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Parapsychological Implications for Religion and Spirituality

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Parapsychological Implications for Religion and Spirituality

Postby Student of Sophia » 05 Aug 2009, 05:31

Ok, so it seems to me that the implications of psi reach into every facet of life, including spirituality. It's quite a puzzle, and no doubt I'm missing pieces of it.

But some of my interests, which I have been looking into for years, are comparative mythology/comparative religion/comparative mysticism. And it seems to me that parapsychological research literature needs to be disseminated throughout those fields better than they are being, because psychic phenomena has been a part of every religion, every mythology, every mystical tradition since early shamanism. It's like a thread that runs through world myth and religion, potentially giving us a common frame of reference, potentially allowing humanity to penetrate the outer layers of dogma and tradition that surround religions.

I'm referring to the exoteric layer of religion, the outer layer, which is the layer most people think of when they think of religion. But the outer layer is only part of religion. The inner esoteric layer is the layer of the mystics, and the mystics are the ones who developed and practiced 'psychic sciences'. This is of course an oversimplification, but there you have it.

So, we have evidence of psi, which suggests that the nature of reality is not as it seems, that there is more to reality than meets the naked eye, that there is something behind the visible plane. THAT is the most basic, most universal theme of all mythology, all religion.

I don't know if any of you are familiar with comparative mythology, but essentially it tells us that underneath the surface of religion and myth (sometimes very deep under the surface) there is a kind of unity at the heart of world religion and mythology. The reality of psi means we need to take a close look at the work of Carl Jung on mythology, so we can recognize that throughout world myth and religion the same archetypes of the collective unconscious surface everywhere in various symbolic forms.

"All religions are true but none are literal." -Joseph Campbell

That's true. None are 'literal'.

But...psi complicates the symbolic/literal dichotomy. We don't have the luxury of dismissing it all as mere symbol and metaphor, because there is a thread of truth running through it all - psi. Nor can we embrace a particular religion as literal at the exclusion of all others, because we would have to deny too much - we would have to deny the wisdom which can be found in all religion and myth, and we would have to deny the plethora of indications that much in world sacred text cannot be taken 'literally' at face value. For instance, young-earth creationism.

So a middle ground is called for, we need a position between symbolic and literal. That is where psi comes in, I believe. Parapsychology, comparative mythology, and comparative religion can potentially guide humanity through the false symbolic/literal dilemma.

The reality of psi indicates that the nature of reality is mind-stuff...not matter/energy/time/space. That means a symbol can be more than a symbol, and less than literal. A symbol can be a living thing, forged out of the mind-stuff of reality by a mythology or religion, forged by the collective, unconscious psi of those who are a part of that religion or mythology.

Take the modern UFO phenomena for example. It is forming right in front of our eyes, and it is forming in the same way mythologies have always formed. Archetypes of the collective unconscious are given symbolic forms by a culture, and due to the nature of reality and psi that symbolic form can manifest in a "physical" way, a "literal" way, making "aliens" and UFOs into "objective" living semi-autonomous symbolic forms made out of mind-stuff. Forms which are "solid" enough to throw back radar echoes, solid enough to be seen by multiple people, solid enough to interact with our environment. All through psi, I believe. Mind-over-matter, mind-over-energy, making UFOs not quite literal, and not quite symbolic but something else. It makes them psychic manifestations of our collective unconsciousness in symbolic form, of archetypes that are in all of us, that ARE us.

The Sanskrit phrase Tat Tvam Asi means 'thou art that'. A good phrase to keep in mind when pondering the meaning of symbolic forms.

"All of the symbols of mythology refer to YOU. Have YOU been reborn? Have YOU died to your animal nature and come to life as a human incarnation?" -Joseph Campbell

"While Jung is known mainly for his theories on the nature of the unconscious mind, he did have an interest in the paranormal. In his books 'Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies', Jung applies his analytical skills to the UFO phenomenon. Rather than assuming that the modern prevalence of UFO sightings are due to extraterrestrial craft, Jung reserves judgment on their origin and connects UFOs with archetypal imagery, concluding that they have become a "living myth."

In the threatening situation of the world today, when people are beginning to see that everything is at stake, the projection-creating fantasy soars beyond the realm of earthly organizations and powers into the heavens, into interstellar space, where the rulers of human fate, the gods, once had their abode in the planets.... Even people who would never have thought that a religious problem could be a serious matter that concerned them personally are beginning to ask themselves fundamental questions. Under these circumstances it would not be at all surprising if those sections of the community who ask themselves nothing were visited by `visions,' by a widespread myth seriously believed in by some and rejected as absurd by others."--C. G. Jung, in Flying Saucers

Jung's primary concern in Flying Saucers is not with the reality or unreality of UFOs but with their psychic aspect. Rather than speculate about their possible nature and extraterrestrial origin as alleged spacecraft, he asks what it may signify that these phenomena, whether real or imagined, are seen in such numbers just at a time when humankind is menaced as never before in history. The UFOs represent, in Jung's phrase, "a modern myth."

Our reality is psycho-physical in nature. It's neither subjective nor objective but something inbetween - omnijective. In such a reality our collective dreams can manifest IN REAL LIFE, if only temporarily, because that which they symbolize (archetypes) are real and formless and non-local in nature because consciousness is non-local. Thus blurring the symbolic/literal dychotomy.

When dreaming, unconscious material surfaces to the conscious mind in symbolic form. It's the same way with psycho-physical manifestations of things like UFOs, even if they are projected "out there".

"Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths."
-Joseph Campbell

It doesn't mean such manifestations are lies, it means that the language of symbolism has to be penetrated. That's where comparative mythology comes in. It shows us how different cultures can use different symbolic forms for the same archetypes.

Anyway, I could go on and on but I'm gonna stop here and wait for comments/questions before continuing.
Student of Sophia
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Joined: 01 Aug 2009, 23:37

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