Just so I’m not just harshing on the religious right, this seemed an opportune time to post a video I ran across during my search for consciousness/mind-related videos a few months back:
One of the major interpretations of mystical experience is that in it, we shake off the individual ego and somehow are able to merge with a larger unity. This idea has some appeal to me, in that it would be cool if it were the case, and you can give it some respectability as far as Western philosophical history goes if you want by picking bits out of Hegel and maybe Schopenhauer, and certainly Spinoza invites this interpretation, in that according to him we are all “modes” of God and can become more aware of our unity with God through rational investigation of nature (i.e. God), including ourselves. Beyond this, there may be something to be said for, e.g. a philosopher like Gregory Bateson, who explicitly discussed the possibility that larger systems, like nature itself, could be considered “minds” in some meaningful sense. If you readers have experience with particular philosophers or works in this vein that you think we should look at, I’d be glad to hear your recommendations.
That said, I find it hard to give much credence to New Agey talk like you see here. “By honoring that connection [to the world] through our hearts, we literally have the power to influence the fields of this planet to sustain life… and it’s all about the magnetic fields of the earth.” So apparently, according to Gregg Braden here, during 9/11, the earth’s magnetic fields spiked (and I see via a quick web search that someone posted a graph).
So apparently, if we all all emote together, we can affect the human immune response, weather patterns, cycles of war and peace, and our own cognitive abilities. And around 5:20 he brings in the chestnut that this is nothing new, that science is finally documenting what “the ancients” have been teaching us all along. Amazing, then, that my web search does not actually find any even mildly scientific-looking sources supporting this claim! Groovy conspiracy to keep us from the truth, man! I’m no physicist, but even the little reading we did for our philosophy of physics episode tells me that his description at the end of our emotions creating electromagnetic fields through our hearts to influence the “quantum soup” to cause the “universe to congeal around that template” of compassion or whatever is, well, not a display of the highest caliber of scientific literacy. Pass the shrooms!