1685-1753: George Berkeley

George Berkeley was one of the three most famous eighteenth-century British Empiricists (see LOCKE, JOHN, and HUME, DAVID). He is best known for his motto, esse is percipi, to be is to be perceived. He was an idealist: everything that exists is either a mind or depends for its existence upon a mind. He was an immaterialist: matter does not exist. He accepted the seemingly outrageous position that ordinary physical objects are composed solely of ideas, which are inherently mental. He wrote on vision, mathematics, Newtonian mechanics, economics, and medicine as well as philosophy. In his own time, his most often-read works concerned the medicinal value of tar-water. And in a curious sense, he was the first great American philosopher. 1. Life and Works George Berkeley was born in or near Kilkenny, Ireland on 12 March 1685. He was raised in Dysart Castle. Although his father was English, Berkeley […] Read More

1939: Across the Unknown

by Stewart Edward White and Harwood White “It is essential to linger frequently on the frontier of one’s limitations, looking out eagerly across the unknown.” —————————- AUTHOR’S NOTE THE PRESENT VOLUME, like its predecessor The Betty Book, is a matter of collaboration in which so many people have been involved that it is difficult to name an author for its title page. There were of course, those who gave us the material on which it is based–the Invisibles; anonymous and probably numerous. There was Betty who transmitted it. There was I, who took it down and typed it and filed it in loose-leaf books. And finally there was my brother, Harwood, to join us in selecting and arranging and digesting and presenting in a form acceptable and valuable to others outside our small group. No trifling job, this last, for by the time we got at it, we had over […] Read More

2013: Mysticism

Mysticism is a discipline involved with knowledge and techniques which are of value in assisting the individual toward spiritual growth. It is a very pragmatic discipline, concerned with direct experience, or awareness of spiritual truth, of ultimate reality, etc., which can be attained through immediate intuition, insight, or illumination. Mystical methodology is not based on external experimentation, but internal observation. According to Lama Anagarika Govinda, “The mystic anatomy and physiology … is not founded on the ‘object-isolating’ investigations of science, but on subjective — though not less unprejudiced — observations of inner processes, i.e., not on the dissection of dead bodies or on the external observation of the functions of human and animal organisms, but on the self-observation and on the direct experience of processes and sensations within one’s body.”(5) Mysticism regards intellectual knowledge as an aid to the direct experience of ultimate “truths”, but not as an end […] Read More

2018: Scientists Have Discovered The Brain Region Involved in Spiritual Experiences

By Peter Dockrill Whether we think of ourselves as religious or not, lots of people experience moments in life that can be considered spiritual – where we feel a greater sense of meaningfulness, serenity, or connection with the world around us. Now, scientists think they’ve pinpointed where those transcendental moments are processed in the human brain, identifying a region in the parietal cortex that appears to be involved in experiences that go beyond our ordinary state of being. “Spiritual experiences are robust states that may have profound impacts on people’s lives,” says one of the researchers, neuroscientist Marc Potenza from Yale University. “Understanding the neural bases of spiritual experiences may help us better understand their roles in resilience and recovery from mental health and addictive disorders.” To ascertain where these moments of spiritual insight take place inside people’s heads, Potenza’s team interviewed 27 healthy young people, inviting them to […] Read More