Thanks Nicole & Jen, your opening posts were brilliant.
Loved your first post too torch – Thanks also.
MikeS, thank you for your nothingness post – best laugh I’ve had in a few days. (And you still seem stuck in a rather destructive script, but you seem happy there in a funny sort of way.)
I agree with the “everything is connected” theme, and in the many levels of connection; and there is something else also. Things seem to have a primary locus, at which the level of connection is highest, and then the level of connection degrades as one moves out in space and time.
For us as thinking human beings, the primary locus seems to be our brains, which brains need the support of our bodies to survive and to interact with the world around us. And our bodies need the tools and ecosystems in which they live, and the plants need the sun, and …..
Sorry Torch, it seems quite clear to me that the only purpose is the one we choose for ourselves. The nothingness beyond that does seem to be rather total. Death does seem to be very final. Life does seem to be very precious indeed.
As to the ability of modern science to relate to the two essential Buddhist truths above, for me it is quite clear. Buddhism to me is a scientific tradition, a tradition of inquiry.
The relatedness of all, is now well established on several levels.
At the quantum level it relates all matter.
At the level of storage and retrieval of information the use of holographic (distributed phases related storage) provides a mechanism for relating all information to all other information based upon context at the instant of “recall”.
At the higher level, games theory shows us that if we are able to take self interest to a sufficiently long time-frame (ie have a reasonable expectation of living indefinitely) then it becomes in the self interest of everyone to care for the interests of everyone else. And with a strong network of communications it is impossible for cheats to prosper for very long (at any level).
Thus there is a clear prospect for creating systems that guarantee the survival needs and individual freedom of everyone (no exceptions).
Orgasms are fun, and human minds value novelty as much as orgasm – so continuous orgasm becomes boring. What seems to work is a balance of orgasm at an appropriate frequency for the particular minds involved; and an exploration of something of interest in the intervening time.
What an amazing thing this experience called life is.
Interesting link to the black hole information problem.
What I am saying is related, but only tangentially, in that we are both using properties of holograms as a description of how things seem to function.
They have focussed on a rather different subset of the properties from the subset that is of most interest to me.
My interest has been more in the area of information processing, and how one stores and retrieves information in holographic fashion (as distributed interference patterns, rather than as localised sequences of bits).
It’s really hard to imagine how it works without seeing it in action.
There is no real substitute for seeing an array of objects in a darkened room light up in direct proportion to their similarity to a given object.
So many different “lines of thought” in this thread.
Scripts, constructing and deconstructing them.
Scripts seem real enough in a sense, but what triggers one script as against another, and what of the meta scripts that create scripts, or the meta meta scripts that create metascripts – it starts getting messy.
It seems to me, that in so far as the idea of scripts has reality, then those scripts occur in and are triggered by contexts.
So it seems that by gaining some mastery over the choice or recognition of context we gain some mastery over the expression of the scripts; and on the meta levels, over the creation of those scripts.
Feelings, either “good” or “bad” seem to be mostly chemically mediated aspects of being, that seem to have evolved for a certain evolutionary utility in directing activity toward or away from general classes of life sustaining or life threatening contexts; while still leaving room for finer control if appropriate.
Thus, it seems up to the individual (at the finest level) to choose what is appropriate and to accept whatever chemically mediated responses follow from that choice (rather than the other way round).
What are pain and happiness, except a few chemicals loose in the brain, and sets of experiences ?
It seems that we are physical bodies, and those physical bodies have brains with many abilities, including memory, language, abstraction, intuition; and many levels of connectedness to everything around them.
It seems that some of the abilities of brain only become obvious when others are suppressed by some mechanism (be it prayer or meditation or silence), and there are various cultural interpretations for those states, most of which seem to me to have little relevance in light of the information available from scientific studies today.
It seems that there is infinite flexibility available in the software that may be created in and run by our brains (scripts, contexts or whatever).
It seems that the “laws” of nature that we understand are, for the most part, probabilistic laws which deal with large collections of “stuff” very well, but give us very little information about the action of individual entities. Individual things, at all scales, seem to show far greater variability (and far less predictability) than large collections of the same things.
It seems that we human beings, while being composed of many levels of collections of things, are also individuals at the highest level, and potentially highly unpredictable (when allowed to exist as individuals and not be drawn into large groups).
It seems that while we have scripts that we often follow, we are also capable of recombining those scripts in novel ways that allow us to express actions in reality that have never previously existed.
We seem to have both infinite capacity for creativity and infinite capacity for avoidance of “stuff”.
It seems to be true to a degree that by stilling the chatter of the “ego” within us, we allow ourselves access to the deeper levels of our minds, those layers with “holographic” associative capability.
These experiences are very different from the ordinary “mental chatter” filled and script triggering experiences of our normal existence.
Often these experiences are labelled as enlightenment, and sometimes they are part of the path.
Enlightenment to me seems to be relatively simple – it is a ceasing to resist accepting any aspect of reality, a dropping of all pretence.
What we each do after that is a matter of individual choice.
There are few, if any, limits that cannot be worked around in one way or another.
I agree with Zak, at a couple of levels.
At one level, it pays to check out some of the key theory completely.
I spent almost 9 months going through Kurt Goedel’s incompleteness theorem (after work, most nights), until I was certain that all the math and all the logic checked out.
There have been some very famous theories that have had logical errors in them that took decades for someone to find (like Bell’s bivalent use of non-bivalent logic that Rachel Garden eventually found – many in the QM world still use Bell’s results as proof of wave particle duality, without realising that it has been falsified).
The other aspect comes from immersing oneself in a discipline sufficiently that one can rely on ones subconscious intuitions in the field. There is no substitute for “doing the work” in this respect.
When you know that you can do the hard yards and check things through in detail, but are also confident that your intuitions are good, and you don’t need to check everything in all cases, then you can get a lot done very quickly, intuition being almost infinitely faster than doing the work.
Hi Nicole & Zak
I don’t class myself as an expert on anything. I am strictly a generalist. I just try to find out enough about each subject that I can talk to the experts in that field, and manage to understand most of what they say.
Mostly what I do is look for linkages between fields, looking for overall patterns, things that the specialists don’t have enough general knowledge to see.
Spending a lot of time observing nature is important too, as it is the most complex system around.
Then just being alert for the intuitions, and trusting them when they come, at whatever level they come.
One could spend a thousand years studying the life in a drop of sea water, and still be getting surprises at the end of that time – certainly.
It seems to me that almost any subject is infinite in its complexity.
So certainly, ignorance is where it is at – for all of us, and that is no excuse to stop learning.
However much we know, even should we live for a billion years, we would still be profoundly more ignorant than we are knowledgeable; and none of that is any excuse for not doing the best we can with what we’ve got at any instant in time.
I have proven to myself, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the vast majority of people are able to learn just about anything, if given contextual clues appropriate to their experience.
Certainly some learn faster than others in some areas, and the differences really aren’t that great usually.
Most often, if someone isn’t learning something, it is because they are missing some key conceptual component at some lower level.
In my one almost full year of relief teaching I had one class that were supposedly the group that couldn’t learn. Many of them couldn’t add, and I was supposed to be teaching them algebra. I got them all doing algebra by the end of that year, and it took a lot of one on one work, and a lot of work on my part to create contexts of problems that were relevant to their lives and experiences, and build the chains of concepts necessary for them to do algebra.
For most people, when they find that they cannot understand something, they make some declaration to themselves that they are “no good at that thing” or that they “don’t like that subject”. Most often, all that has happened in reality is someone has assumed that they knew something that they didn’t know. So the process of learning failed at that step.
However, once they make that judgement upon themselves, the consequences just multiply out through their lives.
That is what makes me say that anyone can learn anything, and some things take some hard work.
So – OK – sure.
And there is also the sense in which we are necessarily ignorant of so much, that it is not helpful to add will-full ignorance into the mix. 😉