Do you believe in ghosts?

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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:38 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Huseng wrote:"Unconscious mind", "defence mechanism", "repressed emotions", etc... are just theories on mental activity which can hardly be considered facts.

Western psychology receives state endorsement (and funding), so there is a kind of prestige to it, but it isn't a science.
Behaviouralism (Behavioural Science) utilises strict scientific criteria and is considered a branch of psychology.
:namaste:

And we know how that ended back then with Skinner and the likes of him. This is a resurgent trend at present and I am well afraid where it will lead us this time.
Psychology seems to be slowly melting under neuroscience. This is worrying, IMO. Beware of the fausts of neuroscience.
Perhaps you will appreciate the following article, Greg:
http://www.edvul.com/pdf/VulHarrisWinki ... S-2009.pdf
Last edited by Dechen Norbu on Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:43 pm

Which why I said a " populist and accessible " introduction to current thinking.
If someone is still assuming that psychology has anything to do with Freudian models of the "mind "and the "unconscious", the " ego " and " the id"... and Huseng clearly does...then the work of populists like Blackmore might form a bridge and balancing element to the harder- core work being done in the area of psycho-neurology and consciousness.
Even to my own modest efforts.
But feel free to discard any suggestion. :smile:

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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:48 pm

Simon E. wrote:Which why I said a " populist and accessible " introduction to current thinking.
If someone is still assuming that psychology has anything to do with Freudian models of the "mind "and the "unconscious", and Huseng clearly does...then the work of populists like Blackmore might form a bridge to the harder- core work being done in the area of psycho-neurology and consciousness. Even to my own modest efforts.
But feel free to discard any suggestion. :smile:

:namaste:

There's still a lot of speculation and bad science, (most resorting to undue statistical manipulation) inside Psychology.
Sometimes, if anything, Psychology can be blamed of trying too hard to look alike a hard science when it isn't one, it can never be one and it should never try to be one.

What I also find amusing is that not so long ago "consciousness" was close to a dirty word in any debate among Psychologists. Now some seem to have it all figured out. It's funny.
Until Psychology makes a stand against the intellectual sleight of hands of neuroscience regarding the nature of consciousness and realize that nobody has a clue about the necessary and sufficient causes of consciousness, its origin, fate and ontological status, the melting will continue. Psychology, loosely "the science of psyche" is being engulfed by the study of neurons, that are not psyche. How crazy is that? And consciousness, instead of its supposed neural correlates that weren't even identified, will be left unstudied. By scientists that is. Buddhism and other contemplative traditions are alive and well outside the academia.
But I am going off topic already...
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:10 pm

Well as a mere psychiatrist and cognitive therapist albeit one who has input into an ongoing research programme, who am I to argue ? I have no emotional investment in being right or wrong in an internet debate. I yield.
I do however see the very real benefits to my patients of abandoning psychoanalytic theory and metaphysics and concentrating on the present and experiential with reference to their suffering.


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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:13 pm

Huseng wrote:Today I was discussing with someone about the nature of devas, ghosts, spirits and other non-manifest beings that are said to affect our world. He mentioned he is agnostic about such things.

I'm aware that a lot of Buddhists in the west take an agnostic view about these things, going so far as to say it is unimportant. I suppose on one hand that is true if you're focused on meditation and living ethically as chief concerns, but then as I've been cautioned before by one yogi in Nepal you need to be aware of malicious devas and other non-manifest beings, otherwise they will cause disturbances and hindrances to one's practice. There are prescribed pujas for this sort of thing he explained. Historically this has been a concern as well in many countries, hence the guardians out in the front of many temples.

To remain agnostic is your right of course, but I don't think we can deny that Buddhist cultures the world over have a view that devas and so on really do exist (they're not metaphors or purely psychological phenomena, but rather they possess their own sentient-subjective existences; the undeveloped eye unable to perceive them).

This is something that I don't see a lot of people really taking to in the English speaking world, besides maybe some Tibetan Buddhists. Even then, discussion of ghosts, devas and pretas is likely to raise eyebrows, even summon scorn from others. I know Ajahn Brahm likes to tell ghost stories and he's quite clear in his assertion that deva really do exist and interact with the world in ways usually unseen. However, that is one side of western Buddhism you don't see so much.

So it begs the question how this is going to develop.

Personally I'm comfortable with saying devas, pretas, nagas and so on exist, but in a lot of company I usually don't touch on it unless asked. Today's conversation got me thinking of how this is a point that is being overlooked in at least the English speaking world. It is often seems to be called "a belief" and then tucked away somewhere out of sight.

Here is the OP. Perhaps it is time to retire so that those who want can discuss it.

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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:46 pm

Simon E. wrote:Well as a mere psychiatrist and cognitive therapist albeit one who has input into an ongoing research programme, who am I to argue ? I have no emotional investment in being right or wrong in an internet debate. I yield.
I do however see the very real benefits to my patients of abandoning psychoanalytic theory and metaphysics and concentrating on the present and experiential with reference to their suffering.


:namaste:

I'm not saying psychoanalytic theory is good, either in terms of explanatory or therapeutic power. Old habits die hard, however and we still see too much speculation inside Psychology and Psychiatry albeit of a different kind at present.
The value of mindfulness as a therapeutic tool is being recognized, thankfully, not without debate however. But I don't see its relevance for this topic. :smile:
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:49 pm

I see no problem in admitting as plausible the existence of beings we can't perceive until our mind is sufficiently trained to allow it.
Of course someone who considers that consciousness must be brain produced will have a hard time admitting such possibility.
Practice enough and you'll see, that's my suggestion. No aprioris are needed in terms of rejection or acceptance.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:52 pm

Actually I do think its relevant..but it establishing why would take us way off-topic again .
Which is why I re-posted the OP instead.

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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:53 pm

But I would like to hear your perspective about it. Perhaps you can create a topic for it? I'll have to leave in a moment, but that's a discussion I would value. What do you think? Maybe later we can exchange a few ideas?
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:57 pm

Ok. But it wont be for a few days. :smile:

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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:59 pm

No problem. There's no hurry. :thumbsup:
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Jikan » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:28 pm

I believe in ghosts. The specter of psychoanalysis is haunting this thread. But I digress.

My teachers tell me that there are beings inhabiting space, all around and densely arrayed, that I cannot perceive with my senses five. Some of these are called "ghosts." Since I trust the words of my teachers, I suppose it is not inaccurate to say that I believe them, and hence, believe in ghosts (or to be more precise, am open to the possibility that they may exist on principle).
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Ogyen » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:47 pm

I believe that an infinity of phenomena exist outside of what I understand and am capable of currently comprehending. I in no way have complete understanding, so what I believe is only a small limited portion of what IS that I can personally verify.

Ghosts, like everything else I am incapable of seeing or comprehending outside of narrow conditions of manifestation, are perfectly capable of existing with or without my belief. Therefore I conclude that while I see what I do, but it is in no way limiting of what exists outside what I know. My ignorance is vast and wide. It's the simplest way to look at this realistically. Just because I can't 'see' air, I know it exists, I breathe it. The earth was flat for a long time. And dark matter didn't exist. Belief is irrelevant to manifestation of what is... sometimes, it corresponds, but it is not important.

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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:03 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:I see no problem in admitting as plausible the existence of beings we can't perceive until our mind is sufficiently trained to allow it.
Of course someone who considers that consciousness must be brain produced will have a hard time admitting such possibility.
Practice enough and you'll see, that's my suggestion. No aprioris are needed in terms of rejection or acceptance.


I tried training but Hogwarts told me they already had too many old guys with beards! LOL :)

I think it depends on whether the model we favour is that of development or revelation.

I favour revelation - children seem to have sensitivity to spirits without training.

I think if anything we need to reveal in ourselves the aspects of mind which have that capability.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Jesse » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:12 pm

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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:16 pm

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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Jesse » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:28 pm

“Reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.”

-Alan Watts
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:38 pm

ghost01 wrote:
“Reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.”

-Alan Watts

Well said.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:45 pm

Blue Garuda wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:I see no problem in admitting as plausible the existence of beings we can't perceive until our mind is sufficiently trained to allow it.
Of course someone who considers that consciousness must be brain produced will have a hard time admitting such possibility.
Practice enough and you'll see, that's my suggestion. No aprioris are needed in terms of rejection or acceptance.


I tried training but Hogwarts told me they already had too many old guys with beards! LOL :)

I think it depends on whether the model we favour is that of development or revelation.

I favour revelation - children seem to have sensitivity to spirits without training.

I think if anything we need to reveal in ourselves the aspects of mind which have that capability.

Point well taken! :thumbsup:
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby tobes » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:05 am

Simon E. wrote:Well as a mere psychiatrist and cognitive therapist albeit one who has input into an ongoing research programme, who am I to argue ? I have no emotional investment in being right or wrong in an internet debate. I yield.
I do however see the very real benefits to my patients of abandoning psychoanalytic theory and metaphysics and concentrating on the present and experiential with reference to their suffering.


:namaste:


What's odd about your position is that you seem to tacitly assume that adopting a materialist metaphysics is tantamount to abandoning metaphysics.

Such an epistemic view is crude scientism, not good science.

If you are genuinely engaged in research in this area - cognitive science, neuroscience, philosophy of mind - surely you must acknowledge that the issues you speak of are not settled. Perhaps they will be in the future, certainly tremendous progress has been made, but they are clearly not settled presently.

Indeed, there are whole journals devoted to the connection between psychoanalytic theory and neuroscience - I do not intend to defend one or the other or both in combination, but simply to point out that there is far more diversity and contestation in your field than you are prepared to admit.

You disavow any investment in being right or wrong here - but at the same time you assert your authority as a psychiatrist and researcher; that strikes me as an implicit way of claiming epistemic certainty over and above the 'naive religious considerations' of your interlocutors.

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