Author Topic: The Doors of Perception  (Read 349 times)

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Offline Graybeard

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The Doors of Perception
« on: July 23, 2014, 08:14:39 AM »
The Doors of Perception

The [wiki]Doors of Perception[/wiki] is a short book by [wiki]Aldous Huxley[/wiki], first published in 1954, detailing his experiences when taking mescaline. The book takes the form of Huxley's recollection of a mescaline trip that took place over the course of an afternoon, and takes its title from a phrase in William Blake's 1793 poem The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Huxley recalls the insights he experienced, which range from the "purely aesthetic" to "sacramental vision". He also incorporates later reflections on the experience and its meaning for art and religion.

The title of this thread is thus somewhat deceptive; it really should be no more than “Lukvance, the Atheist and The Cat-Flap of Perception.” It is a response to the numerous reported posts that have arisen from posts in which Lukvance has had a major role and an attempt to understand why there have been so many reports from Luk and other members.

With luck, and Luk, we can reduce this number on both sides.

There is the desperate argument seen from time to time on WWGHA that goes, “How can we know anything for certain?” Well, the answer is, “We can’t and we don’t, but as long as we perceive the things that the rest of us perceive, we are normal. We are aware that insects and birds can see colours that we can’t and we can hear low frequency sounds that they can’t. So, if you ever get into a conversation about the nature of the world with a bee or a sparrow, be prepared for some misunderstandings. Likewise, a conversation with someone whose perception of the world is different from yours.”

We humans have a basic need to communicate and where perceptions are violently different, this cannot be done. If there are two people on the phone, the conversation might go:
A: “Have you read the book, “The Big Bang”?
B: “Yes, I have it in front of me.”
A: “Ah, good. On page 9, it says, “The expanding matter cooled…”
B: “… no, it says “The plasma drew together…” there’s nothing about temperature.”
A: “Of course there is! It comes straight after “… travelling at the speed of light…”
B: “No. It is preceded by “… nuclei stripped of electrons.”

Until it dawns on A and B that there are two books called “The Big Bang” there is no communication.

Now, if it turns out that indeed there is only one book called “The Big Bang” and B is looking at a book called “The Bin Bang” (which is a pile of ill-written garbage and the ramblings of a madman) then both will think the other mad. If A brings witnesses, B thinks that the witnesses are lying, in league with each other, and/or equally mad and calls upon witnesses of his own. Many words, sentences, paragraphs and pictures are the quoted in support of each side without progress.

So it is with Lukvance: if you think that you have argued cogently and presented a solid point. He will
(i)   dismiss it without a reason
(ii)   ignore it and offer one of his own
(iii)   answer only the unimportant/irrelevant part of your post
(iv)   answer a question of his own
(v)   create a strawman and destroy it
(vi)   say that it is off topic
(vii)   say that it is a personal opinion
(viii)   quote something from his own book
(ix)   answer it with a question to you
(x)   ask you to research something that would be tedious
(xi)   refer you vaguely to a post “I have answered that somewhere else”

Luk cannot see the book from which we are reading. Luk’s perceptions are not ours. He is quite unable to accept that there is any book other than his book. He sees the world really clearly… his world. He is heading urgently down a road that only he (and others like him) sees. He wants you to accompany him and, to him, your questions are simply distractions on this amazing journey of revelation - why the hell can't you just accept that this road is really amazing and obviously the right road? What's wrong with you?

Luk is truly unable to perceive the point being made. He cannot understand why you should even question what you are seeing on the road. For him, your brilliantly crafted observation has no reference point at all – it’s like your talking about flying unicorns on Mars in answer to a question on how to work out the square root of 10 – it simply does not address the way that he, Luk, perceives the world and the way Luk is certain that you should be perceiving it too if you only put some effort into it (although you are not.)

Luk points out sights along the road that so obviously prove this is the right road and the best road that nothing more need be said. You ask a question: What is the matter with you? It is there and is obvious!

In spiritual matters, Luk is simply not able to see anything other than his perception. The atheists cannot understand why no further questions have been asked about this perception: Luk does not see why any further questions need to be asked.

In Luk’s mind, theology is just as rigorous a science as physics: he genuinely cannot see the differences – he is not pretending not to see. He does not see that a theology that assumes, as a starting point, the existence of gods is any different from physics/chemistry/biology/mathematics which assume, as a starting point, a universe with Laws.

I have told this story before:

Years ago, I worked with the mentally ill[1]. One woman was obsessed with the idea that a certain brick in her house was transmitting messages to her brain. Nothing would convince her otherwise. I arranged for the brick to be removed. The workmen arrived and she pointed out the brick. She made a chalk mark on the brick. The workmen removed it there and then. The messages were still reaching her brain. She said we had removed the wrong brick. I explained how this was impossible. She said the workmen had removed the wrong brick. It is a matter of perception.

Our perception is our reality.
 1. It is important to point out that mental illness is a variable feast. In the land where 80% of the population carry a jellyfish to ward off tigers, there is no mental illness in believing that carrying a jellyfish wards off tigers – so with religion: there are enough people who believe in gods and it is not usually classed as a mental illness - a mental condition, maybe.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 08:18:11 AM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: The Doors of Perception
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2014, 09:02:05 AM »
In my personal life, I'm dealing with a neighbor who is probably your brick lady's sister. Or Luk's.

From day one, with his insistence that the existence of god was the same as the existence of love, and that if we agreed that love was real, then we should also agree that god is real, his thought processes have been wanting. And of course he has just gotten worse as we backed him in to a corner by providing information and stuff.

He's been in desperation mode for awhile and unless he leaves or forces us to send him away, I'm afraid he'll be stuck in the mode ad infinitum.  He doesn't seem to know any better, or he doesn't want to know any better, or he'll never get any better. I'm pretty sure at least one of those applies.

I don't expect theists and atheists to see eye to eye, but when we get a theist that can't conceive of others being atheists, it gets irritating. I can understand why people are religious, I just think their reasoning and/or thought processes about things are wrong. But when a theist can't demonstrate either of those two things, it gets a bit tiring.

We all have out cognitive biases. I do my best to make sure that my big ones match the biases of others. Methinks Luk is one of a kind.

Added: Let me rephrase that. I hope Luk is one of a kind. But one of my other flaws is that I'm naïve as hell.
What I lack in sophistication I make up for with other shortcomings.

Offline YRM_DM

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Re: The Doors of Perception
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2014, 10:26:20 AM »
Joseph of Cupertino is an Italian saint. He was said to have been remarkably unclever, but prone to miraculous levitation, and intense ecstatic visions that left him gaping. In turn, he is recognized as the patron saint of air travelers, aviators, people with a mental handicap, and weak students. He was canonized in 1767. On October 4, 1630, the town of Cupertino held a procession on the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi. Joseph was assisting in the procession when he suddenly soared into the sky, where he remained hovering over the crowd. When he descended and realized what had happened, he became so embarrassed that he fled to his mother’s house and hid. This was the first of many flights, which soon earned him the nickname “The Flying Saint.” Joseph’s most famous flight allegedly occurred during a papal audience before Pope Urban VIII. When he bent down to kiss the Pope’s feet, he was suddenly filled with reverence for the Pope, and was lifted up into the air. He experienced ecstasies and flights (witnessed by thousands) during his last mass which was on the Feast of the Assumption 1663.

Are you saying that you don't believe in a flying saint?

Wait... what?
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline Jontom10

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Re: The Doors of Perception
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2014, 04:36:22 PM »
You should try thinking about this whilst listening to Pink Floyd, in a field on a nice Autumn day after eating a good handful of the mushrooms you have just picked.
Hasa Diga Eebowai