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Old 07-17-2009, 02:14 PM   #31
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Forgive me for not understanding, but what do you mean by "power of suggestion"?

Because the way I see it, when someone is asking for an answer and gets it just because something ignited in the brain or the cells were working at a particular time together or whatever, that is not a coincidence to me. It's too much of a coincidence to be one. It says to me that there exists a higher energy force, or God as I like to call it.
I assume she means since it's often suggested that prayer can lead to visions/visitation whatever you want to call it.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:15 PM   #32
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So we have the power to create our spiritual experiences?


yes, but all i'm willing to say about these experiences is that they do not provide evidence of anything supernatural and they all exist within one's mind -- the mind being a powerful thing that senses and perceives one's existence.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:17 PM   #33
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yes, but all i'm willing to say about these experiences is that they do not provide evidence of anything supernatural and they all exist within one's mind -- the mind being a powerful thing that senses and perceives one's existence.
Do you think its possible that a Higher Power uses the brain to work its miracles, powers or what have you? As in, the brain is not separate from God?
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:19 PM   #34
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Do you think its possible that a Higher Power uses the brain to work its miracles, powers or what have you? As in, the brain is not separate from God?


i think anything is possible.

but what i think actually happens is that there isn't an *objective* Higher Power, but people still have experiences that make them feel as if they have interacted with a Higher Power or Higher Truth or whatever you want to call it.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:21 PM   #35
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Forgive me for not understanding, but what do you mean by "power of suggestion"?

Because the way I see it, when someone is asking for an answer and gets it just because something ignited in the brain or the cells were working at a particular time together or whatever, that is not a coincidence to me. It's too much of a coincidence to be one. It says to me that there exists a higher energy force, or God as I like to call it.
If one is searching/asking for an answer and one receives it, the answer comes from the reasoning taking place within the brain - utilizing information that was there all along, sometimes combining it with new information that was synthesized with the old. All of these processes can take place on a preconscious level - just because you may not be actively seeking an answer doesn't mean that it's not being worked on in the brain. But then again, the act of "asking" does imply actively seeking, doesn't it? So, a response that comes to you isn't coming from a supernatural source, it's coming from YOU.

What I don't understand is why people feel the need to attribute an answer/decision they have come to to a supernatural source. Isn't one's own reasoning ability enough? Do they not trust themselves to come to correct decisions? Do they just not understand brain processes, and therefore feel that the decisions they come to must arrive from an infallible supernatural source?
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:24 PM   #36
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What I don't understand is why people feel the need to attribute an answer/decision they have come to to a supernatural source. Isn't one's own reasoning ability enough? Do they not trust themselves to come to correct decisions? Do they just not understand brain processes, and therefore feel that the decisions they come to must arrive from an infallible supernatural source?


what do you make of people who describe intensely emotional experiences that go along with these described encounters with the divine? it seems a bit too pat to me to take something so complex and attribute it solely to the power of suggestion. i think it's all contained within the brain, but it's not so easy as 2+2=4.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:25 PM   #37
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:25 PM   #38
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What I don't understand is why people feel the need to attribute an answer/decision they have come to to a supernatural source. Isn't one's own reasoning ability enough? Do they not trust themselves to come to correct decisions? Do they just not understand brain processes, and therefore feel that the decisions they come to must arrive from an infallible supernatural source?
Because sometimes some people are not in a situation where they cannot reason or make decisions, such as a deep depression.

It seems like you're saying the brain is pure, while the mind is a mess. It is the brain's job to clean out the mind of its negativity, anxiety and so forth, yes?
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:26 PM   #39
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So we have the power to create our spiritual experiences?
Define spiritual experience. It such a wishy washy term. If you mean do I think that your unconscious is able to work in tandem with your conscious self and together either come to some profound conclusion or sense of well being, then yes, I do believe that. Just because you arent actively thinking about something, doesnt mean that there are processes going on in your brain trying to work out problems. I cant even count the amount of times I've gone to sleep only to wake up with the answers I was looking for. Why should that be attributed to a higher being though?




edit: I totally didnt rip off VintagePunk with my answer. I was writing while he posted
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:29 PM   #40
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i've spoken to some addicts on the phone recently for work, and they've all described what's proverbially known as a "moment of clarity" that then involves some sort of giving over one's life to a Higher Power of some sort.

i don't doubt the authenticity of their experiences, and i think that "power of suggestion" is a bit too clinical to describe the complexity of the experience.

however, simply because an addict falls to his knees one night and cries out to God and then suddenly God answers him does not mean that God, objectively, exists, but nor can this experience be quickly explained. authenticity and objectivity are not the same thing.
Well, obviously it's a much more complex experience than my brief response indicated (I have only a rudimentary knowledge of neuroscience, it's not my area of expertise), but the point remains that as much as those experiences may seem to people like they're coming from a supernatural, outside source, they really are based within the brain, and come from a combination of cognition, emotion, and experience.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:31 PM   #41
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It seems like you're saying the brain is pure, while the mind is a mess. It is the brain's job to clean out the mind of its negativity, anxiety and so forth, yes?
I dont think you can separate the two. The brain and the mind are one and the same. but then you have to get into the whole 'what is a mind?' 'what is consciousness?' business
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:36 PM   #42
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If one is searching/asking for an answer and one receives it, the answer comes from the reasoning taking place within the brain
Or wikipedia

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But then again, the act of "asking" does imply actively seeking, doesn't it? So, a response that comes to you isn't coming from a supernatural source, it's coming from YOU.
Or wikipedia

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What I don't understand is why people feel the need to attribute an answer/decision they have come to to a supernatural source.
Like wikipedia?
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:37 PM   #43
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edit: I totally didnt rip off VintagePunk with my answer. I was writing while he posted
Oooohhhh snap, son.
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:38 PM   #44
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Define spiritual experience. It such a wishy washy term. If you mean do I think that your unconscious is able to work in tandem with your conscious self and together either come to some profound conclusion or sense of well being, then yes, I do believe that. Just because you arent actively thinking about something, doesnt mean that there are processes going on in your brain trying to work out problems. I cant even count the amount of times I've gone to sleep only to wake up with the answers I was looking for. Why should that be attributed to a higher being though?

As I said in my reply to VintagePunk's post, sometimes a deep depression can really mess up a person's mind and they can't think rationally. When something - either God or the unconscious part of the brain - breaks through, that to me is a spiritual experience.

For the record, if you are thinking I see God as some old man in the toga living the clouds, that is not true. I believe God is a formless, genderless energy force.

As for waking up in the morning with answers you've been looking for, I've been there. But the reason why I attribute that to a higher being is because, I believe the brain is a tool of God. How could an organ operate as though it is looking out for us? As if, it cares about us and wants us to be stronger, happier, etc? That to me says something else wants us to better human beings.

ETA: I guess my response is leading to the question, "what is the mind, consciousness, etc?"
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:40 PM   #45
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what do you make of people who describe intensely emotional experiences that go along with these described encounters with the divine? it seems a bit too pat to me to take something so complex and attribute it solely to the power of suggestion. i think it's all contained within the brain, but it's not so easy as 2+2=4.
I'm not sure if the following answers your question a bit better or not, but again, you're right that it's much more complex than a three word phrase - I wasn't trying to imply that that's all it is (if it was, then I essentially wasted like 6 yrs )

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Well, obviously it's a much more complex experience than my brief response indicated (I have only a rudimentary knowledge of neuroscience, it's not my area of expertise), but the point remains that as much as those experiences may seem to people like they're coming from a supernatural, outside source, they really are based within the brain, and come from a combination of cognition, emotion, and experience.
As for your question about "intensely emotional reactions" to these experiences, I'd state (again, probably simplistically, but it's very complex and i don't have time for an essay at the moment) that emotional reactions are often not commensurate with the realities of situations. Emotions are tricky things, and often are not an accurate indicator of reality. If the particular experience they have is laden with meaning for them, then it's not unusual that they might have a highly emotional response. That doesn't make it holy though, just meaningful to them.

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edit: I totally didnt rip off VintagePunk with my answer. I was writing while he posted
She.
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