Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: Alt.religion.eckankar Publication date: 1996
E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at email@example.com
I want to go back to the home base now.
Faqir Chand, Daniel Caldwell, Inner Visions, and What's Real?
I have an article in the works which will touch upon many of the points that Daniel Caldwell wants to discuss concerning materialism, idealism, real versus phony gurus, and the like.
However, I thought i probably should respond to his most recent post about Faqir Chand, since he has excerpted parts from The Unknowing Sage in order to question/refute Mike's argument about inner visions being manifestations of our neural architecture.
In my original introduction to The Unknowing Sage I did not include any exceptions to Faqir's hypothesis that all visions are projections of the mind and that all gurus remain in a state of unknowingness about manfesting to their respective disciples.
However, due to some questions raised by Ramana Maharshi, Dr. K.S. Narang, and others, I included a caveat in future editions, which indicated that there "may" be some saints or mystics who do have trans-structural knowledge and may at times have awareness of appearing to people.
This caveat is by no means proven. Indeed, Faqir's hypothesis has repeatedly been tested and shown to be correct. Now this does not mean that it is "dogmatically" right. It just means that it is the one theory which has resisted falsification.
It would be great fun to have a guru "challenge" Faqir's theory and show to the world that he/she really does know and really does have "supra" ordinary knowledge.
But the problem is that none of the gurus who make these extraordinary claims are willing to be tested under strict scientific guidelines.... And when some have attempted the test, they have failed.
Given that I believe in an open mind and that it is conducive to gathering more information, I would be most happy to report a positive, univocal, verifiable "hit" showing that Faqir Chand was partially wrong.
Faqir, by the way, will never be shown to be all wrong, since most gurus don't know when they appear to their disciples anyways. What we are talking about, of course, are rare exceptions to the Chandian rule.
So personally I think Mike is right to be skeptical, to want proof.
What I may believe in the confines of my own spiritual practice and the like doesn't mean squat when making paranormal claims.
The test is show some hard evidence.
Having been to India some 8 times, I have not seen it.
However, i don't think we ever will, because the issue is confused by most spiritual seekers.
In my future article,
Patricia Smith Churchland Meets Ramana Maharshi At Faqir Chand's Ashram For A Round of Cokes With Ken Wilber When Nicholas of Cusa and Richard Feynman Unexpectedly Show Up (as "imagined" by lane) I will try to show that the whole question of mind/brain, body/spirit, consciousness/matter, life/death is completely ill-framed and entirely misses the real issue at hand. To give a little preview: It is more than obvious that everything we are doing in the waking state is modified by the neural activity of our brain. If you don't believe this, just hit your head with a baseball bat real hard and you will automatically "feel" the logic of this argument. But somehow "while our neurons are firing in a certain pattern" we believe ourselves to be "more" than just neurons. In other words, if our brain is working well, we just "know" we are more than the brain. Quite simply, no neural activity, no brain activity, no thinking. We do this all the time and it is so apparent we sometimes overlook it. What makes us wake up? What makes us go to sleep? What makes us "see" and "hear" and "smell"? Our bodies/brains. Nothing unusual about this. But somehow we want to believe that "consciousness" transcends the body/brain. Well, watch this scenario, which I draw from a dream and the work of Ramana Maharshi. In a dream, if someone came to you and said there is a state "higher" than the dream, you may (within the confines of the dream state) ask for "proof." Now what proof could someone who has access to the waking state give to someone in the dream state? He can't give you waking state cereal, waking state buildings, or waking state friends.... All he/she could really do is try to "wake you up." Now from the dreaming person's perspective everything would appear to be modified/produced by the dreamer's own body/brain, not by some body/brain which utlimately and literally transcends it. You can't find a "waking" brain when you are fully emeshed in the dream state. You can't find "evidence" of the waking state, that is, when you are fully asleep. So watch what happens here in the waking state. Some of us want "proof" and "evidence" beyond the waking body/brain to convince us that there is something "more" real than this state. It's a bit silly, actually. At this level, there is only material, there is only transformations of matter/energy. There is not going to be any "paranormal" or "astral" beings manifesting.... Everything is just the body, just brain, just the cosmos. Just as in a dream, to the perceiver everything is just dream fabric, just dream material. There is no waking "stuff". That stuff does not arise at all (only its dream symbols which point to it, but which themselves remain only dream matter). Given this context, we have two fundamental options: believe with certainty that the only thing that exists is the material stuff from which we and everything arises; or believe, that there may be higher states of being which "contextualize" this experience in a larger perspective, a larger holon. So that if i believe in a dream that my dream state is caused by the dream brain, I would wake up to discover that my waking brain (which never appeared as such in the dream--if it did, i would be "awake" and not asleep) was really the "cause" of all my dreaming, even my dream brain was merely a manifestation of a higher, more inclusive state which was caused by something that "never" appeared as such within the confines of the dream. Thus if i thought that my dream was all there is, i would be literally wrong. But that wrongness would never "manifest" as belief within a dream, but rather when I fully woke up to a higher empirical state. It would manifest, naturally, as a higher order experience, but an experience which has no referent, no way of permeating my dream.... (or if it did, then my dream ceases to be merely a dream, but a stream experience which is contextualized in a much larger holon) Likewise, in this waking state experience everything does in fact appear to be caused by the brain/body/world. It just is. However, is it possible (I am not saying probable) that this state is encompassed by a much larger context, just like my dream is encompassed by a much larger "waking" state purview..... Well, even if is not at all probable, we must be open to the scant possibility that it might..... We have already done this in terms of reductionism: is it possible that molecules are made up of something smaller? yes, atoms. What about atoms? yes, electrons, neutrons, etc. What about the nucleus of the atom? yes, quarks. What about quarks, aren't they the absolute fundamental structure? Hmmm.... Super-strings anyone? So if there can be sub-texts to all matter, can there be larger con-texts to all matter? We already know that the brain is the most complex structure we have encountered.... Much more significant, as Wilber would say, than quarks. Now quarks are clearly more fundamental (take away quarks and there are no brains), but not nearly as significant (quarks are everywhere, brains are relatively rare). So we have understood the world within a larger context/holon: the brain. But we could never have understood the world merely at the level of atoms (if there was no DNA, we wouldn't have living organisms). So the brain is a larger context than cells, than simple organisms.... Now the question naturally arises, can our understanding of our-selves, our brains, be better understood perhaps by a larger emerging context? My bias is to explore that possibility with skepticism and with openness.... Not with either/or silliness...... Who wants to make religion out of a two-year old's answers to the universe? Likewise, it seem immature at best to want to give final answers at 40 years old..... I think we should do some more exploring, keeping our skepticism and doubts intact.... That way, whatever we may find will at least have the benefit of being tested and found worthy of our rationality. more to come..... (this is not an answer, but a voyage)