Do you believe in miracles or other mystical phenomena? Have you experience them?
Here’s a thought-provoking article by Deepak Chopra, M.D. It’s definitely a high-level thought piece, so it doesn’t back up its assertions, but it does make salient points and acts as a lead-in for an upcoming article.
… However, now that there is a burgeoning science of consciousness, fermenting with much theorizing, arguments, and controversies, it may be necessary to solve all kinds of fringe phenomena, in particular miracles, that have long been considered the province of superstition, credulity, and outright fraud. (This is the hardened position of the vocal skeptics’ camp, but their impact on the practice of science is too minimal to deal with here.)
Perception and Reality
If you look upon the physical world as a given—what you see is what you get—governed by fixed mathematical laws of nature, the whole domain of wonders and miracles poses no problems. Levitation, bilocation, psychic healing, clairvoyance, near-death experiences, and all the miracles related in the Bible can be dismissed out of hand. Accepting the physical world “as it is” constitutes naïve realism, which all of us depend upon in our everyday lives. As I’ve pointed out in many previous posts, consistently co-authored with a physicist, geneticist, biologist, cosmologist, or philosopher, naïve realism hasn’t been scientifically tenable for at least a century, ever since the quantum era began.
If we can’t accept the physical world as it is, a level playing field can be posited that includes both the natural and supernatural. An impenetrable wall no longer divides the two categories from each other. There are several completely cogent reasons for making such a statement.
- All experience occurs in consciousness.
- Consciousness is the meeting place between perception and reality.
- This meeting place is inexplicable at present. There is no scientific explanation for everyday experience, much less the so-called mystical.
- The materialistic assumptions of science as it’s currently practiced have made no headway in explaining how the brain’s electrochemical activity produces the sights, sounds, textures, and smells of a three-dimensional world.
- What is known with certainty, however, is that the brain filters and reduces the input it receives.
The last point needs expanding. If you insist upon being a staunch physicalist, someone who refuses to accept any explanation outside materialism, the brain must be the seat of mind, and the world we perceive must be registered faithfully by the brain. But there’s no doubt that the brain is fallible. Its mechanisms are easily fooled, by optical illusions, for example. Its fixed neural pathways constantly distort even basic perceptions, as when a person suffering from anorexia looks at her starved and wasted body but sees it as “too fat.”…
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