Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Messages 14901 - 14920 of total 22937 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 12, 2013 - 04:51pm PT
...what I'm getting at here is that our experiences very naturally lead us to hypothesize that other people have a mind which is very similar to our own...

This also covers a general principle I pointed out up thread. I may have been attempting to posit that this " theory of mind" could underlie the radical subjectivist view of consciousness.

If there were no general features of human consciousness why would our subjectivists seek out gurus and masters to convey something meaningful?

And if there are general features of experience this suggests that the subjective experience is not entirely subjective. Such experiences have been corrupted by the objective. Knowledge about the subjective is cross-referenced to another subjective !VOILA! objective functioning, objective features.

!VOILA! Lol.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 12, 2013 - 05:48pm PT
If there were no general features of human consciousness why would our subjectivists seek out gurus and masters to convey something meaningful?

No cigar. You're still thinking in terms of some thing, aspect, notion, belief, or facet of content that "subjectivists" are "seeking."

There are two basic illusions here - First, that any human is at any time an "objectionist," shorn or subjective experience, or that you are having an "objective" experience, a total non-sequiter.

And second, that the fundamental nature of mind can be inpuned from the content.

Try it this way - If you were to remove all of the content of your mind, and for a moment just imagine this as so - then what would your mind be?

JL
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 12, 2013 - 07:04pm PT
No cigar. You're still thinking in terms of some thing, aspect, notion, belief, or facet of content that "subjectivists" are "seeking."

I'm not thinking in those terms. Those interested in subjective journeying ,get up out of bed ,get in their car, and then drive to the the meditation center- this is the " seeking" I am referring to.( btw I am not impugning their efforts per se)

Why are they doing this? If there are absolutely no objective elements to the experience they are interested in ,why would they go to the trouble?
If there are important things to learn from the masters of this discipline doesn't this suggest that there are elements in common?

Elements in common are by their very nature residing in the objective world. A world at once accessible to more than one individual and outside of the purely subjective.
It is a contradiction to the credo of subjective experience.
How can a subjectivist claim his/her experience is consistently and uniformly subjective under these conditions?

Try it this way - If you were to remove all of the content of your mind, and for a moment just imagine this as so - then what would your mind be?

I don't mean this flippantly, or in a derogatory way, but I would imagine my mind to be much like a jellyfish .
Floating around looking for something to sting.
WBraun

climber
May 12, 2013 - 07:21pm PT
If you were to remove all of the content of your mind
then what would your mind be?

Simple

An empty clear mind. Like a clean sheet.

Do want a dirty garbage sheet to sit on?

The western materialist carries all their excess baggage in their minds.

Just look at all the garbage in a typical mall.

The materialist has forgotten what a clear empty mind can do.

Their cups run over the top.

There's no more room in their minds ........
jogill

climber
Colorado
May 12, 2013 - 07:26pm PT
There are two basic illusions here - First, that any human is at any time an "objectionist," shorn or subjective experience, or that you are having an "objective" experience, a total non-sequiter

I assume you mean "objectivist" - and I agree. Two sides of the same coin.

Your other comment about removing all content from your mind: would you remain conscious? Or be in a vegetative state? If by mind you mean brain, then you would of course be dead. But assuming the autonomous systems remain in play I would think the latter. But this is more a koan than a possibility. Mind as mirror?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 12, 2013 - 07:28pm PT
I don't mean this flippantly, or in a derogatory way, but I would imagine my mind to be much like a jellyfish . Floating around looking for something to sting.



This is a pretty predictable answer to the question and shows someone who is totally identified with the discursive mind. The discursive mind grinds on things, quantifies, contrasts, narrow focuses, deals with discrete portions. Once you get quiet for long enough you can actually see your discursive mind wanting to grind, to "sting" or engage some thing so it can get back to grinding. This is just more content, in the form of a discursive info stream passing through the mind. It will keep grinding ad nauseum because that's what the discursive mind does.

Note also that it happens involuntarily. "You" don't need to consciously participate for it to keep grinding. That's why people are unconscious that this is going on or that they need not be present.

So my question was not about the grinding, discursive mind, which we can observe with enough practice. My question pertains to the mind through which the discursive data stream passes, also know as Big Mind, or mind with a capital M. What is the nature of THAT mind?

JL
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 12, 2013 - 07:33pm PT
The materialist has forgotten what a clear empty mind can do.

Nay, Nay, El Von Braun
Many a time have I emptied my mind to find....well ....nothing.

Seriously, I have at various times , listening to Monroe Institute recordings, entered into various alternate brain waves states.
I regard these states in general as a type of "relaxation response" .

On this very thread I have posted links to scientific studies illustrating the many health benefits of meditation.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 12, 2013 - 07:38pm PT
All that is old style dualistic thinking, Ed That's why there are many meditations designed to get past all the designations and "images between mirrors," like No-mind, and so forth. The provisional dissolution of ego-self is also pretty standard.

The whole wrangling of self is considered a dead end, that why there are koans to show you as much. Self is more appropriately a study of psychology. In the esoteric arts you learn that a self is not only provisionary and conditioned, but illusory.

The screwy thing is people have been wrangling these questions for well over 2,500 years, and those who have never done any of that work remain convinced that they have the real deal fully reckoned - sort of like me figuring I know physics having never studied it. And one better, convincing myself that I do know.

It's an astonishing thing virtually never seen in any other field of study.

Whiff on that.

JL
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 12, 2013 - 07:41pm PT
This is a pretty predictable answer to the question and shows someone who is totally identified with the discursive mind. The discursive mind grinds on things, quantifies, contrasts, narrow focuses, deals with discrete portions. Once you get quiet for long enough you can actually see your discursive mind wanting to grind, to "sting" or engage some thing so it can get back to grinding. This is just more content, in the form of a discursive info stream passing through the mind. It will keep grinding ad nauseum because that's what the discursive mind does.

In these polemics I have intentionally avoided definitively
characterizing the state of mind of the subjectivist ; preferring to concentrate instead on what I regard as philosophical and logical inconsistencies in the various declarations and claims.
I understand these declarations to be outside of the subjective experience per se.


cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
May 12, 2013 - 07:44pm PT
The "esoteric arts," that's always a good one.

Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 12, 2013 - 08:10pm PT
Having had a one and a half hour long experience of no mind, that is, no discursive verbal thought possible for an hour and a half, I have to say that it was both subjective and objective.

It was subjective because it had never happened before and was novel. However, even though I could not form the thought in words, I knew that it resembled what I had read about. Therefore it belonged to an objective category of subjective experiences.

Beyond that, the fact that my autonomic nervous system kept functioning since I was still breathing and heart beating and able to walk up and down a beach and register what I saw as it gradually got dark, means that it was a small part of a larger, still functioning brain.

The question for me is not whether the Buddhist or other masters were correct about their experiences, nor the value of getting the mind to that condition, but what is the ultimate meaning of such experiences? Are they simply a reversion back to an earlier state of evolution, or are they part of a vast consciousness that pervades the universe? That is the question.

The objectivists are certain it was simply an experience of the meat brain and the subjectivists, that it was an experience of universal mind or cosmic consciousness. Myself, I can not say. Anything that requires years of effort, takes on significance, perhaps greater than what it is. The experience however was significant and impressive enough to keep me looking for answers.

TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
May 12, 2013 - 11:44pm PT
well, Ed, please share your evaluation of this movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMhAIdqH0Cs&NR=1&feature=fvwp

Nikola Tesla unlimited free energy forever THEY dont want you to know about
MH2

climber
May 13, 2013 - 09:28am PT
Jan quietly asks about the meaning of experience. Although experience itself can be attributed to information processing in the brain, where does the meaning come from?

Information theory sets aside the question of meaning and looks only at the signal. How many bits does it take to represent a signal, what noise exists in the transmission line, can noise be overcome by redundancy, etc?

Information can be translated into the abstract realm of mathematics and this is a powerful way to look at the nature of information.

The meaning we attach to the information we experience may derive from its relevance to our biological needs, or it may not. The world is a big and mysterious place. When we smell food we like, the meaning of the experience is relatively basic and obvious, but a host of feelings may be conjured up by the smell, feelings not simply explained by our need to eat. Perhaps our biological needs are more complicated than we usually give them credit for, or perhaps our brains (or spirits) can look beyond the biological. It is decidedly strange that under certain conditions we experience a sense of immanence.




The dragonfly study was great. I have been a fan of dragonfly neuroscience since 1974. Insects and birds are good subjects because when you fly you must keep weight to a minimum and you can expect to see nervous systems stripped to the essentials.


Probably people here are also aware of the recent study of prediction in the human visual system. Using a test called the Flash Drag Effect and doing fMRI on people, a part of the brain was identified where our vision predicts the position of a fast-moving object. In the milliseconds it takes for information to get from our retina to our visual cortex a tennis ball, for example, may have moved a meter or more. Our brain takes that into account and we see the ball where it is going to be, not where it is. I will look for it later, but I have a paper from the 80s which talks about this process of prediction already evident in the retina, though probably not fully developed there.

People no doubt vary in their ability to track moving objects. Ed's baseball career comes to mind.

In an interview one of the authors of the study mentioned that there are cases of people who, usually because of brain injury, do not have any ability to see motion. They see the world as a series of still images. When they pour coffee into a cup they have to just take a guess on when to stop pouring.

The study made me think about hearing, too, and whether people's sense for rhythm and dance, as in following a beat, also requires prediction on the audio side.



The Flash Drag Effect

jogill

climber
Colorado
May 13, 2013 - 12:32pm PT
Our brain takes that into account and we see the ball where it is going to be, not where it is

This is very interesting, MH2. I wonder what the relationship this phenomenon has with the ability of the brain to subconsciously calculate the probabilities of various responses to a very abrupt change of environment (or action) and trigger an appropriate response from us, all in a very, very short span of time, inadequate for deliberation. Certainly instinct plays a role here, but where instinct is not sufficient some sort of subconscious calculation may take place.

Or maybe not.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
May 13, 2013 - 12:37pm PT
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23532-early-hominins-couldnt-have-heard-modern-speech.html

Our australopith ancestors heard their world differently from modern humans....
jstan

climber
May 13, 2013 - 07:29pm PT
I was once at a conference attended by Dirac. What was my impression of the man?

More than anything else, he just wanted to be left alone.


Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
May 13, 2013 - 08:41pm PT
I just real like hearing how simple this is…
A 10 year old can take on the argument.

jogill

climber
Colorado
May 13, 2013 - 09:58pm PT
I was once at a conference attended by Dirac

Mathematicians have certainly had fun generalizing the Dirac delta function in distribution theory and generalized functions. But the nascent functions they use are a far cry from what one imagines of the DDF when displayed graphically.
MH2

climber
May 13, 2013 - 10:21pm PT
The brain estimating probabilities? No doubt it can, but we need an example.


Neurons readily do derivatives. That happens early in the visual system in so-called edge detectors.

In the vestibular system a "second integration" is done on the angular velocity signal found in the semicircular canal primary sensory neurons. The second integration provides a position signal for eye muscles to use to compensate for head rotation so the eyes can track a target when you are moving.

Trying to predict abrupt changes would be more difficult than predicting the position of a baseball moving in a nearly straight line.



I know from personal experience that it is hard to track dragonflies. I will need to pay more attention next time to whether my brain is predicting where the dragonfly will be rather than where it is. Perhaps there will be some weird edge effect I can perceive when the dragonfly stops to hover.








BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 14, 2013 - 03:50am PT
Largo's insistence that we know nothing of mind if we haven't followed his "2500" years of experience, cannot be completely true. I don't believe that he is tapping in to anything that we all already share.

We all have minds. Most of us are curious enough to ponder it, the mind itself. The idea that studying the brain to get at mental function, response, and ability, will lead you nowhere, is just foolish. JL himself often refers to left brain/right brain thinking and the "limbic system." These are all anatomical discoveries of neuroscience, so I assume that he bothers reading up on it a little bit.

I did change my opinion on subjective experience. I pointed out long ago that we can do objective study, but only in a rigorous way designed to strip away subjective biases. This is baby 101 stuff. While it is true that our senses receive information in a subjective way, there are many ways to objectify this experience and make it completely useful in an objective way. You just have to follow your critical thinking skills and dare I say Some Method such as the Scientific Method, which is designed to remove subjective bias from empirical information or thought.

I'm a geologist, and I easily think in an objective way. I work with a lot of objective data. I can also work in a subjective way, the creative way, by using my familiarity with information gathered over the past 27 years. I can take an idea, hold it up at arms length, turn it over and critically examine it, as if ideas were actual empirical objects. After lots of experience understanding the relationship between mathematics and matter, I assume that Ed can do the same thing. I don't have to pull out my calculator to daydream. I do when I finally want to write it down and prove it. I can see my data. Ed cannot. Both of us use instruments that extend our physical senses far beyond anything that they can see.

As for meditation, I see its use as a tool for finding happiness. No more.

The Buddha said that life is suffering, and the effort was to releave this suffering. Nothing more.

It may be useful in allowing the "back chatter" in the mind to reveal new ideas, because my best ideas have come out of nowhere. I can forget a problem for 10 years and then have a flash of inspiration in the shower. Somehow I am unconsciously processing information.

Do others experience this? I doubt that I am unique.

Why do whales sing? I have read that Humpback Whales sing songs with whales on the other side of the Pacific; their song travels that far. The songs evolve and change throughout the year, and it is obvious that the whales are singing to each other. We call it "song," but what are they singing?

I will say it again and again. Neuroscience is in a Golden Age, and none of us know jack about it, so the topic of the mind is coming from a bunch of amateurs and others who follow ancient methods.

Why do the Buddhists have prayer wheels? Everything I have read says that The Buddha (the first one) was a man and not a god. He achieved enlightenment, but so can anyone. That is what I have read in the first page of every book on Buddhism that I've read.

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