Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Sep 18, 2013 - 01:30pm PT
Thanks Riley, that's one of the best modern secular explanations I've ever seen. I too understand Largo and MikeL. I have not experienced some things in the depth they have, but I have experienced enough to know they have passed through standard gateways as Riley says, that are well described in mystical literature including some I haven't reached yet.

I also recognize the Buddhist terminology which is their preferred mode when describing the ineffable and know that Buddhism has the most precise and elaborated vocabulary for discussing these experiences. That doesn't necessarily mean they are Buddhists either, just that they have both adopted the most precise terminology available. Like any language in the world, it can be learned and the critical folks would understand them a lot better if they took the trouble to learn this specialized language even if they didn't ever meditate. Conversely I realize that I would understand science a lot better if I knew more of the language of mathematics.

As for Dr. F's questions,

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


Yes both personally and from a Buddhist perspective.

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


No, not in the 7 day Abrahamic mode which certainly does not fit the Buddhist perspective either. In the sense that the universe seems to operate according to central principles which exhibit a pattern (ie. the laws of physics) and humans evolved within the parameters of our current big bang, yes.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Sep 18, 2013 - 01:38pm 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.


I don't know how many times I am going to have dispel these sort of claims by illuminating the natural , organic basis of consciousness.
The so- called, discursive , "evaluating". mind is the product of the cosmos and our legacy as a living animal.
It is not an incorrect, inadequate , and misleading ,or inherently flawed way of thinking.
It has served us quite well in our struggle for survival.

The so-called evaluating mind has proven its utility and ultimate value to the human experience by actually producing credible and demonstrable results in the real world .
(In case any of you guys or gals question the ontological validity of a the "real" world ---I invite you to throw yourself into the Lion enclosure at the zoo.)

but ultimately the division is artificial in an absolute way.

What does this mean Larga?
Wha? wha? Wha?






Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Sep 18, 2013 - 01:44pm PT
Meanwhile, I'm glad I used the comparison of meditaters to artists and musicians as immediately the scientifically oriented responses illustrated the difference in perspectives. While quick to point out that they were not prejudiced against art and music, the responders missed the point in my estimation, by immediately nit picking logical inconsistencies and trying to break my statements into small bits that could then be further dissected.

Science breaks things down into bits. Art and music and meditation construct a wholistic view based on many different bits and pieces put together in a new way.My conclusion is we'll never share the same perspective because we use our brains in fundamentally different ways.The best we can hope for is to add some of the other's perspective to our own basic orientation.

Again, I don't think an artist or musician will ever say that their view of the world is the only one or even the superior one, it is simply theirs at a certain time and place, one of many. What science and religion and some meditaters attempt to do is claim superiority for their view and methods.That's not using the human brain to its maximum, it's just repeating dogma.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Sep 18, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
And along the lines that Ward is following.

yes the current discursive mind is the product of a long evolution. Given the current state of the world however, it is far less clear that this is the optimal way to use the human brain. One could even say that our very survival and that of life on this planet is threatened by the reflexive use of the selfish dominance based ape brain and it's past time to try something different.

Evolution is full of extinct species who could not adapt.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Sep 18, 2013 - 02:11pm PT
Again, I don't think an artist or musician will ever say that their view of the world is the only one or even the superior one, it is simply theirs at a certain time and place, one of many. What science and religion and some meditaters attempt to do is claim superiority for their view and methods.That's not using the human brain to its maximum, it is just repeating dogma.

I don't think that artists or musicians are necessarily involved in unravelling the mysteries of the universe, or in general have a distinct, differentiated worldview , as such. A tiny few perhaps.
Most artist are involved with assembling previously unsynthesized parts into new combinations. They do this by adhering to the demands of piecemeal manipulations of discrete constituents and style techniques in a crafty way to produce something that has not existed before.
If this final form has anything to do with a worldview it is a rare outcome.
A truly exceptional artist becomes great by achieving a high level of craftsmanship while expressing an inner state, or compulsion, or idea ,in a way that is beautiful or otherwise meaningful.

I do agree with the point Marshall McCluhan often made , that artists often anticipate social trends before they become manifest. I have always thought this was due to the specialized antenna that serious artists sometimes develop , growing out of a creative perspective, that allows them a sort of default recognition of synthetic elements in the production of new forms, in response to changing circumstances---precisely what occurs when society organically develops new attitudes from prior ones.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Sep 18, 2013 - 02:17pm PT
Science breaks things down into bits. Art and music (and meditation) construct a wholistic view based on many different bits and pieces put together in a new way.My conclusion is we'll never share the same perspective because we use our brains in fundamentally different ways.

Aughh, she's at it again. :(

How naive if not vulgar to the eyes of any design engineer, esp any who's passionate about his field or work.

This (conclusion) is just silly. Who is "we'll"? For instance it is the business of engineering to integrate, to build up based on science; it is the business of engineering to break down and build up.

At base, engineering is putting bits and pieces (parts) together to make a whole, a functioning whole. A holistic system (of bits and pieces) that achieves some goal or fulfills a need. Hello. Moreover, design engineering is a HUGE part of general engineering. And a huge part of DESIGN engineering is art. ART.

Seriously, I'd really like to know what sort of science and engineering type personalities imprinted on you with when you were young to give you such a narrow, strange perspective on science and engineering.

Augghh!
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Sep 18, 2013 - 02:28pm PT
yes the current discursive mind is the product of a long evolution. Given the current state of the world however, it is far less clear that this is the optimal way to use the human brain. One could even say that our very survival and that of life on this planet is threatened by the reflexive use of the selfish dominance based ape brain and it's past time to try something different.

What you are suggesting is the prescribed total overhaul or even elimination of a form of relationship to the cosmos that humans have practiced for our entire history( and may predate us); an outlook and natural biologic condition perhaps even genetically inherent in our intrinsic makeup, and has driven our survival.

What will you replace it with , Jan?
And how will it be replaced?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Sep 18, 2013 - 02:29pm PT
What's more, what is silly is to suggest there is as much content or structure to meditation as there is to art or music.

Regarding meditation, perhaps the better question is Why's it so important to you? You didn't need it as a child (I presume), so why do you need it as an adult? Is your mind troubled as an adult? Is it out of control? Does it somehow need taming? in a way that it didn't as child or teen? There has been a lot of talk about "discursive" thinking in the negative. Are some of you having trouble focusing? Really, why all this posting about meditation over and over and over and over? Seems to me if you're anxious (e.g., as an aging adult), suffering anxiety, whatever, you would engage in some relaxation, you would go get some r and r in some way, and then get back to living. Life is short.

When I'm stressed (from too much work or whatever), I often go... climbing. That focuses the mind, refreshes the brain, rightens things. Even moreso than mindfulness meditation, I find. Enough already. All this talk on meditation. Why? Life is short. Go get busy! ;)

There is an art to focusing on a task. There is an art to taking one's mind off of something. Note that these "arts" or skills - both helpful to everyday living - need not reference or require "meditation."

Attention-deficit issues? Anxiety or relaxation problems? Adult-onset existential depression? Try...

http://www.amazon.com/The-Willpower-Instinct-Self-Control-Matters/dp/1583334386/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_z

http://www.amazon.com/Willpower-Rediscovering-Greatest-Human-Strength/dp/0143122231/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379530402&sr=1-1&keywords=roy+baumeister

"Life isn't cured, it's managed."
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Sep 18, 2013 - 02:40pm PT
Regarding meditation, perhaps the better question is Why's it so important to you?

I asked JL this same question and he said he felt it was helpful in dealing with the pain
of his injury
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Sep 18, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
Good to see things up and running again!

Have a great time, MikeL & Wife.


;>)
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Sep 18, 2013 - 03:22pm PT
Yes, Norton,

What good is meditation? what problem, or problems, does it solve?

Has anyone answered this question here in any meaningful way? esp any that justifies the 1000-plus posts that reference it.

Yeah, I would meditate if it could solve a problem I was having. I wonder what problem that would be?
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Sep 18, 2013 - 03:44pm PT
What good is meditation? what problem, or problems, does it solve?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/search/?keyword=Meditation

I have provided these links before ,
Meditation is quite useful and of great benefit at leading to healthier outcomes for individuals who practice it daily.

A form of super-consciousness that represents a higher evolved state of human awareness?

If the proponents can prove this for mankind collectively then they've really got something.

Here's a fanciful idea:

A world dictator comes into absolute power, Largo for instance. He thereafter releases a meditative papal bull ordering mandatory Zen practice for every human on planet earth.
After a few thousand years of meditating , humans manage to epigenetically transform their consciousness to that of a typical Zen master.
Problem solved.
No more naked apes with computers and atom bombs.

(I like the no more atom bomb part.)



MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Sep 18, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
Great post, Riley. Great posts, everyone. So many things that one can respond to or add on to.

MH2: Sure, people can see an equation on the blackboard, but can they embody it? You can read King Lear, but do you live it? Anyone can cognitively understand the idea of impermanence. As an idea, it's simple, really. But what would your life look like if you experienced impermanence in every thing you are and did? Nothing could be concrete or serious. PSP's post points at the same. (What are you or Dr. F. not hearing?)

. . . discursive , "evaluating" mind . . . is not an incorrect, inadequate , and misleading ,or inherently flawed way of thinking.

Certainly.

Nothing is wrong because nothing can be. Reality is perfect. It has to be. You're perfect, we're all perfect. We are all exactly right where we should be, on our own paths. You are what you cannot help yourself to be and do. Delusion (however or wherever you see it) is part of the perfection. There's nothing wrong with you. There's nothing wrong with me. There's nothing wrong with any of us. There's nothing wrong in the world (Syria, eg.) or the universe. JUST THIS right here right now is where our development has brought us to. Viola! The brain, opposable thumbs, monotheism, mathematics, Buddhism, abstract minimalism, etc. are all artifacts and steps along the way.

So what's the deal with all this conversation about meditation and the discursive mind? No one is trying to say a mind isn't divine, important, or useful. The mind is infinitely energetic, creative, and intelligent (at its depths). Left to its own devices, like a mischievous child, the mind will start making things up and creating veils that obscure What This Is. Hence, magic, religions, myths, science, rationalism, etc. all provide different views of What This Is.

Meditative traditions (Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Bon, Shaivism, Yoga, etc.) are devoted to discovering What This Is through a number of different paths. You can renounce the origins of your own suffering; you can purify your life of its pain and suffering through asceticism; you can transform and channel your experiences into divine energies for personal release; or you can allow every thing to self-liberate by becoming familiar with your own awareness.
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Sep 18, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
well fine......

but who's to say that all those supposedly higher evolved meditative consciousness's proclaimed benefits are not equally being achieved by strong Discursive intellects?

me, thats who

any others?

can I get some Amens?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Sep 18, 2013 - 04:10pm PT
Yes, Norton, amen.

Meditation isn't my problem solver, thinking is.

Or education is. Or awareness-raising is. Or negotiation is. Or focus is. Or letting go is. Or hard work is. Or training (practice, practice, practice) is. Or discipline is. Or attitude is.



Okay, I'm done. Time to go "refresh" my brain circuitry now. ;)
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Sep 18, 2013 - 04:31pm PT
Yeah, I would meditate if it could solve a problem I was having. I wonder what problem that would be?

When I'm stressed (from too much work or whatever), I often go... climbing. That focuses the mind, refreshes the brain, rightens things. Even moreso than mindfulness meditation, I find..


That's your path of release, HFCS. If it's hard climbing, that's a form of asceticism. If it is easier climbing, it might be channeling your experiences into divine energies for release (a form of aestheticism).

You don't have to sit still and quietly to meditate. Personally I sit in contemplation (watching awareness) every morning for 40 minutes at 5 am, but only to watch and gauge my mind's level of obsession, and I've come to like the physical feeling of sitting like a pretzel. When the pain in my legs rise to a certain level, then things tend to get really clear.

The most significant contemplative experiences for me these days occur throughout the day, very often just observing myself with others. Last night I listened while my wife talked about how her perceptions are changing in her experience, and I fell into noticing the lila again for a while.

The things that she's saying are flooring me. I thought I was supposed to be the spiritual one. Largo's right: the idea of setting the reset button appears to be powerful.
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Sep 18, 2013 - 04:36pm PT
This thread refreshes my sense of humor. I approach Zen style meditation similar to climbing; it is a wonderful adventure and it is different everytime I sit down. If you have alot of expectations it will be an awkward experience.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Sep 18, 2013 - 04:53pm PT
Credit: Ward Trotter
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 18, 2013 - 05:21pm PT
A world dictator comes into absolute power, Largo for instance.


Are you drunk, Ward? Man, you really don't want me at the helm, my brother.

JL
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Sep 18, 2013 - 05:53pm PT
you really don't want me at the helm, my brother.

Hahahaha.


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