Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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jstan

climber
May 14, 2013 - 05:50am PT
Largo's insistence that we know nothing of mind if we haven't followed his "2500" years of experience, cannot be completely true.

Complete truth is too high a standard to set. More directly our sitting here arguing about this stuff says 2500 years of arguments have not even got us anything even vaguely close to something that "works".

As we type people are learning how the brain actually does work. That this kind of dialog still goes on is weird. The answers are are coming in.

The existence of this thread points to an underlying flaw in our makeup. Trying to identify that flaw might actually prove of value.


cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
May 14, 2013 - 06:26am PT
It could also be argued that Largo's efforts, at best, illustrate precisely the reason why Zen has traditionally been considered a non-proselytizing belief system.
jogill

climber
Colorado
May 14, 2013 - 10:34am PT
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

Happens all the time to mathematicians, but usually on a much shorter time scale. I recall starting a project for my thesis many years ago, not penetrating a dilemma for a few days, then waking up in the middle of the night with a complete resolution.

On the other hand, I've had flashes of "insight" while slumbering that when exposed to critique at full consciousness proved absurd.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 14, 2013 - 06:46pm PT
I've had the same experience as jogil's many times. I've had dreams where brilliant and eloquent sentences tumbled out as I was lecturing on a topic i was writing a paper on, but when I woke up, I could remember none of it or only a few phrases. Other times I've been able to reconstruct most of it. So far I haven't found any meditation techniques to enhance this process while awake.

One process that I am able to engage sometimes, is lucid dreaming, whereby I am dreaming as though the subject of a movie, while I am conscious enough to also be the director of the movie and change the direction of the plot or imagine alternative endings. The meditative purpose of this kind of dreaming is to convince one that the self is illusory and many different selves could be imagined (travel and living in foreign cultures will do this too).

Now I'm wondering if the stages of consciousness between discursive thinking and no thought aren't the ones where we will learn the most about the structure of the mind and how to use it productively?
jstan

climber
May 14, 2013 - 07:19pm PT
Seems to me we are onto something. The quantum is telling us nature takes all paths to get from point A to point B.

Possibly, we are doing the same thing.

While sleeping we do not have to make time critical decisions affecting survival. So while sleeping maybe the brain takes all paths on the problem we were working on before bed time. Only a small portion of them become "dreams". The brain is designed and experienced in living. Taking input signals in real time and comparing them to remembered experience. The brain may be taking each of these paths and playing them out as if they were real time experiences. Because that's the way it was designed to work.
MH2

climber
May 14, 2013 - 07:36pm PT
nature takes all paths to get from point A to point B


It often looks that way.

I find it odd that 'discursive' has quite different meanings:

a. passing aimlessly from one subject to another, rambling
b. proceeding by reasoning or argument rather than by intuition

and that it comes from a Latin word that means to run about.



I wonder what state of consciousness I am experiencing when I do photography? I am not aware of any inner voice or words. If quieting the mind for meditation is tricky, how about trying to take pictures of dragonflies in flight using a zoom lens?





Dragonflies are easy compared to butterflies.






I have spent hours without getting a good shot or having a worthwhile insight afterwards. Maybe it is closer to lucid dreaming than to meditation. Except that now I have a strong conviction that nature takes all paths to get from A to B.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 14, 2013 - 08:32pm PT
As for meditation, I see its use as a tool for finding happiness. No more.


I would like to hear about your direct experiences with meditation that led you to this conclusion. My sense is that you are looking at meditation as something that you do, as opposed to where you momentarily forgo doing anything. This is akin to John S. looking for something that "works." These are all artifacts of the discursive mind grinding on bits and pieces of what it perceives as the issue. As they say at the beginning, just shut up and listen - not to me or anyone, but to the silence between thoughts. Once the discursive mind gets sufficiently fatigued at trying to recon or calibrate the terrain, Mind with a big M becomes accessible even as the discursive mind begs to know "the point."

The discursive mind is itself a tool, and we are so hard-wired to fuse with it that until you can learn to disidentify with thinking, there is no way to actually see what your mind is beyond the processing of content. This is a challenging idea for the discursive mind, which can never understand what the deeper questions really are. Most of all, that it cannot be the arbiter of IT ALL.

JL
WBraun

climber
May 14, 2013 - 08:56pm PT
As for meditation, I see its use as a tool for finding happiness.

That's very good. Excellent.

The soul by its true nature is always blissful.

Once purification is perfected by proper meditation one will become truly happy.

Not that one becomes only in some phony warm fuzzy feeling projected by those in poor fund of knowledge.

One becomes clear in all activities and thus true happiness manifests.

Thus even in anger it must be precise and clear with out false ego .....
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 14, 2013 - 09:16pm PT
While sleeping we do not have to make time critical decisions affecting survival. So while sleeping maybe the brain takes all paths on the problem we were working on before bed time. Only a small portion of them become "dreams". The brain is designed and experienced in living. Taking input signals in real time and comparing them to remembered experience. The brain may be taking each of these paths and playing them out as if they were real time experiences. Because that's the way it was designed to work.


I like the idea that the brain in sleep is taking each of the experiences and playing them out. In terms of evolution though, one has to ask how that works in animals that do not have the cerebrum associated with discursive thinking. Their brains are geared to helping them survive, so wouldn't the alternative pathways have preceded the discursive? If so, how do they make sense of the cacophony?

Maybe each brain innovation or major new network of neurons has brought about a different pathway that superceded the others and that our present discursive mind is only the latest master of the others and could theoretically be superceded by yet another if we survive that long?



jogill

climber
Colorado
May 14, 2013 - 09:43pm PT
These are all artifacts of the discursive mind grinding on bits and pieces of what it perceives as the issue

Grinding is actually good. It leads to enlightenment. You should try it sometime.

Oh, but you do . . . isn't that what your posts are about?
jstan

climber
May 14, 2013 - 09:47pm PT
could theoretically be superceded by yet another if we survive that long?

If the gen 1 neuron were to serve no purpose but would still require calories, the efficiency of the organism would be lowered. The evolution of us mammals was a huge change of direction from the reptiles. While we use many more calories, our profligate life style makes efficiency even more of an issue.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 14, 2013 - 10:00pm PT
Clearly the discursive mind combined with an active social life that also contributes to survival is the most efficient use of our brain.

If we can only afford to have the less efficient uses rise to consciousness during sleep as in dreaming, then an interesting question becomes in what order are the less efficient uses most useful?

In our modern society, dreams about professional stuff should count as more important than run of the mill emotional material that is usually repressed, yet that is mostly what we dream of.

It's a wonder that more of us don't suffer from split personality disorders. I guess maintaining order even as an autocrat, is something we should thank our discursive minds for.

TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
May 14, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMhAIdqH0Cs&NR=1&feature=fvwp

i think this video is well worth your time, and i'd really like to hear your comments...

The Philadelphia Public Ledger 1933: Asked whether the sudden introduction of his principle would upset the present economic system, Dr. Tesla replied, 'It is badly upset already. Now as never before, the time is right for the development of new resources'
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 15, 2013 - 05:07am PT
I would like to hear about your direct experiences with meditation that led you to this conclusion.

I have a small stack of books on the topic of Buddhism. Zen is a sect of Buddhism, correct?

The main point is that all life is suffering. Buddhism helps to relieve this suffering.

So the point is happiness. Maybe you are after something else, but this is very clear right up front, as well as the fact that the Buddha, first among others, was a man just like you or I.

Did I get anything wrong?
jstan

climber
May 15, 2013 - 06:35am PT
A couple of posts:
5/9/13
In a sense individuals now assume the role of a neuron
.

5/14/13
As we type people are learning how the brain actually does work. That this kind of dialog still goes on is weird. The answers are are coming in.

Base and I seem to see the same kind of future forming up. Go ahead. Tell me the existence of the republican party and politics in the Middle East are not evidence humans are well along the road to forming a hive. We are facing a very major change.

On another note.
This thread has taken yet another turn for the worse. I would not have thought it possible.

Response:
In our modern society, dreams about professional stuff should count as more important than run of the mill emotional material that is usually repressed, yet that is mostly what we dream of.

Jan, JO and others have said they wake up with answers to problems associated with their technical work, as do I. This suggests dreaming is only one level or approach used by the brain. There can be many. That suggests scene construction has been found the most effective way to resolve emotional issues.

Emotions are often an impediment to good thinking. Emotions are not involuntary. We choose to be emotional. I can think of only one example where emotion is productive. Facing a grizzly while armed only with a pen knife. That would require emotion.

(This thread has not as yet risen to the level of a grizzly.)

WBraun

climber
May 15, 2013 - 07:51am PT
Buddha, first among others, was a man just like you or I.

No

You made a terrible mistake.

You need to study more.

Buddha was not an ordinary mortal. He wasn't even a mortal.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 15, 2013 - 11:11am PT
I have a small stack of books on the topic of Buddhism. Zen is a sect of Buddhism, correct?

The main point is that all life is suffering. Buddhism helps to relieve this suffering.

So the point is happiness. Maybe you are after something else, but this is very clear right up front, as well as the fact that the Buddha, first among others, was a man just like you or I.

Did I get anything wrong?


Zen as it is practiced now in American and elsewhere does not require that you be Buddhist or faux Japanese or any such thing, though most people find that some of the structures are useful having been arrived at over many years.

The main problem with trying to noodle Zen from books is that Zen and other meditation practices are not intellectual pursuits, though there are vast amounts of writing on the subject, but never BEFORE the practice. The writing is always the fruit of the practice, otherwise the practice is noodled from the outside and you'll never realize that noodling is the cul-de-sac of the whole shebang.

The point on suffering is a subtle one. We can never get rid of pain and death and so forth, but we can learn to stop suffering over the pain - never perfectly, but we can move in that direction. But there is no attempt to abolish pain which is impossible.

I think one of the things that gets overlooked in this discussion is the terrific resistance most people have in letting go of the discursive mind even for twenty minutes a day. There's a terror associated with it, or a mistrust in going elsewhere BEFORE the terrain is even approached. Most amazing to me is that if the discursive mind had any hope of working on the deeper issues, don't you think people would use it in that way? Of course they would. Why not? Only after centuries of drawing a blank in that regards, trying to objectify Mind from the inside, did people start wondering if there might be another approach, counterintuitive as it is. The great breakthrough of the Buddha and others is that they found a way "that works."

Point is, reading about Zen or any other contemplative discipline is merely a stepping stone to the practice, and any opinions must be your own drawn from the practice itself, not from ramblings in a book which were derived form someone else's practice.

JL
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
May 15, 2013 - 03:34pm PT
if the discursive mind had any hope of working on the deeper issues...

Deeper issues? Like what? Such as?
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 15, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
Hey Largo. At least I show interest in what you say.

Your mind has been made up since your first post. I seriously cannot tell if you have learned anything in this discussion. The rest of us have, or at least we are having an interesting discussion.

The conclusion that I draw is that talking to you is about as fruitful as talking to a wall. You have created your own thesaurus, borrowing words and concepts, and using them out of context.

I know that you are a big boy and that I won't upset you, but if you can't explain your theories in small and cogent language, despite your occupation as a writer, then you are really stuck. Your ineffability regarding anything objective, or having anything to do with science, is just weird. Go-B makes more sense than you do.

It has been plain to me for quite a while that while others are willing to argue and discuss, you have revealed yourself incredibly slowly. I think it took you two years to tell us that you were practicing Zen. Why?

Perhaps it would help if you actually tried to communicate. For the life of me, I don't know what the hell you are talking about most of the time, and buddy, I have tried.

Maybe you should share your lessons with us. That would be a really good place to start.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 15, 2013 - 04:38pm PT
Werner,

There are differing accounts of the life of Siddhartha. I am aware of the virgin birth, and Christ like powers that people have attached to him, but at the same time I have read that since him there have been other Buddhas who have reached enlightenment.

One of my books is from a Vietnamese teacher. In that book he says that Siddhartha was a man just as the rest of us.

I used to go to a little store near my work, and there was a guy from Nepal working there. Naturally this caught my ear and we discussed religion and politics of Nepal.

He was a Hindu who also was a Buddhist. He told me that many Hindu's have incorporated the life and teaching of Siddhartha into their religion.

I have also read that you do not have to believe in God to be a Buddhist. That admission is what attracted me.

You know more than I, so give me a lesson.
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