Is god’s name God?

I know there are other names for the current one true Abrahamic god, and names for thousands of other gods who’ve fallen from popularity but were once worshiped by the masses.

We humans all seem to have a name (Bill) or a title (Dad or Opa) to differentiate us one from the other. We name pets, cars, places, illnesses.

Christians have three gods. The nameless father, the son is called Jesus Christ (but we all know that was not his real name), and the holy ghost/spirit was invented to make an unnecessary and meaningless third. But it’s all one.

Talk to the Hindus. They know how to name gods, for Christ’s sake. The planets have cool god names, except this one unless you want to stretch either Adam or Eve. But there’s Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Pluto (or maybe that was a dog’s name) and others. My daughter’s dog is named Thor.

Some Jewish folk write God as G-d as some form of respect. I would not feel respected if someone wrote B-ll. But I’m not considered a god even by the ones who call me Dad and Opa.

The commandment says we should not take god’s name in vain. Yet, the only time we do that is the JC name. Most of the god damn its and such expressions could be any god since no name is used. When Christians end a prayer with, in Jesus’ name, amen, why is that not a sin? Seems in vain to me.

There is the Jehovah name. If that is that god’s real name, who gave it to him? And if god is her, Jehovah seems so wrong. The Romans and Greeks had wonderful names for goddesses.

If God is god’s name, why the lower case in scripture? Even the devil has been given several proper monikers with which to be addressed. And that Rolling Stones’ song, Sympathy for The Devil ends with this name-game verse.

What’s my name
Tell me, baby, what’s my name
Tell me, sweetie, what’s my name

I’ve always called god by the name God. How un-creative of me! But Hey You, seems downright ungentlemanly.

Bill

Why I didn’t become Atheist

Why write this?

I read something yesterday on Rebekah’s blog that triggered me to think about how I express things about myself. I decided to write and post this.

Background

Like everyone else, I was born without an opinion regarding the existence of a deity, a spirit realm, death, life afterwards, or any belief in a god. You could say I was born a passionate human agnostic about everything, but neutral about religion. That was 74 years ago to the day (happy birthday to me).

Eight days later I was baptized by a priest in a Roman Catholic Church. This event guaranteed my acceptance into Heaven, if I should die. Otherwise, it was eternity in Limbo, where the unbaptized but sinless souls allegedly went forever.

Baptism added a godfather and godmother to my religious life, in the unlikely event that my parents could not raise me as Catholic. They did.

My status

I was a Roman Catholic Christian whether I liked it or not. That situation lasted for sixty-some years. When I embraced atheism, my status was automatically changed to excommunicated, which means that I am excluded from the rights of church membership. I may not receive any of the seven sacraments. I’ve had six.

While my Catholic membership card is technically cancelled, I may still do virtually everything that is not specifically sacramental. I’ve not been shunned. It’s not a cult.

To undo this, I would merely need to re-claim my membership by denying my atheism. Complete re-conversion would be through the Sacrament of Penance (confession with a priest) and subsequent participation in the Sacrament of Eucharist (going to Mass and taking Holy Communion). I’ve done this process a couple other times in my life due to long lapses in my religious participation, called falling-away, non-practicing, or practical atheism.

When I reconciled before, the process was spiritually uplifting, fun, rewarding, guilt-relieving, interesting, and mildly embarrassing. It was also easy. The saying goes, once Catholic, always Catholic. I’m no longer that, sayings notwithstanding.

No regrets

I hold no animosity toward the Catholic Church or any of its people. However, I am irreconcilably pissed off about the Church’s history. I would still punish many bishops and priests for their culpability during the ongoing sexual abuse scandals.

I know church history well. I fully understand why people are religious. I accept it. I think they are wrong, but they’re not bad people. I wish they could similarly accept my conclusions to the degree that I do theirs.

I’m mindful that in many parts of the world, I could be killed for my outspoken atheism. Those who would do that are supported (and defended) by scripture, either Biblical or Koranic. That’s how religion works.

What I say and what I don’t

I have never said, I became a Christian or I got (or was) saved. I never said there was a day or time when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I have never referred to myself as a born-again Christian as my childhood friend, Jimmy, did.

When Jimmy died his family ensured he was buried as a Catholic. Dead people cannot receive sacraments nor can they resist the desires of the living.

I never felt superior to people of other religions or of none. If anything, living in the south (USA) I was guarded about my Catholicism.

I don’t say, I became atheist. I’ve embraced my atheism and the conclusion that god does not exist. I avoid prefacing things by saying as an atheist. I do not say something all atheists agree on. They do not. Except by coincidence, all atheists agree on nothing. I can only speak for myself.

I’m just sayin’

As with anyone who may have been born into a secular life, I was atheist first.

My baptism made me Catholic. I didn’t become anything. Roman Catholic is my legacy, heritage, and birthright.  I prefer to call it Irish-Catholic. They know why.

I have no issue with anyone saying, I became atheist or became anything. Unfortunately, atheism is one of those words that define people by what they are not more than by what they are. Since atheism means one does not believe in any god, it’s not like becoming Methodist, an artist, a romantic, or depressed.

Bill

The Bible: There is no such thing

The Catholic Mass liturgy includes three Old Testament (OT) readings, a selection from the prophets, and three readings from the New Testament (NT) to include Acts, the Catholic or Pauline Epistles, and the Gospels. During Christmas and Easter, a fourth is added for the evening service.

Growing up Catholic, I never had to read a bible. In the three-year liturgical cycle, I heard virtually the whole of Christian scripture read to me. In my eight years of parochial school, I took mandatory Religion and Catechism classes/courses as part the curriculum. I recall taking Bible History one year with a full-length history book to read.

I was taught the myth of Samson slaying the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass (hee-hee, back then) as historical fact. Since it is an OT story in the inerrant word of God, it must have been true.

There was no bible in my home. I doubt if many other Roman Catholics of my generation grew up reading a bible in the sense most adherents of sola scriptura (scripture alone) would understand it. We didn’t have to. A bible was read to us several times over by age 15.

How I became something of an amateur, or layman, bible study teacher (and expert?) forty years later would take too long to explain. But I was the first of such in a large Parish for about ten years. During that time, I acquired several different bibles, concordances, and various other materials that I used for learning and teaching.

The relationship people have with bibles fascinates me to this day. They claim to believe that it is the word of their god. They say it is the most important book ever written. Many have not read one single word of any bible, even if they own one.

Bibles are available for free in book form, electronically, or online. There is no excuse. Read one. Yes, an atheist just suggested that you read a bible.

One guy even used a bible recently as a prop for a political photo op (to evangelical silence, if not bizarre enthusiasm). I bet he never read it, could not say what version he was holding, how many books were in it, or if the religion of the church he stood in front of would approve of the translation.

We say it. We write about it. We talk about it all the time. However, there is no it. There is only them. There are hundreds of versions of the same book(s). I’ve seen the number 450, but I doubt there are so many official versions. It’s not the bible. It’s a bible—one of them.

One reason for this is the many different translations. Another reason is the various canons, or books and scripture, that are (or are not) included as authorized. Some of what may be included is referred to as apocrypha (not really the word of god).

There are no original bible writings that we can point to as the first or even the second copy. While some old scriptures do exist, they are far from first editions.

The Bible? Which one? It’s bibles. It’s them, not it. Confused by holy scripture, version 123.666 and 50 others.

Bill


Most popular? There are more?

 

 

No, but that’s not why.

Essay: Masked Fear

Years ago, an acquaintance said this to me as a sarcastic joke. “Quitting smoking is hard, but it takes a real man to face cancer.” Poor taste (we did that), but it makes the point.

A few weeks ago, my daughter posted a similar, but less sarcastic, meme on her Facebook page. The graphic had a picture of C. Darwin and a comment invoking evolutionary survival for those who refuse to take precautions to prevent getting or spreading COVID-19. It said, “If you don’t want to quarantine, it’s okay.” Innocuous enough. If you’ve been exposed, tested positive, or diagnosed it is not okay not to quarantine. However, it attracted comment from a troll since she posted it as public.

While the middle aged man from Abilene, TX, said mostly illogical and incoherent things, and he invoked Communism for reasons only he and his ilk comprehend, his gist was that people are wearing surgical masks and other mouth/nose coverings due to irrational fear. A quick look at his page supported his opinionated hypothesis with memes poking fun at (or insulting) people who mask up. People like me.

For the record, the man currently holding the office of POTUS, two of his predecessors (Bush2 and Clinton1), and I all turn 74 years of age this summer. In my case, I have two manageable, non-life-threatening (in the near term), underlying conditions (as they call them) that would make COVID-19 probably deadly for me. I’ve also had surgery for cancer and am constantly monitored (scanned) for recurrence. Fear? Me? There is more.

I was born into and grew up in a family supported by a subterranean coal miner. Going underground to mine has been a top ten dangerous job for hundreds of years. I attended the funerals of friends and classmate’s fathers who died from cave-ins, flash floods, and explosions. I do not recall my father worried or fearful of going to work, although unions and others tried to improve working conditions with limited success. He feared flying until he did, then he was fine.

I spent years wearing a uniform in foreign countries where I was advised to be unpredictable and to alter my route to and from work for safety. I flew airplanes strapped to ejection seats (upward and downward), wearing an oxygen mask, a helmet, and able to recite from memory and to demonstrate emergency procedures. I never did this out of fear. It was my job. Although I lived through some very scary moments, fear would have negatively affected my performance (the cliché is to choke). It was wisdom, professionalism, and training, not fear, that enabled a young aviator to become this old one.

I have my car inspected (safety inspection) and drive on good tires with good brakes, and I wear my seatbelt because it is a smart thing to do (and the law), but not because I am afraid. Indeed, the driving habits of some people I must share the road with motivate me. It is not fear. I drive carefully and defensively, but not fearfully.

I have ridden a motorcycle for years. I wear a helmet, protective gloves, long pants, good shoes, and cover my face, neck, and arms because I think it is foolish not to. I dress for the crash that will not happen, not for the ride. My first times riding in the rain, riding on interstate highways in highspeed traffic, and other scary situations were tense. I felt fear due to my lack of knowledge, experience, and skill. I no longer fear riding. It’s fun. I also believe that motorcycle riding, like aviation, is inherently dangerous. Fact, not fear.

I drive near legal/recommended speed limits or less. I slow down for corners and sharp curves/turns. I ride sober. I look all around and try to predict the actions of others in cars and trucks. I avoid riding in high wind, rainstorms, ice or snow, darkness, heavy traffic, or busy interstate highways. I have done it all and found them dangerous, but often unavoidable. I mitigate risk and avoid unnecessary danger. That is being responsible, not afraid.

I advise friends and loved ones to be careful. Not out of fear, but as wisdom. I am not paranoid, and I enjoy the risk of life as much as anyone. I do not jump out of perfectly good airplanes, but I know how to wear and use a parachute. One of my favorite musical stanzas is from the song, For What It’s Worth,

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid…

COVID-19 is a deadly reality. I wish it on no one. I take precautions with many things in life. I consider it foolish not to wear a protective mask in crowded areas during the current pandemic. I try not to let my politics or opinion cloud my judgment or warp my wisdom.

I will continue to wear a mask and have negative thoughts about those who do not because I believe they are putting my life and that of others unnecessarily at risk. For some, it appears to be about politics rather than health, welfare, and science.

The people like the man who trolled my daughter’s post will never convince me that I must be an unmasked brave fool who refers to death by COVID-19 as “thinning the herd,” as he did. It has been an awfully long time since I was dared to do something stupid and called a fraidy-cat by another child.

I have no fear of wearing a mask; be it surgical, oxygen, Halloween, neck tube (Buff or gator) pulled up, or CPAP. Fools may never forgive me, but I’m gunna pass on that kind of stupid.

Bill


Do you believe Hell is real? That Satan is a real thing?

If you ever believed in a god or something like that, did you ever either accept or believe in the personification of evil, a being that tempts people to act or think against the wishes of a Supreme Being? A being that takes the soul of a very bad person and ensures a sort of eternal painful karma?

As a child, the demonic scapegoat was not emphasized to me. As much as I may have accepted some sort of god, I cannot recall ever going all in on the Lucifer/fallen angel myth, with one exception. The Exorcist movie scared the Hell out of me, or should I say, the fear into me? I was an adult parent with one child by then (1973 or so).

However, I probably dropped any thought of a devil or a Hell for eternal suffering long before I flushed the whole Trinity thing along with any remaining number of evil spirits. I discovered that several Catholic Priests agreed with me that at the very least, all the devil and hell stuff was nonsense cooked up to scare people. Even the Pope had said that Hell was a state after death of not being with God, not a place.

As I did the final onion peel by removing the last vestiges of religion and theistic or deistic things from my pages of mental acceptance, the first to go was related to the problem of evil, Hell as anything real before or after death, and any spirit world, either good or evil.

After I managed to get over all of that, which I only quasi-accepted in the first place, the god balloon simply popped. All religion went with it: New Age, Pantheism, Eastern Religious beliefs and philosophies, Witches, and the like. I appreciate reality and science as much as any atheist, but in no way is any of that comparable to religion or any belief in a god-like entity.

Many people want to say god is love and other worn out tropes that tell us that they probably at least downplay any concept of Hell and devils without tossing out the heavenly eternal life part. This works well for them because one merely needs to repent and all will be forgiven, at least on that side of the Christian street. I’m not sure everyone agrees.

Is belief in eternal damnation required to avoid it? If one lives a good life, is that sufficient? Believers would answer those two questions with both yes and no. I never took a course in the Sociology (or psychology) of Religion. I wish I had.

I like the idea of love or at least being neighborly and caring about people. However, when my neighbor is an asshole, I neither love her or him, nor do I care about them. In fact, I often wish karma could be real (except not applied to me). But love is still better than the other options, except…

The other two emotions I can think of that seem to have as much, or more, influence on humans are fear and hate. I am so happy that religion does not teach fear and hate. Or would that be why the Lucifer and Hell myths assume such prominence in religion, particularly Christianity and Islam, both religions of love and peace (sarcasm, in case you missed it)?

As for hate, you be the judge. Just don’t leave out the history of virtually every prominent religion on earth.

Bill

How Important is Going to Church?

Growing up in the Catholic church/faith and Saint John’s Elementary school, I was taught that if I died with a mortal sin on my soul and did not go to Confession or have Extreme Unction (Last Rites) administered by a priest, I was going straight to Hell. No passing Go and no collecting $200. I’d suffer for eternity along with Hitler, Jack the Ripper, Stalin, and all sorts of evil souls. There’d be no option for appeal or some Purgatorial negotiated deal. Eternity. Got it?

The logical problem with this dawned on me around age 13 or 14. The list of mortal sins was quite long and by that age it was normal for me to have picked up one or two each week. If you had committed one mortal sin, you might as well have done 50. Even a god could not add on more time to eternity. I had not been introduced to the concept of levels of Hell (or Heaven) at that time.

I was also taught that not going to Mass (call it church if you want) on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation was a mortal sin. Interestingly, it was about that 14/15ish time that I stopped going until I was busted and forced to go (I was being watched) because since it was so easy to pick up a mortal or two during the week between Confessions, well, what the hell? One more made no difference. Right?

When I returned to the good graces of the Catholic church thirty-some years later (about twenty years ago), I did so in Titusville, Florida. I was working there temporarily and decided to go through that embarrassment with a priest I would never see again. He had given me a book to read (which I did) and we had a few meetings. When a fallen away Catholic returns to the good graces of Rome, it is done through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which is a fancy name for Confession. But it sounds right for this process.

In one of our meetings I brought up the concept of not going to Mass being a mortal sin. The priest told me that it was not a mortal sin. I told him that I was taught it was such an eternally damning sin, and the book he had given me said it was. He said that he needed to stop handing out that book. I suggested he read books before recommending them to others. He was quite a bit younger than I, so giving advice seemed apt. Anyway, not going to Mass when you can has always been a big deal (at the least), in the Catholic Church. But, the whole point of it is Communion or the Eucharist. Catholicism is nothing if not Liturgical and taking Communion is at the core of that obligation.

I don’t know if any other Christian cult/denomination thinks people go to Hell if they do not go to church. I’ve had Christians tell me they never go to church (or belong to one) and that one need not go to church to be a good Christian. Maybe the Orthodox, Polish Catholic, and a few other schismatic holdouts think so, but most Protestants and Catholics I know think church attendance on Sunday is somewhat optional. At worst, a venial (minor) sin, if at all.

Enter a highly contagious and deadly virus of the Corona family. We get this illness (COVID-19) very easily, and Americans are the world leaders in contracting it: over two million known cases today. Since sitting together (and yelling or praying or singing) for an hour in a room with someone who may be contagious may kill us, or at least infect us, church attendance (indoors and closer than six feet to one another) was placed on the list of no can dos until we get our arms around the epidemic/pandemic. Literally, not going to church was healthier than going. I love that irony.

The Jesus freaks went bat shit, fucking crazy. Lawsuits were filed. #45 and other politicians of a certain bent started yelling that church attendance was essential. I must admit, certain groups of Americans wear hypocrisy like a new Sunday suit or this year’s Easter bonnet. It looks good on them while I struggle to stop banging my head against the wall. Going to church on Sunday is, first, not essential for anyone, and second, a good way to cause unnecessary illness, hospitalization, and potentially death.

Churches do nothing for the economy, use government services/resources they do not pay for, and other than some fraternization or potluck/covered dish meals, are meaningless, even if there is a god. Hypocrites, remember? But they are essential politically. At least to some portion of the population. They were not essential six months ago. But now that it is a dangerous thing to do—going to church is vital (and god, strangely, always needs more money).

And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer “More! More! More!” yoh.

Even most Catholics do not believe that their god would send them to the fires of Hades if they went to play pinball instead of going to Mass. However, church attendance is the only active measure we have to determine the degree of religiosity in America. It also contributes big-time to the core concept of the mega church (go fund us). More religious and political bull shit.

Bill

Do You Believe in Something?

I favor separating my discussions regarding the existence of god or gods from those about religion or religious denominations and sects. This is partly why.

I would have thought that, are you an atheist? and do you believe in god? were two versions of the same question. Apparently not.

In America, when someone asks if I believe in god, what do they mean? When I answer, what am I claiming? Are the inquisitors asking the same question I think I’m answering?

According to PEW Research, it is not always as simple as yes you do, or no you don’t. As we know, and as PEW suggests, within specific religions or religious denominations, members may not agree even though they admit to a belief in the same god and claim to practice the same religious denomination.

PEW did two surveys, one here and one in Europe. In the American survey, (view article here) wherein they worked out some clarity, the researchers claim that while 80% said they do believe in god, one third of that “yes” group does not believe in the god of the Bible.

Only two-thirds of that “believing” group believe in the god of Abraham. That’s 56% when you apply the sample to the total, or slightly more than half of the USA population. That does not mean, however, that the other 44% does not believe in god.

While 19% of the respondents said they do not believe in “god,” almost half of those who said no (9%) correspond with about a third of the people who said that they do believe in god. In other words, overall, one third of Americans, whether they profess a belief in god or not, think there is a higher power or spiritual force of some kind, according to PEW. I find that interesting.

PEW thus claims that according to their survey only 10% of Americans believe there is no higher power, spiritual force, deity, or god. We can split hairs regarding definitions of belief, disbelief, doubting, skepticism, and all of that. What PEW is suggesting is that while many of us claim not to believe in god, about half of those do believe that there is “something.”

It’s different in Europe. There, this number of nonbelievers is multiplied by 2.5 (about 25%) since a much greater number claim no belief in the higher power/spiritual force.

I think these surveys are interesting and have some merit. They are more in the food for thought category than good answers because people lie all the time. The whole social survey construct must be viewed with some degree of skepticism. Culture and human nature play into the answers. In the United States we are more likely to say we do believe in god when we don’t. In Europe, the reverse is likely.

A Jew, Christian, or Muslim might see someone who dismisses the god of Abraham but suspects a higher power or spiritual force exists as Pagan or even atheist. On the other hand, an avowed atheist may see the same person as a believer, just not in the Biblical sense.

I know people who claim to be Wiccan or Pagan. I have had discussions with some who use the terms Universe or Nature in the sense of a higher power or spiritual force. That makes sense because when we say god, most believers assume we mean what they believe, the god of the Bible, for example.

So, if someone asks me if I believe in god, my answer is “no.”
But maybe it should be more like this…

Please explain your question.
What do you mean by god?
What do you mean by believe?
Why do you ask?

While my accurate and honest answer is, I do not believe in any god, higher power, or spiritual force, perhaps it’s not a question for which I have such a simple answer. If the water is muddy or cloudy for the likes of PEW Research, it is a communication quandary for me. It’s as complicated as we are, but that is why it’s so damn interesting.

Bill


Credit – Linked Pew Research article.

Essay: Why So Negative?

Reality

I forget what she was talking about, but when I brought up reality, she said I should not be so negative. In her thinking, reality was bad. It was negative, and anyone who talked about it was likewise. In her defense, her life with a non-supportive alcoholic who eventually drank himself to death was certainly a negative reality. We were not discussing any specific topic, but even the term was a turnoff for her.

When I think about what she said, which basically shut me up, I always get philosophical and default to the line from Hamlet: “Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison. Well, then it isn’t one to you, since nothing is really good or bad in itself—it’s all what a person thinks about it.” I can’t say the line applies in every case. But sometimes it is precisely what we think about some reality that defines it for us.

I agree that reality is relative. And what isn’t? The thin line between one’s perception of reality and imagined non-reality, such as dream-based events, is the conscious choice between what is and what isn’t. But does any of that mean the one is negative and the other not? Is either reality or non-reality truth? Imagination is real. If one hears voices, the voices are really heard in the brain even if the source of a voice is either unknown or assumed.

I also agree with my friend who saw my broaching of reality as negative or dark for her, even if not for me. Much of reality sucks. Her experience was not mine. We make the best of life if we can make anything. But some might say the reality is that we can move on and find another, conceivably better, life.

Time and reality are relative to the individual. While the reality of the passage of time should be the same for each of us, that is seldom the case. Memories of the same event differ between individual witnesses. Experiencing current events is the same. When I walk out of a building and it is raining, I’m usually delighted. Then I hear others complaining about the nasty weather. It’s the same reality: a rainy day.

My response is to ask, what is non-reality? Why do I insist that it is necessary and okay to deal with what is real? Either it is what it is, or it’s not. Depending on the individual, the same real (or even imagined) event may be seen as either good or bad. The truth should be reality, but black or white is too often gray. So then, even truth becomes relative and based on outlook and experience.

If we see reality as negative, does that mean we conversely see non-reality as positive? And what of truth? If truth is negative, is untruth then positive? Maybe some think so.


A to Z Challenge 2020 (M = Metaphysics)

I got through most of my life without knowing the meaning of metaphysics. I didn’t care. I saw it online and had to ask. Then I had to look it up. I still didn’t care very much, but I had a name for what other people seemed to hold in high regard, like a religion.

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy consisting of ontology (dealing with the nature of being), and cosmology (the science of the origin and development of the universe). It can be deep stuff and fun bar talk after a few rounds. But there is woo-woo. There is always woo-woo.

New Age and nonempirical ideas such as energy (like chi and prana), ideas like being balanced, harmonized, tuned, aligned, unblocked, and mellow. Okay, maybe not mellow. While I don’t believe in that stuff, I don’t sit with my back to the door either.

In one sense, metaphysics is often used with ideas of what is real, the nature of beings, and the theory of mind and mental phenomena such as ideas, perceptions, memory, consciousness, and so forth. That all seems reasonable to me.

But metaphysics also gets rolled into broad theories of reality. These would be like materialism and dualism, the nature of reality, why something and not nothing. I’m not even sure I can mentally grasp the concept of nothingness. Is there free will? Is there always cause? Has the Universe always existed? Are there spiritual beings and life after death?

This stuff is not scientific. I had my time battling it out in conversation with friends who saw things in a different way. I’m sure I enjoyed it at the time. I just didn’t know or care what it was called.

Some of it is nonsense. But some of a lot of interesting things is nonsense. Like the existence of god, most metaphysical stuff cannot be proven nor successfully refuted. But maybe that’s where the fun lives.

Bill

 

A to Z Challenge 2020 (L = Lucid Dreams/Dreaming)

This is when you are asleep, and your frontal brain lobe makes you aware that you are sleeping and dreaming. I’ve seldom had this experience, but it has happened, and I remembered it. Like dreams themselves, it’s interesting. Also, like dreams, you can spend thousands of US dollars on learning and doing more about it. But, even with personal experience, I must weigh in with a bit of not so fast. The whole dream business is packed with frauds, charlatans, and quacks, and the awareness aspect has been roped in at great profit.

If you need help with lucid dreaming (I cannot do it intentionally) you can purchase books, tapes/CDs or whatever the tech is today, scientific publications, and induction devices such as special lights and speakers. You can spend money and time going to seminars to help you tap into your unconscious mind and get continuing education or college credit (Psyc.).

Perhaps you will fly (in your dreams) with spirits and have an out-of-body experience you enjoy, and that makes you free (again, you’re dreaming) of the restraints of being human and gravity bound to Earth. Maybe you will even feel better. But I doubt it.

There is no special state achievable by paying a fee through which we can find transcendent consciousness any more than we can stop having nightmares because we don’t like them. But, as with so many things, you can pay the price and take your chances. You can also read a lot more about it, if you are so inclined.

I prefer to know when it happens and what the biological cause is. When I wake from my off-base dreams, many of which relate to my life 30 or 40 years in the past, I know immediately that I was dreaming and what facts were twisted in my dreams to create the imaginary scenario.

So, yes, it is a real thing. But I doubt that it is what many seem to think. From reality to woo-woo, and to $$ all the way to the bank once again.

Bill