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Old 04-24-2012, 01:50 AM   #91
discombobulation
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I was playing devil's advocate a little bit. I agree with all of that. I can only speak for the culture of the US, but certainly rationality is underused and underappreciated here. As someone who naturally sees the world through logic rather than emotion, I've been accused of being insensitive. Of course I find those accusations unfair - I am on the same side as you in my belief that others would be better off looking at things the way I do.
haha I getcha. I feel pessimism is a highly beneficial stance to take on pretty much anything.

And there seems to be so much kerfluff from most people when this sort of rationalist ideology is put forth. It's almost a knee-jerk romanticist reaction "HEY, don't take away my emotions and my sadomasochistic poor decisions bro!". We probably revel in this gross imperfection, as a species. I can't think of an example off the top of my head, but I'm quite certain we actually reward irrationality in some situations.

It's frustrating, I agree. I think in my quest to communicate my ideas to more people more effectively, I'm trying harder to find ways to convey the preservation of our glorious subjective experience even with relatively stark rationalist thinking mixed in. Sort of life a DeGrasse Tyson mixed with bits of Sam Harris viewpoint haha.

Man, rational thinking only heightens the enjoyment of existence for me. I wish that level of understanding could be more easily conveyed. Ah well.

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Old 04-24-2012, 02:07 AM   #92
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OK discomb, guess I don't disagree with you as much as I thought - if we're talking about large-scale planning for the sake of social structures and general well-being, then obviously rational considerations take precedence. Though the specific instrumental criteria in each case would still need to be discussed, as the ultimate goals can vary considerably (between materialistic and more family-oriented paradigms, for example). It sounded to me as if you were envisaging a robotic sort of existence where subjectivity is a thing of the past because it's been scientifically "debunked", which I now see is not the case. I was thinking more at the individual level, e.g. the way one relates to other people, where scientific methods will not get you all that far, but it seems you weren't really talking about that.
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:13 AM   #93
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IMO, complete rationality requires you to accept things like the fact that you're going to die, at which point you will complete cease to exist. Or the fact that tragedies happen randomly and without meaning. These ideas can be very liberating, and I think there's even a comfort to be gained from that sort of conceptual clarity. But I'm not very confident that it's beneficial or even possible for the majority of people to adopt these attitudes.

One interesting point, since the fear of death is obviously a huge factor in peoples' world views: when I was a kid, I was raised Catholic. I remember being terrified by the idea of heaven. Specifically, the fact that you would supposedly be there for eternity. If more people thought about it consciously, maybe they would be a lot more scared by eternity than death.
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:20 AM   #94
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Okay so here's my lame ghost story. It’s pretty boring and I fully realize that it's not 100% credible so feel free to call bullshit anytime you want.
Both of my parents told me about this 5 years ago when I actually asked my mom if she believed in spirits (her answer was yes but not because of this story) and I fully believe them.

Here it goes :

Back when I was between 2-3 years old, I apparently had frequent nightmares or "night terrors" pretty much every night. I would wake my parents up by crying and screaming something like "There's a green lady/green ghost floating above me!" and I kept having the same “nightmare” over and over again EVERY NIGHT after some point, according to my parents. Was I seeing a ghost, or was I having the same recurring nightmare over and over again?

Now, KEEP IN MIND that I don't remember anything of this because I was very, very young and like I said, it was my parents who told me the story because they remember everything (So there goes most of my credibility I guess…)


So, my parents were getting more and more worried, to say the least. Especially my mom. She was freaked out by all of this and she couldn’t do jack shit about it. Weeks passed and things were getting worse, according to her. My parents were barely able to sleep at all because I kept waking them up every night. She couldn’t take that “green lady” bullshit anymore.

One day, she went to the grocery store to buy something and she met this random old man.
In the middle of the conversation, he asked her if she had a child and she said yes, and she told him how she was worried about my condition and how I kept having the same nightmare every night.

When she said this, the old man got more curious. He asked her if I was “seeing” a ghost in my nightmare. He then asked her where did she live exactly, and if she knew about the people who inhabited the house before.

All she knew is that the people who inhabited the house before were two elderly women, who were twin sisters and one of them moved after her sister either killed herself or simply passed away…inside the house and possibly in the same room I was sleeping in.

The old man revealed to her that he was a medium and that he could talk to spirits. He told her to wait as he went in a quieter place inside the store, like, in a random corner and stood completely still while facing the wall for a couple of minutes and then came back to her. He told her he communicated with the spirit inside our house and he told the spirit to “leave”. According to the old man, the spirit of the defunct old lady was still dwelling in the house because “she” thought her twin sister was still living there.

My mom simply didn’t believe a word he said and though he was just senile, but she thanked him anyway. She did believe him afterwards though. Because, according to my parents, I never had another single “nightmare” after that very day. Like it was suddently gone for good after weeks and weeks of sleepless nights. My mom never saw that man again.

It may just be a crazy coincidence too, but it’s still kinda fucked up. I even wonder if that makes any sense myself. Why was I the only one who could “see” the “ghost?” And why the hell was it green like in fucking Lord of the Rings? Why can't I remember anything about this ?

Other than that, I never actually “saw” a ghost in my life, I did saw an UFO once though (and know countless people, including family members who did too), but not spirits. But I still believe in spirits and not because of that story.

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Old 04-24-2012, 11:20 AM   #95
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+1. It also seems to be, so far as I can think, the kind of approach that could offer an explanation for both discombob's and quartertone's notions of "truth", counting aside the former's response to the latter's post, in which my opinions would echo quartertone's. I'm no expert on social constructionist theory, but it seems to me interesting that it doesn't really segregate or provide judgement between either take anyway, hinting at the idea that they're both one in the same.
Social constructivism is more like a weapon to challenge established truths about social structures...or even certain scientific truths.

It can be used to defend minorities from oppression, or specific perceptions within a society. For instance, is IQ a reliable or fair method of measuring intelligence? Are men superior to women?

The problem with social constructivism is that it can be used by anyone. For instance: quite a few people will claim that human impact on the climate is a "truth", which is socially constructed within a certain segment of society.
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:58 AM   #96
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Social constructivism is more like a weapon to challenge established truths about social structures...or even certain scientific truths.

It can be used to defend minorities from oppression, or specific perceptions within a society. For instance, is IQ a reliable or fair method of measuring intelligence? Are men superior to women?

The problem with social constructivism is that it can be used by anyone. For instance: quite a few people will claim that human impact on the climate is a "truth", which is socially constructed within a certain segment of society.
Yes. This is the exact reason that scientists and post-modernists had such an animosity back during the Sokal affair. Obviously, science won that round, but I still think that social constructivism is an important reasoning tool. Too often, people are unable to look beyond entrenched ideas and interpretations and believe the status quo that benefits them is the only truth. I see this in a lot of internet arguments with conservatives who honestly believe that their interpretation of the world is nothing but facts and logic, but seem incapable of realizing where the line is between fact and interpretation and are unable to imagine the world from a very different person's perspective.
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Old 04-24-2012, 12:50 PM   #97
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IMO, complete rationality requires you to accept things like the fact that you're going to die, at which point you will complete cease to exist. Or the fact that tragedies happen randomly and without meaning. These ideas can be very liberating, and I think there's even a comfort to be gained from that sort of conceptual clarity. But I'm not very confident that it's beneficial or even possible for the majority of people to adopt these attitudes.

One interesting point, since the fear of death is obviously a huge factor in peoples' world views: when I was a kid, I was raised Catholic. I remember being terrified by the idea of heaven. Specifically, the fact that you would supposedly be there for eternity. If more people thought about it consciously, maybe they would be a lot more scared by eternity than death.
Oh yeah, the fear of death is such a pervasive issue with people. I am not actually too sure what my stance on it is, I need to think about it in greater depth haha. Superficially, I am afraid of death because it is the loss of the subjective experience, the only thing which I know I value.
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:24 PM   #98
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Great thread, I have researched this subject nearly all my life. I come from a family were they used to experiment with the spiritual world quite a lot in the old days. The first house where I used to live was where most of the weird stuff happened as my great and grandparents used to do all this.

No matter what I read and how much sense it makes about ghosts and supernatural forces being a product of the power of the human brain. I will still have to say that I have a huge respect towards the spiritual world

One of the most memorable experiences was when I was about 9-10 years old (at the same house I was telling you before) , it was christmas night, did the standard family dinner, presents, etc... All of a sudden around 1am, when people were going to bed, some weird smell starts happening, something like rotten eggs and rusty steel mixed together. We thought it was maybe a pipe that broke on the street or something, went outside and asked the neighbors since they were still up but they said everything was normal. We went back inside and noticed that windows were ratteling, at this point we thought maybe there was a pipe in our house only, all of a sudden when my grandad goes to check the house properly the ratteling stops and so does the smell. After half and hour the smell appears of all a sudden again and then we start hearing scratching on the windows, at this point everyone is fucking shitscared so my mum tried to open the bedroom door to get out and the thing slams the door back. At this point I was freaking out tried to open the door my self, I opened it a little bit and the door slamed back in again, like some one was pulling it from the other end. At this point my mum covered my eyes and told me to start praying. We were screaming but it was like no one in the house could. Eventually this stopped and 5 minutes later my family rushed to our bedroom saying that they heard screams but that was a good 10- minutes after we were screaming before, like it was a delay until they heard it. At this point my mum told me that it was a dream and that never happened but when I was around 17- my mum told me that this was true and told me about the weird things that used to happen in that house because of the weird shit the elders in my family used to do in that house. Also my aunt used to play the Quija but stopped quickly after she started experiencing weird stuff too. One of them was when she was in the library room, all of a sudden she heard the sound of paper being ripped, when she turned around she looked at one painting of a pharao we had and noticed that the eyes of the pharao were gone.

it's satisfying reading about lucid dreaming to explain that shit is just product of our imagination but how the fuck do you explain forces and a painting being torn off in a room when my aunt was alone and nobody else in the room?

I will tell another story too which happened a lot later too, but I would like to read your input in this first
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:36 PM   #99
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Also my aunt used to play the Quija but stopped quickly after she started experiencing weird stuff too. One of them was when she was in the library room, all of a sudden she heard the sound of paper being ripped, when she turned around she looked at one painting of a pharao we had and noticed that the eyes of the pharao were gone.
I used to play Ouija Board a lot during my high school days. All sorts of weird stuff would happen, like things following off of shelves, blinds rattling, even possession! That board is like an open invitation to spirits of all kind of deities (good and bad). More often than not it seemed like I ran into the bad ones who just wanted to fuck with us. Thinking about it brings some creepy memories to this day. I was usually the main medium during the "games".
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:55 PM   #100
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Haha, I would not fuck around that stuff. I do believe in spirits but trying to communicate with them in any way would just cause trouble. Leave them alone and they will leave you alone.
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:55 PM   #101
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Back when I was between 2-3 years old, I apparently had frequent nightmares or "night terrors" pretty much every night. I would wake my parents up by crying and screaming something like "There's a green lady/green ghost floating above me!" and I kept having the same “nightmare” over and over again EVERY NIGHT after some point, according to my parents. Was I seeing a ghost, or was I having the same recurring nightmare over and over again?
Kinda Ditto on this too, in my case it was a dude with a long coat staying next to my bed and watching me sleep, used to run to my mum's room to say that the dude was there again, the thing is it only happened in my room and nowhere else in the house. Again I can't remember this at all too but that's one of the things that my mum told me when we had the convo about that house... Man, not looking forward sleeping alone tonight as my gf is away :luk3
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:51 PM   #102
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honestly.. I aint scar'da no ghost
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Old 04-24-2012, 06:58 PM   #103
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Shit just got real ITT.

Real retarded.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:06 PM   #104
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Okay.
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:41 AM   #105
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IMO, complete rationality requires you to accept things like the fact that you're going to die, at which point you will complete cease to exist. Or the fact that tragedies happen randomly and without meaning. These ideas can be very liberating, and I think there's even a comfort to be gained from that sort of conceptual clarity. But I'm not very confident that it's beneficial or even possible for the majority of people to adopt these attitudes.

One interesting point, since the fear of death is obviously a huge factor in peoples' world views: when I was a kid, I was raised Catholic. I remember being terrified by the idea of heaven. Specifically, the fact that you would supposedly be there for eternity. If more people thought about it consciously, maybe they would be a lot more scared by eternity than death.
But what's interesting is that both of these things can easily be interpreted your way or the opposite way; the randomness of tragedies is comforting in that they involve no personal blame, but disconcerting because the individual then has no role in averting them. Similarly, while eternity terrified you, many people are scared by the idea that their body will simply lie in the ground and rot, as they can't deal with no longer existing at all.
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:18 AM   #106
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I haven't experienced anything that would lead me to believe in ghosts, but here's a story:

Last summer I was talking with a coworker about my plans for dinner at a local mansion that was once owned by a brewer in the late 19th century but had since been converted to a restaurant/inn. She told me she'd been there before but would never go back because she felt a 'presence' which made her nauseous. The restaurant is on the main floor but the staff will allow you to wander the 2nd and 3rd floors when there aren’t many patrons and she decided to have a look around because she admired older homes. Apparently when she reached the 3rd floor at the top of the stairwell she felt a severe change in temperature, but she continued on down a long hallway that leads to the master bedroom, in the master you pass this small corridor and come across a massive walk-in safe near the closet. She claims there was a figure that appeared to be hovering in the safe, she ran out of the mansion as quickly as she could and proceeded to vomit on the sidewalk.

The family that owned the mansion had built up one of the largest breweries in America in the 1800s but it suffered heavily due to prohibition . That coupled with the death of the founder, who died of a heart attack in the master bedroom led to a string of 4 family members committing suicide at different periods in the house. One shot himself in his office (which is now one of the dining rooms), another shot herself in a different bedroom, one hanged himself in the safe, and the last to die shot his dog and then himself in the head but botched it, he managed to crawl up the stairs where he eventually died on the 3rd floor stairwell. That one supposedly had a thing for prostitutes and he had an illegitimate child with one of them in a cave (they were converted into units used to store beer prior to refrigeration). The child was physically and mentally disabled and was kept in the attic until he died in his thirties, his tombstone has the name Zeke but he was supposedly only referred to as “monkey-face boy” in real life. She wasn’t aware of any of this until I told her.

Fast-forward a couple months later I’m relaying this story to my uncle and before I get to the part about her climbing the stairs to the 3rd floor he stops me and says, “in the master bedroom, before you get to the open safe,” He used to work as a beer delivery driver and the mansion was one of his stops, he walked through the house on his lunch break when he approached the safe he froze in fear, after a moment he rushed out of the house.

tl;dr Beer tycoon bangs a hooker and has a disabled bastard child who’s locked in an attic and called monkey face boy, decades later a chick sees the dude’s ghost in a safe and pukes. My uncle confirms this.

And straight 90's scifi blast from the past:
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:57 AM   #107
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^ pretty cool story.

I've heard plenty of stories from relatives/friends about supernatural experiences. Me? I've NEVER experienced anything even remotely close. I can't bring myself to believe in this shit.
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:42 AM   #108
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I can definetely understand people that don't believe in this as they haven't experienced any kind of paranormal event in their lives. Science can explain a lot of things but certainly there are still many answers to be found. Just like aliens, the universe is way too fucking big just to say that earth is the only planet with living species in it. Same with afterlife (heaven and hell and all that jazz) you will only know if this is true when you die, but there's no way to prove this.
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:28 AM   #109
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you are reading deep thoughts about existence.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:38 AM   #110
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^ lol
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:22 PM   #111
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there's a couple of bits somewhat related to the previous, more interesting discussion (first few minutes, and last couple of minutes) but you should all watch the whole thing anyway 'cause Feynman is awesome. that is all
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:27 PM   #112
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I can definetely understand people that don't believe in this as they haven't experienced any kind of paranormal event in their lives. Science can explain a lot of things but certainly there are still many answers to be found. Just like aliens, the universe is way too fucking big just to say that earth is the only planet with living species in it. Same with afterlife (heaven and hell and all that jazz) you will only know if this is true when you die, but there's no way to prove this.
The possibility of life on other planets is not the same at all as the possibility of life after death. It only seems similar if you are comparing unlikely encounters with aliens to unlikely encounters with ghosts.

We actually can sort of prove that there probably isn't life after death. Read Antaeos' post from earlier. He explains it better than I can. But basically, all of your consciousness is a product of physical brain activity. It may feel like consciousness, self-awareness, and your sense of being is something independent of your body, like there's some soul or essence of you at the cockpit of your body, but in reality, this is all the product of your brain. Real, irreversible death occurs when all brain activity ceases. Eventually your brain tissue and all the cells that once caused that activity rot. There is no reason to believe that consciousness continues after you die.

If this isn't convincing think of what happens when someone has a severe brain injury and as a result their personality radically changes (like Phineas Gage) or they become mentally impaired or brain dead . When people imagine life after death, particularly of a loved one, they always eem to conceptualize it as that person's personality at the time of death "watching over them."

Let me ask you then, what happened to Phineas Gage after death if there is, indeed life after death? Did he persist in his new personality or revert to his pre-accident personality?

What about Terry Schiavo? Is her incorporeal soul a human vegetable, or did part of her essence already die when she entered a persistent vegetative state? Biologically, the personality of Terry Shiavo was dead and would never come back. If she had a personality that persisted after death at what point did it leave her body? Was it trapped inside her unresponsive shell of a body? Or did it already leave it, considering she had no human personality to speak of after her accident?

What about anencephalic babies? They are born without a fore brain. They have some minor brain stem function that makes them "alive" for a time, but they will never have any sort of cognition or self-awareness. Do they have souls? What happens when they inevitably die (which they do, usually very soon after, unless you're a crazy religious zealot, like the mother of Baby K who insisted on putting her child on life support, wasting two years worth of that technology on a child who would never ever live as a human being)? Do these babies remain non-cognitive souls? (In which, case what would be the difference between them having life after death and not existing at all if they aren't even self-aware of ever existing in the first place?)

One of the reasons orthodox Christianity doesn't believe in animals having souls or going to heaven is based on the outdated belief that animals do not have cognition the same way humans do; that they are automatic. Of course we know this is false. Do animals experience life after death? Certainly many children are told that their pet went to "dog heaven" or "cat heaven" or whatever else. What about animals that, much like anancephalic babies, do not have self-awareness. Jelllyfish and sponges have no brains or sense of self. What would life after death mean to them? What would it mean to plants?
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:01 PM   #113
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hahahah bringing up anencephalic babies, I love you man.

I think the beginning of your argument was succinctly put forward by Sam Harris in this wonderful clip:



PS. bookmarked your vid Shadowcunter, as I have come to the stark realisation that I'm fucked for my exams starting the 30th.

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Old 04-25-2012, 11:34 PM   #114
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man, where's the tl;dr for this thread?
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:38 AM   #115
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Annual turnover of the Esoteric industry in germany: 25-30 billion €.
Annual turnover of the beer industry in germany: 9 billion €.

The posts in this thread aren't surprising.
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:50 AM   #116
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Annual turnover of the Esoteric industry in germany: 25-30 billion €.
Annual turnover of the beer industry in germany: 9 billion €.

The posts in this thread aren't surprising.
where are these numbers from? especially the first one of course.
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:58 AM   #117
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Johannes Fischler - 'New Cage: Esoterik 2.0 - Wie sie die Köpfe leert und die Kassen füllt'

They are from this book; however, you can also read this interview:
http://derstandard.at/1334530813212/...ssprays-loesen

"Für Österreich gibt es leider keine Zahlen, aber in Deutschland setzt die Esoterikindustrie geschätzte 20 bis 25 Milliarden Euro pro Jahr um. Zum Vergleich: Die Bierindustrie in Deutschland macht jährlich einen Umsatz von neun Milliarden. Manche Organisatoren verdienen mit Engelsfestivals an einem einzigen Wochenende bis zu eine halbe Million Euro."

(for some reason in the book it says 25-30 billion €)
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Old 04-26-2012, 03:30 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by ruonitb View Post
Annual turnover of the Esoteric industry in germany: 25-30 billion €.
Annual turnover of the beer industry in germany: 9 billion €.

The posts in this thread aren't surprising.
Those statistics are, however! I find it hard to believe, considering that far more people consume beer than esoterica, and the beer industry is involved in practically every public event.
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:10 AM   #119
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Esoterica can be expensive.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:32 AM   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruonitb View Post
Johannes Fischler - 'New Cage: Esoterik 2.0 - Wie sie die Köpfe leert und die Kassen füllt'

They are from this book; however, you can also read this interview:
http://derstandard.at/1334530813212/...ssprays-loesen

"Für Österreich gibt es leider keine Zahlen, aber in Deutschland setzt die Esoterikindustrie geschätzte 20 bis 25 Milliarden Euro pro Jahr um. Zum Vergleich: Die Bierindustrie in Deutschland macht jährlich einen Umsatz von neun Milliarden. Manche Organisatoren verdienen mit Engelsfestivals an einem einzigen Wochenende bis zu eine halbe Million Euro."

(for some reason in the book it says 25-30 billion €)
interesting article. it´s pretty much exactly what I suspected about that whole esoteric bullshit. I still don´t know how the fuck he got those numbers.

Last edited by Grindmasterflesh; 04-26-2012 at 06:43 AM..
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