Transhumanism & life on the cloud

Ever heard of Transhumanism?  Me neither until today when I switched on the radio to hear the most jawdropping conversation.

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Transhumanism:- The belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.

Oxford dictionary

According to American transhumanist, journalist, entrepreneur and futurist Zoltan Istvan, the likelihood of humans existing only as pure data-with no physical body on the cloud is very real & closer that we think.  According to Istvan – as we approach death,

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Daring to Move Beyond Scripture

Dalit – ‘untouchable’ a term many of us will have heard in relation to caste. In certain communities, rules still exist about where Dalits can walk, the utensils they can use, who they can touch & of course who they can marry etc.

In fact, the opinion still remains, the Dalit birthright is to clean up the waste of others.

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But the issue of caste goes far deeper than what we see on the surface.  It’s vital to acknowledge however, when considering the issue of caste – what most Westerners see as cruel, discriminatory & outdated is actually rooted in early religious text. This text being the Law of Manu found in the Upanishads & accompanied by the belief that a person’s caste is the result of their past karma.

The Laws of Manu – date of publication uncertain but believed to be about 200 BC – was a hybrid moral-religious-law code and one of the first written law codes of Asia. In spite of its age, it has sustained paramountcy in the Hindu culture. It was also the code of conduct for inter-caste relationships in India.
Formed from the Laws of Manu, it has governed much of Hindu history. At the top of Hindu society were the Brahmin. As members of this caste, Brahmins made up the priestly caste of Hindu society. For them was reserved the right to both study and teach the Hindu sacred texts, known as the Vedas.

Both Hinduism & Buddhism share beliefs on the law of karma, its influence on rebirth & the impact our present behaviour may have on future lives.  Both differ strongly however on the issue of caste with Buddhism very much rejecting the idea, in the belief we all have the potential to connect with our Buddha nature in this life if we so wish.

What are your thoughts on Karma? & Because the idea of caste is rooted in religious texts, can it ever be abolished?

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Psychic or Skeptic?

Nothing seems to fascinate us more than going to see a psychic. We  sit attentively, whilst someone predicts what’s going to happen in the future and in some cases, pass on messages from loved ones who have passed. But are psychics & clairvoyants etc genuine? Or incredibly skilled at reading our emotions and body language, in order to tell us what we want to hear?

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in 1964 a 1 Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge was offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) It agreed to pay out one million U.S. dollars to anyone who could demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria. Over a thousand people applied to take it, but none were successful. The challenge was terminated in 2015.  James Randi, founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation developed the challenge, during a radio panel discussion when a parapsychologist challenged him to “put his money where his mouth is”

 Despite nobody having passed the challenge, we still have people claiming to be psychic, clairvoyant or spiritual healers dotted around  every corner of our society so what are your views?

Are there actually people who can contact the dead? See into the future? Or predict events before they happen? Or is it all mind games?

 

 

 

In the Minds of Babes

Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.
Alarmingly, however, 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

Just stop for a minute to consider the above research by a professional mental health body in relation to 21st Century children – our children.

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Fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be, my generation is one in which children went out to play in the morning and came back in the evening, too exhausted to think about being depressed. Don’t misunderstand me, my family were poor working class with my clothes always second-hand & discipline dished out where necessary. But in terms of mental health, it wasn’t even an issue growing up and I certainly don’t recall any of my childhood friends having mental health problems, the way children do now. So I find myself asking ‘what’s wrong with the world today?’ Could it be the advanced levels of technology we now have? where virtual friends are many and real face-to-face conversations practically non-existent? Or could it be, because children no longer need to use their mind to do anything? Let’s face it, with online spellchecking & auto correcting, online calculators

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Do Miracles Exist?

According to the Oxford Dictionary – A Miracle is….

An extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.

Everyday we hear people referring to miracles. People being healed at Lourdes, historical stories from the bible about Jesus healing the blind and resurrecting the dead. But do miracles actually happen? Or are they simply coincidence?

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In Buddhism we believe everything has a root cause, in order for it to exist. For example; nothing whether material, phenomena or living, can happen independently of other factors. So looking at miracles from this viewpoint, just because the occurrence isn’t explicable at this moment through natural or scientific law, doesn’t mean it’s a miracle and there’s no logical explanation discoverable through further research.  If miracles do exist on the other hand, why don’t they exist in the form of everyone having enough to eat, or being given clean disease free water?  Just a thought.

so…. What’s your take on Miracles? Can the dead be raised or the power of prayer heal all sickness?

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TOO MANY BOXES

Have you noticed how we humans tend to dissect ourselves and put the different parts in clearly labeled boxes? Let me try to explain further…..We often define ourselves by our jobs, religion, position in life etc.

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This struck me a couple of days ago whilst running a self awareness & self development workshop. Each person was asked to tell me a little bit about ‘him/herself.’  As each one spoke it struck me, most of us define ourself by things, people & situations around us. For example; I’m a teacher, a mother, husband or wife. I’m a Christian or I work in a high ranking job. But nobody spoke about his or herself as a person. So I set the following exercise:

You’re given weeks to live. Already you’re becoming dependent on those around you for feeding, bathing etc.  Your job has gone now & although you’re missed, you’ve been replaced already.  All the clothes you own, suits, dresses, shoes etc will soon all belong to someone else maybe resold through the charity shop. It’s the same with your husband or wife, they’ll one day share their life with another but right now they’re responsible for your comfort and care.  Deep down in your heart, you know your beautiful children & grandchildren will always remember you through photos, but may very well call someone else mum & grandma in the future. Everything you own, your life savings, the world you thought you knew & the dreams you had, are all relative now as you lay confined to your bed.
All the external things that once defined you have pretty much gone. Who are you?

What are your thoughts?

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Happiness! What is it?

Usually I write with a Buddhist slant. That’s because I tend to see the world from a Buddhist perspective but not everyone’s Buddhist & we can all learn from each other….

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Out in this great universe, millions of viewpoints & ideas exist about ‘true happiness’ what it is & how we achieve it. Some believe we need religion in our lives to be truly happy. Others believe happiness comes from the things around us for example external or material things. We’ve all got our own thoughts about what makes us happy, and whether that happiness is genuine or not.

Let’s get some of those viewpoints together and start a magical discussion about What Happiness Really Is – In other words……Let’s spread the joy!

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What & Where is the MIND?

What is MIND? Where is it located? And why does it cause so many problems? I don’t know about you, but I love blogging.  Seeing what others write about & what interests them. Yesterday I came across a blog that really got me thinking more about the mind.

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Psychologists, Therapists & Psychiatrists all concerned with mental health, refer to the mind as often being disturbed or out of balance etc. Of course that’s their profession – to better understand the mind and treat mental health problems. Yet, if the most skilled surgeon on the planet disected our body (including the brain) I guarantee he/she wouldn’t locate anything resembling mind.  Naturally they’d be able to locate the brain because its tangible, but they’d never locate what’s known as mind.  On the other hand, we in the West take shed loads of prescribed medication to balance the mind  So I guess today’s dilemma is this….

How do you personally define the mind & if it can’t be located anywhere in the body, how can it be responsible for so many mental health problems?

 

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Death – What’s Next?

Death – An inevitable part of life. As hard as we try, it’s impossible to avoid.  Like everything else in life, we humans are impermanent, facing death from the moment we’re born yet we foolishly live under the illusion of immortality like we’re in some way exempt.

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So many times I’ve blogged about the dreaded D subject Death. Mainly because here in the west, it’s something we fear or consider taboo. For example, we don’t discuss death in case we tempt fate, and the thing we definitely don’t want, is a visit from the black hooded guy with his wopping  great scythe who only appears when your time’s up.  There are however, many other differing opinions on death – for example, Buddhism says death is a continuation of life & merely a process of the consciousness leaving the physical body to enter a new one.  Christianity sees death as returning home to the creator God & others feel when we die, we’ve gone and that’s pretty much the end.

What are your thoughts on death? Where do you believe we go once this life is over?

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