Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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“Mom, Dad…… I’m an astral projection” -Benedict Mendes

So, on Thursday we had our class discussions with several different people about our topics, and there is infinite variety between all of us. I’m fascinated by how many possible things you could go into under the umbrella of metaphysics, but for now I’ll just talk about what new ideas were revealed to me that are related to astral projection.

 

First, one of the questions I got a lot as I was discussing was “what do you appear as on the astral plane?”.

I did not, and still do not, really have an answer. Some sources say that you simply appear as your physical self appears, others say that you appear as a kind of “ideal” form of yourself, what you want to strive to be. This is an interesting question and something I definitely want to look into. I’ve always assumed you simply appear as your physical self except that you are allowed to transcend the barriers that your physical form presents. But I have to do more looking into this.

 

Another discussion I had was whether astral projections were related to dreams or not. This is very interesting and kind of a vague area. See, dreams can sometimes be said to be involuntary OBEs (out of body experiences), and since astral projecting is simply a conscious OBE then there must be some kind of relation, although of what nature I don’t know. To me, it seems that they cannot be classified under the same umbrella, because if they were in fact quite that similar, then lucid dreaming would be equivalent to astral projecting, but it is not. In a lucid dream you are able to do whatever you wish, including things that are not possible such as growing wings and flying. Astral projection is still bound by some kinds of laws, and you are not free to do whatever you wish. It takes a great deal of concentration to maintain an astral projection but dreaming is involuntary, they happen whether you control them or not and can be lucid or not, there are many more variables. They may be similar, but I don’t think that they’re quite the same.

 

The last kind of thing I wanted to touch on was “Can you be hurt on the astral plane?” and “What is the interaction between the astral plane and the physical plane?”. Well, for the former, during astral projection you are supposedly able to interact with other astral beings, much like two physical beings would interact in the physical world. Also supposedly, if your soul were to be eradicated in some way during astral projection, you would die. So if somehow you were to get into an altercation with an otherworldly being on the astral plane and lose, presumably you could just die on the physical plane as well. Now, in terms of interaction between the physical and astral planes, from what I’ve seen it takes a great amount of force from a being on the astral plane to interact with the physical world. Say, if I, during astral projection, were to barrel across a classroom at as high a speed as I could muster, I would probably only make a few papers fly around, kind of like a poltergeist. This was also discussed in my previous blog post. While astral projecting it is also said that you are able to alter and manipulate the thoughts of others, though how that is done I’m not sure. But this does imply some kind of interaction with the physical world, or maybe even interaction between the “souls” of two people.

But that’s basically what I discussed with my classmates, and I would’ve loved to talk much more but even though time isn’t real it still kinda dictates how long the school day is so kinda got hecked there. Tune in next blog post where I literally try to astral project myself into the ether.

 

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Descartes’ Meditations: is there any wiggle room? Ft. his ‘cogito’ (II, I think therefore I am) and his ontology (III, god is real because I conceive it so)

Descartes impacted skepticism (with reference to metaphysics) with the subtle grace of the meteorite that (admittedly allegedly) knocked down the dinosaurs’ door.

The smirk

Skepticism: “the philosophical position that one should refrain from making truth claims, and avoid the postulation of final truths.” (thanks, philosophybasics.com!)

If the breadth of human knowledge and reasoning is a forest, Descartes was enthralled by the idea that he must find which trees cannot be cut down, before he ascends up the branches to look for ultimate truth. To check each tree is a monumental undertaking, so Descartes chose a simpler way: burn the forest down. The trees left standing after the cleansing would be the only pillars for his quest.

Through three arguments, Descartes (as we learned in recent class discussions) threw out all knowledge.

His first, the sense argument, creates doubt in our empirical observations by proving that our senses deceive us.

His second, the dream argument, shakes even the most concrete assumptions we make of reality – if this life is a waking dream then perhaps the world doesn’t exist at all.

His third, the evil demon argument, attacks the final bastion of human knowledge remaining, our reasoning. Even seemingly cohesive systems of logic such as mathematics could actually be false ideas planted inside of our heads by a deceiver.

Eventually, Descartes ends up arriving at ‘cogito ergo sum,‘ which we know to translate to ‘I think, therefore I am.’ His one, unalienable truth is that as long as a thing ponders its own existence, then it exists.

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Pourchista, in class, mentioned that Descartes is comforting – personally, I am still grappling with the stark void that Descartes presents. Indeed, that struggle is going to be the basis of my metaphysical inquiry. Over the next two weeks, I will be attacking Descartes’ arguments individually, looking for gaps. Then, I’ll be attacking his ‘cogito’, and lastly his ontological argument, which I will hint at the very bottom of this post.

It is incredibly improbable I will find any gaps or holes that I can exploit in the logic of Rene Descartes. He has been forged from the relentless pressure of countless human scholars, historians, thinkers and critics for hundreds of years. However, I am confident that the exploration of his work will yield a greater understanding of his thought, and perhaps bring me a little closer to Pourchista’s level.

Thanks for reading this far, since you made it Descartes has an infuriatingly simple conundrum for you to smash your head against: God exists!

  1. I have an idea of supremely perfect being, i.e. a being having all perfections.
  2. Necessary existence is a perfection.
  3. Therefore, a supremely perfect being exists.

This is rooted in Descartes philosophical viewpoint that a thing must spring forth from something else that contains the totality of it. Ideas are included in that statement. Therefore, the very fact that one can perceive and conceptualize an all-powerful, perfect God, means that it must exist. Where else would the idea spring from if not from its own existence?

I love hating Descartes. See you next time.

 

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Epistemology Discussion: Perception, Reality and What Can Be Known 11.01.13

With visual notes embedded with the audio from the Livescribe Pen here, as well.

Thanks to Tom Fullerton for joining us today!

 
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