Monday, 11 December 2017

Venturing out in the dark

Just got in from walk. Was fairly darkish walking in hubbard hills. Deserted and dark. A eerie malevolent blanket of silentness enveloped me, suffused through my being. It seemed I might be the only living creature left on the Earth.

But suddenly I saw movement on the ground matching my pace. What was this? Were dark evil creatures of the night venturing forth from the underworld to attack innocent souls, such as myself, who dare have the temerity to venture out into the dark?

Nope, it was a robin.

The world is strange

Why am I living on the surface of a huge ball floating in the midst of an infinite sea of nothingness?? We tend not to think reality is weird because we've lived in it throughout our lives. As children we thought our parents knew everything, and they didn't find such things surprising. So most of us just accept our situation, without thinking.

I sometimes think . .maybe we are all being systematically deceived. Something we're simply not getting.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Wikipedia

When I went to Wikipedia I saw a message at the top saying:
To all our readers in the UK, We will get straight to the point: This Thursday we ask you to protect Wikipedia's independence. Time is running out in 2017 to help us. We depend on donations averaging about £10. Only a tiny portion of our readers give. If everyone reading this gave £2, we could keep Wikipedia thriving for years to come. The price of your Thursday coffee is all we need. When I made Wikipedia a non-profit, people warned me I’d regret it. Over a decade later, it’s the only top ten site run by a non-profit and a community of volunteers. Has it crossed my mind how much we could have made if it had ads? Sure. But it wouldn’t be the same. Wikipedia continues the legacy the internet promised us, that of collaboration, connection and neutrality. Can the internet have moral values? We think it can, but we need your help. Please keep Wikipedia growing. Thank you. — Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Founder

Independent from what I wonder? Is that just a polite way of saying that people can write any type of nonsense? It's continually re- edited by pseudo-intellectual young men providing information reflecting their biased views towards the world. I wouldn't even bother trying to put anything into it since it would just be deleted almost immediately. They won't be getting any money off me. The net would be better off without wikipedia.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Thoughts about psi

I've been asked why I think the burden of proof should lie with the skeptic to prove that psi doesn't exist. This is my response below (a little tidied up).

There's nothing else to add apart from saying people have experienced psi throughout all cultures and throughout history, and furthermore scientific investigation in the form of Psychical Research and parapsychology suggests the existence of psi.

I'm well aware of the standard dismissal of such anomalous experiences as being due to folly, delusion, cognitive illusion and pathology and so on, and yes, I think such a dismissal is justified in most claims. I'm also leery of scientific results in the soft sciences. We are all, including scientists, very easily fooled, especially when a certain result is desired (although it is my understanding that in parapsychology a double blind protocol is normally employed).


None of this makes any difference to my belief in psi. But I can’t say anything in addition to the foregoing to make you question your beliefs, or disbeliefs. I would just say that at this moment in time science cannot explain consciousness. Indeed, at least with the present concept of science as dealing with the quantifiable (measurable), it seems science cannot in principle explain consciousness. It’s why we have had the mind-body problem for millennia, a problem that has become especially acute with the birth of modern science in the 17th Century.

You might retort that materialism explains everything. But there are many varieties of materialism and materialists vehemently attack each other’s variety of materialism saying it’s nonsensical! Eg Searle and Dennett. But the bottom line is that since consciousness is left out in our scientific description of reality, then we simply are in no position to stipulate that consciousness can’t have certain abilities. That includes the denial of mental causation as well as psi. We can only go by experiences, whether they be anecdotal, or more formal scientific investigations. Yes, they might all be wrong, we might all be fooling ourselves. But why suppose we are?

I know why, it’s our modern culture's metaphysical beliefs regarding the nature of reality. For sure, people don’t know what variety of materialism is correct, but they feel that some variety must be correct, or at least something like property dualism or epiphenomenalism. But I think all these positions are absolute nonsense, so they don’t have any hold over me. Since both anecdotes and scientific research overwhelmingly suggest psi, that’s what I’ll believe until someone provides any reason to make me doubt my beliefs.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Changing from prepay energy meters to normal meters. Be leery of being overcharged!

I'm getting both my electricity and gas meters changed today from prepaid to the normal type of meter. Since moving into this new flat (apartment) 2 years ago, I have had to keep going to local shops to buy electricity and gas on keys/cards every month or so. It was a confounded nuisance! But this flat came with these prepaid meters, and it was going to cost me £60 to change each meter, so £120 altogether. However, recently I heard they will now do it for free. So decided to get them changed.

I'm not sure though that the company that supplies my power -- npower (I'm in the UK) -- won't try and pull a fast one and overcharge me, utilising the confusion over changing meters.

My old meter yesterday afternoon read 20579. I assume this refers to kilowatt hours. Just had my new meter installed 2 hours ago. Immediately after being installed the new meter read 21347. An increase of 21347-20579 = 768 kwhs.


Accessing my npower account, my consumption per day of electricity averaged over 2 years is 9.33kwh's. So essentially this new meter reading is around 760kwh's more than it should be, representing around 11.5 weeks of electricity usage. This represents roughly £100.





Best to see it in graphical form on excel. There's a sudden sharp rise at the end.

So, presumably these readings can't be related. I regard it highly unlikely that npower are trying to nick a £100 off me! But, I thought I'd better contact them, just in case. I was informed via webchat that these figures are not related and that their database needs to be updated, and this will take around 45 days. 


OK, that's great! But, I've just been thinking over the past 30 mins or so. I'm going from paying in advance, to paying in arrears. Let's say on the prepay meter I pay upfront for one month, say November's, but at the end of November I switch meters to a normal meter. If I still pay every month I won't pay December's electricity until the beginning of January. Then it'll be just as before, paying every month. I'll be better off of course since I skipped one month's payment. That's the advantage of going from paying in advance to paying in arrears!

Of course, in reality, one won't actually skip a month (I wouldn't imagine?). Rather over a specified number of months, let's say the next 12 months, one's monthly bill will be 11/12ths of what it was previously (assuming comparable tariffs). So I should either skip paying for a month, or more likely, be paying less over some specified number of months in the future (if 12 months, then I'll only be paying 11/12th each month for these 12 months of what I paid previously. Then it'll go back to its normal price).



However! Conceivably the opportunity is there for them to pull a fast one. They could simply screw me out of this 768kwhs, and the amount I'll pay in future months might be comparable to what I've always paid, so that I'll never notice.

That's a very cunning way to screw people out of their money! Who the heck would notice??

UPDATE Same day around 4 hours later.

A guy has just been round and changed my gas meter. I was thinking "it looks like the same guy who changed my electricity meter earlier, surely?".

After he finished he said:

"I don't know why I couldn't have done that this morning".

Yep, the same guy! When I rang up 3 weeks ago to book appointments to get these meters changed, the lady said the same guy wouldn't be able to do both, so 2 different people would need to come. Sigh...


The reading on this new gas meter is vastly higher than on my old one, so I strongly suspect what I was told in the webchat was correct.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Defining Consciousness

When I say science completely leaves out consciousness in its description of reality, people frequently ask what my definition of consciousness is.

But what do they mean by "definition of consciousness"? They must mean either:

a) What do I mean by the word "consciousness".

or

b) What is the scientific definition of consciousness? i.e how does consciousness fit into our scientific description of reality.

But regarding "a", obviously we all know what consciousness means. It's all our thoughts, feelings, perceptions etc. So, given that the person is conscious, he knows what consciousness refers to. So presumably he is not requesting this (and it's always a he).

So he must be asking for a scientific definition of consciousness. But science completely leaves out consciousness in its description of reality, as I said in the beginning!
This is the type of futile "conversation" I have with people on the net.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Are our lives for the purpose of soul-making?

People tend to either think that their lives are purposeless in the sense of absurd, or that our existence is a process of "soul-making" -- that we're here to learn lessons and for our souls to thereby develop to become better and more enlightened beings. I used to think the latter, but now I reject this dichotomy.

Much of what we do in our lives we do purely for the experience. That might be something as trivial as having a good night out and getting pissed (i.e affected by alcohol). Have any lessons been learnt? Has our soul developed during that one night? Probably not, so why should it be any different for a whole life?

However, that's not to say our lives are purposeless. It is perfectly possible for there to be some ultimate purpose to our existence, some ultimate reason, without thinking that life is like school where we are required to progress to some specific end. What this ultimate purpose might be I don't know though. I'll leave it to those who have had mystical experiences to answer that one.

Venturing out in the dark

Just got in from walk. Was fairly darkish walking in hubbard hills. Deserted and dark. A eerie malevolent blanket of silentness envelo...