RE: Debunking Synchronicity

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Thu Jul 12 2001 - 10:08:58 MDT

I had asked,

> > Samantha and Amara have defended spirituality, synchronicity,
> > and (I think) religiosity. I want to get down to the truth
> > of what's really going on here.
> >
> > 1. Why do some people gladly debunk what they see as clear
> > falsehoods where others, equally skeptical, don't want to?

Samantha provided the helpful answer

> b) perhaps we don't consider skepticism inherently and
> unquestionably true or good for all purposes.

Would you elaborate? Now I'll admit that there are many ordinary
day-to-day situations in life where *speaking* skeptically isn't
to the point, e.g., your boss tells a funny but highly improbable
story, your brother tells your sister that the meatloaf was
superb, or you visit a friend's church just out of curiosity.

But I care a lot about what I think, and I can't think of any
reason not to have a skeptical attitude about what is and what
is not to be believed. You probably also care a lot about what
you think. Don't you ALWAYS want to be skeptical of memes as
you encounter them?

> > 2. Why do the latter embrace terms, e.g., "spirituality" and
> > "synchronicity" overwhelmingly used by people who mean
> > things completely different from them?

> > About the latter question, there is no shortage of words and
> > phrases in English to distinguish shades of belief. Articulate
> > people could easily always find suitable substitution phrases---
> > but they didn't do so, and mostly resist doing so. Why?
> Because what I am speaking of is spiritual in the truest sense I
> know and to call it anything else is imho improper. It is also
> essential if one is to reclaim spirituality from the worst of
> the luddites and from the conceptual shrinking it into something
> easily dismissed that too easily misses and disowns what I
> believe is important in it.

I don't think that terms are often worth fighting for. But I will
wax sympathetic here by giving a very parallel case of my own,
where, perhaps it turns out that I'm doing the same thing as
you are---or perhaps not.

I think that it's best to admit that we have "free will". True,
I am a strict materialist who thinks even people and complex
computer programs are entirely mechanical. So why "free will".
I say that it's simply easist to go on saying that we have free
will---and so does an extremely complicated program when it
weighs a lot of evidence and finally comes to a decision, because
as soon as we start saying that we *do not* have free will, we
are beset by all sorts of difficulties.

Now (thinking out loud here) is your case parallel? Perhaps it
is. Right now I can't think of why it's not. Can anyone?

> > Now a semanticist might retort, "because the term in question
> > has so many favorable semantic links, that it's very useful
> > for the purposes of communication". But if this were the case,
> > then you'd see people who use terms like "God", "spirituality",
> > and "synchronicity" qualifying their remarks. In other words,
> > the terms would always be followed by words like "in the sense
> > of...", or "-like", or surrounded by scare-quotes. But it
> > doesn't happen. Why?

Whenever I mention free will, it is ALWAYS in a context that
allows me to thoroughly separate myself from people who believe
in souls, and I vigorously criticize non-materialist beliefs
as I do so.

That's maybe what is not parallel in our cases. Do you actively
separate yourself from all those "luddites" as you called them,
by also ALWAYS disparaging their beliefs while putting forth
your own about "spirituality"?


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