January 10th, 2006

ozarque figure

Channeling and past lives and "reality," oh my.....

I've been asked (in comments) for my thoughts about the incident with the hypnotist and her attempt to do a hypnotic regression for me, and I'm happy to post them -- with the strong advance disclaimer that what I'm posting represents only my opinions and beliefs. I have no evidence to offer, and don't pretend to.

Those of you who were around for the discussions of religious language in this journal already know that I am a devout believer in reincarnation. My interpretation of "Be ye therefore perfect" is that we human beings have to keep doing human life over and over again until we get it right; fortunately, we have all of eternity in which to get that accomplished. For me, that works; that, and "As ye sow so shall ye reap" are principles I live by.

I have no beliefs about the details of reincarnation, only opinions. I don't think it's likely that human beings reincarnate as anything other than human beings, and I have no idea how the process "works."

I'm very dubious about the "reality" of channeling -- and frankly, I don't really care whether it's "real" or not. If the information in a channeled book is interesting and useful and seems to me to represent wisdom, I don't care whether its actual source is some disembodied entity or the author's own subconscious or something else. I'd like to know for certain which it is, sure, if I could just have anything I wanted; but the lack of that certainty does not keep me from appreciating the information if I find it worth appreciating. I do know that if channeling is "real," it involves a translation process that is totally different from anything we're familiar with, and I tried to cover that topic -- with my linguist hat on -- in Native Tongue III, which was fictionally a channeled book.

I place a high value on hypnosis; it has been useful to me and I have, with my own eyes, seen it accomplish extraordinarily good things for others. I think it should be a major component of medical care, myself. I think every child should be taught self-hypnosis just as every child should be taught to read. However, if I am asked for my opinion, I have to say that I am as dubious about hypnosis for past-life regression as I am about channeling. As has already been mentioned, the person being hypnotized is eager to please the hypnotist, and the "you will experience your past lives" frame is firmly established in these sessions. [How I escaped that frame in my own session I don't know. Meg Umans has suggested that it was because the hypnotist wasn't filling her role properly, and that may well be true; it's Meg's field, not mine. I don't know. I do know that the hypnotist was as astonished by what happened as I was, and told me that in thousands of sessions she had never seen anything of the kind before, nor did she know of any such thing happening to others who conducted such sessions.]

Now, the fact that I'm dubious about channeling and past-life regression for sure doesn't mean that I'm claiming that they're not "real." If I were to suddenly be presented with evidence for their validity, it wouldn't upset me; I'd probably be pleased. They may or may not be "real." I'm dubious, and I have an open mind on the subject.

I have perceived so many things in my lifetime that I would have sworn -- before perceiving them -- could not possibly be "real" that I've learned not to be dogmatic about what does and doesn't possess that characteristic. I've observed endless examples of people failing to perceive things that were -- in my opinion -- as "real" as their noses, simply because their language failed to provide a mechanism for noticing and remarking on them. I've observed endless examples of people suddenly perceiving something they had previously not perceived, simply because they were provided with a mechanism from some other language that made that possible. Based on my own lifetime of experience, I no longer think that I have any business trying to tell other people what is or isn't "real."

I hope this is reasonably clear; if not, tell me where the gaps are and I'll try to fill them.
ozarque figure

Question for any willing techie....

I regularly check my LiveJournal at http://www.marketleap.com/publinkpop/default.htm (a link I've posted here previously). I also check my religious language site -- http://www.forlovingkindness.org , and my SFWA site -- http://www.sfwa.org/members/elgin . Usually I check them all against the Andrew Tobias site -- http://www.andrewtobias.com , which makes a good benchmark.

I have never, in all this time, had any number for the LJ site in the "MSN" column except a zero. (By contrast, I regularly have a number above one thousand for the religious language site under "MSN.") I assume there must be a technical reason for this, a reason that's obvious to the tech-savvy person, and I would welcome any explanation you could give me.