Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Sep 16, 2013 - 12:12am PT
Ward:

First of all thanks for asking back on the 7th. I suppose you're referring to my wife's recovery from her brain injuries.

It's been over a month now since her accident. So far she's come back as a different person, and I like it. She is reordering her priorities, she no longer wants to be Superwoman, she isn't working 10-12 hour days, and work is no longer the end-all be-all that it might have once been. She still experiences dizziness when she moves her head too quickly, she struggles now and then for a word or a phrase, she is a little hesitant among crowds of people, and she seems to have issues understanding highly complex work problems. But, . . . we've had the best conversations since we first met 15 years ago. For lack of a better term, she's had some kind of awakening.


Second . . . about tigers

Today's man is aware that he is aware. He has an autonomous and personalized ego to show for that achievement, one that antagonistically sees all else as "other"--as objects separate, differentiated from himself, dualistically and independently existent.

Running from a tiger, as you paint the picture, is not conceptual. It's instinctual.

Today's self-aware man, with all his conceptualizations and interior discussions, might reinterpret the danger a tiger poses--not unlike when parents tragically encourage their children to "pet the pretty deer with antlers" in Yosemite Valley.

Your description of man pitted against nature is more that of an emerging, primitive consciousness: Man as part and parcel, pars pro toto with Nature, but not quite aware of an individualized consciousness.

We are no longer a part with Nature; today we see ourselves outside Nature. It's the tiger that had better beware for its life. Man is hardly a part of Nature anymore; he no longer has a reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder for the natural world. (Today's modern man's consciousness feels separate, autonomous, independent, adversarial to everything in the universe--and in some sense god-like in his belief that he can understand and achieve just about anything.)

The instinctual, the magical, and the mythical all provide different views as does the mental-rational. Together they form a multi-perspectival hologram.

The modern mind--constantly churning discussions and analytical distinctions with labels, models, and abstractions--can gain a view of its churning rather than understand it as itself, and find peace and quiet. In tibetan meditative practice, it's called "calm-abiding" (shamatha), and it brings a feeling of bliss. One may use calm-abiding as a platform to explore any notion intensely for extended periods of time to generate insights (vipassanya). Both approaches rely upon or use objects of meditation.

One can, however, uncover a natural pristine state of awareness, not merely primitively instinctual as you suggest, that perceives objects lightly, as images, apparitions, mirages, reflections of one's own projections, dreams that one watches and participates in. One can then see all objects and feelings (as they arise) as the very moment or circumstance that one is in. Then hopes and fears one experiences no longer seems as though they are, or belong to, their personhood. Emotions aren't owned, and objects or scenes are no longer accepted or rejected. Things are viewed the way a movie is viewed: images manifest, but they aren't solid. It's the allegory of the cave.

As Dr. F. might say, "So What? Who Cares? What does that get you?"

One thing it seems to mean is that we're all off the hook; none of us is really responsible. It would be no longer the case that "I'm angry" but rather that "anger arose." When something does arise, it can be let go of (self-liberated). Indeed, nothing remains the same. Everything changes. Every "thing" self-liberates itself. Nothing lasts.

Ward, the brain serves a function, of that there is no doubt. But you are not your brain, nor your body, nor your mind. For all you know (and I mean that in an absolute sense), you are consciousness becoming aware of your own consciousness. It's been that way since for as long as you can remember. And you're a long way from done.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
(Robert Frost)

MH2, I think I am also answering your question here. What is real is my consciousness. I cannot deny that it exists. Everything else, I question, and that questioning brings no conclusive answers to me. So, pointedly, I not only don't find a difference between what is real and what seems real, but I'm arguing that I can't because I don't fully grok the extent of my own awareness. What I have is my subjectivity, my experience, my consciousness, and even that is a mystery. Beyond that, who can say? (You'll need to talk to some enlightened dude.)

If you saw it my way, what WOULD make a difference? Imagine that you are on stage, playing a role you know very well, in a situation (plot) that you somewhat understand. You always appear to know just what to say and just what to do in your role, but you also know that it is just a play (albeit a very long one). So in that situation, what would matter? What questions or even outcomes would matter to you? Hey, it's a play! What COULD matter to you? What . . . you prefer comedies to tragedies? You like Elizabethian drama rather than Greek drama? You like being the protagonist rather than the antagonist? You like soliquoy rather than action? Pffttt! Those are simply artistic preferences, that's all.

What should one do in their life? Who should one be? How should one act?

Just be yourself, that person you cannot help yourself to be. You're consciousness becoming aware of your consciousness. It's a game of hide-and-seek in the drama on the biggest stage one could imagine. The stage and play transcends the universe.

You can take your hands off the controls of what you think is your life. Don't worry, when you're hungry, you'll eat; when thirsty, you'll drink; when threatened, you'll fight; when scared, you'll run. In some sense, Ward has it right. You'll do all the things you cannot help but doing and being, but you'll not take any of it very seriously or concretely, yet you will be fully aware of all of it. You'll see the play as a miraculous mystery.

I think it was Tilopa, who said to Naropa, when Naropa was sent to spread the dharma to Tibet.

"Remember," Tilopa said, . . .

"Do not recall; let go of what has happened.
Do not imagine; let go of what could happen.
Do not think; let go of what's happening now.
Do not examine; quit trying to figure things out.
Do not control; quit trying to make things happen.
Rest, relax, right now."

Everything is a done deal. You are exactly where you're supposed to be, doing what you're supposed to be doing. Everyone is. Everyone and everything is on their / its own spiritual path. The universe is doing itself.

Although I have had fleeting experiences of this in real time, when it happens, it seems like I am in a dream, in a play, in a TV show, inside a movie--and I know it. It's like lucid dreaming; you know you are dreaming, and you can just observe your role in the dream as it occurs. It's like slipping down a water slide.

The Chief

climber
From the Land of the Mongols
Sep 16, 2013 - 06:48am PT
We are no longer a part with Nature; today we see ourselves outside Nature. It's the tiger that had better beware for its life. Man is hardly a part of Nature anymore; he no longer has a reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder for the natural world. (Today's modern man's consciousness feels separate, autonomous, independent, adversarial to everything in the universe--and in some sense god-like in his belief that he can understand and achieve just about anything.)




Well said.

This has become Man's new nature & God. All in the palm of his hand. Nothing else really matters.
go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Sep 16, 2013 - 07:28am PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#321527

Isaiah 40
God’s People Are Comforted

40 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
2 “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the Lord’s hand
Double for all her sins.”

3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

6 The voice said, “Cry out!”
And he said, “What shall I cry?”

“All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.”

9 O Zion,
You who bring good tidings,
Get up into the high mountain;
O Jerusalem,
You who bring good tidings,
Lift up your voice with strength,
Lift it up, be not afraid;
Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”

10 Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand,
And His arm shall rule for Him;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.
11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
Measured heaven with a span
And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?
Weighed the mountains in scales
And the hills in a balance?
13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
Or as His counselor has taught Him?
14 With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,
And taught Him in the path of justice?
Who taught Him knowledge,
And showed Him the way of understanding?

15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,
And are counted as the small dust on the scales;
Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn,
Nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before Him are as nothing,
And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.

18 To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
19 The workman molds an image,
The goldsmith overspreads it with gold,
And the silversmith casts silver chains.
20 Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution
Chooses a tree that will not rot;
He seeks for himself a skillful workman
To prepare a carved image that will not totter.

21 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, <<<<<(Hi Norton, note earth is not flat!)
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
23 He brings the princes to nothing;
He makes the judges of the earth useless.

24 Scarcely shall they be planted,
Scarcely shall they be sown,
Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth,
When He will also blow on them,
And they will wither,
And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.

25 “To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 16, 2013 - 09:40am PT
Hi Mike, I'm glad your wife is recovering. Maybe I need a bonk on the head or a push on the Re-Set button.

JL

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Sep 16, 2013 - 09:49am PT
What a strange idea! ;o)
MH2

climber
Sep 16, 2013 - 12:06pm PT
I not only don't find a difference between what is real and what seems real,


Thanks, Mike. That clears the mystery for me. Can you see why these statements of yours had me wondering?


Science and philosophy are only trying to help you see what is right in front of you. But they are very poor, incomplete, and biased methods and approaches. They breed the illusion that They Are Real, while experience is not

What consensual reality says is real is what is indicated by labels, concepts, models, and abstractions.

I've tried to point out that "things" can't be found. No thing is real. Things just Seem to be real

We're only pointing with words and concepts, and what we are pointing at doesn't really exist.



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?

In science, labels, concepts, models, and abstractions are analogous to the tools a carpenter might use. They help do the work but the work must stand on its own against the test of experience.

Science has very limited scope. It will not provide you with a pristine awareness. Whether a person likes science, is indifferent to it, or dislikes it is more a question of aesthetics than of the nature of reality.


Did you play baseball as a kid? Do you remember seeing the ball coming toward the plate, taking a swing, and feeling the solid rightness of the bat meeting the ball? That's an example of the world that appears to be real. For some of us, science gives that same thrill of discovering rightness. For an example of that, check out Ernest Rutherford and the alpha particles versus the gold foil.
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Sep 16, 2013 - 04:25pm PT
It's like lucid dreaming; you know you are dreaming, and you can just observe your role in the dream as it occurs. It's like slipping down a water slide

I appreciate your commentary, MikeL, but with reference to this particular remark, my experiences with "lucid dreaming" or the "art of dreaming" were anything but mere observation. They were in fact the essence of will, freedom to act as I wished with few if any physical impediments. Exhilarating experiences.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Sep 16, 2013 - 05:13pm PT
As with everything, there are different levels of lucid dreaming. Just knowing that you are dreaming is one form of it, directing the outcome is another.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 16, 2013 - 06:48pm PT
The great awakening has been described as having the direct experience that no thing is "real," measured or otherwise, that every person, place and thing in the grand opera of "reality" and subjective experience is impermanent.

The vast, unborn field form which forms and experiences arise and return to is selfsame with the forms theselves, and our perception is just another form arising and vanishing, endlessly.

The "presence" Mike keeps talking about is neither perception nor form nor yet emptiness. It is, IME, the essence of the ungraspable, what is left when all else falls away. Just a great and unfathomable presence.

JL
Dr. F.

Boulder climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 16, 2013 - 07:51pm PT
Here is my take on what JL and MikeL. are trying to say.

If you close your eyes, and get lost in meditation, the walls disappear, and everything else become meaningless, so therefore all of the normal reality doesn't exist
You can actually walk through walls while not moving an inch in your deep mediation/imagination.

El Cap isn't real, because if you fall off it while meditating/have your eyes closed (at home), it doesn't matter, because you it's all in your mind, you won't get hurt!
Or if you want to go to Pluto, you can be there in a half a second, the weather is great there today!! I'm loving it on Pluto at this very moment!!

Nothing is real, because you can close your eyes and it all magically disappears.

Maybe these guys have just tapped into their Reptilian brain, or the unconscious, and like children, they think that this new found reality is real.

Of course they will be appalled at my definition of their most scared mind state that they think is the most advanced state of Human possibility, but they won't be able to prove me wrong, or right.
Instead JL will just diss me, saying I don't understand his rambling,
You have to use delve into the most esoteric verbiage and circle around and around to, with a lot of hand waving to possibly make it sound more important, and hopefully confuse your self and others that what you are saying is true.

But I ask, does anyone else understand them?
Is anyone else going along with the concept that our objective reality does not exist?

I for one will never accept their premise. I can see right through it.
All you have to do is open your eyes, and the imaginary world disappears.
Now I'm not on Pluto, but typing a hard real keyboard. It is real, Pluto was not.
MH2

climber
Sep 16, 2013 - 08:27pm PT
Thank you, Uncle Dr. F.

Thank you, Aunt JL.
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Sep 16, 2013 - 08:46pm PT
The great awakening has been described as having the direct experience that no thing is "real," measured or otherwise, that every person, place and thing in the grand opera of "reality" and subjective experience is impermanent

And then all electrical activity in the brain ceases and you're done. RIP
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Sep 16, 2013 - 11:49pm 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 16, 2013 - 11:53pm 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 - 01:07am 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 - 01:25pm 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 - 01:26pm 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 - 03:20pm 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 - 04:42pm 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 - 04:53pm 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.
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