19
   

Where is the self? How can dualism stand if it's just a fiction?

 
 
Falco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 10:05 am
@fresco,
I should have clarified modern neuroscience.
I maybe wrong but it seems non-materialist neuroscience is a reaction to the discoveries by modern neuroscience which is rapidly reducing much of human emotion, human thought, and human behavior into constituent pieces of neural networks and interactions.
And I can understand the disagreement amongst ourselves. I made an assertion from what I currently believe with the known evidence I was aware of, because we all know there isn't much to argue over anything when a neutral position is always taken. The battle over the mind-brain conundrum isn't finished, and it certainly hasn't been resolved in favor of a material mind, not yet anyways.
And I'm aware of the position you are coming from in regards to believing in the idea of a non-material cause of mind.
In the field of neuroscience there are those who reject a strict materialist understanding of the mind, Mario Beauregard and Jeffery Schwartz, to just name two.
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 10:30 am
@Falco,
So it that saying that the question is whether or not there is an external, non materialistic force or being? And where the self exists and how it might be connected to such an entity.

I have defined the conscious, sub-conscious, self concepts from how I perceive my own thoughts occurring. It seems clear to me that there is at least the conscious level where I interact with others and the sub-conscious level where I have thoughts with myself. And it makes sense to me that there is a level beyond that, that is more basic. Am I over simplifying? My observations with meditation is that I am quieting the sub-conscious to the point where it simply experiences without the constant interruption of my own thoughts.


fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 11:00 am
@Falco,
Thank you for those two names. I shall look them up.

My own leaning is towards those cognitive scientists who argue that the brain may be necessary for "mind" or "consciousness" but not sufficient. To ask where "the mind is located" is a category mistake (insofar that it has no isomorphic physical identity), similar perhaps these days to asking where "the internet is located". As as for that adjunct of "mind" we call "self", that seems to "reside" in the social semiosphere (the concept of "self" is co-extensive with the concept of "others").
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 12:48 pm
@IRFRANK,
IRFRANK wrote:

My observations with meditation is that I am quieting the sub-conscious to the point where it simply experiences without the constant interruption of my own thoughts.

It's interesting that you believe your thoughts are 'interuptions'; do you really see them that way? Or is the word used but the sense of your statement is about 'it simply experiences'?

I don't see thoughts as interruptions but when I meditate I also have fewer of them. The quality of the 'gap' between thoughts helps me understand the true nature of the thoughts themselves which in turn leads to seeing that thoughts are not interruptions... if you see what I mean?
igm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 01:15 pm
@MattDavis,
MattDavis wrote:

My point in all this (my previous post) is an ethical one.

Ok
MattDavis wrote:

What are the implications if you dissuade someone from a dualistic view in favor of a less enlightened pre-dualistic view?

It shouldn't be done unless someone asks or they imply through their actions that they want to hear arguments against a dualistic view of reality.
MattDavis wrote:

This imposes an obstacle in the path of that persons enlightenment.

I agree it ‘may’ do that in ‘some’ cases.
MattDavis wrote:

Additionally, someone with a dualistic view generally behaves more ethically than someone with a pre-dualistic view.

What evidence to you have for this ' pre-dualistic view'?

What is it in laymans terms?
MattDavis wrote:

The person thus re-illusioned spreads the negative effect out to any and all that they interact with.

How does 'this person re-illusioned' do this and how do you know they affect 'any' and 'all' they interact with. This all sounds like supposition or dogma to me. Can you convince me otherwise?

Please don’t give me a link to a website; I’d like layman’s understanding of why some of your post is so emphatic i.e. stated with such conviction as if it is definitely true?

Matt, I’m only trying to get to the heart of what you have said not to attack your post in any way.
Lola
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 01:18 pm
@Falco,
I think of mind and body this way. The brain (body) is the mechanical and the mind is our experience of the brain activity. They are different in this way. An experience is non-material, I think. Or at least I think it until someone convinces me otherwise.

This is not the same as a soul in that I don't think the mind can exist without a living brain.
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 01:24 pm
@IRFRANK,
Quote:
So it that saying that the question is whether or not there is an external, non materialistic force or being? And where the self exists and how it might be connected to such an entity.
Probably repeating myself, forgive an old fella IRF, but yes this seems to be at the crux of the situation and which I interpret as questioning reality of the abstract

Quote:
And it makes sense to me that there is a level beyond that, that is more basic. Am I over simplifying?
I don't think so IRF (though my opinion doesn't have much weight hereabout). But there remains something admittedly mysterious, with the Intuition fiercely denying the supposition that the Vast Megillah is merely a random and meaningless natural phenom destined to wind up as a larger number of particles of one kind or another mutually accelerating apart whilst approaching absolute zero forever
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 01:42 pm
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

In general you are correct. However a version of behaviourism is loosely followed in modern "cognitive behaviour therapy" which keeps one foot in the "conditioning findings" of Pavlov (et al) and in the other in gestaltism which has come back into favor in cognitive science. As I understand it, this involves the patient shifting from gestalt world views of say "I am a victim" to a "healthier" alternative, by gradual reinforcement. At the biological level this could be visualized either as a reprogramming of general "bodily hardware" or at the neural level a detectable structural reconfiguration.

I think think that this "one foot...other foot" thing is mostly a result of tasking the field of psychology with 2 different goals.

1. Understanding the mind.
2. Finding ways to make people healthier.

Psychology has to concern itself with esoteric philosophy in 1.
Psychology has to concern itself with ethical philosophy in 2.
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 01:46 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
I note (slightly cynically) that the "magic number three" is popular in many metaphysical systems.

I think that Joseph Campbell might have something to say about that.
-and-
Carl Jung/archetypes - Thanks to the contribution of psychoanalysis.
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 01:51 pm
@fresco,

Thanks for the link Very Happy
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 02:11 pm
@igm,
MattDavis wrote:

Additionally, someone with a dualistic view generally behaves more ethically than someone with a pre-dualistic view.

igm wrote:
What evidence to you have for this ' pre-dualistic view'?

I think you have created this (pre-dualistic world view) as the only option by framing your questions in terms of a false dichotomy between (duality) and (non-duality).

MattDavis wrote:

The person thus re-illusioned spreads the negative effect out to any and all that they interact with.

igm wrote:
How does 'this person re-illusioned' do this and how do you know they affect 'any' and 'all' they interact with. This all sounds like supposition or dogma to me. Can you convince me otherwise?

I agree it is somewhat dogmatic.
I used this framing, because I think it is in keeping with the dogma that you already possess (I think I remember you being a Mahayana Buddhist?). I have no vested interest in "talking you out of" that aspect of your dogma.
I was trying to appeal to your ethical sensibilities, so that you might consider the implications of "teaching", while still not seeing the fallacy of your false dichotomy.

igm wrote:
Matt, I’m only trying to get to the heart of what you have said not to attack your post in any way.
I have never questioned your intentions in that regard, but thank you for the reassurance. I hope you also understand that my comments are not meant as a personal attack, and are primarily meant to provoke certain thoughts. Very Happy
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 02:15 pm
@igm,
Interruptions is probably not the best word. Distractions would be better, and maybe conversations rather than single thoughts. I don't think you turn thoughts off completely, at least I can't. But quiet is accurate. And yes, I do think that distracting thoughts are often the interruption of contemplation. A busy mind is hard to listen to. Focus is a good word also. Depends upon the purpose of meditation.
0 Replies
 
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 02:20 pm
@dalehileman,
Well, your opinion does carry weight with me, but I have to say the following sentence makes no sense to me. Is this a mental Big Bang Theory?

Quote:
But there remains something admittedly mysterious, with the Intuition fiercely denying the supposition that the Vast Megillah is merely a random and meaningless natural phenom destined to wind up as a larger number of particles of one kind or another mutually accelerating apart whilst approaching absolute zero forever
0 Replies
 
MattDavis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 02:37 pm
@igm,
igm wrote:
Please don’t give me a link to a website; I’d like layman’s understanding of why some of your post is so emphatic i.e. stated with such conviction as if it is definitely true?

My understanding of the 'pre-dualistic' vs. 'dualistic' vs. 'trans-dualistic' view comes primarily from the work of Ken Wilber.
I don't think I can do a better job of explaining than he has done.
If you don't want a website, I might then suggest reading one of his books.
You might start with Sex, Ecology and Spirituality.
That book's intended audience is the layperson.

Quote:
i.e. stated with such conviction as if it is definitely true?

That is not my conviction. Again, the framing of the ethical appeal was based on something that I thought YOU were already convinced of (based on Mahayana teachings).
Which gets back to what I am going to jokingly call the "Frank Ipisa Mantra" Laughing .
Frank has a great point in this.
I think Frank's point is also said quite well in this talk, which I will post again.

0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 03:02 pm
@Lola,
Lola, I agree. I can't imagine the process of mind-ing without the process of brain-ing. At the same time I cannot imagine brains (or any material phenomena) without the ideational (psycho-cultural) processes which give them their meaning.
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 03:31 pm
@MattDavis,
MattDavis wrote:

I think you have created this (pre-dualistic world view) as the only option by framing your questions in terms of a false dichotomy between (duality) and (non-duality).

You'll need to show me your 'best' example of this 'view' you perceive I've created before I agree with you or disagree? I’m pretty sure I’ll disagree, so I'll be interested to see this example and perhaps a list of such examples.

You seem to have a very narrow view of Mahayana Buddhism and it doesn’t seem to be a neutral one. The texts are vast and deep and not something one could draw firm conclusions about in the way you seem to have done.

Part of my studies are in Madhyamaka philosophy which as I’ve said to you before in an earlier post, has ‘no view’, but you seem to think I have one. Even ‘no view’ is not seen as a view in Madhyamika. Nor is both. Nor is neither. Madhyamika is the philosophical texts that deals with the ‘implications’ of the ‘Heart Sutra’ given by the Buddha.

Example:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nagarjuna/

According to the Madhyamaka view of truth there can be no such thing as ultimate truth, a theory describing how things really are, independent of our interests and conceptual resources employed in describing it. All one is left with is conventional truth, truth which consists in agreement with commonly accepted practices and conventions. These are the truths that are arrived at when viewing the world through our linguistically formed conceptual framework. But we should be wary of denigrating these conventions as a distorting device that incorporates our specific interests and concerns. The very notion of ‘distortion’ presupposes that there is a world untainted by conceptuality out there (even if our minds can never reach it) that is crooked and bent to fit our cognitive grasp. But the very notion of such a ‘way things really are’ is argued by the Mādhyamika to be incoherent. There is no way of investigating the world apart from our linguistic and conceptual practices, if only because these practices generate the notion of the ‘world’ and of the ‘objects’ in it in the first place. To speak of conventional reality as distorted is therefore highly misleading, unless all we want to say is that our way of investigating the world is inextricably bound up with the linguistic and conceptual framework we happen to employ.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 03:41 pm
@igm,
Quote:
According to the Madhyamaka view of truth there can be no such thing as ultimate truth, a theory describing how things really are, independent of our interests and conceptual resources employed in describing it. All one is left with is conventional truth, truth which consists in agreement with commonly accepted practices and conventions. These are the truths that are arrived at when viewing the world through our linguistically formed conceptual framework. But we should be wary of denigrating these conventions as a distorting device that incorporates our specific interests and concerns. The very notion of ‘distortion’ presupposes that there is a world untainted by conceptuality out there (even if our minds can never reach it) that is crooked and bent to fit our cognitive grasp. But the very notion of such a ‘way things really are’ is argued by the Mādhyamika to be incoherent. There is no way of investigating the world apart from our linguistic and conceptual practices, if only because these practices generate the notion of the ‘world’ and of the ‘objects’ in it in the first place. To speak of conventional reality as distorted is therefore highly misleading, unless all we want to say is that our way of investigating the world is inextricably bound up with the linguistic and conceptual framework we happen to employ.


Matt can respond as he sees fit...but whenever I read something like this I immediately wonder if the writer understands the difference between "truth" or "REALITY"...and investigation of (or descriptions of) "truth" and "REALITY."

The fact that we overly egotistical humans are incapable of appreciating, understanding, and describing Ultimate truth and/or Ultimate REALITY is of no value at all in determining whether there actually is Ultimate truth or Ultimate REALITY.

And when one thinks about a statement such as the lead comment in this excerpt..."According to the Madhyamaka view of truth there can be no such thing as ultimate truth...."...

...unless you have no sense of humor at all, you have to laugh out loud at the absurdity of it.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 03:55 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:

...unless you have no sense of humor at all, you have to laugh out loud at the absurdity of it.

It's you that makes me laugh Frank…

Did Stanford 'laugh out loud' or do they study the implications of it (hint: it's the second option)? You sound to me like someone who read the first sentence of the paragraph I posted and then came to a mistaken conclusion about the whole thing, in order to protect your right (as you see it) always to be right.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nagarjuna/

According to the Madhyamaka view of truth there can be no such thing as ultimate truth, a theory describing how things really are, independent of our interests and conceptual resources employed in describing it. All one is left with is conventional truth, truth which consists in agreement with commonly accepted practices and conventions. These are the truths that are arrived at when viewing the world through our linguistically formed conceptual framework. But we should be wary of denigrating these conventions as a distorting device that incorporates our specific interests and concerns. The very notion of ‘distortion’ presupposes that there is a world untainted by conceptuality out there (even if our minds can never reach it) that is crooked and bent to fit our cognitive grasp. But the very notion of such a ‘way things really are’ is argued by the Mādhyamika to be incoherent. There is no way of investigating the world apart from our linguistic and conceptual practices, if only because these practices generate the notion of the ‘world’ and of the ‘objects’ in it in the first place. To speak of conventional reality as distorted is therefore highly misleading, unless all we want to say is that our way of investigating the world is inextricably bound up with the linguistic and conceptual framework we happen to employ.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 04:03 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
...unless you have no sense of humor at all, you have to laugh out loud at the absurdity of it.


Or, unlike Frank who admits "he is not the sharpest pencil in the pack". you might respond with a quotation from the Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr...
Quote:
No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical.

Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2013 04:08 pm
@igm,


Quote:
Quote:
Re: Frank Apisa (Post 5256107)
Frank Apisa wrote:

...unless you have no sense of humor at all, you have to laugh out loud at the absurdity of it.


It's you that makes me laugh Frank…


Okay...I am glad I made you laugh. Laughter is, as Martha Stewart might say, "a good thing."



Quote:
Did Stanford 'laugh out loud' or do they study the implications of it (hint: it's the second option)? You sound to me like someone who read the first sentence of the paragraph I posted and then came to a mistaken conclusion about the whole thing, in order to protect your right (as you see it) always to be right.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nagarjuna/


Nope, I read the entire thing. Just read it again. Come up with the same comments.

I didn’t bother to comment on the fact that this was written in part to bolster your claim that “…Madhyamaka philosophy…has ‘no view’” (Granted you went on to a “sound of one hand clapping” explanation for this view not being a view!) That truly is an absurdity.

As for my supposed need to always be right…that truly is a laugh. I probably use the words, “I do not know” more than anyone in this forum…I am more likely than most to acknowledge my intellectual limitations.

Right?

When most of the time I am asserting “I truly do not know…and I do not have enough unambiguous evidence upon which to base a meaningful guess”…

…yes, I am right, I guess.

But to make it what you are trying to make is even sillier than that earlier stuff.
0 Replies
 
 

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