Qualia, Consciousness, Christ, and Cosmos

What is qualia? What is the source of individual instances of subjective conscious experience, like seeing the redness of an apple? Where does the redness come from? I don't know, but here are some ideas. Energy in our environment impinges upon our sense organs causing a cascade of electrochemical reactions and nerve impulses that are [...]

“Canticle of the Sun,” by St. Francis of Assisi, and Joseph Smith’s “Olive Leaf”

One of the last things we did at the seminar with Bernard McGinn this past weekend was read through and discuss Saint Francis of Assisi's poem and religious song Canticle of the Sun. McGinn considers this to be a very mystical text from Francis, as Francis seems to see God powerfully in and throughout the whole of creation, including in the sun, moon, stars, Earth, etc. McGinn noted that it is a kind of nature mysticism. Francis wrote most of it in the year 1224, and the last few lines in 1226 just before his death.

Henry David Thoreau’s “First Vision” Account

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) is widely known as a great 19th century transcendentalist essayist, poet, philosopher, naturalist, and historian, among other things. He is most well-known for his book Walden, and his essay "Civil Disobedience." The following comes from his poem titled "Inspiration."

Nancy Clark’s “First Vision” Accounts

In 1979 she had an experience while giving a eulogy at the funeral of a friend that forever changed her life. She later called it a "near-death-like" experience, being similar to many NDEs (including one she had earlier in life), but she was not near death at all. She describes it in one place this way...