Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Axioms and Suffering: A Look Justification

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.

Science is the practice that ultimately will require justification once these “alien” others are more fully comprehended and incorporated.

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."

Friday, April 13, 2018

More remarks on free will and karma, but as yet unfinished...

Some adherents to a free will view may not realize all of the necessary assumptions in place making such a view seem plausible. However, keen or vigilant attention paid to experience reveals that an error is in play. Experience rises and falls, by its own momentum, effortlessly--for good or bad. Its source is unknowable, in a strictly experiential sense. Watch very calmly and closely if you are in doubt, for this is precisely what it takes to come to know this to be an accurate description. A self-sense inheres (as a conceit) in the continuum of experience, not as an agent of actions of body, speech, and mind but as an implicit or explicit component of the continuum. This is often called our karma--because it becomes manifest in our experience with an implicit or explicit attending self-sense. The conceit is what we may refer to as the illusion, the mere appearance of Ime, and mine. However, the vigilant attention spoken of here, while intrinsic to experience, is not a self or an agent of actions. This attention makes the bearer of experience and the contents of experience possible.

What arises as experience results from necessarily incarnate past acts, historical, social, familial, and personal. If experience occurred in any other way, change would not be possible. Thus, change for the better, i.e., change in the quality of future experience is indeed possible through acts taken in the present.

No act (karma) of body, speech, and mind is lost. Meaningful experience, fully human experience, unfolds from the past in the present toward the future. Thus, experience is intentional. Actions taken in the present, providing the deposits for the nature of future experience, include the circumstantial elements of each present moment wherein the past is unfolded as the present toward the future. Thus, the deposits left by the action taken in each present circumstance accounts for the novelty of future experience. Thus, innovation is included in the experiential continuum. If one thinks of this in the manner of geological deposition, such as we see in the sedimentary layers of the Grand Canyon, we must take note of, not only the prior layers of sediment conditioning the structure of the newer deposits, but of the causes and conditions of each moment that also lend to the configuration of each new layer of sediment deposited upon the prior layers. All (and I must stress this word) of these prior layers (the past) are also the conditions which remain to configure each new layer as it is deposited. Thus, each present action, inclusive of all of the circumstances conditioning that present action, will also be conditioned by all prior acts deposited and both the present and the past become the causes and conditions of future experience. This makes the novelty and the continuity of experience possible. In effect, the future is in a sense, but not entirely, present in the past. So, our actions in the present do count. However, they are conditioned acts with the possibility of qualitative change made possible by the manner in which each action taken, not by a free agent mind you, establishes the conditions upon which future experience is created.

Monday, March 26, 2018

“There are two kinds of suffering: the suffering that leads to more suffering and the suffering that leads to the end of suffering. If you are not willing to face the second kind of suffering, you will surely continue to experience the first.”
                                                                                                                                     --Ajahn Chah

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

On the Dangers of the Reification of the Process of Attention

A Simple Introduction

A wonderful lesson I took in my early years in college was from one of Ortega y Gasset's* works. It involved the following (crudely) paraphrased example. He asked what the color white was and to what we might apply it knowing full well that many whites existed and we apply the word white to all of them. So, which was the real white? He drew the distinction between the variety of whites we experience and the ideal or concept white we think. While, as far as I can recall, he never applied it to the concept of self; but his lesson in color also applies to the notion of self. We commonly use the words I, me, mine as if they applied in one or another sense to the same self. We also use names (nouns) as if they apply to a self-same person, place. or thing. These usages are fine as long as we have in mind the conventional nature of the application of the concept to the changing experience of what we conventionally call the thing. But, as we know, this is seldom if ever the case. We seldom, if ever, realize that the name is not adequate to the ever-changing experience we have of what we believe the name to refer to. Take the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus's well-known example (and warning), "It is impossible to step twice into the same river." Now, while I have stated this rather simplistically, it works to point to ever more complex issues that often cause us a great deal of confusion and even suffering.

On the Dangers of the Reification of the Process of Attention (unedited but headed in the right direction)

If we are hellbent on using the term “consciousness” for discussions regarding our experience as sentient beings let us be acutely aware of our tendency to regard this term as a thing, entity, or object rather than an activity that lives, that is intensely alive and superbly ephemeral; it is an ephemeron.

All five factors--objectivity, feeling, perception, narratives, and consciousness--of the assemblages are ephemerons, they are alive and as such not things, not cadavers, not objects in a frozen landscape called the world. Experience is living; it is coming and going simultaneously. Birth and death are the movements of time, of experience. Freedom may be viewed as the evanescent awareness of assemblages in their synchroneity.

Craving is the arising of narratives of the death-rendering battle against impermanence.

*Jose Ortega y Gasset, 1886-1955, the great Spanish philosopher that I strongly recommend your attention to at some point in your life.    

This post takes the place of the deleted "Desire and Fulfillment..." post

On the Movement of Experience as Time

We may analyze experience into five basic factors that integrate to form assemblages: (intentional) objects, feelings, perceptions, narratives, and awareness.

The collusion of any them--past, present or future; internal or external; explicit or implicit; common or sublime--is here termed an assemblage.

Assemblages may be seen as an organization of the factors, i.e., both the structure and content of all conventional experience.

These assemblages, for most of us, function as the targets of craving, invariably accompanied by a self-sense.

The factor that organizes the others is narrative. Narrative organizes perception, consciousness (or awareness), objectivity, and feelings (body). Again, the organizations are here called assemblages.

Narratives are, in the linear sense, historically constituted. Their intentional structure and content are formed by a process of deposition, as in geological deposition, wherein the past shapes a present inclusive of circumstantial conditions that also lend to its intentional, future-oriented composition.

All narratives are vectorial. It is helpful to consider the depositional character of narratives as frames that are inclusive of each moment of present circumstances as well as all prior deposits also shaping that present moment as well. (More should and will be said of narratives but we will have to wait for more appropriate time and place--assemblages.)

Assemblages are temporal in two senses: 1.) the sense that they derive from the past in the present toward an intended future, i.e., they are vectorial; 2.) in the sense that they are ephemeral.

Assemblages are evanescent and, in conventional experience, attended by a self-sense, also evanescent.

An assemblage, when with its attendant self-sense, is a necessary condition for attachment, aversion, or indifference to arise. An assemblage is also a necessary condition for the various modalities of self-senses to arise in the forms of I, me, and mine. Identification with, relationship to, and possession of
the assemblages are the general forms of self-sense composition and manifestation.

A self-sense may be said to be the bearer of the craving-assemblages. They are concomitant, in all but a few cases, with dissatisfaction ranging from cravings for continuing pleasure, to aversion, indifference, stress, to extreme suffering--despite the evanescent nature of the self-sense.

This apparent continuity of the self-sense is due to the similar intentional content of the evanescent narratives organizing the factors providing cohesion.by association. This processual movement of similar self-sense bearing narratives is time itself.

Experience is time.*

*As always, the foregoing is subject to modification.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Rather daring, wouldn't you say?

The intransigent presupposition (belief) of an independently existing reality outside of human experience, be it nature or “the” universe, gives rise to the compulsion to justify Buddhist, Yogic, Sufi, or other practices by naturalizing them. Science is the practice that ultimately will require justification once these “alien” others are more fully comprehended and incorporated.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Time as Experience: Karma, Accretion, and Change part 1

Frames and full-bodied memory--introductory remarks

Viewing time as the unfolding of experience requires some modifications of what we bring to our usual understanding of “experience.” To gain insight into time as experience, our use of the term “experience” must become radically inclusive of the entire range of each moment of embodied living. In this vision, experience unfolds as frames--perhaps the frames reminiscent of strobe lights or, better, "trails" seen during pharmacological experimentations. Each frame is inclusive of both focal awareness and ambient awareness, i.e., the peripheral visual, olfactory, kinesthetic, tactile, and somatosense to the extent they impacted the frame. Also, and very significantly, the form and aural spatial configuration of that frame. Seen as time (Sanskrit, kshana, Pali: ksana), each moment is a temporal frame inclusive of all the frame contains. Space and time are distinguishable but not separable. So a frame is all-inclusive and not limited to a conceptual memory of an event of any sort. It is the context which the conceptual or cognitive event occurred within. The cognitive memory is an abstraction made in the present from the frame of the past that still abides in the store of living memory that lives, remains, in the present conditioning each "subsequent" frame that is and will be.

Part I: An Elaboration on the Frame

Each moment is filled with some form of objectivity, feeling, perception, consciousness, and meaning content. In addition, each moment may be, and in most instances is, attended by a self-sense, a subject. Frames, when considered from a temporal perspective, are moments. These moment-frames are cumulative. Depictions of fractals are a way to visualize them.

Each kshana or moment-frame becomes on the basis of all the prior ones, despite their differences. If we use the metaphor of geological deposition as in the sediment layers visually apparent in (as) the Grand Canyon, we see that each of the layers takes on the configuration it does from both the prior sediment layers and the conditions laid down from the multitudinous influences of the spatio-temporal context. This is what Buddhists and other Indian philosophical schools refer to as karmic deposits (vasana, samskaras/samkaras). These then form the basis of subsequent deposits. This leads us to a karmic or historical theory of deposition.

All of our acts of body, speech, and mind are conditioned by this process of deposition. As you may observe in the picture of a fractal, each frame follows on the basis of all the other frames. This process has no perceivable beginning when seen in experience--often one arising from meditation or other unconventional perception. Perceptions, thoughts, and memories arise carrying with them all of the relevant factors of past and present in a vectorial movement toward the future. The doctrine of karma states that the processes conditioning all experience have no beginning (an-adi)--but they do have an end. Some might hold that end to be death others hold it to be some sort of release like nirvana.

Part II: Freedom Within the Frames (forthcoming)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Worlding: The Bodily Constitution of Form Part II

Prior to the seemingly late appropriation of things, concepts, forms, and images by the consciousness of or intentional consciousness, the structural organization of visible forms has seemingly always already taken place. This is my rationale for declaring that the body is faster than the mind in prior blog entries. This structural organization, being an as yet unappreciated process of constitution, seemingly earlier than the intentional consciousness can grasp it as things out there separate from a body here, is done in concert with bodily, spatial, and feeling components seldom accessed by most of us. However, with a special attention paid to the subtle feelings of what might be called a subtle body, one can begin to appreciate the dynamics of form-constitution within. This form-generation or -constitution is in sync with and joined to a felt bodily constitution. They arise as an undifferentiated unity seemingly prior to appropriation by thought. In a full appreciation of the feeling-structuring of form, there is no experiential delay in an intentional consciousness grasp of thingness. Intentional consciousness and, what I have referred to as this form constituting ambient, feeling consciousness occur at once. There is no need for the addition of the always already as cautionary device.

Experience, in the above sense, arises as frame-moments (kshanas*). Thought grasps this only as a static reality out there due to its seeming lateness in arriving on the scene as knowing. Hence a dualistic rendering of the prior union into subject and object is one outcome. Each moment of this body-form generation may be called the ambient frame that provides the backdrop for perception by intentional consciousness. Most commonly, the union dimension of experience is perceived as a world out there that awaits our presence as embodied subjects encountering this objectively independent environment full of either physical objects or meaningful others.

There is so much more to be said of this that it overwhelms me. I am forced to stop and calm myself prior to continuing.

*"Concept And Measurement Of Time In Vedas". 2015. Sanskriti - Indian Culture. Accessed January 19 2018. http://www.sanskritimagazine.com/indian-religions/hinduism/concept-measurement-time-vedas/.

Axioms and Suffering: A Look Justification

The intransigent presupposition (belief) of an independently existing reality outside of human experience, be it the world, nature, or the ...