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About Carl-Richard

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  1. Turquoise isn't necessarily mystical/non-dual, but it's radically holistic. In either case, in non-duality there is no difference between nihilism and non-nihilism, and in holism, there is always an alternative to nihilsm (it doesn't define the whole).
  2. Human beings cannot be comprehensively described by single personal adjectives either, but we still do: "I'm shy." "I'm introverted." "I'm depressed." There is no such thing as a grand theory of personality. Personality psychology has about 6 different domains, and MBTI seems to fall under the cognitive domain.
  3. If you're completely unconvinced by the scientific rigour of the theory (e.g. low predictability), the cognitive functions are still useful to describe and categorize cognition and behavior. You don't necessarily have to treat cognitive functions as internal, behavior-determining structures to find them useful as concepts. For example, in a lecture we had to find a reason why we feel anxiety before group presentations, and the most extraverted person in the class said that she was afraid to let down the other members of the group, which is typical of Extraverted Feeling (Fe). Then from there, you can start making probabilistic statements like "she seems to express Fe rather often", and if you'd like, you could start building a case for her being an Fe user.
  4. When something is empty, there is nothing in it.
  5. I think I'm sensitive to some forms of narcissism in others because I recognize it in myself (<= fake humble statement, crypto-narcissism ). I could maybe give an example to answer your question. There is this funny situation at my school where I suspect one of the teachers is a bit above average in narcissism. She is very good at her job (teaching psychology and being a clinical psychologist), but there are some things that I pick up on that seem suspicious and that I've confirmed with others. My first impression of her reminded me of an old school teacher: strict, clear-spoken, to the point. Some friend of mine said she had "bad vibes", and that really resonated with me. She is usually fearless and charming in her presentation, but sometimes she seems very insecure about petty things like pronouncing long words incorrectly or just saying something wrong in general, something which most teachers will simply brush off like it's nothing. She likes to talk a lot about her own experiences as a way to illustrate a concept, which is not uncommon for a teacher to do, but it's the frequency of which it happens that seems unusual (and I've confirmed this with other students). She tends to use personal pronouns like "I", "me", "my" a lot. Other lecturers tend to be much more detached from their ego and focused on the topic. When a student asks a question, she is very quick to give an absolute yes or no answer, or say something like "no, that is not correct." Usually, most other teachers are much more sensitive and accommodating to the student's perspective. Generally, she is a bit blunt, and for example when she is role-playing being a sensitive therapist as a part of the lecture, it comes off as forced and inauthentic. Ironically, it feels more right when she plays the rude therapists that doesn't listen and wants to force their own perspective on the client . She also seems to have no problems repressing emotions in exposure therapy. She recalled a time where the client had to induce a panic attack, and as the client was crying, she said stone-faced "should we try again?" She said it almost as a point of pride, but then added a caveat of "of course you have to be a little sensitive to the client's own requests and let them have a cool-down period between each exposure", which is what you would expect from a good therapist, but nevertheless, it seems a little off. Ok, so nothing too conclusive so far. However, there is one thing that, if true, might seal the deal, but it might also just be my own imagination (I haven't confirmed it with other people yet). I remember one time when she was talking about the client-therapist relationship and how it's not that uncommon for therapists to sleep with their clients, and that it's of course not an OK thing to do. At first I didn't think much of it – it was nothing more than a fun fact, but then she mentioned it again, and again, and again: "you shouldn't sleep with your clients"; 3 times, relatively unprovoked, in the same lecture. That made me slightly suspicious. Then in some other lecture about communication techniques and personal boundaries, she managed to mention it again, twice, relatively tangential to the conversation. It made me cringe so hard. I started thinking "is this actually happening?" "Is she this unaware?" "am I completely deluding myself?" I'm pretty certain that I wasn't the only one who reacted this way, but it's such a wild thought that you automatically want to repress it, as if you're gaslighting yourself by thinking "that did not just happen". Another time, she talked about the Big 5 personality traits and that some personalities are less agreeable than others, and that her husband certainly knows what that feels like . I'm sure there are other minor things I could mention that doesn't enter my mind at the moment, but this is what stands out the most. What do you guys think?
  7. "Find the experiencer" can be used as a pointer towards awareness, but it contains an implicit duality that can be deconstructed (experiencer/experienced). This is nevertheless a problem with all pointers, because pointing is communication, and communication is dualistic. Truth is existential.
  8. Social interactions and emotional bonds are some of the strongest promoters of a healthy self-regulatory capacity (the general ability to handle stressors). It's only really beaten by meditation (and sleep)
  9. Don't worry, I know exactly what you feel as an ex-addict myself . I was just trying to be accurate, not to morally condemn those who take drugs or are in any way "dependent".
  10. Thank you! Sound good. Just to clarify, it's not that you should strive to achieve homeostasis in your body. Your body's sole function is to maintain homeostasis (to maintain a balance between inputs and outputs). Drugs are just one type of input. The problem happens when you start relying on a constant stream of inputs in order to function, and when the nature of the input is selective and rigid (like with fast-acting psychoactive drugs), this compromises the functioning of the system in various ways, the main point being a loss of flexibility in responding to challenges in the environment. Whatever is introduced to the system, the system will regulate itself as a response. If the nervous system produces a DMT molecule endogenously, then the system will accommodate the effects of this through various self-regulation mechanisms (e.g. by downregulating the activity of the related systems, e.g. the serotonergic system). Likewise, if you introduce some DMT from the outside, the system will also respond by regulating itself. The system is in a constant state of self-regulation. The question is just about how balanced it is, and the more unbalanced it is, the less flexible it is. Taking a large dose of exogenous DMT will definitely create an unbalancing effect. Drugs are non-essential and modulate existing activity already produced by the system. Many vitamins are essential and are not produced within the body. However, eating an unbalanced amount of vitamins will also produce an unbalanced response in the system. Same with essential amino acids. Say if you eat too much L-tryptophan (precursor to serotonin), then the system will respond by downregulating serotonergic activity. This is what is meant by eating a balanced diet: getting just enough essential nutrients that your body needs to sustain itself; not too much, not too little. The key takeaway here is balance The system is obviously in constant flux with the environment where the inputs and outputs are always changing. Homeostasis doesn't mean that the system is isolated from its environment. Rather, homeostasis is the different measures that a system has to take towards self preservation, i.e. "what do I need to do in order to keep surviving?". For any self-perpetuating life system to survive, it must maintain a fixed boundary between itself and its environment, and it does this by managing a relatively balanced flow of energy through the system. Signalling molecules like neurotransmitters are just one way that an organism can change its patterns of input and output, which is why the nervous system also needs homeostatic mechanisms like negative feedback loops in order to protect the larger integrity of the system.
  11. The level of purpose that arises in reaction to the chaos of Red (namely Blue) requires a certain ability to abstract over space and time. The Purple sense of purpose and the Red sense of self-assertion is more embedded in "the now", in immediate impulses, and nihilism is the recognition of a lack of an abstract framework of purpose, something which doesn't arise before Blue. Blue is able to see outside of itself in time and space, beyond its immediate living conditions and desires and into the future, into the transcendent ideal dimension of God, the Law, family, virtue. Purple's sense of purpose is explicit and embodied (the immediately felt connection to the tribe), and it's the same with Red's reaction to it (the immediately felt egocentric impulses). Blue's sense of purpose is implicit and abstract: "me as a separate individual have to work to fullfil my purpose as a servant of God, as a lawful citizen, as a responsible family man, as a virtuous person". When a person evolves his ability to think abstractly and not merely adhere to a dogmatic construct but is able to employ self-consistent hypothetical deduction, then Orange rationality is born, and the Blue dogmas are no longer sufficient for providing a sense of abstract purpose. The way out is to reclaim the embodied purpose of the pre-rational Purple through the trans-rational domain: non-dogmatic mysticism.
  12. Nihilism is the first response when the purpose of the transcendent dimension is undermined by the Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm (the transition from dogmatism to rationality), so it first comes online in low-Orange. It can get countered as early as mid-Orange through mental gymnastics or linger all the way into the beginning of the transrational realm at Green or Tier 2.
  13. This topic is not another debate about psychedelics vs. meditation. This topic is about all drug-taking where the drug is taken to achieve a specific effect, be it for the purposes of productivity, spirituality, medication or recreation. Even so, it should be mentioned that classical psychedelics also have an atypical mechanism of action, and many of the points here therefore don't apply to them. Nevertheless, the prevailing idea among strategic drug-takers (e.g. coffee drinkers, nootropic users and enjoyers of pharmacological sleep-aids) tends to be that drugs have a net positive effect on their lives. My claim is that it's not that simple, neither from a short-term or long-term perspective. The main concept presented here is the trade-off between flexibility (1) and selectivity (2): between 1) the ability to self-regulate and respond dynamically to different types of stimuli, and 2) the ability to respond strongly to a specific type of stimulus. 1) In its sober state, the body-brain system usually has a certain range of activity which it can unlock given the correct stimulus. For example, if you're about to lift something heavy, the system will experience a stimulus that produces a shift towards a state of higher activation by engaging those related systems (e.g. increased dopaminergic activity in various parts of the brain and and an activation of the sympathetic nervous system). When the stimulus ceases, it will reduce the activation accordingly. This is what a healthy system does: it responds to challenges according to the level of the challenge, and when the challenge is over, it reduces the activation. If the response is insufficient for the challenge, you can train the system to respond better over time. 2) On the other hand, taking a drug like say caffeine will make the system respond more strongly to a specific set of challenges (like lifting heavy stuff), but it will not be able to self-regulate this response to the same extent as an endogenous response (either tailor it specifically to the challenge or reduce activation after the challenge is over). This can create a waste of resources (excessive strength and duration of activation) and a lack of refinement (less specific and dynamic response). What good is it to blast your receptors with stimulant chemicals when you're supposed to rest? The drug also compromises the ability to respond to other challenges that require a different type of activation. For example, you'll not be able to sleep well or perform tasks requiring fine motor movements (e.g. threading a needle) on most types of stimulating drugs. While that is also true for the duration of an endogenously induced activation of the same kind, this response is much more dynamic. For example, unlike a cup of coffee, you're not very likely to be stuck with an elevated heart rate for the next couple of hours after lifting something heavy (it's usually back down to baseline after a couple of minutes). It's widely known that when the drug has left the system, it still has a lasting effect on the system, namely the system's own attempt to self-regulate and respond to the effect of the drug (downregulation), which is the root the phenomena of drug dependence. This happens because the drug induces an unbalanced pattern of activation and utilization of resources, and the system will always try to regain this balance (homeostasis). It does this through negative feedback loops: countering excess activation through reduced activation. As the drug leaves the system, the system will reduce the associated activity below baseline in order to replace the lost resources and re-balance the overall functioning of the system. This creates periods of subnormal levels of specific types of activation and an overall sub-optimal level of functioning. As a result, you'll need progressively higher doses to achieve the previous level of activation (increased drug tolerance) and to avoid dropping below the baseline level of functioning (dependence). Drugs also tend to complicate other bodily processes (e.g. vasoconstriction, diuresis, muscle twitching, digestion problems, liver strain) and may in some cases be toxic. So as a summary of the points above, this is what drugs really do: they provide one period of selective and rigid activation, then one period where the opposite effect is produced with the same level of selectivity and rigidity, all while decreasing the efficiency of the drug at next administration and potentially producing harmful side effects on the side. If you're a person who is on the spiritual path and is struggling to maintain a consistent meditation practice, struggling with fluctuating energy levels, bodily discomfort, fatigue, brain fog and emotional instability throughout the day, then maybe one priority should be to create a sense of stability, and eliminating all non-essential drugs can often be an overlooked step in this direction. It's easy to forget how much our culture has programmed us to consume all kinds of substances that are non-essential and that may do more harm than good. With that said, proper sleep, diet and exercise are the most essential parts of maintaining a healthy regulatory capacity. The question is then whether drugs can actually serve as a net positive at all. I would say it depends on what your goals are. Do you value having a calm, clear and intuitive mind that is stable, subtle and refined? Do you value having a stable level of functioning throughout the day? Then maybe stay away from all drugs, be it stimulants or depressants, because all of it has an unbalancing effect on the system. But let's say you're less concerned about these things and you're more concerned about "getting shit done". Is there then a place for drugs? Maybe yes, but only if used strategically within small time periods and rather infrequently. You want to reduce the problems of limited duration and build-up of tolerance. For example, if you're going to do 3 hours of intensive work and nothing else after that, then using caffeine could be a good idea for that particular session. However, if you do this everyday, it will gradually have less effect and the response will become less refined. Therefore, consider only using caffeine for special occasions. There is a deeper point to be made about refinement and the blunting effect of drugs on subtle processes, not in the sense that you're frying your brain through irreversible structural damage, but in the sense that you're not allowing the emergent properties of the system to refine themselves and properly unfold in a stable environment. After all, a central way of conceptualizing the movement towards higher consciousness is the movement towards more subtle levels of perception, cognition, feeling and being. This parallels with seeing the importance of ecology (stable, self-sustaining life systems) in the health and sustainability of the macrocosm of the world and the microcosm of one's own body. Through ecology, the path towards growth is recognized as the increased ability to self-regulate as opposed to the increased consumption of external resources. In other words, the solution lies in the intelligence and strength within, as opposed to a solution from the outside.
  14. I still think it's right to call it direct experience. It's true that the content of non-conceptual experience is variable, but the recognition of the "directness" of this experience has more to do with the changeless aspect that underlies all experience (the formless void). This becomes more obvious when you actually experience the void in samadhi where all content or form is removed. It's nevertheless true that our experience of form is radically constructed. Experiments on the early development of the visual system demonstrate this pretty well. If you place a newborn kitten in a box with only horizontal lines in it and you let it grow up in that environment, it will not be able to perceive vertical lines, because its visual system has only been trained to perceive horizontal lines.