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default Religion or delusion?

Post by Hairyloon on 13th July 2016, 5:07 pm

I expect many of us here will talk to the trees, but how many of us expect them to answer?

If they do, then is that a sign of a heightened spiritual awareness or a serious mental health problem?
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Post by frankbeswick on 13th July 2016, 11:10 pm

I don't think that trees speak human language.

The question of whether we can communicate with other beings in nature is moot, and the resolution depends to some degree upon whether there is a universal level of consciousness that is capable of expression in language. I am not going to answer this one, but I will suggest that if there is rapport, it is not verbally expressed.
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Post by Hairyloon on 14th July 2016, 1:32 am

Perhaps not just trees: consider any kinds of spirit/energy interactions.
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Post by frankbeswick on 14th July 2016, 7:51 am

Good point. The question becomes inextricably linked with issues of how we come to experience the world and in particular how we can come to understand meaning. Just as a child takes a while to come to a comprehension of the meaning of language, so if communications with non-humans and non-physical entities is possible, it is certainly not easy and would take time to learn.
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Post by Hairyloon on 14th August 2016, 2:18 pm

The reason behind my question is that I have met someone with serious mental health issues who claims to be High Priestess of some obscure pagan faith and I am at a loss to know where to draw the lines...
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Post by frankbeswick on 14th August 2016, 3:27 pm

A significant point.Look only for such precision as nature allows, and precise demarcation between beliefs and her condition might not be able to be drawn.
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Post by Chilli-head on 15th August 2016, 4:19 pm

I will start by saying that I am the sort of person to whom belief of any sort does not come easily. Back in the days of the INEBG forum I opposed (ineffectively, of course) the introduction of areas for "spirituality" etc as I think the association does more harm than good for the environmental cause.

I do think though that we (society) are too quick sometimes to label people as abnormal, having a disorder, or being on a "spectrum". I think the spectrum of what is normal is much wider than many people - especially the therapist types - accept. I doubt that, if looked at objectively, your High Priestess acquaintance has beliefs much more bizzare and lacking in substance than some of the quite widely accepted faiths. I say let her be, unless she is causing significant problems for others ? This is sometimes the best approach for dealing with mental health issues, like Alzheimers for example. Trying to talk reason into someone who has an impaired ability to reason doesn't usually produce a happy result.
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Post by frankbeswick on 15th August 2016, 6:56 pm

We need to steer a course between the Scylla of skepticism and the Charybdis of credulity. Belief should not come too easily or with too much difficulty; and we should beware that our personalities might over-dispose us to one or the other ends of the spectrum. We must be rational, but there can be a limiting, reductionist rationality that prevents its exponents from discovering new knowledge. We must never make the mistake of thinking that there is only one set of thoughts that are rational, for there is a variety of rationally credible ways to proceed in life.

As for your priestess, I cannot comment on a person that I have never met, but be kind to her and listen to what she has to say, then say your piece to her. no one should be denied the right to argue their case, but none should prevent others from arguing theirs,either by coercion or impatiently refusing to listen.
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Post by Hairyloon on 18th August 2016, 11:58 pm

frankbeswick wrote:As for your priestess, I cannot comment on a person that I have never met, but be kind to her and listen to what she has to say, then say your piece to her...
D'you think? Or is it better to not say my piece?

Chilli-head wrote:Trying to talk reason into someone who has an impaired ability to reason doesn't usually produce a happy result.
Now there is an interesting question: does a distorted perception of the world impair the ability to reason?
I am put in mind of John Forbes Nash Jr, but I am not sure that helps any. :?
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Post by frankbeswick on 19th August 2016, 7:01 am

"Say your piece." I should have said that better. Whatever you say to a person must be true, but at the same time communicated sensitively according to the situation.
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Post by Hairyloon on 19th August 2016, 10:54 am

frankbeswick wrote:"Say your piece." I should have said that better. Whatever you say to a person must be true, but at the same time communicated sensitively according to the situation.
My point is still the same: I know no sensitive way of saying "you're talking tosh and I stopped listening five minutes ago...", so perhaps best to not say it?

More specifically, if they appear to be projecting (psychologically, not astrally), then should one let them project, or is it better to challenge the projection?
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Post by frankbeswick on 19th August 2016, 11:05 am

There comes a point when we have to politely agree to differ. It is best just to tell them that, and if they persist, walkaway.
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Post by Hairyloon on 19th August 2016, 12:23 pm

frankbeswick wrote:There comes a point when we have to politely agree to differ. It is best just to tell them that, and if they persist, walkaway.
There is, but that is a different problem: I think we should not walk away from our mentally ill friends unless we properly cannot cope with them.
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Post by frankbeswick on 19th August 2016, 1:00 pm

Ah! I was unaware that this person was a friend. and this changes things. I have in the past told people who knock on my door to preach to go, but with a friend you have to create your own path that saves the relationship, but this can mean agreeing to differ.
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Post by Hairyloon on 19th August 2016, 1:06 pm

Strangers are just friends we haven't met yet...
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Post by Chilli-head on 19th August 2016, 4:29 pm

In my experience:

Telling someone their faith, religious belief, etc is nonsense does not help. That type of belief is a deep seated, inner thing that does not require evidence or reasoning. You will lose a friend more likely than change their view.

Telling someone with mental health issues (certainly Alzheimers, which I wish I knew less about) that they are wrong, confused, talking nonsense does not help. Their mind is in an inner struggle to make sense of the fragmented memories they have, and trying to correct them most likely raises anxiety, which clouds the the mental function they do have making things worse.

Hence my view - let them be, but keep them occupied rather than being left to introspection, divert conversation away from areas you can't agree with, maybe even humour them. If the problems can't be lived with, specialist help is needed.
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Post by Hairyloon on 19th August 2016, 7:10 pm

Chilli-head wrote:Telling someone with mental health issues (certainly Alzheimers, which I wish I knew less about) that they are wrong, confused, talking nonsense does not help.  Their mind is in an inner struggle to make sense of the fragmented memories they have, and trying to correct them most likely raises anxiety, which clouds the the mental function they do have making things worse...
Without meaning any disrespect, do you think you are likely overgeneralising there?
What is true of Alzheimer's may not be true of other illness.
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Post by Chilli-head on 19th August 2016, 9:24 pm

Most certainly. But you're asking laymen on a number of Internet fora for opinion relating to a person they've never met, not professionals for a diagnosis. I did say "in my experience". We can only draw on such limited experience as we have, or not respond at all I suppose.
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Post by Hairyloon on 19th August 2016, 10:32 pm

Indeed so. I was simply seeking clarification of the opinion so given.
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