Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 15, 2013 - 05:47pm PT
On another note.
This thread has taken yet another turn for the worse. I would not have thought it possible.

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.

I was hoping jstan or someone else would elaborate on his statement above since I can't quite make out what he's saying and I think it pertains to my contribution?? Personally, I think this thread has taken several interesting turns lately so I don't know what he thinks is worse about it??

Meanwhile, I would disagree with him when he says emotions are voluntary. I think the point of many dreams is to reveal our true emotions to ourselves in small doses since they are sometimes so painful we can't face them head on. Starting with Freud we have learned that repressed emotions often lead to unpleasant and unhealthy outbursts. It seems to me that only by facing emotions in small bits as done in dreams and meditation, can we understand them and their source and our sometimes unhealthy response enough to have true voluntary control over them which is different than repression.

Some people seem to arrive at emotional control through pure reason, but I suspect these are people who have had relatively smooth emotional relationships compared to some of the rest of us. A guy suffering PTSD from service in a place like Iraq is going to have a tough time trying to reason his way out of that. His pain goes deeper than logic.

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 15, 2013 - 06:06pm PT
That was pretty logical.

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 15, 2013 - 06:13pm PT
I was googling up some of the phrases and words that occasionally slip out here, and psychology is apparently going through a sort of revolution right now, as far as the whole mind/body question goes. Some of the stuff that I read this afternoon sounded a lot like John.

Didn't you go back to school to study psychology or something, John Long?

What did you study? Where did you go?

May 15, 2013 - 06:18pm PT
Lord Buddha is himself incarnation of God, and he induced his followers to worship him.

He cheated the atheists.

Just worship me he said. Do as I do.

In other words they never knew he was a direct incarnation of God himself to cheat the atheists to keep them from incurring more karmic reactions.

Only God knows how to cheat perfectly so that one can advance.

This shows that on the absolute platform there is always personality, individuality, variegatedness and everthing is animated.

Not that the ultimate truth is impersonal ......

May 15, 2013 - 06:44pm PT
I am not sure what jstan is getting at, either, but I take it as a reminder that we can never be sure we understood what the other person meant. Maybe jstan is taking several paths simultaneously.

Emotions are mostly involuntary. You can learn to control your response to them but only good actors can convincingly simulate emotion. In How the Mind Works Stephen Pinker makes the case that emotions are important in social groups to allow members to differentiate honesty from deception. There are good evolutionary biology reasons for trying to cheat if you can get away with it, and therefore good reasons for not letting it happen, too.

Dreams are a fascinating topic, unless you are telling yours to someone else, and then it can be hard to pay attention. One view is that dreams are a form of psychic healing. This would be important in social groups where your status in the group is subject to challenge. When you sleep you restore your ego. Like Freud said? No doubt some psychic wounds exceed the healing capacity of dreaming just the way some body injuries are too traumatic.

Is your brain at work when you sleep? Yes, it is always at work, even for JL when he is in no-space, unless he has stopped breathing, and his heart has stopped beating, and his temperature is heading toward room level, etc.,etc.

Your brain is working even under general anesthesia but you will likely not have a great new idea when you come out of it.

Whether dreams sometimes play a special role in problem-solving is not a sure thing. To test such a hypothesis you would need to compare sleep to other long intervals when you were not consciously directing your thought. Remember that a keystone of QED came to Freeman Dyson during a long bus ride and that the same sort of sudden inspiration took Kary Mullis by surprise during a midnight car ride in California and he gave us the polymerase chain reaction. I am sure all of us have experienced lesser examples.

Yesterday it took me about 6 hours to remember the name of an edible wild plant I saw: amaranth. I have a well-rehearsed method from crossword puzzle practice. I go through cycles of conscious effort but I know that time is necessary, too, and I have a feeling that the answer needs to present itself, not have me find it, but that I have to prime the pump, as it were, with conscious thought.

It makes you wonder what cavemen dreamed of. I like to think that perhaps dreams are messages from another realm and that cavemen woke up in the morning with fresh ideas about fire, stone tools, or hunting strategy. Now we have rendered the other realm obsolete and we are not getting the help we used to.

Ice climber
the ghost
May 15, 2013 - 07:04pm PT
Is your brain at work when you sleep?
I read (decades ago) that dreams occur during transfer from short term to long term memory.
Here's a recent paper:

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 15, 2013 - 07:06pm PT
I spent several years studying my dreams as one form of meditation. If you tell your mind just before sleep that you want to remember, then you will, especially if you write notes or talk into a recorder right after they happen.

I found that there are many levels and types of dreams.

Some seem to be scrambled and unintelligible. I classified those as "too much pizza before bed" type dreams.

Some are clearly filing and sorting the day's information dreams (short term to long term memory).

Some seem to be really interesting movies. If you get a book on dream symbolism, you'll begin to understand them at a deeper level though. Some symbols seem to be almost universal, others are culture specific, and the most interesting are personal. Sometimes I woke up laughing and laughing at how clever my unconscious mind was at presenting old issues in unexpected form. Other times while dreaming I would recognize a particular symbol set that appears in many different dreams (indicating unresolved issues).

Some dreams appear to be learning dreams. I often found myself in school type situations (sometimes in a room with Indian yogis) and would wake up exhausted but knowing I had learned a lot. Some dreams however, did seem to come from a different deeper realm with a more profound message whether a new idea or the solution to an old problem.

I note that several important inventions came as these types of message dreams, including the insight of the structure of organic molecules (symbolized for the scientist by a snake rolling down a hill with its tail in its mouth) to the guy who invented the automatic sewing machine, whose break through came while dreaming of being chased by natives with spears that had an elongated hole in the tip like a sewing machine needle.

I'm not sure it is required to believe in other realms to get these messages so much as we need to relearn the nature and importance of symbols. Our whole world has been skewed toward the verbal and written word the last couple of centuries. Perhaps one of the benefits of the internet then, is that it has reintroduced symbols on a daily basis.


The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
May 15, 2013 - 07:17pm PT
Frankenstein, benzene, and the scientific method itself, all dream-begotten:


Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 15, 2013 - 07:46pm PT
I think it took you two years to tell us that you were practicing Zen. Why?

I've spent two years swearing to you and others that your rational mind is limited, that deeper issues of identity and Mind and reality are not assailable via thinking about them, any more than you can get the low down on a rock climb by noodling the topo. How many people were willing to move one inch in that direction. This alone is betting against yourself, but it also shows the trance and the awareness fusion that most of us have with our discursive minds. There is simply no way that you are EVER going to get that till the trance is broken. That alone is why you are never going to "understand me" even though you have tried. But you have tried strictly on your own terms, the very terms that I have repeatedly said are the very trap we encounter in the experiential realm. I hardly have an exclusive on this notion - any viable esoteric tradition has some practice to quell the discursive mind. If you simply refuse to do so, you can blame me if you like, but it doesn't get you any further down the road. And again, it is downright ludicrous to believe that if the discursive mind had any shot at handling the larger issues, all the meditators from all time would not have immediately gone that route. Why wouldn't we have done so if it held out any hope for results. But again, no disrespect intended, but you are a little like Cintune asking what "larger issues" I am talking about while expecting them to be presented to him as discursive artifacts, when all along I have said this is a road paved with pyrite - per the mysteries of presence and being.

Another thing is this insistance that I have some skewed idea about the importance of quantifying and science, like I not only don't grasp what is at hand, but deprecate the sciences in the process. I have never done this. I have only giggled at scientism and it's belief in itself as the new God, sans limitations per investigating reality. One need only go to a discursive fundamentalist like cintune to realize he not only doesn't know what the deeper issues are, but doubts they even exist becasue if they don't exist as discursive artifact, they are not real, correct? A physicalist can believe no other way because the discursive mind only deals in those terms.

But I think the thing that has surprised me the most here is that for an adventurous group, few are willing to go one inch into the unknown with anything but their standard discursive tool kit. That does amaze me.



May 15, 2013 - 09:22pm PT
And again, it is downright ludicrous to believe that if the discursive mind had any shot at handling the larger issues, all the meditators from all time would not have immediately gone that route.

Maybe the meditators from earlier times did not have the math, logic, instruments, and world-wide connections with other investigators that the science of today has. If you are handling larger issues progress might be incremental and cumulative. Although meditation may be your chosen path, you should still give science the benefit of some doubt and not proclaim that it cannot handle larger issues.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 15, 2013 - 09:36pm PT
It all depends on how we define the larger issues doesn't it?

May 15, 2013 - 09:39pm PT
Science per sec can handle any issue.

It is perfect in itself.

It's the individual scientist/s that cause the problem.

Not science itself .......

All knowledge, all science is just a seeking after GOD in the final conclusion.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 15, 2013 - 10:27pm PT
. Although meditation may be your chosen path, you should still give science the benefit of some doubt and not proclaim that it cannot handle larger issues.

Discursive investigations by and large concern discrete or measurable things, whereas the experiential adventure deals with the boundless or unborn. That's what I mean by "larger issues." The mistake is to think we are investigating the same "things," just using our our tool of choice.

Another way to look at this question is like this: We can easily see that experiential adventures will never supplant science in investigating objective functioning. This is right and just since every mode of inquiry has limitations. We all know that. Conversely, where do you see the limitations of science in exploring the experiential, or any realm. We know that each mode of inquiry is limited, and that experiential adventure can never grasp, say, quantum mechanics on the quantum level. Where do you see the scientific mode running out of road? The "bigger issues" lay beyond the end of that road. If you only see road, then you're looking at objective functioning - no way around that. What's left?

Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 16, 2013 - 12:10am PT
All knowledge, all science is just a seeking after GOD in the final conclusion.

Not true.

You've been chomping on the wrong tacos.

May 16, 2013 - 07:03am PT
Where do you see the scientific mode running out of road? The "bigger issues" lay beyond the end of that road.

I can't foresee where science will take us or fail on us. I agree that the methods of science have already been driven into terrain too soft. Just because a person makes an hypothesis, collects data, and does statistics does not mean that anything of value has been learned.

When it comes to what nervous systems do, we are not yet at the end of any road. If meditation looks at larger issues, so might science. To me it seems that the real trouble is not whether science is limited but whether people can cope with its successes. If we ever come to know enough about consciousness to create an artificial one...

I would not want to be that consciousness.

Impossible? I hope so, but go back in human history to a scene with one fur-clad hominid looking at another and thinking, "Ha! He thinks that fire is the answer to everything."

May 16, 2013 - 07:23am PT
The art of meditation is itself a science.

It is very scientific and precise.

Not that modern material science has the exclusive hold on what is "Science".

That is what the whole sum substance of the problem has been all along.

When modern material science "believes" it has exclusive hold on what is "Science" it has led to what we see today as pure scientism.

This scientism is the the predominate control that is misleading the world today ........
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
May 16, 2013 - 08:00am PT
To me it seems that the real trouble is not whether science is limited but whether people can cope with its successes.

as has been well established through the depths of history and amazingly, plenty enough today!

I'm constantly puzzled why sciences current "deficiencies" or lack of capability is implied as certain proof that it will always be so. Fact is, if history offers any indication, such certainty is wholly unwarranted. There are of course other explanations for "push back" which has entirely to do with protecting entrenched dogmas and has no particular interest in expanding knowledge.

In the field of avalanche safety there is a long history of people navigating the snowy mountains relying very much on intuition, feel, experience and other unquantifiables - even successfully, sometimes impressively. A long apprenticeship under the tutelage of the mountain and various pot smoking mystics can certainly yeild a system of survival or even something resembling mastery to the point where you can convince yourself thats all there is to it.

But what if you actually knew not only what a depth hoar grain feels like or that cold air is related somehow, but actually and empirically how it comes to be and goes away? less than a century ago this was completely unknown, even by those who really wanted to know. Whatever was known about basic mechanics let alone micro atmospherics and vapor pressures was unquantified, untheorized, and as unknown as the heavens once were.

Now the really amazing thing is that to this day there are people out there who prefer it that way. For whatever reasons that is their personal choice and to be fair so long as they don't offer their services as an expert guide maybe thats the right choice in terms of their own happiness and motives. Maybe its even their only path to "enlightenment". However if survival is also an objective, you would have to be an idiot not to use all the tools available, especially proven ones, in such a fluid, unstable and still very much "unquantifiable" environment.

MH2 - I realize I have misapropriated the intent of your quote. forgive me and yeah i think you got a point

May 16, 2013 - 09:40am PT
Base brought up the Allegory of the Cave, but a fuller understanding of what Plato might have been attempting to show might have eluded him. Basically the point of the allegory is that one might be in a dream and may not know it.

I referred to the Matrix a few times up above, but that allegory was not so very good. In the Matrix, the new man ("Neo") awakens from a simulation / dream, but we never question that what Neo wakes up to is the real world (not a dream itself). The gothic, droll world he wakes up to seems more dreamlike than the one he came from if you consider the quality of the cinematography. (It's ironic.)

If you sit in a movie theatre, you can hardly avoid being pulled into the story, irrespective of whether it's a good movie or a bad one. Sure, you might be thinking to yourself that the screenplay makes errors in logic, or that the cinematography is pretty, or that the actors are doing a good job or a bad job, but all of those things are interpretations based upon the story in front of you playing out. No one looks at the screen and sees it for what it is: a screen. You don't see light projected onto the screen; you cannot help but see people, places, events, behaviors, and things. You cannot help but interpret.

The next time you turn on your tv or go to the movies, see how long you can keep seeing the screen and the light (as light) on the screen, rather than seeing the "lila" (the drama).

The Allegory of the Cave may help us to "see" what is actually in front of us: that is, light, sound, tactile feelings, smells, thoughts (as thoughts) without getting involved in making up content / interpretations.

The more interesting and advanced questions are not what is in front of us (the raw data of light, sound, feeling, etc.), but instead: what is the projector, what is that light inside the projector, and what is the film that is creating those images on the screen?

I expect Go-B here to bring forth a scripture about The Light, and maybe for Werner to bring forth a comment about karma (as a film through which the light shines through).

It's all a projection.

Pretty realistic, huh?


May 16, 2013 - 10:34am PT
The main thing I noticed about The Matrix (part 1) was that the spider-like machines tending the vat-dwelling humans had more animation and character than Neo.

Plato's cave has also been used to point out that even if you were only looking at shadows projected on a cave wall from light at the entrance, by studying the shadows over time you would likely begin to make conjectures about the world outside the cave. For example, the shadows might move against the wall as the sun rose and set, and then you might begin to notice changes in their position during the year. You might see shadows cast by the Moon. Plato's cave is still a place where ideas could be developed and tested against observation.

May 16, 2013 - 10:49am PT

That's true enough, MH2, but I'd argue that's not what people are doing, and it's not what people are aruging here. People here are arguing that they are seeing objects (irrespective of kinds). Objects are reifications. When you no longer see objects but simply experience, then you've stood up and started to leave the cave.

It's just an allegory, you know? It's false because it's just another interpretation or set of concepts. What sense does it make to be investigating the objects in a dream? When you give-up on the dramas, then you see what's real.
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