Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Messages 17501 - 17520 of total 22344 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Dec 1, 2013 - 02:56am PT
Does meditation offer a view into an alternate part of the human brain to that utilized by the discursive mind? (Jan)


Good question. Or does it simply inactivate functional areas of the brain that evolved over time to facilitate our survival, leaving the mind working like a TV set which has temporarily lost a few transistors and fills the screen with undifferentiated static . . . which somehow seems pleasing?


;>)
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Dec 1, 2013 - 11:51am PT
There are many stages to meditation. One of the problems I have always had with Zen in particular is that it strives to jump from wherever we are to the state of no-thing-ness in one leap. That's why it belongs to the fast path traditions. Indeed it almost stands alone in that category. Then when we have a very experienced practitioner trying to explain what he or she gets out of Zen, there is often a big disconnect with the average novice.

I belong as does MikeL, in my understanding, to one of the slow baby step paths of meditation. Of course he and I are at different levels and so speak of it differently. And we all came to our paths with our own unique karma. There is also the aspect of all Buddhist traditions anyway, which speaks of the ordinariness of the final stage in that you had it within you all the time, it was just obscured by your emotions/karma. Hence the phrase, we are already enlightened if we but knew it.

The brain is very complex, hence many paths and many levels but one won't understand this really, unless one does interior work of some sort or other. As for actions being the final measure of our meditation, that is true and that's how we know a master in any field. Unfortunately there are many half baked master wanna be's out there running around doing things that don't actually improve the situation.

Most traditions say that if the actions do not involve compassion, then they are not coming from the right place. However, a person can think they have compassion and not actually have it - like the folks who spend their lives condemning others for eternity because they supposedly care about them.

Many are the paths, many are the delusions, many are the misteps in the wrong directions. As Largo has often said, it's not for the faint hearted. Some can lead 5.10 on rock, some do the equivalent in the mind. Very few do either, and fewer still do both.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Dec 1, 2013 - 12:23pm PT
I see the woo and woo groupies, per usual, are running at full.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i3mX0YRrjM

.....

re: meditation vis a vis hot monkey sex
Does hot monkey sex (e.g., after a hard day's use of intellect) offer healthy downtime and rewards for those parts of the human brain that need them?

Answer: Yes. ;)
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Dec 1, 2013 - 12:31pm PT
Jan the way I read your alternative scientific inquiry to transcendental hoo hah is that you really can't propose any theory. I suspect this because you know it will not withstand the rigors of the scientific method. When you say we don't know enough to even propose as theory? This after 10,000 years of karma-searching by yogis and such who used to do space travel and live 100,000 years? Surely after such a long spell of navel gazing, there has to be one theory, has to be!

Just one?

DMT
MH2

climber
Dec 1, 2013 - 01:52pm PT
I belong as does MikeL, in my understanding, to one of the slow baby step paths of meditation.


Baby steps are not easy! Not for an actual baby. Very complex learning that extremely smart adults are trying hard to understand and emulate in learning machines.


The brain is very complex, hence many paths and many levels but one won't understand this really, unless one does interior work of some sort or other.


Yes, indeed! And I presume you would include neurophysiology among the paths of interior work.




Yesterday I heard on the radio an interview with James Fallon. He said that objective evidence, a PET scan, changed his view of himself. He said that he would not have arrived at the new understanding subjectively, although he perhaps had not tried meditation. James Fallon is a neuroscientist with a strange family tree.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Dec 1, 2013 - 02:05pm PT
Rather than try and second guess what is going on in the experiential realm, people could simply find out for themselves - but for the lack of wherewithal, ambition or curiosity to conduct empirical/experiential tests. Unless I know otherwise I'd swear this crowd was downright lazy.

JL
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Dec 1, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
DMT, There are plenty of theories in the experiential realm. However, these have been derided as woo woo by the science crowd here, so we're trying to develop new theories involving both meditation experience and science. Since neurobiology is rather new and still undeveloped, integrating the two is going to take even longer. The wisdom traditions don't even have a common vocabulary at this point (something a special committee headed by the Dalai Lama is trying to remedy)and for sure there is no common vocabulary with science.

Agreed, MH2. Sometimes science does the job better, sometimes meditation. As I've said several times that there are four main types of yoga and one of these is intellect. The integration of all of them is said to be the best method however.

A good example of an attempt to integrate the often meditation-like experience of climbing with a knowledge of scientific biochemistry by the way, is fellow climber Doug Robinson's book, The Alchemy of Action.It should be of interest to lots of people on this thread.

And yes, fructose, tantric sex is yet another path.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Dec 1, 2013 - 02:54pm PT
1. Pose a question: Who am I? What am I?

2. Develop hypothesis: I am awareness (e.g., "My body is in my consciousness")--as opposed to "I am my body" (e.g., "My consciousness is in my body")

3. Design an experiment: The question is too large to answer with a single experiment. Start with something smaller. Return to step 1:

What could be easier hypotheses that can contribute to an investigation of the question above?

Q: What are perceptions? (Can perceptions be used as verifiable data?)

Q: What are objects? (Seem to be intertwined with perceptions and self)

Q: What are thoughts? (Seem to be intertwined with self, perceptions, objects)

Q: What is consciousness? (Still probably too big a question)

Q: Is any theory true? (Not good: can't prove; can only disprove in comparison)

Q: What can we know for sure? (Good place to start, but only one answer)

Q: Who do others think I am? (Only unqualified or biased answers available)

Q: Consult dictionary and be done with question.

CHOICE: Since thoughts seem to be so central and constantly relied upon in my life (and in everyone else's I know), I should look into thoughts as a beginning. If they are substantial, then they can be used and relied upon in my investigations. (One issue needing consideration: are thoughts = concepts? Since I am interested in who and what I am, then I think thoughts would be a reasonable focus of investigation. Concepts look like outputs to me (and to cognitive scientists). Thoughts are what generates concepts.)

3. Design an experiment: I'll start simple. I'll observe thoughts. I'll look to answer the following questions: Where do they come from? Where do they reside when I am aware of them? Where do they go when I am no longer aware of them? What do they look like they are made of? How do they work with other thoughts? Etc. What can I obviously observe about thoughts if I am systematic and careful?

4. Collect and interpret data: Focus and watch thoughts and record my observations. Meditation seems to provide a proper approach for such a research. Do this for a few years.

5. Draw conclusions: Thoughts obviously manifest, but they are ungraspable, undefinable, etc. Thoughts are random. They are connected to my emotions and emotional states. I doubt that I am what my thoughts portray of me. I seem to be much more than my thoughts. I cannot control my thoughts.

Discussion:

(i) I might need to start looking elsewhere for answers than thoughts.
(ii) If thoughts are not trustworthy or indicative, then maybe perceptions aren't either. !!!
(iii) If thoughts are not trustworthy or indicative, then theories might be useless to help me learn who or what I am, too.
(iv) I may need to start looking at objects differently. Perhaps I should question what objects are, too.

6. Communicate: Supertopo thread

7: Future Research: To help me figure out who and what I am, I want to look where my thoughts are not. What do I observe there?
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Dec 1, 2013 - 03:22pm PT
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Dec 1, 2013 - 03:24pm PT


Still needs to be said...
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Dec 1, 2013 - 03:41pm PT
In checking the very interesting material recommended by Mh2 on James Fallon, I came across an interesting TED talk by Julian Baggini, titled "Is there a real you?"

It deals with the question of whether there is a permanent self at the core of your personality and comes pretty close to what Largo has been saying but more from the neuroscience and philosophical perspective. I think listening to it would be helpful for those trying to understand the Buddhist concept of "no self".

http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini_is_there_a_real_you.html
go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Dec 2, 2013 - 09:59am PT

photo not found
Missing photo ID#333113


photo not found
Missing photo ID#333114



God's word not only convicts us of our sins, but gives us our Redeemer Christ Jesus, and shows us how to live holy before Him! :)...


Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
MH2

climber
Dec 2, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
Jan, I agree with Julian Baggini, as far as he went in that talk. There is no clear border between a "you" and the world around.

However, people seem drawn to myth. Scientists are also good myth-builders even though a strong streak of hard-headed realism is needed, too. Myths are seductive and powerful. Julian Baggini might call them narratives or stories. His TED talk, for example.

I don't disagree with JL, either. I only question the way he talks about his views. He helped me to see meditation differently. He should be careful, though, about assuming that those who have verbal disagreements with him are meditation innocents.


FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Dec 2, 2013 - 01:33pm PT
I only question the way he talks about his views.

He CAN'T talk about his views, this is why he defaults to insisting upon the "experience". To a certain degree, that's fair, after all, words can only get you so far when describing the experience of BASE jumping, for example. No one, however, has to bend metaphors into pretzels or invent new definitions for common words in describing the experience of jumping off a cliff. The fact that JL and ML feel free to trample roughshod over language signifies that within themselves, they don't understand what they are experiencing, much less figure out how to communicate it.

And this may be more the fact that there is really very little there to understand. And that too may be an important side effect of "clearing the mind". If sleep has been shown to refresh neurons by making them fire backwards, maybe meditation offers something similar. Most anyone is willing to accept that meditation is a useful way to re-boot the mind, and get it back on track to doing what it does best: thinking. But that should be as far as THAT goes.
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Dec 2, 2013 - 01:43pm PT
MH2: . . . people seem drawn to myth. Scientists are also good myth-builders even though a strong streak of hard-headed realism is needed, too. Myths are seductive and powerful.

True enough, MH2. True enough. The same things above can be said about emotions, instincts, and the mental-rational viewpoint as well.

("Realism" may be another word for a mental-rational viewpoint, I believe.)

Science is seductive and powerful. Witness comments on this thread.

All cognitive structures are seductive, powerful, purposeful, and attractive. Let's embrace them all for what they are. None of them are good or bad. They just are. We (sic) are all a compilation of them.
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Dec 2, 2013 - 03:47pm PT
"Most anyone is willing to accept that meditation is a useful way to re-boot the mind, and get it back on track to doing what it does best: thinking. But that should be as far as THAT goes."

IMO this is a very limited view, but , it is often presented this way especially by those that are trying their best to commodify meditation.

Buddha was significantly more radical (curious) than that by asking the bigger question? of what is "I"? and what is "mind"? Rather than using meditation to make "I" (as in the ego) more comfortable (which is what i interpret FMental as suggesting) Buddha challenged the whole foundation of ego. And, in my understanding, discovered it is a construct; and, when deconstructed your POV and relationship with your immediate surroundings is changed.

The view is no longer shaded with "I" which is only concerned with how do the surrounding affect me. Rather the new view is an undistracted view of the same thing but without the immense distraction of "I Me, MY".

It is like you have woken up or become much more aware because it is so much easier to see, hear, touch etc. clearly.

The RELATIONSHIP changes between you and the world. This new relationship is awareness of the moment and not pursuing for the "I". With this new realtionship peace is possible; with the "I" needing to be first peace is not so possible.

So meditation is really about finding the correct relationship so one can function in an aware manner.

There is no so called woo woo in this style of meditation only sitting down and being a witness to your own thinking and getting a good teacher to help you navigate the challenging path.

FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Dec 2, 2013 - 04:23pm PT
Should one believe the things Buddha says differently than the things Jesus Christ says?
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Dec 2, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
Whatever they say will be no use to you . Find out for your self. Buddha basicly said the same thing when he said "be a lamp to yourself"
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Dec 2, 2013 - 04:31pm PT
Should one believe the things Buddha says differently than the things Jesus Christ says?


Pretty profound premise.

They are 2 different people, so their messages are inherently different. Or are they?

Is is possible that there is a unifying, common message of belief?

I'm gonna have a ham/avocado/tomato sandwich and ponder this bullsh#t. I'm puzzeled and happy someone finally stumbled upon what we all knew.

Mayo or no mayo?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Dec 2, 2013 - 04:33pm PT
Is is possible that there is a unifying, common message of belief?

No, it is not possible.

DMT
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