Is the Tide Starting to Turn on Genetics and Culture?

Here is an alt-righter struggling with scientific understanding:

When I first came upon the argument that “culture is a racial construct” last year, I was pretty horrified. I saw this as a re-gurgitated Nazi talking point that was clearly unfactual.

But like other longtime taboo topics such as HBD, eugenics, and White identity, I’ve seen this theory pop up over the past year in some shocking places. First, a scientific magazine revealed that orcas genetics’ are affected by culture and vice versa. Then, I started seeing normies discuss this talking point in comment sections in the Wall Street Journal and even NY Times.

Finally, a liberal academic has thrown himself into the discussion. Bret Weinsten, a Jewish Leftist who most people here know as the targeted professor of the Marxist insanity at Evergreen University, posted this tweet yesterday: “Sex is biological. Gender is cultural. Culture is biological,” and then this one today: “Culture is as adaptive, evolutionary and biological as genes. You’re unlikely to accept it. But if you did you’d see people with 10X clarity.”

This is a pretty remarkable assertion coming from someone like Bret Weinstein. I wonder if the dam will eventually break and rather than being seen as incredibly taboo, this theory will be commonly accepted. If so, it’s probably the best talking point you have for America to prioritize its demographics.

What is so shocking?

This line of thought, taken broadly, has been developing and taking hold in the mainstream for more than a century. Social constructionism was popularized and spread by the anthropologist Franz Boaz. I don’t think this guy grasps what this theory means nor its implications. That “culture is a racial construct” goes hand in hand with race being a cultural construct, which is to say we understand the world and our own humanity through the lens of ideology, in the sense used by Louis Althusser. As applied to the ideology of pseudo-scientific race realism and gender realism, claims of linear determinism of singular and isolated causal factors are meaningless because research has shown that all aspects are intertwined factors in how we develop and who we become.

Bret Weinstein makes three assertions: “Sex is biological. Gender is cultural. Culture is biological.” I don’t know what is his ideological position. But he sounds like a genetic determinist, although this is not clear since he also claims that his assertions have nothing to do with group selection (a standard reductionist approach). Anyway, to make these statements accurate, other statements would need to be added — such as that, biology is epigenetics, epigenetics is environment, and environment is culture. We’d have to throw in other things as well, from biome to linguistic relativism. To interpret Weinstein generously and not taking his use of ‘is’ too literally: Many things are many other things or rather closely related, if by that we mean that multiple factors can’t be reduced to one another in that they influence each other in multiple directions and through multiple pathways.

Recent research has taken this even further in showing that neither sex nor gender is binary *, as genetics and its relationship to environment, epigenetics, and culture is more complex than was previously realized. It’s far from uncommon for people to carry genetics of both sexes, even multiple DNA. It has to do with diverse interlinking and overlapping causal relationships. We aren’t all that certain at this point what ultimately determines the precise process of conditions, factors, and influences in how and why any given gene expresses or not and how and why it expresses in a particular way. Most of the genetics in human DNA is entirely unknown in its purpose or maybe lack of purpose, although the Junk DNA theory has become highly contested. And most genetics in the human body is non-human: bacteria, viruses, symbiotes, and parasites. The point is that, scientifically speaking, causation is a lot harder to prove than many would like to admit.

The second claim by Weinstein is even more interesting: “Culture is as adaptive, evolutionary and biological as genes.” That easily could be interpreted in alignment with Richard Dawkins theory of memetics. That argument is that there are cultural elements that act and spread similarly to genes, like a virus replicating. With the growing research on epigenetics, microbiome, parasites, and such, the mechanisms for such a thing become more plausible. We are treading in unexplored territory when we combine memetics not just with culture but also with extended mind and extended phenotype. Linguistic relativism, for example, has proven that cultural influences can operate through non-biological causes — in that bilingual individuals with the same genetics will think, perceive, and act differently depending on which language they are using. Yes, culture is adaptive, whether or not in the way Weinstein believes.

The problems in this area only occur when one demands a reductionist conclusion. The simplistic thinking of reductionism appeals to the limits of the human mind. But reality has no compulsion to comform to the human mind. Reality is irreducible. And so we need a scientific understanding that deals with, rather than dismisses, complexity. Indeed, the tide is turning.

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Intersex in history (Wikipedia)

Intersex people have been treated in different ways by different cultures. Whether or not they were socially tolerated or accepted by any particular culture, the existence of intersex people was known to many ancient and pre-modern cultures and legal systems, and numerous historical accounts exist.

Third gender (Wikipedia)

In different cultures, a third or fourth gender may represent very different things. To Native Hawaiians and Tahitians, Māhū is an intermediate state between man and woman, or a “person of indeterminate gender”.[9] The traditional Diné of the Southwestern US acknowledge four genders: feminine woman, masculine woman, feminine man, masculine man.[10] The term “third gender” has also been used to describe hijras of India[11] who have gained legal identity, fa’afafine of Polynesia, and sworn virgins of Albania.[12]

Intersex (Wikipedia)

History

Whether or not they were socially tolerated or accepted by any particular culture, the existence of intersex people was known to many ancient and pre-modern cultures. The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote of “hermaphroditus” in the first century BCE that Hermaphroditus “is born with a physical body which is a combination of that of a man and that of a woman”, and with supernatural properties.[32]

In European societies, Roman law, post-classical canon law, and later common law, referred to a person’s sex as male, female or hermaphrodite, with legal rights as male or female depending on the characteristics that appeared most dominant.[33] The 12th-century Decretum Gratiani states that “Whether an hermaphrodite may witness a testament, depends on which sex prevails”.[34][35][36] The foundation of common law, the 17th Century Institutes of the Lawes of England described how a hermaphrodite could inherit “either as male or female, according to that kind of sexe which doth prevaile.”[37][38] Legal cases have been described in canon law and elsewhere over the centuries.

In some non-European societies, sex or gender systems with more than two categories may have allowed for other forms of inclusion of both intersex and transgender people. Such societies have been characterized as “primitive”, while Morgan Holmes states that subsequent analysis has been simplistic or romanticized, failing to take account of the ways that subjects of all categories are treated.[39]

During the Victorian era, medical authors introduced the terms “true hermaphrodite” for an individual who has both ovarian and testicular tissue, “male pseudo-hermaphrodite” for a person with testicular tissue, but either female or ambiguous sexual anatomy, and “female pseudo-hermaphrodite” for a person with ovarian tissue, but either male or ambiguous sexual anatomy. Some later shifts in terminology have reflected advances in genetics, while other shifts are suggested to be due to pejorative associations.[40]

The Gender Binary Is a Dumb, but Relatively New Concept
by Bethy Squires

So when and why did doctors move from one sex to two? Many scholars set the change during a time known as the “long 18th century”: 1688-1815. This time period covers the Age of Enlightenment in Europe and the period of political revolution that followed. It was during this time that many ideas about man’s inalienable rights were conceived.

Before the long 18th century, Western societies operated under feudalism, which presupposes that people are born unequal. Kings were better than lords who were better than peasants, and this sense of betterness extended to their physical bodies. “Aristocrats have better bodies, bodies are racialized,” says Laqueur, summing up the idea. “The body is open and fluid and the consequence of a hierarchy in heaven.” Specifics of this corruptible flesh are of less consequence than our souls. We were all servants in the Kingdom of Heaven, which set the hierarchy on earth.

This idea of a natural hierarchy was challenged by the thinkers of the Enlightenment. We see it in the Declaration of Independence: All men are created equal. But it was also understood that women and people of color couldn’t possibly have been created equal. Therefore, it became necessary to conceive of innate biological differences between men and women, white and black. “As political theorists were increasingly invoking a potentially egalitarian language of natural rights in the 18th century, ‘woman’ had to be defined as qualitatively different from men in order that political power would be kept out of women’s reach,” writes Karen Harvey in Cambridge University Press’s Historical Journal.

Sexual difference becomes much more explicit in medical texts once women’s anatomy gets its own words. […] What follows in the long 18th century and into the Victorian era is a solidifying of masculine and feminine as diametrically opposed. When doctors followed humoral system, it was understood that everyone was a little hot, a little cold, a little country, a little rock and roll. Women were frequently represented as hornier than men. But once everyone has to be shunted into a binary, women are rendered passive and disinclined to sex. “Historically, women had been perceived as lascivious and lustful creatures,” writes Ruth Perry in the amazingly titled academic paper “Colonizing the Breast.” “[B]y the middle of the eighteenth century they were increasingly reimagined as belonging to another order of being: loving but without sexual needs.” Men are horny, therefore women must be the opposite of horny.

Nonbinary and genderfluid people of the 21st century can gain some comfort from the notion that sex and gender divisions weren’t always so rigid. But that understanding is nevertheless tinged with the knowledge that the sexes, fluid though they were, were still ranked. Someone was still coming out a winner, and yet again it was whoever was most masculine.

Gender Role (Wikipedia)

Biological factors

Several studies have been conducted looking at the gender roles of intersex children.

One such study looked at female infants with adrenal hyperplasia, and who had excess male hormone levels, but were thought to be females and raised as such by their parents. These girls were more likely to express masculine traits.[50][51]

Another study looked at 18 infants with the intersex condition 5-alpha reductase deficiency, and XY chromosomes, assigned female at birth. At adult age only one individual maintained a female role, all the others being stereotypically male.[52]

In a third study, 14 male children born with cloacal exstrophy and assigned female at birth, including through intersex medical interventions. Upon follow-up between the ages of 5 to 12, eight of them identified as boys, and all of the subjects had at least moderately male-typical attitudes and interests.[53]

Dr. Sandra Lipsitz Bem is a psychologist who developed the gender schema theory, based on the combination of aspects of the social learning theory and the cognitive-development theory of sex role acquisition, to explain how individuals come to use gender as an organizing category in all aspects of their life. In 1971, she created the Bem Sex-Role Inventory to measure how well an individual conformed to a traditional gender role, characterizing those tested as having masculine, feminine, androgynous, or undifferentiated personality. She believed that through gender-schematic processing, a person spontaneously sorts attributes and behaviors into masculine and feminine categories, and that therefore individuals processes information and regulate their behavior based on whatever definitions of femininity and masculinity their culture provides.[54]

While there are differences in average capabilities of various kinds (E.g. better average balance in females or greater average physical size and endurance in males) between the sexes[citation needed] the capabilities of some members of one sex will fall within the range of capabilities needed for tasks conventionally assigned to the other sex. Eve Shapiro, author of Gender Circuits, explains that “gender, like other social categories, is both a personal identity and a culture set of behaviors, beliefs and values.”[55] […]

Culture

Ideas of appropriate behavior according to gender vary among cultures and era, although some aspects receive more widespread attention than others. R.W. Connell in Men, Masculinities and Feminism[58] claims:

There are cultures where it has been normal, not exceptional, for men to have homosexual relations. There have been periods in ‘Western’ history when the modern convention that men suppress displays of emotion did not apply at all, when men were demonstrative about their feeling for their friends. Mateship in the Australian outback last century is a case in point.

There are huge areal differences in attitudes towards appropriate gender roles. In the World Values Survey, responders were asked if they thought that wage work should be restricted to only men in the case of shortage in jobs: in Iceland the proportion that agreed with the proposition was 3.6%; while in Egypt it was 94.9%.[59]

Attitudes have also varied historically, for example, in Europe, during the Middle Ages, women were commonly associated with roles related to medicine and healing.[60] Because of the rise of witch-hunts across Europe and the institutionalization of medicine, these roles became exclusively associated with men[60] but in the last few decades these roles have become largely gender-neutral in Western society.[61]

The myth that gender is binary is perpetuated by a flawed education system
by Jeremy Colangelo

Sex and gender are much more complex and nuanced than people have long believed. Defining sex as a binary treats it like a light switch: on or off. But it’s actually more similar to a dimmer switch, with many people sitting somewhere in between male and female genetically, physiologically, and/or mentally. To reflect this, scientists now describe sex as a spectrum.

The more we have learned about human genetics, the more complicated it has revealed itself to be. Because of this, the idea of binary gender has become less and less tenable. As Claire Ainsworth summarizes in an article for Nature, recent discoveries “have pointed to a complex process of sex determination, in which the identity of the gonad emerges from a contest between two opposing networks of gene activity. Changes in the activity … can tip the balance towards or away from the sex seemingly spelled out by the chromosomes.”

Sex redefined
by Claire Ainsworth

Sex can be much more complicated than it at first seems. According to the simple scenario, the presence or absence of a Y chromosome is what counts: with it, you are male, and without it, you are female. But doctors have long known that some people straddle the boundary — their sex chromosomes say one thing, but their gonads (ovaries or testes) or sexual anatomy say another. Parents of children with these kinds of conditions — known as intersex conditions, or differences or disorders of sex development (DSDs) — often face difficult decisions about whether to bring up their child as a boy or a girl. Some researchers now say that as many as 1 person in 100 has some form of DSD2.

When genetics is taken into consideration, the boundary between the sexes becomes even blurrier. Scientists have identified many of the genes involved in the main forms of DSD, and have uncovered variations in these genes that have subtle effects on a person’s anatomical or physiological sex. What’s more, new technologies in DNA sequencing and cell biology are revealing that almost everyone is, to varying degrees, a patchwork of genetically distinct cells, some with a sex that might not match that of the rest of their body. Some studies even suggest that the sex of each cell drives its behaviour, through a complicated network of molecular interactions. “I think there’s much greater diversity within male or female, and there is certainly an area of overlap where some people can’t easily define themselves within the binary structure,” says John Achermann, who studies sex development and endocrinology at University College London’s Institute of Child Health.

These discoveries do not sit well in a world in which sex is still defined in binary terms. Few legal systems allow for any ambiguity in biological sex, and a person’s legal rights and social status can be heavily influenced by whether their birth certificate says male or female.

“The main problem with a strong dichotomy is that there are intermediate cases that push the limits and ask us to figure out exactly where the dividing line is between males and females,” says Arthur Arnold at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies biological sex differences. “And that’s often a very difficult problem, because sex can be defined a number of ways.”

How science is helping us understand gender
by Robin Marantz Henig

Many of us learned in high school biology that sex chromosomes determine a baby’s sex, full stop: XX means it’s a girl; XY means it’s a boy. But on occasion, XX and XY don’t tell the whole story.

Today we know that the various elements of what we consider “male” and “female” don’t always line up neatly, with all the XXs—complete with ovaries, vagina, estrogen, female gender identity, and feminine behavior—on one side and all the XYs—testes, penis, testosterone, male gender identity, and masculine behavior—on the other. It’s possible to be XX and mostly male in terms of anatomy, physiology, and psychology, just as it’s possible to be XY and mostly female.

Each embryo starts out with a pair of primitive organs, the proto-gonads, that develop into male or female gonads at about six to eight weeks. Sex differentiation is usually set in motion by a gene on the Y chromosome, the SRY gene, that makes the proto-gonads turn into testes. The testes then secrete testosterone and other male hormones (collectively called androgens), and the fetus develops a prostate, scrotum, and penis. Without the SRY gene, the proto-gonads become ovaries that secrete estrogen, and the fetus develops female anatomy (uterus, vagina, and clitoris).

But the SRY gene’s function isn’t always straightforward. The gene might be missing or dysfunctional, leading to an XY embryo that fails to develop male anatomy and is identified at birth as a girl. Or it might show up on the X chromosome, leading to an XX embryo that does develop male anatomy and is identified at birth as a boy.

Genetic variations can occur that are unrelated to the SRY gene, such as complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS), in which an XY embryo’s cells respond minimally, if at all, to the signals of male hormones. Even though the proto-gonads become testes and the fetus produces androgens, male genitals don’t develop. The baby looks female, with a clitoris and vagina, and in most cases will grow up feeling herself to be a girl.

Which is this baby, then? Is she the girl she believes herself to be? Or, because of her XY chromosomes—not to mention the testes in her abdomen—is she “really” male? […]

In terms of biology, some scientists think it might be traced to the syncopated pacing of fetal development. “Sexual differentiation of the genitals takes place in the first two months of pregnancy,” wrote Dick Swaab, a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam, “and sexual differentiation of the brain starts during the second half of pregnancy.” Genitals and brains are thus subjected to different environments of “hormones, nutrients, medication, and other chemical substances,” several weeks apart in the womb, that affect sexual differentiation.

This doesn’t mean there’s such a thing as a “male” or “female” brain, exactly. But at least a few brain characteristics, such as density of the gray matter or size of the hypothalamus, do tend to differ between genders. It turns out transgender people’s brains may more closely resemble brains of their self-identified gender than those of the gender assigned at birth. In one study, for example, Swaab and his colleagues found that in one region of the brain, transgender women, like other women, have fewer cells associated with the regulator hormone somatostatin than men. In another study scientists from Spain conducted brain scans on transgender men and found that their white matter was neither typically male nor typically female, but somewhere in between.

These studies have several problems. They are often small, involving as few as half a dozen transgender individuals. And they sometimes include people who already have started taking hormones to transition to the opposite gender, meaning that observed brain differences might be the result of, rather than the explanation for, a subject’s transgender identity.

Still, one finding in transgender research has been robust: a connection between gender nonconformity and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). According to John Strang, a pediatric neuropsychologist with the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Gender and Sexuality Development Program at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., children and adolescents on the autism spectrum are seven times more likely than other young people to be gender nonconforming. And, conversely, children and adolescents at gender clinics are six to 15 times more likely than other young people to have ASD.

* * *

Transgender history: Ancient History (Wikipedia)

Transgender History: Trans Expression in Ancient Times
by Mercedes Allen

52 Queer Gods Who Ruled Ancient History
by Jacob Ogles

Ancient Civilization in Iran Recognized Transgender People 3,000 Years Ago, Study Suggests
by Ariel David

A Womb by Magic – Transcending Gender, Transcending Realities
by Maria Kvilhaug

A Brief Biography of Elagabalus: the transgender ruler of Rome
by Alexis Mijatovic

A trans soldier in the ancient Roman army?
by Tom Sapsford

Were there Transgender People in the Middle Ages?
by Gabrielle Bychowski

Intersex in the Middle Ages
by Sandra Alvarez

Impossible Hermaphrodites: Intersex in America, 1620–1960
by Elizabeth Reis

Transgender Acceptance in Indigenous Cultures Worldwide

A Map of Gender-Diverse Cultures (PBS)

A Third Gender Identity Has Existed for Centuries
by Katie Moritz

The Third Gender in Native American Tribes (UCSB SexInfo)

A Third Gender Among Indigenous Peoples
by Doug George-Kanentiio

Two Spirits, One Heart, Five Genders
by Duane Brayboy

The ‘two-spirit’ people of indigenous North Americans
by Walter L. Williams

Native American tribes recognized a gender separate from male and female it was called – “Two-Spirits”. They weren’t seen as homosexual among their tribe
by Goran Blazeski

The Disappearance of the Two-Spirit Traditions in Canada
by Hamish Copley

Gender roles among the indigenous peoples of North America (Wikipedia)

Two-spirit (Wikipedia)

Koekchuch (Wikipedia)

Māhū (Wikipedia)

Mapuche (Wikipedia)

Muxe (Wikipedia)

Osh-Tisch (Wikipedia)

Hombres Mujeres: An Indigenous Third Gender
by Alfredo Mirandé

Colombia’s indigenous transgender women live freer lives working on coffee farms
by Kenneth Dickerman

The transcendent bissu
by Sharyn Graham Davies

A Brief History Of Hijra, India’s Third Gender
by Sridevi Nambiar

Why terms like ‘transgender’ don’t work for India’s ‘third-gender’ communities
by Max Bearak

The Splendor of Gender Non-Conformity In Africa
by Shanna Collins

Unspoken facts: a history of homosexualities in Africa
by Keletso Makofane

The Privilege of Even Poor Whites

I just don’t get the belief in genetic and cultural determinism. It doesn’t really explain anything.

As an example, “whites” used to have much lower IQs on average than do “non-white” minorities now. The first IQ tests were done in the early 20th century. It was a time of many social problems, not unlike these past decades. It was a time when ethnic Americans of European ancestry were targeted and scapegoated by WASPs not unlike how minorities are still treated.

Along with testing as low IQ, those ethnic Americans had higher rates of violence than have been seen since, much of it related to substance abuse, youth gangs, and organized crime. It was the highest rates of violent crime ever recorded in US history and, because of mass immigration from Europe, probably was the largest “white” majority in US history (or rather perceived “white” majority as those included and excluded is always changing).

That was the largest influx of “white” genetics and culture ever to happen on American soil. If “whites” are inherently superior, why didn’t that even larger “white” majority immediately drive down the violence and push up the IQ? It took decades before those early 20th century social problems improved with the help of public education, Progressive policies, the GI Bill, etc… not to mention oppressive Cold War tactics of cultural genocide and forced assimilation of hyphenated Americans into proper “white” mainstream culture, a part of the original purpose of such things as public education which is why the KKK supported it.

So, if even lower IQ and more violent “whites” were able to see vast improvements over such a short period of time, why is it assumed that “non-white” minorities today are different? Why wouldn’t the same improved environmental condtions that improved the lives of ethnic “whites”, if implemented universally, also improve the lives of all other Americans? Why is genetic and cultural determinism only applied to rationalize the social problems impacting some groups and not others?

This is a personal issue for me, as a descendant of ethnic immigrants, some who likely identified as hyphenated Americans.

My non-English ancestors experienced oppression and prejudice. They worked hard, and through generations of struggle they were allowed to move up in society.

My mother’s family a few generations ago were poor whites: distillers, farmers, clam diggers, manual laborers, etc; when they were lucky enough to find work. They definitely knew poverty and unemployment during the early 20th century. They were under-educated and uneducated, often illiterate and unable to write until recent generations. They wouldn’t have tested as high IQ. They also had many of the problems associated with ethnic Americans, such as alcoholism and bootlegging during Prohibition. They were simple people, just getting by in life, whatever that took.

It was only with my mother’s generation that most of her family began graduating from high school and, in some cases, getting college degrees. Within a single generation, many members of my mom’s family went from poor to middle class. Their perceived “whiteness” gave them privileges and advantages of social and economic mobility.

It wasn’t genetic and cultural determinism that had kept them poor and disadvantaged for centuries upon centuries. It was the social conditions that initially kept them at the bottom of society and that then allowed them to rise. Their perceived “whiteness”, after they had been either willingly or forcefully assimilated, doesn’t explain this change. Rather, their perceived “whiteness” was the change or an expression of that change. Before being “white” or fully “white”, they were treated as second class citizens and so they suffered the fate of second class citizens. The twentieth century, however, gave them new opportunities with a new racial and social identity. They were now “white” and hence “real Americans”.

Many whites take this kind of cross-generational upward mobility as a point of pride. Their family did it. So, it is no one else’s fault for those who are seen as failures. But this ignores the reality of our society, the remaining forms of classism and racism. It was also only a brief respite for many families, as new generations find themselves falling back down into poverty once again, no better off than the rest of the poor who have been stuck there. The American Dream has been a mirage because it never was built on a strong foundation, never was integrated into a functioning democracy.

The racial myth of superiority has been shown to be the lie it always was. Poor whites have always been the majority of the poor and those on welfare. A temporary respite from poverty for some white Americans didn’t change this fact.

Why do we want to use social categories to choose who will be allowed to succeed and who will continue to be punished with prejudice and oppression? Instead, why not treat all Americans equally and give them all equal opportunities and assistance? Making excuses of determinism helps no one and harms everyone as it undermines the very values and ideals that justify our country’s existence. If American isn’t about an actual American Dream accessible to all Americans, then what is it about? Do we really want to cynically embrace Apartheid? Why not live up to the hopes and aspirations our country was founded upon?

Cultures and Determinism

Culture isn’t deterministic in an absolutely predictable way. We can measure certain factors within a culture that can probabilistically predict outcomes, but a culture as a whole is constantly shifting even as patterns of collective identity are maintained. Cultures aren’t just limits, but also potentialities. A cultural worldview is a reality tunnel that, while closing down particular possibilities, opens up other possibilities.

This became clear to me in reading Colin Woodards American Nations. He described the development of California. It seemed like a perfect example of how cultures interact to with unforeseen consequences.

California (and the Ecotopia Northwest) is a unique area, very different from the Eastern part of the country. Americans normally identify the Scots-Irish with the Appalachian South, but Scots-Irish are concentrated in many different areas. Scots-Irish immigrants mostly entered through Pennsylvania where there still are many and they have assimilated to the Quaker Midlands culture there. Extending from Pennsylvania, there are many Scots-Irish in the Lower Midwest border area, although interestingly there are fewer Scots-Irish in the Upper Midwest than in New England. The largest concentration of Scots-Irish is actually in the region around the Northwest, including Northern California and the Northern Far West.

It’s equally interesting to consider all the areas the Scots-Irish have intentionally or unintentionally avoided for the most part. As I pointed out, the Upper Midwest is almost entirely devoid of Scots-Irish. The population of the Upper Midwest is a combination of Germans and Scandinavians, and it is the area of the US known for having one of the strongest traditions of socialism and communitarianism, certainly the only area that had a city run by a socialist majority political leadership for about a half century. The only other areas with comparatively low percentage of Scots-Irish are Florida and the Lower Southwest, both Hispanic areas of the former Spanish Empire and once part of Mexico.

California, specifically Northern California, has a connection to New England Yankeedom. It seems strange to see how many Scots-Irish chose to move to both of these areas heavily influenced by Yankee culture and politics. I’m not sure if the Scots-Irish assimilated in New England, but in Northern California it wasn’t a perfect assimilation for anyone involved. Mexicans had settled in Southern California more and they maintained their culture there while New Englanders came after to Northern California where they had a majority in government while also operating the first churches, schools, and newspapers. Following the New Englanders settling the mostly coastal areas which became urbanized, the Scots-Irish spread out mostly in the rural areas. Yankee dominance was never complete for New Englanders were outnumbered by those of other ethnicities.

This created a weird amalgam in California not found anywhere else. The New Englanders brought the Puritan tradition of industriousness and utopian social reform. The Scots-Irish brought their love of independence and grassroots populism. The two cultures conflicted at first which lessened certain aspects of both cultures while magnifying other aspects. Strangely, the Scots-Irish undermined the Puritan religious impulses and helped secularize California which is completely the opposite of how the Scots-Irish embraced evangelical fundamentalism in Appalachia. Also, the Scots-Irish population in the Northwest shows less gun violence than in Appalachia.

Different social conditions lead to entirely different results.

Freedom and Fate in Western Thought

I’ve observed a constellation of ideas that has been a part of Western thinking for a long time, but became most influential beginning with the Enlightenment.

It has to do with notions of freedom and determinism (specifically in terms of materialism and mechanism, environmentalism and communitarianism/socialism) along with heretical views about God and Nature, specifically such views as deism and pantheism/panentheism. It, of course, involves criticisms of biblical literalism and the rise of modern biblical studies in general, the Enlightenment idea being that faith and revelation doesn’t trump reason.

An early origin of this constellation has to do with the Stoics. They dealt with the problems of human fate. It was from the Stoics that the early Christians inherited natural law.

Freewill was a major issue for Christian theologians in those first several centuries. Augustine was heavily impacted by his experience as a Manichaean, and through this he introduced elements of Manichaeism into Catholicism. He particularly struggled with evil and freewill. This led him to a compromised position of Original Sin and the necessity of the Church as a proxy to enforce God’s will and hence enforce social order.

Later on, the Reformation era was a major factor in setting the stage for the Enlightenment. Take Erasmus as an example. He helped form modern biblical criticism and the humanistic tradition. He also was involved with a famous debate with Luther about freewill.

My focus on these ideas, however, isn’t as directly related to religion. The specific constellation of ideas can be seen in Hobbes’ writings, but more clearly takes form with Spinoza and Locke (the latter two born in the same year).

Spinoza and Locke represent the two sides of the Enlightenment, radical and moderate. Locke isn’t part of my main focus at the moment, although he forms an obvious context for most people in thinking about the development of the Western tradition. Instead, the more radical Spinoza has been on my mind. This constellation of ideas can be seen in the entire Enlightenment tradition and represents a core element, but it is most clearly manifest in the radical Enlightenment with its tendency toward deism.

In light of Spinoza, Hobbes has come to my attention. Hobbes is a precursor to the moderate Enlightenment, but he does share at least one thing in common with Spinoza. Both were determinists.

Hobbes saw human nature as dangerous. So, he put forth a secularized version of the Leviathan/Commonwealth where government takes on the role once held by the Church. 

Spinoza, however, saw human nature as having the individual capacity for moral good. So, he saw a kind of freedom to be had in knowledge and self-awareness. Certainly, Spinoza was the first advocate of the Enlightenment ideals of liberty and democracy. Spinoza was also an early materialist which was related to his views of mechanism and determinism.

About a century later, Paine came on the scene. Paine was indebted to Spinoza, at least in his later work but probably in his earlier work as well (Spinoza’s influence on English deism was well established by the time Paine was born; the influence on Paine probably being a combination of direct and indirect as Spinoza’s influence was wide-ranging across all of the Western world, including influence on Locke). Paine’s radicalism, maybe more than any other single factor, inspired the entire revolutionary era from Europe to North America.

Many early American radical thinkers had notions of America’s destiny. Paine saw it as being a revolutionary fire that would spread across the world and so a destiny not limited or owned by just Americans. Others have seen this destiny differently such as an American Manifest Destiny. Either way, it forms the background to the Enlightenment ideals of liberty and freedom.

Lincoln was inspired by Paine. Also, Lincoln was involved in a social circle that included many radicals: spiritualists, communitarians, free-soilers, abolitionists, feminists, left-wing revolutionaries, etc. Lincoln developed a more determinist view of humanity and history which he at least partly got from Robert Dale Owen, the son of the famous socialist. It was because of Lincoln’s determinism that he thought that slavery was fated to end.  Lincoln believed in natural law which closely relates to the deist Nature’s God which is the divine imminent in the world and in each person, hence all are equal (Lincoln was aware of Jefferson’s deism and his original draft of the Declaration of Independence that declared all people equal, no matter their religion, race or gender).

If freedom is part of natural law, then it is destined to be. God isn’t arbitrary. God’s will is the law of this world, i.e., natural law. As such, all of the world chafes at the reigns of oppression for, from this view, it is unnatural and unsustainable.

During Lincoln’s life, Marxism and socialism were having great impact. Many of the left-wing revolutionaries in Europe had immigrated to America, some even joining Lincoln’s administration or the leadership of the Union army. More of Marx’s writings had been published in a Republican newspaper than anywhere else in the world and that newspaper was regularly read by Lincoln. Marx was another thinker who was influenced by Spinoza, and some Marxists today have attempted to rehabilitate Marxism by way of Spinoza.

Socialism is closely related to environmentalism for the environment includes both the social environment and the natural environment. This also brings us to the whole deep ecology angle which relates to the Nature’s God of the deists and so goes back to Spinoza. The original influence on deep ecology came from a philosophical pessimist, Peter Wessel Zapffe.

There is the common idea of the environment influencing or determining human behavior, an idea that was implicit if often submerged in the Enlightenment project. Different theorists go in diverse directions about this environmental influence, but it has becoming increasingly central to the ideas most clearly formulated by the first Enlightenment thinkers.

Ideas about freedom have a close history with ideas about fate.

This reminds me, as many things do, of the Trickster archetype. There is the liminal space between seemingly polar concepts. They are secretly connected and can’t be divided for it goes beyond mere philosophy.

This is moreso about human nature than about any particular ideology. This constellation of ideas can lead to many ideologies. What makes me wonder is the factor that causes these ideas to constellate in the fist place. What is their affinity?

In the Trickster archetype, there are issues of egalitarianism in terms of bringing the high down low and there are issues of charisma that offers a vision of egalitarianism and empowerment. Thinkers such as Paine and Lincoln certainly weren’t lacking in charisma.

I’m not sure what all this adds up to. Just some thoughts rolling around my head.

Subjectivity and Objectivity, Synchronicity and Science

Subjectivity and Objectivity, Synchronicity and Science

Posted on Jul 15th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
Patterns With No Known Cause

The world is filled with patterns.  We rarely notice them and we rarely even think to try to notice them.  Even when we do notice them, we don’t know what to make of them.  Are we seeing order because that is what the human mind does?  The paranoid notices patterns where none exist or at least where no one else notices them.  If we are correct in seeing an objective pattern, how can we be sure and how can we discover its cause?  Mostly, we’re in the dark and our ability to test our hypotheses is extremely limited.  We end up believing in what feels true or useful and just ignoring all the rest.  But what if you’re a person who feels compelled to question all beliefs and feel incapable of ignoring the data that doesn’t fit?

Events That Seem To Defy Scientific Knowledge

Usually, the strange events of life are rather mundane.  They’re easy to ignore and forget about.  We most often don’t even give them a moment of thought.  Oddities happen all of the time.  Our perspective and information is limited, and we don’t have the time to consider all of the possibilities.  We have things to do and places to be… so, curiosity and wonder get put on the backburner.  For most of us, we only remember our child-like wonder when around children.  A kid who has no adult responsibilities makes an unusual observation and the adult pauses for a moment.  They walk past that place everyday… why hadn’t they noticed it?  As we go about our lives, we normally just assume or act as if everything is explainable according to known scientific laws.  Its easy to explain away or dismiss the minor odd events that pop up every now an then.

Experiences That Seem To Deny Rationality

Most of our daily experiences are non-rational.  Thoughts and emotions and perceptions flow through our consciousness, and for the most part we don’t bring much self-awareness in investigating them.  However, sometimes a weird experience jolts us into a moment of wonder or at least a moment of nagging uncertainty.  Synchronicities are a good example of this.  Subjectivity and objectivity, nearness and distance, randomness and order seem to briefly collapse into an unclear middle category.  Its easy to dismiss it as a mere coincidence after the event.  You can’t prove a correlation and certainly there seems to be no rational link, no common cause.  At best, all one can say is that it felt meaningful.  But even then one can’t say exactly what is meaningful about it.

Synchronicities abound.  But if you’re not looking for them, you’re not likely to notice them.  On the other hand, if you intentionally look for them and thus notice them, it doesn’t rationally prove anything.  We find what we look for; about everyone understands this factor.  Where one person sees an acausal principle another sees perceptual bias.  Coincidences happen… so what?  Objectively, a coincidence is just that, but that misses the subjective experience. 

Can Subjectivity Be Objectively Studied?

Science assumes objectivity and subjectivity are separate or if anything that the subjective mind is just a result of an objective brain.  Synchronicity brings this scientific assumpiton into question.  That the scientific method proves a scientific worldview is no surprise.  However, even traditional science based on a mechanistic paradigm is starting to be questioned by new research based on a new paradigm.  But, no matter what paradigm, science will always be limited in what it can research.  Science, by its very design, has difficulty dealing with the complex and nonlinear, the multicausal and the acausal.

Science doesn’t ever prove anything.  Science just assumes through general concensus that a theory is true when repeated research hasn’t yet disproven it.  The problem is that some phenomena can’t be scientifically studied at all or not very easily.  According to the scientific  paradigm, such issues are never denied, but by not dealing with them they are subtly dismissed.  For instance, mainstream science has barely studied the paranormal and only because of a few mavericks within the mainstream.  But, at the same time, mainstream science excludes the paranormal as if its been disproven.  If the paranormal was untrue, it wouldn’t be difficult to disprove given enough research.  So, why do most scientists avoid the matter altogether?

What Can We Discover Through Our Own Subjectivity?

So, science can’t directly prove much of anything especially in the area of subjective experience.  All we do is use data to build up statistical probabilities.  If anything, science tends to dismiss the subjective factor.  Simply based on research, there is probably more reason to doubt freewill than to believe in it.  But can we prove something as fundamental as freewill in our own subjective experience?

Some would say yes because they feel they’re free.  However, everyone has plenty of experiences where what they felt to be true was wrong.  Of course, the naturally optimistic human mind tends to ignore data that doesn’t fit into their reality tunnel.  Yes, people who believe in freewill feel they have freewill, and vice versa.  But what if we step outside of this self-contained thought system, this self-reinforcing loop?

With synchronicities, subjectivity and objectivity seem to collapse into a middle category.  When we look at the dilemma of freewill vs determinism a similar collapse seems to happen.  Synchronicities are just one category of paranormal experience.  The paranormal undermines our whole sense of reality.  Not only is objectivy as we understand it questioned but subjectivity as we experience it is also questioned.  If neither objectivity nor subjectivity can give us a clear answer, where can we turn?  Is there even a clear answer to be found?

Conclusion

Life is strange.

Access_public Access: Public 27 Comments Print Post this!views (488)  

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 1 hour later

Marmalade said

Nicole – I’m glad you linked those.  This gives me the opportunity to bring up some more details.

The first two links are from CSICOP which is an organization I had specifically in mind while writing this blog.  They’re the most well known debunking organization.  This blog is a partial continuation of my previous blog: Integral, the Paleolithic, and the Liminal.  In that blog, I mentioned George P. Hansen and I linked to his article about CSICOP.  He uses this organization as one of his major examples in his book The Trickster and the Paranormal

There are two basic points he makes. 

First, CSICOP does no academic research and doesn’t publish an academic journal where research is peer-reviewed.  They focus on case studies which are easy targets of debunking.  However, most paranormal research doesn’t rely on case studies for the very reason that deception is a problem.  The reason that CSICOP only does case studies is that earlier in its history it did do some research that supported what they were trying to debunk, and that was the last time they did real research.  They actually try to dissuade academic scientists from doing research on paranormal, and they have a fair amount of influence.  So, in this sense, they are discouraging science.

Second, the people who are the head of CSICOP aren’t scientistst and the scientists who support the organization aren’t paranormal researchers.  It has no connection to academia except through individual support of some scientists.  It isn’t a research institute.  Simply put, its only purpose is to debunk by taking on easy targets and ridicule those who actually do serious research.

The other link is ASSAP which is an organization I’m not familiar with.  I’ll look into it more later.

I’m still reading the book by Hansen and so I’m still weighing the evidence.  He looks at all sides with a particular emphasis on deception.  He says that he has been involved in paranormal for a long time.  I’m not overly familiar with the field, and this is the first book I’ve read by him.  He seems to have a wide grasp of not only the research, but he also seems to know a lot about the different people involved and he has an interesting take on various theories that are applicable to the paranormal field.

I’m not direclty interested in the paranormal field in terms of research, but this book has made me more interested in it.  The reason I bought the book is because he discusses the trickster archetype and its relationship to culture.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 1 hour later

Nicole said

this is really good to know. one of the things i liked about the articles i linked from them was that they came across as kinder somehow…

i haven’t been super interested in the paranormal either, but am intrigued by what you are saying… relationship with trickster archetype makes a lot of sense.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 9 hours later

Marmalade said

I skimmed through the first article by Benjamin Radford about the haunted house investigation.  The guy presented himself as a neutral observer who is open to the possibility of ghosts, but doing a quick search of him on the net and he seemed to fit the profile of a debunker.  By this, I mean that all his investigations that I could find seemed focused on disproving.

One thing that came to mind is that their is a difference between his being open to the possibility in a vague theoretical way vs what he actually expects to find.  A major discovery of paranormal research is how researchers influence their research even when they’re are double-blinds and randomness to protect against influence.  There is a theory that some debunkers can psychically have a negative influence on that which they investigate. 
In paranormal research, this creates a problem because some researchers are consistently successful in finding evidence for the paranormal and some researchers have the opposite effect.  I was just reading about this in Hansen’s book.  He used an example of two researchers that had these opposite influences.  They did research together in order to test this and the evidence did show they seemed to be influencing their research even though there was no way to explain it except through psychic influence. 

Even in mainstream research, there is what is called ethnomethodology which studies culture.  It has been used to study scientific culture, and it has shown how easy it is for researchers to influence their research.  Objectivity is a very difficult ideal to achieve, and ethnomethodology even questions the assumptions of objectivity.

Its interesting that paranormal research was one of the first fields to use randomeness and statistical analysis in order to protect against influence.  Paranormal researchers understand deception and influence better than most scientific researchers.  Of course, this learning came about because of past mistakes of earlier researchers. 

It was because of how easy deception can occur with exceptional case studies that the researcher Rhine institued using large groups of normal people as test subjects.  Rhine’s methods have been standard protocol ever since.  Its because of the difficulty of control that case studies such as haunted house investigations haven’t been focused on in paranormal research for the past half century.  An article about a haunted house attracts attention in the popular media (which essentially is what CSICOP functions as), but no general conclusions can be based on such investigations.

The second link was an article by Joe Nickell.  He is a lead investigator of CSICOP who isn’t a scientist, and was influenced by James Randi who also isn’t a scientist.  Nickell is definitely a traditional debunker.  Everything I said about Radford applies to him.  He debunks specific cases such as in the linked article.  I did a quick search on Radford and Nickell.  I couldn’t tell if either had ever investigated paranormal research or simply limited themselves to case studies.

Something Radford said jumped out at me: “I am less interested in mysteries than explanations; mysteries are dime a dozen, and it is explanations that are valuable.”  He admits that mysteries are prevalent and oddly he concludes that mysteries are uninteresting because there are so many of them.  Jeez!  I’d say its quite interesting that mysteries are dime a dozen.  Doesn’t he find it amazing that explanations are so rare?  I’m all for explanations, but how much jaded cynicism does it take to lose one’s wonder and curiosity in the face of ineffable mystery?  Without mysteries, there would be no new explanations.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 10 hours later

Marmalade said

I wasn’t intending to discuss CSICOP and debunkers in this blog, but that is fine.  In writing this blog, I was inspired more by my personal experience.

 – I’ve had many synchronicities such as where I’ve heard a word on the radio at the same time I was reading that word. 
 – Working downtown, I notice patterns in crowd behavior and I always wonder what is the cause. 
 – The other day I had an experience where I was pouring a can of pop into a cup and somehow the liquid spilled 6 inches away from the cup, and I couldn’t figure out the reason as the can looked normal.

These are all completely mundane experiences and that is partly what interests me.  Such minor events happen to us all of the time, but we rarely know the reason.  They aren’t important as in the sense that they have no great effect on our everyday lives, but they’re the type of thing that catches my attention.  I’m always thinking about the world and I’m always noticing patterns.

I’ve also had more dramatic weird experiences.  But in this blog I was thinking more about these more minor events that are easy to not notice or dismiss if noticed.  Most people don’t give much credence to coincidences.  Most people don’t care about the reason behind the behavior of crowds.  Most people don’t think about a spilled can of pop beyond being annoyed by it.  

Yet,  these are all things that signify the limits of our personal knowledge of the world.  Even if you were a genius that memorized all of human knowledge, you’d still know very little about the world.  Our ‘knowledge’ will look as naive and simplistic to future generations as the ‘knowledge’ of past generations looks to us.

Our knowledge is an island in a sea of mystery.  As Radford said, mysteries are so common as to be deemed insignificant.  And yet every moment of existence is an utter mystery.  What I find amazing is that despite all of the explanations we come up with we can’t seem to banish mystery from our rational world.  And it most often pops up in small ways… God in the gutter.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 14 hours later

Nicole said

God in the gutter. There are so many mysteries, small and big. Rationality and objectivity are limited and illusion to a certain extent. It’s true that if we survive for more centuries, what we “know” will look pitiful.

I’m happy to discuss personal experiences. and speaking of personal experience, you will be glad to know that I spent time yesterday staring at the water. it felt so good.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 20 hours later

Marmalade said

Hey Nicole!  I was just now checking out the third link.  ASSAP looks promising.  Its not a debunking site, but neither does it seem to be a believers’ site.  The director of ASSAP was referred to as a Fortean researcher. 

I like how Charles Fort went about things.  Like many debunkers, he wasn’t a scientist and so some of the same criticisms could be made against him.  The difference is that he was more open-minded in considering all possibilities and he was more fair in his willingness to question everything equally.  Fort was no defender of scientific materialism.  His viewpoint seemed to be that the world is too weird for any single explanation whether scientific or otherwise.  He had an imagination similar to Philip K. Dick but without the naive credulousness.  PKD wanted to believe in something.  Fort wanted to disbelieve everything.

There are several interesting writers that followed in the footsteps of Fort. 

Jacques Vallee is the most prominent ufo investigator, but he was different from Fort in that he had a background in the hard sciences.  It was because Vallee saw firsthand astronomers destroying data of ufo sightings that led him to investigate it for himself.  Vallee was an innocent young scientist who was shocked that scientists aren’t always objective.  🙂  Vallee was the first investigator to make a connection between ufo experiences and folklore.

John Keel (of Mothman fame) was more similar to Fort than Vallee was.  Keel was a journalist like Fort.  Vallee was more specific in his interest with ufos, but Fort and Keel had more wide-ranging interests.  Also, Vallee seemed to be a more balanced fellow.  He took a decade or so break from ufo research because it didn’t feel like it was going anywhere.  OTOH Fort and Keel dedicated their whole lives to endless investigation.  However, even though Fort was obsessed with his work like Keel, Fort never went off the deep end.  Keel had a mental breakdown at one point.

What is interesting about the Forteans is that they’re equally willing to consider the debunkers and the believers.  Debunkers often write articles for the magazine Fortean Times.  For instance, one of the CSICOP investigators you linked to has an article on the Fortean Times website.  Forteans are a special kind of debunker because they want debunk everything… and then see what is left standing.  They’re something like the negative theologians of the paranormal.  They’d rather say what isn’t than what is.

The problem with the Forteans is the problem with all debunkers.  They tend to focus on specific case studies rather than on scientific research.  Case studies are important though because some things simply can’t be reproduced in a lab.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 20 hours later

Nicole said

this is really great. gotta run, but if you have time, please look at my blogs and share your thoughts… hugs… will respond properly later 

about 21 hours later

Nightphoenix said

The awakening happens differently for each of us — but the end result is that we realize that heaven isn’t a place but rather a state of mind.   The journey is all that matters because in this never ending evolving consciousness we never reach the end of our journey.  check my recent blogs about consciousness. I posted a great video that covers the reasons why we have free will.  

Quote from the Movie Contact: 

You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 22 hours later

Marmalade said

Welcome to my blog NightPhoenix!

I tend to view heaven as a state of mind, but of course not state of mind in the normal sense of mind.  I noticed you blogged about A Course In MIracles.  That is a book that was a major influence of my thinking when I read it in highschool, and it still influences me.  As for life as journey, I don’t normally think of life that way but I am a present-oriented kind of person. I couldn’t figure out which of your blogs is about freewill.   Would you mind linking to the specific video?

Contact is a pretty good movie, but I haven’t watched it a second time.  I don’t remember that quote.  I’ll probably watch it again one of these days.  I saw that you blogged about What Dreams May Come.  I love that movie and have watched it many times.  Some of the scenes are utterly beautiful.

The other blog of yours that stood out to me was the one about the Johari Window.  That model is relevant to this discussion here.  Part of what I’m focusing on is the Unkown quadrant, the unknown unknowns, unknown by everyone.

about 22 hours later

Nightphoenix said

The link

please note:  you’ll have to watch the entire video to grasp the information contained in it.  But it does cover free will…

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 22 hours later

Marmalade said

I just finished watching that video.  It reminds me of What the Bleep Do We Know!?  It also reminds me of Lynne McTaggart.  I’ve read some of her books and I found them fairly insightful, and very good summaries of some of the strange research that scientists do.  She is looking at paranormal research like Hansen is doing in his book, but she takes a more New Age perspective with considering how we can learn to direct our intentions towards the good. 

She brings up strong evidence for the power of the mind to influence the world, but she also comes up with strong evidence for the power of the mind to influence others’ minds even unbeknownst to those being influenced (Hansen also discusses this).  So, freewill still seems unclear to me.  Who or what is influencing whom?  All the research shows is correlations.  Based upon that we can theorize various types of influence.

However, it gets complicated very quickly.  Psi research has shown evidence for the possibility that influence can work in the reverse.  Research suggest that we might be able to influence events and people in the past.  That is a pretty cool trick, but it also means people in the future may be influencing us right now.  Freaky!  

What I get out of all of this is that we’re all connected and nobody really knows exactly what that connection is.  This is why I don’t believe in freewill.  I believe in influence which simply means I believe the world is complex beyond simple notions such as the ideal of freewill or even the mechanisms of science.  Of course, I could simply redefine freewill as influence and still retain the word.  I do believe we aren’t merely helpless at the whims of reality.  We are participants even if mostly blind and ignorant in how we participate.  Bumbling in the dark isn’t so bad.  Many great discoveries are made that way.  🙂

about 23 hours later

Nightphoenix said

I liked what the bleep do we know?  especially the court of infinite possibilities & the double slit experiment.  But back to free will // if this is all a program for lack of better words  then it’s a very advanced program by any standards and it may be possible in such a program to allow for free will.  It probably wouldn’t appear as free will to the programmer but to us it might appear as free will.  sorta like those books with alternate endings depending on the choices you make in the book. Do you remember those books from childhood?

Zephyr : Poeticspirit

about 23 hours later

Zephyr said

Having had many synchronistic and paranormal ESP experiences in my life, in tthe end I deduced that somehow I was connecting or more likely universal consciousness was making a connection with me, it was totally random not any effort on my part and no way could I make it happen to order,  either in or out of a laboratory but I could not deny the experiences.   Information was popping into my mind of occurrances that I couldn’t possibly have known about because I was too far away,  there is no way to prove any of it  after the event but after ignoring and disbelieving, I learned to heed these experiences. 

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 23 hours later

Marmalade said

Another way to think about it is that freewill is true just as the mechanisms of science are true.  But these are only relatively true.  There is predictable order and that is what science studies, and yet not all experience is controlled by this order which is where freewill has whatever influence it has.  What I’m interested in is what exists in between the two and what exists beyond both.  Is there a reality beyond the objective world and our subjective individuality?  Both science and freewill seek to control, and so what resides outside of the reach of our methods of control?  What is free even from our desire for freedom?

Yes, I remember those books from childhood.

Choose Your Own Adventure

I know its cheating, but I always would reverse back to the previous choice when I didn’t like the ending I got.  I’m sure those books helped to teach me how to think in terms of non-linear connections and multiple possibilities.  They even have Choose Your Own Adventure movies now.  I watched one with my niece a while back.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 23 hours later

Marmalade said

Hi Zephyr!

Uh-huh… the kind of thing your describing fits into what I was thinking about.  Its good that you learned to heed them.  The best we can try to do is to learn from these experiences, but it isn’t always clear whether there is something to be learned.  So, we pay attention and be patient.  How did you go about testing this information that was popping in your head?  Was any of the information helpful or insightful… or just information?

I resonate with what you said about not controlling nor being able to deny these experiences.  This is how reality feels to me most of the time.  We influence things and we make various relatively minor choices throughout our day, but there is a immense world beyond our sphere of control.  We’re constantly being effected by the world and often by forces beyond our awareness… call it God, a guardian angel, the Daimonic, universal consciousness, or even simply the unconscious.  We can bring awareness to bear upon these situations, but our consciousness ego-minds are limited. 

Did you find that your experiences helped you to become more aware? 
Did they help you to have more respect or wonder for that which lies beyond your awareness?

starlight : StarLight Dancing

1 day later

starlight said

i think science is actually beginning to look at this subject with more depth, because it has too…

Larry King just did a show highlighting the new A&E series about children that posess these abilities.

here is the link, incase it should interest you…

http://www.aetv.com/

btw, this blog entry was very well written…
always, star…

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

Hello Starlight,

For some reason my blog is popular today.  🙂

Yep, I too think that science is looking more into this.  Scientists have to deal with it because the evidence is piling up too much to be ignored and the public interest keeps growing.  Plus, I’m willing to bet that the new generation of scientists are more open to the paranormal.

Thanks for the link.  I’ll check it out later.

Gotta go to work now.  Have a wonderful evening everybody!

Marm

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

what a cool blog conversation! see, Ben, you should blog more often! You’re getting so popular… hugs…

Zephyr : Poeticspirit

1 day later

Zephyr said

Hi Marmalade, my ESP happens when someone needs my help, the first time I was 8 and my brothers friend was being swept out to sea by a strong current, there were no strong swimmers on the beach something said to me go back to the cafe above the beach there I found the islands champion swimmer who swam out and rescued the child who believe it  or not could not swim but somehow managed to stay afloat !!!!
The next time was when my boys were out playing, I was baking at home and had a strong urge to go to my youngest son, I stopped what I was doing, crossed the road, went along the road through a shortcut to the play park and found my son who had fallen off a six foot slide and was quite distressed. When I was nursing there were several instances where I had an urge to visit my community patients when a regular visit was not planned –
I found one had fallen and broken a limb
one was in the middle of a heart attack
one was sitting in front of a gas fire and the room was filling with gas from an unlit ceiling gas lamp, amazing the place didn’t explode when I opened the door and got her out.
one was in panic with a paraffin heater ablaze
I also had one ESP episode with our dog, driving home from work one day I thought the dog’s in trouble in the sea –  my next thought was to laugh at myself thinking how foolish, dogs can swim. I arrived home to find my husband and our great dane dripping wet, the dog had apparently jumped off a groyne into deep water and panicked, my husband had to wade into the sea and fish him out.!!!!  That is just a few examples of ESP
i pick up peoples thoughts sometimes, and am very sensitive to the atmosphere of places
where there have been unhappy incidents. I only mention because it’s pertinent to the subject here,  most people are pretty sceptical about such things.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

how cool is that! what i love about these gaia discussions, where blogged or podded or both, is that things we have become reluctant to talk about come into the light and we all benefit.

Ben, I think you’re right, that the direction is that rigid closed attitude science used to have is eroding with new generations of science and all the inroads of quantum physics etc. the universe is much full of wonder, a place where electrons tunnel and cats are in boxes neither alive nor dead…. so mystical…

Balder : Kosmonaut

1 day later

Balder said

Very nice blog and discussion, Ben.  I appreciated how you used an examination of causality to problematize the distinctions between subjective and objective; I felt you did this in a fairly clear-eyed and balanced way, rather than jumping to untenable conclusions.  “Life is strange” just about sums it up!  The ordinary is shot through with strangeness, which sometimes we see when we suddenly snap to and perceive our worlds in a fresh way; and the strange lurks around so much it’s downright ordinary…

You wrote:  For most of us, we only remember our child-like wonder when around children.  A kid who has no adult responsibilities makes an unusual observation and the adult pauses for a moment.  They walk past that place everyday… why hadn’t they noticed it?

This reminded me of a phone call I received from my six-year-old son a couple hours ago.  He said, “Dad, how come there is an icecream maker in my world but we don’t really have one?  How come everyone has a whole different world inside them?”

He’s seeing a wonder that we walk past so often: the  rich universes we each are.

Best wishes,

Balder

Marmalade : Gaia Child

2 days later

Marmalade said

Hey Balder,

This was an interesting blog because I wrote it without much editing.  It was a single flow of thought with one point leading to the next.  I had no particular goal in mind other than trying to convey a certain mood, a certain way of looking at the world.

Problematize… I love that word!  It amuses me. 

“Ben, I appreciated how you problematized that.”  Thanks!  🙂

…rather than jumping to untenable conclusions.

Yeah, I was trying to avoid conclusions whether tenable or not.  But I came to the end and I figured that some kind of conclusion was required.  Plus, I just felt like being funny.

“Dad, how come there is an icecream maker in my world but we don’t really have one?  How come everyone has a whole different world inside them?”

Now, that is a good question.  So, what was your answer.  🙂

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

2 days later

Marmalade said

I was recently talking to Sandra and looking at her profile I discovered that M. Alan Kazlev has a blog here on Gaia.  He mentioned an article of his on Integral Praxis which is partly run by Bright Abyss from OSI.  In the comments of that article, there was mention of Robert Searle’s Multi-dimensional Science which is described on Kazlev’s website.  I noticed that Robert Searle has a blog here also.

I felt like writing that paragraph with those links in order to justify the time I spent the last several hours wandering around the web.  🙂

Also, I wrote it because of what was being proposed by Robert Searle.  He seems to believe that exceptional case studies can lead to scientific knowledge if you have enough case studies.  It seems a bit optimistic to me considering the difficulty of trying to study exceptional people.  I’d love to see actual research attempted according to Searle’s methodology.  If done on a large enough scale, it could provide some useful insights.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

Hi Ben,

You are diverse in your friends 🙂 Cool info … I have the same doubts as you – my company has tried a similar approach by doing case studies of our very best students to see what light is shed on educating everyone… it seems counterintuitive from a scientific approach for sure but from other standpoints is intriguing.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

2 days later

Marmalade said

Hey Nicole… just noticed this comment as I was preparing to log off.

How did the study work out for your company?
Did the results show any clear patterns?

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

it’s still ongoing… yes, there are many commonalities between highly exceptional students that enable them to self learn material very very quickly. The challenge is using what we learn from them to improve our instruction of the 95%+ of other students we have, many of whom have serious learning or attention problems…