Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter delusions

The following is in response to max at IPS, who believes in the actual reality of the Tibetan Buddhist rainbow body. It's the claim certain adepts of a particular school gain such meditative control of their being and essence that they do not die; they transform into a body of light. And their physical body does not deteriorate at apparent death; it just shrinks into nothingness. Granted we might take such a claim as metaphorical, but max and many adherents of this school take this quite literally. (See this prior thread called 'letting daylight into magic' and the Batchelor thread.) Given my lack of patience with such nonsense here's how I responded:

You actually believe that those folks did not die and transformed into a rainbow body? You can't get any more metaphysically shentong than that.

max: "if you would get your head out of your books long enough to notice"

You obviously don't know much about me, as I'm adept in meditative techniques and states as well as a few of other disciplines. It's the interpretation of such states that is of issue, and rainbow bodies are utter nonsense. If that means I'm closed-minded to such moronic beliefs then so be it. And in keeping with the facetious well-wishing, happy easter to you as well. Christ rising from death is commensurate with your own delusions.

I'll drink from the well of verifiable scientific evidence, not some poisoned magical-mythical watering hole. I'm reminded of our discussion of Trivendi, and this post pointing to a discussion in which Julian participated.  From his second comment July 23, 2010 at 2:45 am:

"As for the transcendent spirit discussion – thanks, yea i am familiar with the various sources and was ( as a long term meditator and yogi) quite impressed with the idea for some time – it no longer holds water for me and seems only slightly less inspired by wishful thinking and an overextending of subjective experience into objective reality than say, belief in the book of genesis. wilber fell time and again into a kind of intelligent design in indian drag trap – and most of his readers take this as a great argument for some kind of disembodied transcendent spirit/god/ghosty/sky-daddy by any other name."

And Julian's comments in this post:

"The important distinction here is that we can influence one-another's biochemistry - and people who have worked on becoming more and more adept at this (like myself) can do this very effectively and in ways that may look almost magical to the untutored eye. but it is not magical - it is real, repeatable, innate and anyone can learn how to do it. Around these kinds of experiences [...] people have usually added a magical/mythic interpretation or story line based in our pre-wired brain fart tendency to explain various compelling subjective experiences via some kind of supernatural agency. this has always been a mistake.

"Regardless of the legitimate existence of various 'energetic' experiences between people, one should not buy into the contemporary version of supernatural explanation mixed in with pseudoscience claims of being able to affect molecular structure, DNA, change the past, use the power of intention to manifest physical realities etc... this is hokum and hogwash and is not in any way linked to the reality of feeling your 'prana' coursing through the nervous system in a yoga class, or seeing someone go through potent unwinding and altered states. No-one can affect molecular structure with their mind, water does not respond to the 'energy of thoughts.'"

Back then andrew followed with this statement:

"Exactly! and by that correct standard we can easily dismiss the supposed scientific claims as rubbish at the moment! not to mention the always present implication with these vedic sages that true reality was always nailed precisely by hinduism. [...] i personally really wouldn't have a problem with this sort of claim if the claim was faith based, but applying the scientific paradigm to these claims in the way it's been done with 'what the bleep', and all is intellectually dishonest, imo."

Btw, relating this to the paper in the first post this is exactly one of the problems of Ferrer's kind of pluralism. On the one hand  he presupposes there is no ready-made metaphysical reality and accepts the postmeta notion of it being undertermined multiplicity. He also accepts that empirical knowledge should be verified by empirical grounds. Spiritual knowledge should be verified otherwise, one way being based on "the potency of its emancipatory effects." But what if the latter emancipate one in certain ways but is still interpreted in a way that conflates those effects with metaphysical, objectivist claims about empirically unsubstantiated survival of physical death?

It's not only a confusion of descriptive and proscriptive language, it allows the latter to override the former as if they are two completely separate domains. This premise seems to be a more subtle and unnoticed reduction of the very thing he claims to be against, the representation paradigm. And it also participates in relativism, unable to judge absurd claims as long as the paradigm effects "emancipation," a  pretty nebulous term that again presupposes whatever a tradition says it means, including rainbow bodies.

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