20a. Hiatus
Spiritual Web Chat
Sat 20 Nov 1999

[No seminars were held while the webmaster was reprogramming SWC. FRAML posted: "Ben's Seminars still in hiatus." But several people dropped in anyway.]

Sabre2< Ben: May we join you in Hiatus? Where is it and how do we get there? Is that where you draw your spiritual knowledge from? If I achieve Hiatus will I know the meaning of life? How do I achieve hiatus?

LightGrrl< Ben: When will you be back? Hi Tracey, hope you're doing better. I send you warm greetings of love and light.

FRAML< (((((((((((SLIDER)))))))))) How are you doing tonight buddy? I'm well. Had a great evening yesterday visiting with a friend.

Yopo< *looking through back posts* Seems I'm not the only one missing Ben's classes. Wonder when the durn REVIEW feature is gonna finally get fixed? Hey, just saw the message at the top of the page. Fix next weekend!

FRAML< Yopo: TheFire was in this morning announcing he was working on it this weekend & trying to get it going.

Yopo< FRAML: Will be glad when he does. Energy has sorta flagged in SWC since the change here. A lot of friends I hardly see anymore.

FRAML< SLIDER: An old friend was in town on business and I managed to meet with her. She also met with Ben. She is Trudy of "the Trudy Letters" She is a really neat lady.

SLIDER< FRAML: SO glad you got to meet Trudy. She sounds like good people.

guitarist< Hello (((((Ben)))))!!!!!

Yopo< Good evening, Ben. *S* How goes it?

Ben< Hello! Sorry to be so late. I was involved in something.

FRAML< (((((((BEN)))))))) Good evening.

Ben< TheFire said the Review function is working now. I'll check it out after a bit. How are you all?

Yopo< Ben: The announcement at the top of the page looks promising *knocking on desktop*

guitarist< Ben: If the Review function is working, does this mean we might have a *seminar* tonight?

Ben< guitarist: Hi! Got your email. Will try to reply in a couple of days. I'm not set up for a seminar tonight, but I'm open to suggestions or questions.

SLIDER< Hello, Ben. Good to hear the review function is working again, and how are you tonight?

FRAML< I just clicked on review. It is there. Lists all of the chatters and the number of lines they posted for the period, and then gives the entire file (151 lines). I wonder if that is going to be the norm or if he will be using the old, every hundred lines, format? That was good for isolating a specific chat.

Yopo< Hmm ... Just checked REVIEW, and it DOES seem to be working. We have been turned into statistics. *LOL*

Ben< Yopo: Hah! I just did a 100-line refresh and noticed someone having fun with the title at the top of the page, asking me how to achieve "hiatus" and is it where my spirituality comes from.

Yopo< Ben: *S* Yeah, I saw the hiatus comment. "How to Attain Hiatus in THIS Lifetime" ... Maybe an upcoming seminar topic?

SLIDER< Ben: I saw that too and hoped they weren't serious. *S*

FRAML< Ben: I saw that too. Sounds like he was a Cavalry intelligence officer. *G*

guitarist< Ben: I noticed that post also, and thought that the person might be looking for a hiatus chat room! *g*

Ben< ALL: I think whoever posted the questions about "hiatus" was just teasing, implying that it is some super-mystical state like satori or samadi. Maybe more like Nirvana ...

guitarist< Ben: I hope so. Maybe they need a vacation! *LOL*

Yopo< Or it might be one of the alien factions, seeking other refugees from the planet Hiatus. *G*

FRAML< My call sign when I was in the 3d Squadron 12th Cavalry was Sabre2. Any more questions? *VBG*

guitarist< FRAML: What is VBG?

FRAML< guitarist: VBG = Very Big Grin

guitarist< Thanks, FRAML.

FRAML< My comic mind kicked in when I popped in here. Also thought it was as sensible as either of the two very long postings before it.

Yopo< Anyone else looked at the SWC bulletin board feature? Seems like that will be a good addition.

FRAML< No I haven't. I hadn't even noticed it.

Yopo< FRAML: There's a little icon at the top of each chat page. WebBoards.

Ben< (Webster's Dictionary) hiatus -- a break where a part is missing or lost, as in a manuscript; a gap in a sequence. Hmmmm ... as a topic: What key piece or pieces are missing?

SLIDER< Ben: You might work with fragmentation and hiatus ... well maybe not. *G*

Yopo< Ben: Yeah. And what are the indicators something is missing in the first place? Symptoms of missing pieces. What makes someone suspect, and start looking? "Your hiatus: How to tell when it's missing." *G*

FRAML< Ben: I think it might blend into a number to topics: "What is missing from the theory of ... ?"

guitarist< Ben: Thanks for the dictionary definition. I always thought hiatus meant a break taken deliberately, such as a vacation. Guess it goes to show how little context can mean sometimes.

Ben< In a sequence of cause-and-effect, a gap is indicated if the effect doesn't *necessarily* follow from the cause. The first example that comes to mind is in behavioral psychology. Stimulus-response models of human and animal behavior leave out a key piece that others call volition.

Yopo< Don't know much about behavioral psychology. I suppose maybe they'd say "volition" is just a little packet of past experiences concerning stimulus and response, and how they previously worked?

Ben< Yopo: Yeah, that's how behavoralists rationalize their way around the gap in their basic theory. Materialists do the same when they argue that consciousness is just a result (effect) of atoms and such bumping together. Another example is in the rationalizations of those who worship "the great god Random" ...

Yopo< I suppose if we're searching for missing pieces, we should be attentive to the presence of the holes. I remember a cartoon I saw in a magazine once. Two white-coated scientists standing before a chalkboard. One is looking at the formula the other has written. This long string of equations, with a place in the center that says "and here a miracle happens" before continuing on to the conclusion. Scientist #1 is commenting, "I think you may have a problem here..."

Ben< In one dimension, a hiatus is a break in a line. In two dimensions, a hiatus is an empty circle in a plane. In three dimensions, a hiatus is a missing chunk of a solid. In four dimensions, I guess a hiatus would be a missing piece of time and space -- like a "senior moment"?

Yopo< *S* Makes me wonder what might be hiding within the bubbles of our reality.

guitarist< Ben: Is the great god Random like the place called Hiatus? *G*

Ben< guitarist: Yes, I guess that calling everything Random or Chance is a gap (hiatus) in cognitive processing. Much like saying that everything is the will of God makes it unnecessary to think any further.

SLIDER< Ben: Leaving everything to chance? Would that make you broad minded, or narrow minded?

[Ben< SLIDER: More like lazy-minded, whether broad or narrow, in my opinion.]

Yopo< Ben: I do believe in a certain amount of randomness in events. Haven't completely thought this out yet, but I've considered that maybe in an otherwise deterministic material universe, it is in the area of physical randomness that free will might operate.

SLIDER< Yopo: Physical randomness might be construed as free thinking in a random manner. I feel free will has to be thought out in direct thought leading to action.

guitarist< Yopo: You may have a point there, which I think the foregoing statements have room for. *Some* things may be random, just not *every* thing.

Yopo< guitarist: It is a puzzle. Like the bubbles in individual reality. What is a bubble to me, isn't to you, 'cause YOU know what is going on there. I'm totally unaware of being totally unaware. *S* And randomness might be the same. Something looks random to me, 'cause I don't know what came before like you might.

guitarist< Yes, Yopo, like my *unawareness* of the definition of *hiatus*. Rather, my incomplete understanding of the word.

Ben< I like an old explanation I read: "The word random denotes the inability to assign cause." In other words, random is a label to stick on things if we don't know what caused them. I used to have fun with various professors (mostly economists) who believed in a random universe; i.e., that everything happens by chance. Now I'm tempted to tangle with the folks who say there are no accidents.

guitarist< Ben: Here's what my Merriam-Webster dictionary has to say: hi-a-tus \hi-a-tes\ noun [L, fr. hiare, to yawn -- more at yawn] (1563) 1a : a break in or as if in a material object; gap [the hiatus between the theory and the practice of the party -- J. G. Colton]. 1b : a gap or passage in an anatomical part or organ. 2a : an interruption in time or continuity; break. 2b : the occurrence of two vowel sounds without pause or intervening consonantal sound.

Ben< guitarist: And in music, a hiatus is a rest, a pause. So the idea of taking a break (as from work) suggests taking a bit of a rest.

guitarist< Ben: If I read music, I would have known that. But I don't, at least not very well. I play by ear. So, thanks! I'll remember that. ;-)

Yopo< SLIDER: What I was trying to get at (and not so clearly, I'm afraid) was that some see all that happens as an unbroken and interlinked chain or web of physical cause and effect. Not much room for free will in that sort of universe. But if there are places where events are otherwise random, consciousness/mind might there be able to nudge events one way or the other. We sorta put our mental levers into the places where things are not foreordained by the laws of cause and effect, and pry. (*LOL* Like I said, I haven't thought this out very well ... )

SLIDER< Yopo: Random. hummm. Every thing we know of as in science, with math and natural laws and such, has some type of action to produce another action, and the laws of gravity and the magnetic forces that surround everything seem to dictate what action is followed by the previous action. I think that's why some are now considering that chaos is actually a form of order.

Yopo< scratching head* That "chaos is actually a form of order" is a hard idea for me. Haven't been able to grasp it yet.

guitarist< SLIDER, Yopo: Maybe we are assigning meaning to, or learning the meaning of, more things, so less is chaotic. Or maybe it's like many things: the more we know, the less we know? The more questions rise to the surface?

Yopo< For me, free will vs. fate/predestination is the real problem. I mean, I KNOW I come down on the side of free will, but that doesn't seem to fit with the observable physical universe. My current solution is the idea that consciousness is the fundamental ground of reality, and the material world a secondary manifestation. That makes a place for free will to operate. Also suggests invisible lines of connection between things not apparently connected, which rings true for me, and explains things not easily explained in a material cause/effect world.

[Ben< Yopo: Free will cannot be explained in a material cause/effect view of the world, because material objects and forces don't have free will: e.g., rocks can't choose which way they will go.]

SLIDER< Yopo: The power of thought might just be the control over random or so called random forces, having the power to organize on a sub-atomic level what happens at the molecular level. Just a thought. *s*

Yopo< SLIDER *S* A thought I very much like ...

guitarist< ... and it would explain the connection between several seemingly randomly selected (but really, self-selected) people in a chat room, Yopo! *LOL*

SLIDER< Yopo: Think about water from a rain storm washing down a hill side: the water will follow the easiest course, dictated by gravity. So is it flowing randomly or is the course set by gravity?

Yopo< Hmm ... Maybe each molecule moves randomly, but the outcome of the entire event is set? They're mostly gonna wind up at the bottom of the hill ...

SLIDER< Yopo: In a cause/effect world things are still set into motion, at least human-wise, by thought. And can we prove that even the outcome of natural physical happenings are not the result of thought -- if not human, then on a spiritual level?

Ben< Yopo, SLIDER: Deterministic models in which everything is linked by cause-and-effect are like machines. But determinists assume they know all the causes (sources of forces) that are operating. That's the gap in their thinking. An individual soul can be a source of initiative, and thus an uncaused cause. I tried to point to that several times in various seminars. Both the determinists and the randomites hate the very idea.

guitarist< Ben: As a research associate (by day), I recognize that we can't know *all* operating forces. I guess that's why we think in terms of statistical significance and probability, and speak in hedge words such as "this finding suggests that" such-and-such may be occurring. It's very hard, though, for some to avoid the traps in the determinist and randomist ideas. I guess that's why the models we set up don't always work.

SLIDER< guitarist: That one word, probability, seems to be the key catalyst as to which force would dictate the outcome of any action. "I've done this a hundred times and it's always worked before." *g*

guitarist< SLIDER: The mentality that says, "I've done this a hundred times and it's always worked before" is also what got a lot of companies in trouble in this past decade, because things changed and they couldn't -- or wouldn't -- respond. My experience tells me that reality testing is always a good thing.

SLIDER< guitarist: Ha! My wife does reality tests on me all the time. Says some day she's going to write a book on 1000 ways to check your husbands sanity. LOL

Ben< guitarist: Sure, we don't know ALL the operating forces, so we use probability and statistics to work with large bunches of data without going into details or micro-causal linkages. The problem arises when folks assume that the mental tools we use to extend our calculations into areas that we don't know very well are models of reality rather than mental tools.

Yopo< Whoa ... Gotta REMEMBER that comment about the nature of statistics!

guitarist< Ben: Mental tools. Exactly. That's all I was taught they were. Sometimes the results we get from them are enough to get us where we're going; other times, they're not, because we aren't always looking in the proper direction, or including enough in our thinking. Or, sometimes our hands are tied by our bosses.

Yopo< Ben: You said "An individual soul can be a source of initiative, and thus an uncaused cause ... " Jeez, I've got a gap here. Trying hard to get this point ...

Ben< Yopo: When a person takes the initiative, it is an action, not a reaction. The cause is internal, not external. And when one says and decides: "I don't want to, but I will" or "I want to, but I won't" one has acted as an uncaused cause to break an otherwise automatic linkage of cause and effect.

guitarist< Ben: as in, when a person comes up with a totally unexpected reaction, he or she causes a change in the direction of the current, so to speak?

[Ben< guitarist: Free-willed beings can swim across or against the current.]

guitarist< Ben: I meant to imply that even in a reaction, a person may initiate a different direction if he or she decides to, in the face of something or someone that/who expects a particular reaction.

[Ben< guitarist: Yes, a free-willed being can be reacting and still initiate an action in a different direction if he or she decides to, regardless of anyone's expectations. This is why an act of free will is a break or discontinuity (hiatus) in an otherwise expectable chain of cause and effect.]

SLIDER< Ben: My thinking is that the force or will or thought can change the outcome of the natural forces we recognize as natural laws.

Yopo< SLIDER: Well, I think that natural physical happenings all occur within the ground of consciousness. (Ground of consciousness being a reference to what I think of as God.) The trouble I'm having is fitting Ben's point about individual souls as a source of "uncaused causes" into this. Wondering how an individual soul, a bubble of consciousness, can operate independent of God's will. How we are autonomous spiritual entities. (My brain is either gonna get this, or explode shortly. *LOL*)

Ben< Yopo: Don't explode your brain. You know that individual souls can choose to obey or ignore or disobey the will of God. Thus many of them cause things that God never intended.

Yopo< Ben: *S* That there be free will is simply God's will! (explosion averted) *S*

guitarist< Thank G-d, Yopo; I'm awfully glad you'll be around for awhile. ;-) *g*

SLIDER< Yopo: Glad you're still with us.

Thur< SLIDER: I'm sort of out of my element here. Do you know of an instance where thought has changed the outcome of natural forces? That I would like to see.

SLIDER< Thur: Not that I fully agree with all the words of the bible, but it says Moses parted the waters, and there are documented cases where people have moved objects with mind power.

Thur< SLIDER: The documentation of moving objects with "mind power" is what I refer to. I've not heard of it documented in a scientific sense.

SLIDER< Thur: I guess that is what keeps us thinking and searching. *S*

Yopo< According to Charles Tart, there is abundant experimental evidence (statistical) showing that psychokinesis exists. Subjects do beat the odds when working with random-number generators, dropping dice, etc. And there's that odd phenomenon, where the act of observation seems to affect the outcome of the observed experiment. Not as dramatic as parting the Red Sea, but it does seem to happen.

Thur< Yopo: Are you referring to the fact that observing shows where a "thing" was, and not where it is?

Shaman13< In many situations timing is the cause of many effects.

Yopo< Shaman13: Timing is always an issue. Some statistical studies of psychokenetic phenomenon suggested "caused" statistical effects were out of phase with the subjects' efforts, but still measurable. This seems very strange to me. Similar results were sometimes noted with experiments involving precognition. Subjects were guessing better than the odds would account for, but their guesses were "out of phase" with the turn of the cards or the numbers.

SLIDER< Shaman13: Yes many of the old world leaders and so-called holy men in ancient times knew when to hold certain ceremonies so as to awe their followers with events that followed natural occurrences.

guitarist< Actually, Yopo, observation affecting the observed doesn't have to be a psychic phenomenon. I have recently learned that every person added to a group of people affects the dynamics (relationships among all the members) of the group and the results the group gets. In particular, when research is designed, it becomes important that the researcher have as little as possible to do with being present to administer an experiment, particularly when people (their behavior, opinions, reactions to stimuli, etc.) are involved. I'm sure this observation has been around awhile. Maybe I'd better amend that. Right now, I'm thinking of medical studies, where, I'm sure, the doctor had better be there in case of an unwarranted reaction to a drug. ;-)

Yopo< Thur: Was referring to experiments relating to quantum/particle physics. I don't pretend to understand this stuff well. Apparently light shows properties of either a wave or a particle (quanta) depending upon what experiment you chose to perform. There have also been experiments demonstrating properties of "non-locality". I do better reading Alice in Wonderland than physics books ... *S*

Thur< Yopo: Those were the experiments I was referring to. I understand those results are standard. However, like you, I think I also would be better with Alice in Wonderland. *S*

guitarist< All: Perhaps it's a sign that I'd better sign off soon.

Yopo< guitarist *S*

SLIDER< guitarist: I was thinking the same thing. Time to go hit the sack. It's been a pleasure talking to all of you tonight. // Ben: I'll sure try to make it next week for the seminar. // Yopo: Hope you sleep well tonight and dream of the meaning of life. *s* // Thur: Good to see you again. Keep the faith. // Shaman13: Good meeting you. -- Blessings to all, till next time.

Ben< Thur: I helped DARPA review the research into Uri Geller's psychic abilities. He did move stuff in ways and under conditions that defied scientific explanation. However, he was an unreliable person. Always screwing around. Couldn't trust him. I finally asked the supervisors at DARPA, "Would you buy a used lawnmower from this man?"

Yopo< Ben: I'd certainly check first, to see if the blades were bent ...

Thur< Ben: I have to suspect that Geller was able to "hide" a physical way of doing it. Same as a so-called psychic I once observed reading a note I wrote while he was blindfolded. Seems he had an accomplice helping him. (:-)

Ben< Thur: Geller may have cheated sometimes, but I think he did a lot of actual psychokinesis. I've got the book that the primary investigators published after it was all over. (I just went to look for it, but couldn't find it. I'll set it aside when I do.) They included a lot of things they didn't put in their official reports because they weren't scientific enough. Like the time they wired up a metal rod to a pen-plotter, to see if Uri could bend the rod. He said, "Oh, so you want these pens to move" -- and all the pens suddenly moved to one side of the plotter. The plotter was broken. Coincidence? Synchronicity? There were many such events.

Yopo< Cheating seems rampant. Phony *hehehe* psychics are a dime a dozen. Fortune tellers make use of the "Barnum effect". Spiritualism of the late 19th & early 20th centuries was pretty much discredited by the highly publicized frauds. But I have no doubts that there are actual occurrences.

Thur< Yopo: Re the cheating ... if a psychic has a *real* ability, why spoil it by cheating? He/she thereby defeat themselves.

guitarist< Ben: I also read something, I think it was in a Melvin Morse book, about boys who could bend spoons and couldn't make them do it on cue for the research team. However, one morning, the sealed, locked-away spoon was found curled up. Unfortunately, no one observed it happen, so it wasn't proved. Do you think that this may explain what happened with Geller sometimes? (obviously not the dishonest part. I have also read others who didn't trust him, either.)

[Ben< guitarist: Some of the phenomena associated with Geller happened when no one was around, but the researchers didn't count those because they were not controlled against cheating.]

Thur< Ben: It's been a long time since I "looked" at Geller. Perhaps you're right. Guess I'm a natural skeptic.

Ben< ALL: Time for me to rest. Goodnight. Peace and blessings to you and yours. *poof*

guitarist< Shalom u'vrachim, kol echad. Hebrew: Peace and blessings, everyone. Nice to meet you, Shaman13. *****POOF*****

Yopo< Ben: Good night to you! Very much enjoyed tonight. As is usual with the regular seminar sessions, I'm leaving with the feeling that I've learned. *S* Have a good Thanksgiving

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