official story is of a professor in Germany who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for whatever he wants while he is alive; when he dies, he will serve the devil in hell. Since Faust's life basically sucks at this point, he accepts the offer. Now, remembering that saying certain things could get you killed in nasty ways until relatively recently, lets look at The Gnostic Faustus by Ramona Fradon. This book examines the Faust story, pointing out its similarities to certain Gnostic works, including the Pistis Sophia and the Apocryphon of John, as well as alchemy and tantra.

I don't want to steal any thunder from the book, so I'll keep this short. Read the book, then read your favorite version of the Faust story again. I guarantee that you'll see it in a different light.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Destiny, Free Will and Chess Combinations

The presumed conflict between free will and predestination has been discussed for centuries. In theory, you can never predict with certainty what someone else will do because they have free will. In practice, if you know someone well, you can predict what they will do based on past experience, but there is a small chance of the person going against prior tendencies. An analogy occurred to me recently that could shed some light on the subject.

In the game of chess, there are sequences of moves called combinations. They are normally used to exploit a weakness in the opponent's position. What happens is that player A makes a move to which only one response by player B would not result in checkmate or a losing pieces. After two or more similar moves, player B is now in a position where there is no available move that would not result in checkmate or losing pieces. Player B has the ability to freely choose each move, but someone who knew about combinations could have predicted the result.

What if life is like that, just on a larger scale? Self interest combined with the interaction between people's actions would have a result that would be predictable to anyone who had enough information about the situation. It sounds trivial, doesn't it? Or maybe free will isn't really as free as we think it is.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Today I would like to talk about Ramtha, also known as "The White Book". At first, I had some reservations about the book. For example, anybody who refers to themselves as "the enlightened one" probably isn't. I also have a hard time believing that Ramtha would have been worshiped as a god had he come back in his original form. Based on history, it's more likely that he would have been picked up by one of the alphabet-soup government agencies and dealt with rather harshly. But as I mentioned in a prior post, the important thing is what he has to say, which is in general very good. The surprising thing about this book is that Ramtha is actually a very good writer. Here's a sample:
The Gods entered into the limitations of matter out of the desire to experience their creativity through the bodily form. But when the Gods, as man, experienced attitudes of limitation upon this plane, they unknowingly became locked into the bodily experience, for when each God experienced the death of his first embodiment, he entered into what is called a Void. This Void was a place -- a dimension of light -- that was neither back into a consciousness understanding of all-knowing God, nor was it back upon the plane of matter. The God could no longer return to the plane of unlimited thought, for now he maintained within his though processes the alteredness of attitudes of limitation.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the best explanation of how we got here that I have ever seen. Now that we're here, what should we do? Ramtha's answer seems to be "whatever we want." That's fine, and probably all that most of us are ready for, but as recovering materialists, we want something more. The book seems to allude to what I think is the end goal: combining the experience of infinite unity with the world of ten thousand things where we live.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Save Our Jobs

One of the tenets of materialism is that there is a fixed amount of resources; a corollary of that tenet is that the amount of resources is less than the amount of resources that is needed, or will be at some point in the future. In short: there's not enough to go around. Today, I would like to talk about this tenet in connection with outsourcing and the resulting hand-wringing about all of our jobs going away.

Implicit in the complaints about outsourcing is the belief in a fixed number of jobs. If some jobs go to Mexico or India, there won't be enough for people here. Let's examine this. I have no formal training in economics besides a class at Northeastern, but it seems to me that the number of jobs depends on two factors: how many things people want to have done, and how much money is available to pay for people to do them. The number of things that people want to have done is practically unlimited; even if everyone has everything they could possibly want, there's always new stuff being invented. There is also no limit on the amount of money; money is being created all the time by the Federal Reserve and the lending activity of banks. So how can a number that depends on two factors that have no limits be limited itself? It can't. Think about it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Book Review: Let's Talk Flying Saucers

What would you say if I told you the following:

  • Gravity is a side effect of large masses of matter cooling off in space.

  • White light is not made up of the seven colors (red, orange, yellow, etc.), and the wavelengths and energy levels of those colors are not in that order.

  • The stars are not as far away as currently believed.

I'll stop now, because I'm sure you get the point, and apologies to Mr. Bros, as I'm sure I got at least one of these wrong. So, would you call me a crackpot? A troll? A plagiarist? If you picked the last answer, you must be familiar with Let's Talk Flying Saucers by Peter Bros. Mr. Bros comes off as an angry crackpot, but there are some interesting theories in his book, and on his website The Real Skeptic. He also raises an important point: scientists spend too much time on questions that can't be resolved and wouldn't help us much even if they were answered: for example, theories about the origin of the universe and string theory. Instead more attention should be given to questions like how does gravity work and can it be altered or even nullified?

Now for you recovering materialists out there, Mr. Bros talks in his book about how Newton used his reputation as an alchemist to get a position as Master of the Mint. I don't know how much Mr. Bros knows about alchemy. From what I've read of it, any transformation of lead into gold must be preceded by a just as drastic transformation on the part of the person performing the operation. This doesn't exactly square with the model of the universe as deterministic billiard balls that is commonly associated with "Newtonian" physics. For one thing, it shouldn't even be possible. And to have it depend on a change in the mind, spirit, soul or whatever of the person performing the operation goes against all science as we know it. I don't know about Mr. Bros, but I for one smell a rat.

So here's something to look into: since the scientist whose public model of the universe carried the day (at least until Einstein and the quantum physicists) must have had secret beliefs that contradicted that model, is it possible that he had a private model?