Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER Publication date: late September 1997
E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to go back to the home base now.
DAN Caldwell writes: I have been informed that you have a large collection of books on Radhasoami. I assume you have many of the books of Charan Singh. Can you provide us on alt.religion.eckankar with several statements by Charan Singh in which the Charan implicitly or explicitly states that he has knowledge BEYOND THE PHYSICAL OR MATERIAL. In other words, in his published works, does Charan Singh contradict the statement: "he doesn't know. . . ."? Since David Lane is always pointing out contradictions in Paul Twitchell's writings, I think it is only fair to examine the writings of David Lane's own guru. Thanking you in advance for your help in the pursuit of the FACTS. Daniel H. Caldwell DAVID LANE REPLIES: If you are looking for contradictions, then I would suggest comparing/ contrasting the explicit claims made in TREAUSRE BEYOND MEASURE with the implicit (and sometimes explicit) claims in Light on Sant Mat, Divine Light, and Quest for Light. You will notice, I believe, an incongruency between the theory and the practical revelation of such. You should feel most free to ask me directly, Daniel. Better yet, start with the Guru Has No Turban or The Magic of an Elevated Podium. I have also put online my official response to the Dera which I think you will at least find amusing. Keep up your good work and I look forward to seeing you back on ARE.... This should be a fun series, I would imagine. Perhaps the greatest question of all is whether the gurus at Beas are being diplomatically circumspect in their denial of power or rather they are as Faqir Chand suggests: unknowing like the rest.... Gurinder Singh when asked a question about Faqir Chand (in relationship to unknowingness) argued that the guru does indeed know when he/she wishes to. Oh the joys of guru paradoxes.... ---- Dear Daniel: I thought we went over these issues in our long debate about the paranormal (see Occam's Razor on the Neural Surfer: http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dlane), but apparently I haven't been clear enough in my answers. You claim (erroneously) that I think "only" a simple explanation will do. Nope, only a simple explanation will do IF it fits the data and explains it comprehensively. Occam's Razor is not about simplicity; it is about not unnecessarily (remember that word, Daniel) multiplying explanations beyond their number. Occam's Razor could conceivably shave down to only a very complicated theory or explanation, if such were the "simplest" and most comprehensive among competing theories. Moreover, I have already responded to your questions about Babaji, Yogananda, Charan Singh, and the like. Apparently you don't like my answers. Okay, let's go through it again, but maybe you should re-read the debate first. Finally, I even mentioned a POSITIVE result for you to look at. It is in the book, HOW TO THINK ABOUT WEIRD THINGS. Check it out. I am happy that you have had OBE's and the like, but as I have stated before I see no reason to convert easily or cheaply or prematurely. Let the evidence speak for itself and then we can make a reasoned decision.... But remember this one important caveat: I would be STOKED to see that the paranormal really exists. Will you, Daniel, be as equally STOKED to discover that it does NOT? In other words, I would be happy to be wrong. Would you be happy to be wrong? I say this because you seem a bit torqued by the whole subject. Go right ahead and rip anything.... I love the debate. ------------------ Dear Daniel: You apparently like to rehash debates, because I have already responded to your questions about how and why I have become more skeptical over time. I have also replied to you about the quotes you mention concerning Charan Singh. I put that very section in the Unknowing Sage to give a contrarian view to Faqir Chand, precisely because the Dera and others felt that there were such things as "conscious" bilocations. If you read the revised Unknowing Sage (published in 93), you will notice that I changed my language significantly. Why? Because I too (as Paul Kurtz rightly pointed out) indulged in transpersonalisms that were not necessarily verifiable. As such, I have "doubted" my prior sweeping beliefs.... I think that is a healthy thing, and I would imagine that 10 years from now I will be doing the same as well. Just as science changes its views with new data, I certainly hope that I too can adapt and change with more (not less) information. Now right to the jugular: I think of Charan Singh as a human being. Gurinder Singh and others at the Dera have indicated point blank that they believe he had supernatural powers and the like. I simply have no compelling evidence to suggest it, even though I might personally believe all sorts of wild things in the privacy of my heart. So, naturally, I tend to ground my observations of him in the empirical world; prior to his death I tended to "inflate" such on the basis of my love/belief. Quite frankly, I think it is more mature to do the former, not the latter. This does not mean, of course, that I am not open to the possibility that such gurus may indeed exhibit trans-rational powers and the like. It simply means that I have yet to see the overwhelming, compelling evidence. As I said to Joey, I see no reason to be a cheap slut now. Yes, I love Charan dearly, but that does not mean that I cannot be more seasoned in my observations over time. Is that simple enough, yet, for you Daniel? If not, by all means bring up the debate again. I only suggest that you focus on one or two questions at a time. You tend to ask so many questions at once that it is difficult to give each issue the attention it deserves. P.S. you may want to read the debate in Occam's Razor again. You may be surprised that we have covered much of this territory before. In any case, I am game. signed: gorilla in the debating class ------------------- DANIEL Caldwell writes: Hmmmmmm????? Does Lane now have a "simpler explanation" for Yogananda's accounts of Babaji? Does Lane now have a "simpler explanation" for accounts of Yogananda's own paranormal powers (such as levitation)? Does Lane now have a "simpler explanation" for Sants who claim they leave the body and transverse the various planes to Sat Nam and beyond? Does Lane now have a "simpler explanation" for Radhasoami Masters who claim to have trans-rational knowledge? Of the trans-rational knowledge of his own Master Charan Singh? Does Lane now have a "simpler explanation" for out-of-body experiences? Such as that of Ramana Maharshi? Etc. Etc. Wouldn't it be nice if Lane would stop picking on the Eckists and deal with these and other questions? Lane's book on Eckankar is in print and a copy is also on the World Wide Web. Eckists who want to read Lane's book can do so and come to their own conclusions. Instead of going round and round in circles with Eckists over various points on Eckankar (points which Lane has fully explained in his book and on his web page), why doesn't Lane turn his attention to these really profound questions and others which cry out for careful thought and study. Just a thought. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Daniel, do you ever read my replies or my exchanges with you? Go read the NEURAL SURFER. My "paranomal" debate with you deals with many of these same sorts of questions. It runs over a 100 pages. We discussed Babaji ad infinitum, or do you forget? I have repeatedly told you that these gurus (of whatever stripe--including my own) should be more (not less) forthcoming. I published the UNKNOWING SAGE, lest you forget, precisely because it did CONTRADICT my guru and orthodox R.S. theology. If these gurus do have supernormal powers then I think they shouldn't mind providing us with MORE (not less, not scanty) evidence of it. We demand the same of any empirical claim. "Hey my T.V. don't work." We get somebody to fix it and we are not satisfied until its works properly. Same with gurus and their claims. I want them to display their wares for a wary public. Let us be better informed in "converting" to them and their worldviews. I have just gotten more skeptical and I think that the claims of Yogananda, Charan Singh, and others deserve our "highest" scrutiny. Reality or Truth should survive the tests we place upon it. I think we need more tests and more scrutiny IF we are going to ad hoc buy into these exalted world views. As for me, I see lots and lots humanness disguised as "transcendental" insight..... You like to ask a lot of questions. Why don't you simply give us your "best" case for Yogananda, Charan, and the rest. My argument is indeed a simple one: I am not convinced by the present-day evidence. Convince me...... I am expensive slut, to be sure..... But I can convert at a price. ---------------- DANIEL writes: Sometime ago David Lane wrote the following about the 1990 publication of TREASURE BEYOND MEASURE: >Charan Singh's answer on the question of his knowingness is quite >interestingly revealed in the book, TREASURE BEYOND MEASURE. >Published just two months before his death. >He says quite clearly that he doesn't know and that he never wanted >to be a guru and that he was not what people took him to be. >No need to test. He already admits the obvious. . . . . . . . . . . . . . >The reason I am not setting up new tests is because the subjects >themselves have already admitted that they don't know. Questions: On what pages does Charan Singh admit that "he doesn't know. . . ." What are his exact words? And in what YEAR was that admittance made? A friend of mine has borrowed a copy of TREASURE BEYOND MEASURE. (This book is extremely hard to find in public and academic libraries in the United States. If this book is of such importance maybe David Lane should donate a hundred copies or so to various libraries.) My friend did not find anything on this subject ("he doesn't know") in the book. He did find the references where Charan Singh said he did not want to be the guru and in fact ran away from home. This occurred (decades ago) right after Jagat Singh had died. Did my friend miss something??? Did Charan Singh state publicly ( elsewhere) during the last ten or twenty years of his life that he didn't know? Conversely, how many statements could be culled from Charan Singh's books were he states implicitly or explicitly that he (the Master) does "know" things BEYOND THE PHYSICAL AND MATERIAL? Did David Lane try to question/test his own guru? When? And when and where did David Lane publicly give the details of this exchange between him and his guru? Where does David Lane publicly state this admission prior to me bringing this subject up on alt.religion.eckankar several months ago? Compare the above statements with what follows: >In the 1989 edition of THE UNKNOWING >SAGE, David Lane speaks of the claims of his >*own* master Charan Singh. >Charan Singh was once asked the question: >"Is the physical Master aware of all the initiates' >inner experiences?" >Charan Singh answered in part: >"The physical Master, of course, is aware of all that." >David Lane commented on Charan Singh's reply as >follows: >"Charan Singh's answer demonstrates that the outer master >*does* know about his visionary manifestations." >What "physical" and "outer" Master is Charan >Singh and David Lane referring to? The *physical"* >Master Charan Singh himself?? >David Lane also relates his own personal "story" about >Charan Singh. . . . >"Charan Singh. . .chooses disciples for initiation by simply >looking at them. I have personally seen thousands >of people file directly in front of Charan Singh and in >a matter of a few seconds he turns his head to the left >or to the right, indicating whether the seeker was accepted >or rejected for Nam-Dan. It is obvious, even to outside >observers, that Charan Singh is basing his choice upon a >higher criterion--a transcendental insight into the very >soul of the would-be disciple. Needless to say, it is >an awe-inspiring sight, and one which I confess is >beyond my limited comprehension." Folks, I may be dumb, but I see contradictions. David Lane has repeated several times that Charan Singh admits in Treasure Beyond Measure that he doesn't know and yet we find Charan's admission in Lane's own UNKNOWING SAGE: "The physical Master, OF COURSE, is aware of all that."!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Caps added. And David's own words are: " It is obvious, even to outside observers, that Charan Singh is basing his choice upon a higher criterion--a transcendental insight into the very soul of the would-be disciple." Was David an inside or outside observer? Furthermore, what month and year did Lane write the just-quoted sentence? And did Lane know at that SAME time that Charan Singh had said "he didn't know. . . ."? DAVID LANE REPLIES: 1. Do yourself a favor and read the book for yourself, Daniel. You can buy one from Bodhi Tree Bookstore or the R.S. Book people. Here's an address: RSSB-A Western Book Department 73-675 Juniper Street Palm Desert, California 92260-4754 Phone: (619) 773-3458 Fax: (619) 773-3468 Now in Treasure Beyond Measure there are several places where Charan states that he is not what people take him to be (see his diary entries and his letters to his friends). Read his dastrabandi speech, wherein he claims to be a "stone" idol all the same. Yet, we also notice that he makes numerous implications about the power of the Master. The dilemma is a simple one: Is the guru being "humble" about his greatness (the usual party line interpretation), so that is why we see all sorts of contradictory statements (and there are plenty, Daniel, not just a few)? The usual explanation goes like this: "Yes, the guru is all knowing, but he hides his greatness." Gurinder Singh, more or less, said this when asked directly about Charan's "knowingness" with regard to Faqir Chand's unknowingness. Gurinder said essentially: "don't confuse what the master does with what he can do." Or, as Charan Singh once publicly said to me (I think it is on tape--1983/December, Dera Guest House): "don't confuse humility with a lack of power" (paraphrase). Hmm, but there is another way out of this: The gurus are diplomatically lying...... That is, the gurus DON'T know but give the impression they DO in order to retain the faith and devotion of the disciple in the path, knowing perhaps that if they were truly honest and transparent the disciple may throw the baby out with the bathwater..... This is what Faqir Chand thinks is happening with these gurus.... My current hunch (always subject to correction and revision) is this: The gurus are lying (consciously or unconsciously); some better, some worst. But there is some duplicity involved and we the naive seekers suffer tremendous ideological headaches because of it. -------- Let me go to the jugular: I think there may be many "reasons" (maybe even some good ones) for why they may lie (they may not even fully know it), but it is pure out lying all the same. That's how I get around it, Daniel..... I simply call it what it is: B.S. Now, some B.S. is quite fertile (pun intended) and some quite barren, but there is no doubt that there is some type of BSing going on. Just think of all the Bsing that parents indulge in (even if it has a noble purpose) or even teachers ("yea, sure you are a bright kid."). -------- simple enough? ----- Dear Dan: Try reading the conclusion to the book THE RADHASOAMI TRADITION. It is online at http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dlane/point2.html Just scroll down and look for the R.S. Tradition's conclusion. Since you seem to have trouble remembering our former debates, tell us in a nutshell what does Lane "reveal" in that conclusion. I think you may notice that I am just as harsh on R.S. as I am on Eckankar. By the way, Daniel, the UNKNOWING SAGE is a CRITIQUE of the BEAS position. That's WHY I published it. I like alternative views. It is also the one thing I am most proud of in terms of writing--getting Faqir more well known in the West. ---- GURU MARTIN WRITES: Dear Dr. Lane, You have the karma for posting that article, and since you posted it, it is certainly a message from you. I'm not threatening you, and I didn't before. You wrote, "IF," you take God out of my post..... Well, I had "God," in there because it was from him, not me. I'm just his messenger. So, please, no more if's, and's, or but's. I never even mentioned your name. My desire is to help you, not harm you. Do you think Maharaj Charan Singh Ji could be using me, to try and help you to understand something? I notice you are still posting the same material, so, good luck, it's between Maharaj Ji and you. I want to thank you for making me so popular. You have made me known all over the world. So maybe all this is a blessing in disguise. I don't want to be known for myself, but so that I can continue to do the work of the Lord, or Sugmad, for you eckists. I know that everything that is happening is the Lord's will. Lots of Love, Michael Martin DAVID LANE REPLIES: Hmm.... oh the infamous "karma" of posting loop..... I get it now. As for making you "so popular" I do think you suffer from a severe case of "delusions of power." I am neither known nor popular, so I can't see how my postings would therefore make you such. As I wrote to you in a private email, go seek some medical help (i am serious). If this is a comedy routine, then by all means hone your skills and take it on the road. But I am getting the sneaky suspicion that you really believe your visions and your calling..... That, my friend, is one very scary thought. Indeed, you and your visions epitomize the very argument I was making with Doug. As such, I can only wonder at how many others throughout history have been chump enough to believe that they are something bigger than they are not. I imagine this is the lot of human beings in general: we inflate ourselves when, in truth, we have very little actual power. Can we grow one hair on our head with a conscious thought right in this very moment--from no inch to two inches? If you can't do that simple task, dear Guru Martin, then wonder anew why "God" is talking directly to you. But I guess you have bought it hook, line, and sinker..... All I can do is to suggest reading Faqir Chand closely..... Otherwise, I await your new diatribes with my ready banana in hand. signed: the hairy one ------- DANIEL writes: Chapter 13 is entitled: "A Field Guide to Skepticism." Some of the topics discussed in this chapter are "The Necessity of Doubt," "The Danger of Uncritical Doubt," "Skepticism About Skepticism, "Skeptical Tactics," etc. Chapters 14 and 15 also deal with skepticism and other related issues. Dr. Radin writes on the dangers of "extreme belief" as well as "extreme skepticism." On p. 207 of this new book, Radin writes: "This book is intended to help illustrate that common stereotypes about psi research are overly simplistic at best, and, in many cases, just plain wrong." As as example of "just plain wrong", Radin quotes what the philosopher Paul Churchland has written about psi: "Despite the endless pronouncements and anecdotes in the popular press, and despite a steady trickle of serious research on such things, there is no significant evidence that such phenomena even exist. . . .For there is not a single parapsychological effect that can be repeatedly or reliably produced in any laboratory suitably equipped to perform and control the experiment. Not one." And Radin comments: "Wrong. As we've seen [in previous pages of this book], there are a half-dozen psi effects that have been replicated dozens to hundreds of times in laboratories around the world." Radin also shows that as in other human institutions (religious, etc.) the scientific and academic communities have their own "status quo" and institutionalized prejudices. Unfortunately, many in the scientific community have reacted against parapsychology in a very unscientific and prejudiced manner. As we should have suspected, scientists are human, too and have their own share of foibles and prejudices. Radin's discussion only reinforces what Dr. Ray Hyman, a skeptic of psi, has admitted: ". . . parapsychologists have justification for their complaint that the scientific community is dismissing their claims WITHOUT A FAIR HEARING." WITHOUT A FAIR HEARING. . . .What a sad commentary. . . . Radin gives the following quote from the late astronomer and skeptic Carl Sagan: "At the time of writing there are three claims in the ESP field which, in my opinion, DESERVE SERIOUS STUDY: (1) that by thought alone humans can (barely) affect random number generators in computers; (2) that people under mild sensory deprivation can receive thoughts or images 'projected' at them; and (3) that young children sometimes report the details of a previous life, which upon checking turn out to be accurate and which they could not have known about in any other way than reincarnation." (Quoted from Sagan's 1995 book The Demon Haunted World.) Caps added. This is the kind of evidence I had been hoping David C. Lane would discuss in our debates on the paranormal. Dean Radin discusses subjects (1) and (2) in considerable detail. The book is a great read and I hope that public and academic libraries will stock up their shelves with this important book. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Daniel, why don't you go read the very book I said mentioned a POSITIVE result--How to Think About Weird Things..... I have mentioned this to you now Four times..... Not once have you commented on it. -------- Again, you should re-read the very biases you mention..... ------------------- I gave you ammunition for a POSITIVE result. Such a thing would actually stoke me, but would you be equally stoked to find out that there is no life after death, etc.? -------- I would be thrilled to be wrong; would you likewise be "thrilled"? ------ JOSEPH P. QUOTES AND THEN COMMENTS: David Lane writes: when confronted with extraordinary claims we will demand (as we should) extraordinary proof (geez, I would even go for ordinary proof, but that's another issue). David, can you point to one instance in the last 20,000 years where someone accepted what he/she considered to be extraordinary proof for a claim that he/she considered to be an extraordinary claim? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yes, I can think of a number of examples. Let's take Einstein's radical general theory of relativity of 1915 (not to be confused with his 1905 paper on special theory) which suggested that light would bend around massive objects. In 1919 an expedition was sent out by Sir Arthur Eddington to South America where they observed (via an eclipse) exactly what Einstein had predicted. An extraordinary claim (which upset normal science--many thought Einstein was offbeat for it) which got support from extraordinary evidence.... and it has continued to be the case. Second, think of Hoyle's dismissal of the "Big Bang" (he was the guy who coined the term, not to praise it but to diss it), which later he recanted to some degree when confronted with extraordinary evidence (see the 1964 discovery of backround radiation--for which a nobel prize was awarded). Actually, I think this type of thing happens a lot....... Let me give you an even stupider example (as limited as it may be). Before the Masters' tournament there was lots of hype about Tiger Woods. And although he had proven himself in many ways (3 amateur tournaments, etc.), there were some golfers who thought that he could not possibly win the Masters (Nick Faldo was one of the naysayers)..... Well, Tiger proved them wrong with an "extraordinary" effort (the lowest score in the tournament's history). Extraordinary claim: Tiger Woods is a Great Golfer. Extraordinary proof: Tiger wins the MASTERS championship. Now I realize that invoking Tiger as an example is really silly, but I do think you will get my drift. In science, this kind of stuff happens much more often than people realize: from flying, to microwaves, to dark matter, to super strings, etc. ------------------ JOSEPH P. WRITES: IMHO, the skeptic gives his/her own belief system a privileged status: the other guy's claims are considered 'extraordinary', extraordinary proof is demanded and the skeptic denies that it has been supplied, thereby protecting his/her belief system from the need to grow and change. DAVID LANE REPLIES: No, I disagree with on this. I would say quite the opposite. The more the skeptic resists, or doubts, or asks for a "higher" criterion, the better off we all are. Why? Because that way we can see how much evidence DOES support the contested claim. That way, we get to see how WELL the questioned claim STANDS up. Silly example, but I have made the claim that Twitchell plagiarized. I think it is quite appropriate for people, like Steve R. and others, to demand more and more proof (not less). That way, the interested reader can really see if there is a strong or weak case. Let's go back to Babaji (since that was the original focus of Dan's discussion). By asking for lots of proof (instead of debating the criterion of what proof may mean to skeptics), I think the interested devotee will benefit. He or she will find more, not less, to support his or her belief. And if this Babaji cat really does exist, the fact that he could prove his case to a diehard skeptic like Randi would be all the MORE impressive (not less). I think these grouchy skeptics (in all fields) do us a favor: they raise the platform and we can thereby "test" the evidence we have against it. Look, if you consistently demonstrated a psychic ability (let's say you go to Vegas and can beat their odds so consistently that you become a millionaire each and every week), then Randi and crew are going to have to shut up and listen. But the problem is that we want to defend psychics or other paranormal happenings with all sorts of goo......... Personally, I think it would be cool to kick Randi's butt and show him that there really are psychics that can meet even the hardest of tests...... But we don't see that; we see instead lots of justification, lots of argumentation, lots of tip-toeing...... Science works best when it is severely tested, not when we let it off softly or easily. think of cars, or airplanes, or computers, or any technological item. The more we demand of it, the better off we will be to understand its strengths and weaknesses. Likewise, I think these Gurus--especially a guy like Babaji who can apparently transfigure the known laws of biology--should be severely scrutinized and tested...... Particularly by those who DON'T believe, not by those who do. That's the great thing about scientific experiments. One tries to "disprove" it and finds out in the process how well it "resists" falsification. How well does Babaji "resist" falsification. Well, if he showed up on Amazing Randi's show, it would lend more (not less) credence to his existence. The same with ANY psychic or paranormal claim. The more such claims can be scrutinized by NON-believers and found TRUE, the more impressive it will be for all concerned. Naturally, you can say that there are those who will not believe no matter what....... But that is precisely the point: the more you show such people overwhelming evidence and they still don't believe the more obvious it will become (to all concerned) that he or she is not being honest or truthful. We see that when people claim a flat earth, or that the holocaust didn't exist, or that gene splicing won't work, or that computers can't beat grandmasters in chess..... ETC. Don't forget Randi has admitted when he was wrong. Remember the guy who could "read" records with his hands? Randi thought he couldn't do it; the guy proved Randi wrong and Randi admitted it. That's impressive and all of us derive benefit by that higher standard. ------------------- Joseph P. Writes: There are several problems. First, this criteria can never be satisfied. If an extraordinary claim required extraordinary proof, anyone who came along and claimed to have extraordinary proof would be making an extraordinary claim and would have to provide extraordinary proof for that claim ... and so on. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yes, they demanded that of Einstein and he turned out right. Yes, they demanded that of Heisenberg and he turned out right. Yes, they demanded that of the Wright brothers, and they turned out to be able to fly..... and even old Muhammad Ali proved his extraordinary claim in Zaire against Foreman....... It happens all the time and I think it is good that we demand more, not less. ---------------------------------- Joseph P. writes: Second, there is the problem of relativity. You act as judge in your own cause. Let's suppose that two people were arguing about the structure of the human being. Person A says that the human being is a spirit using a body. Person B says that the human being is nothing more than a human body which is a biological machine. Which claim is extraordinary? A says that B's claim is extraordinary, demands extraordinary proof which A decides that B can't supply and therefore A rejects B's claim. OTOH, B says that A's claim is extraordinary, demands extraordinary proof which B decides that A can't supply and therefore B rejects A's claim. DAVID LANE REPLIES: You have already given us the clue here, Joseph. Yes, that is why Crick and Watson came up with "extraordinary proof"-- it is called the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. I think it is quite right for the spiritualist to "doubt" the materialist and say, "Hey, bro, show me the proof." And the materialist does have some amazing evidence--from DNA to genes to Neurons, to Electrons to Atoms, etc. And we get to SEE and HEAR the results of those things: T.V., RADIO, Airplanes, MRI's, CAT scans, Cloning, etc. Now, we should also ask the Spiritualist for some fudging proof. If this Babaji guy exists, let him show up on 20/20..... We would ask the same of materialists, why not spiritualists? ------------------------------- Joseph P. WRITES: Third, the assertion speaks only of proof when, perhaps, it should speak about evidence (what would be allowed and who decides this) and about your evidence game (rules for evaluating evidence) as well. The the legal system has explict standards and rules which vary, not according to the extraordinaryness of a claim, but according to whether the case is civil or criminal in nature. In a civil case, the jury is allowed to find for the plaintiff if they find that the plaintiff has proven his/her case by a preponderance of the evidence. This is generally interpreted to mean a 'majority' of the evidence considered in terms of 'weight'. [These terms are necessarily metaphorical.] In a criminal case, the jury is allowed to convict if the prosecutor proves the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. It is important to note that this is not a search for 'truth'. It is an evidence game. Evidence gathered by police 'misconduct' is excluded and the defendant is not required to volunteer incriminating evidence while the prosecutor is required to volunteer exculpatory evidence. The rules are designed so that few innocent defendants will be convicted, even though it means that many guilty defendants will go free. The Roman Catholic Church had a different evidence game when it comes to canonization proceedings. It is assumed that the Church would suffer greater damage if an unworthy person were made a saint than if a worthy person were denied canonization due to insufficient evidence. Thus, the Defender of the Faith raised *objections* to the petition for canonization. Only if the Procurator of the cause overcame all the objections would the petition be granted. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Let me be as simple as possible here. Yogananda claims that an AVATAR by the name of BABAJI exists in a physical body and has lived for thousands of years. Okay, I say show us the proof or the evidence................ As I said to Dan, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition. We can start simply: Babaji does an interview with Ms. Walters and we get some scientists to give him a medical examination. We can proceed from there. Or, as I said to Dan, hey if Babaji showed up my house I would be most willing to reconsider the "claim" that he really exists. I see nothing wrong in demanding for more evidence, instead of less. And this, I would argue, applies to ALL fields across the board. ------------------------- I know such demands have certainly helped in the field of medicine, in the field of physics, etc. I see no reason why some really hard core skepticism couldn't help out some of these paranormal claims...... --------------------------------- As I have said repeatedly, I think it would be quite groovy to find out that Babaji exists. I would think it would be cool that Elvis exists too, but I have yet to see compelling evidence...... We demand more scrutiny of our T.V. sets than we do of our Ascended Masters. If the reception doesn't work, we demand for it to be fixed and we need to "see" it and "hear" it. I don't see why we should ask for a lot less of "Babaji"..... Especially when he claims to have been around long before T.V.'s were invented. -------------------- Rich writes: In light on your recent long discussions with Doug I am wondering how you expect us to believe you acknowledge this experience as valid?<G> What objective standards do _you_ use to judge this experience?;-) Answer the following questions your own for us. > > what constitutes one's true beloved can be another's fraud. > >How do we know that our beloved IS true? and > >And, to top it off, how do we "know" such gurus are genuine and > >transcendental? and > >By what appraisement system can we distinguish such things and > >Nice statement, but again how do "you" know? and > >And how can such knowledge be translated into an objective grid > >system whereby we can distinguish between "imagination" and "real" > >transmission of power. and > >But how do you distinguish a "trick of the mind" from the "true > >Master's" grace? > I live in That memory, friend. Of course I believe you since I have also experienced this. It's an ironic dual standard that you would not believe me or Doug and others even though you personally 'know' this kind of experience. Was Charan the only master you experienced this with? If so, what was different about him? > They were, unquestionably, the finest moments of my life..... Totally subjective experience, yet the highlight of your life huh? Again I believe you, based on my experiences. How is it that you will not accept the validity of the same experiences with Harold that Eckists have ? > Melted chocalate blending into numinous infinity.... Mmmmm...Nice image. Words are never adequate to describe the experience of immersing ourSelf into the large pools of Love of the "true" masters eyes. As Doug said repeatedly(and you always found a way to counter), there is no mistaking the fake for the real once one has experienced it. > I miss him more than I can ever express..... Again I believe you. But why, when the is no objective standard to measure this longing, do you accept this as valid? -- DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yep, rich, there is NO objective standard by which I measure my love or my longing. It is purely relational, purely subjective. That's precisely my point. Yes, we can talk about our loves, our longings, and the like, but I cannot differentiate true/false gurus on the basis of it..... just like i couldn't differentiate true/false mothers on the basis of "my" love of "my" mother. There are billions of mothers, billions of different types of relationship. What determines the "status" of any one of these mothers is directly correlated to the "attachment" and relationship one has with them. I think my experiences are merely subjective. I was simply responding to your question of how I felt. As for "objectifying" it or claiming that such and such darshan was "real" in the ontological scheme of things, I simply and utterly can't do it. That is why I am relaxed about such things. That is why I debated with Doug on this point. To say you love your mother or brother is one thing; to then say that I can take such love and adjudicate the ultimate status of true/false brothers or mothers (and remember it is much more weird when it comes to gurus) is silly. Yes, Rich I am comfortable with saying that my experiences with my guru could simply be nothing more than sophisticated permutations of my neural network, misidentifications of my own "love" juice. No problem---i think the same must hold for my relationship to my brother or mother. I love them precisely because they are "my" relations. P.S. I think you are right on the money. It is purely my "relational" or subjective experience about missing Charan and enjoying his darshan. I may love my brother Joseph very very much, but I don't think such love indicates the "objective" status of my brohter It, rather, indicates how much "I" love him. Moreover, the whole point is that it is "my" guru, or "my" brother, or "my" mother. There have been billions of mothers in history, but I have a special affection for "mine"--which is defined, lest you forget, by my relationship and my attachment and my interaction with her. I don't expect for one second for you to accept the "objective" status of my guru. I have no clue on it, actually. I have no clue on the ultimate status of any one thing (think physics and you will get my drift). Yes, "I" feel love, yes "I" miss Charan, but that is precisely my point.... I think you better go back and read that debate. I think you are missing something in the translation. My experience of something does not confer its utlimate status. It merely reflects "my" relationship with it. get it? feel most free to pose more questions along this line ----- BRUCE writes: Hi, Dave; I just stumbled across this on your web page; I don't think you posted it to a.r.e. Any way, the discussion went: >>BRUCE writes: >>In this same chapter criticizes Harold Klemp for warning members of >>Eckankar about psychic attacks, on the grounds that such warnings could >>cause "impressionable Eckists to start having the very experiences he >>warns against" and "can only run havoc on immature and impregnable >>personalities." >>When I asked Lane on a.r.e. whether he felt his own warnings about >>Eckankar might not "run havoc on immature and impregnable personalities" >>he, characteristically, didn't reply. >DAVID LANE REPLIES: >"Characteristically, didn't reply?" Hmm, whenever you feel I have >not replied to a specific point, please do bring it up again. That's >your job and it is my job to reply to each and every point. OK. >Now to your point: my warnings simply say such "black magicians" >DON'T exist. They don't "simply say" any such thing; if they did, I would have responded differently. Here's what you *did* say (with my comments in square brackets). DAVID LANE (referring to Harold Klemp's writing about psychic attacks): "Such mind games can only [?] run havoc on immature and impregnable personalities" and "Harold Klemp has done a great harm [?! in your opinion] to his following" and "Eckankar has been the source [?!] of tremendous mental imbalance [?!] for a growing [?!] number of devotees" and "are replete with unsound [in your opinion] (and unproven) [?!] meditation techniques, sophomoric [in your opinion] advice about "internal beings" and dangerous [?!] [in your opinion] spiritual counselling. Bruce replies: Look at your rhetoric, David. The above was not a simple statement that "black magicians don't exist"; it was a tirade apparently designed to scare people away from Eckankar. It consists mostly of your opinion, to which you are entitled, inflated with jargon. Aren't you concerned about the effect such accusations might also have on "immature and impregnible personalities"? Are the psychological bogeymen you evoke any less mythic and disturbing than the black magicians you find so dangerously fearsome? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Hmm, interesting juxtaposition. No, quite frankly, I think my rhetoric in itself will not run havoc on impressionable minds. I think it will instead make one severely doubt the whole idea of black magicians and may incline one to wonder why an Eck Master would write such silly stuff. BRUCE writes: Another passage that caught my attention this time around is in Chapter Eight, "The Manifestation of Rebazar Tarsz," where Lane says: "Therefore, an Eckankar member may achieve a higher state of consciousness and behold a vision of what he/she believes to be Rebazar Tarsz. But it is not the Tibetan monk who is bestowing the elevated experience; rather, it is the devotee's own inherant capability for advanced structural adaptation (manifested, for example, in N.D.E.'s) which allows for such mystical heights... (structurally speaking, it matters little if one beholds the Virgin Mary, Buddha, Krishna, or Fubbi Quantz)..." I guess this means that Lane's tears over Paulji's "genealogical dissociation" from earlier teachers are of the crocodile variety. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Sorry, but I simply don't get your last line. Bruce responds: If it doesn't matter on whose image one contemplates, the question of geneological dissociation becomes less significant. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Not to those who are concerned with issues of legitimacy and historicity. Remember Wilber's methodology involves BOTH degrees of authenticity AND legitimacy. Eckankar may yearn only for the former (authenticity), but it was built (via books, via organizations, via talks, via advertisements, via group meetings) on the latter (legitimacy). As Wilber might say (though I find him more and more troublesome to use; almost as bad--but not even close--as an 80s Lane
), disruptions in legitimacy INCLINE themselves to disruptions in authenticity. Or, as I have repeatedly stated, "If you cannot trust the Master HERE, I see no reason to trust him THERE." ------- DANIEL CALDWELL WRITES: Questions to David Lane, Part I In past discussions on the paranormal with David C. Lane, I have often felt that many times David and I were NOT really effectively communicating with each other. In the material below I am seeking for David's understanding of the issue raised. I hope he will be upfront and forthright in his answers to my specific questions. I am raising these questions because I really want input and feedback. I give at this point the questions which are repeated in the text below in their appropriate place: >Now, I ask David Lane: >How do you read Johnson's argument? >Is my analysis and summary correct? >If not, what IS Johnson's argument? >What is his specific line of reasoning? ************************************************************************** The Paranormal and Its Bearing on Henry S. Olcott's Accounts of the Theosophical Masters by Daniel Caldwell One of K. Paul Johnson's arguments against certain criticisms raised in my critique entitled HOUSE OF CARDS is as follows: ___________________________________________________ In his case for evaluating all claims by Col. Olcott about the Masters by a single standard, Mr. Caldwell cites a letter in which Olcott reported being awakened from sleep in Ceylon in 1881 by Morya, who made him take dictation for an hour. He then goes on to describe a case where Morya "showed himself" to Olcott and HPB, and an "appearance" by Morya before six other people. All of these are equated with the Ooton Liatto case, which is much more clearly one of *physically* present people conversing with Olcott. But Mr. Caldwell does not seem to recognize that these "appearances" sound more like paranormal visitations than normal physical visits. How can he assume that such appearances, if genuine, were not Ranbir Singh, since he does not know whether or not the maharaja was capable of such phenomena? What does he know of other people who were, who might therefore be more plausible candidates for the Morya in these stories? This section of his argument shows naivete in conflating different categories of evidence. The principle which seems to elude Mr. Caldwell is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. My explanation of HPB's relationship with the Masters relies on ordinary factors and is based on ordinary historical evidence. Mr. Caldwell is defending extraordinary claims about HPB and the Masters, on behalf of which he cites evidence of a far more dubious and ambiguous kind. . . . __________________________________________________ [End of Johnson's comments] My analysis of Johnson's comments is as follows: ________________________________________________ What is K. Paul Johnson's basic argument? What are the main points of Johnson's argument? As I read Johnson, his argument goes something like this: (a) Johnson writes that there are TWO categories of evidence: Category (1) evidence involving "ordinary factors", "ordinary historical evidence"; and Category (2) evidence involving the "paranormal", the "extraordinary." (b) Johnson contends that the "Ooton Liatto" case belongs to category (1) involving "ordinary" evidence. Johnson specifically writes that the "Ooton Liatto" case is "MUCH MORE CLEARLY one of *physically* present people conversing with Olcott." Johnson himself puts the word "physically" inside astrisks. (c) Johnson maintains that, on the other hand, Cases B, C, and D belong to category (2) evidence involving the "paranormal". Johnson writes that "these 'appearances' [Cases B, C and D] sound more like PARANORMAL visitations than normal PHYSICAL visits." These three cases, Johnson says , involve "evidence of a far more dubious and ambiguous kind" in contrast to the "Ooton Liatto" case. (d) Johnson maintains that in an attempt to evaluate "all claims by Col. Olcott about the Masters by a SINGLE standard" Caldwell has unfortunately conflated the two categories of evidence. Johnson writes that "all of these [cases B, C and D] are EQUATED [by Caldwell] with the Ooton Liatto case." Johnson goes on to write that "this section of . . . [Caldwell's ] argument shows naivete in conflating [these two] different categories of evidence." (e) Johnson contends that (in light of all of the above) "Mr. Caldwell is defending extraordinary claims about HPB and the Masters." "The principle which seems to elude Mr. Caldwell is that extraordinary claims require extrordinary proof." (f) Johnson maintains (that contrary to Caldwell's approach) his own "explanation. . . relies on ordinary factors and is based on ordinary historical evidence." Specifically, Johnson writes that the Ooton Liatto case involves "*physically* present people conversing with Olcott." and therefore falls into the category (1) of ordinary evidence ________________________________________________________ In the above statements (a-f) I have tried to EXPLICITLY describe K. Paul Johnson's argument. Now, I specifically ask David Lane: How do you read Johnson's argument? Is my analysis and summary correct? If not, what IS Johnson's argument? What is his specific line of reasoning? Johnson brings up an interesting argument and I believe it is very important to try to understand Johnson's criticism and viewpoint. Please note, David, that in the above related questions, I am not asking you for your opinion as to whether Johnson's criticism is valid or not. Also I am not asking you to state your views on the paranormal. In a future post, I want to address the questions: Are Johnson's points well taken? Does his argument hold up? ------------- DAVID LANE REPLIES: First of all, your argument should be with K. Paul Johnson, not me. I think K. Paul would know much better than myself what his argument is..... I have no desire to be the mediator in this apparently never-ending debate. I enjoy debating with you Daniel, but I have absolutely no desire (nor the energy) to Analyze K. Paul Johnson FOR you. What do you want from me? An analysis of Johnson or the paranormal or your summary skills? Geez, I already work as a teacher and I don't need to play English teacher here. Ask me something more direct, get to your point, and concentrate on ONE question that WE can hash out. The argument you have given me here is much better resolved between you and Johnson. -------- P.S. do you only ask questions and seldom answer the ones posed of you? -------- just a thought ----------David, you still have NOT addressed Doug's ultimate question. Here, I will s-p-e-l-l it out for you V E R Y S L O W L Y Doug wants to know how is it that you are so sure that someone else can't know. For example...... I, Joey have had overt Out of Body experiences where I have experienced Spirit and its ultimate Truth directly. David, it goes way beyond what words(written or spoken) can ever describe. You have characterized my experiences, as well as many other Eckists experiences as "dillusionary", "made up", "extensions of Paul Twitchell's lies", and on and on and on. You have absolutely NO PROOF of what experiences I have had-------NONE. Yet you constantly say, that because I have not proven it to you that it can not exist. David, I do not have to prove it to you. On the contrary, the burden of proof is on you to prove that I haven't.......and frankly David.....that is impossible.......because I already KNOW that it happened. The surreptitious manner in which answer posts (by beginning another thread and selectively quoting the previous author) is just another carefully designed way to cover the large gaps in your flawed theories and logic. By painstakingly pointing these inconsistencies out (over and over again) I will, over time, have everyone in this newsgroup aware of your untruthful accusations. -------- DAVID LANE replies: Dear Joey: thanks for reposting your question to me. I also enjoy the fact that you are going to expose my flawed theories and logic and that over time everyone on this newsgroup will become aware of my untruthful accusations. Hopefully, I will still be in human form..... and not descend to the gorilla body in the process.... Again, you are missing a vital link in your replies. If one has an inner experience and believes that such experiences are "real" in the empirical sense, then by all means let us see the "empirical" evidence. On the other hand, if one claims that such inner experiences are real but do not (indeed cannot) have an empirical correlation, then we are on much more subtle (i would say slippery) ground. It was on this very basis that Doug and I engaged in our debate. What is one person's truth (Virgin Mary) is another person's delusion (see Faqir Chand). My point is that such inner visions (which do not have an empirical correlation) are subject to tremendous plasticity (variable interpretations--see the Kirpal Statistic, see the Unknowing Sage, see Michael Martin's inner "revelations"). I have never said that people don't have inner experiences. I have said, rather, that the question is how to "interpret" them. Yes, I have no doubt that people have OBE's and NDE's and the like (I have had my fair share of them, and according to the Gallup people nearly 25% of the population has had some type of out of body experience). What I question, Joey, (and since you have your pen out, you may want to underline this), is the ultimate interpretation we give such encounters. That, I believe, is very much an open question. It may not be an open question to you, since you claim to "know", but it is for me since I don't know much (remember?). And in that unknowingness I am quite willing to explore the possibilty of knowing bilocations, proof of paranormal powers, and the like. The only glitch is that I am an expensive slut and I see no reason to sell my soul on evidence that I find highly suspect. Bring in the good evidence, bring in the good case, and let's have a look. Sorry, but I find it awfully curious that NDE's and OBE's seem to reflect the cultural and biological history of the one who is undergoing the experience. That tells me a lot. It indicates, like the Tibetan Book of the Dead (or any good book on neuroscience may point out), that "visions" reflect not so much the "reality" of what is perceived but the "state of consciousness" (or brain state, for our neurologically minded readers) we are presently in. From dreams to waking to NDEs...... the experiences are relational and we tend to impute an absolute status and truthfulness to them wherein fact they may lack either. I think you get my drift. For more on my views of visions and great experiences, read Running Trains and Inner Visions or any number of articles I have on my website. Yes, Joey, we do have inner experiences and outer experiences and all sorts of things. I merely doubt the ultimate interpretations we give to them. You apparently don't. ------- I look forward to your rejoinder and we can have a healthy debate. ----- WES writes: Dear Dave,, What is the litmus test for reality or truth? We walk around on this earth thinking we are solid substantial beings,,,,yet science tells us that we are more liquid than solid. Then they go on to say that we are more space then anything else... Then we find out that the atoms that make up our very selves,,,even the brain cells that don't regenerate,,,,are constantly exchanging places and moving on,,,so the stuff that I call 'me' today,,,,,might be something totally different tomorrow. All I see are just levels of 'reality'....each with its own objectivity. Most of us operate in the first of these realms..... even though the other two are just as objective and real. They aren't 'real' to us....because most of us do not look at ourselves in this way,,and can't experience the atoms....even if we believe they are there. We experience them as a group,i.e. your hand is a group of atoms, but we don't experience them in their separate and individual state. Another very important point,,,is that we don't truly know the reality of science until we study and do the experiments ourselves. Even then we only see the results through instruments of our own creation. So that the reality implied is at best 2nd hand information. In other words,,,we can't normally see these things with just the instrument of the human body or normal awareness...We have to build, tools, extensions of ourselves/ awareness to perceive them.... Yep,,,we have to go out of ourselves....beyond our normal range of senses...to attempt to tap into the truth of things.... Sounds like an OBE,,,to me... Inner experiences could follow the same pattern as the above. Anyhow,,,just a few late night thoughts to throw at you. God Bless Wes DAVID LANE REPLIES: I quite agree that Reality (whatever That may Be) is beyond my puny comprehension. Whatever slices I get of "It" are intimately constructed by that neurological wonder meat set known as my brain. Or, we could if we are mystically inclined, say that my filter--my conscious self--is chewing bite size pieces of "Reality" for my consumption. As Kant might say, "The thing in itself", seems to transcend my capacity to truly know "it" in all dimensions. I can barely think two thoughts at once, much less a true equation of the universe. Yes, I do think we should spend time exploring our inner realms of beings (as my preface to the enchanted land quite clearly enjoins). However, I also think that we should be skeptical and doubtful of any "absolute" interpretation we may project upon those inner experiences, just as in the outer world we don't want to be necessarily dogmatic about any one theory.... Always realizing, perhaps, that even our best theories can be subject to revision. keep up the nice thoughts, dave ---------------- DOUG RESPONDS: Dear Unknowing Dave, Thanks for your answer. I've enjoyed this discussion as well, and with your above answer, I now feel we are on a little firmer ground to continue. I know it's been almost two weeks, since your answer above, but I've been traveling (this time on vacation to Carmel and Big Sur) and wanted to give a thoughtful response. First, I think your point that you are unknowing enough to realize that there may be others who can know, is a very important point. This indeed is where the student of spiritual knowledge must begin. In fact, I think it is so important to understand this starting point properly, that I don't think we should try to jump ahead too quickly. As Rumi used to say, "Don't try to shorten the story, listen to the whole tale." The realization that we do not know is a necessary step. However, with this awareness comes an empty feeling, as if we know there must be more. It is really an emptiness, looking for something to fill it. What many religionists do is try to fill this lack of knowing with something to believe in. What many materialists try to do is fill this lack of knowing with critical opinions of the religionists' foolish beliefs. Both of these attempts to fill the void will prevent these people from finding true knowledge. DAVID LANE REPLIES: I think your last two lines here are suspect, since there may be many options (not one or two or three) in confronting one's lack of knowing. Moreover, I don't see why "emptiness" should necessarily arise when one realizes how little one knows. It may be quite the opposite: a feeling of wonderful openness and a feeling of bliss (oh that popular statement comes to mind, "ignorance is bliss"?--just ruminating). Additionally, you have already jumped the gun (at least in terms of laying out your argument to me) with this uninspected assumption called "finding true knowledge." It could well be that there is no such thing as "true" knowledge in an infinite sense. Or, perhaps realizing ignorance is "true"? In any case, I find your last few lines filled with unwarranted and uninspected leaps of logic. DOUG WRITES: In other words, the path must begin with doubt, and this doubt must grow into the realization that we do not know. And then this realization must grow into a deep understanding of the emptiness that comes from truly not knowing. It is only after this emptiness is truly understood, and allowed to exist without being filled with any kind of spiritual fast food that can be found to satisfy that hunger, that one can begin to separate the true from the false. DAVID LANE REPLIES: These are all nice platitudes and I may even agree to some degree with bits of it, but you have assumed a lot in your leaps here: from emptiness to doubt to "true" understanding to "true from the false." In other words, you have quite implicitly layed out an epistemology that does not necessarily follow. You may believe this is the trajectory that occurs in human beings and spiritual growth, but I don't see why it is so or why it must be so. I see instead your belief system. Fair enough, but beliefs systems (including my own) border on on an infinite number.... DOUG writes: Paul Twitchell, in an early talk of his called, "Doubt," mentioned that in the past, spiritual students had been asked to first believe in certain basic beliefs, but that this has changed, and today the seeker must first begin with doubt. I agree with him on this point. Paul then went on to tell a story of when his master appeared before him, one day. Later, when he had a chance to see his master physically, he asked him, "Was that you that appeared before me?" His master answered, "Well, why don't you go back and ask that great soul." From this, Paul realized that his master was saying, in a sense, "Well, do you know or don't you know?" And Paul realized that we must each decide for ourselves this very important point. It is not something to be glossed over too quickly. We must be willing to honestly cross that dry desert of not knowing, before we can expect to find that oasis of knowingness. David, there is an important point here. The masters will often not say whether they have indeed consciously appeared to others, or not. They will often not directly answer such questions. They are right in doing so, because it is vital that the seeker decides these issues for themselves. If they cannot find the inner authority to distinguish the true inner experience from the false, then they should recognize that they have not yet arrived at this point, but they should not look toward outer authority to fill this void. If the master were to answer, directly, such questions, it would prevent the student from solving this riddle for themself. DAVID LANE replies: Again, I find your last few lines detailing what you believe to be the case, but not why it must be necessarily so. We may believe all sorts of things, but that does not mean by extension that your beliefs are translated as universal truths or insights. For instance, I think it would be perfectly appropriate for the guru to say whether he knew or didn't. Indeed, it may be quite refreshing. My hunch is that in most cases the guru doesn't know but for whatever reasons (some benign perhaps, some sinister perhaps) he or she allows the disciple to "think" that the guru "knows." As for not directly answering the question, again I think it may be related to honesty. Lots of gurus like to take credit for that which they didn't do. Moreover, I don't see why a master answering the question "would prevent the student from solving this riddle for themself," since regardless of whether the guru says "yes or no" the neophyte is still stuck with "believing or disbelieving" his guru's answer. In other words, the student still doesn't "know" if the guru is telling the truth or not (he could be taking credit for it, but still not be conscious of it). Additionally, I am too painfully aware of how easy we let our gurus off the hook with this type of "he knows best" kind of rhetoric. Again, Doug, it sounds like your belief system. Okay, but it just doesn't convince me in terms of an argument. I can think of lots of alternative explanations for the above guru strategies and they seem a lot more compelling.... DOUG writes: However, you have argued that after talking with Faqir Chand, you realize now that the masters may not be answering for another reason. It is possible that they do not really project to these seekers, and that all of these experiences are simply the seeker's own inner creations. But what I was trying to show, with my last post to you, is that there is a fundamental flaw with anyone thinking that they can know this. For example, Faqir Chand had some experiences where he saw a vision of his master, but his master admitted not being aware of creating such a projection, and other experiences where Faqir's students saw Faqir appear before them, but Faqir had no awareness of such an event. This lead him to conclude that his experiences were subjective, and belonged to his own personal projections within his inner worlds. And there is nothing wrong with such a conclusion, if indeed it is a recognition of unknowingness. However, Faqir Chand goes on to say that from this he has also concluded that all of the experiences of all seekers, and all visions of all masters, are also nothing more than the projections of the seekers' own inner beliefs. But such a conclusion is seriously flawed, since if indeed Faqir is admitting that he has no real inner perception beyond his own personal inner worlds, then how can he possibly draw conclusions about the inner experiences of everyone else? He cannot. At best, he can only offer it up as a possibility. But Faqir was not just suggesting it as a possibility. He was not just saying that he doesn't know but others might. He was acting as if he had discovered something important: That masters pretend to create such experiences, for the sake of the seekers. But based upon his own admissions, this is something he cannot possibly know. It is at best a theory that, if it is true, can never be verified. DAVID LANE REPLIES: First, Doug, you better go read Faqir Chand a bit closer. Faqir repeatedly states that he may be wrong, that he may be incorrect, that he may be limited in his perceptions, that it is ONLY his experience and others may differ. Indeed, for this VERY reason Faqir met with Charan, met with Kirpal, met with Thakar, met with Sawan, met with scores of gurus. He asked them in private and in public to "CORRECT" him if he was wrong in his insights. He asked each guru in the R.S. Tradition to give him their views on the subject. Yes, he was convinced that he had uncovered a crucial insight (I do too), but he was most willing to be challenged and corrected. It just turned out to be the case that the gurus he met didn't give him a better explanation or a more convincing view. Instead most of them "confessed" their ignorance and their duplicity. Moreover, just because someone cannot "disprove" a possible theory does not then make it "right." In Critical Thinking, this is called the fallacy of arguing from ignorance. Let me give you a pertinent quote to illustrate why I find this line of reasoning on your part sophomoric: "This rule applies to cases of existence versus nonexistence, too. Most often, the burden of proof should fall on those who claim something exists rather than on those who claim it doesn't. There are people who believe in ghosts [hmm, or true gurus? or conscious bilocations or souls?], but because nobody has shown there are no such things. (When someone claims that we should believe in such and such because nobody has proved that it ISN'T so, we have a subtype of burden or proof known as appeal to ignorance.) This is burden of proof of pseudoreasoning because it MISTAKENLY places the requirement of proving their position on those who do NOT believe in ghosts (Of course, the first rule applies here, too, because ghosts are not part of background knowledge for most of us." (Critical Thinking)
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I want to go back to the home base now.