Thursday, July 12, 2018

Enactivism, Embodiment, Extended Mind, etc.


Zen Koan: A monk was meditating by the pond with his master one day. While meditating there the monk saw a frog jump into the pond. He asked his master who was sitting beside him how this happened. The master replied: "If you can explain what happens when the pond jumps into the frog then you will have your answer". The monk realized, in that instant, the meaning of his master's statement and then began to meditate some more.  

As the koan shows, if the monk/student can imagine or fabricate his way to an explanation of how the "pond jumps into the frog," he will understand how the frog jumps into the pond, how it occurs. Please note that it is how and not why. Our knowledge, our experience, our "embodied consciousness" does not stop at the skin. What is known, at this [mostly occulted] level of perception is the manner in which mind extends into living circumstances. Each moment of our sentient living demonstrates an incarnate construal of self-body-mind-world instantiation. These moments provide much of the sediment for subsequent moments of life's movement as living time. As I have discussed in previous blog entries, a process of deposition is at work; we might call it a process of an assimilating deposition. The immediate conditions of each moment, a fractal frame, imposed upon all of the prior frames already deposited, is structured as a new past conditioned by both the present conditions and all of the prior fractal frames. This movement includes a paradoxical looking back to the future thus conditioning all subsequent moment-frames. All looking forward relies upon the present and the past for its vector. All acts of body, speech, and mind—past, present, and future—reside in dependence on the entirety of the past as well as present conditions carrying intentions forward. There is no room for a free will but the all-inclusive present conditions offer novelty in each moment thus offering the possibility of innovation. Nothing remains the same. Given this analysis there can be no eternal return à la Nietzsche. The past provides the working material from which, influenced by present conditions, the future holds out the possibility for change. We may view this as the unfolding of history or karma. Innovation is made possible by the openness of the present to unique conditions into which the past enters to undergo modification in its vectorial movement to future acts. The process is far too complex to rationally compute. However, it may be said that what we do in the present, which is the result of past acts that have been perfumed all along by unique presents, offers us the possibility of changing our futures. TBC 



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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Neither Idealism nor Realism & More...


Familiar with an idealist notion that our thoughts create reality? Or, a realist notion that reality exists independent of minds & from its own side? I invite you to take a look at how our desires bring about experiential, living reality--an alternative to the other positions.
Examining experience takes a bit of practice, luck, & sometimes, help. Let’s begin with an examination of desire. Desires may be seen to arise quite selflessly. We don’t elicit them do we? We don’t say “I would like to arouse a desire,” do we? Did we desire to arouse desire?
And if that was the case, what would have aroused that desire to examine desire? What would it be like to elicit a desire? What would be the necessary and sufficient causes and conditions in place that would give rise to a desire? Let’s examine our experience, shall we?
By carefully watching our experience, we can be witness to something quite surprising, the absence of a self that desires. Let your attention rest on of the birth of a desire. Sit quietly long enough and a desire will arise. (Perhaps a desire to move, or adjust your posture arises.) Just witness it. See if you actually, that is, consciously and explicitly act in such a way that you can actually and honestly say that “you” created a desire or made a desire arise in your experience. Now, did you actually give rise to that desire? Were you present at the birth of that desire? Were you there actually creating that desire? Did you design it? Did you structure it? Did you select the words that are its content? Can you honestly say that you explicitly took those actions to create a desire?
Yes, in anticipation of a question, without question, all experience arises selflessly, even those characterized as “evil” or “self-centered.” Blame is a mere convention and implies only a naive, conventional guilt. Blame requires a notion of a free agent who, with deliberation, decidedly performs an action out of her own free will. Now, given what we know of desire from the above remarks, do you think this is a possibility? Do actions not result from desire, an intention to act? Then, what gave rise to the desire? Again, did one consciously say, “Hey, I think I will desire to do such and such an act?” Is this the way it happens? Let’s say for the moment that it did happen that way. Now, what would be the next step that gives rise to the act for which we can lay blame? If we think clearly about this, without uncritically adhering to the presuppositions (the habitual) that immediately enter our minds to muddy the waters, we must say that some sort of a decision takes place. So, how does that happen? Do we then think, “Oh, okay, I think I will decide to perform this act?” Is this what happens? Or, is it something like, “Should I perform this act?” Say it is the latter. Okay, now what happens next? Do we then decide? Since we have decided to decide? Okay, do we then decide to decide to decide to do the act? You must see where this is going? An infinite regress occurs. No act will ever take place. Certainly, this cannot be the process of acting upon desires.
Consider this: “I forgot….” On first listen, this sentence may appear to reflect a process of forgetting. But what would this process entail? A self that has deliberately forgotten something. What is that self? What is that process? Think about it. How would such a process appear? Is there a self who willingly places a something some place where they will forget it? How would that be possible? How would this forgetting process be enacted? Maybe with some sort of drug, or a really great hiding place that one may forget. But if it is such a great hiding spot then how might it be forgotten if you just remembered about it now so that you may place this object in it? Does this not seem rather oxymoronic? “I’ll put this somewhere so special that I can forget where I put it--so I cannot remember it? Sound right to you?
One of several presuppositions grounded as the false hope of the enlightenment is that we, as independently existing selves, we arrive at a point where each of us will rationally know, will have gained that knowledge where we suffer no more, will not age, will be happy, will be healthy, and on and on. This assumption of independently existing substantial selves (IESS) grounds the belief that conceptual knowledge is what should and can guide us to some sort of rational knowledge that will bring all of IESS to fulfillment in a better future. Some of us even have a dream of AI that will enable us to accomplish this utopian future. This is not in keeping with what experience with a truly focused, quiet, and non-conceptual attention tells us is the case. 

To be continued on a post above...





Blog Post Revised: Observations on Free Will, Intention, and Meaning


Familiar with an idealist notion that our thoughts create reality? Or, a realist notion that reality exists independent of minds & from its own side? I invite you to take a look at how our desires bring about experiential, living reality--an alternative to the other positions.
Examining experience takes a bit of practice, luck, & sometimes, help. Let’s begin with an examination of desire. Desires may be seen to arise quite selflessly. We don’t elicit them do we? We don’t say “I would like to arouse a desire,” do we? Did we desire to arouse desire?
And if that was the case, what would have aroused that desire to examine desire? What would it be like to elicit a desire? What would be the necessary and sufficient causes and conditions in place that would give rise to a desire? Let’s examine our experience, shall we?
By carefully watching our experience, we can be witness to something quite surprising, the absence of a self that desires. Let your attention rest on of the birth of a desire. Sit quietly long enough and a desire will arise. (Perhaps a desire to move, or adjust your posture arises.) Just witness it. See if you actually, that is, consciously and explicitly act in such a way that you can actually and honestly say that “you” created a desire or made a desire arise in your experience. Now, did you actually give rise to that desire? Were you present at the birth of that desire? Were you there actually creating that desire? Did you design it? Did you structure it? Did you select the words that are its content? Can you honestly say that you explicitly took those actions to create a desire?
Yes, in anticipation of a question, without question, all experience arises selflessly, even those characterized as “evil” or “self-centered.” Blame is a mere convention and implies only a naive, conventional guilt. Blame requires a notion of a free agent who, with deliberation, decidedly performs an action out of her own free will. Now, given what we know of desire from the above remarks, do you think this is a possibility? Do actions not result from desire, an intention to act? Then, what gave rise to the desire? Again, did one consciously say, “Hey, I think I will desire to do such and such an act?” Is this the way it happens? Let’s say for the moment that it did happen that way. Now, what would be the next step that gives rise to the act for which we can lay blame? If we think clearly about this, without uncritically adhering to the presuppositions (the habitual) that immediately enter our minds to muddy the waters, we must say that some sort of a decision takes place. So, how does that happen? Do we then think, “Oh, okay, I think I will decide to perform this act?” Is this what happens? Or, is it something like, “Should I perform this act?” Say it is the latter. Okay, now what happens next? Do we then decide? Since we have decided to decide? Okay, do we then decide to decide to decide to do the act? You must see where this is going? An infinite regress occurs. No act will ever take place. Certainly, this cannot be the process of acting upon desires.
Consider this: “I forgot….” On first listen, this sentence may appear to reflect a process of forgetting. But what would this process entail? A self that has deliberately forgotten something. What is that self? What is that process? Think about it. How would such a process appear? Is there a self who willingly places a something some place where they will forget it? How would that be possible? How would this forgetting process be enacted? Maybe with some sort of drug, or a really great hiding place that one may forget. But if it is such a great hiding spot then how might it be forgotten if you just remembered about it now so that you may place this object in it? Does this not seem rather oxymoronic? “I’ll put this somewhere so special that I can forget where I put it--so I cannot remember it? Sound right to you?
One of several presuppositions grounded as the false hope of the enlightenment is that we, as independently existing selves, we arrive at a point where each of us will rationally know, will have gained that knowledge where we we suffer no more, will not age, will be happy, will be healthy, and on and on. This assumption of independently existing substantial selves (IESS) grounds the belief that conceptual knowledge is what should and can guide us to some sort of rational knowledge that will bring all of IESS to fulfillment in a better future. Some of us even have a dream of AI that will enable us to accomplish this utopian future. This is not in keeping with what experience with a truly focused, quiet, and non-conceptual attention tells us is the case.












Sunday, June 17, 2018

All of us are burning...

All sentient beings are in the flame, burning with it and as it, the impermanence--arising and ceasing as samsara. That is experience as time. Sentience makes all experience conscious and evanescent in its synchronous arising and ceasing. Witnessing is freedom itself. Distinguishing pure subjectivity-- as an impersonal, conscious witnessing--from the witnessed is liberation. This is not something added to what is now ongoing. Experience as sentient evanescence is ever the case; now is the only time freedom lives. Past, present, and future coalesce to inform the movement of life with structure and meaning. There is no doer, no owner, no one home there. One can only become what you already are. Practice must not forever remain the plug-in-the-gap between now and then. All of us must awaken.

When experience demonstrates birth and death as one movement it has revealed their unification as time. All opposition, all dualities now remain as conventional and or pragmatic tools rather than descriptions of "the real." Dualities are now seen to be purely conceptual and often helpful or a sophistic hindrance which may and do become sinister in their utility.

As always, more to come...

Biography and the Exploitation of Meditation and Virtue Practice



Meditation is not done to change, transform, improve, or enlighten your life but to change the nature of moment-to-moment experience at the expense of the presence of suffering. Biographically oriented change through meditation defeats one of its primary reasons for its existence throughout its history.

More to come on this soon....

 



Sunday, June 03, 2018

Initial considerations on self-body-world constitution from a Buddhist perspective

There are name & form, perceptions, feelings, perceptions, fabrications, and consciousness according to the Pali Canon, the earliest known collection of written teachings of Buddhism. It is the aggregations of these five aggregates (khandha in Pali; skandha in Sanskritwhich constitute our experience, nothing more. There are many elaborations or parsings of these five but these are the fundamentals. These five co-implicate each other in an evanescent movement constituting what we call experience. That having been said, we are in a position to discuss the movement of experience.

Now, notions such as "the world," or "the universe" are, in Buddhism, are to be relegated to these five khandhas or aggregations. Again, these are the constituents of all experience. 

We will continue.

Friday, June 01, 2018

More on Body: Rambling thoughts on thoughts

The body lives in "real- time, living time as experience. It does so anonymously until the feeling of selfhood is elicited. Often, that's when the trouble begins. However, trouble is not inherent in this. The body is always faster than thinking, but thinking lives in real time also. Reflection plays catch-up to the body's dynamic, to feeling organized by living narratives that run very deep. The work of embodied narratives is too fast for reflection to catch. However, reflection does its work in real-time also. It's just that we believe the intended objects of reflection are an accurate "mirroring" of what has already occurred. Reflection, in the performative sense, takes as its object the past. Memory can be deceived and has often been caught out in error. Our deepest beliefs, held in body-memory, often lead us astray.

The body is now, the evanescent present flowing with the complication (co-implication) of past, present, and future. The past, i.e., past actions of body, speech, and mind--from time without beginning--flow in an intentional as a yet-to-be future, always. This language attempts to hold what cannot be held, like quicksilver. The body flows in evanescent effluence, flush with acts built of time.

In the "encounter," the body-mind-world is the forgotten but promised land. The memory of this forgotten land hides in our primordial anxiety, our longing for home. Without so much as a wink, the body as the evanescent is forgotten and paradise is lost. We then come upon a strange world that must be thought to know its "nature." Parmenides saw to that. He opened the methodos, the path, that claimed being is known by thought. Thought cannot reclaim that which is lost. Thought, as the belief that it can reflect, mirror, capture, or know the "what is," is an ever alienating movement to know the evanescent in the still. Thought then becomes incarnate belief in the encounter. "I come to being as the still," the still that becomes framed in ideas. Vision, as Aristotle knew, can only capture what does not move, what does not become.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Some notes on karma, novelty, change, and free will

This vectorial nature of (phenomenal) experience is intentional, i.e., meaningful present acts aim toward and determine meaningful future experience.* The unique, incarnate, and meaningful circumstances of each present moment are what makes a qualitative change in future experience possible.

In this depiction of the structural continuum of experience, what some Buddhists refer to as the mental continuum (a problematic translation), there is no room for free will. If there were free will it would require input from a willing agent. This agent, a self, possessing such a will, would of necessity be unconditioned by the past and have the capability to make decisions without relying on input from the past or present circumstances or a conceivable future which would also be free of any input from the past in any conception of a future. This agent would be free of all conditioned imperatives even those which demanded the next breath. Such an agent excludes the existence of a memory in any conception of the time in which and for which a decision had to be made. One is exhausted by any attempt to even conceive of an unconditioned agent possessing free will let alone making decisions...





*This movement is 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

On the Manifest and the Unmanifest...short takes

Many of us may think that silence is simply a lack of sound. However, it is only in and through silence that sound can be heard. This statement holds true for all of the other senses with their respective fields or contexts, e.g., the tastlessness of the tongue and the "lack" of feeling that skin minus the contact is touchless and the tongue is tasteless. All six of our sensations or cognitions, including the mind-sense, require their sentient opposites to originate, continue, and dissolve. This threefold process(ing) of origination, continuity, and dissolution is synonymous with time itself as experience. All three may also serve to help us take note of this process and perhaps even practice non-interference, i.el, neither attachment nor averson toward it. All three occur (as occurring) synchronously. In an abstract sense, all three make up each now as the movement of experience. In order to taste, for example, the occurring of tasting must happen as process. So, to manifest taste as tasting time as experience is always an occuring not a static taste but a movement of tasting. This is an occasion for the words more or less. Do I need more ice cream or put my fork down an toss this untasteworthy food--the play of attachment and aversion. However, when we drink pure water, we may be indifferent to its movement of taste. It is often overlooked or ignored when we may use it to wash down what we wish we hadn't eaten. It may now become clear why I call silence sentient silence, for it is a necessary element of tasting anything, liked or not. 



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Axioms and Suffering (It's not very clear but I'm working on it.)

The intransigent presupposition (belief) of an independently existing reality outside of human experience, be it the world, nature, or the universe, gives rise to the compulsion to justify the alien others, such as Buddhism, Taoism, meditation, etc., by naturalizing them. This process seems, at first glance, to be a process of discovery of what is and is not affected by bias, i.e., it appears as natural and independently existent. The sciences claim to be a process of revealing the secrets of the universe, be it biology or physics and their related natural sciences.

Science is the practice that ultimately will require justification once these “alien” others are more fully comprehended and incorporated. For now, let me state that we live in worlds that are situational and not natural. By situational we mean manifest as the attempted fulfillment of human desire. So, instead of asking the question "What is?," we intend the question "What does it mean for us?" In most cases of scientific investigation, the answers looked for are driven by the intentional questions "What is it?," What is its function in the natural order of things?," and "Of what use is it to fulfill our desires?," or "What can we do with it?," following a simple progression of explanation, prediction, and control.

The overwhelming inclination, even compulsion, to justify other realms of life, philosophies, or practices by naturalizing them via science, e.g., neuro--whatever, must be examined.

The Western sciences, in light of a fuller understanding of the other(s) such as Buddhism, Yoga, Sufism, phenomenology, mysticism, etc., may very well be those who are summoned to provide more and or other justifications for their own activity.

These so-called others find their justification for adherence in the efficaciousness of their claims to either alleviate suffering and may even provide something of a foundation for the sciences and its (possible) intentions.

In marked contrast to many forms of scientism and materialism, Buddhism etc., are intended as methods different than the acquisition of theoretical knowledge for the purposes of explanation, prediction, and control. The theories propagated by sciences currently rest upon foundations and justifications that are often obscure, assumed as axiomatic, and even based on the profit-bearing motives of capitalist economy. Often our sciences serve the cruel masters of ignorance and afflicted thinking as evinced by environmental degradation, poverty, alienation and the increased suffering of all sentient beings.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The World According to the Buddha

The Buddha said: "And what is the origination of the world? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises eye-consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. This is the origination of the world."

Burning as living, Living as burning

Enactivism, Embodiment, Extended Mind, etc.

Zen Koan: A monk was meditating by the pond with his master one day. While meditating there the monk saw a frog jump into the pond. He as...