new age spirituality

finding purpose in infinite reality

The Most Important Question Ever Asked

abracad, · Categories: purpose, science and spirituality

What's the Deal with Free Will?

Whether or not we have free will is (arguably) the most significant question we ask about ourselves and the reality we inhabit. It is synonymous with: is (our) existence meaningful? (or just an accidental curiosity of indifferent fate?)

What is Free Will?

In a deterministic universe every event is the result of its causes, and in turn acts as causes to following events. There is no place for free will.

However, science suggests that at its most fundamental level nature is not deterministic. It is governed by quantum mechanics which, to the best of current knowledge, means that fundamental particles behave randomly. But because there are so many of them, on aggregate they average out to appear deterministic. But randomness is not free will.

Free will is the ability to act as a first cause, ie in some way that is not the result of preceding events. (more…)

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Thoughts on the Nature of Reality and Human Experience

abracad, · Categories: purpose, science and spirituality

Origins and Predestination

The best current scientific evidence indicates that the entire universe began some 13.7 billion years ago when the totality of matter that was concentrated into a single point began to enlarge rapidly in a hot explosion, known as the Big Bang.

But, that being so, does it imply that all the information in the universe was also contained or formed in this ginormous explosion? That is, the entire destiny of the universe, including the miracle of life, wonders of technology, momentous historical events, right down to the placement of every object, the timing of every happening to the tiniest degree. Not just on this earth but throughout the entire universe. All coded, inevitably, in that single occurrence.

According again to best current scientific evidence, the answer is no. Quantum theory suggests the future is not completely defined or caused by the past, but rather is subject to a degree of random variability at the most fundamental level of reality. But when viewed from a human macroscopic level the enormous number of randomly influenced micro-events appear more or less deterministic.

That raises the question of whether that random variability is truly ‘random’, or is somehow itself ‘caused’ by something outside the universe, something that for want of better terminology might be called spirit or God? (more…)

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Web Bot (Psychic Messages Over the Internet)

abracad, · Categories: externally authored, science and spirituality

By John Alba

What is Web Bot?

The Web Bot project, also known as Predictive Linguistics, is not widely known, or accepted by the scientific community (due to the potential absurdity of the project). The idea is that every person at some point every day, posts, or says something on the internet. That information is then archived and looked over by the Web Bot software imbedded throughout the internet.

It then transcribes the information and interprets into preprogrammed alerts. These alerts and information are what is considered to be the “subconscious” of the internet. The signals and information provided is used to draw predictions of future events.

While it might seem like something out of a sci-fi novella, this is a very real technology that has been seen in action; however, look no further than below to find out the origin of the project and how it works. With luck, you’ll be able to grasp a greater understanding of what the Web Bot project really is. (more…)

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Allah's Worlds Are Discovered

abracad, · Categories: externally authored, religion, science and spirituality

by Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Both the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an teach that the One God created the whole universe to be conducive to the universal evolution of life. Recent astrophysical studies discover ever more evidence of the truth of this Biblical and Qur'anic view. (more…)

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Buddhism and Meditation Practice

abracad, · Categories: buddhism, meditation, science and spirituality

The Buddhist response to the pervasiveness of unsatisfactoriness is to seek to extinguish attachment and craving (ie enlightenment or nirvana). The practice of meditation plays a significant role towards this end.

There are numerous varieties of Buddhist meditation, eg Zen, Vipassana, concentration to name but a few. However, one that has gained much attention and credibility in the West is mindfulness (eg a Google search for this term yields 39 million hits, an Amazon search some 56,000 titles).

Mindfulness meditation is about objective observation. It's about simply being in the here and now, seeing and accepting reality as it is, without feelings or judgement, not measuring it against some ideal that we'd like it to be. (more…)

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Buddhism and the Human Predicament

abracad, · Categories: buddhism, science and spirituality

After being raised in a background of wealth and power and sheltered from the harsh reality of life it is said that upon first witnessing sickness and suffering the Buddha was so overcome that he renounced his privileged status for a life of contemplation.

The Buddhist conception of the human predicament is summed up in the first two of the four Noble Truths, taught by Buddha shortly after he attained enlightenment; ie: (more…)

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Study Buddhism Free Online

abracad, · Categories: buddhism, science and spirituality

Free "MOOCs" and other resources exploring Buddhist philosophy and its relationship to and value in the modern world.

The Buddha's Teaching As It Is

Ten Audio lectures on the fundamentals of the Buddha's Teaching, by Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi

Available at BuddhaNet

Buddhism Through Its Scriptures

Learn about the rich and diverse beliefs and practices of Buddhists across time and place. Experience Buddhism through its scriptures, both relationally as well as academically.

Self-paced edX course from Harvard University, starts May 3, 2016.

Buddhism and Modern Psychology

Examines how Buddhism is faring under the scrutiny of science and modern psychology.

Self-paced Coursera course from Prof. Robert Wright, Princeton University.

Tibetan Buddhist Meditation and the Modern World: Lesser Vehicle

This course explores the immense variety of meditation practices past and present.

Self paced Coursera course from the University of Virginia.

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Does 'Self' Exist?

abracad, · Categories: buddhism, science and spirituality, spirituality

The Buddhist Perspective of Self

Buddha's assertion that the self does not exist was first described in the famous "Discourse on the Not-Self". It is a fundamental principle of Buddhist philosophy and is said to be the second sermon delivered by the Buddha after his enlightenment.

Buddha defined five "aggregates" that together constitute the entire person. These are: form (body), feelings (positive, negative, neutral), perception, mental formations (thought, emotion, will), and consciousness.

Buddha declared each aggregate in turn (like most of reality) to be impermanent, and therefore not identifiable with 'self'. This implies Buddha's concept of self has (a degree of) permanence.

Considering the aggregates again, he declared that each is not controllable (we cannot control the fate of our body, our emotions etc), and is therefore not self. This implies Buddha's concept of self is controllable. (more…)

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Do We Really Have Free Will?

abracad, · Categories: science and spirituality

The question of whether we really have free will is fundamental to understanding the purpose and nature of our very existence.

Free will can be defined as an individual (human or other living entity) having the capacity to determine its own actions, and to some degree destiny, i.e. within the limits of external circumstance.

Models of Reality

Determinism

Determinism results from the absolute rule of cause and effect. In the Newtonian clockwork universe, every precise detail of the future is already determined to an infinitesimal degree of accuracy, and has been so since the start of time. There is no scope for straying from the cosmic script.

Determinism is intuitively reasonable. I push an object, it moves in the direction of my force. The universe, including ourselves, consists of matter and energy in motion behaving according to eternal all-encompassing laws. Thus every tiny detail of the universe's, and our, is already fixed and has been so since the beginning of existence.

This begs the question of whether existence has a finite beginning, and if so what "caused" or preceded it? But if something caused it, then that something pre-existed existence and so what might be labelled the "big bang" was not in fact the beginning at all.

Randomness

The currently preferred scientific explanation for the underlying nature of what we perceive as the universe is quantum physics. This theory, well supported by experimental evidence, postulates that rather than being deterministic (as the universe appears to our senses) at the sub-atomic level the universe contains inherent indeterminacy / "randomness" (more…)

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Is Nature Random?

abracad, · Categories: purpose, science and spirituality

Life isn't always 'just'. 'Bad' things happen to 'good' people, and vice versa. When stuff happens seemingly regardless of our personal choices/actions it can cause us to question our beliefs about the nature of reality. And in particular whether there is some purpose or meaning driving the universe.

Science has been incredibly successful at discovering and explaining the mechanism by which the physical universe operates. However, science itself in the form of quantum physics has shown there to be not just a practical but an absolute theoretical limit to our knowledge of reality. At the very limits of our understanding the fundamental building blocks of the world around us behave randomly. It is the huge number of such random micro-events that statistically give the appearance of determinism (cause and effect).

But what might lie beyond this impenetrable veil at the limit of potential knowledge? And how might 'randomness' at the micro level give rise to apparent randomness at the level of our experience? (more…)

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