Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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MH2

climber
Mar 24, 2014 - 09:17pm PT
[formal meditation] offers a space to where you can ask the question where did this "I" come from. What is it? (PSP also PP)


If we call that part A of Largo's program, have you made any progress on B, C, D, or E?
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Mar 24, 2014 - 09:32pm PT
A) Observation&Research, B) drawing a hypothesis, C) making a prediction, D) experimentation, and E) drawing conclusions

(A) OK, lots of Zen meditators conclude the "I" is not real.

(B) Hypothesis: The "I" is not real for anyone who does Zen long enough.

(C) All who follow the Zen path will conclude the "I" is not real.

(D) Lots of experiments with lots of Zen meditators, controlled observations, questionnaires, etc.

(E) All the experiments lead to the conclusion that the "I" is not real. Therefore, the I is not real for Zen practitioners unless future experimental evidence reveals it is not.

This proves absolutely nothing. We all know Zen practitioners claim this conclusion. So, "I" not being real is (a) either a common but unusual mental state or (b) none of us has an inviolate "I" or . . .? Now what?

If it is not real - unproven at this point - where does it come from?

(A) Is it a product of the mind? Can we do neurological research to determine what part of the brain, upon stimulation, produces the "I"?

(B). . . ?

etc.

(All of the above is a bit muddled - I am not really a scientist!)
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Mar 24, 2014 - 09:36pm PT
Nothing, really.

(Zen puns intended.)
Dr. F.

Trad climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 24, 2014 - 09:37pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Mar 24, 2014 - 09:41pm PT
"real" is an awkward word and probably misleading for this experiment. it seems real when it is protesting with great emphasis.

But it is not about whether it is real or not it is about your realtionship with "I". Are you attached to it's demands or not. What does the attachment feel like ? waht does non -attachemnt feel like ?

That could be B, C, etc. of the course.
Have to commute be back later.
WBraun

climber
Mar 24, 2014 - 09:42pm PT
"The I is not real for Zen practitioners

We all know Zen practitioners claim this conclusion."

Do they really say this?

The "I" is definitely the real individuality of the living entity.

Saying it's not real is very poor fund of knowledge .....
MH2

climber
Mar 24, 2014 - 10:07pm PT
Are you attached to it's demands or not.


Is my bladder a part of my "I?" How about how I feel about my bladder? Am I misunderstanding what attachment means?
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Mar 24, 2014 - 11:45pm PT


http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117131/religiosity-social-dysfunction-linked-pew-study

Interesting to compare or contrast (a) EU and ME, also (b) China and Indonesia (a surprise).

I like Jerry Coyne. :)
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Mar 25, 2014 - 12:00am PT
according to writings, Buddha said "be a light unto yourself" so in my words he said " do the experiment yourself". In the thread I posted about Dogen's advice for the experiment he says (according to Fishers interpretation)


"So look at your own mind, and try to see in your own mind this feeling of grasping and needing something for yourself. Does this thought in your mind feel like emptiness? Does it feel like the Buddha realms? Does it feel like everything in the universe is included in these thoughts? No, it doesn’t feel like that at all! It feels very small and very confining, full of anxiety, full of unhappiness. There is nothing in that thought or in that kind of mind that you could call “the thought of enlightenment.” So you can observe in your own mind and see that that’s true.



From ancient times, great sages have realized the truth. Many of them lived ordinary lives just like you and me, without being distorted by this grasping and needing self advantage all the time. Because of this, even in the midst of ordinary life, they could be free.



The thought of enlightenment is the mind that sees into impermanence. That is the most important thing. This is completely different from the ordinary mind of confused people. All the lofty thoughts about “empty” and “Buddha realms” and “everything included” all has its place. You can enjoy all of those profound things some day, but first you have to have the thought of enlightenment. First, you have to feel in your heart the truth of impermanence. You have to see through your grasping and your clinging to self advantage.


The looking at the "I" of internal dialog and, asking what it is, is the starting point. As Norman Fischer says "First, You have to see through your grasping and your clinging to self advantage."

After that it is moment to moment what is your correct relationship with the situation.

I don't think Zen is the only way to realize this, it is just the way I have decided to do.

MH, regarding your bladder, didn't your parents teach you that when you were a toddler?




jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Mar 25, 2014 - 12:05am PT
Hmmm. I wonder if that's the 53 percent who don't believe in evolution?



Edit: The thought of enlightenment is the mind that sees into impermanence

Shucks, PSP, that makes the whole thing seem more reasonable. And here I thought I was on a roll . . .
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Mar 25, 2014 - 12:09am PT
Imagine this as a fixture in our earthly night sky...
photo not found
Missing photo ID#350521

The countenance of God? (Puts the "man in the moon" to shame, I think.)

"He's always watching, even at night. He knows when you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake."

Imagine the storytelling of the ancient Hebrews and other ancient mythmakers then, lol!

.....

Too bad we don't have at least one 1st magnitude (or brighter) spiral galaxy in our night sky. For starters, who knows how our ancient literature might have been impacted differently.

Cosmos II, ep 3 on again tonight, National Geo channel. Good stuff. A little Halley versus Hooke soap opera drama, too.
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Mar 25, 2014 - 12:20am PT
Given that

a) morality is action, and

b) heathens do, in fact, act morally

the question of whether God is necessary for morality would be better spent perfecting the self-eating watermelon.
MikeL

Trad climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Mar 25, 2014 - 12:41am PT
Jgill: I accept that you and John L and many others have reached something called Awareness, which seems to have been a substantial epiphany for some of you.

I was only suggesting that anyone could conduct their own investigation, John. I'm kinda sorry that I said that, now.

What is your interest to begin with? If you have no questions, there can be no answers.

I was drawn to this stuff because it resonated with some "perfect moments" in combat that crystallized some awareness. (After that, it's been 40 years of perfect stumbling around for me. I've been luckily unlucky in many ways that forced lessons on me.)

So what is your starting point? What interests you?

(BTW, I might suggest that your initial hypotheses might be rather large as a starting point--even if it were well-articulated.)
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 25, 2014 - 02:12am PT

the question of whether God is necessary for morality would be better spent perfecting the self-eating watermelon.

YEAH! Even the the crackheads at circleK know stealing is immoral.

The survey by Pew(which I'm sure isn't biased) shouldn't be about the question OF morality, as it should a question of how much morality. Moses gave us the Ten Commandments 5k yrs ago, everyone since knows that it's immoral to steal. Maybe before Moses society's thought it was ok to steal? As society's change man has to add more morals. Premarital sex has always been a no-no for Christians. But in our society today, if you havnt had sex by the third date it wasn't meant to be and you move on. This is partly the reason Christians are so morally apposed to abortions. Premarital, unplanned sex leading to pregnancy usually leads to abortion. It's not as much about killing a baby fetus, or a woman's rights. It about following Gods plan for a constructed loving family which leads to a loving society.

You don't have to be religious to have morals. Even my dog knows not to eat from the cat bowl.
MH2

climber
Mar 25, 2014 - 11:29am PT
I don't think Zen is the only way to realize this, it is just the way I have decided to do.

MH, regarding your bladder, didn't your parents teach you that when you were a toddler? (PSP also PP)



I don't remember.

My parents were Society of Friends, not Zen Buddhist.

I like the Quaker silent meetings; religion, meditation, and psychotherapy all-in-one.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Mar 25, 2014 - 03:48pm PT
The Path Between Pseudo-Spirituality and Pseudo-Science

Sam Harris,
"I am often asked what will replace organized religion."

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-path-between-pseudo-spirituality-and-pseudo-science#sthash.hUC1Gkem.dpuf

http://www.amazon.com/Waking-Up-Spirituality-Without-Religion-ebook/dp/B00GEEB9YC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395777582&sr=8-1&keywords=Waking+Up%3A+A+Guide+to+Spirituality+Without+Religion
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Mar 25, 2014 - 11:41pm PT
So what is your starting point? What interests you? (MikeL)


I have no criticisms of the practice of meditation, having done some myself fifty years ago, with a bit of astral plane cavorting fifteen years later. I applaud PSP for his (her?) comments, which are models of clarity and unambiguity. I respect and appreciate your contributions on this thread not only for your commentaries on meditation but also your post-modern perspective (I had never read anything about post-modernism).

However, I have little patience for what Wikipedia calls quantum flapdoodle and its application in pronouncements of metaphysical speculations. And when someone seems certain they have unraveled a metaphysical mystery through meditation - then I would like to see scientific strategies that either support these wild claims ("it's just undifferentiated quantum stuff out there and the mind objectifies it", "nothing really exists", etc.) or put them to rest.

John L. has suggested a study of sentience and I applaud this proposal. Get us started John.
jstan

climber
Mar 25, 2014 - 11:48pm PT
YEAH! Even the the crackheads at circleK know stealing is immoral.

What do you base this statement upon?
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Mar 26, 2014 - 12:14am PT
I recently read Jonathan Haidt's book The righteous Mind, which lays out a pretty compelling framework for morality across all cultures. Essentially, we all (other than the psychopathic) subscribe to varying degrees of the following:


Moral Foundations Theory was created by a group of social and cultural psychologists (see us here) to understand why morality varies so much across cultures yet still shows so many similarities and recurrent themes. In brief, the theory proposes that several innate and universally available psychological systems are the foundations of “intuitive ethics.” Each culture then constructs virtues, narratives, and institutions on top of these foundations, thereby creating the unique moralities we see around the world, and conflicting within nations too. The five foundations for which we think the evidence is best are:

1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.

2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]

3) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it's "one for all, and all for one."

4) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.

5) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).

So it is a matter of weighting and proportion. In a nut shell, he proposes ( well substantiated I'd say) that the more liberal you are the more you focus on care / harm to the exclusion of all other moral foundations. The more Conservative the more broadly distributed the value spread over the 5 foundations.

It's a very interesting read, quite persuasive and empirically substantiated with study. For instance the irrationality often associated with sanctity, authority and loyalty is not at all without value, which is a bias presumption on the left.

He certainly steers clear of moral judgement, except perhaps to note that the more fundamentalist one is toward either extreme in the political scale, the greater the likelyhood you are a miserable prick. At least thats what I think he said but that may be my bias shining through.

http://www.moralfoundations.org/

BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 26, 2014 - 12:38am PT

What do you base this statement upon?

Experience. If I told you the story you wouldn't believe it anyway.
But according to BK's research I guess I'm a Liberal.

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