Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Sep 17, 2013 - 02:49am PT
I like to think of advanced meditation as being a creative activity and advanced meditators as similar to artists and musicians. They see worlds that the rest of us do not or they see certain dimensions of reality and human experience before the rest of us do. What seems outrageous at the time of creation eventually becomes fashionably avant garde and eventually generally accepted aesthetics or wisdom. Every great artist and musician was ahead of their time, often by a century or more.

I personally believe this is true of meditators as well. Each generation of them expresses their experience in new language but the essence remains the same just as we have gone through many different styles in artistic and musical history yet genius from previous ages is still recognized. The cave paintings of 10,000 years ago are strangely modern while the baroque churches however over done are still visually pleasing in terms of color and composition. Gothic cathedrals still inspire and Vincent Van Gogh is recognized as more than a madman.

Very few scientists or engineers would say that artists and musicians waste their time and are deluded and should do something else, yet feel free to say that to meditators. I believe the problem is that the art of meditation and the creativity and well being it inspires keeps on getting confused with both religious and scientific dogma.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 17, 2013 - 02:53am PT
Is anyone else going along with the concept that our objective reality does not exist?


When did Mike or I ever say that? Of course it exists, but not in the absolute way you believe it exists, or in which your sense organs or measurements say it exists. Every person, place and thing comes and goes. Rises and falls away.

But like I have said 100 times, you're approaching it bass-akwards, trying to think our way into it.

Start with perception itself, the mechanics of focus and paying attention.

JL
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Sep 17, 2013 - 04:07am PT
Cheers, John. I too like the idea of a reset button. My teacher, Peter, says that every time he hears of someone who's taken ill or had an accident, he secretly thinks, "good"--an awakening opportunity. He says he doesn't say that out loud to folks. (Wasn't it Mark Twain who said we got celebration and mourning backwards at births and death, or was that Silenus?)

Your next post was really well-expressed.


What appears to us as real in this world may only be a veil or props for a play, but what purpose, other than giving rein to imagination, is served by such a point of view?

The play I referred to is a metaphor, but your question is a good one, MH2. Why would the universe, unknown forces, or God give rise to anything? It's a riddle.

You say that science may be a question of aesthetics. A historian I read quipped that every discipline presents a vision, including science. Was it Ed, you, or Jgill who's said that math and science present an eloquent elegance?


Jgill, I've heard that some people direct their dreams. Perhaps that is where people do have true freedom . . . an intriguing idea for what it says and implies.


Dr. F., you make me smile. You're like Old Faithful in Yellowstone. Life would be a little dull without you.


Jan, your emphasis on creativity resonates with the creativity of the universe arising as the inner teacher (Longchenpa). It seems paradoxical that one's own mind would be the ultimate teacher.


Aloha nui loa.

The girl who fell downstairs
The girl who fell downstairs
Credit: MikeL
Looking outside
Looking outside
Credit: MikeL
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Sep 17, 2013 - 04:25pm PT
Harvard Business School and banks

"If Robespierre were to ascend from hell and seek out today’s guillotine fodder, he might start with a list of those with three incriminating initials beside their names: MBA. The Masters of Business Administration, that swollen class of jargon-spewing, value-destroying financiers and consultants have done more than any other group of people to create the economic misery we find ourselves in.

From Royal Bank of Scotland to Merrill Lynch, from HBOS to Lehman Brothers, the Masters of Disaster have their fingerprints on every recent financial fiasco.

I write as the holder of an MBA from Harvard Business School – once regarded as a golden ticket to riches, but these days more like scarlet letters of shame. We MBAs are haunted by the thought that the tag really stands for Mediocre But Arrogant, Mighty Big Attitude, Me Before Anyone and Management By Accident. For today’s purposes, perhaps it should be Masters of the Business Apocalypse.

Harvard Business School alumni include Stan O’Neal and John Thain, the last two heads of Merrill Lynch, plus Andy Hornby, former chief executive of HBOS, who graduated top of his class. And then of course, there’s George W Bush, Hank Paulson, the former US Treasury secretary, and Christopher Cox, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a remarkable trinity who more than fulfilled the mission of their alma mater: “To educate leaders who make a difference in the world.”

It just wasn’t the difference the school had hoped for.

Business schools have shown a remarkable ability to miss the economic catastrophes unfolding before their eyes.

In the late 1990s, their faculties rushed to write paeans to Enron, the firm of the future, the new economic paradigm. The admiration was mutual: Enron was stuffed with Harvard Business School alumni, from Jeff Skilling, the chief executive, down. When Enron, rotten to the core, collapsed, the old case studies were thrust in a closet and removed from the syllabus, and new ones were promptly written about the ethical and accounting issues posed by Enron’s misadventures.

Much the same appears to have happened with Royal Bank of Scotland.
When I was a student at Harvard Business School, between 2004 and 2006, I recall a distinguished professor of organisational behaviour, Joel Podolny, telling us proudly of his work with Fred Goodwin at RBS. At the time, RBS looked like a corporate supermodel and Podolny was keen to trumpet his role in its transformation. A Harvard Business School case study of the firm entitled The Royal Bank of Scotland: Masters of Integration, written in 2003, began with a quote from the man we now know as Fred the Shred or the World’s Worst Banker: “Hard work, focus, discipline and concentrating on what our customers need. It’s quite a simple formula really, but we’ve just been very, very consistent with it.”

The authors of the case, two Harvard Business School professors, described the “new architecture” formed by RBS after its acquisition of NatWest, the clusters of customer-facing units, the successful “buy-in” by employees. Goodwin came across as a management master, saying: “A leader’s job is to create the conditions that enable people to believe, in their hearts and minds, in the value of what they are doing.”

Then just last December (2008), Harvard Business School revised and republished another homage to RBS – The Royal Bank of Scotland Group: The Human Capital Strategy."
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Sep 17, 2013 - 04:26pm PT
The age of unreason

"In the digital age, when it is a given that anything digital will be copied, and anything copied once will fill the universe, it can be argued that the news itself is a novel: it's a bunch of novels instantaneously, as soon as the first reports of the latest breaking story start tickertaping across the foot of the screen. Peter Mandelson once said that "creating the truth" was his main duty as the government's spin-doctor-in-chief, an acknowledgment that "news" is increasingly an accretion of rumour, surmise, spin and speculation, gathered around a tiny nucleus of verifiable fact."
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Sep 17, 2013 - 06:20pm PT
Indeed, Marlow.

Here is the pepper to your salt regarding HBS.

http://nyti.ms/17fXadr

It's not just management education or in finance that these kinds of effects can be witnessed. Squirrel'ly things happen anytime really smart people are concentrated in the same space competing for the same resources. The story presents what can happen when economics, competition, wealth, and intelligence come together.

The discursive mind can cause a lot of trouble if left alone to its own devices. We all have access to an infinitely creative intelligence with infinite energy looking around for things to do. It's like children being left alone in the house unsupervised.

Honestly, what do you expect is going to happen?
go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Sep 17, 2013 - 07:42pm PT
Knock, knock, Knockin' on Heaven's Door...

photo not found
Missing photo ID#321761

...Jesus said; "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved!" - John 10:9
Dr. F.

Boulder climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 17, 2013 - 07:53pm PT
What are JL and MikeL. saying in the long game?

That God created humans, and that humans can achieve a level beyond normal animals, that there is spiritual goal of our existence, that we can connect to some cosmic spiritual plane, that there is a God.

Basically they are saying that natural evolution where the discursive mind is the highest level of development of the mind, is not compatible with what they believe.
There is a higher level, that other animals can never achieve, only humans that sit for years and practice Zen mediation can achieve it, and it is far beyond what normal humans can ever imagine.

Only some higher spiritual energy, a Intelligent designer could give humans this power, since natural evolution would not do it, they would only go as far as a discursive mind, and call it a day, since that gave us all that we needed to get to the level we have achieved so far.

They are telling us that we are intelligently designed, but just circling around the subject and trying to insert it without coming out and just telling us what their true beliefs are.
Dr. F.

Boulder climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 17, 2013 - 07:58pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.
Credit: Dr. F.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 17, 2013 - 08:48pm PT
Basically they are saying that natural evolution where the discursive mind is the highest level of development of the mind, is not compatible with what they believe. There is a higher level, that other animals can never achieve, only humans that sit for years and practice Zen mediation can achieve it, and it is far beyond what normal humans can ever imagine.


Craig, I have watched you spin around in this for ages, and yet you keep saying the same things.

I can repeat 1,000 times that beliefs in the normal sense of the word have little to nothing to do with what Mike and I are talking about. I also said that probably the only way to get a start on this for you is to forget about meaning for the time being and stick with how you focus your attention, from wide to narrow (discursive), and how each yields a totally different perspective.

You're tying to fathom a wide or "unborn" perspective from a narrow focus, which is critical to science and living in the world, but it keeps us cut off from the infinitely wide view, the "all," which is neither inferior or superior to the discursive view. It is an altogether different view that takes a lot of practice to get jiggy with because holding a wide open focus is the mental equal of holding a vacuum, and our minds have evolved to snap narrow and hold onto something, and in turn define it.

None of this has anything to do with believing this or that or God as you frame it. It's the flip side of all that, and what we say comes out of holding that open, unbounded space for scheduled intervals, over the period of many decades, and practicing it morning and often at night as well. Trying to "get" it without the practice is a crazy idea to anyone who does this stuff because the discipline IS a practice, not an idea or a cognitive exercise.

Where you and other seem to trip up is in believing that what we are talking about is some extra special facet of the discursive mind available only to Mike and I, who can see things you cannot.

But it's not about things, a simple fact that makes no sense from the standard perspective.

JL
MH2

climber
Sep 17, 2013 - 08:53pm PT
Very few scientists or engineers would say that artists and musicians waste their time and are deluded and should do something else, yet feel free to say that to meditators.


What proportion of scientists and engineers do say that artists and musicians are deluded and shoud do something else?

What proportion feel free to say that meditators are deluded and wasting their time?
MH2

climber
Sep 17, 2013 - 09:06pm PT
Dr. F. asked:


Is anyone else going along with the concept that our objective reality does not exist?





JL answered:


When did Mike or I ever say that? Of course it exists, but not in the absolute way you believe it exists, or in which your sense organs or measurements say it exists. Every person, place and thing comes and goes. Rises and falls away.



from Mike:


No thing is real. Things just Seem to be real



from JL:


But it's not about things, a simple fact that makes no sense from the standard perspective.



Okay. There is no requirement for you to consider "things." Whatever those are. The funny thing is that since you cannot describe what it is that you are talking about, there is no way for you to be sure that anyone else has the same non-standard perspective that you do. Why not just appreciate your own perspective without trying to get us to see it your way?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 17, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
Why not just appreciate your own perspective without trying to get us to see it your way?


It's not "our way," it is the esoteric end game found in many disciplines, from Zen to the Tibet groups to Sufism and even to mystical Christianity as practiced by the Trappists. Becauae there are many paradoxes, you can pic at the words, but you'll do nothing to increase your understanding. No one is trying to get you to see it our way. That's just as impossible as knowing QM or medicine having never studied either. Such perspectives are not arrive at by mistake, or by merely thinking about them. These discussions simply mentions things from this perspective for your consideration, with an open invitation to go for the techniques if you feel so inclined. Or not. As mentioned many times, this work is not for everyone. In fact very few can be bothered. As they say, a Zendo is never crowded. We can easily see why.

And FYI, Mike and I understand each other perfectly. We back channel all the time. We do basically the same work. When Mike said that no thing is "real," he did not mean people, places and things are not measurable using our sense data. He meant that not only are all things impermanant, they are also dependent on every other thing around. No thing has an independent existence as a stand-alone entity. Our discursive minds isolate out things in this way but ultimately the division is artificial in an absolute way.

JL
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Sep 17, 2013 - 09:39pm PT
Very few scientists or engineers would say that artists and musicians waste their time and are deluded and should do something else, yet feel free to say that to meditators

Are you saying very few scientists feel free to say that to meditators?

When you compare artists and meditators, Jan, Where are the art works that meditators produce that can be appreciated by others without considerable efforts? If a sculptor works entirely on his own and never shows his statues to anyone, is he worthy of admiration?

Many years ago when I practiced the art of dreaming I was at first convinced I had seen an aspect of reality most others had not, but over the years I realized my experiences were just games one can train the mind to play. No astral plane or glimpse of other worlds, merely mental phenomena. I suspect this is true of JL's and MikeL's experiences as well, but there is no certainty to be found here. Perhaps all things quiver and fade and reappear from the mysterious well of being, but to answer Dr.F's question: I don't think these meditative experiences lead to a more accurate perception of reality.

But I could be wrong.

Dr. F.

Boulder climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 17, 2013 - 10:51pm PT
JL
your the one spinning around in circles
we have heard the same thing from you for years now,
and none us have bitten on to your hook
I wonder why?

It's always the same "blah, blah blah, you aren't looking at it correctly, you have to look at it my way, and only I can understand what way I can look at it, Only I can understand it, not you guys, you guys aren't up to the task, your not spiritual enough, blah blah"

It's like talking to Go-be or blueblocer
Maybe we are right, and you are wrong!, have you thought of that?
Maybe you are the one that is confused, and can't see the light of day,
maybe you need to open your eyes.
because nothing you say makes any sense, it's just a way to add confusion to a very none confusing topic.

try another angle, so we can debunk that one as well.


Gill has it 100% correct
You are just playing mind games,
There is no real substance, it's nothing more than a "warm fuzzy feeling" in the bigger picture.

Not that meditating is bad thing, it just isn't the end all.
Dr. F.

Boulder climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 17, 2013 - 11:21pm PT
OK, lets test your ambivalence to knowing.

Do you believe that a totally natural human evolution is possible? (just from the scum of the earth at the beginning) yes or no

Do you think there was an intellectual designer of humans? yes or no

answer with just a yes or no, please
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 17, 2013 - 11:52pm PT
I don't think these meditative experiences lead to a more accurate perception of reality.


I would invite you to find that out for yourself. Know, as we have said all along, that there's no free ride on the experiential. You see how strongly Craig is locked into a perspective. You don't just step out of that. From his perspective there is a "reality" out there that we can perceive to varying degrees. Some more accurately than others. Now imagine that "accurate" in this sense does to refer to figures, qualities, evaluations, or answers, or how our minds "qualify" what our sense data apprehends.

From that perspective, what is it that Craig believes with all of his heart and soul that he is debunking, about which he is right?

This is not language that's attempting to evade the evaluating mind, but a look at reality from another perspective. "Right" applies to accurate quantifications and evaluations. But we're doing neither from the open focus perspective.

Play with this for a bit and you might get a feel for it. Or not. It's not easy stuff.

JL
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Sep 18, 2013 - 08:32am PT
I'm on vacation, you guys.

You want (your) expressions to refer to something, and those things must be definitive.

Why?

Every religion pretty much presents a universe, a reality, without substance / without form to begin with or as its base, and then goes on from there--albeit the unformed and the formed are often presented as heads and tails of the same coin. Emptiness / form--but not either, not and, and neither not one nor not the other. Light and dark, word and silence, etc. The universe is always presented with polarities. How come? Polarities are comforting. They are just ways of thinking and talking.

One of the important things that Judeo-Christianity posited was a monotheistic God that could not be imagined; at best or at least initially, he could only be labeled. And that label got all sorts of personality associated with it, which is irrelevant but was helpful to folks long ago . . . a God that has a personality and image. Childish, really. Marketing. Branding.

It seems to me that one error that continues to be made is mistaking labels for reality. All labels are metaphors, yet words are in some sense all we have. That is, unless, one goes to non-verbal, non-conceptual, non-spaces (a long list of "non"s).

I need to get back to bed. It's warm and moist out here in Kaua'i. The ocean out here is so vast, with tiny little islands of terra firma sticking out. Sort of like concepts, certainty, things in reality.
MH2

climber
Sep 18, 2013 - 11:58am PT
No thing has an independent existence as a stand-alone entity.

Our discursive minds isolate out things in this way but ultimately the division is artificial in an absolute way.




If this is an example of the esoteric end-game in Zen, etc. then it is good that there are opening moves and a mid-game. I see nothing remarkable in those statements. It is not surprising that you and MikeL agree, there. I know other people with no meditation experience who feel the same way, and people who have come to very similar conclusions during 5 minutes of idle thought. Same with impermanence.

What effect do the above have on how you lead your life?

(Other than posting, posting, posting?)


PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Sep 18, 2013 - 01:30pm PT
The purpose of zen meditation is to let go of the rigid mind and allow an open curious mind to emerge ( a non bias mind , a scientific mind )the truely curious mind pays attention and is naturally compassionate because it is not obsessed with it self. It is hard work because the rigid thinking habits are deeply deposited. So to be a person with an open curious mind is the zen goal and meditation is the tool. The meditation allows for the observation of the rigidity which is the first step to letting it go. Zen teachings say the open mind is always available but we get in the way. Zen Master Seung Sahn used to say " your true self (wide open mind)is always shining and free; human beings make something (rigid thinking, holding tightly to our opinions, likes and dislikes)and enter the ocean of suffering.
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