Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hungry Ghosts

I believe that all profound human fears, phobias, and taboos have a specific genetic or cultural origin. You can be as Freudian as you wanna be, but I believe that humans fear snakes because natural selection dealt with those who didn't. Same goes with flying. I'm terrified of flying, and it's not because I fear a "loss of control." It's because my ancestors who didn't fear it were otherwise prevented from contributing to my gene pool.

But what about fears that have no apparent rational basis?  Most cultures have a profound (but largely unconscious) fear of "ghosts," and most cultures, past and present, have strong taboos against contacting the deceased. Since science largely insists that ghosts don't exist, and that it's impossible to communicate with the spirit world, what is the origin of these aversions?

These are the working hypotheses that I began to tossing around as I have begun reading Joe Fisher's "Hungry Ghosts." In fact, I did not have to finish the first chapter without having a small epiphany: That if you attempt to initiate open-ended communication with the spirit world, with no preconditions or safeguards, you're liable to bring down some serious trouble.

I believe that our ancestors learned directly not to do this. And although these specific unpleasant experiences have disappeared from our collective memory, the terrors spawned by these early spirit explorations persist in most living cultures.

So, societies created specific rituals and safeguards that regulated human-spirit communication. The ancients learned that before one intrudes into the spirit (or near astral) realm, consciousness must be modulated and focussed through prayer, ritual, and meditation; intent should be specific and positive; and there should be an interceder (physical or otherwise) to serve as an added buffer.

Our ancestors understood that in the spirit realm, unconscious terror becomes objectified monsters... Our slightest thoughts are instantly materialized... And most importantly, we will attract only those spirits that are "like us"--morally, ethically, and otherwise.

On a side note, I'm re-reading "The Key." I think that I last read it pre-9/11, or shortly thereafter. I'm one of the few people that ponied up the $20 or whatnot to get the first edition.  I well remember how it unsettled and disturbed me then.


  1. Hiya Ish, the discussion in Part 4 is fascinating stuff. The compulsive dishonesty of the channellers, taken at face value, leads one to question why anyone outside of a scientific setting would pursue their information? Parlour games in suburbia are wide open to charlatans and human parasites preying on the mentally vulnerable...

    Throughout the book, you're faced with information and accounts that can be easily attributed to deliberately deceitful humans or self-deluded persons. However there appears a colourful strand of genuine mystery that threads through and snares the attention.

    I'm very curious to know the chain-of-evidence in Fisher taking tapes of Filipa to the Oxford academic for positive verification. If true, they begin to support a material reality behind the experiences.

    So as not to spoil your reading, I'll say no more about the book until you've read it.

    There are parallels in the stories in ufology of Contactees. The deceptive nature of these phenomena could conceivably share similar origins. What such 'origins' might be, I don't know. Nevertheless, no Contactee or humanoid encounter accounts relate truth; they all feature deception - even though friendly! 'We come from Venus.' or 'We come from Mars.' 'We're coming back in October' etc. They've described environments that we know don't exist where they claim to.

    Vallee and others have discussed similar notions and Djinn are enjoying a recent upsurge in popularity (whoops Imbrogno!) too.

    Whatever they are, it appears to me that the reflective nature of these phenomena also lend themselves to us deceiving ourselves. Naturally, this adds another degree of separation from identifying the cause or nature. By reflective, this means how someone with paranormal beliefs sees 'spirits,' Christians see 'demons' and so forth.

    Anyway, I found it a powerful book and still remain on my skeptical fence enjoying the discussion.

  2. I was about to draw parallels to the UFO phenomenon (particular the "contactee" part of it, but I ran out of steam. I also see parallels with regression hypnosis--to obtain reincarnational memories as well as abduction reports. Something is being tapped, accessed... Not sure what it is or could be. But it may well be artificial. My memory of the dialog in "The Key" reminds me of the accounts of computer simulations of artificial intelligence that are just beginning to emerge... AI is described now as being "almost like" natural human conversation. That stilted quality seems similar to many "channeled" texts. (The "Seth" material is different; "Seth" reminds me of my 18th century lit professor, which maybe is why I enjoy reading it.)

  3. The reincarnation research is hard to overlook isn't it?

    Whatever is being tapped into, human psychology or something else, is intriguing and puzzling. Human nature is probably the likeliest explanation although I've considered the AI possibilities too.

    We could be chasing our own tails, but Fisher's book inspires a lot of ideas.