Jennifer is back this week with an all new edition of Wednesday Woo. It was fun to take the reins for a week but I am glad to see her back in the fray. For last weeks article, Christian Woo, click here.
The New Age magical thinking knows no bounds, especially when it comes to the physical world. There seems to be an innate desire within these folks to hold unlimited power, and to escape the dreary limits of their position as a physical being. In other words, they wish to be everyone, and everywhere, therefore the idea of traveling wherever they desire in an instant would definitely hold appeal.
In order to actually believe this, you would have to accept that:
1. Consciousness has nothing to do with the brain.
2. You have more than one type of body, and many of your “bodies” are not physical.
3. That it is possible to separate these bodies while maintaining conscious ability.
4. The outdated concept of “aether” is true.
5. Auras are a thing.
6. Chakras are real.
7. That conscious awareness of the chakras, auras, and ether gives you superpowers.
8. Imagination is reality.
9. Near death experiences testimonials are “proof” of these things.
Now that’s a lot to swallow, considering there is no evidence of any of these features. Of course, there wouldn’t be, since (according to peddlers of woo) the physical world is an illusion, and scientific evidence is bullshit. If there is any indication that followers of such concepts are prone to escapism, this is definitely one of them. I cannot blame human beings for having very human feelings, and who hasn’t held the desire to instantly teleport to another place for whatever reason? That would be cool as fuck! However, constructing an entire belief system without evidence just to confirm a comforting lie is not a healthy way of living.
So let’s go over the concepts you would have to accept to sustain a belief in astral travel:
1. Consciousness exists in the brain, and there is evidence for this fact. I have already gone over this subject here. (link to consciousness blog)
2. There’s no evidence for anything other than a physical body.
3. I refer to #2.
4. The concept of aether, developed by Aristotle, was disproven by Einstein’s theory of special relativity. (http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/Ether.html)
5. Auras are more than likely synesthesia as opposed to a real phenomenon. There is no evidence they are real. (http://neurowiki2014.wikidot.com/individual:emotion-evoked-synesthesia)
7. Since none of these things are true, consequently, super human abilities are also bullshit.
8. Imagination is… imagination, and by definition, not real.
9. **Near** death (not actual death) experiences are produced by brains that are not functioning properly, and therefore do not produce any reliable, demonstrable representation of “spirit” nonsense.
Seems these criteria fall flat on their face, don’t they?
When I was a New Ager, I fervently believed in all of this stuff because I had an out-of-body experience while fasting and inducing a trance state for a few days. I went to sleep, but oddly enough, it didn’t feel as though I had actually lost consciousness. Instead, I seemed to be lingering over my body – watching over it as weird things occurred. Sometime in the middle of the night, three black dogs arrived and began to feast upon my body. It was a very strange thing to witness, but didn’t elicit any fearful emotions. Somehow I got the feeling they were healing me of some ailment or latent psychic problem. Of course, there was no reason to believe this was actually occurring, but I was willing to ignore this because I wanted healing desperately. When I awoke, I felt as though I hadn’t really slept, despite a lack of fatigue. I believed this had actually occurred, despite having no evidence, and never attempted to investigate the instance to find out. Now I understand that it was a dream, instigated by my fasting, trance state, and subconscious desires. I am not the only skeptic this has happened to, either.
Notice how investigation brought down the notion of an OBE? That’s how it always pans out, too. Sure you will have “studies” conducted by pseudoscientists offered to you by believers, and there are plenty to be found online and in various books. There’s a also an ocean of anecdotes and testimonials people love to share so they can confirm their own bias, but none of that is evidence of astral travel, remote viewing, or any form of BS out-of-body phenomena. Every time these things are subjected to double-blind studies, they fail miserably. Every. Single. Time. They cannot be replicated, and therefore not scientifically confirmed. And, just for the record, the stuff about remote viewing from the CIA doesn’t count as evidence, either. Just because experiments were done in the past, top-secret ones with redacted information released, doesn’t mean that OBEs really happen. These stories indicate absolutely zilch. One cannot help but wonder why they eventually abandoned these ideas, but I’ll bet it has something to do with the urgency and desperation of a Cold War came to its inevitable end. Hopefully government agencies no longer give a platform to just any kook that crosses their path, but considering the current political climate, who can say?
I know many folks wish to consider their consciousness to be immortal, but there’s no evidence or good reason to believe it. These concepts may be comforting to some, and I understand that, however the truth does matter, however painful it may seem. This discomfort, just like life, doesn’t last. Personally, I am confident that adults can handle an inconvenient truth, even if it makes them uncomfortable.