DocWatts

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  1. @Leo Gura I'd be curious as to your thoughts on some implicit assumptions that seem to be present in your metaphysics, or at least what seem like implicit assumptions from my vantage point. (I'm happy to be corrected if any of this mischaracterizes your views): The a-priori assumption that non-conceptual awareness is 'pure' in some sense, and not something that is mediated in subtle ways by a myriad of unconscious cognitive processes that structure the nature of our direct experience (regardless of whether or not these processes have a physical basis). The assumption that everything there is to be known about the mind is accessible to conscious awareness through introspection and contemplation. The assumption that it's possible for consciousness to be disembodied The assumption that knowledge can be non-contextual, and that what you're perceiving to be Absolute Truth isn't contextual in ways that you're unaware of
  2. Isn't it also good form to use healthy forms of skepticism to interrogate any ontological system that makes claims towards exclusivity/completeness (ie exactly what you've done towards Scientific Reductionism)?
  3. Embodied neutral monism seems to make the most epistemological sense from my point of view, as its a metaphysics that honors the defensible aspects of physicalism (objects outside of consciousness exist) while making room for the significance of consciousness. (As a bonus, both the Great Chain of Being as well as Buddhist notions of the illusory nature of self seem fully compatible with this metaphysics. Whether the 'Substance' that physical reality and consciousness are aspects of or artificially subdivided into is conceptualized as Spirit, the Absolute, or something else makes no meaningful ontological difference.) So while consciousness is of course irreducible, it's also inseparable from physical reality because consciousness is always embedded and embodied in an environment. What gives consciousness its subjective flavor is that it's in interaction with its embedded environment. Color perception is a great example of this; color being something that neither exists "out there" as a pre-given feature of external objects, nor as an independent fabrication of consciousness (as evidenced by people blind from birth having no frame of reference for color). Rather, color is a codependent origination of a consciousness that's in interaction with an environment. Both materialism and Leo's brand of absolute idealism seem extreme to me, not dissimilar to how a partial truth like postmodernism becomes problematic when taken to an extreme. Notions that consciousness can somehow become disembodied is a Myth.
  4. ...at least to the extent that both Materialism and certain forms of Idealism make a-priori claims of ontological exclusivity towards thier given domains. Or to put it another way: if Materialism's mistake is to conflate the most fundamental layer of reality (physical substrate) to be its most significant, Idealism's mistake is to confuse the most significant aspect of reality (consciousness or spirit) as its most fundamental. Materialism is rather crude in the way it just outright denies any ontological status for non physical aspects of reality. The subject of physical reductionism has already been discussed to death here, so I won't dwell on it. Idealism is a bit more subtle by collapsing physical aspects of reality to a projection of spirit or consciousness, ignoring how the subjective quality of consciousness is shaped by (but not reducible to) constraints within physical reality. Both materialism and idealism seem to miss the boat when it comes to realizing that a crucial aspect of consciousness is that it is embedded and embodied within an environment. This is easily demonstrable by contemplating how our conceptual system is inexplicably tied to what kind of creatures we are (social bipedal animals that metaphorically project our kinesthetic system- such as front and back, up and down- out in to our environment). Consider for a moment how differently a spherical creature with eyes on all sides of its body would experience reality. An Embodied form of Realism which makes the more limited claim that both physical reality and conscious experience are ontologically valid seems far more epistemologically responsible than either alternative.
  5. Same. Not infrequent that the site doesn't load and I'll have to check back later in the day
  6. Leo did a good job of introducing Spiral Dynamics, but it's important to remember that he has his own biases (as everyone inevitably does), so one shouldn't take Leo's word as final on any of the subjects he presents.
  7. If you're interested in the phenomenology of color perception, I'd highly recommend The Embodied Mind by Thompson, Varella, and Rosch. The book is an effort to build a bridge between second generation cognitive science and the contemplative wisdom tradition contained within Buddhism. In the work, the authors frequently use the perception of color as a case study to demonstrate that meditative practices of contemplation can be used to experientially validate the claims of cognitive science. When we consider color, we come to realize that it isn't something that exists "out there" in an external world with pre-given features. But neither is it a complete fabrication of a disembodied mind (as evidenced by people blind from birth having no frame of reference for color). Rather, what color is a codependent origination (or interaction) between a mind that's embedded and embodied in environment. So yes color is something that is experienced rather than a pre-given feature of objects in an external world. But it's also important to keep in mind that it is an interaction, not something that the mind fabricates on its own independent of any input, owing to the fact that the mind is inherently embodied.
  8. Ideally the United Nations would be filling the role that the United States (dishonestly) markets itself as: that of a global peacekeeper. Unfortunately that organization is so rife with structural limitations which render it incapable of fulfilling its intensed role, that it will remain a largely toothless organization. (Of course that's not to say the UN isn't valuable in other ways). As it stands, there's no reason to believe that whatever nation eventually fills the power vacuum left by the United States will act any more ethically than the US did during its tenure as the world's supreme imperialist power.
  9. So oftentimes when I'm reading a book and come across something that challenges my preconceptions on something, I'll go for a walk and deconstruct the idea for awhile and if the idea has validity integrate it into my conceptual system. If this is my 'default' mode of contemplation in non meditative states, would I be better off leaving deconstruction and analytic thought patterns behind while meditating and focus purely on sensations and feelings? Or would I ideally want to integrate analytic methods in to the practice once I get more comfortable with it? So let's say I wanted to focus on the sensation of sight for instance with the intuition that my visual field is a mentally constructed, what would a contemplative meditation on that 'look like' so to speak (pun intended).
  10. Newbie/Intermediate question for experienced mediators. I've been doing a basic mindfulness meditation routine consistently for the last six months or so, and was considering other types of meditation techniques to begin experimenting with once I've calmed my mind. As far as contemplative meditation in particular, is the only real difference between contemplating something in meditative vs non meditative states the fact that it's being done from a calm or empty state of mind? Or are there deliberative steps one is supposed to be doing for this type of practice?
  11. My own understanding is that while we could interbreed with people from 300,000 years ago, humans with the sort of cognitive capabilities that exist today are actually far more recent, closer to 40,000 or 50,000 years from what I've read. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.businessinsider.com/human-brains-may-only-be-40000-years-old-scientists-say-2018-1%3famp
  12. I've been curious about this as well. Easy enough to find Green and even Yellow online, but I do miss having the sorts of discussions that take place on this forum on a face to face basis. Having participated in the Occupy movements when I was younger, it would be awesome to find a local organization with that sort of energy but focused in a more pragmatic direction (perhaps addressing something more focused such as ways to address deficiencies in the American political system).
  13. Closest person that comes to mind which fits the description would be someone like Marcus Aurelius. If survival conditions for a society are such that democracy is unworkable I suppose its better to have a conscious and developed person in charge, but regressing to those conditions is something to be avoided rather than to aspire to.
  14. Not denying that Trump (or Hitler for that matter) is a damaged person, but my own perspective is to look at who's being harmed versus who's benefiting from the dynamics at play. Intentionally and maliciously deceiving millions of people for personal financial and political gain, with zero regard for other people, seems like a reasonable place to draw the line. Just because "whatever helps me, damned the costs or consequences" happens to be Trump's Personal Truth, doesn't absolve him of anything. Not like Trump actually cares about his legions of cult like followers, where the dynamic is akin to an abusive relationship. So yeah, I can extend some sympathy to the people who have been conned and manipulated by this grifter without extending my sympathies to the schemer at the top.