In my previous piece, I wrote about the nature of our identity…
Included in that post were some deep quotes, but I didn’t name the author.
I held that back for a reason.
I didn’t want the complexity of the source to be confused with the message.
Because that message is important.
See, in the early 1960’s, there was a woman. She was a journalist. And one day, she got an idea: let me write an article on psychic phenomena.
She set out with the notion of debunking the happenings of occult.
So, one night, she and her husband sat down with a Ouija board, expecting nothing much to happen – but being at least a little bit open minded, in case something did.
Well, let’s just say that something happened. That something was the “energy personality essence” that goes by the name of Seth. Seth wasn’t just a trivial fortune-teller or big-top show woman. In fact, Jane Roberts, the woman in question, actively avoided publicity as much as possible.
Seth was eloquent. Seth wrote books, spoken through Jane. Not just little books – but big, meaty, complex books. They are the über-philosophy. After reading them, I can hardly go back to reading the mere human philosophers like Kant, Sartre, Nietzsche, Plato, and etc…. Those philosophies seem so small in comparison. Each may hold some truths, but they are just surface truths.
Seth wrote books about the nature of reality. He wrote books about how our universe came to be. He wrote books about the process of evolution and creativity (BTW, he verifies my long-held suspicion that these are not independent processes).
He did this for almost twenty years, until Jane’s death in 1984 silenced his voice.
The pseudo-skeptics and Seth
In the early days, Jane and her husband Rob were skeptical. They sought out multiple academics to assess and test the Seth phenomenon. They wanted to make sure that it wasn’t somehow just a manifestation of schizophrenia, or worse.
They did a lot of tests of Seth’s ability to see well beyond what was in front of Jane and Rob’s immediate senses. They’d do test with hidden objects and drawings, where Seth would have to view the remote object and bring back information about it.
Many of the tests were successful, some were not. Seth wasn’t perfect. But he was damn good.
Yet, most of their attempts to engage academics in rigorous scientific examinations of the phenomenon ended badly.
Because in almost every case, the academic in question brought a strong pre-supposition of falsity into the endeavor.
Take for example, this:
Not too long ago, a young psychology professor called and asked me to speak to his class at the local college…. The man’s attitude was apparent the minute he came in the door. Personally he wouldn’t touch a medium with a ten-foot pole, but since they did exist and he knew one, he felt duty-boudn to “expose” his students to the phenomenon.
A lot of people, especially many scientists, like to think we are objective and unbiased. And yet all of science is driven by the questions we ask, and the data we choose to admit or exclude.
In this fellow’s case, he started out with a firm disbelief in the phenomenon of Seth. He expressed that disbelief strongly to his students.
So, when Jane offered to do a set of experiments where the students were to try to “remote view” a new drawing each day posted inside Jane’s abode (where it couldn’t be seen from outside), the professor reluctantly “allowed” it for those students who wanted to try.
Already he biased the experiment: he clearly let the class know that these kinds of experiments were beyond serious consideration.
Given that background of strong negative belief by their professor, only five students took part.
Those five students managed a decent track record; yet the professor dismissed the results as coincidence because of “the low number participating.”
So here we have an experiment that has been dismissed before it got underway. There is no hope of an unbiased experiment under such circumstances.
I wish that I could say that Jane and Rob’s experiences were unique. But they’re not.
Like everyone, academics believe what they want to believe. They select narrow questions and data-collection activities to focus upon based on those beliefs. Science is no more open-minded than religion, or any other field.
There’s a whole “skeptics” movement that has arisen to debunk anything that could be considered paranormal or as going beyond the materialist model.
These people are not real skeptics. They are pseudo-skeptics. They adhere to a rigid dogmatic belief system that is just as narrow-minded as the most fundamentalist of religious practitioners do.
However, standing in the way are groups of organized fundamentalists who call themselves “skeptics” but in reality know nothing about the true meaning of the word nor practice it. In fact, they’ve hijacked the word to mean its opposite. Rather than inquiring, or asking questions to try to understand something, they seek to debunk, discredit and ridicule anything that doesn’t fit into their belief system.
That’s from the site http://www.debunkingskeptics.com.
The question I ask you, dear reader, is this: are you a true skeptic, or a pseudo-skeptic?
My own skepticism
I have pursued the reading of the Seth books as an open-minded inquiry, with healthy but not overarching skepticism.
I have constantly asked myself: are there valid alternative explanations for the source of this material?
The only alternatives I’ve come up with are that either Jane was a brilliant faker, who in the process managed to tap into some very deep truths and some of the most important books of the last century; or
Jane was a schizophrenic who had a personality that managed to do the same.
Let’s consider the first alternative explanation. Does it make sense? Jane had her own writing career – she wrote several books under her own name, separately from Seth.
As an author myself, I have to say that my Ego would way rather have credit for what I write under my own name than under the name of some other mysterious entity that I am “channeling.” It seems like a strange way to get credit for your creative output.
And, given the extent to which Rob went to great lengths to document all the circumstances of the Seth phenomenon, it seems like an awful lot of effort for questionable gain. He produced shelves and shelves of notebooks that contained his transcriptions of all the sessions.
Further – where’s the gain? Jane didn’t charge for readings or seminars. She did invite people to her home to experience Seth, but no money transfer was involved. Simply put, why would someone go to all that trouble for an elaborate fake of some of the best material ever created?
The schizophrenic explanation is no better. The idea that a whole separate, highly complex, very smart personality is there, sharing gray matter with this writer, is quite astounding in it’s own right.
I haven’t found a more satisfying alternative hypothesis than to accept what they claim as substantially correct. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t one, but just that I haven’t found it. Given that, I tend to believe it just as I would any other human author’s work. I consider it as having insights that I may be able to use and apply in my life; but I’m not going to just consume it as if it were gospel. It is not “perfect.”
Why not perfect?
There are occasional flaws and inconsistencies in the works of Seth. Does this invalidate the whole thing?
Seth himself said that the “medium” has a strong influence on the message. They act like a translator at a very fundamental level – biasing what is said and how it is said by their own beliefs and feelings.
That means that we would never hear “pure” Seth through Jane (or through anyone else). It’s like reading Tolstoy in English. You are not getting the “pure form” of the writing.
For example, there are passages about the lost city of Atlantis (which Seth claims lies in our future), and also passages about other humanoids who’ve existed before us on our planet. Such speculations may be just as much a reflection of Jane’s interests as they are of Seth and his insights. It’s a blend. Because you can’t truly separate the medium from the message.
However, the small imperfections aside, these books have some of the best explanations I’ve encountered for why we exist, and the nature of life.
Of course, you’ve probably figured out by now that the quotes in the previous post were from Seth.
Specifically, the quotes were from the book “The Seth Material” by Jane Roberts.
What is at the core of the Seth material?
There are a few main “take-home” principles:
- We create our own realities. No, really, we do! Through complex machinations that go far beyond the visible universe, what we experience is a direct reflection of what we are thinking and feeling. It is not a direct reflection of what we desire, because we often desire things that are in opposition to what we believe to be true.
- We are the process of “The Universe” or “God” discovering itself. Imagine an all-powerful, all-perfect God, by itself in the Universe. It would be lonely, and damn boring. So how did God solve this dilemma? By creating other entities a part of but apart from itself! We are the ongoing result of that process of those entities discovering who they are. We are here to discover and experience: not to work hard or to suffer or to atone for sins.
- We are fundamental to the ever-ongoing action of creation. There is no finished or “perfect” state here. That would be The End. We participate in it by creating. Each creation leads to an inspiration for the next creations. It is never ending. If it were to end, we’d be done for.
There’s a lot more. But if you understand and live just these few, your life will be vastly enhanced.