Saturday, November 11, 2017

Brief mention of Edgar Cayce in the Seth material

Throughout Book 8 of the “Early Sessions,” Seth spends some time emphasizing the principle that “information” cannot exist independent of consciousness—it cannot be produced out of nothing, nor does it exist independently of consciousness. While this may seem self-evident, it’s not—it raises an important question that I will mention in a moment. But I thought it was an interesting concept for Seth to introduce, since I don’t remember it coming up in quite this way in the other books.

While expounding on this idea, Seth briefly touches on Edgar Cayce, who is probably very familiar to anyone stumbling upon this blog. (Some believe that he’s recently been reincarnated as David Wilcock. I won’t go there.) Years before I came across the Seth material, I was a student of Cayce. Despite the fact that my Christian college disapproved of him, I found him to be a helpful bridge between mysticism and Christianity. But in the years since, I’ve wondered if Cayce was legitimate. The large quantity of material that he channeled, seemingly ex nihilo, seemed too perfect. And Cayce spawned a cottage industry in channeled material that was clearly inspired by his material, for better or ill. This left me ambivalent to channeled material as a whole, including the Cayce material.

But Seth addresses my doubts:

I say this out of no misguided egotism, but because the essence of personality is the only meaningful basis behind idea. Any other approach would rob the material of rich dimensions, for I am the proof in my own pudding, you seem. This is not the Cayce material, with information seemingly coming from some vast storehouse of knowledge. In those terms no such storehouse exists.
Knowledge does not exist independently of the one who knows. Someone gave Cayce the material. It did not come out of thin air. It came from an excellent source, a pyramid gestalt personality, with definite characteristics, but the alien nature of the personality was too startling to Cayce, and he could not perceive it. (Pause.) I am giving you the material through a personality that you can understand; one that is mine, one of my favorite selves. (Smile.) In this way the point is made so that it is clear.

Of course, the skeptic can argue that I am using an unproven source of information (Seth) to validate another... and that this tendency is a fundamental weakness of the paranormal and the New Age as a whole. I have no easy rebuttal to that, except maybe to say that if you plan to use a researcher or writer as a source of “truth,” it might be beneficial to check into the legitimacy of said researcher. Outside of that, we’re pretty much on our own. The best we can do (for now) is comb through whatever material we’re studying, seek out skeptical and even debunking perspectives, weigh it all out, and hope for the best.

Actually, Seth seems to be saying that channeled material can be legitimate. It obviously comes from “somewhere,” whether it be pyramid gestalt personalities, or elements of the channeler’s psyche. As Seth points out throughout the material, our understanding of human consciousness is very rudimentary, something that even scientists will admit. The human-based ego is only a fragment of the larger personality, and we know nothing about this larger consciousness—and only a little more about the ego itself.

Which brings me to the question that no one thought to ask Seth in the ‘60s or ‘70s: is artificial intelligence conscious? If we produce a machine that seems to think, and it gives us original information outside of its core programming, is it a conscious personality? At this point, based on what I can imagine, I would say that it’s possible. It may be possible, at some point in the future, for humans to create consciousness. If and when we do, we will be at a stage of development where we acknowledge that as we can create, there’s a good chance that we’ve been created. Currently, the idea that we are created beings is heretical to mainstream science, and that is why science hedges on the question of whether artificial intelligence can be conscious. I suspect that this is also why prominent scientists are warning of the dangers of AI—a conscious AI breaks a fundamental assumption of contemporary science. It’s not a trivial concern, and it’s one that we will have to face soon.

1 comment:

  1. You bring up a valid point: you need to know the background of a person as fully as possible. Be investigatory. That's good. The idea of conscious machines is an absurdity in my view. It's like asking if an electric motor thinks. Computers are just machines, they have no spirit and never will. We make personality fragments all the time so it's not unusual at all to assume we are always making new selves. Book 8 is a good one. I enjoy reading Jane's books a lot. Just thought I'd chime in with my thoughts.