17. Maya -- the swamp
Session 1 -- Confusion
Spiritual Web Chat
Sat 10 Apr 1999

Ben< ALL: In this seminar I plan to explore some of the characteristics of a very large mental, emotional, and spiritual swamp. The name of this swamp is Maya (the Sanskrit word, not the Mayan civilization), and the characteristics I intend to look at are confusion, illusion, deception, and delusion -- in that order.

bluestar< Is there a linguistic connection between the Mayans and the Sanskrit word Maya?

FRAML< bluestar: No, the Mayan Civilization was in what is now central Mexico about 1000 years ago. Sanskrit is from India.

Ben< bluestar: No connection between the Mayans and Sanskrit that I know of. An accident of English spelling of similar sounds from two different languages.

Lwaxana< In my philosophy "Maya" means false personality.

Ben< Lwaxana: Maya carries the connotation of "false" in several philosophies. I'll be looking at Hindu and Buddhist concepts of Maya next week and the week after.

Ben< ALL: The topic for tonight is confusion. I didn't want to wade into this topic, but you may see why I've been thinking about it. Pull up your hip-boots. Here we go.

Ben< QUESTION 1: People keep telling me they are mixed up, confused. They don't know what to believe, or who to believe, or if anything is believable. They say that nothing seems to be solid or firm or stable. Do any of you feel like that? If so, please give an example to illustrate your feeling of confusion. YOUR TURN

zerba< Yeah, I feel like that. Sometimes I hear people talking out of both sides of their mouth; sending me mixed signals. That's one of the most confusing things in my world. I do best straight up.

Ben< zerba: Okay -- people talking out of both sides of their mouths means they are saying one thing one time and something else another time?

zerba< Yes, or just patronizing -- thinking they're saying what 'other' wants to hear, not what they are actually feeling or thinking.

Yopo< I often feel that way regarding distant events. Things where I've got to rely on the media for my information. I sometimes have a sense of unreality about the news. Often wonder how much of what we get that way is fact, and to what extent public opinion is deliberately manipulated.

Ben< Yopo: Distant events, and the present news media in general. Yep, I recognize those sources of confusion.

zerba< Yopo: Ditto here. Media spin is hard to decipher no matter what the topic.

OnToLove< I don't think my lack of direction qualifies as confusion, but it seems the same to me.

Ben< OnToLove: Yes, lack of direction can mean not knowing which way to turn or which way to go. That is surely a type of confusion.

OnToLove< Yes, Ben, not knowing which way to direct my life financially is what I meant by lack of direction.

bluestar< I think the events that are unfolding and the truths/lies that are being uncovered/exposed have people in a tizzy. People are finding it hard to find something to hang onto in this storm of philosophical and spiritual awakening. I also think that there is a strong physical component to people's feelings of confusion ... microwaves, radio waves, solar waves ... lots of "stuff" is affecting the electro-magnetic balance of the earth and its life-forms.

Ben< bluestar: Exposure of truth and lies. Yes.

Slider< Ben: I see so much deceit and wrong-doing in the world in the name of justice and/or progress that it's hard to believe your fellow human beings today.

FRAML< Ben: Yes, particularly in the last 10-20 years where people have stated that there is no need to have a common set of values or ideals, that everything is "situational".

bluestar< FRAML: You gave an example of what I call the "teeter/totter" or "yo-yo" strategy/paradigm/effect.

Ben< FRAML: Breakdown of previously accepted (consensus) standards. Yes, that is a source of much confusion right here and now.

bluestar< What I mean by "teeter-totter" is that when society seems to move from one side toward the middle regarding some moral or spiritual idea, the spin-meister seem to "push" us to the other side; i.e., from strict interpretation of right/wrong to "everything is situational."

Ben< bluestar: The cultural shift from absolutism to relativism is a major historic change and a major source of confusion. I hope to look at this more closely later in this series.

Slider< Ben: Confusion = Life -- with little sparks of hope thrown in!!!!

Ben< Slider: I agree that uncertainty is the normal condition, but confusion is much more likely to be dehabilitating than uncertainty is.

Slider< Ben: I feel confusion starts when a person's wheels start to slip cogs in any preplanned or premeditated life circumstance. The probabilities of having complete control are pretty slim in most circumstances.

Gae< Ben: Isn't confusion a good sign? People are confused because we are opening our eyes, no longer blind.

Ben< Gae: I'm not judging whether confusion is good or bad, only exploring what it is -- and hopefully, what we can do with it or about it.

Gae< Okay. I have always enjoyed surrealistic art. Putting together two unrelated objects to create something new makes people think. Confusion eventually leads to creativity -- unless one cannot bend.

Slider< Gae: Solutions do arise from confusion. Perhaps it's only the thinking process that is slowed down, and then starts to short circuit.

greyman< Ben: Stability is a perceived input, measurable from the perspective of the one who perceives. External and internal representation and models from perceived reality add to perception. Stability in and of itself is desirable by most folks. The lack of stability is a source of stress. Sufficient stress will cause some growth; too much causes a breakdown.

Ben< QUESTION 2: Confusion suggests an indiscriminate mixing or putting together of things that don't really go together, like trying to assemble a picture-puzzle from pieces of several different picture-puzzles. Does this implication of the word "confusion" suggest where some of the present confusion may be coming from? YOUR TURN

zerba< Ben: That is a good analogy of life! So, yes -- if the people/situations in one's life are the pieces from different puzzles, that's where the confusion comes from. It helps me to be aware of that lack of clarity.

bluestar< "an indiscriminate mixing or putting together of things that don't really go together" ... perfectly put ... sounds like television, most music videos, commercials, and a lot of news interpretation (not to mention the way several of my former bosses sounded when they tried to explain whatever to me.)

5foot2< So, is confusion generated internally or externally?

Lwaxana< 5foot2: Confusion is just a perception, not a "truth" like "the earth spins on its axis"-- hence internally generated.

bluestar< Confusion indicates a problem with incoming information. It can be a processing problem, or it can be an input problem, like the mixed-up, not-correlating puzzle pieces. When one realizes one is confused (a state I was too familiar with a decade or so ago), one can begin to question, look for answers, and weed out the truth from the lies. I found that it was worth the pain.

FRAML< bluestar: Yes. Having spent many years in military intelligence, it is sometimes only afterward that the "glaring warnings" are so easily seen. Often they are buried in tons of other "possible warnings".

Ben< ALL: Good answers. Thanks. I'm getting behind in replying, so please excuse my slow fingers.

FRAML< Ben: I see the "situational ethics" movement that began in the 60's as aiding the effect of mixing puzzles. Brought in all sorts of "views" on a situation, so that one, in the end, didn't know if they were making the right choice or not.

Gae< FRAML: Exactly -- running on instinct, past experiences, rather than putting together the pieces of the present moment. It simply will not be the same -- something NEW.

FRAML< Gae: However, confusion can lead to disaster, such as when there is a fire on board a ship and the crew doesn't know what to do first.

Slider< FRAML: That sounds more like chaos if the ones in the know get confused. *S*

bluestar< Ben: What I was trying to point out is that we seemed to be "pushed" as a society from one extreme to the other. We are not allowed to find a happy medium. The gates are shut tight or wide open.

Ben< bluestar: Yes, I agree that we are being pushed one way and then another, and not allowed to find a happy medium. (Someone is always trying to "hit a happy medium" -- picking on the minority groups. *grin*)

dCrone< Confusion may just be a mess. If I am confused and all about me are in the same boat, are we really making or creating a situation that has order? I don't know. Most of my confusions arise because I cannot 'see' true realities.

Lwaxana< dCrone is right. If all around you fail to see reality, you are all just "the blind men and the elephant" and pretty much creating nothing.

dCrone< I experience confusion when I apply my notions to others ~ others who are dancing to a different beat. In addition, I find that fear increases my levels of confusion.

Lwaxana< Fear exacerbates everything, but it gives us something to overcome!

Ben< dCrone: Yes, I find that confusion can cause fear, and fear can cause confusion. There's a relationship there.

zerba< dCrone: Just wondering ... if you get to a point where you do 'see' true realities, was the confusion what brought this to you? Could you have seen the realities without the confusion?

dCrone< My experience is that I must detach from a situation to see what is real ... sorta like seeing the mote in the eye of another and not in my own. Sometimes I do not reach the point of clear vision until the crisis is past. I don't especially like it, but that is what happens.

zerba< dCrone: Me also. If I'm too attached, confusion sets in. For me, I guess confusion is the vehicle for detachment.

dCrone< I hadn't thought of it being a vehicle, zerba. I am going to ponder that. Maybe I do allow confusion in order to define myself.

Yopo< Still thinking about Question #2 ... Wondering about this mixing of puzzle-pieces. Not quite getting the point.

bluestar< Gotta love you, Yopo ... how lucky you are to not understand about the puzzle pieces. I hope it's because you live in a more coherent world than the one I am trying to emerge from.

OnToLove< I agree, bluestar, and would like to live in a more coherent (stable?) world.

Ben< Yopo: One observation that goes with Question 2 -- we now have access to many times more information, concepts, cultures, axioms, attitudes, religions, ideals, than anyone has ever had in the history of this planet. So, part of the present confusion comes from our trying to put together concepts (and especially speculations) that grew up in, and belong to, different philosophical systems.

Yopo< Ben: Ah! Thanks. Understand the puzzle metaphor now.

FRAML< Ben & Yopo: Information overload.

Levita< Confusion is a mental state which leads to emotional distress. Many factors can precipitate confusion -- mental illness, physical illness, depression, or just the lack of good information, leading to the inability to make a positive decision.

Ben< Levita: Yes, and as you said the other night in SWC, overly complicated systems of thought (especially philosophies, ideologies, and religions) can create more confusion than clarity, and hide the simple truths.

Levita< Ben: *S*

Lwaxana< I've always understood that the "truth" is simple, and philosophies which are convoluted or difficult to understand are probably half-understood even by their proponents.

5foot2< Maybe this where my math teacher was right ... reduce to common denominators. *grin*

bluestar< I totally agree on the "common denominator" thread. When one finds the common thread in the various philosophies, the truth begins to shine brighter and brighter, and the rick-rack fades away. For me, the common denominator is love.

Slider< bluestar: I have many times come to the same conclusion; if things start to get to confusing one has to step back and take another approach at finding a solution or find themselves going bonkers.

Gae< Bluestar: The questioning, the weeding out, is the creative process.

Yopo< Thinking about 5foot2's comment concerning common denominators. When cultures or belief systems collide, I wonder why it is the differences that we always seem to focus on, rather than the common ground? Something about human nature, maybe?

5foot2< Yopo: So maybe we should rely on our "spiritual nature"?

bluestar< Yopo: Perhaps it's human nature to focus on differences, but, imho, it's culturally induced. We are trained everywhere to notice differences, but there is not nearly as much emphasis on noticing patterns (similarities).

Ben< QUESTION 3: An assertion is a statement made with great confidence but no objective proof. This swamp is full of assertions. Please point out a few untestable and/or confusing assertions for the benefit of other members of this expedition. YOUR TURN

Lwaxana< I just made one -- "The truth is simple"

Ben< Lwaxana: Yes, the assertion "the truth is simple" isn't totally testable, but it has been demonstrated in some cases, such as Kepler's discovery of elliptical orbits. From that basis, it becomes a reasonable statement of faith, in my opinion.

FRAML< Ben: "Everyone knows ... " type of statement which is used to contradict another's position.

OnToLove< Ben: Which swamp? Are you saying the swamp of confusion?

Ben< OnToLove: I'm using "swamp" as a working metaphor for this whole subject area, so confusion is part of the swamp.

Slider< Ben: Past assertion from the scholars of past -- "The sun revolves around the earth with the rest of the planets."

Levita< The one I chuckle about is "When you are enlightened enough ... "

Ben< I watch for over-generalized assertions ("all" or "none") as untestable and very likely to be untrue.

dCrone< "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear" ... "All answers lie within" ... 'This' is right and 'that' is wrong.

Levita< dCrone: Excellent choices! *S*

Gae< How about "Because I said so!" or "Because I'm the boss!" ?

FRAML< Ben: "Everything will go as we planned."

greyman< Yes, the bold assertion by NASA: "Faster, Better, Cheaper." Imaginary resources are used to verify this.

Ben< FRAML: "Every day in every way everything is getting better and better" (or "worse and worse")

winter< Ben: An interesting question. I think many of us have discomfort with those who, in the face of the exceptional complexity of modern life, are persistently confident in their assertions. I far prefer those who proceed with general confidence in the goodness of humanity and a commitment to alleviate suffering, and who are nevertheless confused. Confusion is often a loving recognition of one's fear of the consequence of one's action in a complex world.

Ben< winter: Good points. Thanks.

bluestar< "The anti-Christ will come, the wicked must be punished, Satan must be destroyed."

zerba< How about, "(choose whatever assertion you like) will happen tomorrow" ?

Ben< QUESTION 4: When you feel confused, what do you do about it? YOUR TURN

Levita< Ben: Interesting. *am thinking* *S*

Gae< I journal.

bluestar< I pray, I sing, I dance, I play music, I walk.

5foot2< Step back, overview, change perspective.

zerba< I step back -- try to analyze it.

bluestar< I drink chamomile-peppermint tea

Jacy< Meditate, go within. In the confusion is also opportunity ... for growth.

OnToLove< Depending on the "severity" of the confusion, I may back off and wait passively for the fog to lift. I may meditate. I may pray. Note: options 2 & 3 seem to produce better results.

bluestar< I remember God has a plan, and that plan is unfolding, and that I am doing the very best I can do right now, and that is enough. :-)

Slider< I look for alternative solutions to whatever confuses me, and if I can't find any, I either put the confusion on the back burner or get away from that situation until I can find the reason for the confusion.

Levita< Depends on the cause of the confusion. If it is a mundane thing, I obtain as much clear facts as I can, view as many possible scenarios as possible, and determine the best course of action with the information given. If it is emotional confusion, determine the source and figure out how to resolve the confusion, what needs to be fixed or what is at the heart of the matter. If it is spiritual, I take a deep breath and go within or back away from whatever is causing the confusion, as I may have overcomplicated whatever I am focused on ... and come back to it in a few days.

dCrone< Generally, I wallow in it a while. Then I try to determine what is the most important issue. Once I make the determination of what is important, I try to come up with solutions that will satisfy/resolve/take care of it. I don't function well with multi-level confusions unless I can have LOTS of CONTROL.

Slider< Ben: I think we can call unresolved confusion a problem which is best to resolve, by any means at our resources. Some go to see the shrink if it's emotional, some talk to clergy, others talk to friends, and some just hash it out on their own.

Ben< ALL: Okay, fine responses to Question 4. More?

Yopo< Question 4 ... Depends on the situation. If I'm confused about the facts of a thing, I try to clarify what the facts are. Sometimes I have to accept a thing as true or false without sufficient evidence, to get moving again, because sometimes I don't have the luxury of leaving an issue unresolved. Some questions have remained unresolved in my mind for quite a long time, though.

FRAML< I used to scotch the idea, but now I just stop, wait to clear my mind (and/or temper) and then re-examine what is going on.

bluestar< And if the above doesn't help, I do an "earth-cleansing".

dCrone< Please let me clarify: I do not seek lots of control, and I do not necessarily want it. It is just that a military-type structure is sometimes best. *imho*

greyman< Pray and meditate; if that does not work: yell like heck. *G*.

bluestar< greyman: :-) Instead of yelling, I jump up and down and shake my tambourine (from Israel) and moraccas (from Hawaii).

Ben< SUMMARY: Confusion is a mental, emotional, and spiritual condition in which all or part of one's life seems mixed up, unstable, without a firm basis for decision or action. It can be caused by indiscriminate mixing of incompatible ideas, ideals, concepts or doctrines -- or by too many speculations. Confusion is uncomfortable, and can be dehabilitating, so it isn't a good place to stop or stay. One way out of it is to latch onto one authority or authority-figure and ignore all the others. Another way out of confusion is to focus on whatever you fairly well know is true, ignore the hinterlands of your own or others' speculations, decide for yourself which way you will go, watch where you put your feet, and keep on moving.

bluestar< Ben: I like (in particular) that last line of your summary. Well put. :-)

Levita< Ben: I too liked your summary, and also the idea of movement. Even if you make a poor decision, at least it is movement *lol* and hopefully that in itself will lead to a better decision. Just speculating. *S*

dCrone< That is true, Ben, for the individual. It is important, I also think, to consider the effects on others, especially those who have less say.

Ben< dCrone: Good point. Sometimes folks resolve their own confusion at someone else's expense.

Levita< dCrone: I agree with what Ben said: You brought up a valid point that no one else raised.

Ben< /topic Discussion of confusion

Ben< ALL: If you want to discuss (or add more responses to) any of these four questions, please go ahead, just mention the question number to help me clean up the transcript later.

FRAML< Ben: Regarding situational ethics, a friend reminded me that he always thought there is a valid element there, but building an ethical system on it is a bit like trying to turn the exception INTO the rule.

Levita< FRAML: *S*

Ben< FRAML: Yes, situational ethics shakes the foundation of every other system of ethics -- and it remains to be seen whether situational ethics can be used to produce any kind of reliable structure.

Yopo< "Turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer; / Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; / Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, / The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned; / The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity. / Now I know / That twenty centuries of stony sleep / Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, / And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?" W B Yeats. Pardon the long post, but when I think of the confusion of the Modern world, those are the words that often come to mind.

FRAML< Yopo: Excellent post.

Levita< Just thinking that maybe part of confusion is loosing one's focus? Regarding spiritual confusion: one starts off seeking one answer, and in the search, ends up with so much baggage of information and disinformation they loose focus of the original intent or question.

dCrone< Levita: And trying to weave the loose ends into a comprehensive whole is sometimes tough!!

FRAML< Levita: Good point. Getting lost in the forest. Also denying all of a certain philosophy or belief just because it has been misused by others for their own greed or whatever.

Ben< Levita: Yes, well said. "Losing one's focus" is a functional description of confusion -- a definition of what happens -- and I think "focus" is close to a universal antidote for confusion.

Levita< Ben: *tilts head to one side* Now with your last post you've got me confused. *S* lol ;-)

Ben< Levita: Confusion implies that one is looking at too many things at once. Focus (concentration on one thing) is the opposite of confusion in that sense.

Levita< Ben: OK, gottcha. *S* Thanks for the clarification.

dCrone< For my information ... situational = relative???

Ben< dCrone: Situational ethics is part of the doctrine of relativism. Inability to know absolute truth or reality is also part of that doctrine. (It is an assertion.)

dCrone< Ben: Thank you. I understand 'relative' but was not sure about 'situational'. I look forward to more discussion about this later.

Yopo< Ben: In your summary, you said one might focus on what one knows fairly well to be true, and ignore the hinterlands of one's own or other's speculations. Does that mean that certain ideas we should at some point cease to test?

Levita< Yopo: Good question. listening ...

Ben< Yopo: Yes, to focus on one thing means to temporarily ignore other things. There are a lot of speculations and assertions that I simply ignore, and a lot more that I put on a back burner as potentially interesting but not important enough for me to worry about most of the time.

Yopo< Ben: Ah. I should probably think about doing a bit more of that myself.

Levita< Ben: Sometimes I have found some things are not relevant to my journey. I have no need of them, so why carry them as extra baggage? This is not to say that some things not relevant to myself are not relative to another, but that I choose journey integrity, if this makes sense? *S*

Ben< Levita: One of the working rules for tromping through a swamp is: "Don't overload yourself" -- to which some experts at spiritual survival add: "You may need to be carried for awhile by your neighbor, or you may need to be able to carry your neighbor for awhile."

Levita< Ben: lol Yes, I like that. If your load is too heavy, you can't be carried and obviously can't carry another.

dCrone< FRAML: Your post about denying a system because it is misused is important. I tend to avoid contact with folks who insist that their way is right and mine is not. It is not that I think it is altogether wrong; it is just not right for me.

FRAML< dCrone: Yes, I make it a point not to say to others that "my way" is the "only way" or the "right way" for those with whom I'm talking. However, I will not agree that "all paths lead to the same destination."

Levita< FRAML: Those traveling in a northbound direction are not very likely to end up in an easterly destination. lol *S*

dCrone< FRAML: I am sorta captivated by 'the same destination' statement. Folks sorta assume that everyone is headed in, or at least trying to get to, the same place. I have been thinking of different destinations recently -- you've provoked that thought pattern into high gear. I will consider it over the next few weeks, months, decades. *S*

FRAML< dCrone: In doing soul rescue work, I've discovered that there are paths that lead down to the Dark, and paths in circles on this spiritual plane, and others that go upward to the Light.

dCrone< FRAML: I think you are correct. And movement in circles is something that oft goes unnoticed, I think.

Ben< dCrone: The post-modern assertion that everyone is headed for, or will eventually arrive at, the same place spiritually has no precedent that I know of. Surely, none of the great religions teach that, and neither do the shaman or yoga disciplines.

dCrone< Yes, Ben ... and it shows that it is difficult to think outside the thought-boxes/environments/attitudes that surround one.

Slider< dCrone: When you start thinking outside those boxes, it gets lonely sometimes. *S*

Levita< Slider: Well, you know what they say about coloring outside the lines. I once muralled my wall with crayons ... not just a small bit but the whole wall. lol

Ben< Slider: Yep, it gets lonely outside those boxes because most folks are in those boxes -- but it helps to meet up with another maverick outside the boxes!

dCrone< Slider *VBS* Then sometimes you happen upon a camp of travelers who sing the songs you know! Hello, friend!

Slider< dCrone: That's the friends I think Ben is talking about carrying you through the swamp for a while. *S*

Yopo< Ben: The "everyone has the same destination" idea holds a certain appeal, though, leastwise when you're talking about folks on upward spiritual paths. I take it to mean that there are many paths toward a single God. Whether all are destined make that journey may be another matter.

Ben< Yopo: In my understanding of the spiritual universe (Paradigm, on my site), any path at any positive angle toward the Light will eventually spiral to the Source. Any path along the earth-plane-arc will go around endlessly. Any path angled at all away from the Light will eventually lead into the outer darkness.

dCrone< Ben: The image of a fireworks display just flashed into mind ... oh, yes!

Yopo< Ben: Path along the earth-plane-arc ... What would the characteristics of such a path be? The other two seem more obvious.

Ben< Yopo: Earth-plane paths, and turning back to the earth-plane (from above or below it), are caused by pursuit of earthly (earth-binding) desires.

Yopo< So ... A person on an earth-plane path then might be a person of good-will, but overly attached to the pleasures of the senses, to the joy that can be found in the material world. A matter of attachment. *S* Understood.

dCrone< To sever the cords of eternal return, the choice must be made?

Ben< dCrone: Yes, so all of the great teachers have taught, and it makes sense, based on the law of attraction.

Slider< dCrone: One must discern if they are here of their own desire or chained here by a force other than their own.

Thur< Hello, all. Ben, how do you choose your path???

Ben< Thur: One can choose a path by selecting what one does and does not desire, love, want, etc. That isn't easy to do, but it can be done.

Slider< Ben: We may be here as in a prison of sorts, and when the lessons are learned we have the option to leave for good.

Ben< Slider: I think this earth isn't a prison, but rather a farm, a park, a nursery for plants and animals. To come here isn't a punishment, but earthly pleasures and treasures can be addicting.

Slider< Ben: I guess prison was a poor choice of words. In any case, a learning ground. *S*

Shimah< Greetings all. I have just entered the conversation and I feel that the Earth is a learning ground for our spiritual growth. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience to learn how to love through cause and effect.

Slider< Greetings, Shimah. Our feelings are mutual, and more I wish would feel as you.

Shimah< Thank you, Slider, greetings to you too. HUGS

Slider< Ben: I've looked at your paradigm, on your site, and feel the outer source in my mind is a higher frequency that may be seen as light to show us the way. In my opinion, the light is not from one source, but is one source, and is all around, but one must reach the frequency to be in it.

Ben< Slider: There are beings who radiate light, other than the one Source of Light, but they tend to congregate close to the Source. They descend to do their work, and ascend (go Home) again for R&R.

Slider< Ben: Yes, I understand what you say, but where is this place? We cannot see them unless they want to be seen! We would see many if it was light as the human eye sees light. It's the soul or spirit that can discern this light, so it may be closer than we think. The human senses are limited. *S*

Ben< Slider: I was speaking of spiritual sight, not physical sight. There are more radiant beings here than most people are aware of. And the Source of Light isn't terribly far away.

Slider< Ben: Thanks, I was hoping we were on the same wave length there.

Joi< Namaste, ALL. What was the topic tonite, guys? I have been out of it lately, but I agree with Shimah that this is like a big school or learning ground! Another way to look at it I have been taught is that it is like peeling off layers of an onion, as we grow, or polishing a diamond, depending on our soul's growth.

Slider< Greetings Joi: Yes, I have read some writings of the layers you speak of -- I interpret them as wave lengths in a spectrum. That's just my way to look at it.

Ben< Joi: Hello. We were exploring part of the swamp called "Maya" -- specifically the unstable area called "confusion". We didn't discuss the "Slough of Despond" but it's in that swamp somewhere, too.

Joi< Ben: Are you referring to the onion peels as being the slough?

Ben< Joi: No, the "Slough of Despond" is part of the terrain in John Bunyan's book "The Pilgrim's Progress." [Highly recommended]

Thur< Ben: We have records of those who have had the "physical" sight.

Ben< Thur: Yes, there are eye-witness accounts. *smile*

Joi< Thur: What is this "physical sight" you refer to?

Thur< Joi: It's the "light" and the "cloud" mystics have encountered since before Christ.

Joi< Thur: I had to have you explain, because I have studied this stuff for years also, like Ben, but from different directions, and I only associate the "physical" with the day to day, material world of society. Ben or Yopo, what is a more common name for the "higher" sight Thur is referring to?

[Ben< Joi: It is commonly called clairvoyance and used to see physical things we cannot see with physical eyes. It also can be used in the spiritual realms. This is how a soul can see, whether the soul is incarnate or discarnate.]

Slider< Ben: Where do you place the grey purple clouds in your paradigm? I've been there many times in my subconscious but always return to perma ferma and can't see what's past the clouds.

Ben< Slider: Gray-purple is the mid-astral near the earth-plane. Higher is lighter and brighter. Lower is darker.

Joi< Slider: Ask your spirit guides or guardian angels to take you higher once you wrap yourself in the "Highest" or God's White Light of Protection, once you are ready to experience more.

Slider< Ben: If one reaches the brighter in the subconscious, do you stay or are you sent back? I know it's a vague question, but the times I have been almost out of the grey purple, I was always told to go back.

Joi< Slider: You were probably told to go back because you weren't ready or weren't protected.

Slider< Joi: Thanks. *S*

Ben< Slider: I suggest you not listen to voices that tell you to turn back down away from the Light. And if they try to block your rising, call for help as you did for that VC soldier.

Slider< Ben: Okay. I never really put it in that perspective. Thanks.

Ben< ALL: Good night (or morning, as the case may be). Peace and blessings to each of you. Namaste. /|\ *poof*

17. Maya: the swamp
Session 2 -- Illusion
Spiritual Web Chat
Sat 17 Apr 1999

Ben< ALL: In this seminar we are exploring some of the characteristics of a very large mental, emotional and spiritual swamp. The name of this swamp is Maya (the Sanskrit word, not the Mayan civilization).

Ben< The topic for tonight is illusion. There are illusions in this swamp. Some illusions are a lot of fun, and many illusions are harmless, but it isn't a good idea to put much weight on an illusion, especially an illusion of solid ground or the illusion of a bridge, so part of the job of tromping through this swamp involves trying to decide what is an illusion.

Ben< In Hinduism, Maya means illusion or the illusory world of the senses, so we will start with sensory illusions. Ready? Here we go...

Ben< QUESTION 1: An illusion can be a false perception of something that is real, or something real that gives a false perception. For example, in drawing, perspective is used to give the illusion of depth, but the paper is really flat. What are some other examples of optical illusions? YOUR TURN

windchild< Isn't all illusion?

[Ben< windchild: Some say so. Others distinguish between illusion and reality.]

wakingdream< Daydreams?

[Ben< wakingdream: Yes, daydreams can be conceptual illusions (fantasies), and I hope to get into that area, but right now I'm focusing on perceptual illusions.]

Bjay< Water on a dry road.

FRAML< Looking at the heat shimmering in the desert -- a mirage.

Yopo< That the moon seems larger when close to the horizon than when high in the sky. That the rainbow has an end you might walk to.

Ben< Yes. A mirage is an optical illusion caused by atmospheric conditions. So is a rainbow.

greyman< Escher.

[Ben< greyman: Ah, yes, M. C. Escher, master of paradoxical perspective. His drawings demonstrate how our minds can be tricked by what we expect to see.]

bluestar< ...that the sun and the moon are approximately the same size.

Ben< bluestar: Yes, an illusion of size and distance.

Lor< A limited view can yield a narrow perspective, such as the idea of a flat world or a huge spherical earth.

SLIDER< Ben: Optical as in human sight? Mirrors and filters of light can give an optical illusion, or heat waves, or any other opaque/translucent material.

windchild< The person looking back at you from the mirror.

Ben< windchild: Yes, the reflected image in a mirror isn't really the person.

Lwaxana< Optical illusions? Every special effects movie ever made makes us think models are life-sized.

Yopo< And you've got illusions of sound. The pitch of a train whistle grows higher as it approaches, and lower as it passes and recedes into the distance.

Ben< Yopo: Good point about the Doppler effect. An auditory illusion. What would be a tactile illusion?

Yopo< Uh... Come in from a freezing cold day and wash your hands. Cool water feels hot.

Ben< Yopo: I was thinking of the Halloween trick-box full of wet spaghetti... feels like angleworms. Yuch!

Yopo< *LOL*

wakingdream< The shadow shape you see from the corner of your eye?

windchild< wakingdream: Is the shadow shape really an illusion or something just out of normal view?

Ben< ALL: The word "illusion" comes from Latin *illudere* meaning "to mock, play with, trick."

Lor< Ben: It seems illusion involves something that is false and not true.

wakingdream< Like a mime pretending to be up against a barrier?

Ben< ALL: Okay. Good examples. Thanks. Next question shortly.

SLIDER< Ben: What about hypnotic illusion?

Ben< SLIDER: Hypnotic illusions are different. I'll get to them next time.

Ben< QUESTION 2: An illusion can be a false perception of motion or relative motion; i.e., something that isn't moving but seems to be moving, or something that is moving but seems to be stationary. Do any examples come to mind? YOUR TURN

wakingdream< The clouds in the sky against a tall building. Which is moving, the clouds or the building?

Ben< wakingdream. Good example. I've almost fallen on my rear looking up at moving clouds above a tall building.

wakingdream< *VBS* Me, too.

Yopo< wakingdream: Yes! And sometimes at night, when clouds move across the sky, the moon seems to sail, and the stars...

wakingdream< Yes, Yopo, are we standing still while they move or are they still while we move?

Lor< wakingdream: Or are you both moving?

FRAML< Ben: The wheels on stage coaches go backwards in the movies.

Lwaxana< Sitting in a moving train, and passing another moving train; you can't tell which is moving and which is stationary.

windchild< The earth.

Bee49< Us, Ben. We are constantly moving due to earth rotation.

Ben< Bee49: Yes, everything around us on earth that is moving with the earth seems to be stationary.

Lor< The shore line can appear to move in the opposite direction of a boat's drift.

FRAML< Objects in the air with no point of reference for the viewer.

windchild< Energy.

greyman< Einstein's Relativity thought experiments.

SLIDER< A slow moving river with the wind blowing up stream will look like it is flowing that way.

windchild< Everything is in a constant state of change, but most things seem stationary.

Ben< Sitting in a train in a station when the train next to you pulls out, and you think (feel) like your train is moving in the opposite direction.

Lor< Stationary implies no apparent or relative motion.

FRAML< Lor: Excellent point. When some relatives come to visit, they never appear to move. *G*

windchild< FRAML: LOL good point.

Ben< Here is an example of one way to express the relationship between an illusion and a reality: The sun seems to move across the sky. In reality, the earth rotates.

Lwaxana< Yes, and the earth is flat...

Lor< Ben: Even the sun is rotating in our galaxy, as well. But due their great distance from us, our galaxy stars seem to move with the sun above us.

greyman< Ben: Un den vee see dat gravity is the same as acceleration. *G*

windchild< Things "seem" stationary.

SLIDER< Sitting at a red light in traffic and having the two cars along side of you pull ahead slowly makes you think you're rolling backward.

wakingdream< Energy flows. Always constant. Something is continually in motion.

Ben< A car that is moving toward you on a collision course seems not to be moving. It seems to be getting larger, but it isn't getting larger. In such cases, both "not moving" and "getting larger" are illusions, false perceptions, but it is important for us to interpret them correctly in terms of the reality they represent.

FRAML< Ben: The 2 cars that were coming at me got larger, & I took the ditch.

Ben< FRAML: Reminds me of a story. A guy was driving a truck carrying automobiles. His headlights went out, so he stopped, climbed up, turned on the lights of the top front car, and continued toward the next service station. A car coming toward him suddenly swerved off the road into a ditch. He stopped and went back to help the driver. "Why'd you turn off the road?" he asked. The driver of the car said, "I just got to thinking, if it's that high, how wide is it?"


Yopo< Hmm... Even the passage of time can seem slow or fast. Quick hours and slow minutes. Seems like illusion can show up anywhere in our perceptions...

wakingdream< In order to perceive movement we must imagine being stationary?

Lwaxana< Our brains constantly adjust for the irreality of what we see, or we'd think everything was flat! We only see in 2D.

Lor< Lwaxana: I always thought that two-eyed vision yields another dimension. When I close one, I lose much of my sense of depth, don't you?

Lwaxana< Lor: Close one eye, and you lose peripheral vision, but your brain will still interpret what you see as being three-dimensional.

bluestar< Gee, I think I am beginning to feel motion sickness. ;-)

Ben< bluestar: Sorry about the motion sickness. Do you go to IMAX movies?

bluestar< Ben: re: IMAX movies ... sometimes ... definitely a moving experience.

FRAML< Ben: Right on IMAX movie. My little Sarah stopped watching because she got tummy twitters. I often find that I place myself in the pilot's position and move to compensate for his point of view.

wakingdream< We see ourselves as still, yet with the movement of the earth we are never still.

windchild< I think all of our perceptions are illusions of our own making, individual as well as mass illusion.

tims< Is Truth an illusion?

Lwaxana< tims: No, there are real truths.

Lor< tims: By asking if Truth is an illusion, which by definition involves something false, are you implying there is no truth for you? I find that rather difficult to follow logically.

tims< Lor: I was unclear. My objective was not deeply philosophical -- but directed toward religious/spiritual truth. Although some great minds have debated whether we really exist or not.

Lor< tims: Is there or can there be any difference between religious/spiritual truths and other truths, if they are really truths?

bluestar< tims: imho ... Truth is not an illusion, but reality is.

Lor< bluestar: Why say "Truth is not an illusion, but reality is"? When I see my hammer miss the nail and hit my finger, I feel the reality. It truly hurts. And I KNOW it happened! It takes several days for the damage to be repaired. Why should I deny such things reported by my senses are real if next time I am much more careful and do not miss the nail and don't feel such pain?

bluestar< Lor: Because in my experience the hammer hitting the finger does not always result in pain or injury, due to (I believe) the fact that my perceptions regarding cause/effect have changed. My son is often amazed at how I seem to (at times) defy laws of physics ... reality or illusion?

windchild< Maybe "truth" is an illusion since everyone seems to have different ideas of what truth is.

Lwaxana< That the earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun is a truth the world over.

Ben< windchild: People have very different opinions and beliefs. A truth is an opinion or belief that conforms to reality. Reality is independent of opinion and belief.

Lwaxana< Ben: The earth turning on its axis is a truth and a reality, and it does not need my "opinion" to make it so.

windchild< I must respectfully disagree, Ben. Reality is based on mass belief.

Ben< windchild: I must respectfully disagree. Reality doesn't depend on beliefs. Reality exists whether anyone knows it or not and whether anyone likes it or not.

bluestar< windchild: My experience has brought me to the same conclusion as you regarding reality ... that reality is based on mass belief. Indeed, it is one of the most potent tools of evil (imho). This is why I stated that (imho) reality (as we perceive of it in the physical world) is an illusion, but I believe that truth is not. I used to believe the laws of physics were "reality," but if these laws are only a subset of a greater law, then how does that affect "reality?"

Lwaxana< I don't think "truth" is dependent on opinion or belief. But Ben, didn't you just say truth is an opinion?!

Ben< Lwaxana: Yes, a truth is an opinion that conforms to reality. Example: that car really is on a collision course with me, whether I believe it or not. If I believe it is, my belief is a truth. And if neither car changes direction or stops, that car is going to hit my car whether I believe it or not.

Lwaxana< Ben: I respectfully disagree. There are truths that have no need for subjective interpretation (opinion). The earth will spin on its axis regardless of what my opinion of how day turns to night might be.

Ben< Lwaxana: Perhaps we do agree. "The earth spins on its axis" is what I refer to as a fact, a bit of reality, and the belief that it does is true -- a bit of truth. The belief that the sun goes around the earth is a false belief because it does not conform to reality.

Ben< QUESTION 3: What can we do with sensory illusions? For example, we can enjoy the optical illusion called a rainbow. We can point out a mirage, if we know that's what it is, and not take it seriously. But what about the illusion that a car (or an airplane) is getting larger without moving? We do take that illusion seriously. What about some of the other illusions just mentioned? YOUR TURN

wakingdream< If the cloud in the sky is stationary, yet the tall building is moving, I would fall over while looking up. Hmm.

FRAML< Ben: Do a quick analysis of what the "reality" might be, and the outcome if the car is coming at me. (Thus the ditch I drove into based on a split second decision.) Testing what one perceives in some way.

SLIDER< Ben: I think most people use their sensory instinct to separate what may or may not be illusion, survival through instinct. Or we give them a Darwin award!!!!

bluestar< I think illusions illustrate to us that our senses are not the last word on what is, that there is more to the world than can be perceived through our senses.

Ben< bluestar: Yes, good point. Our senses aren't perfect.

greyman< Our hearing is good up to 22 Khz. Vision information is transferred in the Khz range. All other information from our senses is transferred through chemical interaction in milliseconds. If nature is continuous, we are OK, fine. If not, what about the moments between the "ticks"?

wakingdream< Be open to the possibilities. An illusion for one is reality for another. What may appear to be real could be illusion. What may appear to be illusion could be real. Be open to the possibilities?

FRAML< wakingdream: In a swamp that patch of sand up ahead may be solid ground or quicksand. What I "think" it is upon observation does not change what it really is.

Thur< Ben: How do we determine what's real ... "reality"?

Yopo< Ben: Almost seems as if we have learned to categorize the sea of illusions we swim through. Some we assign specific meaning to, and others we don't. So... Objects that grow larger are approaching. Tiny little cows are probably distant from us.

Ben< Thur, Yopo: Yes. From infancy on, we *learn* what to do with our sensory perceptions, imperfect though they are.

Yopo< I suppose what we COMMONLY call "illusions" are impressions that mimic something we would normally interpret in a way we know can't really be true. Hmm...

SLIDER< Ben: If two people are walking down the same road and taking in the sights, each will experience a different reality, and through illusion they can brag something up or down, or argue that it wasn't even there. If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it did it make noise?

Thur< SLIDER: The falling tree made the vibrations of noise, whether anyone hears it or not.

Ben< SLIDER: Two people walking down a road (or through a swamp) have different perceptions of the same reality. The tree that falls in the forest makes sound waves in the atmosphere whether anyone hears it or not. We can prove that with a tape recorder. Or ask the animals. *G*

SLIDER< Thur, Ben: Only those with the right equipment can transform the disturbance a tree makes when it falls into what we call sound. The rocks I don't think hear the tree fall but they may feel the vibrations it made.

Thur< SLIDER: Yes, the vibrations affect different things in different ways. Don't think the rocks "feel" it in a sensory sense, though.

Lor< SLIDER: A microphone could have measured the sound (air pressure vibrations) even if no one was there to hear the falling tree. I sense that such observations tend to purify scientific perceptions and gradually mold them into more perfect models or understandings of our reality. I was told in Physics class in High School that sound had to be heard by an ear in order to be a sound; yet later scientists have gradually shifted their position to define sound as air pressure vibrations. I perceive that is akin to our perceptions of reality that we must change to fit the totality of our experiences.

SLIDER< Lor: I think the definition you gave on the vibrations sums it up pretty well.

Ben< COMMENT: By definition, an illusion isn't real. Therefore to say something is an illusion is to deny it is real, even though, as we just illustrated by examples, sensory illusions often contain useful data about a slice of reality. So, if it is correctly perceived and interpreted, sensory data can become very important information.

greyman< Ben: Even with the "Uncertainty Principal." In our physical reality we can know position or acceleration of a particle but not both!

Ben< QUESTION 4: There is an ancient argument about what is illusion and what is real. Greek philosophers said that earth, water, air, and fire are the four basic elements of reality. Hindu philosophers said that earth, water, air, and fire are all Maya, illusion, unreal. What do you say about this? YOUR TURN

Lwaxana< Earth, water, fire, and air are physical reality, but not the sum total of it.

wakingdream< Earth, air, water, and fire are what our scientists sought out as concrete truths. Earth is solid, water is liquid, fire is vapor. They are all simply explained truths, or are they? Are we looking so hard to explain things that we don't see what is really there?

Yopo< Yes. When almost all persons thought the earth to be flat, even then it was probably round. Yet, there may be SOME areas of reality that are generated, or at least influenced, by mass belief, expectation, etc. Guess I think some parts of reality are more malleable than others... Systems already in flux...

SLIDER< Yopo: Systems in flux -- good analogy. Nothing comes into the material unless it is thought about first, even the Bible shows us this. *S*

windchild< SLIDER: You are so right. All truths, realities, begin with a thought.

greyman< Pure energy without an interaction within a medium.

Lwaxana< Physics and the physical universe are real, alright; they just aren't the sum total of everything that's real (or true).

[Ben< Lwaxana: Yes. I agree.]

wakingdream< Can illusion be a reality that is not within our dimension?

windchild< What is truth, and how do you separate truth from reality? Your idea of truth takes the form of your reality. At the time that people believed the sun goes around the earth, it was still true to them. Ideas of truth change as much as the Universe itself.

wakingdream< Truth is perceived individually. An old dead tree in the woods will be perceived differently by each person who sees it. Reality/illusion are relative to the eye of the beholder.

[Ben< An old dead tree is a fact (a bit of reality), no matter if or how or by whom it is perceived. The truth in this case is the belief that this object is an old dead tree. And this is the whole point of the parable of the seven blind men and the elephant: the fact (reality) is the elephant, no matter what the beholders perceive or believe or think or say. The truth in this case is the belief that this object is an elephant. These examples illustrate what is meant by objective reality and objective truth.]

FRAML< Ben: Perhaps the difference between Greek and Hindu philosophy is why we see the difference between the two societies. Western society developed industrially; Eastern (Hindu) society kept the ancient ways and showed little industrial development.

Yopo< Concerning Question #4: I take that Hindu argument to mean that what we really perceive are the illusions our senses generate in our heads. Our apple is not really an apple, but a mental construct incorporating all our senses tell us about "appleness".

[Ben< Yopo: In our subconscious processing of sensory perceptions, sensory input is automatically compared to mental images stored in memory, and labeled according to the image it matches most closely (pattern recognition). If it doesn't match any of our available images, we don't recognize it, so we store it in memory as a new mental image (cognition).]

bluestar< For me truth is very basic and simple and includes such absolutes as God and love and the interconnectedness of all things, reality, to me in the world around us and the way that we perceive it (as individuals and as groups).

wakingdream< I agree, bluestar. But we all arrive at that decision in unique ways. And yet in our different ways we arrive, we become connected.

FRAML< wakingdream: Perception of reality is our opinion of how it affects us, not whether or not it does.

wakingdream< Yes, FRAML!

bluestar< re: Question #4: It seems to me that the Hindu philosophers think that reality is an illusion.

Ben< bluestar: Some of the Hindu philosophers assert that material reality is an illusion. Materialist philosophers assert that spiritual reality is an illusion.

wakingdream< Ben: Yet all our varied beliefs in this room are coming together. Our illusions/realities are being shared. And it makes us grow.

Lor< Ben: I sense that it is possible for both spiritual and material phenomena to simultaneously exist, with their respective dimensions being somehow nearly orthogonal; that is, with very loose coupling between them. Hence, materialists are not likely to find much physical evidence of the spiritual domain, and hence are likely to discount it, until they conduct experiments that demonstrate its existence/reality.

[Ben< Lor: Yes. Instead of insisting that either material or spiritual phenomena must be illusions (unreal), we can open our thinking to the possibility there are both material and spiritual dimensions of reality. This is the insight I was fishing for by posting Question #4. The mental limitations of classical Hindu and Greek philosophies aren't in what they affirm; the limitations are in what they deny.]

Ben< COMMENT: Denial is a refusal to accept as true, real, valid, existent, or tenable. Some people deny that anything spiritual is real; they say everything that is called spiritual is an illusion. Some people deny that anything material is real; they say everything that is called material is an illusion. While trying to resolve this apparent dilemma in my own mind, two thoughts occurred to me: (1) both of these groups of people are in denial, and (2) denial is a pit in this swamp.

Ben< SUMMARY: Sensory and extrasensory perceptions are limited, incomplete, imperfect portrayals of internal and external reality. So what? Our sensors do provide us with input data related to reality, and if it is correctly perceived and interpreted, that data can become very important information. Our challenge is to learn to perceive and interpret that data more and more accurately.

Ben< /topic Discussion of illusion and reality

FRAML< SLIDER: I guess the bottom line on illusion versus reality and how people perceive it would be: Who would I select to go on combat patrol with me?

SLIDER< FRAML: Sometimes you can't choose who gets on your patrol, That's where Belief, Faith, and Prayer come in. *S*

FRAML< SLIDER: All too true.

Yopo< Ben: Does truth then -- at least truth about the material world -- somehow reside in the ideas and perceptions that are the most consistent with each other? Models that allow for the most reliable predictions of the outcome of a chain of events or observations?

Ben< Yopo: Consistency with each other isn't a good test of truth. Mass opinions have often been mistaken. The sine qua non of truth in science is the degree to which any statement (hypothesis, opinion, belief) is reliably predictive.

Yopo< Hmm... Yet, there seems to be some sort of relationship between predictive reliability and consistency over time. *S* Another of those vague ideas I can't quite get to gel.

[Ben< Yopo: One of the labels for that idea is "Faith in the consistency of nature."]

SLIDER< Einstein spent the better part of his life to show us the possibilities of illusion by bending light and space, which would alter time. In theory!

Lor< SLIDER: But Einstein's theories have been moved beyond the stage of mere theory by scientific experiments that have proven they do conform better to reality than previous concepts/understandings.

SLIDER< Lor: Must be part of Uncle Sam's conspiracy. I haven't heard of anyone doing (physical) time travel. Well, it took a while to learn about the stealth bombers! *S*

Thur< Ben: To interpret the data "accurately" even on spiritual things, perhaps we should do what science does and interpret via replication.

Ben< Thur: Replicability is a requirement in science. Spiritual science doesn't really exist yet, though I think (and hope) we're working in that direction.

Thur< Ben: You may be wrong there, Don't know if we can call it "science" but we have had spiritual replication for ages.

Ben< Thur: Replicability (anyone can obtain the same results every time under the same conditions) isn't very common in the spiritual areas of inquiry. This science is still in a early stage of development, in my opinion.

Thur< Ben: Right, it has not been developed, but replication has been there all the time. We just have not looked at developing it.

Yopo< Thur: I know there has been replication on very basic levels. People able to consistently beat the odds calling symbol cards, beating the odds with random-number generators, etc. But what has there been beyond that?

Thur< Yopo: I don't know about calling cards or random number generators. I hold that suspect. Beyond that there has been the fact that those who explore the mind to *the same depth* perceive the same Deity. It's related to Jung's "collective unconscious".

Yopo< Thur: The cards and the random number studies show that some people consistently beat the odds when they predict. Thus, statistics supports some unknown means of perception. Recently, I've been reading about some studies folks involved with the Monroe Institute have been conducting. Out-of-body journeys done by pairs, who compare notes via a third party afterward. There seem to be cases where their reports match on many points.

Thur< Yopo: That may be. I don't know much about that part of it. My interest refers to the spiritual side.

Lor< Yopo: I sense that there is considerable evidence of there being something beyond "beating the odds with random-number generators, etc." in the information presented on Ben's site. There is much there for us all to contemplate as to how it all fits into our sense of reality and what's really truth.

Yopo< Lor: I sense that, too, but my rational mind is fond of hard evidence supporting such things.

Lor< Yopo: A bit more than 10 years ago, there was an article in the IEEE Proceedings written by a professor at Princeton that reported on a series of such experiments involving several subjects -- various abilities to affect the random number results from noise sources, etc. Well worth looking up and reading. It also reported on some subjects' surprising success at perceiving events occurring at great distances from them which they could not have known about beforehand.

Yopo< Lor: Remote viewing? I've read a couple of articles about that. And heard that fellow on the radio with Art Bell -- can't think of his name at the moment -- who was supposedly involved in a project with the CIA... Ames? Seems that might have been his name.

Lor< Yopo: I'll try to remember to send you the reference I mentioned, if I can. I just hope I don't forget to look it up. I find I do forget so much anymore -- not a pleasant situation, but it happens to many as they get older.

Yopo< Lor: I'm currently reading a book by a fellow who studied at the Monroe Institute named Bruce Moen: "Voyages into the Unknown". What they do seems to involve astral projection and/or remote viewing, but his main area of interest seems to be the afterlife, and assisting people who are crossing over there after traumatic deaths.

SLIDER< Ben: When an artist looks at a blank canvas or a sculptor at a block of wood, they see something different than a truck driver or waiter. Would this kind of creative thinking turn an illusion into a reality, as the painter would create with paints and the sculptor with a hammer and chisel?

bluestar< SLIDER: And so visionaries shape reality.

Ben< SLIDER, bluestar: Images and so forth that are *created* in the mind are better referred to as conceptions, rather than perceptions.

Yopo< Ben: Ah! Conceptions vs perceptions. Maybe I am of the Hindu faction. *S* I sorta think that imagination bears some close relationship with perception. That the mind actually "imagines" reality, based upon the input of the senses. The better the input, the more the input, the truer the imagined reality is. Point being, imagination is always part of the circuit.

[Ben< Yopo: Sensory perceptions start with sensory inputs. Concepts can be created in the mind without sensory inputs (which is why many people shut their eyes while thinking). Imagination can use or combine or modify available mental images in the process of creating new concepts, and thus new mental images.]

FRAML< SLIDER: The artist or sculptor sees the POTENTIAL in the object that I see as canvas (good for making a tent from, to me) and stone (to me useful for building a chimney). In all cases the original object is still the same (cloth or rock) but they have been used differently.

windchild< And one artist would see something different from the other artist. Even the truck driver or waiter is turning their perceptions into reality, or truth. All are creating every moment.

bluestar< Ben: Is the supernatural or (and my mind goes back to the seminars on miracles ...) miracles outside or inside reality?

Ben< bluestar: The supernatural is the primary area of disagreement between the two camps I mentioned earlier. Materialists say nothing supernatural exists. But I believe the distinction between "natural" and "supernatural" is artificial, man-made, and doesn't exist in reality.

bluestar< The pilot who was rescued in Serbia prayed that he would be rescued although he believed that he would probably be captured by the Serbs. What do you think was more "real" for him? His belief in prayer or his (some would say) realistic appraisal of his situation?

Buttergoat< Reality is relative. Live and let live. Case closed. That's how I feel. Something being an illusion does not mean it's not real; that is a myth (a tired one, at that).

Amazaz< Buttergoat: ****THANK YOU FOR MAKING THAT POINT! **** :)

bluestar< Ben: Then "reality" by your definition is far larger than the world as defined by our laws of physics? or ...

Ben< bluestar: This is a statement of faith on my part: I believe that reality far exceeds all of our accumulated knowledge, and that's why we keep discovering more of it. *smile*

bluestar< Ben: I like that "definition".

SLIDER< Ben: If I was delusional and having illusions, say one hundred years ago, about cloning, who would be qualified to tell me?

Ben< SLIDER: Illusion and delusion are two different parts of this swamp, as I will try to point out week after next. What I was pointing toward tonight is the insight that sensory illusions can be, and often are, input data that originates in reality.

Yopo< Dissection of delusion... now, there's a slippery slope if ever there was one. *LOL* Don't want to miss THAT one.

SLIDER< Ben: I guess I was getting a little ahead. It all is so intermingled it's hard to confine ones thinking. *S*

Ben< SLIDER: Soookay! You're right, the stuff in this swamp is intermingled. I'm just trying to run a few sight-lines through it.

SLIDER< Ben: I think we need a trencher to plow through this swamp, and then dissect it like an archeologist.

LEGS< *laughing* SLIDER, Ben: We are still treading surface water and hopping from mugswamp pad to mugswamp pad... little bits of guidance... little bits of reality ... little flow of truth round about.

Ben< SLIDER: Need a survey team first, to put down some stakes along sighting lines, then the earth-movers!

LEGS< It is like the reality of the recently discovered "new" galaxy that has been there all the time. The reality to us is when the telescope apparatus and computer enhancement finally defined it for us visually. Again, many have to see to believe, while Faith is trust in things unseen... the greater reality.

Ben< LEGS: Good point. We do not *know for sure* those newly discovered planets were there before any human being believed it, but we have every right to assume they were.

VERONICA< I too was quite surprised to hear about the new "planets" but have always believed our reality is simply what is "going on" that we've picked up on. The fact we don't hear the tree fall doesn't mean it doesn't make a sound.

windchild< Everything seems to be intermingled, Ben. Guess that's why we can never come to any mutual conclusion.

Ben< windchild: I wouldn't say everything is intermingled. It just seems to be. *smile* People have pretty well come to the mutual conclusion that the world is round, even though it doesn't seem to be round. These are two handles by which we can discern a lot of things: "seems to be" and "really is". A drawing seems to be three-dimensional; it really is two-dimensional.

windchild< Understood, Ben.

VERONICA< Sounds like a pretty deep subject you've been discussing here. I was looking for a discussion to distract me, but this one's a little over my head. Wouldn't take much for that to occur tonite, I'm afraid. I'm wanting to pick up on some psychic messages from a recently "passed on" soul. Wondered if anyone has any experience on how "long" it takes before there is communication on some level. ??

LEGS< Veronica: It can occur at any time. Just be receptive... and don't expect it to be in any certain form.

VERONICA< Thank you, Legs: I know I'm being impatient... and thanks for the reminder it can come in many different forms and not to put an expectation on the vehicle.

LEGS< Veronica: My first communication came from clear across the states in the form of an automatic writing message on a yellow legal pad the chatter was using, such as the one my late husband used for his reporter duties with the newspaper. Had it come directly to me, I could have discounted it as wistful longing on my part.

Thur< Ben: Conventional wisdom has it that we use about 10% of our mind; perhaps the solution is to learn to use more of it. The "swamp" would then acquire some solid ground.

Ben< Thur: Yes, I've heard that we use about 10% of our mind. If that is so, we do need to use more of it, and in any case we always need to learn how to make better use of whatever we have. That was part of what I was trying to say about sensory and extrasensory input data, in my summary.

Thur< Ben: There is a way to learn to use more of it. It's a tough course, though, and we shy away from it.

Yopo< Ah, maybe the 90% is busy, but we just aren't aware of what it is doing. *S*

windchild< Yes, we had better learn how to use the 10% we use now. We would probably be dangerous if we could use more in this stage of our development.

Ben< windchild. Yes, I agree. Humans are already dangerous critters and don't need to be more-so.

VERONICA< Thur: Have you heard anything about Neil Slade's "brain popping" as he calls it -- tapping into the frontal lobe in meditation, sort of like "tickling it with a feather"? He says their institute has proof it utilizes another 30-50% of the brain's power and intuition. I sent for his book (he lives in Colorado), but haven't read it or tried it yet.

Thur< VERONICA: Don't know about Neil Slades "brain popping". People have "tickled" it with drugs, too. I have to suspect it's a fraudulent form of entry and leads to the next "swamp". Psychology, while not an exact science, has done a better job.

VERONICA< We're losing visitors -- where is everyone going??

Ben< VERONICA: Folks are leaving now because we're just discussing. The seminar was for an hour and finished almost an hour ago.

VERONICA< Thanks, Ben, for the explanation of why everyone was going. Sorry I missed the seminar. I agree that people used to tap into it with drugs. I have no interest in something that goes against "good energy" being the source.

Thur< VERONICA: I don't know that good or bad energy makes a difference. When you enter that realm you get what's there. Takes time to sort it all out. Artificial entry doesn't permit doing what they used to call good and bad trips.

Ben< VERONICA: I didn't get into the effects of drugs tonight. I was basically trying to look at what we can do with what we've got, in terms of sensory perception, despite the fact that our sensory (and extrasensory) perception is limited.

Pocketful< You can do much with what you've got! I did it.

SLIDER< Ben: What would you call it if one person sees a UFO and the person next to them doesn't see it? Is that an illusion or delusion of one or the other?

Ben< SLIDER: Good question. If both people were looking in the same area, and both had normal vision, both should have seen it. If only one sees it, it may be a thought-form projection and not a solid object.

SLIDER< Ben: I've often wondered what goes on when people see, say, the Virgin Mary or some other saint, and the ones next to them see nothing. Is it a case of perceptive viewing or does the mind either block out what it doesn't want to see or create an image to be with the group?

Ben< SLIDER: That's another good question. Apparitions of the Virgin Mary, etc., aren't sensory perceptions. And I don't agree with the skeptics that they are all hallucinations. Most likely they are extrasensory perceptions, which not everyone sees because not everyone has operational ESP.

SLIDER< Ben: When I hear the story of the three girls at Fatima, it makes me wonder what the messages were that they were told. I've heard that the Catholic Church was told the whole story but didn't feel the public was ready for it.

Ben< SLIDER: Yes, I've wondered about that, too. I've read lots of theories and rumors, but nothing substantive about the content of those messages.

Ben< Well, time for me to go, also. Blessings to those still here. *poof*

17. Maya: the swamp
Session 3 -- Deception
Spiritual Web Chat
Sat 24 Apr 1999

Ben< ALL: In this seminar we are exploring some of the characteristics of a very large mental, emotional and spiritual swamp. The name of this swamp is Maya (the Sanskrit word, not the Mayan civilization).

Ben< We have explored confusion and illusion. The topic for tonight is deception. By taking these topics in this order, we are moving deeper into the swamp.

Ben< Deception comes from the verb "to deceive" which means to make someone believe something that isn't true. Thus, deception is misrepresentation of facts, by appearance, words, actions, etc., and not merely a matter of perception (illusion).

Ben< Illusion is incidental. Deception is purposeful. Purpose is a characteristic of living things, whether they are aware of it or not. Thus we have reached a point at which we encounter inhabitants of this swamp. Ready? Break out your cameras and binoculars -- we're going to study some critters.

Ben< QUESTION 1: Many biological life-forms deceive other life-forms. Some evolved their means and methods of deception due to natural selection (survival of the trickiest). Intelligent life-forms also think about it, plan for it, and learn how to deceive more effectively. Please point out some examples of natural or intentional deception in the animal kingdom, and note the purpose they serve. YOUR TURN

wakingdream< Hmm. Some fish resemble the ocean floor in hiding. The purpose they serve is to eat smaller creatures that could otherwise have a population boom and unbalance the scales.

FRAML< The chameleon uses deception to hide and survive. There is a type of fish which has markings of the enemy of it's main predator; again survival. And the Venus fly trap uses deception to snare it's victim and meal.

miss_tree< Chameleons, stick insects, many types of fish, camouflage to help the animals hide from predators.

greyman< Cuttlefish.

wakingdream< The praying mantis appears as part of a plant, and eats insects that would otherwise destroy the same plant.

miss_tree< Leopards and tigers whose coats mimic light and shadow so that they may sneak up on their prey.

Yopo< The Viceroy butterfly, who is tasty to birds, has evolved to look like the Monarch, who tastes terrible.

miss_tree< Butterflies who have spots on their wings to make them look like bigger animals with big eyes so as to scare off birds.

Ben< Yes. Camouflage is a means of deception. Disguise. Hiding from sight or awareness. Prey animals hide so they won't be seen by predators. Predators hide so their prey won't see them or discern their intentions. In both cases, the purpose is survival of the individual -- and if it works well enough, the result is survival of the species.

Ben< More examples? How about pre-planned, intentional deception?

wakingdream< Hmmm ... Soldiers wearing camouflage? People with ill intent presenting themselves as kind souls?

Ben< wakingdream: We haven't encountered that species yet, but we'll get to them in a few minutes. *smile*

FRAML< The Opossum. And sometimes a mother deer will pretend lameness to get a wolf to follow her away from her fawns, and then spring away when the fawns are safe.

greyman< The Kiwi fish attracts it's prey with a bio-luminescent appendage, then gobbles 'em up.

wakingdream< The bat hangs from a tree upside down. In darkness it flies and eats thousands of insects.

dCrone< I am having a bit of trouble with the pre-planned part, but perhaps intentional deception would be something like the cobra that spreads its hood or a great ape pounding its chest ... gotta think ...

wakingdream< Lizards will feign death in order to not be eaten.

miss_tree< Hmmm ... those kinds of birds that push other birds eggs out of their nests and lay their own in place so that the deceived birds will hatch and feed their young.

Ben< miss-tree: Yes, and I was thinking of the male cardinals who deceive predators away from their mates and nests. Some say it is instinct, and it may be, but I've watched them watch predators and plan what they were going to do. They aren't stupid. Or needlessly self-sacrificial.

Yopo< Mama Killdeer bird will fake a broken wing, to lure predators away from her nest.

miss_tree< Ben: Magpies, too, tend to appear to be scheming. *vbs*

Ben< I'm reminded of one male cardinal who used to land on the fence around my son's yard and yell at the cat. One day my son removed the fence. I happened to be there and saw the cardinal land where the fence used to be. He folded his wings and his feet grasped where the wire had been. Of course, he fell like a rock. He promptly got his wings working again, or he would have hit the ground. He was very surprised! And he acted ... embarrassed?

miss_tree< Ben: *lol* I'd believe it.

dCrone< I once had a sly cat who liked to bite. She would pretend to be sweet, and nuzzle, and then, Wham! she'd take a chunk of your finger or nose -- whichever was closest!

Ben< QUESTION 2: Humans are (more-or-less) intelligent life-forms. Over the past few millennia, they have developed simple and sophisticated methods of deceiving each other. Please point out some examples of human deception, and note (or guess at) the purposes their deception serves. YOUR TURN

Azriel< Make-up/appearance.

Ben< Azriel: Yep, make-up is a type of make-believe; it can be a means of deception.

wakingdream< Jimmy Swaggart.

5foot2< A disarming smile. *s*

wakingdream< Politicians.

FRAML< Wearing entire animal skins as a body cover to get closer to what they are hunting. Using bird whistles to communicate with their fellows when near an unfriendly tribe.

greyman< Bill Clinton.

wakingdream< Feigning poverty to receive assistance.

miss_tree< Well, I'd say that we are most adept at fooling ourselves, which we do because we are afraid of change, unwilling to look at and acknowledge our "bad" sides because we would feel compelled to deal with them or various other reasons.

FRAML< miss_tree: Excellent example.

wakingdream< Monica Lewinsky (wealth comes from notoriety).

5foot2< The lottery.

FRAML< Modern advertising. And then I could give a few dozen of the military related deception measures.

wakingdream< The Catholic religion has confession. Confess, say your prayers, and you are clean.

FRAML< wakingdream: I do not see that as deception, unless the person who is making the confession is not really sorry for what he did and/or has no intention of trying not to do it again.

greyman< wakingdream, Yes, you pay for your sins. You get $17.95 for every day you live. When you die, you pay for your sins. Murder: is $100,000.00 Lying: $50.00 *G*

wakingdream< *S* Nice thought, Greyman.

Ben< ALL: I was thinking about this all week, and had time to make some notes, whereas it comes to you more like a pop quiz. So I appreciate your responsiveness.

dCrone< The choice of vocabulary -- academic vs. down-home, for example -- can deceive. And deliberately using body language to one's advantage is a ploy to manipulate.

wakingdream< Littleton. Two boys making time-bombs appeared normal enough to not capture attention.

Ben< To lie means to deliberately make a false statement with intent to deceive. If there is no intent to deceive, a false statement may be mistaken, or merely a fiction told for entertainment or amusement, but it isn't a lie. Why do people lie? Because they have a hidden agenda they are trying to conceal. Therefore, it is wise to ask oneself: "What does he want? What's in it for him, if I believe him and act on that belief? What happens to me? What happens to others?"

miss_tree< Ben: But of course most people who lie have rationalizations that ostensibly have nothing to do with their own agenda; i.e., I lied to spare her feelings or they wouldn't understand because I am such a complex human being. *lol* Or, national security is at risk, etc.

Ben< miss_tree: Yes, rationalization is a great indoor (inner-life) sport.

miss_tree< Then there are the psychopathic liars who truly believe all their own lies (while most of us only tend to believe some of our own lies). *g*

Ben< Sophisticated lies include: spin (systematic distortion), propaganda, preferential and prejudicial vocabulary, selective reporting that reveals some of the facts and conceals others. Disinformation is an organized effort to deceive. The purpose is usually a lust for the power to manipulate those who are deceived.

dCrone< Why would I deceive? Because I fear loss of face or respect. Because I want something and do not have the courage or skills to go for it directly.

Ben< dCrone: Introspection... Why would I deceive? Very good. Much better for us than rationalization.

wakingdream< When we deceive we are afraid of our own truth.

Azriel< ... or fear the consequences of the truth.

miss_tree< I would wager that most liars don't think that they are liars. *s*

dCrone< Would I deceive because I want to control others?

miss_tree< dCrone: Add in a bit of laziness and convenience, an overwhelming desire to be liked (all those little white lies about why you didn't attend event A or B, etc.).

dCrone< Yes! miss_tree, that overwhelming desire to please and be liked and the fear that underlies it!

miss_tree< dCrone: Fear? I have no fears! *lying through my teeth*...*vbg*... add in the need to impress or feel equal to or the same as others.

FRAML< Why would I lie? Security. For example, I would say I was assigned to the Pentagon when I was actually with the Defense Intelligence Agency. I wore Cavalry sabers instead of military intelligence insignia when I was assigned to a Cav squadron in Germany.

wakingdream< I don't know FRAML. Why would you lie?

FRAML< wakingdream: I gave the examples. My job in intelligence required anonymity.

wakingdream< Yes, FRAML. That I can understand. Father was in the military. Brother is.

dCrone< FRAML: Maybe sometimes deception is required.

Ben< To pretend means to claim falsely, to make-believe, either in play or as an attempt to deceive. It can be harmless fun, or deadly dangerous to the deceived, depending on whether the purpose is entertainment or ambush.

Ben< Hypocrisy is a fancy name for living a lie. It is dangerous, because it can subtly change from deception to self-deception, and it is dangerous to be deceived.

Ben< QUESTION 3: You can deceive yourself. And other people can deceive themselves. Although examples of your own self-deception may be too tender to touch, feel free to post them if you wish. Or provide examples of self-deception, and note (or guess at) the purpose that self-deception served. YOUR TURN

greyman< Jim & Tammy Baker, Jim Swaggart.

Ben< greyman: Yes, it sure seems they deceived themselves in their attempts to deceive others into believing they were something they weren't.

greyman< When I get little sleep, I start seeing things that are not there. Snakes coming out of the walls, instruments giving false readouts, etc.

[Ben < greyman: That sounds more like hallucinations than self-deception.]

Azriel< "God speaks only from my pulpit..."

wakingdream< "I am whole in my search for my spirituality." Yet I continue to seek. You can never be completely whole in such a search.

Azriel< "I'm too sick to go to work..."

Ben< Azriel: Hmp! Yes. Have you ever made yourself sick because you wanted some time off? I have -- until I realized what I was doing and decided not to do it.

Azriel< Ben: Maybe I allowed myself to believe I felt worse than I actually was.

FRAML< When I do something that I really want to although I know it may not be what God wants me to do, and I convince myself that "God says its OK."

wakingdream< I am satisfied with my life. (I want to FEEL satisfied with my life)

FRAML< When there is someone I can help, but I say: "I don't know how to do it" or "I don't have the time right now."

Yopo< I'm so adept at self-deception that I cannot think of any examples. *s*

Azriel< Yopo: VBS : )

Yopo< But that's not really true, of course. I deceive myself about the likely outcome of a dear friend's illness on a fairly regular basis, for example. Can't deal with the truth of the situation 24 hours a day. I know the truth, but I shut it down much of the time.


FRAML< Yopo: Laugh was for your post prior to the one about your friend's illness. (Ben please note for transcript)

Yopo< FRAML: I know you well enough that I already knew that, but thanks for making sure. *S*

FRAML< Yopo: *S*

Yopo< FRAML: And then there's the possibility that sometimes believing a thing helps it to BECOME true. "Fake it 'til you make it" a friend of mine sometimes says.

Ben< "Whistling in the dark" is a classic example of an attempt to deceive oneself.

fleur< I deceive myself in thinking I am less than I am. The purpose served is to remain in fear and unworthiness because I know no other way. To change is the unknown, so much so that I no longer know how to change.

FRAML< fleur: I can identify with that.

wakingdream< I know where Ben is leading us, when in fact, I have no clue! *S*

Ben< wakingdream: Hah! Hopefully, where I'm leading will be more visible in retrospect.

wakingdream< *S*

dCrone< Self-deception can be difficult. I have the tendency to see what I want to see in others, and I am, admittedly, a sucker for sentimental situations. I have found, though, that I tend to give emotional reasons that do not necessarily exist. Am I protecting myself if I think that all is well with my children when I suspect otherwise? What am I doing when, in the grip of forced change, I say an archetypal pattern has taken charge -- is this, too, deception? ... sometimes, yes.

Ben< Here are a couple of examples that came to mind: "It's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way." And also: "Every day in every way, everything is getting better and better."

fleur< Ben: My mind doesn't frame it that way. It's hard to be perfect when you are too humble.

Ben< fleur: Good shot! May have hit some life-forms right in the false humility.

all-love< What about the idea of "It was meant to be that way"? Is that a form of deception?

[Ben: all-love: Yes. "It was meant to be that way" is an example of rationalization, like "It was the will of God" or "It was their karma" or "They all agreed to this in the planning stage before they were born". Rationalization is a mental process used in deception and self-deception. I'll describe how it works somewhat later.]

miss_tree< I deceived myself (with a little bit of help) into believing that someone cared about me because I was feeling alone and unloved (and a little bored). *g* Interestingly enough, he deceived himself into thinking he cared because it was a way to justify his sexual interest. Both parties participated in a joint deception. What the purpose was for him I cannot say, but the ultimate purpose that it served for me was that it revealed to me the illusions that I held about love and romance, and the desires that I project onto other people ... a very useful exercise, if not entirely pleasant, and full of deception even though I never lied (though no doubt there were lies inherent in the fact that I was being untrue to myself).

Ben< miss_tree: Good examples. Both people...

dCrone< Realizing the truth of self-deception can be painful. Therefore, my self deceptions serve to preserve my self ... to protect me. Is this instinctual, as it is in the kingdoms of other animals and plants?

wakingdream< In my mind, deception is a self-security measure one uses to protect themselves.

Ben< ALL: Please note that I'm not judging deception as necessarily good or bad. I'm only trying to explore what it is.

FRAML< Ben: For me, I see deception as "good" if it has a purpose such as protection from being harmed by an adversary, and being "bad" when it is used to achieve power (control) over a person.

all-love< FRAML: What if the truth were to have taught you something?

FRAML< all-love: Sometimes a fact may be true, but that does not automatically make it "good" as a value judgment. As to being "taught a lesson" I'm not sure what you mean; are you referring to "karma"?

all-love< FRAML: Karma, I suppose could be an explanation, but I was beginning to believe that everything that happens, happens so as to teach.

FRAML< all-love: I don't see it that way every time. I did learn how I became vulnerable to discarnates attaching to me when I was depressed. Another time I picked up one because I extended a caring connection to a person and failed to shield myself.

miss_tree< One deception I've always loved the hypocrisy of is the line "I'm only telling you this to be honest" when in fact the intent is to hurt the other person... honesty as a deceptive cover for maliciousness. *s*

Ben< Self-deception is purposeful. It is something one does inwardly to get something one wants. It is likely to be a process of rationalization: "I want to believe this. I believe it. It is true" (assertion). Or "I don't want to believe it. I don't believe it. It is false" (denial). To recognize self-deception, question your own motives: "Why do I want to believe this? Why don't I want to believe that?"

Ben< QUESTION 4: Some of the beings in this swamp are discarnate and telepathic. They don't live in physical bodies, but they can put thoughts, feelings, images, suggestions, etc., into the mind of anyone attuned to them. Some of these beings are deceivers. Please point out some examples of discarnate deception, and note (or guess at) the purpose of that deception. YOUR TURN

miss_tree< Entities masquerading as people you have known to gain your trust. Ghosts pretending to be more powerful than they are as a means to scare and manipulate you.

Ben< miss_tree: Excellent examples. Thanks.

wakingdream< I once sought the Ouija Board as a teenager. Latched onto a malicious entity that wouldn't let go. End of story.

fleur< Ben: If such beings are discarnate, then the only way they can exist in this dimension is to enter the minds of those who will act as hosts; otherwise they cannot exist except in their own negativity.

wakingdream< fleur: You are correct. Young minds in seeking can be sponges unprotected.

Ben< fleur: There are a lot of ghosts hanging around earth. Some of them try to influence people, and some don't.

greyman< I'll betcha Jack Webb does not influence people.

Azriel< The discarnate's goal may be just the resulting chaos.

FRAML< All: see my site where I have the stories about the Irishman who attached himself to me, trying to find his lost love. I ended up being enthralled with nearly every female I saw. Not my usual self. Or the Sgt. Odom story.

Azriel< FRAML: That must have been an interesting time in your life. *S*

Ben< FRAML: In the case of Sgt. Odom (deceased), I think any deception wasn't deliberate on his part. Do you agree?

FRAML< Ben: Good point. Sgt. Odom wasn't out for deception. The effect I was meaning was that I mis-identified his self-doubts and guilt as my own. Of course at the time I didn't believe in or know about such a thing as discarnates attaching to us incarnate beings.

LEGS< Ben: Perhaps an attachee of a deceased alcoholic that desires to experience the addiction to alcohol the only way that is possible, by being the urge to drink in the one attached to ?

miss_tree< LEGS: Good example. Met a couple of addicted ghosts over the years. Hard to give up the body and it's sensations, especially when you have deceived yourself into believing that you are not dead. *g*

[Ben< miss-tree: Yes. Many ghosts don't know they have died.]

Yopo< Ben: Hmm... Think maybe I told you before about a one-time client of mine. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic. A history of both alcoholism and violence. He told me he hears two voices. One constantly urging him to find alcohol. Another urging him to strike out. So, one might suspect he's got some non-corporeal "friends" who want to use him to satisfy their own impulses.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, that sounds like a typical example. The discarnate's deception would be in making the man believe their impulses were his own.

Yopo< Ben: If that is so, his psychiatrist seems to aid the discarnates in their deception. Interesting situation...

fleur< Perhaps that is why I remain blocked. I never sense the energy others feel. Perhaps the blocks remain in place because I would not have the divining skills to block a negative entity even though I only crave a white light connection.

Ben< Here's another example I noted during the week: The Heaven's Gate crew was deceived by a couple of discarnates who claimed to be Jesus Christ and his Father. I think those discarnates were trying to establish a cult, like incarnate cult-masters do, in order to control human beings. Perhaps they still control the (discarnate) cult they initiated by that deception.

Yopo< Ben: Whoa! There's something I hadn't thought about before: Discarnate humans under the control of other discarnates. A VERY disturbing thought.

Ben< SUMMARY: Deception is a very tricky area of this swamp. It is advantageous for the deceiver and dangerous for the deceived. There are beings in this swamp that will try to deceive you. They do so because they want you to believe something that isn't true, in order to further their own agendas, and not because they have your best interests at heart -- which is why they hide the truth from you insofar as they can.

Ben< COMMENT 1: The Greek word for truth (aletheia) comes from a word that means true, genuine, and implies reliable, trustworthy. In reference to things it means real, actual. In reference to persons it means truthful, frank, honest, sincere (with no deception, no hidden agenda) and therefore reliable, trustworthy.

Ben< COMMENT 2: Some beings try to deceive others just for the fun of it; they enjoy the power of deception. Others only do so when they think deception would be to their advantage. Some beings are selective in choosing who they will and won't try to deceive; they typically distinguish between friends and foes. Some have decided that deception isn't a good idea, because they don't like to be deceived, and so they try not to deceive others. Some beings do not deceive anyone. These five groups represent five different concepts of ethics, and they manifest five different degrees of trustworthiness -- which is the ethical axis of the spiritual spectrum. Lower beings are more deceptive and less trustworthy; higher beings are less deceptive and more trustworthy.

Ben< COMMENT 3: To recognize deception, question the motive: "What does this being want? What is he or she trying to obtain?" When you realize a being has deceived you or tried to deceive you, re-evaluate the trustworthiness of that being: "Fool me once, and shame on thee; fool me twice, and shame on me." To avoid or escape deception, search for the truth regardless of what deceivers want you to believe. To avoid or escape self-deception, search for the truth regardless of what you want to believe. Learning the truth enables us to see and set ourselves free from deception and self-deception.

Ben< /topic Discussion of Deception

all-love< Thanks, Ben.

greyman< Thank you, Ben.

Azriel< Ben: Namaste -- you facilitate great discussions.

Ben< Hmm... This session looks more like a lecture than a seminar. Maybe I had too much time to work on it this week. But anyway, it should stimulate some discussion.

LEGS< Ben ((((hugs))))) thanks for a wonderful "lecture". Personally, I appreciate the summary and points to remember. *s* Truly look forward to the posting at your site of tonight's session... and what of next week???

Ben< LEGS: [HUG] Good to see you. The topic for next week is delusion.

dCrone< That will be grand, Ben!

miss_tree< Thanks, Ben, and may I add that to avoid being deceived by others we must first learn to stop deceiving ourselves. *s* There is no truth to be sought out, rather just lies to be dismantled so that the truth may shine through. *vbs*

Walk-In< Ben: Very good. I only caught the tail end. Do you do this often? I sure would like to be a part of the group in the future. :)

Ben< Walk-In: I host these seminars most Saturday nights at 11:00 pm U.S. Eastern time. Transcripts of previous seminars are on my site.

Walk-In< Thanks. This is what I have hoped to find on SWC.

dCrone< I'm going to have to ponder this discussion. While I am cautious to request only representation from 'those who mean me well', I have not much considered that discarnate entities might try to use me to facilitate achieving their objectives.

miss_tree< dCrone: Even positive entities use you to their own ends. *vbs* There is a purpose to all and an intent behind all actions (physical or metaphysical). Out of curiosity, why do you think spirits contact you?

Walk-In< My grandmother attached to me last year for healing.

[Ben< Walk-In: I'm sorry that no one picked up on this and asked you about it.]

dCrone< Oh, miss_tree, I may have been misleading in that comment. I was not saying that when I journey or otherwise ask for assistance in healing work, or on missions to determine the true nature of a situation, part of the protection I employ is that those who assist me in the venture "mean *me* well".

miss_tree< dCrone: Understood. It is always prudent to ask that any ritual or use of energy is for the higher good of both the channeler and the person receiving the healing (and maybe we should add, for the entity contacted, too). *vbs*

FRAML< dCrone: Yes. I found out (the hard way) that we can attract discarnates when we become vulnerable. Vulnerability can be from depression or sadness, or from desire for something or someone. These are two combinations that I've had direct contact with.

dCrone< FRAML: I agree with your statement about depression and vulnerability. It applies as well to other states which occur when one is not functioning clearly. There is a type of madness that can ensue.

Yopo< Ben: I have a friend in my local Friday Gathering circle who believes he often encounters non-corporeal entities. He says he always asks them at the onset if they are "of the light" and seems to think for some reason that this is a question that must always be answered truthfully. I respect this guy, but am wondering... Can a "devil" effectively impersonate and "angel"? Any thoughts on that?

Walk-In< I have read that if you ask any entity if they are of light three times they must answer truthfully... universal law.

Yopo< Walk-In: Yes. My friend Willie seems to think along those lines. Sorta like asking for an I.D. *LOL*

Ben< Yopo, Walk-In: A deceiver can pretend to be something it isn't. Evil spirits do pretend to be good spirits. And demons are liars. So, yes, they can pretend to be angels, and they can lie when asked if they are of the light. Rebellious spirits typically disregard the law.

Walk-In< Would you say it is about knowing and using your personal power, and not letting these entities walk all over you?

[Ben< Walk-In: Yes, personal resistance is part of psychic self-defense. We don't have to let discarnate entities have their way with us. For openers, we can resist deceivers by not believing them.]

miss_tree< One can always ask one's higher self for protection, but it should be remembered that all things in the universe are attracted to like vibration. If you are full of fear, you will attract fearful entities, and you will naturally respond to them because you share their vibration. The same is true of hate, love, and all other energies. *s*

Ben< ALL: Something I learned the hard way (35 years ago this spring): What we *want* determines the type of spirits we attract. For example, If we *want* power, we attract spirits who will offer us power. If we *want* to help someone, we attract spirits who also want to help.

miss_tree< Ben: Which is why knowing yourself well enough to know your own dark corners is the best protection there is. *s* If you recognize "dark" vibrations in yourself, you can recognize them easily in others for what they are. Just as being honest about your own energy make-up will make you more aware of benevolent beings. *s*

Yopo< miss_tree: Sort of a dilemma in that, isn't there? I would hope to attract things better than myself. Perhaps the trick it to focus on one's most positive aspects?

miss_tree< Yopo: Well, I would say that you should stay away from tricks. *vbg* Being honest about your own intent is a good place to begin. For instance, why do you want to communicate with discarnate beings? Advice, because you're too lazy to make up your own mind about a moral dilemma? Reassurance about your future? To feel special and psychic? To help them into the light? What is YOUR motivation? If you are clear on that, then it will be easier to be clear about who you want to contact and why. *s*

Yopo< miss-tree: I don't specifically seek out stuff like that. But it seems that when you get to a certain point of "openness" on your journey, such things begin to happen occasionally. Your "vision" improves, and you start seeing more.

miss_tree< Yopo: Yep, but I don't think that "seeing" entities really has that much to do with levels of evolvement or even how far along on your journey you are. Met some rather nasty psychics and some beautiful people who believe only in this world. *s* Some people are born with it, some develop it. It comes, it goes, according to our interest in it sometimes... how's that for vague? *lol*

fleur< Ben: Re: "What we want determines the type of spirits we attract." Does that mean I want nothing? I attract nothing.

Ben< fleur: Not necessarily. I think you do attract spirits, but don't perceive them because you are closed to spirits for your own protection. Being closed to spirits is a normal and healthy condition. Some people are stuck open, and that's a mess. The best situation I know of is to be able to open and close at will.

fleur< Ben: I have been working on that open part for three years now. *S*

Ben< fleur: My suggestion is always the same: take your time, don't push it. Keep looking at your own motives and what you really want. Then practice the act of blessing, and good spirits who enjoy blessing others will come to you and reinforce your blessing.

fleur< Thank you, Ben. I like that. My motives are for connection and ascension and love. I hold those foremost in my quest.

Yopo< Ben: So, no litmus test here either? *sigh* I can imagine a truly cunning devil. One who might skillfully turn my best qualities to his own purpose. And we all have chinks in our armor. I've seen how ego can be a problem for some spiritual seekers. Taking pride in one's real or imagined spiritual advancement, for example.

Ben< Yopo: There's no litmus test that I know of, though many have been asserted, for deceptive humans or deceptive discarnates. But in both cases, it's a process of learning who is and isn't trustworthy.

FRAML< Yopo: If you haven't read it, I recommend C. S. Lewis's "The Screwtape Letters." Greyman recommended it to me one night; so I read it. Lewis, I believe, knew more about the discarnate side of the "house" than he acknowledged.

Yopo< FRAML: Read it, but so long ago it is mostly forgotten. Thanks. Maybe I'll have another look.

Thur< Yopo: Are we saying these "entities" are not "of" ourselves? A good case can be made that they are.

Yopo< Thur: I debate that question with myself often. What is part of my own inner make-up, and what is actually independent of myself, with its own will and agenda? Not always certain, truth be told.

Ben< Thur: One of the deceptive discarnates most common lies is, "We're just figments of your imagination. We're part of you."

Thur< Ben: That answered my question, thanks. I have no interest in arguing the point. Conventional psych has them as figments, though, and makes a good case for it. Perhaps here too there is room for deception?

Ben< Thur: Conventional psychology is just beginning to look into this stuff seriously. Dr. Baldwin has a whole chapter on differential diagnosis, especially between alter personalities and attached entities.

Thur< Ben: I'm not familiar with Baldwin. However Jung went into that type of thing quite extensively.

Ben< Thur: For a very quick look at what Dr. Baldwin is doing in Transpersonal Psychology, check under "Resources" on my site. Also, for some examples, see my report "St. Michael's Manor".

Thur< Ben: Thanks, will do.

Yopo< Thur: Well, there ARE those cases where the "figment" seems to have access to information that the "contactee" lacks. I have a friend who occasionally trances at our drumming circle, and channels messages for others in the circle. In one instance, a message for me had two very specific bits of information that my friend could not possibly have known herself.

Thur< Yopo: Granted, there are many similar cases. I've had some myself. An alternative explanation "could" be something akin to telepathy. Here again it may depend on what we like to believe?

Yopo< Thur: Yes, I considered that possibility. Though in this case, one item of information would have required a sort of telepathic conference call. *S* The thing is, if telepathy is at the root of the matter, we still seem to be dealing with some sort of non-material aspect of the world. I suppose one could make the argument that it is no more mysterious than radio communication. Precognitive experiences are a bit more difficult to explain away, however.

Thur< Yopo: Quite so. I've had precognitive experiences; my point refers to how we explain them.

Yopo< Thur: Yes. Guess I'm inclined to think the simplest explanation of a thing is the one to go with, until it proves false.

Ben< Yopo, Thur: I've had precognitive experiences that proved to be accurate, but I don't know how to explain them.

Thur< Ben: Know what you mean there. I've no explanation either. I know they are real. For myself, I cannot accept their source as coming from an "entity". I have no problem with someone choosing otherwise, though.

Yopo< Thur: Just out of curiosity, what sort of event or occurrence would you accept as evidence of the existence of non-corporeal entities? Just wondering, because I have asked myself the same question.

Thur< Yopo: That's a very difficult question that I can't answer. We were talking of deception. I have to suspect it's very likely we deceive ourselves by taking a simplistic view of it.

Ben< ALL: Okay, time for me to hang up the mouse. Peace and blessings to each of you, as always. Goodnight. *poof*

17. Maya: the swamp
Session 4 -- Delusion
Spiritual Web Chat
Sat 01 May 1999

Ben< ALL: In this seminar we are exploring some of the characteristics of a very large mental, emotional and spiritual swamp. The name of this swamp is Maya (the Sanskrit word, not the Mayan civilization). We have explored confusion, illusion, and deception. The topic for tonight is delusion.

Ben< Delusion comes from the verb "to delude" which means to deceive someone so completely that he or she accepts what is false as true and thereafter continues to deceive himself or herself. This subconscious acceptance is the point at which deception becomes delusion -- and self-deception becomes self-delusion.

Ben< Delusion is the most difficult part of this swamp. To illustrate what I mean by that statement, let's look at some examples. Ready? Here we go. Watch where you step. As Yopo said last week, there are some slippery slopes in this area.

Ben< QUESTION 1: Delusions of persecution are typical of paranoia, so paranoia is part of this swamp. Do you know anyone with delusions of persecution? Please describe what they do and (guess at) what is going on in their mind. YOUR TURN

wakingdream< Sorry, Ben, I don't know anyone that fits that bill.

FRAML< Ben: Me, at one time. I believed that the only reason anyone ever complemented me was NOT because I had done something to earn it, but to GET something out of me in the future. I carried that with me for 35-40 years. And only just recently shed it.

Ben< FRAML: Okay ... during that time, what did you think when someone tried to persuade you otherwise?

FRAML< Ben: I never expressed what I thought to anyone. I hid it behind the phrase "being humble" or "just doing my job." If they suspected what I was thinking, I didn't notice it, or ignored them, because "I KNEW" they just wanted to use me for their benefit, no matter what they said. I knew the bottom line was "trust no one."

bluestar< The only people I know who are paranoid have good reason to be. Is it still called paranoia then?

Ben< bluestar: By definition, no. If there are valid (real) reasons to be afraid of someone, that isn't a delusion.

Azriel< My daughter was recently diagnosed as bipolar with psychotic features. She had major paranoid delusions, and many. She was able to describe in detail her sincere belief that she was being threatened with imminent death or harm. What was in her mind -- absolute terror.

bluestar< How sad, Azriel. My prayers are with you and your daughter. :)

Azriel< bluestar: Thank you.

shiana< I once lived with a man who believed the entire police force was out to get him. Reason? He had been involved in several bank robberies for which he was only caught once. This led him to delusions of grandeur which is also a symptom of alcohol and drug abuse. I also feel that in this way he could boost his low self-esteem.

Ben< shiana: It sounds like his delusions of persecution were an extension and over-generalization of guilt, for which he then compensated by another delusion.

shiana< Ben: That could be. I do know that he had an extremely low self-esteem, which could have been caused by the sub-conscious guilt for having hurt so many people ... and continues to hurt.

skier< I had a childhood friend who had an acute psychotic break when we were sixteen. She thought demons were pursuing her. Like Azriel said, she was completely consumed by terror.

wakingdream< Ben: hmm. Coworkers who believe they never get promoted because of office politics when it is actually the quality of their work that holds them back?

Ben< wakingdream: Good examples of (perhaps) minor delusions, but delusions nevertheless. Thanks.

skier< Wakingdream: We all rationalize like that from time to time to avoid unpleasant truths.

Energie< It is really important to recognize right now, that what is assumed to be 'reality' is just a collection of consentual agreements that people have made up themselves and have organized into the rules of acceptable social behavior. Concepts like "God" and "Country", "Real Estate" and "Money" are all just collective fantasies that people have agreed to pretend are real. The problem we are faced with right now is that what is socially acceptable is no longer functional. The entire social fairy tale is right on the edge of catastrophic failure.

wakingdream< I agree with Energie!

FRAML< Energie: Are you saying that "all reality" is delusion? Including this response to your post?

Energie< FRAML: Outside of the 'fog' of human imaginings, all of Creation always has been in perfect order, always will be in perfect Order, and 'is' in perfect order, right this very moment.

Lor< Energie: Some of us hope you are not deluded, too. I am bothered to think that what the Serbs are doing might be thought of as mere imagining or in any way "perfect". I must not understand what you meant.

Energie< Lor: "Nationalism" is a human fantasy. It does not really exist in the 'real' world.

Lor< Energie: Do you mean to say you do actually believe that the feelings of Serb nationalism are actually fictitious -- i.e., not real? And that their murders are not happening?

Energie< This world has been getting along just fine for thousands of millions of years ... long before there was such a thing as 'people' with all of their fantasies and delusions.

dancer< My father is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic.

Yopo< My grandmother -- now 95 -- has been paranoid for as long as I can remember. Her paranoia centers on neighbors, whom she imagines talk about her, plot against her, steal from her garden (when she had one), etc. I recall when I was a child and she lived in the country, she was convinced the folks operating an orchard store down the road were in fact a ring of hog rustlers. *S*

LEGS< A lady in our town thinks that she is the target of dark powers because, and don't laugh, this is serious to her, vultures perch on the huge tree in her back yard (actually 30 to 60 birds) during the spring and again in the fall migrations.

Yopo< I don't know, LEGS. If I saw 60 vultures perched in my tree, I might start worrying, too. *LOL*

Lor< I know someone with Alzheimer's that gives her husband of over 50 years fits by claiming he's an impostor trying to rob her. It's very sad. She's worse in the pm when it starts getting dark.

Ben< Those who have delusions of persecution are overly suspicious of others. So much so, they really believe they are being persecuted or about to be persecuted when in fact they aren't. But it is extremely difficult to convince them otherwise, because they contradict and rationalize their way back to the same belief.

wakingdream< Ben: The two boys in the Colorado shooting??

bluestar< I think sometimes when one is in a situation where one becomes a target of an individual or a group, it can be difficult to know when something just "happens" and when something is orchestrated to happen. Delusion and reality tend to become meshed. Sometimes the people who don't believe the "persecuted" ones are the ones who are deluded ... deluded by their own version of "reality."

Azriel< Delusion is a suspension or distortion of reality, but one has to then define reality.

Ben< Azriel: Here's my operational definition of reality: Reality is that which is so whether anyone knows it or not and whether anyone likes it or not.

Azriel< Ben: Ah-h-h, but there's all those vultures.

5foot2< reality = ye trail. :-)

grizzly9< My mother (84) has regressed into the past. She can only think of her children as little ones and still believes that my father is still alive.

Tracey< grizzly9: How long has your mom been living in the past, hon?

grizzly9< For more than a year. I talked to her over a year ago on the phone, and if I spoke in German or English, it took her 15 minutes for me to explain who I was. Once she realized who I was, she said good-bye.

FRAML< grizzly9: I think that is senility, rather than delusion. Her mind is losing access to memories with the oldest ones being the last to go.

Tracey< grizzly9: (((HUGS))) a very hard time for you as well as for her. She needs the past that was safe ... a place to talk when the flowers bloomed for her, hon. Many go back when they loose the dignity of the present reality situation. My mom did the same ... went back ... almost 6 months before she passed. She just needed to be there, hon ... ya know?

grizzly9< The doctors have called it dementia.

Tracey< grizzly9: Yep, hon, that is what they call it. But if you listen real close, this is not something that can be tied up in a bow and given a name. It is a way to escape the pain of dying, hon ... honest.

grizzly9< Tracey: I am aware of the fact that it is only a matter of time for her. But try and explain it to the rest of the family.

Tracey< grizzly9: If you can possibly, hon, just know that she is where she needs to be, and try to prepare the rest of your family. (((much love to you, hon))) and your father. He is alive to her as he probably speaks to her often, dear heart.

grizzly9<: It is hard to prepare the rest since I am the youngest of 14 and live about 1000 miles away from home.

dancer< My step-dad was an LA county sheriff. They routinely (almost nightly) received calls from an elderly woman who wore aluminum foil on her head to protect her from the alien rays that wanted to steal her thoughts. I think she'd fit in the category of delusional.

Ben< QUESTION 2: Delusions of grandeur are also typical of paranoia. (Did you know that? I didn't until I looked up "paranoia" while studying for this session.) Do you know anyone with delusions of grandeur? Please point out some typical symptoms and (guess at) what is going on in their mind. YOUR TURN

FRAML< Some politicians, and a couple of Army officers I've known.

skier< Delusions of persecution and grandeur at once make people dangerous. That's where you get somebody who thinks he's a messiah sent from God and everybody is out to thwart him when he really wants to take over the universe for its own good. He will think any action he wants to take is justified, up to and including mass murder.

Angel_Wings< Well, I don't know if its exactly the same thing or not, but last summer while separated from my husband, he said "God" talked to him in his truck coming home from a friend's place where he had participated in doing some drugs. God told him he was to come home, and all sorts of things, and told him that I would listen. I was told this was a delusion of grandeur induced by the drugs and that it was a very dangerous situation. Many have killed in the name of being "told" to do so. And he is a violent person anyway. One that thinks everything is centered around him and everyone is out to do him wrong.

grizzly9< Angel_Wings: Is that what happened in Littleton?

Tracey< Angel_Wings: Then again ... maybe ... ya know? *S*

Angel_Wings< He became very upset and did some things ... like tore down the ceiling fan ... when I didn't "listen" as he was told I would.

wakingdream< Ben: You ask that we point out someone with delusions of grandeur and tell what they may be thinking. But, aren't we all a bit delusional sometimes in our thinking? For example, we know what we believe to be true because we feel it to be true. I am sorry. I cannot point out one person specifically and tell what that may be thinking. You are asking me to assume and pass judgment in a way.

Ben< wakingdream: Many people are overly impressed with themselves. They may have a grandiose self-image, a false positive concept of their own importance or worth or role, but this isn't necessarily delusion. "She really believes she's hot stuff. He really believes he's God's gift to women." This symptom -- really believes -- to the point of not even perceiving evidence to the contrary -- is the hallmark of delusion.

999< There is nothing wrong with being full of one's self. Self is God. To depend on others for esteem is unhealthy.

[Ben< 999: Self is God? I see a difference between self-reliance and self-worship.]

wakingdream< Ben: The world is full of illusion -- TV, magazines, politicians, neighbors, friends, ourselves. Illusion has become reality, in a way, for it is in practice everywhere, every day.

FRAML< wakingdream: Yep. We discussed illusion in the second session.

wakingdream< Delusion is much the same. I am sorry. Do not follow where this could be leading. Slow.

[Ben< wakingdream: I agree there is lot of illusion in this swamp, so it is hard to discern the difference between what *seems to be* and what *really is*. However, illusions come and go; delusions are self-reinforcing and thus self-perpetuating.]

[Ben< Hypnotic illusions seem real to the hypnotized person because hypnosis by-passes the conscious mind and places illusions in the subconscious mind. Post-hypnotic suggestion can create persistent delusions.]

Energie< It is our challenge, as conscious, intelligent beings, to try to find our way out of that 'fog' of human superstitions and fantasies, and see what the order that has always been here really looks like ... and feels like.

willapa< Ben: Do you mean to say (by your definition of reality) that when a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, that it makes a sound? *S*

Ben< willapa: We had a rather extensive discussion two weeks ago about the tree that falls in the forest. Lor explained the shift in scientific point of view, from the receiver to the transmitter of pressure waves in the atmosphere as the definition of "sound".

willapa< Ben: So then, how does this jive with an operational viewpoint of "reality is that which is so whether anyone knows it or not and whether anyone likes it or not."? Lor's viewpoint is not scientific, merely discriminatory from an epistemological perspective. I'm sorry I missed Lor's presentation.

Energie< Lor: Looks like you are going to have to think about it some more.

Lor< willapa: Have you reviewed my full comments or have you just been deluded by a brief reference to them? Scientists regularly measure sound pressure waves with instruments whether anyone is listening or not. True scientific inquiry has helped sift out much delusion/misunderstanding of the way things are for centuries now. Yet, new insights keep popping up, gradually clarifying the body of knowledge shared by us all.

[Ben< willapa, Energie: Lor's viewpoint is precisely scientific. Sound waves are real whether or not they are perceived. Look it up in an encyclopedia.]

Yopo< Ben: Odd that I never made the connection between paranoia and delusions of grandeur. I've dealt with quite a few paranoid schizophrenics in my work. Quite a few seemed to have complex delusions about conspiracies they were at the focus of, and often their self-esteem seemed to revolve around the importance that sort of attention seemed to imply.

skier< Are we talking about pathological delusions here or our self-imposed delusions that sometimes become too important a crutch in life?

Ben< skier: We're looking at delusions in general. Some are pathological and some aren't. Minor delusions are still delusions.

LEGS< My first husband was actually a habitual liar, and his stories convinced himself as well as others. Once told, they became the truth ... and the sad thing is, he was quite capable and did do marvelous jobs, and had no need to exaggerate his abilities ... yet he did.

grizzly9< LEGS: My wife's younger brother has done pretty much the same, only he lied to make himself look good and to try and get everyone to feel sorry for him.

Lor< Ben: Manic Depression involves both feelings of grandeur and paranoia, as I understand it.

Energie< This entire 'world order' is based on creating and defending boundaries of all kinds ... personal, professional, institutional, and national boundaries ... material, emotional, intellectual, and even spiritual boundaries. "Reality" is what is going on outside of all those imaginary boundaries.

999< Gurus seek to define what only YOU can define. They hope to keep you dependent on their assessments ... typically for power, money, sex, etc.

Energie< "A human being is a part of the whole called by us 'universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty." ~~ Albert Einstein

LightGrrl< Energie: Great quote!

Tracey< Energie: May I say from an animal rights activist point of view, those words have meant many things to me over the years. *S*

Energie< All of those personal and social boundaries are created by the territorial instincts of the human animal. For ages those instincts have served a useful function. We are now entering a time and place where all of those 'territorial hallucinations' do not work anymore.

[Ben< Hallucinations are false perceptions of sights, sounds, etc., in which the process of perception works backward, from a mental image to a sensory response that seems real to the person. Hallucinogens cause hallucinations.]

Ben< Delusions reprogram part of the operating system of the subconscious mind. Functionally, a delusion is a closed loop in which a false concept dominates perception and interpretation, and thereby continues to reinforce itself. A valid (reality-based) concept may dominate perception and interpretation, but this isn't a delusion.

Yopo< Ben: Hmm ... Sort of a feedback loop.

Ben< QUESTION 3: Guatama Buddha defined Maya as: "The delusion of the duality of opposites." People have discussed duality in several of these seminars. But why do you think Buddha called the duality of opposites a delusion? YOUR TURN

Azriel< Both are part of the whole -- oneness.

shiana< That's a tough one. I guess for me it would seem that there is no duality in the opposites, for they actually co-exist as equal partners in all things. Therefore, to me, since they exist together as one, there can be no duality. imho

Koklee< Could it be that opposites are equally important aspects of one whole?

miss_tree< Because if one cannot operate without the other they are both needed to create a whole, and by being both needed to create the whole, they become one thing, not two separate entities. Therefore the idea that two separate entities (states, things, whatever) exist is a delusion.

5foot2< Opposite sides ... same coin.

Yopo< Uh ... could it again be because there's a self-reinforcing feedback loop of some kind there? The perception of black reinforces the idea of white, and vice versa? (Don't have this idea clear in my mind. )

Ben< An example of the duality of opposites would be "It is either hot or cold." The reality is, temperature varies and is not confined to those two categories.

willapa< Ben: Duality of opposites implies a "duality" which is static. Two forces pitted against each other, paradoxically self-defined. "Reality" must also consist of a third, enactive principle in order not to get caught up in intractable fights between dualistic good-evil, beauty-ugliness, moral-immoral, etc. There must be a creative, enactive principle that TRANSCENDS such weary nonsense, don't you think? *VBS*

Ben< willapa: Yep. We need to transcend dualism. But there are several ways out of it, and some of them lead into other delusions. I'll be pointing to some in a few minutes.

willapa< BTW, the "swamp" of illusion is a great metaphor. *S*

bluestar< re: duality. Perhaps because the balance between opposites is the true reality. Dualities separate and polarize us, whereas finding the balance between opposites can bring us together, unite us. (I realize that I am being simplistic in my explanation.)

skier< Like someone who says "you're either for me or against me" when perhaps I couldn't care less?

miss_tree< Duality is a delusion because the idea of two separate forces is created by the human mind that sees itself as being separate from the rest of the universe.

CancerChild< Duality of opposites consists of black-white, right-wrong, good-bad. There is no gray, and no choice. Reality is that the world is made up of choices ... free will ... and that to get caught up in the duality limits your reality.

FRAML< Ben: Could you please give a definition of "duality of opposites?"

Ben< FRAML: The duality of opposites is a simple concept (either-or). It is useful in many ways, including discernment, decision-making, and formal logic. (Aristotle called it "The law of the excluded middle" and made it an axiom for deductive syllogisms). But duality is a delusion if one *really believes* it is a law of reality and not merely a useful tool for thinking. Those who have this delusion automatically categorize everything into one of two boxes with no gradation (all black or white, no grey).

miss_tree< Ben: It is a way of not having to deal with complexity, useful at times, lazy at others. *s*

bluestar< Ben: I think there are a lot of people who fit in the duality delusion category, unfortunately.

Energie< The reason that people have the impression that they are little solid objects that are separate from each other is because only a tiny fraction of what is actually happening is seen and felt. Seeing and feeling more of what is going on, is an extremely difficult and painful process.

miss_tree< Energie: Actually some of the process is very easy and joyous. *s*

Energie< miss_tree: The awareness of more of what is going on is easy and joyous. The application of that awareness is not so easy.

miss_tree< Energie: I have found that it can be, and that most of the time when it is difficult, it is me that is making it so. *vbs* But this is just my experience so far and I cannot speak for others who might find the whole process difficult.

grizzly9< For every negative there is a positive, for every action there is a reaction. Just at times there may be a great span of time.

CancerChild< The duality ... the delusion of opposites ... creates limited thinking and the inability to see beyond the scope of their opposites.

Lor< Ben: It seems to me that careful scientific inquiry into many of the concepts of religious thought where some possible delusions often abide might be helpful in illuminating the true nature of reality.

miss_tree< Ben: science-or-spirituality ... a delusion of opposites. *vbg*

Ben< miss_tree: Yes. I have a one-page paper about that in "Dialogue" on my site.

Ben< QUESTION 4: Buddha also said: "Until you escape Maya, you cannot progress." So, how do you think one might go about escaping the delusion of the duality of opposites? Any suggestions? YOUR TURN

FRAML< Ben: To acknowledge that some issues may be "black or white" while many will not be.

Ben< FRAML: Yes, "SOME" is an antidote for the delusion of the duality "ALL or NONE".

Yopo< Maybe by trying to know things without judging them?

bluestar< Be born as a Libra? ;-)

grizzly9< bluestar: I too am a Libra -- the balancer.

Lor< Ben: I posted a possible response to Question 4 just two entries before you asked it -- LOL!

CancerChild< To escape the duality of opposites requires expansion of thinking and the desire to change. Listening to others and accepting them unconditionally changes the delusion that there is only "either-or". With awareness comes responsibility, and being responsible for ourselves and allowing the true "gray" to come into our reality allows us to change.

Ben< CancerChild: Well said. Thanks.

skier< But have you ever known someone who tried to see all the shades of grey at once and was crippled by indecision?

Ben< skier: Yes, I've seen many lost in "all gray" thinking.

skier< The concept of light is meaningless without darkness; the concept of joy is incomprehensible without sorrow. Everything is part of the whole. God is infinite, so he can accommodate even the contradictory.

bluestar< Seriously, if one lives life to the fullest, and makes one's decisions based on a loving and true heart and a sound mind, one cannot help but get past the duality of opposites. Real life and real people just don't fit neatly into black-white categories.

CancerChild< To escape the delusion of opposites we have to expand our awareness and be open to the new -- be willing to listen and accept without judgment.

Energie< It always involves huge changes in personal values ... and life styles.

Walt**< Escaping the delusion of the duality of opposites ... by being indifferent to the world, being in the world and not part of it ... by enjoying the fruit of the action without remainder. Not too hard to do when you become one with the Indweller.

CancerChild< There are many times when we, as humans, get stuck in a way of thinking without being willing to listen to others' points of view or to compromise or "give a little". The delusion that "I am RIGHT, you are WRONG" or that I am GOOD, you think different than I do, therefore you are BAD. We break out of that delusion by listening to others and incorporating what will help us expand and grow. There is not right or wrong ... things just ARE ... as I AM.

grizzly9< There is always black and white, and also the gray area that so many people walk in trying to decide which is black and which is white.

Lor< Ben: I sense that there is generally a full spectrum of possibilities that lie between the two extremes represented by the concept of duality. People tend to try to simplify this more complicated picture of reality by narrowing it all down to one extreme or the other. It just is not as easy to deal with this wider concept, hence the basis for Buddha's remark.

Ben< grizzly9, Lor: Good points. Well said. Thanks.

Haggai< So, what about "absolutes"? Are there none?

999< The statement that "There are no absolutes" is an absolute statement.

Frozen_Moon< 999: LOL

Ben< Many believe there are clear differences between true and false, good and evil, right and wrong, but this belief isn't necessarily the delusion of the duality of opposites. It can be and often is based in reality, a result of discernment, personal experience, and study of the historical experiences of the human race. When it is based in reality, this belief is one of the characteristics of wisdom.

Esop< Ben: What would be a clear example of the delusion of the duality of opposites, besides hot and cold?

[Ben< Esop: The delusion that everything is either good or bad.]

Azriel< Ben: Didn't organized religion help create this type of concrete thinking?

[Ben< Azriel: Perhaps, in some areas, but religion has no monopoly on dualistic thinking.]

Ben< Here is a false path out of the delusion of duality: "everything" and "nothing" are both absolute assertions. Post-modern thinking jumped from one extreme to the other, from the delusion that everything is either true or false (dualism), to the delusion that nothing is true or false (nihilism).

FRAML< Ben: I believe it is believing in "nihilism" that bore fruit at Littleton.

Haggai< So, let me get this right. Murder is an absolute wrong and let's say charity is an absolute right? Or nihilism could be defined as "life without absolutes?"

CancerChild< Ben: Explain that please. *S* Is that not an example of the duality of opposites right there? The jumping from one extreme to another rather than exploring the space in between ????

Ben< CancerChild: Let me defer that explanation for a few minutes.

CancerChild< **pout**

999< Extreme implies a limit ... an ABSOLUTE.

CancerChild< LOL

999< Yet, Creator (absolute) has given the physical "Universe" as a relativity playground.

Energie< In the final analysis, everything that exists in all of Creation, including us, is the result of Natural forces, and Natural processes that have been going on for thousands of millions of years. It is our challenge then, to try to find our way out of the unnatural order that people have created with their own thoughts and feelings. And see what that Natural Order that has always existed actually looks like, and feels like.

Walt**< Re: absolutes ... From Realm of Soul comes **Perfect Factual Knowledge and Perfect Factual Health**.

Ben< Genuine relativists say: "I am not *absolutely* sure of anything; however, I am *relatively* sure of many things with a degree of confidence that is sufficient to believe in and act upon. I believe this is a realistic appraisal of our situation."

[Ben< Post-modern so-called relativists say *everything* is a matter of opinion, and *everyone* has a right to their own opinion. Unfortunately, these folks don't realize they aren't relativists -- "everything" and "everyone" are absolutes. So they have jumped from one delusion (all black-or-white) to another delusion (all grey), without exploring the *relative* shades of grey between those two absolutes.]

grizzly9< Nowadays there is not enough faith in anything and TOO much indecisiveness.

Frozen_Moon< grizzly9: That comes with the added communications abilities we have, and enhanced technology. Human minds perhaps are not prepared for the leaders of the pack who could develop the race at a rapid pace? (The Internet is a GRAND tool of communication.)

grizzly9< The Internet can be a great tool for communication as proven here, but it can also be a great tool of destruction as proven in all the insane shootings and massacres in the past few weeks. AND ESPECIALLY IN THE SCHOOLS IN MY HOME TOWN ONLY TWO DAYS AGO.

skier< grizzly9: It happened in my back yard, too. I agree with Ben about nihilism.

grizzly9< In our junior high school there was found that a kid had created a hit list of kids he/she wanted to kill.

Frozen_Moon< grizzly9: LOLOL ... there are probably a LOT of kids who have such lists. I mean -- that would probably almost be a common thing.

grizzly9< I live near a small town of Innisfail, Alberta, Canada. Eight days after the shooting at Littleton, a kid in Taber, Alberta (about 3 hours away), shot two other kids, one dead, the other in serious condition in hospital. Then three days later the list was found in my kids' school.

Walt**< Grizzly: In all our home towns, the media has shown nutty kids all over the country how to cause mayhem.

freehawk< Walt: Mayhem also serves a purpose. *S*

Haggai< freehawk: How so?

freehawk< Haggai: I truly believe that nothing "bad" ever happens, it all leads to growth and expansion. The event in Littleton (about twenty miles from where I sit) led to much introspection and brought people together. In the limited material view it was tragic, in the larger Cosmic view it was necessary and good.

Haggai< freehawk: I suppose saying that "nothing bad happens" may depend on whether you are an outsider looking in or laying your dead child to rest.

Esop< freehawk: The hearts of the survivors can make good come of an event, but the event itself was bad and evil and tragic. The choices people make afterwards don't change the nature of the event itself.

freehawk< Esop: Respectfully, I disagree. During the event many students in the school faced tests and passed them. Yes, people died, but there really is no death, they simply transition. The ones I truly feel for are the two young men who did the act. They have much to answer for.

Frozen_Moon< If you don't believe in good/evil concept, then you must not believe in good as much as you do not believe in evil. *shrugs* I've always had that kinda opinion on those sorta things. In reference to that, however, I cannot disconnect from the good side of things, so I have just decided to experience all of life and it's colors -- bright or dark. :-)

999< Here's some great advice: Don't take advice from anyone.

Frozen_Moon< 999: Good advice. I may just have to disregard that bit of advice.

999< Frozen_Moon: That would be my advice.

Ben< SUMMARY: Delusion is the result of successful deception or self-deception. Any delusion is a false concept, internalized as though it were true and used as part of the operating system of the subconscious mind. Delusions persist despite evidence to the contrary because the false concept governs perception and interpretation of incoming data. That is why it is so difficult to escape from delusion by one's own efforts. Others may be able to help, if one will listen to them, but the best way out of delusion is to pay attention to the stubborn facts of external reality that don't care what anyone thinks or feels.

CancerChild< Ben: Stubborn facts?? ... such as?

skier< Such as there really is good and evil??

Frozen_Moon< skier: Depends on how you reference good and evil. :-)

Ben< CancerChild: Stubborn facts, as Kipling wrote in his poem "The Gods of the Copybook Headings": fire will burn, water will wet, and the law of gravity applies to you (unless you actually learn to levitate. *smile*)

Lor< CancerChild: I know there are some things that are really wrong for me and some others that are right for me. I suspect that to say things just ARE without any concern for any ethics involved tends to be somewhat irresponsible, don't you? It tends to make a lot of difference of what happens in the future when people begin to realize they should emphasize actions that benefit themselves and others.

CancerChild< Lor: I agree that there are some things that are really right for me and some things that are really wrong for me, but are they the same for you? To live my life the best I can for everyone involved there must be a balance within ME ... for the facts just are ... but the responsibility lies within me to clarify the ethics for myself and live them. By doing so, others will benefit. If I do not live as I believe, I harm those around me. Did that make sense?

skier< CancerChild: Harming those around you is the only real evil there is.

CancerChild< skier: Intentional harm, yes, but how about the harm that comes when I am not aware of my actions and I am not living as I should ... by my choice? Are my choices then evil??

skier< CancerChild: I think the concept of evil involves intentional harm for one's own gain.

Ben< COMMENT: Old Maya is the delusion that reality is limited to what we can perceive with our physical senses (this is the delusion of materialism). Buddha's definition of Maya is the delusion that reality consists of pairs of opposites (dualism). New Maya is the delusion that there is no reality (nihilism).

Ben< COMMENT: Starting in the Renaissance, people were taught to rely on facts and disregard their feelings. Those who do so become rational and unemotional. In the last 35 years, people were taught to get in touch with their feelings. Now many rely on their feelings and disregard facts. Those who do so become emotional and irrational. Both of these groups need to understand the nature of facts and feelings and build a more balanced approach to their mental and emotional life.

CancerChild< Ben: AHHH, balance! *VBG* As long as I keep running how I feel through my brain and what I think through my heart, reality will continue as best it can. *S*

Ben< /topic Discussion of Delusion

bluestar< Thanks for leading us once again through the swamp, Ben. Pleasant journeys to you and all. Until next time, vayan con Dios. :-)

skier< Ben: Yes, thank you so much. My mind needed some exercise after being trapped in a body confined to the blue plush prison for two days!!

Ben< All who are leaving: Blessings ... and don't forget to wipe the swamp mud off your shoes before you enter your house.

dancer< Ben: This may be an odd analogy, but what keeps coming to mind is a lesson from the book "Drawing With The Right Side Of The Brain." One exercise in it emphasizes that what we recognize easily we really no longer see ... not the details ... so it takes pictures of familiar objects, like Einstein's face, and has you draw them upside down ... enter into it with no preconceived ideas and draw only the reality before you. Seems a way to avoid delusion would be to rid oneself of preconceptions ... though that is easier said than done.

[Ben< dancer: Yes. Setting aside our preconceptions is the first step in trying to see things as they really are.]

Lor< I'm led to believe that perhaps those who are deluded may be thought of as unbalanced in some sense or other.

Haggai< Lor: So let me understand ... let's say abortion is right for one, but not for another ... then I must conclude there are no absolutes?

Lor< Haggai: But what if you are deluded? I sincerely believe that sometimes one action may be right or correct while at others that same action would be very wrong. Similarly, what is proper for some would be improper to others. Yet this doesn't necessarily lead to the conclusion that there are not ANY absolutes, does it? It seems this may have been a bit of what Buddha was driving at -- to say if a few things are one way or another, then all have to be thought of in this way.

Frozen_Moon< Haggai: Just my little tid-bit here ... I think that in order to really live up to the label of a "mystic" you have to cut all strings. First of all, lose the life dramas, etc., then find the source (or maybe those two should be switched). In the end, if you are really, really connected, you will probably find that, in the end, there are no rules, the courts are infinitely open, and you are to make the shots. It's not a matter of how right or wrong you were, but more of a matter of how it influenced yourself and the others around you.

Haggai< Frozen Moon: But doesn't that lead to chaos?

Frozen_Moon< Haggai: *nods* Yup, it's a VEEERY difficult way to live -- down that path. I've not been there, but I have a VERY close friend who is VEEERY similar to me (in dang near every way -- we coincidentally have the same names). What makes it difficult is the "human factor" that is involved.

Thur< Frozen_Moon: How do you define a "Mystic" ?

Frozen_Moon< Thur: Somebody without moral or emotional or philosophical bounds. Somebody who (*chuckles*) normal people would call psycho.

Thur< Frozen_Moon: OK, thanks. Just wondered where you were coming from. It doesn't coincide with my definition.

Frozen_Moon< Thur: *nods with a smile* Hard word to define.

Haggai< So we are back to the same question: are there absolutes? Or let me rephrase that. Is there absolute right or wrong? As in the 10 commandments?

Frozen_Moon< Haggai: Interesting you ask that. That same friend of mine is a bit of a Christian Mystic, in that he follows quite a few of the Christian ways, but in a VERY non-doctrinal way. Anyway, he did a bit of research on the 10 commandments and found some interesting things. :-) To keep it simple: the 10 commandments weren't "original" ... they were derived from an earlier branch of some form of governed religion. (don't remember which; he did tell me, though)

Frozen_Moon< Haggai: *shrugs* also for me, I see "God" as limit-LESS, as in NO limits ... and it's hard to imagine a God that is infinite, while yet at the same time *requires* (doesn't ask) *requires* us lowly humans to worship him, and his son, and to live by his rules. All in all, it sounds soooo much like you're doing that to some high religious (political) figure. Belief systems is one of THE most powerful driving factors in people. Look at the Kamikazes of WW2 and such. *shrugs* Dang near close to the power of love and sometimes even more powerful.

Ben< Frozen_Moon: Perhaps sometime we need to get into the various deceptive definitions of deity. *smile*

Thur< Ben: Definitions of deity would be interesting.

Frozen_Moon< Ben: *curious* what is a deity?

Ben< Frozen_Moon: A deity is a god or goddess, an object of worship.

Frozen_Moon< Ben: I need to have a name for my Computer, then. It is my only Deity I think that I have in my life!!

Ben< COMMENT: Nihilists deny the existence of reality. They say, "We believe in nothing. There is no reality. Do as you please." Thus, many so-called "relativists" are actually nihilists by another name. They are deep in denial, kept there by the delusion that nothing is real.

FRAML< Ben: Thus, denying the world we live in is reality and saying it is only a fantasy, is a delusion. It makes sense to me.

[Ben< Nihilism means "nothing-ism" -- (1) denial of the existence of any basis for truth, values, morality, or authority; (2) rejection of customary beliefs, especially in ethics and religion; (3) the belief there is no meaning or purpose in existence, (4) the doctrine that existing institutions must be completely destroyed.]

skier< Ben: It must be nice to be able to absolve yourself of all responsibility with that line of thinking.

CancerChild< skier: The prisons are full of people who do.

Ben< skier: Perhaps so. I wouldn't know, because I don't think that way. I ran into some realities (*ker-bump*) when I was about three years old, and I didn't forget that there really are things which are so whether I believe it or not.

skier< Ben: I think that is exactly what happened to me, too.

grizzly9< Ben: Those who follow the path of Wicca have a belief "Do as thou wilt, but harm none".

[Ben< grizzly9: The Wiccan commandment "harm none" is stated as an absolute ethical imperative. It is the difference between white and black witchcraft.]

Haggai< So would you say that the comment "Do what thou wilt" denies any absolutes?

[Ben< Haggai: It is an absolute. Unless modified as Wiccans have done, it denies all external ethical standards, whether those standards are absolute or relative.]

Haggai< Ben: So, what about those who insist that we create our own reality?

CancerChild< Haggai: In a sense, we do create our own reality by the choices we make. Ben made reference to the absolute facts. The reality of those ARE ... but what we do with them is by choice ... our own reality.

miss_tree< CancerChild: And how we perceive those "absolute facts" influences how we conceive of them and our reality.

Ben< Haggai: We create concepts in our minds. With a lot of hard work, we can transform some of those concepts into realities, like houses and cars and computers and such. But those who think that whatever they believe is therefore real are kidding themselves.

grizzly9< Being a father of four, how can there have been any good come out of the shooting at Littleton?

CancerChild< grizzly9: Many times there is a difference between good and lessons.

freehawk< grizzly9: The good is unlimited! People coming together and talking about God ... people helping people ... the introspection going on here is amazing. During the act many showed honor and courage and overcame many things that were possibly holding them back from their oneness. The deaths are hard and tragic from a limited viewpoint; try to look at things in the bigger picture. My brother was in a high school fifteen miles from Columbine and I hope my attitude would be the same if he had transitioned that day. *S*

grizzly9< freehawk: I do see your point. Thank you. BUT can the parents of the slain children see the same point?

freehawk< grizzly9: You would be amazed at the forgiveness in the hearts of some of the parents and in the community. It is wonderful to see. *S*

Frozen_Moon< freehawk: *nods* Yup.

freehawk< Frozen_Moon: :~)

grizzly9< For some, forgiveness may come easy. I don't think it would come so easy to me.

Esop< freehawk: Yes, there were lessons, and there will continue to be lessons. But the nature of the act itself was pure evil, fueled by hatred and insanity. And nothing, nothing can change the nature of that act. I agree those two have much to answer for, and I am glad I finally saw "What Dreams May Come" because when I saw Hell, I thought of them.

freehawk< Esop: I don't believe in "hell". By my beliefs those two are already reincarnated, and in this life they will be forced to deal with their past actions. I don't think you can label anything "pure evil" for in everything there is the Divine. For example: Armageddon will be a terrible time for all still in the material, but in the long run it will be the best thing because it will force individuals to look beyond the material.

dbn< freehawk: I don't think it's so much looking for reasons (whether inner or outer) so much as it is looking for some basis for understanding.

freehawk< Yes, dbn, but can the answer to that question be found by looking at the outer??

dbn< freehawk: Sure! If what one seeks is the outer, then the answers will be there. If one seeks inner answers, then that's where they'll be found. There's no right way to look at it. Everyone is on her/his own path. I believe the answers (if we can call them that) are in both places: the inner and the outer.

freehawk< dbn: Respectfully, I must disagree. I think we have spent too long looking for answers in material things and have only gotten farther from the Source. Materiality can be a guide, but the true knowledge is inner not outer. IMHO *S*

dbn< Freehawk: I think we're talking about two different things. Outer things aren't necessarily material. At least not to me. But maybe it's just our personal definitions. We are here to BE human, not just to focus on our spirits. We should remember to be *both*. Forgetting one dishonors the other.

grizzly9< The first things that everyone yells about after these shootings is gun control. WRONG. How about KID control instead.

999< The only thing we can control is our SELVES.

miss_tree< 999: Agreed, though many people would rather try to control others.

999< miss_tree: It's an epidemic obsession.

freehawk< 999: I agree! *S* Everyone seems to want to find outer reasons -- guns, video games, music, parents -- when in reality the only reason is inside.

FEMPSYCH< 999: I even had to turn that one over to God, because I kept messing up too much. *S*

999< Even "God" doesn't try to control people.

miss_tree< 999: Well, if you spend all your time trying to force others to conform to your standards so that they don't annoy you, then you don't have to work on controlling and dealing with your own annoyance and anger. *g*

Energie< The most important thing to do right now, is to figure out how to get past your own noise long enough to see what 'humility' is. "Knowledge Without Humility Is a House Without a Door".

SoulTraveler< Open question ... Is it worse for Dr. Kevorkian to inject his patients with their consent or to have people gunned down without their consent? Which is right or wrong?

Energie< "Row, row, row your boat ~ Gently down the stream ~ Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ~ Life is but a dream." And it might be time to wake up, any day now.

Haggai< And we dance, dance, dance, but no one really has an answer.

Lor< Haggai: I sometimes feel that is what life is -- an experimental search for understanding what is true, absolute, real and not a delusion or misconception of someone's. Hopefully, we'll learn to insert some sense of kindness, feeling/caring for others, humility, graciousness, fair play, etc. in our dealings with others and not teach anyone to hate anything or anyone.

Frozen_Moon< Haggai: That's the fun of it. :-) Don't look to someone else for an answer. You'll never be 100% satisfied. Look inside, and eventually you'll BE 100% satisfied even though it may look like a looong pointless road. (It IS long!! I'm still waaay too young on it. *sigh*)

miss_tree< Haggai: Because the learning is always in the question, not the answer; in the quest, not the destination. *s*

Haggai< miss_tree: It is my opinion that we need absolutes; hence, what happened in Littleton. I am sure those young men had lots of questions but no answers.

miss_tree< Haggai: How is what happened in Littleton an absolute? And it seems that those young men found themselves an answer and proclaimed it loudly enough for the world to hear ... sadly enough.

Haggai< You misunderstood me, miss_tree. It was the lack of absolutes that perhaps created the horrific event.

miss_tree< Haggai: Oh ... thanks for making that clear, I think. *lol* How did a lack of absolutes create it? What absolutes?

Frozen_Moon< Haggai: More like a lack of proper nourishment as children ... parents not doing their job. I like the commandment "Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother." These days, there needs to be an addition to that saying "Thy father and thy mother shalt honor their heirs and children."

Haggai< miss_tree, Frozen_Moon: The lack of absolutes, such as no apparent "absolute" right or wrong, causes fuzzy boundaries. OK to shoot em' up on TV and video games, even fun, but then when we come to reality ... what? OK to kill unborn babies and pardon murders ... lack of justice in our system. Dual standards for the rich, etc.

Frozen_Moon< Haggai: *sighs* In this world and in this political system, my dear, morals mean nothing. Spiritual/psychological dilemmas mean nothing. It's about who's rubbing who's back and who's getting the dollar bill. *sigh*

999< Frozen_Moon: All the media attention does is spotlight the act so others will repeat it, and of course, generate revenue for sponsors and news sources.

Frozen_Moon< 999: Oh, hell, yes! And that just drives me crazy. *sighs* *Tries to clear himself*

Ben< Haggai: Is there absolute right or wrong? (or no right or wrong?) I believe there are relative rights and wrongs that aren't difficult to see and understand. For example, abuse is abuse no matter who does it or who it is done to. That isn't an absolute, but it is very close to a universal bit of ethics.

[Ben< Absolutists say there are rules that have no exceptions. Relativists say there are no rules that have no exceptions. Nihilists say there are no rules.]

FEMPSYCH< It just dawned on me that the inability to forgive is created by the duality of opposites ... for if I am wronged, then do I need to forgive, or do I continue carrying the pain, anger and inability to let go with me? Forgiveness allows us to accept the fact and not continue carrying it with us. Forgiveness does not mean that it is OK that it happened, just that it is not going to affect my life in a negative way anymore.


freehawk< FEMPSYCH: Yes, I agree! I think that it is the realization that it is OK that it happened also though ... that divine justice will be meted and that our loved ones are still learning and growing and that we also have learned from our pain.

999< freehawk: What would be "justice?"

freehawk< 999: That is hard to answer from my limited viewpoint. I believe in cause and effect: you do an action (be it "good" or "bad") and you reap the effect, (either "good" or "bad"). Why are some born in the US with a silver spoon in their mouth and some born in Kosovo and are going through material hell? Divine Justice is the only logical answer to me. You reap what you sow.

Chaza< I totally agree with that, freehawk. Divine justice is the only logical answer -- for every action there is a just and equal recompense.

999< freehawk: Cause and effect ... so these killers will have the same done to them in future lives? Where does the cycle end?

freehawk< 999: The cycle ends when one has overcome all their causes and raises to the oneness with the Divine once again.

999< freehawk: OK. (I don't believe in karma, personally).

dbn< But, freehawk, you leave no room for free will. Sometimes we simply choose an experience out of sheer curiosity. We choose human experiences for just that: experiences. Divine Justice implies (to me, anyway) that there is some higher power controlling everything and everyone. I think we have far more control than that.

freehawk< dbn: I don't believe in Kismet or fate. With cause and effect, you definitely have free will and do choose actions, but the experiences or people in your life are there for a specific reason. I am not a teacher and often don't put my thoughts down clearly ... for this I apologize. *S*

miss_tree< freehawk: So do you believe that someone who is born blind is being punished?

freehawk< miss_tree: Not necessarily. There is some need for that experience that has been set up, but it is so individual.

FEMPSYCH< freehawk: When someone is hurt through another's intentional actions, it is never OK, for the action was wrong. When I forgive, I am saying that my pain was a result of that action, and right or wrong does not matter anymore, for in my forgiving, I have let go of the need to continue with the judgment which results in the continuing of the pain. ... duality of opposites. For me to forgive means I have moved out of that duality within me and will no longer react to it and let it control my life ... I forgive ... give forth ...

miss_tree< FEMPSYCH: Forgiveness is an action, not a reaction. *s* A reaction is an expenditure of energies that reaffirms the initial action (which was probably a reaction to something else ... and the semi-conscious cycle continues.)

dbn< Excellent point, miss_tree! (And one of my favorites.)

FEMPSYCH< miss_tree: I agree. I will not continue the reaction of pain by doing the action of forgiving. *S*

miss_tree< FEMPSYCH: Thereby moving the emphasis from pain and hatred to love and compassion. *vbs*

FEMPSYCH< miss_tree: Yes, I no longer feel pain and hatred for the person who harmed me, but feel the love and caring for myself. Forgiveness is something I do for me. *S*

Haggai< FEMPSYCH: Good for you! That is the true meaning of forgiveness and also the true result!

Ben< FEMPSYCH: Good point. To forgive doesn't mean to pardon or excuse. It means to release, to let go.

FEMPSYCH< Ben: Thank you. *S*

SoulTraveler< As much as I deplore violence both privately and enmass, I believe I would shoot those two boys if I had a rifle and a clear shot. It would stop the killing by killing. Why didn't those two boys commit suicide to start with? Most of these crazed shooters first kill their families or co-workers then turn the gun on themselves as a last desperate act. Why not just do the suicide first?

FRAML< SoulTraveler: The boys felt they were on a mission of revenge for those who oppressed them; i.e. made them into victims.

Haggai< SoulTraveler: But you are talking about two of our fellow human beings, almost children at that, who if one would believe in hell, will spend eternity there. They were poor lost souls, crying out in pain and nobody seemed to hear.

SoulTraveler< Haggai: In a way I agree, but crying out in pain is one thing, and taking a rifle and deliberately murdering people is another. It's just another version of the sweet little old family Rotweiller that is all fun and games at home, but goes out on killing rampages when he's not at home with his master. They ARE sweet and innocent when they want to be, but are also cold-blooded killers at the same time! Same goes for those boys.

Frozen_Moon< Haggai: To me they were, yeah, lost kids crying out to somebody for attention -- attention that they probably didn't get when they were babies, nor much of when they were growing up. From the new reports I guess it's starting to sound like that. These are the "Goths" as they sometimes label themselves; "misfits" they call themselves ... sure. *shrugs* They do it for attention and your energy. Totally sad, but at this point in my life, I have little compassion for them.

Ben< SoulTraveler: I agree. Given the chance, I would stop those two boys any way I could, and forgive them later, for my own sake, so as not to carry anger within me.

SoulTraveler< Ben: Yes, they needed to be stopped since they obviously couldn't control themselves. I don't buy this 'Poor misunderstood youth' BS. Children were killing children in the Civil War in the USA. Children are killing children with autos while drunk or on drugs or simply inexperienced. Same goes for old folks who can't see or are demented or impaired some way.

Chaza< Just now occurred to me that with all our technology why can the authorities not shoot to knock out, anesthetize or debilitate long enough to capture people vs killing them? Just a thought.

dbn< SoulTraveler: I understand your point, but it has some holes. Childhood is a new concept, almost entirely one of this century. An 8-year-old with a gun in 1862 was normal, and an 8-year-old was expected to pull an adult's "weight". Children killing isn't necessarily new, but numbers of children committing mass murder *is* new.

SoulTraveler< dbn: You're right. I was just pointing out that it's not a new thing. The reason it is being perpetuated now is a new phenomenon, one I hope will cease. But Europe is already in a killing frenzy. I just heard on the news about another bombing in London. They're still fighting a religious war there that should've ended centuries ago.

miss_tree< SoulTraveler: Good point. and how can the leader of a nation that is currently at war get on TV after the Littleton massacre and say "We need to teach our children to resolve conflict through discussion not violence"? A naive thing to say at best; at worst, blind idiocy and hypocrisy. Naive given the context; not naive as a belief that communication will resolve conflict. *s*

SoulTraveler< miss_tree: *S* I agree. If NATO is so hot on taking sides in a religious war, why isn't it bombing London and/or Dublin? I didn't see NATO or anyone else involved in the Tutsi-Hutu massacre in Africa. I think over 800,000 were massacred there in a short time.

miss_tree< SoulTraveler: It would be naive to assume that NATO didn't have various self interests in becoming involved in this conflict when genocide and inter-tribal warring has been occurring all over the place.

Chaza< Our society is sick, but a few people -- more all the time -- refuse to accept that and are doing something. The entire military power of the USA could not get three POWs -- children, really -- released, but today one person did: Jesse Jackson (thank you, Jesse). And he also got Milosevic to agree to consider stopping the war -- and Milosevic will now talk with USA.

dbn< Chaza: It's not military power that was ever attempting to get those men released. It was the diplomatic, behind-the-scenes stuff that was working on it. Rev. Jackson didn't go there without the knowledge and help of our State Dept., and the PTB with NATO. I don't mean to minimize what he's done. It's just that our military doesn't engage in diplomatic relations.

Chaza< dbn: Whatever ... the point is, ONE PERSON walked in there and did it, and he is not even in our government in any post or position.

dbn< I disagree, Chaza. I think it's simplistic to believe he did it all alone. Talks and bargaining have been ongoing, and are still continuing. It's a process, a continuum. I think ol' Jesse just managed to be the one who was there when they caved, and I also think he said the right things at the right times. But to think he was alone in this accomplishment is to turn a blind eye to the realities of international diplomacy.

FRAML< dbn: I think that Milosevic is merely playing Jesse for the good press that he (Milosevic) figures he will gain from this. And Jesse will continue to criticize Clinton for no additional charge.

dbn< FRAML: LOL! You may be right. It's all such a game, isn't it?

Chaza< dbn: Of course he had help to get there, but he is not a member of our govt. At any rate, I think it's great and I am grateful they are freed.

dbn< Chaza: You're right. We should all be grateful, regardless of the political stuff. Thanks for the reminder. :-)

Energie< All you can ever find in your own noise is what you already know.

[The following was scattered through the discussion. I complied it for continuity]

Azriel< Ben: As always, very thought provoking, thank you. Namaste, All! My brain is turning to mush!

Energie< That's OK. You do not have to strain your brain so hard. Nature is about to give all of humanity some much needed lessons on how the universe works.

dancer< Energie: Is your need to see humanity punished by nature any different than the need the two boys in Columbine felt when they pulled the trigger to punish those who caused them pain?

Energie< dancer: That's your idea -- Not mine.

dancer< Energie: No, it was a question. I'm wondering at the joy you find in the concept of impending destruction ... never mind.

Energie< In the Natural Order of this world, Creation and destruction are equal. There is not anything anywhere that has ever been put together, that does not, sooner or later, get taken apart. Your denial of destruction is causing you to become destructive.

FRAML< dancer: Nihilism is wanting the destruction of everything and everyone.

dancer< FRAML: So it seems.

Energie< This room is too emotionally diseased to have an intelligent discussion. And so is this whole society. The idea that there is some order and meaning to what is happening right now is just a big nuisance. What is happening right here in this room is an example of the social disintegration that is going on everywhere right now.

Ben< Energie: Are you sitting in judgment over everyone in this room? "Emotionally diseased" is a personal opinion on your part and a thoroughly negative value judgment.

Energie< Ben: Emotional dis-ease is not a personal opinion. Any more than a hurricane is a personal opinion.

dbn< Energie: Gotta say that I think you're way off base. This is, in fact, one of the most intelligent discussions I've seen in *any* room here in a very long time (too long!).

freehawk< dbn: :~)

miss_tree< dbn: *vbs*

Frozen_Moon< Energie: I must agree with dbn. :-)

Energie< If this is an intelligent discussion, we are in serious trouble ... hee, hee.

Lor< It seems to me many here are ascribing motives to the two killers in Littleton that represent what they themselves might have felt in their place, but that we really do not have a lot of REAL facts before us as to their actual motivations. They do need our continued concern, as do the other young people around the country that now have thought it "cool" to emulate them. We need to be concerned about our SICK society, it seems to me. We seem to be learning much too slowly how to live among others.

Frozen_Moon< What irks me the most about this is that when people hear this stuff say "Oh how dreadful! That must be so sad. It's sad to see people that do that! God, I'll say a prayer tonight." And they do (or don't) and then they don't do one dang freaking thing about it to change things. *sighs*

dbn< You're right. Concern without action is almost useless. (Not quite, but almost.)

freehawk< dbn: Yes, friend, of course you are correct. We must try to be balanced on all four planes. Thank you for reminding me of that!! *S*

Frozen_Moon< dbn: Very, very close to pointless. I'd like to organize a massive nation-wide sit-out where students sit OUT of school for a month or a week and go on strike in response to all the freaking guns in school ... not because I want to skip school, but just to have the KIDS finally come out and SAY something! The media does a lot of blabbing, sure! But what the heck good does that do?

Yopo< What I have concluded about the Columbine event is that the kids were running bad programs. I DO place the blame at least in part on violent movies, violent television, violent video games, etc. Watch that sorta stuff, play those sorta games, and a kid is downloading behavior programs. If they do that in relative isolation (that is, if they are socially isolated, and are not receiving input of value programs and behavior programs to counteract that stuff), what do we expect will happen? And the tools needed to run the bad programs are readily at hand in our society. IMHO

dbn< Yopo: You're right. Just observing violence desensitizes us to it. Study after study shows this, and it's now irrefutable. It's not one or even two of those things. It's all those things crammed into a slanted mind.

Yopo< dbn: Yes, desensitizing is definitely an element there. That, and the endlessly repeated lesson on television and in film that guns are objects of personal empowerment. (I'm not intending that as an anti-gun statement, BTW. What I'm critical of is that violent entertainment creates exactly what we've been discussing here tonight ... a delusion that a firearm empowers the PERSON on some psychological level.)

dbn< Yopo: Absolutely! But tell ya what ... *I'll* say it as an anti-gun statement. People certainly do see guns and other weapons as means of personal empowerment. I saw a sign today at the protest in Denver: it said, "Little peckers need big guns". At first, I thought it was kinda tasteless, but then I realized it was a way of saying what we're saying here.

Chaza< Yopo: Well put. People who feel powerless use guns for a sense of empowerment.

Ben< Yopo: "Running bad programs" ... yes ... wallowing in and reinforcing their own dark fantasies. With too many tools available to reinforce those fantasies. They planned for a year, and acted out their fantasies.

freehawk< Ben: Where do these fantasies originate?? My younger brother (17) loves violent movies and violent video games, etc., but the thought of doing actual violence is foreign to him.

Frozen_Moon< freehawk: Perhaps a lack of freedom. (stirring thoughts here) I've been so dang protected as a child, it ain't funny. I'm still like a baby to my parents at 19. (I just turned 19 today) and I have VERY, VERY little freedom. *sigh*

Ben< freehawk: Your brother apparently understands the difference between fantasy and reality. For him the movies and video games are games. And he hasn't the fulminating hatred that leads to violence. I believe most of our young people are like that. The exceptions make the newspapers.

FEMPSYCH< Ben: I agree. *S*

freehawk< Yes, Ben, you are correct. It is a shame that the exceptions are the ones the public policies are aimed at. *S*

Frozen_Moon< Ben: I (as a teenager) will confirm that whole-heartedly!! VERY, VERY true.

freehawk< Happy Birthday, Frozen_Moon! You are surely an intelligent and mature 19!! Perhaps it is time for you to spread your wings??

LEGS< Frozen_Moon: Happy Birthday, dear heart.

Ben< Frozen_Moon: Happy Birthday! Namaste. /|\

dancer< Frozen_Moon: Happy Birthday. *S*

Frozen_Moon< *blushes* yeah ... simple 19 today. You know, the day I turn 21, I'm gonna walk in some bar or tavern or something ... sit down ... and ask the bartender for an orange juice.

Yopo< Ben: A while back I saw an ad on TV for some video game. Forget which. But the ad, in brief, showed a guy dressed in a suit walking down a city street. He passed a series of people ... a vendor, a homeless person, etc ... and each momentarily transformed into a menacing figure with one sort of weapon or another. Flashbacks to his recent video game experience, you see. THIS to emphasize what a powerful and exciting thing the game experience was. Scared the c--p outa me.

Ben< Yopo: I agree. A lot of video games and movies are really bad programming to put in anyone's mind. This society could do something about that, but the government probably won't because there is so much money involved.

Koklee< Good night all. Thanks for the seminar, Ben.

freehawk< Good night, all! Ben, I don't know if this is where you were hoping your discussion tonight would go, but for me it has been very beneficial. Thank you, and to everyone here... take care and Love and Light to all!! *S*

Frozen_Moon< Well I gotta head off. Dad has come in to harass me about going to bed. Been a VERY nice seminar tonight. ((((Ben)))) Thank you for organizing and leading. :-)

SoulTraveler< dbn: I keep guns for practical uses, not for personal empowerment. I live on a farm, and if I hear a commotion outside in the middle of the night, I need some empowerment when I walk into something unknown causing trouble. Negotiating with it or them is out of the question. I was driving home one night minding my own business about 1 a.m. and these two young men about 19 or 20 pulled up beside me and yelled something. It was winter, and I had to roll my glass down. By the time I did that, they had jumped out of the car and were about to jerk my door open and drag me out. I shoved a loaded Colt .45 into the guy's face who had hold of the door handle and he backed up fast. They decided it wasn't worth the trouble. I had actually forgot to take it in the house after being out in the country shooting at cans and bottles.

dbn< SoulTraveler: I hear you, but I disagree. I think they just bring violence to you. I believe they create a consciousness of danger and violation and thus, violence.

Chaza< dbn: I also concur that focusing on negativity in any form -- as discussed in media/news/movies/videos/internet/books/thoughts -- all of it impresses the subconscious. Very dangerous

SoulTraveler< dbn: In a way I suppose they do. I don't go deliberately armed mind you. Just happened to have it in the car under the seat and forgot to take it back in. Lucky for me I did. But most every farmer or rancher has shotguns and rifles as well as a few pistols around. I've got a friend who carries a loaded gun most every where he goes. Me ... I don't care for it. It's a Yin/Yang thing. Say a female geologist is out in the boonies and some guys intent on having their fun find her and start trouble. I don't think she can negotiate her way out of that. However, a .38 or a .45 or even a .22 would mean the stakes suddenly jumped astronomically. A victim becomes empowered.

dbn< SoulTraveler: Maybe. But maybe not. Certainly both sides of the gun argument can point to specific incidents when a gun was helpful and when it actually hindered. But still, a weapon is a weapon to me, and I think we're a nation with a gun (violent) mentality.

Yopo< SoulTraveler: That is why I made the disclaimer about an anti-gun statement. The irony is, folks who truly need them are often the ones who wish they didn't, and the ones who burn with desire to possess them are the same folks who shouldn't be allowed to have them under any circumstance.

Ben< Yopo: That is a carefully balanced and well-said statement. The same applies to armaments: the nations who don't really want them should have them to deter the nations who want them most and shouldn't have them.

Yopo< Ben: Appreciate the endorsement. I wasn't so worried about Pakistani nukes when the water-buffalo was the only delivery system. *S*

SoulTraveler< Yopo: I agree with your statement about guns. Actually I don't like the noise they make. I'm sensitive to loud noises. Especially sudden sharp ones like gunfire. Those who burn for guns don't need them. To me, they're just another tool like the tractor or whatever. Of course I know they're deadly. I've run out into the night before without a shotgun and wished I hadn't later. I'm not a member of the NRA either in case you wonder.

LEGS< I did belong to the NRA. My first husband and I also belonged to a bench shooting club, and some of the men were also musket loader rifle collectors. We had powder and primer setting equipment, and loaded shells for all the law enforcement agencies in the area. It was just part of the hobby.

dbn< SoulTraveler: I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to hear someone else talk about being sensitive to noise! (Especially loud, sharp noise.) Wow!

Chaza< Loud noises get me as well! Also my dog -- he jumps as if startled also.

dbn< About noise: It's unnecessary noise that drives me absolutely bonkers. Loud radios, boom cars, etc. Someone mowing doesn't bother me, because we all hafta mow. But I do not want to hear your radio or TV, and so on. (I nearly jump out of my skin when one of our dogs barks suddenly.)

Chaza< Yes, abrasive noise like boom boxes are an invasion of privacy!

dbn< Chaza: I think that kind of noise is another example of aggression. Sad.

Chaza< I am now focusing on harmonious sounds -- hehe.

dancer< I agree that much of what caused the events in Littleton is due to becoming desensitized to killing, feeling powerless, disenfranchised. I wonder if mental illness may have also played a role. We understand so little about the human brain and are only beginning to understand chemical imbalances. Perhaps in part some of the answer lies in this form of research?

dbn< dancer: You're right, of course. Neither boy was stable. Eric Harris seems to have been a very ill kid with a long history of problems. Not a pretty picture at all.

dancer< Not to sound like a bleeding heart, but it is a pity that his illness couldn't have been effectively treated ... for his sake and the sake of his victims.

dbn< Nothing wrong with being a bleeding heart, dancer. Nothing at all. *S*

dancer< dbn: Thanks.

Ben< dancer: I didn't see that as a "bleeding heart" statement. A wise and warm heart statement. I thoroughly agree. An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.

dancer< Ben: Thank you. I get a lot of flack sometimes for being emotion oriented. and by nature I would rather find the most peaceful resolution.

FRAML< dancer: Hillary Clinton came out for the need for "national sponsorship" of psychological screening and treatment "to prevent this". Yet, both boys had been in the type of program she is calling for and they "passed" the tests and "anger abatement" courses. And the one guy was on one of these "wonderful" drugs that are suppose to control the tendencies that they carried out.

Haggai< FRAML: I take that with great caution. I believe persons can change, and it was reported that Eric Harris went off of his meds just days prior to the shooting. My fear is that there could be misdiagnosis. I have known a few who fell under that misconception. They were actually so brilliant that they had a hard time relating to the norm, and because of behavioral problems were actually mis-diagnosed as "slow learners" or something like that. We have to admit that we really don't have all the answers. I just am quite leery of too much control by the government and those who may think they are "in the know."

dancer< FRAML: It is true that sociopaths can often pass lie detector tests, simply because lying causes them no stress. They lack the conscience to be bothered by it. And often they are highly intelligent. We need better screening methods.

Chaza< Eric had been under the care of a counselor or psychiatrist for at least a year or so and was on an antidepressant med called Luvox. He was diagnosed as "obsessive-compulsive" and was being treated -- also spent hours over weeks and months playing this game Doom with Dylan. He was said often to go on all night doing this. Yes, indicates a sense of disempowerment and disenfranchisment -- actually true of a lot of people of all ages in this world here.

dbn< No drug is an absolute. Some drugs help some people. Some counseling helps some people. Nothing is a panacea. And there's some evidence that Eric had been off his meds for days and maybe weeks before the killings.

Haggai< dancer: I have a theory that I very much believe in: "garbage in, garbage out." Scripturally speaking it could be said, "As a man thinketh, so is he." The more we put useless garbage in our heads and those of our young, the more "bad" changes we shall see.

dancer< Haggai: I agree with that sentiment -- garbage in, garbage out -- but with true mental illness the garbage becomes self-perpetuating. Treatment or confinement is needed for sociopaths if no treatment is possible.

Ben< Haggai: "Garbage in, garbage out" = "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." Good point.

Chaza< Absolutely. Yes, as a man thinketh, so he is. What you think about, you bring about. The mind is very powerful. It's workings could be taught to children early on -- and of course, the more integrated the parent, so will be the child.

SoulTraveler< You're right ... it's not weapons ... it's the mentality. This nation (USA) is a nation of violent, aggressive, self-indulgent people. But fortunately it's not the majority. Personally I would like to see gun mentality greatly reduced and the proclivity for violence. Kids and adults too are too quick to draw a gun and fire rather than duke it out like they used to. I've got a hot-headed uncle who had to get rid of his guns to keep from killing someone. He came VERY close on several occasions before he realized that one day he might not be able to control the 'beast' within. How many among us can control the 'beast' with a tight rein? Just something to think about.

Ben< SoulTraveler: My compliments to your uncle, for his foresight, and for his humility in realizing he might hit the limits of his self-control. A wise move on his part. Would that more were that wise.

SoulTraveler< Ben: Me too. That's why he's lived long enough to be 83 next month. More should follow his example. Glad you agree.

Chaza< Learning control of body and mind is key to that "beast" -- remembering we are not either body and mind, but spirit at heart, and learning to love ourselves despite our shortcomings and errors in judgment. For me, learning to feel worthy (thanks to the grace of God) changed my whole life (the course referred to on my page has also been a great tool) by learning to forgive self you can forgive others. Allowing yourself to be who you are allows others to be who they are, and of course, to speak up when something moves you. Perhaps with Eric and Dylan no one spoke up -- did not notice, did not understand, let it go too long, or who knows what -- but some signs had to be there long ago.

Aqua< Regrets related to events in the past. Worries concern the future. *S* Conditioning our mind to think in either way is wasting ... attention to NOW. *S*

Haggai< Recently in my home state, Indiana, there was a preacher and his wife who were murdered with a common ax -- you know, like for chopping wood. Ban all axes!

dbn< Haggai: That's not a valid argument. They aren't the same, and guns are *far* more deadly than axes.

Haggai< Well, the ax was certainly a very deadly weapon for those who "got the ax" but my point is that almost anything can and will be used as a weapon. Even the appendage of a man!

Yopo< Haggai: The thing about a gun, though, is that it can be used instantly, without deliberation. And at a distance, which I think also psychologically distances the assailant from the person he or she is pointing the gun at.

dbn< Ooh! Thanks, Yopo! Excellent points I'd forgotten.

dbn< Haggai: True, anything can be *used* as a weapon. But a gun *is* a weapon, and its sole purpose (soul purpose?) is to kill. Guns are for killing. They aren't for building houses or making cars. They aren't for cutting down trees or chopping firewood. They aren't for buttering bread. They are *for* killing. That's the difference, imo.

Haggai< dbn: That is your opinion. Guns can and are used for sport. I take it that you do not relate to survival, or like SoulTraveler said, the need for protection. Allow me to relate. I too am from a farming area, and recently my neighbors' young calves were attacked by a pack of wild dogs. He ran out with a two-by-four to beat them off before they killed the calf. The dogs turned on him, and had not his son been close behind with his 20/20 the farmer would have been torn to shreds. We speak of survival.

dbn< Haggai: I think you're missing my point. Yes, guns *can* be used for sport, but that is not their purpose. They were invented to kill, to be better, more efficient methods for killing. And improvements are made not to have fun with, but to be better and better at killing. Look at the ammo, for example.

Haggai< I agree with your point, dbn; however, there are those who hunt, for food and sport. There are those who shoot for sport (target or skeet) and then there are those who kill ... people, animals, whatever, for the thrill or out of anger, revenge, protection. The gun is only a tool. Remember that a Molotov cocktail can be thrown from a distance. The drunk driver can take deadly aim and road rage, much the same. We must "disarm the heart".

dbn< Haggai: Hunting is not a sport. Sport means having a level playing field. As for hunting for food, it's not necessary. Imo, it's simply wrong to take pleasure in killing. Killing can never be a sport. And eating the bodies of animals is a whole other issue.

dancer< Haggai: We must "disarm the heart". Absolutely. *S*

Ben< ALL: Okay, I'm back, and headed for bed. I had to go drain the dog, and he started barking, so I had to shush him for the neighbors' sake. This was a very good discussion tonight. Many good points on a variety of similar issues. "Disarm the heart" is close to the heart of it. Peace and blessings to each of you, as always. Goodnight.

Haggai< Ben: Thank you. So glad that I came! Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Shalom.

Yopo< A good night to you Ben! I thought it was a good discussion, too. (One indication being that I spent less time posting, and more time thinking about what I was reading. *LOL*) Bright dreams to you!

dbn< Yopo: Me, too, believe it or not. I just went back to review some posts. I tend to miss a lot while I'm typing in a response or comment; then I'm in a hurry to catch up and end up skimming when I shouldn't.

seas< Hi, just read all the post, and found the expression "disarm the heart" very thought-provoking, thanks.

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