spinderella

Sam Harris "Waking Up" app

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I've read Leo's critiques of Sam Harris, and (from my infantile level of awakening and consciousness) understand most of them, particularly the scientific / rationalist / materialist arguments.  

I've not listened to much of Sam's stuff besides the "Waking Up" app, which I'm finding very helpful.  It's more of exercises to experience that you are consciousness, rather than a pure witnessing.  For somebody with a really busy brain like me who has imperfectly but consistently practiced (and struggled to get results from) meditation for a decade, it's been helpful in a pretty fast and profound way.

I'm curious if anyone here has gone through the meditations on the Waking Up app, and what the criticisms of them might be?  I notice I'm getting a little attached to this app (which I know is just my mind wanting to find "the answer") and am interested in having a more balanced perspective.      

 

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For starters, I think it's wrong of people to rule out Sam Harris because he has a materialist view of reality. He may be incorrect, yes, but he is also a pretty educated dude who looks seriously at the problems facing modern inquiries into consciousness. His guided meditation on looking for the self is one of the best ones out there for people getting into nonduality practices.

That being said, the app is pretty good, from what I've seen/heard. There are some very legit teachers on there with meditations, including Loch Kelly (one of my favorites). As long as you can set aside the personal views of whoever made the app, and instead sink into the content, you will be A-OK. Especially if you can begin to parse how awareness actually functions and develop an unguided routine in time. 

Best wishes :)

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Thanks for the tip, I will take a look at the app, it sounds interesting. 


“Nowhere is it writ that anthropoid apes should understand reality.” - Terence McKenna

 

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"..and they were alleging mostly that I was a Materialist, and that I'm somehow dogmatically opposed to the idea that mind might play some role in defining reality, or parts of it.. but that's just not true..." - Sam Harris


"I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people."

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Just now, Mason Riggle said:

"..and they were alleging mostly that I was a Materialist, and that I'm somehow dogmatically opposed to the idea that mind might play some role in defining reality, or parts of it.. but that's just not true..." - Sam Harris

This. I think a lot of spiritually oriented people have given Sam Harris a bad reputation purely based on his reluctance to label consciousness as the metaphysical ground of reality. Personally, I think it's braver to remain agnostic and open to possibility than to die on any one particular hill. I may disagree with some of his takes, but I can't say he hasn't thought them over and been intellectually honest about what he believes. 

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4 hours ago, Mason Riggle said:

"..and they were alleging mostly that I was a Materialist, and that I'm somehow dogmatically opposed to the idea that mind might play some role in defining reality, or parts of it.. but that's just not true..." - Sam Harris

Nice try, but he still has no clue what Mind or consciousness is. He's still a materialist at heart.

His app may be helpful regardless of his metaphysical delusions. A person does not need to be perfect to be of value to you.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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His app is great. He has a bunch of different teachers on there and it's a great way to broaden your spiritual horizons 

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6 hours ago, OneHandClap said:

His guided meditation on looking for the self is one of the best ones out there for people getting into nonduality practices.

Yes, this was really fascinating for me.  This one, as well as the meditations of trying to find the "borders" or edges of awareness (impossible), and even that when you close your eyes, your visual field is not "empty".  Other meditations I've really like that he has done are based on "headlessness", which is really kind of mind blowing.    

I've just been finding them pretty mind opening in a way I haven't experienced with other meditations, but didn't want to fall into some trap of misunderstanding.  Thank you for sharing your experience!

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6 hours ago, OneHandClap said:

This. I think a lot of spiritually oriented people have given Sam Harris a bad reputation purely based on his reluctance to label consciousness as the metaphysical ground of reality. Personally, I think it's braver to remain agnostic and open to possibility than to die on any one particular hill. I may disagree with some of his takes, but I can't say he hasn't thought them over and been intellectually honest about what he believes. 

I'd like to understand this better, mostly because I think there's nuance in here my mind is missing.  So if he doesn't believe that consciousness is the metaphysical ground of reality, which I'm interpreting to mean "everything", what does he think?  It seems that he starts off saying that things "appear in consciousness", which seems incorrect since things actually ARE consciousness, but later in the app it seems like he's now demonstrating that there are no boundaries between our "awareness" and "things", and that everything is the same. 

I'm not 100% clear on exactly what the discrepancy in ideology is, and I'd love if someone could help me see it.  

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Posted (edited)

9 minutes ago, spinderella said:

I'd like to understand this better, mostly because I think there's nuance in here my mind is missing.  So if he doesn't believe that consciousness is the metaphysical ground of reality, which I'm interpreting to mean "everything", what does he think?  It seems that he starts off saying that things "appear in consciousness", which seems incorrect since things actually ARE consciousness, but later in the app it seems like he's now demonstrating that there are no boundaries between our "awareness" and "things", and that everything is the same. 

I'm not 100% clear on exactly what the discrepancy in ideology is, and I'd love if someone could help me see it.  

I have listened to several interviews, and Sam is a through-and-through agnostic. He makes no claims on this topic, because he insists we do not, and cannot, know the fundamental "stuff" that underlies our consciousness. He has one talk with Rupert Spira where he basically says "Show me the evidence." Again, I don't share his position, but I do think he's not just saying it to be coy. He says "appear in consciousness" because he is more or less a Cartesian dualist, i.e. believing in a divide of consciousness and the reality "out there." He is a scientist first and foremost, and holds to those beliefs rather closely. I think it's fine to entertain all possible notions.

From a first-person POV, all I can verify is that consciousness is my sole experience of reality. I do not, however, rule out the possibility that there may be some "actual world" we cannot in any way access at the present moment. It seems increasingly unlikely, given the experiences and insights I've undergone, but I am not an absolutist. I am open to any possible proof that Mr. Harris is willing to extend. 

Edit: Perhaps "Cartesian dualist" is too uncharitable to Sam. I have also seen recently that he's open to possibilities such as panpsychism and quantum consciousness models, in which reality itself possesses consciousness as a fundamental property. This lines up fairly well with my observations. 

Edited by OneHandClap

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2 hours ago, Leo Gura said:

Nice try, but he still has no clue what Mind or consciousness is. He's still a materialist at heart.

His app may be helpful regardless of his metaphysical delusions. A person does not need to be perfect to be of value to you.

I'd love to better understand what you mean by his metaphysical delusions.  I just know there's a nuance I'm missing and would really like to understand it.  

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3 minutes ago, OneHandClap said:

He makes no claims on this topic, because he insists we do not, and cannot, know the fundamental "stuff" that underlies our consciousness.

 because he is more or less a Cartesian dualist, i.e. believing in a divide of consciousness and the reality "out there." 

From a first-person POV, all I can verify is that consciousness is my sole experience of reality. I do not, however, rule out the possibility that there may be some "actual world" we cannot in any way access at the present moment. It seems increasingly unlikely, given the experiences and insights I've undergone, but I am not an absolutist. I am open to any possible proof that Mr. Harris is willing to extend. 

Okay, thank you - this is helpful. 

So Sam believes that there is something "real" that is outside of consciousness, that we are experiencing with consciousness?  Is that kind of basically it?

And, by extension, this would also mean that he believes that "things" are real, whereas what Leo is saying is that nothing is real, it's just a projection of our mind (consciousness).  

Is that kind of accurate?

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13 minutes ago, OneHandClap said:

Sam is a through-and-through agnostic. He makes no claims on this topic, because he insists we do not, and cannot, know the fundamental "stuff" that underlies our consciousness.

This is precisely the delusion.

Agnosticism acts like it is humble and isn't a position, but it is a position. Agnosticism is false.

The claim that "we do not know, and cannot know the fundamental stuff that underlies consciousness" is a knowledge claim. There is no way Sam Harris actually empirically validated that. And it happens to be false.

We absolutely know the fundamental stuff that underlies consciousness: NOTHING!

Without this understanding there is no Awakening, no Consciousness, no God, no Truth, no Love.

Sam Harris has perverted spirituality with his hyper-rationalist mind. He has taken the spirit out of spirituality.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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3 minutes ago, spinderella said:

Okay, thank you - this is helpful. 

So Sam believes that there is something "real" that is outside of consciousness, that we are experiencing with consciousness?  Is that kind of basically it?

And, by extension, this would also mean that he believes that "things" are real, whereas what Leo is saying is that nothing is real, it's just a projection of our mind (consciousness).  

Is that kind of accurate?

I think he's extremely open to any possibilities. He is a skeptical guy by nature, and in times like today, that quality is useful IMO. People are quick to believe in anything because they have heard about it, and it sounds nice. You more or less have the right idea, though, when it comes to dualism. Materialists assert that there is a world we are perceiving via sensory faculties in the form of conscious input. 

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2 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

This is precisely the delusion.

Agnosticism acts like it is humble and isn't a position, but it is a position. Agnosticism is false.

The claim that "we do not know, and cannot know the fundamental stuff that underlies consciousness" is a knowledge claim. And it is false.

We absolutely know the fundamental stuff that underlies consciousness. NOTHING!

Without this understanding there is now Awakening.

Correct. Hence why I said I do not share Sam's views. That being said, I think he has had some valuable no-self experiences and insights of various sorts. He just has yet to take the leap of acknowledging that there is nothing beyond consciousness. 

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Realizing no-self is kindergarten stuff.

Realize LOVE, then I will be impressed.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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Posted (edited)

4 minutes ago, OneHandClap said:

Correct. Hence why I said I do not share Sam's views. That being said, I think he has had some valuable no-self experiences and insights of various sorts. He just has yet to take the leap of acknowledging that there is nothing beyond consciousness. 

He simply went to India and bragged about it.

Bogus!

He pretends like he is the Chad of Spirituality.

 

Edited by Preety_India

 INFJ loner... .shy girl.. 

Quick access to journal entries

 

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3 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

Realizing no-self is kindergarten stuff.

Realize LOVE, then I will be impressed.

AFAIK, he said his first experience of unconditional love arrived via MDMA. Nice way to get a foot in the door... now he just has to cultivate it :)

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3 minutes ago, OneHandClap said:

He just has yet to take the leap of acknowledging that there is nothing beyond consciousness. 

What could be beyond consciousness if it is the substrate of everything?  I always remember Leo's example of clay, if the (magical) clay can make everything, I guess the question I'm trying to figure out is "what is the clay"?  Leo says it's nothing, Sam says "we don't know what it is?". 

Is this the discrepancy?

  

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Posted (edited)

@Leo Gura 

Would you ever speak with Sam Harris if presented the opportunity?

What would you try to tell him?
Pardon me if this question has already been asked to you.

Edited by Extreme Z7

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