Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Updated Folk Theory Of Guru-Based Spirituality

File under: Folk Theories

The universe just handed us a shiny new weapon against superstition and ignorance in guru-based spiritual culture: the idea of the folk theory. We first encountered the concept in George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's Philosophy in the Flesh, the subject matter—that all philosophies of mind in the West are dead dog wrong, and why—is a bit outside the scope of this blog. But the book is an absolute treasure of clarity about the mind and how it works, and consequently, how societies and cultures are structured as well.

A folk theory is any set of "common sense" beliefs about something we experience together in our lives. The idea that our personalities can survive death is a folk theory. To a great majority of folks, the idea that we'll survive death—going to heaven, hell, or who knows where—is simple common sense. But there is no proof of life after death beyond personal anecdote, and neuroscience is now showing us that these experiences of the supernatural can be reproduced in a lab with magnetic fields, deep brain stimulation, and simple tricks of perception.

Thus, we present our list of the ideas that make up a folk theory we've identified in guru-based spirituality. This is the tool box of any flimflamming, big-time guru. See if you can come up with some [more] of your own!
Folk Theory of Guru-Based Spirituality

• Enlightenment can be transmitted supernaturally
• Enlightenment is the culmination of something
• Enlightenment entails knowing everything
• Enlightenment causes all thought to cease
• Enlightenment is love
• Only a guru can bestow enlightenment
• The guru is within yourself
• Being God means having some or all of "God's" powers
• Because you are God, you can affect things by thought alone
• Because you are connected to everything, you can affect things by thought alone
• Everything is connected
• You are a spark of the divine
• You are guided by a higher self
• You create your own reality
• Everything in the world is an illusion
• Divinity can be subverted by the flesh
• Good and evil are forces locked in an eternal struggle
• Good always prevails
• Things will be better in the future
• Things were better in the past
• People and things can be holy
• Ancient wisdom is better
• A just, omnipotent God exists
• Everything happens according to a Plan
• You'll get back every good and bad thing you do
• Sex is a loss to the spirit
• Sex is a boon to the spirit
• Technology is harmful
• Only the heart knows what is true
• The mind is an enemy of the spirit
• The spirit is an energy
• Personality survives death
We've got a list on our desktop and are [still] itching to add to it. Please suggest away in the comments.

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91 Comments:

At 1/13/2009 9:50 PM, Blogger Redactor said...

Great post! Glad you liked that book!
-Doug Millison

 
At 1/13/2009 10:02 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

Thanks, Doug. In this case, you were my guru!

 
At 1/14/2009 12:22 AM, Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

I've never seen anyone with God's powers. All guru God talk is dubious. I think they get excited because their state of consciousness is so much bigger than it was before that they presume it must be God rather than just one step above normal human consciousness. But I'll keep an open mind because I have heard stories of gurus doing big miracles.

I've experienced transmissions from gurus and psychic abilities in friends.

Everything is an aspect of the One Reality, so in that sense everything is connected.

I'm dubious about "ancient wisdom" and "holiness" too. Specialness too.

While mind isn't an enemy, it does project multiple illusions.

 
At 1/14/2009 7:47 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

the folk theory that technology will save us; the folk theory that the mind can think its way out of its own box; the folk theory that we know what anything is or means; the folk theory that belief equals knowledge, such as the opposites to the beliefs that appear in Jody's list of folk theories...

 
At 1/14/2009 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Are What Is. Pretty much everything else can be "folk theories".

 
At 1/14/2009 12:26 PM, Blogger Steven Sashen said...

The folk theory of reincarnation (either the backward thinking version or the forward thinking version)

The folk theory of energy in the body (which can be projected outside the body)

The folk theory that interpretations of personal experience is equivalent to reality

The folk theory of a permanent state where thoughts do not arise

The folk theory of "crazy wisdom" and the guru knowing what is best for you

The folk theory that all events that transpire in your life are based on the deliberate intervention of the guru

Dude, this could go on FOREVER ;-)

 
At 1/14/2009 12:39 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

The folk theory of reincarnation (either the backward thinking version or the forward thinking version)

This is included in the theory of survival after death

The folk theory of energy in the body (which can be projected outside the body)

This is a new one. We could call it "the folk theory of human essence being comprised of a supernatural energy."

The folk theory that interpretations of personal experience is equivalent to reality

Another new one. We'll call it "the folk theory that you create your own reality."

The folk theory of a permanent state where thoughts do not arise

We'll call this "the folk theory that enlightenment is defined by the cessation of all thought."

The folk theory of "crazy wisdom" and the guru knowing what is best for you

This falls into the theory of powers.

The folk theory that all events that transpire in your life are based on the deliberate intervention of the guru.

Ditto.

Thanks, Steven. I'll add these to the list.

 
At 1/14/2009 1:34 PM, Anonymous shane said...

The folk theory of alternative medicine.

 
At 1/14/2009 1:38 PM, Blogger George Breed said...

The folk theory that a posting about folk theories identified in guru-based spirituality is NOT part of a folk theory.

 
At 1/14/2009 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The folk theory of sex being a loss to the spirit -

should read: "The folk theory of sex being a loss or boon to the spirit"

 
At 1/14/2009 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the folk theory of prefixing a phrase with folk theory makes it seem more believable or possible.

Human "common sense" or "instinct" is a biologically evolved ability to perceive situations that could be dangerous to the organism. That's All! Not everything the brain intuits is true, otherwise many of my weirder dreams could spell hazard.

How about reading some Richard Dawkins or Douglas Hofstadter, or taking a science class or two?

 
At 1/14/2009 2:15 PM, Anonymous Rob said...

Right after "the folk theory of sex being a loss to the spirit" you should include "the folk theory of sex being a boon to the spirit."

Also, consider "the folk theory that everything happens for a purpose."

 
At 1/14/2009 2:17 PM, Anonymous Bob said...

Oh, gosh, so very very many! Here are a few more..

The "hundredth monkey" theory, where if X monkeys/people/whatever do something, knowledge of how to do it will telepathically infect an entire extended population with no actual contact or teaching.

A cross between the EST-ian "you create your own reality" theory and the "hundredth monkey" theories is the 1970s "EST theory of solving world hunger", where if X people think good thoughts about world hunger, it will spontaneously vanish. EST collected donations which weren't used to feed people, but rather to buy ads telling people to think good thoughts about people not being hungry.

A very common, very old folk theory was "things were so much better in the good old days," and that somehow people today are much more corrupt, morally bankrupt, etc. You can read it in the ancient Greeks, who complained about how "when I was young, people were respectful to their elders, and anyway these darn Athenian kids listen to a bunch of noise they call music." And I remember reading a history the late 1800s, when the Salvation Army they was rescuing pre-pubescent girls from Victorian pedophiles. This kind of "we've fallen from a golden age" folk theory is common with both new-agey Atlantean gurus and right-wing Christian evangelist gurus. (Well, we have fallen from a golden age. You notice we didn't have baseball steroid scandals until after they changed the pitcher's mound height and the AL adopted the designated hitter rule? By gum, if it was good enough for Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, it's good enough for me!)

One I've always liked is the Wiccan myth of the burning times. Umm... is there documentary evidence? Not that I've ever heard of.

 
At 1/14/2009 2:18 PM, Anonymous Agrees said...

I would like to make a counter comment. To say that these are common sense is to deny them meaning. "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear does it make a sound?" The answer seems common sense enough; you can't know. But in these cases it's not the answer that matters. None of these ideas individually matter. It is the path of thought that leads from them and to them that is important. Gurus use them to sound smart, but there is actual usefulness behind them.

 
At 1/14/2009 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The folk theory of a permanent state where thoughts do not arise" - I know this state. it is called death.

 
At 1/14/2009 2:40 PM, Blogger Patrick said...

One I find particularly annoying is the folk theory that a persons instincts will guide a person better then rational thinking.

I saw this recently while flipping through the channels. One celeb was saying something like "Yeah, I've had some crazy times lately, but I've decided that I just need to start listening to my instincts and I know I'll do what's right."

 
At 1/14/2009 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about:
The folk theory that each of us have an essential essence or a soul.

 
At 1/14/2009 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about the folk theory that everything is an illusion, life is but a dream?

Also the folk theory that the simplest explanation is always the best and the opposite theory that there is a grand mystery/conspiracy behind everything, that there are forces larger than us that are a)unknowable or b) knowable only with a graet deal of trainingg and study

folk theory of cataloguing things on the internet - that if we just write all this stuff down we will know it and control it and somehow engaging in this sort of an exercise accomplishes something more than incrasing carbon emmissions

this is closely related to the folk theory of names -that if you know the name of someone or something you have power over it

and th also the folk theory of knowledge - that some utopian ideal state exists where you could know everything about something and attain a god-like status or at least be a cool dude of teh internets :)

 
At 1/14/2009 2:55 PM, Blogger bshock said...

The original post mentioned the folk theory of "God's powers," but it failed to mentioned the folk theory of the existence of a god or gods.

I was intrigued by Betty's post, which seems to have been ignored. I would say that her first item, "the folk theory that technology will save us" is the flipside of "the folk theory that technology is harmful." Technology is what it is, and only when we cast an interpretation on it (or anything) do we create a folk theory.

I would tend to reject Betty's second item about the mind thinking its way out of its own box, because this statement seems to assume that there is a "box." The existence of the box might imply the enlightenment of being outside the box, and so it seems that Betty is thinking based on the folk theory of enlightenment.

Betty's "folk theory that we know what anything is or means" might be interpreted as an uber folk theory, since (as I suggested before) folk theories in general seem to be a matter of casting interpretation (or meaning). The flip side of this one might be the folk theory that we can't know what anything is or means.

Of course, "what anything is or means" seems to imply that there is an objective reality (possibly related to a deity) where such existence and meaning reside. Perhaps there is a folk theory that a single objective reality exists.

Finally, Betty's "folk theory that belief equals knowledge" could go a number of directions. For religious individuals, belief is a primary method of accepting information, and so to them belief might be said to equal knowledge. However, Betty is apparently saying that "belief" in the original post is being (mis)interpreted as knowledge. I can't agree -- to me, the idea of "folk theories" isn't being presented as fact, but rather as a provisional tool for helping us understand various common belief systems.

 
At 1/14/2009 2:57 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

There must be a better way to sort knowledge from bullshit that calling everything a "folk theory." Maybe there are important ways of understanding that everything is connected, for instance. I'm reminded of how non-string theorists were blackballed from departments, because their ideas questioned the current dogma. The more I understand science, the more I appreciate how much we don't really know.

 
At 1/14/2009 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Blade here)
A great and well-needed collection Jody.

Bob, that's a good one, 'We've fallen from the Golden Age'.

Also add, 'We're returning to, or entering a new, Golden Age'.

 
At 1/14/2009 3:54 PM, Blogger Jim S-G said...

The folk theory that sickness is caused by bad thoughts.

 
At 1/14/2009 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about; The folk theory that the universe has an interest, either positively or negatively, in your existance.

 
At 1/14/2009 4:42 PM, Anonymous Andy Havens said...

Some thoughts. Don't know if they're all new, but what the heck.

The folk theories that...

There is no such thing as coincidence / everything is coincidental.

Patterns have meaning beyond the medium of the pattern itself (eg, numerology, bad things happen in threes, you see a series of things and it relates to events in your life)

Primitive peoples have access to wisdom denied to us.

Spirits of the dead can communicate with us.

Physical characteristics determine (or describe) mental (or spiritual) characteristics (eg, phrenology)

Stillness or quiet or silence = wisdom.

Money is anathema to wisdom and asceticism provides a road to wisdom.

By ritual, groups can attain a mental or spiritual state that is different or better than that of the individuals.

Creativity is linked to spiritual guidance (the "muse").

Auras.

Homeopathy.

Non-physiological synesthesia.

Drug-based enlightenment.

Ethnic or culturally based access to various powers (Gypsy fortune-tellers)

Hypnotism.

Psychoanalysis (and other modern psychological services) as either the only answer or the enemy to self knowledge.

If I think of any others, I'll come back.

 
At 1/14/2009 4:57 PM, Blogger Dave Berzack said...

How about the folk theory that anything beyond the limited range of measurable scientific experimentation must be bogus?

Let's face it: while science is certainly a valuable source of knowledge, the scientific method is very limiting and isn't really built to establish a complete knowledge of the universe. It can't deal with things that aren't quantifiable, measurable, and duplicable.

If modern science teaches us anything, it's that the universe is far more strange and complex than scientists would have ever imagined. And that scientific frameworks inevitably prove to be somewhat incomplete and inaccurate.

Now, the fact that some phonies and hacks take advantage of particular ideas certainly does not imply that any those ideas can't have real truth and value for us.

While we ridicule the silly hippies who believe in strange, mystical ideas, we might also take a good look at the closed minded science-heads, who dogmatically reject those ideas without valid grounds.

 
At 1/14/2009 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hum, wondering about the Google Ad on your page from "Zodiac Horiscope"... is this a conspiracy!

 
At 1/14/2009 5:35 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

wondering about the Google Ad

What's somewhat funny and very ironic, most the ads that Google serves up are trying to sell the very concepts I'm trying to debunk.

But, I'm not so scrupulous that I can't take a few dollars from these folks to help fund my activities here.

To everyone: thanks so much for coming onboard and offering your suggestions. Some of them can be subsumed in the theories I've already outlined, but many deserve their own line on the list, which I will be compiling over the next few days.

 
At 1/14/2009 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This one drives me crazy:
"Everything happens for a reason".

 
At 1/14/2009 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a few responses to your list. I'm not trying to troll here, just spirit of friendly debate stuff. Here goes:

-The folk theory of the transmission of enlightenment

This is a metaphor. Do you know what a metaphor is? Because that 'theory' you hold up as self-evident is based on a misunderstanding. Transmission is a metaphor. Do some reading. Is every guru-based style of spirituality exactly the same? Even snake-oil salesmen knew when to change their patter.

-The folk theory of enlightenment being the culmination of something

Many musicians talk about having plateaus of learning: practice something for months and struggle with it and suddenly wham, you're able to play that and much more because you're on a new level of understanding. I'm not a programmer, but I have friends who are and they all nodded when I mentioned this. So maybe its not just another silly idea, but a metaphor for an internal event. Look, another metaphor.

-The folk theory of everything being connected

In order to survive as hunted things, our biological ancestors had to learn to discern movement from the background. If you're walking on a still day and some trees begin to move, you notice that right away. We are 'instinctive' separators first.

As well, our survival as a species depended on our visual and intellectual ability to detect movement and then discern disparate wholes from this motion. (Imagine a tiger in tall, well-shadowed grass hunting early humans if that helps). This is our second 'instinct', a slightly higher one cognitively. Pattern recognition is tough. It requires intellect.

One instinct demands separation, one demands assimilation. Use this as a -you guessed it- metaphor and see where your theory leads you.


-The folk theory of ancient wisdom

So only our current knowledge is good? No need to, oh say, learn from history? Tell me, why was the concept of 'zero' created? Is that important?

So scientists shouldn't bother with anything in the past? Is archaeology useful for anything, then? How about the recent re-emergence of aerogels; invented in the thirties and just now brought out as something practical? Or flying cars (there are two working models now.) which have been tried and junked resurrected many times. Is this folk theory of everything being connected a good one because these gurus use (gasp) metaphors to describe events or levels of understanding for which their science had no terms?


-The folk theory of holiness

Met. A. Phor. Just because people begin acting as if a guru is a god doesn't necessarily mean that person is a god. (Some fools will think so, but what can you do with fools but wait for them to wake up?) The real scammers are the ones that say, 'yes, I am a godlet, worship me'. What about all the others who say 'I'm nothing special'? The Dalai Lama, mother Theresa, and innumerable others all declaim this specific point. Read some history -actually read what these people said- then think about this theory. Could this be another metaphor? Or is that just too pat a term by now?

-The folk theory of karma, that you'll get back every good and bad thing you do

Who knows? It is, however a good way to live your life; you tend to be good selfishly. The world benefits. But I guess it's just a stupid folk theory. And no 'ancient masters' would have thought of this, because we can see that the cardboard cutout of them that history by necessity has to work with renders them incapable of subtlety, or wit.


-The folk theory of harmful technology

Here you fall into a fallacy you accuse these spiritualists of in other theories: Lack of proof of something is not proof of its opposite. If you can't prove that unicorns don't exist, that doesn't mean you get to say that they do. You can't prove technology per se is harmful, therefore no technology is harmful? This is spurious logic.

Overall an interesting list, but contempt prior to investigation is an excellent way to keep your worldview safe.

I realize that I'm responding to a list that is based on a book I haven't read. If I've gone horribly awry in my interpretation of that: that's why this post is anonymous.

 
At 1/14/2009 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The folk theory that technology can detect or influence spiritual forces (E-meters, orgone generators).

 
At 1/14/2009 7:32 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

-The folk theory of the transmission of enlightenment

This is a metaphor.


I have heard people say to me directly that their guru can enlighten anyone they want with just a touch. The devotees of Bhagavan Kalki believe that they are enlightened by the agency of their guru's deeksha, which is thought to be a kind of energy. That is literal.

-The folk theory of enlightenment being the culmination of something

So maybe its not just another silly idea, but a metaphor for an internal event.


There are many different Vedic-based spiritual ideologies which contend one much ascend a "ladder of consciousness" to come to nondual understanding. Sant Mat and Yogananda come to mind here. I agree that many of these can work as metaphors and they all probably started out as such, but they are now taken quite literally by many in the New Age spiritual community, in my observations.

-The folk theory of everything being connected

One instinct demands separation, one demands assimilation. Use this as a -you guessed it- metaphor and see where your theory leads you.


This folk theory is employed as an explanation for just about any alleged experience of the supernatural. It is also the basis for "manifestation" ideologies such as the "Secret." Again, it may have begun as a metaphor, now it is the device of the ignorant and the flimflammer.

-The folk theory of ancient wisdom

So only our current knowledge is good? No need to, oh say, learn from history? Tell me, why was the concept of 'zero' created? Is that important?


Just because something is labeled a folk theory doesn't mean it lacks all veracity. However, believing that the residents of Atlantis could teleport, but we've since lost that knowledge, is what I'm aiming at here.

-The folk theory of holiness

Met. A. Phor.


Not at the Hindu pujas I've attended. I know of a crystal yantra that was worshipped by one of India's Shankaracharyas. The owner of that yantra is convinced it is now more holy because of it, to the point they do everything they can to keep it from being touched. Think of all the people who own objects they claim contain mystical power and you'll understand where I'm coming from here.

-The folk theory of karma, that you'll get back every good and bad thing you do

Who knows?


Again, labeling something a folk theory is not a rejection in kind. I live according to these principles too, and I will continue to do so. However, I expect nothing in return for my good deeds, and have yet to experience all the hells that folks have said await me for criticizing gurus.

-The folk theory of harmful technology

Here you fall into a fallacy you accuse these spiritualists of


Once again, labeling an idea a folk theory is not a rejection outright. There are clearly some technologies that have been harmful. However, there are plenty of folks who want to believe all technology is harmful. They attend city hall meetings and complain about EMF radiation giving their pets cancer, and claim that cell phone transmissions kill bees and is responsible for colony collapse disorder.

My aim is to show how belief has been manipulated by culture into a series of "common sense" assumptions about the effects of nondual understanding in a life. The reason these theories exist is because they provide some kind of meaning to their bearers, but that says nothing about their actual veracity as a means to describe nature or nondual truth as it can be known by the individual.

 
At 1/14/2009 9:17 PM, Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

What about 2012 global transformation to enlightenment?

The one I find irritating is "You create your reality." I've even heard proponents of this say that starving African children created it themselves.

Being a little obsessive, I'm trapped in the habit of looking for signs from the universe about what direction my life should take! Can anyone help me shake it? I experimented with Stuart Wilde's theory that "the universe is sending you messages," but now the habit is stuck! HELP!

 
At 1/14/2009 10:47 PM, Anonymous Paul Palmer said...

A running theme here is truth and science. It is important to understand the great contribution of science - it can be called THE scientific method - which is having the courage to actually define what truth is. In science, truth is that which can be experimentally verified and replicated by others. This is what puts the torch to faith and gurus. Like it or not, scientists have the balls to define a method for determining truth and proving falsity. What other group can you say that of? The religious folks rely on multiple repetition to claim truth but offer no process. That is why they should ultimately become irrelevant and science will become the standard for truthful knowledge.

 
At 1/15/2009 12:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The theory that "all things work together for good" or that "everything happens for a reason." This is related to the folk theory known as the "just world hypothesis" - that the world is fair and as it should be. And this leads people to assume that those who are poor have behaved in some way or done some act that has made them that way, that those who are disadvantaged or harmed by the social system are to blaim for their own plight. A very serious and important folk theory.

 
At 1/15/2009 2:59 AM, OpenID samrolken said...

One of my favorites is the folk theory of "balance". That everything should be kept in balance, that everything balances out, that balance is somehow favorable or preferred, or that we should strive for balance.

 
At 1/15/2009 3:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The folk theory that technology can detect or influence spiritual forces (E-meters, orgone generators).

While this is interesting, I associate this with some of the new-age cults, rather than the more technophobic "guru based spirituality" people.

 
At 1/15/2009 3:26 AM, Blogger Pete said...

The universe IS sending me messages: sadly, the messages tend to be on the lines of "You are a credulous moron".

With all this talk of metaphor, it sounds like the guy off the South Park album talking about Moose-T: "When it says 'I'm horny', it's like a metaphor... for being horny".

Can we agree that the main fallacy of "Folk Theories" is mistaking metaphor for truth, the map for the territory?

 
At 1/15/2009 3:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a corollary to the folk theory of harmful technology, there is the folk theory that 'if it is natural it can't hurt you'.

 
At 1/15/2009 6:36 AM, Blogger richard said...

Actually, these are more commonly called "tropes". They're one of the building blocks of lit crit. Not to diminish the importance of your "discovery", of course!

 
At 1/15/2009 7:00 AM, Anonymous Phil D said...

How about the folk theory of karmic debt? You live with the assumption that you're carrying around a weight of awful karma that you need to get rid of, so any abuse, questionable activity or unpaid work can gladly be put under the heading of "burning off your karma."

 
At 1/15/2009 8:15 AM, Anonymous Gabe said...

The folk theory that folk theories are always wrong!

But seriously, some folk theories can be partially true, or useful, or both. And generally, I take it that folk theories must at least be theories . Lots of the things on this list are just individual claims (although some sets of them might make up folk theories). You might want to look at stanford encyclopedia of philosophy entry on folk psychology to get a grip on what philosophers mean when they talk about a folk theory of such-and-such.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/folkpsych-theory/

 
At 1/15/2009 8:24 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

Science is great in theory. Theoretical scientists look like saints themselves. But in practice, it has proven itself to be even more horrendous and destructive than religion. Religionists only had the ability to murder and enslave in small groups until scientists gave them better tools to do their work. Scientists in their ivory towers are fine but out on the street, they are a plague. Every technological advancement has brought with it more stress, less peace and relaxation. Scientists can also get grandiose ideas about themselves and their conclusions, just like gurus.

 
At 1/15/2009 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The folk theory that there is a spirit.

Lexicat

 
At 1/15/2009 11:27 AM, Anonymous Bruce Morgen said...

Betty has expounded the folk theories that [a] discoverers are responsible for subsequent abuse of their discoveries (related to Jodyji's "folk theory of harmful technology") and that [b] previous eras of human history were by definition less stressful, more peaceful, and more relaxed than the here and now ("the folk theory of anachronistic lifestyle nostalgia" perhaps?).

Clearly [a] is logically fallacious, and [b] would pretty much require an incredible discovery (some form of time travel) to even investigate.

 
At 1/15/2009 11:51 AM, Anonymous Skarjune said...

The folk theory that the Universe has a plan for Your life

 
At 1/15/2009 12:08 PM, Blogger Doctor X said...

folk theory of the Inner Magic 8-Ball.

 
At 1/15/2009 12:24 PM, Anonymous Betty said...

Bruce said... Clearly [a] is logically fallacious, and [b] would pretty much require an incredible discovery (some form of time travel) to even investigate.
.....................
Obviously you are more intelligent than myself, Bruce but I'd say all that is needed to know that life has become more stressful than it was before is having lived for the 58 years I have. As a child and young person, I was lucky enough to have grandparents who lived on a farm. Electricity reached them in the late 1950's. Running water and in door plumbing never did. Many evenings in warm weather, neighbors would stop by and we would all sit on the screen porch, drinking tea, listening to insects, laughing or being completely quiet for long stretches of time. Most people grew their own food, etc. I'm not saying that the decay in quality of life can only be blamed on technology but it is common sense and the common experience that society is far more stressful now than it was then. If you were born and raised in New York City you may have a different experience.

 
At 1/15/2009 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folk theory that intellectual acuity and fact checking are undermine spiritual attainment

That enlightenment confers infalliblity

That enlightenent means you can be a destructive rude person and that you must be held exempt from all consequences for your nasty behavior

 
At 1/15/2009 2:14 PM, Blogger WWE said...

This may fit under the heading of "transmission of enlightenment" - but virtually all gurus wind up sexually exploiting some of the followers because "being near them" gives enlightenment.

 
At 1/15/2009 2:16 PM, Blogger WWE said...

The folk theory that man is the ultimate cause of everything and that God is a myth; therefore WE must control the climate. Doesn't matter if it gets warmer or colder, because the narrative is so compelling. It's our carbon! In an earlier age we would be tossing virgins into a volcano...

 
At 1/15/2009 4:34 PM, Blogger Lizzie Nichols said...

Here are a few that I run across frequently:

-The folk theory (often tied into "alternative" medicine) that Eastern philosophy/religion/health is better, healthier, cleaner, more balanced, etc. than the West.

-The folk theory of postmodernism, i.e. that there is no "truth" and that everyone's interpretation of the facts is equally valid.

-the folk theory of the "blank slate" brain--that we are born with empty brains waiting to be filled with learning, ideas, culture, and knowledge. More and more research (Stephen Pinker's The Blank Slate, to name just one source) is showing this to be incorrect; it seems we actually come into the world with an astounding amount of factory-installed software.

-the folk theory that the body can reach a state of "wellness" beyond being simply not ill.

-the folk theory that dreams are meaningful and can be interpreted according to an established and universal "language."

-The folk theory that "natural" equals "healthy" or "good for you." (to which I always reply that arsenic is natural).

-the folk theory of the power of "positive thinking" (The Secret, etc).

-the folk theory that the medical establishment is conspiring to keep people sick.

 
At 1/15/2009 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The folk theory that virtually all gurus wind up sexually exploiting some of the followers.

 
At 1/15/2009 4:47 PM, Anonymous Bruce Morgen said...

Betty, I'm even older that you, and in retrospect my suburban New York childhood by and large also seems less stressful than my adult life. However, I don't attribute that to the fact that our TV was a big wooden console with a tiny 12 inch screen, most of the airplanes flying overhead still had propellers, or that my most prized toy was a Lionel train set and not a wi-fi video game console -- I attribute it to the simple fact that I was a child in a loving family, with parents who handled the (considerable, as I discovered later on) stresses of adulthood.

As children, we generally have little or no idea what the adults who shelter and nurture us endure, a task that's tended to be quite burdensome throughout history. There is nothing about growing ones own food that necessarily reduces stress and nothing about buying it that necessarily increases it. I found that out first-hand by attempting subsistence farming back in the early '70s, and the simple fact of having ones survival literally depend on the weather was more stressful than anything I'd encountered in suburban or city life -- and that's the way literally billions of people live today, as they have since before Abraham.

Similarly, the simple comforts of neighborliness are much more a function of ones neighborhood than of any particular time in history or whether one lives out in the country or in a teeming metropolis -- I found more such fellowship on the streets of NYC's East Village than I ever did in the rural North Country up by the Quebec border or even in the "little boxes" communities of my childhood!

 
At 1/15/2009 4:54 PM, Blogger Lizzie Nichols said...

sorry, one more that i forgot:

-the folk theory that the immune system needs "boosting."

-The Mars/Venus folk theory: the idea that men and women are fundamentally different and that we must spend our whole lives trying to figure out what "men" or "women" want--as though you can generalize about half of the human population!

Obviously, by definition men and women ARE different from each other in some ways, but I think there is so much more overlap than this folk theory allows for.

 
At 1/15/2009 6:39 PM, Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

What about "Go with the flow"?

When a stranger invites you to the desert for a free ride, DON'T go with the flow.

 
At 1/16/2009 8:01 AM, Blogger yomamma said...

One I've always liked is the Wiccan myth of the burning times. Umm... is there documentary evidence? Not that I've ever heard of.

, well it has been a practice to accuse people of being impure or enchanted in order to get their property, I think that was proved,all those old witches stuff has to go somewhere. and of course we know of other cases, but it's never popular to be a victim. so there is often a practical side to this illogical seeming behavior, talk about crazy wisdom! folk myths are often created to justify what you already believe, what you desire, they could be science or religion based. i guess you could assess your motives by asking what you are attached to .

 
At 1/16/2009 8:32 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

Bruce, your story and opinions are noted and accepted as proof of your own experience and the conclusions you draw from them. I retain my opinion based on my experiences that not having telephones ringing, not having people around me talking incessant nonsense on cellphones, not regularly expressing my opinions on this blog, not having a constant bombardment of advertisements, not having emails and many other things I don't have time to mention, is part of why life was less stressful then. I do not consider it to be logically fallacious to believe my own experience over yours. Great scientists created the atomic bomb. Not having the wisdom to use resulting technology well, science and scientists have become a force of destruction on this earth.

 
At 1/16/2009 10:44 AM, Blogger Smurffi said...

here's one:

(Maslow's) folk theory hierarchy of needs

this is in the toolbox of all the so-called business gurus. i think it's so widespread now (without proof i might add) that we can call it a folk theory. i mean, t just feels right! ;)

here's another:
folk theory of self-esteem - and how it can't be too high
(i learnt that one from doctor x, your friend and mine)

s.

 
At 1/16/2009 6:57 PM, Blogger Doctor X said...

big second on a) Maslow and b) self-esteem. thanks for the props, Smurffi!

 
At 1/16/2009 7:39 PM, Anonymous Erica said...

The other comment I left was meant for this post... but I guess it makes sense in either one.

But just as a general question... why is it a folk theory that everything is connected? All this is, all physical matter is composed of vibrating atoms, and Brahman is the core of every atom, every being and existing thing... hence everything is connected, all essentially being the same source, the same thing.

Granted, this is just a theory in itself... but one that, at least to me, makes sense. I'm just interested in your take on it.

 
At 1/16/2009 7:48 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

Brahman is the core of every atom, every being and existing thing... hence everything is connected, all essentially being the same source, the same thing

To say "I am connected to everything" is different than saying "all is Brahman." Plus, Brahman is not an object. When people say "everything is connected," they are referring to objects. Brahman may provide the being for everything, but Brahman has nothing to do with anything in particular. So, while all is one as Brahman, the things in the universe remain a collection of objects which influence each other to varying degrees, depending mostly on proximity.

 
At 1/17/2009 12:56 AM, Anonymous taodancing said...

Guru-based spirituality? Even Jesus was a guru-god. Christians are his disciples. Good Christians are to obey him or his supposed word absolutely.

 
At 1/17/2009 1:47 AM, Anonymous Bruce Morgen said...

Well then, Betty, pax vobiscum -- there's hardly a trace of what you complain about in this particular and thoroughly contemporary life, and frankly I'd gladly take even such a clamorous here and now over the constant toil and frequent privation that have typified human existence for the vast majority of our species in the absence of relatively recent scientific discoveries and technical progress.

As Jesus reported said, "The Kingdom of God (such as it may be) is within you," and I wish you nothing more or other than that. Just as the ashram is the world, so the world is the ashram.

Much love -- Bruce

 
At 1/17/2009 7:23 AM, Anonymous unEnlighten Me please said...

How to know if something is the truth or just a folk theory?

Simple.

If you have a lost of memory and that "truths", "God consciousness", "enlightenment" or whatever mumbo jumbo are no longer there.

Then it's a folk theory.

Your arms, legs, head and whatever body parts are still there. They're real. No folk theory is needed for them to exist.

 
At 1/17/2009 8:30 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

toepunkdancing said...Good Christians are to obey him or his supposed word absolutely.

.............

That's why christians are always celebratin his death, cause it means he ain't around to tell em what to do so they are free to say Jesus told me this or the Lord told me that! After Mugharishi Mahesh died I saw photos of his close followers, they all looked giddy with joy that the fellow was dead and couldn't make em say and do foolish stuff anymore. Anyway that's the way my mule interpreted it!

 
At 1/17/2009 10:38 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

Bruce Morgen said...Well then, Betty, pax vobiscum
.............

Thanks, Bruce and right back at ya.

 
At 1/17/2009 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dang, that mule is smart, Chuck. Does he give satsang?

 
At 1/17/2009 6:38 PM, Anonymous Bruce Morgen said...

"unEnlighten Me please":

How to know if something is the truth or just a folk theory?

Simple.

If you have a lost of memory and that "truths", "God consciousness", "enlightenment" or whatever mumbo jumbo are no longer there.

Then it's a folk theory.

Your arms, legs, head and whatever body parts are still there. They're real. No folk theory is needed for them to exist.


...or, as the immortal Sri Philip K. Dick put it, "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

 
At 1/18/2009 12:51 PM, Anonymous John Gibson said...

Calling something a folk theory does not deny that it may be a fact.

You used to have a high regard for a few spiritual greats like Ramakrishna and Ramana Maharshi. A number of those "folk theories" were affirmed by them from their own perceptions, including that of reincarnation. Do you now think they were deluded?

By the way, no one with credibility has ever said that spirituality and sensuality are compatible. I'd say that your view is too much the Amerikan one: that we can have everything and have to pay for nothing.

 
At 1/18/2009 1:42 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

Calling something a folk theory does not deny that it may be a fact.

But it does show there are commonly held beliefs for which there is no proof whatsoever outside personal narrative.

You used to have a high regard for a few spiritual greats like Ramakrishna and Ramana Maharshi.

I still do.

A number of those "folk theories" were affirmed by them from their own perceptions, including that of reincarnation. Do you now think they were deluded?

I'm more familiar with Ramakrishna than Ramana, and I'd have to say yes, in that RK clearly accepted much of the local village superstition, as well as ALL of the Vedic superstition. However, that doesn't change the fact of his spiritual manifestation, insofar as I'd characterize him as a spiritual savant who brought important truths to the world. But he was also a funny little man who believed some funny little things. It's a refutation of the folk theory that enlightenment entails knowing everything, one of the new ones on the list.

By the way, no one with credibility has ever said that spirituality and sensuality are compatible

Except the aghoris, from which you may withhold credibility, but only at the expense of your own.

I'd say that your view is too much the Amerikan one: that we can have everything and have to pay for nothing.

It's more like this, sex has as much to do with our nondual truth as my dog's ass.

 
At 1/18/2009 2:49 PM, Blogger John Gibson said...

When the personal narrative comes from someone like Ramana or Ramakrishna, that has some weight.

Ramana didn't credit the local superstitions. He did respect the Vedas, which I think are conceptually and inspirationally magnificent -- not a bad reason to recommend them.

If RK upheld local superstitions, it may have been but one of the ways in which he warned off smart guys like Naren from thinking themselves superior to simple people because of their knowledge.
Or conceivably he did believe them in a casual way. But I think he knew better than anyone there what was real and important.

The Aghoris know what they're doing -- they're serious people, not hedonistic slobs. I think it's damagingly misleading to imply that this sexualized culture in which we're living has spiritual possibilities. Again and again outstanding spiritual people have warned us not to buy into it.

Sex has nothing to do with our nondual nature, but whether we become established in that nature for real, as opposed to going around believing in it, has much to do with how we think and act.

Ramakrishna was very great. It would be a shame -- really deluded behavior -- to look down on him.

 
At 1/18/2009 4:04 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

When the personal narrative comes from someone like Ramana or Ramakrishna, that has some weight.

Only to those who add their own mass.

What RK and RM said was still entirely within their own subjective theaters. They may have been enlightened, but that doesn't mean their individual neurological functions were different because of it, folk theories to the contrary. They were just as capable as being superstitious as anyone else. Superstition was woven into every thread of the fabric of Hindu life in their time.

Ramana didn't credit the local superstitions. He did respect the Vedas, which I think are conceptually and inspirationally magnificent -- not a bad reason to recommend them.

When you can parse the superstition and temporally relative information out of them.

If RK upheld local superstitions, it may have been but one of the ways in which he warned off smart guys like Naren from thinking themselves superior to simple people because of their knowledge.

You have that quaint little view of Ramakrishna's life as established by the hagiography. Read "Kali's Child" and then get back to me about RK.

Or conceivably he did believe them in a casual way. But I think he knew better than anyone there what was real and important.

Hagiography again.

The Aghoris know what they're doing -- they're serious people, not hedonistic slobs. I think it's damagingly misleading to imply that this sexualized culture in which we're living has spiritual possibilities.

You've got your collar laced straight, don't you?

Read "Kali's Child." Read "Swami Vivekananda: A Reassessment." Much of Ramakrishna's sadhana was transgressively sexual. He's liked boys, around 12-years-old. Swamiji was in love with Margaret Nobel, but he did the noble thing and ended it. He died depressed, preferring the company of animals to humans.

Regardless of how important you feel it is to hold up the apartheid of sex and spirit, anything goes as long as you are sincere. If you really knew Ramakrishna, you'd understand that fact of sadhana. That's what the aghoris know, that it's transgression which brings transformation, not rigid adherence to ancient prescriptions written in even more superstitious times than we are in now.

Again and again outstanding spiritual people have warned us not to buy into it.

Sound like their collars are too straight and tight too.

Sex has nothing to do with our nondual nature, but whether we become established in that nature for real, as opposed to going around believing in it, has much to do with how we think and act.

Actually, it only has to do with one thing, itself. It is conditioned by no thing, very much including how we think and act.

Ramakrishna was very great. It would be a shame -- really deluded behavior -- to look down on him.

I don't look down on him at all. I just take him for what he was, an extremely spiritually-gifted Hindu saint who may have suffered from psychomotor epilepsy, but one who brought two greats truths into the world: "as many faiths, so many paths" and "bhakti is the easiest path." However, his prohibition against women and gold had much more to do with his own gynophobia and sexual preferences, making it the least of his teachings.

 
At 1/18/2009 4:52 PM, Anonymous Paul Maurice Martin said...

Good list, just passing through and someone else probably picked up on this glaring omission, but the extremely nebulous "folk theory of energy" is critical to forms of spirituality that are low on critical thought.

Energy does all kinds of good and bad stuff in unseen ways whenever we think and feel stuff - guess that's how I'd put it.

Btw, I don't know how life after death can be seen as a common sense idea. It's widespread, but every experience that anyone has, including the spiritual ones, takes place in connection with a functioning brain...

 
At 1/18/2009 4:58 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

the extremely nebulous "folk theory of energy" is critical to forms of spirituality that are low on critical thought.

I've got that one listed as "spirit is an energy." Here's the updated list with additions and changes:

Folk theory of guru-based spirituality:

enlightenment can be transmitted supernaturally
enlightenment is the culmination of something
enlightenment entails knowing everything
enlightenment causes all thought to cease
being God means having some or all of "God's" powers
because you are God, you can affect things by thought alone
because you are connected to everything, you can affect things by thought alone
everything is connected
you are guided by a higher self
you create your own reality
everything in the world is an illusion
good and evil are forces locked in an eternal struggle
good always prevails
things will be better in the future
things were better in the past
people and things can be holy
ancient wisdom is better
a just, omnipotent God exists
you'll get back every good and bad thing you do
sex is a loss to the spirit
sex is a boon to the spirit
technology is harmful
only the heart knows what is true
the mind is an enemy of the spirit
the spirit is an energy
personality survives death
everything happens according to a Plan
divinity can be subverted by the flesh

 
At 1/18/2009 11:07 PM, Anonymous unEnlighten Me Please said...

the folk theory that folk theories are not useful.

they are useful, just like a tool or a toy. play with them. apply some theories to your daily life and see how it pans out.

don't have to treat any folk theories so seriously.

 
At 1/19/2009 12:11 PM, Anonymous Davee said...

seems helpful to separate metaphysics and phenomenology. if teachers talk about shared experiences and use metaphysical metaphors, then science can easily jump on the metaphor as crazy and refute it, but that might miss the point. or perhaps the old habit of using metaphysical language to describe phenomenology in the indian philosophic tradition just doesn't work in the modern age and needs to change. but we should then see if removing the metaphysics error still leaves something of merit that is being taught at a phenomenological level.

for example, can beings really reincarnate? well, last i checked most of my beliefs and views are inherited from my culture. did "I" reincarnate exactly? most of my personality is carrying forward from the previous generations of my community. So where is the line exactly of what's "me" and what's coming from before me? it really calls to question who i think "I" am as an independent, unitary thing altogether. so is there a metaphysical "me" that carries forward after "death" to a new "birth"? I'm not sure we could find a metaphysical "me" to begin with or even clearly define birth and death in non-disputable terms. therefore, maybe the metaphor of reincarnation is still useful to talk about in the sense of exploring our assumptions. but is it "real"? no more than "I" am...

 
At 1/20/2009 8:24 AM, Anonymous Prakster said...

How about adding:

Folk theory that if it is 'spiritual' or 'beyond our physical senses' and we do not accept it, it means we are closed minded.

Folk Theory: Being skeptic or critical means we are angry or contaminiated by negativity, demons, spirits or bad aliens, or carry resentment in our heart.

Folk theory that if one preaches 'peace and love', it automatically means we are of a good character standing and no matter if one has children out of marriage, loads of money, planes, or rape or sexual violence, murders or anything, the spiritual leaders are innocent and beyond the judgement of humans.

Folk theory that critics or skeptics need convincing or correcting that they are in the wrong by regurgitating holy verses to them, even if it sounds is threatening. It is for the non believers benefit.

Folk theory: If healing of somesort occurs due to prayer or spirit, then it is conclusive proof of their existance. The person in question are not influenced by paranoid delusion or self hypnosis (by prayer).

Folk theory (not sure about this one): hypnosis is true.

by Prakster.

 
At 1/20/2009 9:10 AM, Anonymous Prakster said...

I thought of a few more, really this is an excellent subject to deal with.

Folk theory: Molestation of children or vunerable adults does not happen in a holy places.

Folk theory: if lots of people believe it, it must be true.

Folk theory: rape(of virgins), violence, murder are wrong.

Folk theory: Hate the sin, love the sinner.

Folk theory: Theory of evolution, because it is a theory it means it has not been proven.

Folk theory: The end is near.

Folk theory: Contradiction in any holy book is either the person's fault (or demons) by seeing it as contradiction or a matter of study with extra book and is not a contradiction but the original author, the holy spirit in those times p.o.v.

Folk theory: Saying one thing but doing something completely different is not hypocrisy.

Folk theory: Everthing is created with a purpose.
(Ignore: male nipples and excretion and reproductive system in one place).

Folk theory: New ideas if it goes 180 degrees from previous thought, is god's revelation or new light (not because someone changed their mind).

Folk theory: respecting an elder because they are old and one thinks they know more, or know what is right and wrong because the truth does not change.

last one, Folk Theory: When you put your ideas forward about god, spirituality, gurus who preach peace or anything, whether forcibly or rudely in their house, dismissing all criticism as lies without needing to explain the whys and hows, and no one replies you back or tells you to shut up, it means you are right.

 
At 1/20/2009 11:13 AM, Anonymous Chrisitan Anthony said...

Life is difficult and humans require simple, intuitive ideas to help them psychologically cope, particularly in times of crisis. 'Folk Psychology' will always exist because the majority of the world will not have the education and the free time required to comprehend these advanced scientific discoveries. They're trying to put food on the table and survive.

Science is a tool we use to understand the world around us, but it doesn't provide any insight how to live life. Try comforting someone with a child dying of cancer that consciousness is just an emergent property from a complex network of brain activity and that their child will disappear forever when they die, as will they eventually. That's not how humans are wired to work, no matter how much scientific evidence you throw at them.

And while everyone is having a good time piling on the 'folk theories' (which I think is a ridiculous and degrading term) I would venture to guess that if we followed the people on this thread around for a day you indulge yourself in some similar thinking as well. Maybe shouting for a miracle during a sports game. Or praying that you make it to a gas station before running out of gas. We're humans, this is what we do.

The 'zen scientists' who claim that consciousness is no big thing and that they understand how the brain really works are hypocrites. If they truly believe this, then why do they bother indulging in being human in the first place? Watching movies, eating pizza, going for walks? Because they have nothing better to do? No, because deep down they're humans and enjoy experiencing emotions that help keep the truth at a distance. That ourselves and everyone we love are going to die.

 
At 1/20/2009 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life is difficult and humans require simple, intuitive ideas to help them psychologically cope, particularly in times of crisis.

What people want is the truth not some comforting hogwash.

 
At 1/20/2009 5:01 PM, Anonymous Christian Anthony said...

I'm all for that. So what is the truth then? I wasn't aware we had all agreed on that one yet.

 
At 1/21/2009 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all for that. So what is the truth then? I wasn't aware we had all agreed on that one yet.

Whatever is the truth, it certainly isn't the dribble spouted by Lakoff and Johnson. And it certainly isn't the vacuous folk theories delivered by gurus. And you know, there's plenty of educated people living in the West who take these things seriously, so drawing attention to stupid beliefs isn't about ridiculing people in the developing world who are lacking in scientific education, but to our neighbours who lend respect to beliefs that otherwise deserve none. Back to our show...

 
At 1/21/2009 8:32 AM, Blogger jody radzik said...

it certainly isn't the dribble spouted by Lakoff and Johnson.

LandJ have swept everything that came before them right off the face of the Earth. But not all are ready to see that. Such is the nature of the paradigm shift.

 
At 1/21/2009 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'What people want is the truth not some comforting hogwash.'

The enormous numbers of people who settle for the comforting hogwash rather gives the lie to that statement.

 
At 1/23/2009 12:57 PM, Anonymous Andy Havens said...

@Betty: blaming technology or the advance of science for evils committed with those tools is, I think, an oversimplification. If that is true, then we also have to praise science and technology for all the things that they've given us, without giving proper respect and credit to the people, cultures and ideals that promote, for lack of a better word, "goodness."

For example... I assume that in the rural experience you describe from your youth, that *some* technology was used, yes? Your house had a chimney? That's technology. The farm used a tractor powered by an engine? More technology. You had access to canned, jarred or dried foods? All the products of technology. The seeds sown were probably improved, technologically, over the course of generations. The clothes you wore were the product of thousands of years of textile technology improvements. I might also assume (perhaps falsely, but not ridiculously) that there were guns on this farm. The basic technology of gunpowder has been responsible for far more deaths than any other single tool of violence. We didn't need atomic bombs for most of the deaths in WW1 and WW2, or in the many wars that preceded them.

It's fine for you to say that your life was less stressful than before. That's obviously a statement that we have to respect. And if, for you, the technological aspects of your current life are what chiefly gives you stress, you can choose to avoid some/all of them.

I can say that, for myself, most of the things I like to do and that help me relieve stress are related to technology. But that's just my experience. What you're suggesting is that technology, as a whole, is responsible for more stress.

I don't buy it.

Technology gave us the cure to polio and vaccines against smallpox, x-rays, cat-scans, safer drinking water and improved sewer systems. The fact that, in many countries, life expectancy is much, much greater than it was 100 years ago proves that greater access to technology is, if not less stressful, at least less lethal.

I'd rather be a stressed-out 100 year old man with all my teeth than relaxed and dead at 38 from cholera.

Peace.

 
At 1/23/2009 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The enormous numbers of people who settle for the comforting hogwash rather gives the lie to that statement.

This doesn't make sense to me, because I'm not convinced people can deceive themselves intentionally.

I rather think that people believe weird things because their beliefs have gone unchallenged.

 
At 1/23/2009 6:23 PM, Anonymous Betty said...

Andy I am not a crusading anti -technologist. Things have just gotten a little out of hand, wouldn't you say? In our present world, we have great power in the hands of people with the wisdom of four year olds. I once talked with an Amish fellow in Iowa. He told me that whenever they moved into a new area to farm, they sat together and tried to decide what was the minimum of modern technology they would need to succeed there. Once they made a decision, they didn't change. My grandparents by the way, had almost all their teeth, and lived well into old age.

 
At 1/24/2009 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>"LandJ have swept everything that came before them right off the face of the Earth. But not all are ready to see that. Such is the nature of the paradigm shift."<<

Jody,
are you joking here? you must be...this sounds suspiciously like a "belief" in a "concept" (as put forward by these two guys). Have you read some of the rebuttals to the content of their book in the "comments" section at Amazon.com? Many valid questions are raised by folks alot smarter than I am...worth reading folks.

 
At 1/24/2009 9:46 AM, Anonymous Prakster said...

Folk theory: Seeing patterns in nature means it had a designer, ie god.

 
At 1/24/2009 9:58 AM, Blogger jody radzik said...

Have you read some of the rebuttals to the content of their book

Of course. LandJ have called the entire enterprise of both philosophy and linguistics into question. The world is full of PhDs who think PinT is trash by default.

 
At 1/30/2009 7:32 PM, Anonymous Pardesi Gori said...

"But there is no proof of life after death beyond personal anecdote, and neuroscience is now showing us that these experiences of the supernatural can be reproduced in a lab with magnetic fields, deep brain stimulation, and simple tricks of perception."
..............

Yep. Any emotion can be reproduced in the same labs - such as falling in love or having an orgasm.

Everything is really just a combination of chemicals and hormones in the brain.

You think you "love" your kids?

It's all just brain chemistry Sweetheart and it can be reproduced in a lab.

But I will add...

The folk theory of "falling in love" and finding your "soul mate" that makes "dating" and "romantic love" neccessary in the United State.

Gag.

 

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