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Thread: Are personal experiences proof?

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    Default Re: Are personal experiences proof?

    Just to build on some of the already well-spoken points of other members, I'd like to add that this is a philosophical idea that's been discussed since before the Greeks arrived on the scene. The Greeks however arrived at the conclusion that personal experience alone is just one of the pillars of a well reasoned argument--constituting the foundations of Pathos (an appeal to emotions and imagination)--appeals to emotion and imagination can be very persuasive (it's how many cults get formed) but in and of itself it falls short of any notions of proof.

    The other pillars or gates that a reasoned argument must pass through are logos (details and facts), ethos (the character development of the individual making the claims), topos (the themes or metaphors an argument can be compared too to make it easier to comprehend) and kairos (the right ideas, presented at the right time, so that those ideas fall on fertile soil rather than being dismissed outright because the timing isn't focused on the topic at hand).

    Or in neuroscience terms the unconscious mind requires 5 things to form a rock-solid belief, which can be summed up with these 5 questions:

    What is it? (The rectification of names - Confucianism)
    What does it mean?
    How do you know?
    How does it work? (Can you show me? I.e. Is it repeatable)
    Why is it important?

    Personal experience alone might only answer the 'how do you know' question...but unless you can back up your personal claims with the other elements the unconscious mind requires for proof, then that personal experience won't be considered as very convincing in the minds of others.
    Last edited by Jayke; 13th August 2017 at 11:26.

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    United States Avalon Member Sammy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are personal experiences proof?

    Quote Posted by Patient (here)
    Quote Posted by Nasu (here)
    Personal experiences are the only truth, IMHO. Our experience is ALL we have, nothing more. Everything else is subjective in some way, or filtered through the moods of those who pass it to us.
    Yes! ...and how frustrating it can be when you have an experience that is "way" out there and no evidence that people will acknowledge for real. When you know that you yourself were in a solid frame of mind and know exactly what your eyes saw, your ears heard and your body felt.

    We can never, should never, deter someone from communicating their personal experiences.
    I 100% agree... no one should ever be deterred from sharing their personal experience. At the same time, and what almost everyone in the alt community struggles to consider is that the interpretations and then conclusions they draw could be in error - especially when paradigms are created and then imposed on others "as truth" (in the universal sense).

    It is my firmest opinion that this is exactly where all the problems between us arise... and I have met very few who even consider this as a possibility.
    All the above is all and only my opinion - all subject to change and not meant to be true for anyone else regardless of how I phrase it.

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    United States Avalon Member Sammy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are personal experiences proof?

    consider the following (typical) flow...

    an event occurs that is observed by "someone"

    That someone is perceiving their experience.

    That person then may begin to interpret what they perceived that they experienced.

    That person then might begin to form conclusions about their experience.

    These conclusions may support and/or enhance an existing paradigm or become the seeds from which grows a new paradigm.


    All along the way here... "things" can go wrong.

    The video in the OP starts out by suggesting the "interpretation" phase of that which I wrote above. Yet soon the video seemed to proceed in a way I had to turn it off and thus I am unable to comment on the video past about the two minute mark.
    All the above is all and only my opinion - all subject to change and not meant to be true for anyone else regardless of how I phrase it.

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    Default Re: Are personal experiences proof?

    Quote Posted by Sam Hunter (here)
    I 100% agree... no one should ever be deterred from sharing their personal experience. At the same time, and what almost everyone in the alt community struggles to consider is that the interpretations and then conclusions they draw could be in error - especially when paradigms are created and then imposed on others "as truth" (in the universal sense).

    It is my firmest opinion that this is exactly where all the problems between us arise... and I have met very few who even consider this as a possibility.
    This is precisely where the dialectical art of rhetoric becomes an important tool of discourse...

    You can identify where people's cognitive biases may be distorting their interpretation of their experiences with the questions:
    'How do you know?' and 'What does it mean?'

    'How do you know' takes them back to the original memory/experience/reference point.
    And 'what does it mean?' shows you how they analysed that experience and what essences they extracted from it.

    In hypnotherapy practice the meaning most people derive from experience tends to be very self-limiting, by getting them to expand their meanings and develop several interpretations around a single experience, you can enrich their inner experiences, help them develop greater flexibility of thought and help them connect to a wider variety of internal resources.

    Sharing experiences isn't a problem, it's the insisting on those experiences having a very rigid meaning or definition that causes people to argue over semantics...the more flexible we are in our thinking, the less arguments they'll be because everyone can see everyone else's viewpoint from many different angles.

    The bit where I turned off in the video was where he started saying the brain is the source of consciousness and therefore memories won't reincarnate because you can't take your brain with you after you die (or something to that effect).

    To that I'd simply ask him 'how do you know your brain is the source of consciousness?' at which point he'd have to answer with all the cognitive biases that lead him to that conclusion...

    Another conclusion is that the brain is not a source of consciousness but a receiver of consciousness and then that simple semantic shift opens up a whole new paradigm of possibility.
    Last edited by Jayke; 13th August 2017 at 16:51.

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    United States Avalon Member Sammy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are personal experiences proof?

    Great post Jayke and yes, materialists always trap themselves this way... limit themselves this way. The guy is throwing the baby (the experience, how it has been perceived, what it means and what could be many possible meanings) with the bathwater - erroneous conclusions where the concluder implies truths which must then be true universally for all... paradigm creation. So often leads to religions formed and wars... religious wars / paradigm wars.

    It is like arguing as to whether "it was demons" or "it was evil aliens" or "it was Archons" or, or, or... Forget about the need to be "right" as to what it was an instead allow oneself and others the opportunity to explore one or more of these paradigms...

    It is silliness like this where people then start to make up things like - "Hold this magic crystal and say to youself, "Demon be gone" three times while spinning counter clockwise... works every time!"
    Last edited by Sammy; 14th August 2017 at 00:19.
    All the above is all and only my opinion - all subject to change and not meant to be true for anyone else regardless of how I phrase it.

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    Default Re: Are personal experiences proof?

    Quote Posted by Sam Hunter (here)
    It is silliness like this where people then start to make up things like - "Hold this magic crystal and say to youself, "Demon be gone" three times while spinning counter clockwise... works every time!"
    You know it's funny you should mention the spinning counter clockwise aspect, that reminds of B.F. Skinner and his studies in operant conditioning--the creation of superstitious pigeons--this is a good example of why personal experience alone doesn't constitute proof (it leads to superstition).

    Trying to find a short YouTube vid that describes the superstitious pigeon experiment, the best (most concise) one I can find is presented by Richard Dawkins, which is a shame because Dawkins has plenty of superstitious beliefs and biases within scientism of his own...


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    Default Re: Are personal experiences proof?

    One of the primary factors in cases of claiming experience as proof when it really isn't, is rationalization. It's very similar to going down that garden path in researching things - you want to reinforce the validity or sense of importance associated with an idea that is appealing to believe. So if it becomes intertwined with a well fleshed out experience that can be related to others, then the experience can rationalize the belief and help it seem proof enough.

    Before long whatever it is becomes expressed with a certain conviction that if you read/listen closely, should strike a funny note - the person seems dead sure about it, but something feels off.

    If you get a chance to communicate directly with someone, it is much easier to assess how much they are willing to entertain their ideas as possibly being untrue, and that flexibility can be very reassuring that that person is much more worth giving credence to.

    By contrast those who seem entirely inflexible and dead set on their beliefs that their experiences equal proof, well they are much likely to have wandered down those garden paths of mind games with themselves and gone in over their head.

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    Default Re: Are personal experiences proof?

    I like what Jenci (not here anymore because she was booted from Avalon) said:
    Can I absolutely 100% know that it is true?

    The less we "know" the more we know because there is no holding on to the concepts, the reason for not letting go of concepts is the fear of annihilation.
    Thats why questions are better than "answers" because they lead to silence, however a question can be asked from a preconceived underlying assumption, which then only leads to intellectualizing and affirmation of the assumption and not a true answer.
    The question must come from the heart for a real answer.

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    Default Re: Are personal experiences proof?

    Personal experiences can be evidence, by may not be accepted as proof.

    Evidence is something received as testimony (in a loose sense for purposes of this dicussion). It may be fact, opinion, or it could be wrong--even a lie. Proof is what the recipient of the evidence/testimony accepts as fact--which could be true and correct in that it is fact, or wrong in that it is not fact, but believed to be fact.

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    Default Re: Are personal experiences proof?

    Maybe it depends on the person having the experience?

    One person might use any and all experiences to reinforce their beliefs or biases. They may be frustrating to talk to because nothing you say to them will get them to see different perspectives.

    Another person might have biases yet have personal experience that is so profound it opens them up to new perspectives and ideas. It might help them grow. So then the proof is not in an outside thing, it's self growth.

    Some people might fight the growth of their consciousness.

    Some people might get rid of their biases to be more open to truth.

    Maybe personal experience is tool. Maybe it's a challenge. Maybe it's the user that matters. Just as smart phones don't necessarily make people smart, personal experiences don't necessarily make one more self aware or authentic.

    Maybe there are times when the personal crosses into the transpersonal. Maybe trying to tell that to others is like trying to prove sight to a world that is blind. Maybe the material mind is a step behind reality as it happens so we're all blind.

    Maybe that greater reality is an experience which can't be defined by the lower intellect, maybe that scares inflexible minds.

    How do you judge how self honest someone is? How do you judge how they are approaching their own personal experience? If personal experience is a tool it might work best when the user takes personal initiative toward self honesty and sobriety.

    As for the video, they seem to be trying to be an authority on personal experience. Seems common these days to be a "debunker" and that many want to be authorities on a topic or speak with what they believe to be the authority. Telling others what and how to think instead of admitting they have an opinion but aren't the final say on the topic.

    I'm not suggesting to be so open minded that one believes the Earth is flat. There's a lot of grey areas in reality though.

    There's a world outside and within to witness. It's full of wonderful things if one is receptive and can admit when they don't have the answers. Maybe it begins with just being.

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