The hint hint's a low ball.
OK, positivism was an assumption. I'm sure you've noticed the online assumption of character which later surprises you when the person is different from your imagined projection. In this case, the initial impression I got from your posts was that you are very concrete and down to earth, and possess an apparent immediate reaction to the "far out" or to subjects generally loved by the new agers. Thus, my labelling you as positivist. While the unquestioning attitude of much of the new age towards the freak show side of life seems to me to be too far on the other side of rationality, I still find it hard to dismiss some of the things that they are talking about, and actually am fascinated by the field of modern & ancient esoteric knowledge. Don't get me wrong in that of course too I find science deeply fascinating; but I also notice a dogma throughout science that the implicit ground-rules are correct and that empiricism etc is a valid way to proceed and build frameworks on top of. This dogma is of course particularly strong in its rejection of the field of esoterics, given the history of the various movements involved (scienctific method developing as antithesis to irrationality) -- and I believe this to be deeply unfortunate.
I'm not questioning your observation skills -- you're obviously perceptive. All I'm saying is that the "inner disciplines" from the limited few that I know about require work to obtain results. For example, I've done enough yoga to know that the chakras are something that I can reliably observe and to some extent predict, and I've received external corroboration of my internal experience in terms of body energy. You wouldn't buy it so it's neither here nor there whether I detail it. But nothing I have read from a mainstream approach to science approaches the chakras with anything but upfront skepticism. I can't tell you whether working on body energy is something that will make any difference to your satisfaction with or understanding of life, or not; all I can tell you is that it is real.
On that basis, while I make no claims for psychokinesis or telepathy, I am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt on the basis that they are lumped together by skepticism with body energy, which, as above, is as real to me as the keyboard I'm typing on. Do I think science should have a change of heart and adopt everything willy-nilly? No. But I do think it should be less inclusive in its rejection of esoteric knowledge, and that when somebody mentions these subjects the initial reaction shouldn't be a 60 foot high concrete block wall with embedded glass shards on top.
You, or perhaps Swami, mention the fact that nobody has yet claimed the "psychic prize" of a million bucks as evidence that this stuff doesn't exist. My answer to that is that most people who join serious spiritual (for want of a less reactionary word) discliplines are required to pledge secrecy before real initiation. I don't know how much you know about esoteric societies, and I don't know how common they are, but every one I've ever read about, or every one from which I've met people from, was this way. They say, time and time again, that they don't want to reveal their "secrets" to the general public. But again you're already thinking about rebuttal, I bet, and will attribute it to romantic hearsay, insiderdom or cultdom. You could be right, but why in that case wouldn't there be so many exposes as to level the field? Why would gurus and swamis persist? (Different question from why would religions continue to exist, in that they cater to a different audience. The serious seeker is going to feel deeply betrayed if after their long term search and study they are initiated into squat.)
Edited by somebodyelse (06/30/03 02:21 AM)