Author Topic: Channeling: Fact or Fiction  (Read 3571 times)

Dave

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Channeling: Fact or Fiction
« on: August 10, 2011, 10:34:07 PM »
While reading a piece on writing the other day, it was suggested that readers expect emotional involvement from fiction and facts from non-fiction. Fiction is expected to grab us where non-fiction convinces us: with one we suspend belief, with the other we expect logic and evidence. As I absorbed this I was struck by the realization that channeling (not necessarily in the Michael community) seems to dance in both of those worlds.

Case in point, some followers dig in their heels and put up a strong defense if you suggest that a particular piece of channeling lacks proof. Too often emotions are stirred and keeping an open mind -- another way of suspending belief, as we do with fiction -- is considered more important than facts and evidence. Personally, I think an open mind and validating with evidence is equally important. But I'm a strong proponent of rational spirituality.

Either way, I think most would agree that channeling should remain in the category of non-fiction, but what about channeling that is accepted on faith or channeling that makes wild (or fictional) claims? How do we test its veracity if the act of testing results in accusations that we lack an open mind? How do we prevent a valuable tool like channeling from becoming just another work of literature? And yes, I remember what Michael once said about spiritual teachers and literature. ;-) 

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Dave

mtscholar

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Re: Channeling: Fact or Fiction
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2011, 11:08:03 PM »
And how do we even engage in rational conversation with those who seem to believe whatever may suit their fancy? If we deny the need for evidence, we enter the realm of speculation. I think speculation is great, creative, and inspiring at times, but it's not the same as non-fiction, which, like you, is my preferred category for channeling.

I've been surprised--perhaps I shouldn't be--by the strength of emotion that this topic has generated on the listserv.

People seem to be conflating rationality with close-mindedness. But I've often thought that if someone's grandmother's left index finger started making verifiable, evidence-backed spiritual pronouncements, I'd be among the first to try those pronouncements out for myself. It's not the source for me, it's the content.

Dave, you wondered recently how someone can take such a choice-based teaching as Michaels' and turn it into something rule bound. Same goes for taking such a verification-based teaching and making "verification" seem like a dirty word. Ah, our species.

jk

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Re: Channeling: Fact or Fiction
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2011, 11:07:04 AM »
Personally, I don't think channeling belongs into either category - fact or fiction. And it does not bother me. Neither was literature always so strictly categorised.
It is simply not possible to pass channeling as facts the same way like we can pass for example some book on carpentry as such. Neither is it fiction, clearly at least not to us Michael Students, otherwise we would hardly even be here and discuss it. At the end of the day, I agree it is the content, not the source that matters. And I am perfectly fine to be left to figure out its veracity for myself. Most of Michael Teachings would be something like "self-help", which belongs into non-fiction, but what does that really matter?

mtscholar

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Re: Channeling: Fact or Fiction
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2011, 03:14:29 PM »
It's not what we call the categories that matters. I was using that as shorthand for "factual, verifiable, or at least fitting within a framework of other verifiable material." Believe me, lots of the greatest literature, art, poetry, music, etc. doesn't fall in either camp. But when it comes to material upon which I'm going to base my philosophies of living and on which I'm going to spend already too limited time and energy, I want those philosophies to have some kind of factual basis.

Not that everything is directly verifiable by a single person of course. Sometimes you just have to "consider the source" and if a statement about X is made, perhaps the best you can do is see that statements Y and Z proved reliable, raising the probability that X may be true as well.

Michael's claims about Atlantis kind of fall in that category for me. In the 70s there seemed to be efforts to look for convincing evidence that Atlantis existed. Is any such effort still going on?

John Roth

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Re: Channeling: Fact or Fiction
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2011, 02:59:58 AM »
It's not what we call the categories that matters. I was using that as shorthand for "factual, verifiable, or at least fitting within a framework of other verifiable material." Believe me, lots of the greatest literature, art, poetry, music, etc. doesn't fall in either camp. But when it comes to material upon which I'm going to base my philosophies of living and on which I'm going to spend already too limited time and energy, I want those philosophies to have some kind of factual basis.

Not that everything is directly verifiable by a single person of course. Sometimes you just have to "consider the source" and if a statement about X is made, perhaps the best you can do is see that statements Y and Z proved reliable, raising the probability that X may be true as well.

Michael's claims about Atlantis kind of fall in that category for me. In the 70s there seemed to be efforts to look for convincing evidence that Atlantis existed. Is any such effort still going on?

Sure. There are still people looking for "Atlantis." The latest I've heard is some kind of a circular, city-sized formation in Spain. That was this year.

What gets me is the amount of energy behind it, when all we really have is two Platonic dialogs where Plato claims to have gotten the information from his ancestor, Solon, who in turn got them from Egyptian priests. In the second dialog he admits having changed details to get his point across more clearly.

This isn't what I'd call the most trustworthy provenance. However, it seems to have grabbed the public imagination, which sometimes means that there's something there, however dimly remembered and distorted.