Re: Contacting God & Eastern Religions

Ian Goddard (
Tue, 21 Apr 1998 17:50:45 -0400

At 10:10 PM 4/21/98 +0200, Anders Sandberg wrote:

>> IAN: Hinduism does have one supreme being, Brahman.
>> It is said that all the other gods, such a Shiva,
>> Kali, Gahnesh, Uma... are but faces of the supreme
>> being that is Brahman. Brahman has no form or personal
>> identity and is said to be "The Great Void -- in zero
>> mechanics, this it the zero-sum of all difference.
>Hmm, a small idea that hit me: maybe Brahman is similar to Sasha's
>"functional soups", a big storehouse of potentiality, power, skills,
>knowledge and personality that locally coalesces into teleological
>threads - the deities. They usually reside in the divine cyberspace,
>but sometimes interface with the physical world through an incarnation
>as an Avatar. Hmm, maybe one could concoct a form of cyberhinduism
>this way :-)

IAN: Interesting ideas. Does Sasha have a page on this?
I think that many central religious concepts are simply
(usually poorly defined) expressions of real truths that
are what they are independent of the religious contexts
we have come to associate them with. The tendency of the
scientific community is the write off the whole set of
religious ideology as "superstitious nonsense." But I
think to do that is a great mistake. Ancient religious
traditions are full of diamonds in the rough just waiting
to be rediscovered polished off for a new generation.

The principles of fuzzy logic are an example of this:
what most saw as the epitome of mystical nonsense and
double talk, once carefully mapped, turned out to be
not only logical, but opened the door to great advances
in logic and its application to real-world problems.

The process of redefining ancient wisdom has two effects:
(1) it shows that the mystics weren't spouting pure non-
sense, and in this way adds weight to the mystical tradi-
tions, and yet it also (2) demystifies the mystical and
in this way sort-of pulls the rug out from under mystical
traditions. A truth properly defined tends to lose its
mystique, its power over us. What we cannot or have not
properly defined tends to belittle us, overwhelm us,
make us surrender to some "higher mystical power."

There are some really weird UFO cults out there. They'd
fall apart overnight if aliens were proven to be true
and came to Earth and integrated into Earth societies.
It's the mystery that fosters religious/magical thinking.
Science is the process of demystifying the mystical when
possible, not necessarily exclusively of disproving it.

Even as I claim to have verified the mystical experience,
I believe that the process of properly defining what those
mystics were talking about is a process of dismantling
religion even as one shows that some of it was valid.

VISIT Ian Williams Goddard ---->