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Meditation

The dye studies show that ultimately its about applying focus until other areas of the brain become starved as a result of over prioritizing the area associated with the focus.

Like you focus on the sound of a stream and your brain processes that sound as if it’s the most important thing in the world because you’ve given it that designation. Everything else gets put on standby, even basic processes like the sense of self, which being a fairly recent evolutionary development is one of the first things to be powered down.

Also meditation tends to traditionally occur in sparse boring settings. Putting yourself in a state of sensory deprivation where in you start to get clear data from your body, for example being able to hear your heartbeat due to near silence, produces a situation where biofeedback training becomes possible, and since this possibility emerges in that sensory deprived state (the isolated monastery) you are able to use this as “something to do” and you can train at it constantly while sitting there.

This sort of biofeedback training can be achieved by other means with a heartbeat monitor, but body temp control (another interesting display of meditative “powers”) is slightly trickier. It’s a well known fact that thinking of running vividly enough causes micro-tremors in the muscles associated with running. So I could easily picture something similar being done with convincing yourself you are cold, and thus trick your body into requesting heating measures. I suspect this would be far easier to do if you’re in the starved state mentioned above since the brain would be less able to process conflicting data (the actual temperature readings).

In short meditation is not magical, its not even particularly special, its just another brain state and I’m personally tired of it being the intellectually fashionable way to indulge in golly gee mysticism. I’m tired of it being the atheist’s kosher religion

Updated: May 2, 2010 — 8:28 pm

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  1. Hmmm, let´s see a couple of issues.

    1 – applying focus until other areas of the brain become starved as a result of over prioritizing the area associated with the focus

    I thought the definition of focus was neglecting other areas to priorize one. The kind of thing we do, you know, every day to study, listen to music, be productive and function.

    2 – Also meditation tends to traditionally occur in sparse boring settings

    Good thing you mentioned “traditionally”, for it´s not a requisite. Borning and mundande day to day activities included.

    3 – its not even particularly special, its just another brain state

    Well, we hold every 4 years an intenational championship to see all the people that excel in certain fields of practice, and even tough we can reduce “Oh, it´s a bunch of people running/swimming/jumping/etc to see who goes faster/higher/etc.”, it´s an event to show how far you can force your body to do your wil.

    And again with definitions, if we have an “avarage” population that can´t do one thing, than those who can, are by defiiniton…

    But now on a subjective matter, personally as a mind studier in it´s biological and cultural aspect, i find quite ass kicking being able to control heat functions, heart beating rates and who knows what other body functions. Of course we have artificial, training investment free artificial regulators in form of medicine, but they tend to have a lot of non-requested modulations (side-effects) that i think most people would be glad not to have.

    Plus, the body is quite stupid presenting itself with abstination chrysis if you take too much of a thing and then removing it.

    4 – I’m tired of it being the atheist’s kosher religion

    You do know that religion comes from re-ligare (reconnect [to a higher being{God}]) and that a traning of the mind have aboslutely *nothing* to do with it, right ?

    The universe will still be enthropic, devoid of mening but the ones we create, running towards a slow, cold death and stagnation of energy, and our lives nothing but an ephemeral, transitory, and even more meaningless existence to be forgotten in history.

    Just because certain people train their bodies and their minds more than others, it doens´t mean that they are religious. Simply menas tha tthey enjoy the ride of their meaningless existance.

    Btw, Budhism is not a religion.

    Cheers

    1. I thought the definition of focus was neglecting other areas to priorize one. The kind of thing we do, you know, every day to study, listen to music, be productive and function.

      But not to the point of neurological atrophy. That’s the reason you have pain tolerance for example via meditation, you’re actually starving the area of the brain that processes pain to the point of non function. Not saying this is bad, just saying it’s a little different than just simple day to day focus.

      Good thing you mentioned “traditionally”, for it´s not a requisite. Borning and mundande day to day activities included.

      Well my point was that meditation is supposed to be done either in stimulus reduced settings or to simulate that lack of stimulus via extreme focus as above, to explain a bit more of how I think it achieves what it achieves.

      *the Olympics argument*

      To be clear I don’t think the Olympics are special either since a human plus a device or a device by itself could outstrip every performance. I’m more interested in government achievements. Since how fast some mutant pothead swims isn’t likely to improve the quality of my life, but a processor advancement or a biotechnology innovation certainly might.

      Of course you’re right about understanding the mechanics of meditative effects being useful as a biotechnology progress or neurological interest. But only as a means to an end. I think its reprehensible to allow for a situation where we could tell people “learn to meditate” instead of giving them a blanket, and I’m quick to add that’s not what you or anyone else thus far is saying, but I think it could easily go in that direction.

      The whole meditation push seems to have a tremendous time investment work ethic attached and it seems to be that only the rich in the west have the time. The whole thing strikes me as elitist and dismissive.

      Budhism is not a religion.

      Buddhism is most certainly a religion. Meditating may not make you a Buddhist of course, but I’m still tired of the tolerance Buddhism receives as a result of meditation being in effect a wonderful marketing partner. It’s just as backwards and fucked up as the other religions.

      People bemoan religion’s ability to cause wars and justify torture and assuredly those things are bad but religion’s number one shitty thing is its glorification of stagnation, since if it didn’t attack progress we would have advanced beyond those things by now. Buddhism and it’s politically correct cousin, meditation, has that in spades. If the meditation fans and Buddhists ran the world we’d never do anything with technology and that bothers me.

  2. Well, now that we know where our perspectives start, no point in arguing.

    You carry too much pre-conceptions on issues taht are quite simple, and operate on a “or” basis instead of an “and”.

    One that exercices the body have a merit on it´s own for me, but you go for the artificial replacements and economic/optimized standards. As so, one that can do amazing things with it´s body, have a merit on it´s own for me, while for you may bea waste of time or easily “solved” by a blanket. (Again, or instead of and). You look for ends i look for an enjoyable mean to it.

    To consider it something that “rich” people do, either you are ver locked down on your own perspective, or deliberatly ignore the processes or go look to see how it works.

    And if you consider Budhism religion, again, nothing to talk about.

    Cheers

    1. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Buddhism.

      Buddhism is usually considered a religion, but is also commonly described as a “spiritual philosophy”, because it generally lacks an absolute creator god. (Though many insist that it must be classified as a religion because it does contain all other religious beliefs: an afterlife, miracles, various spirits, including gods, who may help an individual, spiritual practices including prayer and meditation, and other things.)

      Your definition of religion is apparently self serving and inconsistent. Unless of course you openly admit to the one and only criteria for a religion is if it believes in a single all powerful god or not. Which I would then suppose renders both the Greek and Egyptian faiths, along with every other polytheistic variant, what, spiritual philosophies as well?

      Also I think it is clear there is a significant language barrier here.

  3. If you haven’t already read it you might be interested in this wiki article on Jhana: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jhana

    If you read about the higher Jhanas you might see that the claims of Buddhist Meditation (in particular the Theravada traditions of Jhana) sound more like psychedelic trips than merely concentration of a single object. I mean what is the dimension of infinite space anyway? Though, I suppose they could be lying about the Jhanas, and these states of mind could be just as hallucinatory and meaningless as psychedelic trips. Maybe knowing what the “dye studies” say about psychedelic trips would shed some light on the whole situation.

    Quite honestly I’m not remotely familiar with “dye studies”, I’ve heard about mri and fmri studies but not “dye studies”, and, as usual, most of the really good content is sitting in a university library somewhere or in some journal that costs $. Anyway.

    That having been said, I’d like to point out that rich people are probably in the minority in terms of true practitioners (if there even are any rich practitioners, do you know any?). More common serious practitioners are monk and novice renunciates who live at a monastery where all they own is a robe and a bowl and eat one meal a day.

    1. Quite honestly I’m not remotely familiar with “dye studies”

      You’re perfectly within your right to demand citation (not that you were, just saying you could.). Here you go.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci/tech/1847442.stm

      Where I read about them was in a book called neurophilosophy by mit press. If you want more info just let me know.

      I mean what is the dimension of infinite space anyway?

      At a guess I would say that’s a result of starving the area of the brain responsible for generating the sense of boundedness. The sensation of being in an open field and being in a closed room would seem to have a neurological component as all other sensation must by definition. Take a look at claustrophobic accounts for example. They routinely characterize their experience as feeling closed in to an obviously greater degree than normal.

      The whole of your reality is generated by your brain. You receive nothing directly. And that’s not just your basic senses that’s EVERYTHING you think and feel. The subjective effects of meditation are as varied in their expression as experience itself because your playing with the same hardware. (Or wetware in this case.)

      That having been said, I’d like to point out that rich people are probably in the minority in terms of true practitioners

      That hinges on how you define “true practitioner”. Meditation as they define it among the wealthy elite with too much time on their hands is pandemic. Just look at all the monied people defending the Dalai Lama, I’m sure a good third of them slap on some ocean surf and humm to themselves a few minutes a day 😛

      More common serious practitioners are monk and novice renunciates who live at a monastery where all they own is a robe and a bowl and eat one meal a day.

      My beef with authentic monks is that while they are chanting they aren’t helping. Same as any religion. Its wasteful. It literally glorifies waste. They focus on the next life and abandon this one. It’s easy and cheap and self serving. My beef with meditation’s popularity in the west is a completely different animal.

  4. I read the article. The idea of pulling a kite string doesn’t sound like such a good one, since wouldn’t pulling a kite string interupt a meditator’s concentration?

    What about the realm of infinite consciousness?

    A “true practictioner” I think should be defined as someone who can enter Jhana. This is in all likelihood reserved to individuals who practice the renunciate lifestyle. I think, in this day and age, it is very rare to find anyone who can. In other words, I doubt Richard Gere can enter Jhana. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

    I don’t understand your beef with monks. If consciousness is a function of the brain then all they’re doing is trying to control their brain with practice. Can’t blame them for trying. If the brain is a function of consciousness then they are practicing for this life as well as the next, ultimately having a goal with “no next life”, whatever that means. What would you have them do?

    1. If it broke their concentration wouldn’t that brain activity read as normal?

      “Realm of infinite consciousness” sounds like crap to me. You can’t even define it, so how can I refute it? As far as a subjective experience, my answer is much like how I would approach a PCP addict who thinks he can fold time. Something is being done to the brain which produces a subjective state.

      When you can clinically define Jhana, then we can talk, until then what possible response can I make?

      My beef with monks is while they are sitting around playing straight edge Tim Leary the world around them is rotting from inaction. They sell inaction as a life style as if it’s holy. They are worse than dead, because they are still here taking up space and resources. The same problem I have with all ascetics. We have shit that needs doing.

  5. If it broke their concentration wouldn’t that brain activity read as normal?

    Not necessarily. It depends on how fast blood is moving in the brain. It’s possible they observed the *transition* of blood from one hour of meditation to normal.

    “Realm of infinite consciousness” sounds like crap to me. You can’t even define it, so how can I refute it? As far as a subjective experience, my answer is much like how I would approach a PCP addict who thinks he can fold time. Something is being done to the brain which produces a subjective state.

    Well, I can’t find a use for the dimension of infinitude of consciousness (but then I can’t personally find a use for the Riemann Sum and I still think it’s valuable), but here is the description of the Dimension of Infinite Consciousness – In the Dimension of infinite consciousness there are – “the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention” from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jhana.

    When you can clinically define Jhana, then we can talk, until then what possible response can I make?

    By “clinical” I assume you mean “biological” and/or “psychological”. This having been said, I’m still not sure that the axiom “All experience (subjective and objective) is caused by brain states” is true. I think the axiom “all subjective experience is caused by consciousness” is true, but I can’t say that “all objective experience is caused by consciousness” because then I would have to believe consciousness was controlling bullets and stuff, which I have zero evidence for. The axiom that “all experience is caused by brain states” seems true, but I’m being skeptical about it, since there is the brain, and what appears to be this huge Universe (Omniverse?) outside of it. That having been said, the only way I think to clinically define Jhana would be to study practitioners of Jhana who were adept. I can’t even find someone to TALK to, that is adept at Jhana, just to talk, let alone someone that is willing to be “studied”. I guess what I should be saying, is I don’t see how I could possibly acquire such information, even if I had a PhD in neuroscience, which I don’t and never will acquire. But, it may not really matter what the dimension of infinitude of consciousness is. It, like the Riemann Sum, may simply be something that exists subjectively in the mind, and without being able to directly affect reality, probably isn’t sufficiently useful to you.

    My beef with monks is while they are sitting around playing straight edge Tim Leary the world around them is rotting from inaction. They sell inaction as a life style as if it’s holy. They are worse than dead, because they are still here taking up space and resources. The same problem I have with all ascetics. We have shit that needs doing.

    I don’t think it’s accurate to say they are “inactive”. They are active; they don’t sit and meditate all the time. I guess my question is what do you want them to be doing so that you consider them “active”? Farming? What do you consider “active”?

    1. It’s possible they observed the *transition* of blood from one hour of meditation to normal.

      Yeah but that doesn’t seem to wash does it? I mean they can set themselves on fire and sit there, they can control their heart beat, and their body temperature, but they can’t pull a kite string without breaking state? No, I’m confident in the study results.

      Well, I can’t find a use for the dimension of infinitude of consciousness…

      I didn’t say I wanted a use. I said I want a definition. Saying infinite consciousness is like saying infinite blue. I’m asking what you mean by it. All sentient life is conscious by definition. It seems a binary state to me, not a matter of degree on which one end there is infinity and on the other there is absence. I’m saying the term is meaningless, it’s meant to sound mystical. It sounds like an attempt to convey the qualia of a subjective state. This also applies to “Jhana.”

      I’m still not sure that the axiom “All experience (subjective and objective) is caused by brain states” is true.

      Experience == Brain states

      Anything else approaches the realm of religion.

      I think to clinically define Jhana would be to study practitioners of Jhana who were adept.

      That’s impossible, how can you you confirm the person you’re talking to is adept at something you can’t even define? That’s the problem with made up subjective terms. They are logically circular. It’s like the sneaky use of the words true and real.

      Take for example the use in politics. “Well if you were a REAL American you’d be against X.” But they define “Real” as being against X.

      They are active; they don’t sit and meditate all the time. I guess my question is what do you want them to be doing so that you consider them “active”? Farming? What do you consider “active”?

      I want them to put their money where their mouth is with regard to the apparent desire to eliminate suffering. The Buddha was inspired by suffering to leave his isolation and attempt to kill it. His solution was mental discipline, ok fine, I want them to seek their own solution. The time for sitting around and chanting is past. They could do a lot more good out in the world. The world needs more people acting willfully for the good of someone else. It should be obvious by now thousands of years late that the world isn’t going to just quit their job and join a monastery.

      In effect they are being escapist and selfish. and that is absolutely their right, I just don’t like them trying to be all high and mighty about it, which they are, by definition. “What I’m doing is finding enlightenment, you’re not doing this therefor I’m further along then you are.”

      It’s like the implied arrogance of reincarnation and telling someone you’re an old soul. It’s in effect ageism without even proof of age. It’s convenient. My emotional response is something along the lines of “Oh I get it, so because you’re an old soul its perfectly cool for you to sit here happy as a clam because you’ve hacked your brain while other people are starving and dying, and let me guess that’s their fault, suffering is caused by deviation from the path so they deserve it and you have no obligation to try and help.” It makes me sick. ¯\(°_o)/¯

      They are in effect creating a mental version of the pleasure palace the original Buddha got up and walked out of. The original Buddha had the right idea, get up and do something. And to be sure many Buddhist monks DO do something, I’m speaking to the ones that don’t.

      Including Buddhism in your life is completely different from allowing it to become you life.

  6. No, I’m confident in the study results. You might be more confident in the study results than I am because you know more about the human brain than I do. I’m still not entirely sure what blood flow has to do with activity. I realize the brain requires blood to survive, but I was under the impression “neural activity” was electrical. Shows how much I know.

    I didn’t say I wanted a use. I said I want a definition. Saying infinite consciousness is like saying infinite blue. I’m asking what you mean by it. All sentient life is conscious by definition. It seems a binary state to me, not a matter of degree on which one end there is infinity and on the other there is absence. I’m saying the term is meaningless, it’s meant to sound mystical. It sounds like an attempt to convey the qualia of a subjective state. This also applies to “Jhana.”

    Are you saying you don’t believe in levels of consciousness? So the consciousness with self-awareness is the same as consciousness without self-awareness to you? How are you so certain that consciousness is binary and not “analog”?

    Experience == Brain states
    Anything else approaches the realm of religion.

    Hmmm, this is difficult for me to argue with. The only way it could be argued otherwise is if there was a Universe with different rules than this one. So I will concede, in this Universe, it does appear that experience==brain states. The only question this prompts is why am I this brain, and not your brain, or a mouse’s brain, or an elephant’s brain, etc.? Why this brain?

    I want them to put their money where their mouth is with regard to the apparent desire to eliminate suffering.

    Okay, how? What would you have them do? Go to a University to get a diploma? Get a job? What? Seriously, specifically what.

    The Buddha was inspired by suffering to leave his isolation and attempt to kill it. His solution was mental discipline, ok fine, I want them to seek their own solution. The time for sitting around and chanting is past. They could do a lot more good out in the world. The world needs more people acting willfully for the good of someone else. It should be obvious by now thousands of years late that the world isn’t going to just quit their job and join a monastery.

    In effect they are being escapist and selfish. and that is absolutely their right, I just don’t like them trying to be all high and mighty about it, which they are, by definition. “What I’m doing is finding enlightenment, you’re not doing this therefor I’m further along then you are.”

    Actually, I can’t think of a single example of a Buddhist monk that is “high and mighty”. If anything they are probably compassionate about other people’s suffering. But seriously, they can’t force people not to suffer. What could 1.6% of the human population do with the problem of human ignorance? And I haven’t heard of a Buddhist monk yet that doesn’t suffer still (I mean, even Buddha got sick and died). They actually believe that they will keep coming back if they don’t practice to get out, so what are they supposed to do? Their choice is to come back again or get out of dodge through practice. It sounds like your beef with Buddhist monks is really their belief in reincarnation. It sounds like you think their view is wrong view of how the Universe/Omniverse works.

    You said yourself that the Buddha believed the solution to suffering was mental discipline. I think they are trying to find mental discipline away from the general populace. Even the Buddha practiced his mental discipline outside of the city, so you want their practice to be greater than the Buddha’s himself. That doesn’t really seem fair.

    It’s like the implied arrogance of reincarnation and telling someone you’re an old soul. It’s in effect ageism without even proof of age. It’s convenient. My emotional response is something along the lines of “Oh I get it, so because you’re an old soul its perfectly cool for you to sit here happy as a clam because you’ve hacked your brain while other people are starving and dying, and let me guess that’s their fault, suffering is caused by deviation from the path so they deserve it and you have no obligation to try and help.” It makes me sick. ¯\(°_o)/¯

    I don’t get the “old soul” thing. A Buddhist who talks about “being an old soul” needs to reconsider the doctrine of not-self. I really don’t see what Buddhist monks can do about starvation and death. They die themselves, and if it wasn’t for the kindness of the lay community providing their single and only meal per day, they would starve just like the Buddha almost did. What can they really do about starving aside from farming in areas that are desperate for food? I really don’t know.

    They are in effect creating a mental version of the pleasure palace the original Buddha got up and walked out of. The original Buddha had the right idea, get up and do something. And to be sure many Buddhist monks DO do something, I’m speaking to the ones that don’t.

    I don’t see how it’s a pleasure palace. Living in huts outside in the wilderness is not a pleasure palace. Look at the 10 precepts. Monks practice at least the 10 precepts. They are celibate, they aren’t allowed to sleep on high comfortable beds, and they can’t eat past 12pm. How is this a “pleasure palace”?

    Including Buddhism in your life is completely different from allowing it to become you life.

    I’m starting to think the fundamental difference between a Buddhist monk and a transhumanist is their understanding of the Universe. A Buddhist monk is disillusioned with reality, sees it as a place of suffering, doesn’t believe it can be fixed, and understanding it to be “Samsara”, seeks an escape. The transhumanist on the other hand looks at the Universe, and for whatever reason, actually has faith in the ability to redeem it from itself through, I suppose, the power of science. I’m not really sure where this faith comes from. It seems that both positions are just as equally a leap of faith. I guess maybe the transhumanist tries because there is nothing else but to try. How can you prove to the Buddhist monk, who believes the Universe is “Samsara”, a place that by definition has beings that suffer, that “Samsara” is transformable…into…into what a Utopia?

    1. I’m still not entirely sure what blood flow has to do with activity. I realize the brain requires blood to survive, but I was under the impression “neural activity” was electrical.

      No, you’re right, its just that to trigger that electrical activity fuel must be consumed. And the fuel is oxygen. The brain does not stay at full power all the time. (If it did, assuming infinite fuel, it would literally boil.) That’s where we get the misconception that people don’t use their entire brain. They do, just not all at once. It is a highly specialized organ. You don’t need all the parts all the time. Like a toolbox. You only use 5% of your tool box at any given time, but that doesn’t mean you can throw away your hammer.

      Blood flow tells us which areas of the brain are in demand at any given moment. It’s not as precise as we would like, fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) is much better to my limited understanding.

      How are you so certain that consciousness is binary and not “analog”?

      I suppose I’m not, it just seems radically counter intuitive to think of self awareness like a scale. It seems to me either you are self aware or you are not. In anycase even if it is a scale how would it be measured? Like not how do we measure it but how CAN it be measured? I propose we call this new unit of measure of consciousness an “Innomen” lol. My consciousness level is exactly 100 Innomens. 😛 I suppose an electron would have 0 Innomens and an enlightened monk in the depths of meditation would have well over 100?

      Now, what is an Innomen exactly? See what I’m saying?

      The only question this prompts is why am I this brain, and not your brain, or a mouse’s brain, or an elephant’s brain, etc.? Why this brain?

      Excellent question. That question is why I am a deist and not an atheist. Here’s a related quote. “What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?” – Stephen W. Hawking

      Or in other words, regardless of how stuff works, (science) why is there stuff at all? (religion/philosophy)

      Okay, how? What would you have them do? Go to a University to get a diploma? Get a job? What? Seriously, specifically what.

      Well one example of monks doing good is the Buddhist temple and AIDS hospice in Lopburi, Thailand. What can be done depends on the area. If the area has nothing that can be done I suggest moving the temple. I can’t be specific about a general point. However if you can find a specific temple for me and answer questions about it I can find something better for them to do assuming they aren’t already being the best they can.

      Actually, I can’t think of a single example of a Buddhist monk that is “high and mighty”.

      The Dalai Lama himself is a royal figure. Monastic orders are typically very rigid. They adopt unfalsifiable positions and then in a very strongly implied way look down on everyone else. That they are nice to us as a result is in some ways irrelevant. The Lama is not in charge because of accomplishment, it was divine right, whatever system placed that soul in that body.

      That’s pretty high and mighty if you ask me. I’ve never expected my mother to bow to me. Nuff said.

      What could 1.6% of the human population do with the problem of human ignorance?

      Something other than chant? They could study. Monks when properly applied make GREAT scientists. In my religion the world is an expression of god’s will, understanding the world is understanding god. Experimentation is holy. What part of that is incompatible with their faith? they think the afterlife is more important than this one. That’s my beef with all religion, because THIS life is the one that needs work.

      It sounds like your beef with Buddhist monks is really their belief in reincarnation.

      It’s true I have a huge problem with the idea of reincarnation. It’s like the “god will” escape card. It lets you be comfy with doing nothing. Of course that’s only one possible use of it. Many people believe in reincarnation and still do great things for humanity. My mother being a grand example. She saved lives and helped people AND she believes in reincarnation. The monks by default imply that efforts to help people temporally are futile and wasted.

      That’s an extremely dangerous attitude and its why after x thousand years they haven’t advanced.

      It sounds like you think their view is wrong view of how the Universe/Omniverse works.

      I have no way of knowing. But I think they spend too much time on it, even if they are right. Think about it, if they are right they have literally all the time in the world. If I am right we only have one life time. Given that risk it’s not too much to ask that they spend half their time helping others temporally I think. It’s like my own version of Pascal’s Wager. If they have infinite time, why not spend half of it helping just in case?

      Even the Buddha practiced his mental discipline outside of the city,

      He also made it crystal clear he didn’t want blind followers frozen in time which is what he got in many cases.

      so you want their practice to be greater than the Buddha’s himself. That doesn’t really seem fair.

      I don’t care how it seems. Regardless of how it’s characterized, spending your whole life in pursuit of the next is potentially a waste of your life and certainly a waste of potential positive impact on other lives.

      How about this. Some monks have spent their deaths to further temporal goals. Quang Duc being the most famous. Why don’t more aged monks do that? Why not ALL of them? I’m not saying they have to set themselves on fire, but why can’t they find ways to die which help the world?

      Buddhist monks have no special nobility. They are monks, and monks are all in my view religious crazies ultimately, and unless the given brand of craziness causes them to help people, I consider it to be wasteful. ¯\(°_o)/¯

      What can they really do about starving aside from farming in areas that are desperate for food? I really don’t know.

      Why not starve to death? At least that would be less food consumed for others. Obviously they aren’t really trying to be selfless. Or they are trying and every meal is an admission of failure. Again, they should help however they can. Monasticism is inherently dishonest when it comes to Buddhists. You CAN’T evade the self. The illusions caused by meditation are just that. Buddhism is the denial of the phrase wherever you go there you are taken to religious extremes.

      The only selfless human is a dead one. To be human is to be a self. I think therefor I am. The operative word being “I.” If they want to chase a ghost that’s fine, just don’t sell me on it being anything but wasteful unless they are doing something with the rest of their time.

      Trust me, its possible to try and help people and enjoy it.

      How is this a “pleasure palace”?

      Because they are killing want, and pleasure is the satiation of wants, thus if you kill want you default to a state of absolute pleasure. It’s like a person on heroin not caring that the couch is on fire. They are happy regardless. All action is the attempt to solve a problem, one way to solve problems is to nullify them. Buddhist monks are in effect hacking their brain to delete want to reach nirvana. They are celibate because they are playing with the hedonic set point of their own minds in the only way that was available thousands of years ago.

      A better way is coming check out: http://www.hedweb.com/huxley/

      I’m not really sure where this faith comes from. It seems that both positions are just as equally a leap of faith.

      That is remarkably insightful. You’ve nailed it. I as a transhumanist see the Buddhists as quitters. When I think the architects of the faith wanted them to be waiters. The time is here or very very close.

      Suffering can be killed. Again read the link I just posted please.

      I won’t comment anymore, I’m obviously not qualified to use blockquote tags. Thanks for the food for thought at any rate.

      I’m happy to correct your comments when your formatting gets out of hand. Their content makes it worth my effort. You ask penetrating questions and you’re clearly open to rational answers. Keep that shit up.

  7. I won’t comment anymore, I’m obviously not qualified to use blockquote tags. Thanks for the food for thought at any rate.

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