An Autonomous Agent

exploring the noosphere

Category: philosophy (Page 2 of 5)

Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research – Dr. Stanislav Grof

Dr. Stanislav Grof’s book Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research surpassed any expectations I had when I purchased it. It truly takes the reader on a trip into the most remote depths of the human psyche. Grof’s model of the unconscious, based on more than 30 years of experience, provides incredible insight into a realm beyond anything you thought you knew. The model involves what Grof calls “Systems of Condensed Experience” (COEX Systems). In addition to these experiences,  patients typically encounter experiences classified by Grof as either perinatal or transpersonal. I suggest reading the book to learn more about this topic and the models.

In a suitable analogy, Grof declares LSD to be psychiatry’s fundamental tool; it is like the astronomer’s telescope or the biologist’s microscope.  Grof refers to the powerful ability of LSD to facilitate the revealing of deep unconscious systems like that of sonar or radar, revealing the largest and most relevant emotional disturbances beneath the surface of the unconscious ocean. It allows therapists to have a direct reading of a patient’s relevant thought systems and important experiences. Readers begin to realize how incredibly important this molecule is for the well-being of the psyche and the spiritual and mental development of humanity.

For a simple introduction, I would suggest The Holotropic Mind rather than this book. Or if you prefer an audio book, Audible has The Transpersonal Vision. I would also recommend joining the email list for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

Killing Time – Paul Feyerabend

Paul Feyerabend’s autobiography, Killing Time, is a nice summary of the life of a very interesting person. Very brief snapshot:

Growing up in Austria he eventually participated (drafted) in World War II and became a Nazi officer. Shot in the spine and disabled for life he went back to university where he studied music, theatre, and science. He became an important intellectual in the philosophy of science. After the war he participated and became a key member of the yearly meetings in Alpbach. His ideas were influenced by Karl Popper (initially), Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Felix Ehrenhaft. He eventually found his way to Berkeley, California where he became a professor. He taught mostly at Berkeley and ETH Zürich.

His life and ideas were intimately connected with many great thinkers of the 20th century: including Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, and Imre Lakatos. The autobiography is a good introduction to Feyerabend. Getting to know the background and personal experiences of the great thinker helps gain perspective while reading his philosophical works.

I wonder what, if anything, Feyerabend had to say about Alan Watts? In some ways I feel that Feyerabend has helped to add elements of Eastern Philosophy to Western Philosophy. For instance, Feyerabend’s principal that anything goes and his scientific anarchy seem to have a Zen or Taoist connection. His continual insistence that reality fails to be objectively expressed by language also suggests a connection, but I believe this was also expressed by Wittgenstein?

Against Method – Paul Feyerabend

Highly recommended.

Against Method, by Paul Feyerabend, contains provocative insights into the connectedness of all human abstractions, ideologies, cultures, methodologies, etc… Feyerabend’s arguments are extremely valuable to people of all backgrounds who pursue an understanding of reality.

Feyerabend expresses an idea which hints that all human ideologies in the noosphere depend on each other in some way. This universal connectedness therefore indicates that we cannot declare one ideology better than another. In other words there does not exist an objective form of judgement and all people must allow anything that can express itself to express itself, a complete anarchy of ideas. I would add that it is only when institutions or social structures attempt to fight this anarchy that progress, as defined by various definitions, ceases to exist or becomes retarded.

Traditions, language, theories, facts, statements, and questions — all related in a complex web of dependencies:


Sir Karl Popper Excerpt and Interview

Good excerpt from Karl Popper’s “Conjectures and Refutations.”

Thought provoking interview with Karl Popper (unfortunately the audio is not too good).

The Venus Project – Jacque Fresco

First, if you have never seen documentaries or talks about Jacque Fresco, you should definitely do so now. He is quite a visionary. I can’t believe he was 58 years old in 1974 when he was on Larry King. And now nearly 100 years old. What an extraordinary life!

Future By Design

Paradise or Oblivion

An insightful speech from Mr. Jacque Fresco has caused me to wonder about our society and its future. I think he identifies the issues, but I can we fix them?

With regards to a resource based economy, I think we should be careful with how much we change and how quickly. We don’t want to “throw out the baby with the bath water” as the saying goes. In other words, there are numerous highly productive structures which exist today, along with detrimental ones. There is much we can do to restructure various institutions to achieve many of the goals listed in the Venus Project. For example, there is nothing that requires corporations and governments to be hierarchically organized. That form of structure existed before I was born and even before my father. Why do we still follow it? I once read a book, suggested by John Bogle, called Servant Leadership, by Robert K. Greenleaf; in this book, Greenleaf puts forward ideas which reshape the structure of corporations and other institutions.

Anyway, just watch the talk and see what you think.

UPDATE: The Venus Project – The Choice is Ours

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