A COMMON sense critic of scientific pretensions like Theosophist H. P. Blavatsky, who has wit, sanity and elevated moral intelligence packaged in one person, is impossible to ignore.
More recently that person might be Mary Midgley, dubbed by the Guardian, UK as “the most frightening philosopher in the country” — and today nearly 12 years later, at age 91, she is still receiving accolades, and taking no prisoners.
We discovered this totem-toppling English moral philosopher by chance in a short unassuming comment she posted in the “Letters” section of the January 3-9, 2009, NewScientist — signed simply “Mary Midgley, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.”
Her logic appeared seamless, and upon mulling her 257 insightful words over a week of lunch breaks, her ideas also felt convincingly Theosophical — indeed most decidedly Blavatskian. Thus we republish this post on the eve of the annual Mme. Blavatsky White Lotus Day remembrance.
Midgley’s comments were aimed at Peter Millican’s on”Thinking Matter,” and her response goes to the essence of the issue:
“[T]he real trouble with the mind-body problem centres,” she writes, “on the word ‘materialism.’ This word is itself a relic of dualism.”
“It suggests that there are two rival stuffs — mind and matter — competing to be seen as basic to the world. It tells us to choose one of these and reduce the other to it.”
“Soul, the Self, or Ego, is studied by modem psychology as inductively as a piece of decayed matter by a physicist,” H. P. Blavatsky exclaims in Psychology – The Science of the Soul. “Psychology and its mother-plant metaphysics have fared worse than any other sciences.”
Cups of Thought
“When Einstein has just solved a difficult problem,” Midgley argues, “his reasoning cannot be explained by giving even the most accurate account of the actions of his neurons.”
“To suggest that their [the neuron's] actions were its real cause would mean that they did the work on their own and told him about it afterwards.”
“But actually our thoughts are quite as real as our coffee cups, and ‘matter’ is every bit as obscure a concept as ‘mind.’”
“Unluckily,” Midgley writes, “many scientists seem to regard materialism as a sacred ideal which tells us always to find a more ‘real’ physical cause behind our thoughts.”
Dawkins vs Chopra
This is an excerpt from Richard Dawkins’ documentary “Enemies of Reason.”
Sum of Parts
The activities of thinking, Helena Blavatsky wrote, “cannot be explained as the simple resultant of the cerebral physiological processes,” which, she asserts:-
“… only condition them or give them a final form, for purposes of concrete manifestation.”
“The most that one can honestly conclude,” she says, “is that neuronal excitation is the effect of causes which remain unknown.”
Admired and feared in equal measure, Mary and Helena would have made a redoubtable army of two, having a field day taking to task various leading atheists.
“Those like Richard Dawkins believe that the science of genetics contains the clue to understanding the emotional and moral life of human beings,” writes Roger Scruton (Standpoint, Jan. 2009).
They believe “we are ‘survival machines’ in the service of our genes.”
In their view we are only understood, Scruton says, “through the ‘adaptations’ that are perpetuated in our behaviour—adaptations which are rarely unique to us since they can be traced to the evolutionary environment that we share with other species.”
Mary Midgley’s paper on Richard Dawkins, published by the Royal Institute of Philosophy (RIP), famously opens with:
“Genes cannot be selfish or unselfish, any more than atoms can be jealous, elephants abstract or biscuits teleological.”
“This should not need mentioning,” she concludes, “but Richard Dawkins’ book The Selfish Gene has succeeded in confusing a number of people…” (see Dawkins in action below):
Very firmly “no”— Midgley and Blavatsky would argue —”we’re not allowing either the mind or spirit to be mocked by selfish genes and brain neurons.”
We are more than the sum of our molecules, they would insist. Most of us would agree.
For most of the 20th century, the still small voice of intuition was bullied down by reason and the rise of “Scientism.”
“Serious scientists know,” Midgely writes in The Guardian 28 August 2010, Metaphysics and the limits of science,”that they cannot explain all the major puzzles of existence.”
“Is physical science – as some people say – omnicompetent? Can it answer all possible questions?”
Language of Life
Neurons R Us
If this scenario were actually true, the billions of neurons in a monkey’s brain would long ago have produced Hamlet. Computer simulations of brain activity are indeed fascinating models of complexity…
The “infinite monkey theorem” with it’s iconic typewriters, however, still remains moot. And probably will ‘almost surely‘ stay that way.
Reductionist science still glibly points to the huge complexity of the brain as the cause of mind.
Psychologist Charles Tart, Ph.D, the author of The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together, says “Professional scientists are now acting like church authorities. It saddens me. That’s not what real science is about.”
“The whole order of nature evinces a progressive march towards a higher life,” wrote Mme. Blavatsky.
“There is design in the action of the seemingly blindest forces. The whole process of evolution with its endless adaptations is a proof of this.
“The immutable laws that weed out the weak and feeble species, to make room for the strong, and which ensure the ‘survival of the fittest,’” she writes,
“… though so cruel in their immediate action — all are working toward the grand end.”
“Where is that daring man who would presume to deny to vegetation and even to minerals a consciousness of their own?” Blavatsky asks. “All he can say is, that this consciousness is beyond his comprehension.”
“The very fact that adaptations do occur, that the fittest do survive in the struggle for existence, shows that what is called ‘unconscious Nature’ is in reality … the mind of the Universe and its immutable law.”
Science in Design
God is Back
Charles Tart, Ph.D, writes in an email there appears to be a 21st Century revival of spirituality: “My wife and I have just finished a very interesting book, God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World.
“It’s about the tremendous resurgence of various religions everywhere, even in the secular modern world.
“This is not the evidence-based spirituality I hope will evolve to make genuine spirituality more effective in people’s lives,” Tart says…
“… but it shows how hungry people are for some kind of spiritual basis for their lives and values.”
Blood & Music
Live blood cell analysis is a technique that offers a real time perspective on the health of our blood. A drop of blood is extracted from the fingertip, and placed under a darkfield microscope.
If the blood is stagnant or sluggish, with lots of red cells clumped together, it can be a result of just eating a heavy meal (which is why you feel sluggish), or a more chronic condition needing to be addressed.
You can see this in the ‘before’ imagery; when the music (CHAKRA SUITE) is played, and a second drop of blood extracted, you can see the remarkable difference almost immediately.
The video demonstrates a mysterious healing power of the music.
Dr. Ellen Kamhi, “the Natural Nurse”, points out how much more movement (motility) there is as well in the white blood cells (neutrophils).
Strong proof that these cells have become better able to do their job as scavenger of toxins and as a key component of our immune system.