I didn’t like Los Angeles when I first arrived here.
The circumstances were less than ideal. I’d been working for Tsuburaya Productions, makers of the Ultraman TV shows and movies, in Japan for ten years and the company was in a state of turmoil. A family business since 1963, by 2004 the family was a bickering, back-biting mess. Noboru Tsuburaya, the man who hired me, had died suddenly in 1996 leaving a power gap that the rest of the family kept trying to fill. In the midst of all this, Akira Tsuburaya, who was then jockeying to oust his nephew Kazuo from the presidency, hatched a plan to open an office in Los Angeles and install me as the head of that office.
There were tremendous opportunities for us in the USA at the time. Everyone in Hollywood wanted to remake a Japanese property and Ultraman, being that nation’s longest-running and most popular superhero character, was high on lots of people’s lists. Will Smith had gone on TV saying Ultraman was one of his favorite shows. The comany coulda made a ton of money and I coulda been the executive producer of a mega-hit movie with an A-List star in its lead role.
But that’s not what happened. Although I brought the company a series of attractive offers from major studios, nobody back in Tokyo could take a break from fighting each other long enough to come to LA for a meeting. Meanwhile, my marriage was breaking up, which did nothing to help my already sour mood. The sunshine, the beaches, the palm trees and even Amoeba Records were not enough to make me like Los Angeles.
I had a little Zen group here that met on Saturdays, but it never seemed to do very well. Every week, between five and ten of us would gather in Santa Monica to sit for half an hour and then chat and drink tea. The donations I took in at those meetings never covered the rent I was paying for the space we used. At the same time, whenever I led retreats or gave talks in other cities around the world I could attract ten times that many on a bad day. Not only did I not like Los Angeles, Los Angeles did not seem to like me either.
So I left. I lived in Brooklyn for a while. I went back to Akron, Ohio for a year and a half. I lived in Philadelphia. Yet, much to my astonishment that little group I’d started in LA kept on going. I really didn’t expect that at all. I thought they’d pack it in a few weeks or months after I left. But they didn’t.
Last year I ordained three of the long-time members of the LA group as priests as a first step in making the group a more solid and stable entity. Whereas initially the group was just a thing I did on Saturdays, it has now evolved into a true sangha.
Los Angeles has a whole lot of Buddhist organizations. In fact, someone once told me there are more meditation centers in LA than in any other city in the world, including cities in Asia. I don’t know if that’s true. I kind of doubt it. But there are plenty already. So why start another one?
For one thing, at the moment there really isn’t a straight-up Soto style Zen meditation center in LA. Yeah, I know the Zen Center of Los Angeles calls itself a Soto center, but their practice is far closer to the Rinzai style. And I know there’s Zenshuji downtown, but they function more as a social gathering place for Japanese-Americans than as a meditation center. How come San Francisco gets a giant Soto style center but we have to make do with renting out rooms at yoga studios?
Plus, I have come to love Los Angeles. For years I felt sort of guilty to be a Zen practitioner who liked living in big cities. It’s just not “Zen” to dig the noise and the crowds and all that, but I do. And I like all the movie industry weirdness. I like living down the street from where Laurel and Hardy filmed The Music Box and in the same neighborhood where The Three Stooges tried to haul ice up a set of stairs similar to those that appear in the Laurel and Hardy picture. I like seeing famous people at the grocery store. It’s fun.
I wonder if the kind of Zen center I want to start can survive here. Much of what’s on offer in terms of meditation in LA is pretty full of woo-woo. People here love their magic crystals. Folks with more money than I’ll ever see in my lifetime chant for abundance and prosperity. Of course this is not restricted to LA. But it is very popular here.
Yet I am optimistic. I really feel there is a place for a real, down-to-earth meditation center in the Soto tradition here in this City of Sin with its Scientology churches on every corner, and its back-stabbing executives looking for someone to spiritually justify greed and ambition. I’ve met a lot of good people who are not like that at all, who are ready to take a hard look at their real lives and discover the beauty that already exists right in front of them.
We shall see. Stay tuned…
* * *
This Sunday February 15, 2015 at 11 am I will lead meditation at Against The Stream 4300 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90029
Every Monday at 8pm I lead zazen at Silverlake Yoga Studio 2 located at 2810 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039. All are welcome!
Every Saturday at 9:30 am I lead zazen at the Veteran’s Memorial Complex located at 4117 Overland Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. All are welcome!
Plenty more info is available on the Dogen Sangha Los Angeles website, dsla.info
* * *
Your kind donations help me keep doing this blog by helping pay some of my rent. Every little bit helps. Thank you!
4chan is the cancer of the Internet. This comment section is a hemorrhoid.
But don’t think it’s a hemorrhoid because of me. That’s just a projection of your mind.
LO fucking L!!!
I’m more than aware of what you have pointed out.
If you have never been bothered by something that is (theoretically) under your control then you are a person to be envied.
I don’t see how what I am doing is wrong. I’m just arguing Zen is not compatible with emergentist theories of mind. I gave sources and explained myself in depth. I even cited literature and how Dogen believed the One Bright Pearl is nothing but Mind and how the triple-body is nothing but Mind.
I used the defense I am Neuroscientist, which I am, on several occasions where people claimed I do not have enough background on Neuroscience. I, however, do.
I am not a materialist or an emergentist. I believe they refute the underlying metaphysics of Zen/Ch’an practice. You cannot be an emergentist and Zen Buddhist.
First off, emegentism is not entailed by neuroscience research. 2nd off, it is doesn’t make sense how mind can emerge from dead unconscious matter.
I called you smart Alan. I don’t have anything against you. What’s your beef against me, man?
I have a high threshold for what really really bothers me these days, it’s true.
“Well I used to be disgusted, but now I’m just amused…”
Mumbles, you’re a cool guy. Is there anything I’m doing wrong? What theory of Mind do you tend to hold?
I think you’re a cool guy, so I’m just curious. Are you a non-dualist panpsychist, idealist, emergentist, non-reductive physicalist, reductive physicalist, New Mysterian, property dualist, double aspect theorist, neutral monist, etc.?
Alright, I’ll admit, I am prejudiced towards physicalists and emergentists.
When I learn of someone being a materialist, I become extremely prejudiced and divisive. I want nothing to do with such icchantikas or untouchables.
I actually got into a big fight with one of my colleagues who said we are nothing but our brains… He said this arrogantly! He said conscious awareness is reducible to brain activity, and undermined the intrinsic value in all life. I called him out in front of the teacher and a big dramatic philosophical argument ensued like this where I stood like a Vedic badass.
I consider materialism/physicalism just as bad Satanism, especially when people assume Neuroscience points to the fact “we are nothing but our brains”. It doesn’t! IT DOESN’T!
I HAAAATE REDUCTIVE PHYSICALISM AND EMERGENTIST THEORIES OF MIND.
Don’t you get it? Dogen believed the One Bright Pearl is nothing but Mind and how the triple-body is nothing but Mind. Older Ch’an Buddhists argued non-abiding awareness is the substratum of reality, which cannot be grasped or conceptualized. Panpsychist non-dualism is the way for Zen!
I shake my hands and shake it the fists saying to damn all materialist ideology! I have BUddha nature! Don’t look down on me! you have Buddha nature too! you’re not just a fleshy meat pie! I know what I’m talking about! emergentist and physicalist ideologies mean we have buddha nature!
Note, as my references and arguments showed, Dogen and other early Ch’an Buddhists agreed with a form of type-f monism, which in other words is a non-dualist type of panpsychism. Here is David Chalmer’s from “Character of Consciousness” on type-f monism:
“Type-F Monism”: “Type-F Monism is the view that consciousness is constituted by the intrinsic properties of fundamental physical entities … phenomenal or protophenomenal properties are located at the fundamental level of physical reality and in a certain sense underlie physical reality itself … If so, then consciousness and physical reality are deeply intertwined … the view can be seen as a sort of [panpsychism]”
I argued based off rationality and interpretations of empirical science, type-f monism is more rational than emergentist theories of mind. I gave very good criticisms on emergentism. There is no doubt I am the next Adi Shankara in terms of debating ability. I stand on one while making badass mudras. I am the shit. No doubt. Gonna go outside and smoke a cigarette while flexing my muscles to the flowers and jizzing all over cars Beavis and Butthead style.
it should be noted how in early Buddhism protophenomenal properties such as mental formations and consciousness (which is different from 5th skandha in pali terms.. more accurate to see it as equivalent to non-abiding awareness) precede matter.
Yup, I won this debate. Protophenomenal properties precede and suffuse physical properties.
I’m the shit guys. I know what I’m talking about. Dogen agrees with me and so much more. Brad should rewrite There is No God and He is Always With You considering how Dogen ascribed to a form of type-f monism.
The problem with Kantian transcendental idealism. The a priori elements that allow for the possibility of experience presuppose a complementary protophenomenal property in the external world…
YES. THAT’S IT!
OMG GUYS! I FIGURED OUT THE HARD PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS! I don’t care if someone plagiarizes me!
“The a priori elements that allow for the possibility of experience presuppose a complementary protophenomenal property in the external world…”
has such a theory been put forth before? That is the best way to fix the problems of Kantian epistemology! Holy shit! Not even Schopenhauer recognized this. It solves the mind body problem…
That means non-abiding awareness does indeed have a non-local suturing aspect to it.
You remind me of a guy I sat next to in a Philosophy class…
Really bad arguments hiding behind a veil of excessive, obscure and technical vocabulary.
Read my post on February 15, 2015 at 1:18 pm
Is it going to change my opinion?
Maybe. I improved the argument.
February 15, 2015 at 1:18 pm
I am arguing against emergentism and reductive physicalism.
A good friend of mine who went through about 1 1/2 years of extensively investigating western philosophy vis-a-vis consciousness. Unlike SH, I was the only audience and I knew this guy. I was bored stiff listening to all the mental convolutions he performed around what essentially is the unspeakable. At a certain point, it came crashing down into ridiculousness and he voluntarily gave up his pursuit of these kinds of tortuous mental gymnastics. Nothing essential going on here, just the conventional mind trying to wear itself out.
But – see below – SH has now SOLVED THE HARD PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS! Look for it to be the lead article in the next issue of Journal of Armchair Philosophy & Pipe Smoking.
A good metaphor to explain this is that the brain attunes itself to certain frequencies in the universal field of experience. Awareness is what tunes it. One can think of Awareness as either a mental or vital force (e.g., Shakti or Qi).
So the fact is, the a priori elements of the mind are the tuner to certain indeterminate protophenomenal properties in the external world. I can give sources for the possibility of this.
So… let’s see, uhm, UG Krishnamurti, J. Krishnamurti, Huang Po, Dogen, and so many other would agree with this given how it points to the non-dual sources.
Emergentism and variants of physicalism are incompatible with the Dharma.
When you get punched in the face, the a priori elements of the mind must tune or project the illusion of inherent nature in the fist. You’ll still get knocked out either way, but the point is… … the point is…. shit… what was the fuck point?
The point is you can be one with the fist that knocks you down.
I want a cyberpunk Vedic theocracy where everyone is forced to speak Sanskrit and get neural augmentations to channel Shakti in order to feel One with the Universe. Everyone can be like… badass augmented Hindus.
I want neural augments so I can channel a shitload of Shakti or Qi and do badass kung fu so I can impress the ladies.
Everyone is silent because I have won.
Now I shall surrender to Zafu and Zabuton. Bitches don’t know what’s up when they deal with my bling.
Soon when the economy collapses, we will all live in a Deus Ex dystopia. THE ORIGINAL NOT THE SHIT HUMAN REVOLUTION.
Okay, so get this, shit will be tough and stuff. Poor people will be walking on the streets and crap!
But then guess what you’ll see!
Me with my badass bling bling neural augments.
I’ll be beating up punks and shit. I’ll be like, “yo! Motherfucker! It’s not a part of the Dhamma to get hoes and do that to me!”
Yeah, I’ll be the savior!
Guess what I’ll be!? CAN YOU GUESS? Oh shit, son, looks like you can’t because you’re a faggot.
I’ll be fucking MAITREYA.
Congratulations on solving the hard problem of consciousness. I’m glad to have a played a (very) small part as a sometime contributor (and lately merely a captive audient).
But really…is it quite necessary to top it all of with a Messiah complex? I know, I now, you’re just kidding, right? Right?
Yeah, that’s what I thought…
You’re all just crazy. Can’t compare to my spinazze.
I pop my motherfucka collar in front of your bitch ass faces cuz that’s how I roll, homie. Damn right
So apparently Sunshine Happiness signed up as a Forum Member on Stormfront, the worlds most popular White Supremacist website, not because he agrees with their beliefs, but just to disagree and argue with the other Forum Members.
…just to disagree and argue…
…just to disagree and argue…
Does that behavior seem familiar?
Bitch, I am the light of this world.
I am BHAIRAVA’S DICK.
YEAH THAT”S RIGHT BITCH
I know about all those phallic symbols in that one them kubrick film called 2001 my space dick
Disagree, argue, express hurt, express superiority, claim victory. Lather, rinse, repeat.
You cyberstalked SH? Damn, homie, you are one bored ass creeeeeeeper.
This comments section has now been invaded by Gigyas:
I shoved the sand up my ass and it came out of my mouth as a golden sword.
Now I shall lead the world to liberation.
SH, sorry to hear about your victory. I suppose we all have bad days…
“The Triple World is Only the Mind, There is nothing else outside of the mind, The mind, Buddha and living beings – The three are without distincion”‘ is a (translated) quote from the Avatamsaka Sutra. The words are attributed to Shakyamuni Buddha, but it’s a Mahayana Sutra, so…
Regardless of who said what, Dogen’s piece based on that quote and called “The Triple World is Only the Mind” is a criticism, not an endorsement, of the view that ‘the whole world is produced by our mind’.
How do I know this? Because Gudo Nishijima says so in his intro to the Nishijima/Cross translation of the chapter:
“The phrase ‘The Triple World is Only the Mind’ is often interpreted as an idealistic insistence that the whole world is produced by our mind [read simply *by mind* if you like]. Historically, many Buddhist monks thought that this was the case. Master Dogen does not agree; he insisted that on Buddhism the phrase ‘”the triple world is only the mind” means something far more real. The phrase refers to the teaching that reality exists in the contact between subject and object. From this viewpoint, when we say that world is only the mind, we also need to say that the mind is only the world to express the fact that relationship is a mutual one.”
– which is nice, because it fits the way I want to read Dogen, the way I like to see things. Not a sound basis on which to come to a reliable conclusion, that. Not an auspicious way to proceed through life.
Also… The Nishijima & Cross translation of One Bright Pearl doesn’t have “The whole body is one right Dharma eye. The whole body is the Real body. The whole body is One Expression. The whole body is light. The whole body is Mind in its totality,” it has: “The whole body is one right-Dharma eye, the Whole Body is real substance, the Whole Body is one phrase, the Whole body is brightness, the Whole Body is the Whole Body itself”. Nothing about ‘mind’ there. I wonder what the original says?
So Dogen may not have been a panpsychist. That’s ok. 1) You can be one if you like. 2) Dogen might be talking shit.
(I don’t know anything. I’m just bored.)
Congratulations, Helicoid, for manifesting the most number of mental disorders in one day in one thread. Truly magnificent.
Fred, thank you for helping. I know it turns you on, and that’s why you keep asking for it.
Hello anon 108. Thank you for your erudite post. I agree “reality exists in the contact between subject and object”. However, I do not believe this points to the fact the brain *generates* mind and then from the *this generated mind* there is contact.
Rather the world already contains protophenomenal properties that allow for the possibility of a subject’s brain in creating mental formations and having awareness of, said, mental formations in relation to the world.
Therefore, I do not believe I am a panpsychist in the literal sense. In truth, I am more of an non-dualist interactionist that does not believe mind originates from brain activity or is reducible to brain activity. Rather mind is a phenomena involving the brain “connecting” to the prophenomenal properties out ‘there’ and projecting the illusion of inherent natures. It’s kind of like a pre-established harmony before and after the projection of attributes or labels, hence why Dogen said even the deluded have Buddha nature. This seems more realistic to me.
In this sense, non-dualism is still a possibility, but one of a formless, attribute-less character. It is not a form on monistic idealism, I agree. The body and mind can also harmonize.
However, this is a very difficult question. Emergentism and reductive physicalism are not compatible with non-dualistic sort of understandings though. The inseparability of self and other is one that has both an ontological and psychological character, that is my main point ultimately. Emergentism does not permit for ontological character to inseparability of self and other during compassionate action; emergentism only permits for a psychological analysis, not ontological.
By assuming there are protophenomenal properties at the fundamental level of reality, then you can avoid this. I believe the Pali canon’s 12 Nidana’s also points to that possibility.
“I want neural augments so I can channel a shitload of Shakti or Qi and do badass kung fu so I can impress the ladies.”
Would you settle for some Risperdal
Only if I get to shove it in your mouth.
Could you quit talking to me?
For doing a lot of Zazen, you sure are an asshole.
And you’re not cute like Han Shan who wasn’t antagonizing as you.
I improved concision of writing:
“Rather the physical world already contains protophenomenal properties ‘all the way down’ down to a particular level at which they express themselves. This allows for the possibility of a subject’s brain in projecting mental formations and having awareness of, said, projected mental formations in relation to the world.”
This means enactivist approaches to consciousness our more on target than cognitivist and computationalist approaches. No such items as “inner representations” exists.
“Enactivism argues that cognition arises through a dynamic interaction between an acting organism and its environment.”
Ok, SH. Thanks. You might be right.
yeah, I’m just using arguments to defend the ontological validity of “inseparability of self and other”. I don’t believe it exists in just a psychological or perceived physical sense.
It doesn’t exist outside the walls of your cranium.
“It doesn’t exist outside the walls of your cranium.”
I think protophenomenal properties exist extracranially. I do not think phenomenal experience is entirely localized in the brain, like “inner representations” or something.
Also, saying it doesn’t exist outside the walls of your cranium may lead to issues like the “Cartesian theatre” problem.
What you call problems only exist at the state mental wards.
Fred, it’s okay if you don’t see the validity to the Hard Problem of Consciousness, but it does intersect with Buddhism on many different levels.
Do you even understand the question? I mean, it’s fine if you don’t. I can explain it to you if you want.
Just put aside your biases for a bit and listen to me break it down for you slowly.
I do think there may be a future paradigm shift related to this kind of stuff, but I don’t know if mankind will survive that long for something like that to happen.
There is no hard problem of consciousness.
There might be for you, but 600 mg of Seroquel would fix it.
Fred, I’m getting sick and tired of your sly insults towards me. Saying shit like “600 mg of Seroquel”.
You’re a piece of shit. I even tried apologizing and asking politely for you to quit these sly insults. Why don’t you be a man and insult me directly instead of slyly adding these sick insults.
Where the fuck is your compassion, man? Why don’t you go sit in Zazen instead of continuously insulting me.
If these comments appear sly to you, you must be an Aspie
Fred, can you send me a single message without insulting me?
I want to converse with you normally, okay?
Are you by any chance an Aspie? If so, I’ll be more polite and careful with how I conduct my internet persona from now on.
I want to sincerely apologize if I’ve offended you, but please do not diagnose people online. I don’t know anything about your professional background, so I’m curious what is it? You seem to be on Brad’s blog all the frickin’, so I don’t believe you’re actually a physician…
I believe… the reason you know so much about these drugs is because you take them yourself. I don’t mean this in offense, you are still equal to me, but is it true you take these drugs for your own mental illness, I presume?
Meanwhile, I’ll give Mike Luetchford’s Modern Interpretations of key chapters from Dogen’s Shobogenzo (including ‘One Bright Pearl’) a plug. You’ll find them here:
http://www.dogensangha.org.uk/moderninterpretations.html (scroll down for links.)
“I do not in any way claim these interpretations to be more accurate or more truthful than existing versions. The process of making the Shobogenzo understandable to modern people has been a very long one. Nishijima Roshi spent more than 16 years translating the Shobogenzo into modern Japanese, and then a further six years to make his first English translation. Since that time, his students have worked together to produce an ever clearer English text. It will always be a work in progress. To render the metaphors and poetry of Dogen Zenji, written in mediaeval Japanese and Chinese, into modern English is almost impossible. There will always be compromises made in this process. Nevertheless I hope that my attempts to make these chapters more understandable will stimulate people to look at what Dogen Zenji was teaching.”
Some of the interpretations are more interpretive, more ‘modern’ and easier to understand than others. Of course, no one, not even the committed self-identified Soto Zen Buddhist, is required to read Dogen. But for those who are intrigued but confused by the currently available translations, Mike’s Interpretations might help them get a handle on what Dogen was getting at. I recommend Bendowa (long), Genjo-koan (short), and Kuge (medium).
“To render the metaphors and poetry of Dogen Zenji, written in mediaeval Japanese and Chinese, into modern English is almost impossible. There will always be compromises made in this process.”
Thanks for your posts and the link.
“I want to converse with you normally, okay?”
That’s hilarious. You seem to be cycling through a lot of different states. Are they all “normal” to you?
I’m not very good at communicating online, especially on comments section. That’s why I tend to avoid it. In real life I am much more reserved.
Anyways, you didn’t answer my question. You seem to have exceptional knowledge on pharmaceutical drugs, yet all you ever seem to do is comment on Brad’s blog 24/7. This makes me suspicious that you don’t really have a professional background… It makes me think you, yourself, take antipsychotics and other drugs for mental illness.
I do not view you as lesser than me. You and I share the same Buddha nature. I hold no ill resent towards you, but I just want to know this one particular thing: are you the mentally ill one here and do you even have a job?
I mean no offense * gassho *
Just don’t diagnose people except for yourself. I apologize if I have ever hurt your feelings.
I studied neuroreceptors before you were born. I worked with various types of people with various problems, and their behaviours appeared to be hardwired and impervious to intervention.
Are you an Aspie?
“Are you an Aspie?”
Were you a neurologist?
Uh, what were you, sir?
No, I’m the mentally ill one here. Really.
I hope you get better.
Sorry, if I caused you any additional stress, Mindfulness.
Oh sorry if I threw a wet blanket on things. Mental illness is helpful for seeing that mental activity is not me. There’s an amplification that results in absurd internal events and external behavior. It’s easier to catch the behavior, hopefully before others point it out and bridges get burned.
I apologize to Brad’s community for my rude online etiquette.
Just… please… don’t spread bad rumors about me to your teachers. I want to get Dharma transmission one of these days.
Reverend master, please say a turning word for me and free me from this wild fox body.” Then he asked Baizhang, “Does a person who practices with great devotion still fall into cause and effect?”
Baizhang said, “Don’t ignore cause and effect.”
Lol, I was jk about the Dharma transmission stuff.
Hardcorezen.info in a nutshell:
Nan Huai Chin was a good teacher.
When Dogen and others emerged from the cave of ignorance, they turned the light around and shone it inward, so that their original face could emerge.
Emergentia they were all, manifestations of a fundamental ground ungraspable by the course concepts of human thought.
Those that worshipped human thought were little more trained monkies.
Had to do it, took no thought at all, btw.
“The second thing I want to say is, apropos the brain/mind thing, the bishop Berkeley, the philosopher, once used the following argument to disprove the idea that the brain creates the mind. It’s very simple and elegant. Basically, it’s in the form of a question.
If we accept that all there is, is filtered through the mind; and that the mind creates (or at least modifies) reality. Then that which constitutes (or modifies) reality cannot itself be part of that reality. To give an example: a painter cannot paint his own painting into a painting. He can paint himself while he’s painting himself. But that will never be complete (because of recursion). So if that is true, how can the brain be both an object, part of reality (basically a lump of flesh) while simultaneously being THAT WHICH underlies reality, that which constitutes it, or at least modifies it? It’s a contradiction.
The way to resolve it is to 1) admit that mind cannot be identified with the brain; – 2) use the simile of the radio. Suppose the brain is like a radio receiver. If we use this metaphor, then we can explain both why if someone is brain-damaged, his mind will be faulty, while at the same time, we don’t identify mind with the brain. Just like a radio -receiver if it’s broken, it won’t play the music right, but nevertheless we wouldn’t say it’s the radio that composes the music. It just receives it and plays it.
The brain is like a machine that receives a little bit of something that is infinite. That mind-stuff or the “One Mind” Huangbo was talking about.
The expedients of the masters, focusing on “three pounds of flax” or foxing on a mantra like “gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha” all have to do with realizing all this, the prison of our habits and our language-games. Ultimately, the gate is through meaninglessness, not through meaning.
This is also why Buddhist Sutras are so recursive, like the Lotus Sutra. The whole text is just an infinite loop. Same with the mantras and dharanis, the Sanskrit grammar is such that they refer to themselves.”
My opinion has not changed… 😉
What’s your opinion?
Read my post on February 15, 2015 at 1:09 pm. 😉
That’s not your opinion.
I asked what’s your opinion on the Hard Problem of Consciousness?
I’m much more familliar with my opinions then you are, thank you. 😉
“what’s your opinion on the hard problem of consciousness”
Brad, I’m glad you’re back in LA. Seems to be the right town for your style, form my perspective at least! Good luck. I hope everything works our well for you.
SH- nice analogy with the painter. Is that yours or was it a quote? Here’s one I’ve been wondering about. You could imagine that you are sitting in a room looking through two windows at a beautiful landscape. In a similar way, right now, you look through two irises at the outside world – but in this case, where are you looking from?
From the infinite emptiness of no self.
How poetic, Fred!
Yes, these riddles are very interesting questions. I do not think it is impossible to ever understand this biologically a bit more as research goes on. It would come down to how with areas of cognition adding to the affect of consciousness where does this ability of adding yet another layer of cognating a cognition enter? In the book, I Am A Strange Loop, Douglas Hofstadter uses the analogy of complex visual structures arising from sources of less complexity in how pointing a video camera back upon its own projected image in a monitor, resulting a near endless regress of repeating patterns. This is how he speculates upon how an experience of a sense of self could arise.
I still don’t see how neural descriptions, even if rooted in recursive descriptions, can account for the explanatory gap in subjective experience.
Explaining the massive interconnectivity and recursiveness in corticothalamic complex, gamma-range oscillations in the superior colliculus, and widespreading synchronous firing of neuronal ensembles all over the brain… and so forth still doesn’t explain how it feels to eat an apple without subject/object division.
Yes this is true, there is a gap conceptually between describing experience and describing how it arises. I guess to me it is like an affect of a process, not separate just talked of from different points of view.
Similar to describing the physics of riding a bike and the experience of riding one.
That assumes mind is emergent before enough evidence.
I think it’s more like the ripples formed in the ocean by riding a boat.
No, I was using the analogy to represent how any description is acting as a frame of reference, and is limited by its own form. One single frame cannot contain every possible frame that can be conceived of.
It is another way of saying the same thing you were talking of in that post,
“Belief systems are never complete in themselves. People that assume their belief systems reflect reality in a coherent manner are delusional. They may be useful tools (e.g., using an architecture to help build a house), but the map is never the same thing as the territory. Reality is too dynamic, multifaceted, holistic, and complex to be confined to human constructs. People who cannot awaken to this fact are lost in fantasy.”
Your analogy and frame is fine too. Neither of has anything other than a frame.
Neither of us has anything other than a frame.
The brain is more like a receptor that picks up the protophenomenological changes in the external world. Sometimes the antenna/receptor messes up and picks up stuff that isn’t there (e.g., hallucination).
The process of conceptual imputation (or projecting the illusion of inherent existences) is more like retrograde signaling to orient the body for specific goals.
This is accepted once you understand time is inherently non-differentiated, Dogen’s main teaching.
Excuse me, I meant “protophenomenal” not “protophenomenological”. I was typing too fast.
I can’t even enter the frame of your concepts to have a conversation at all. It may be more useful for you to approach others who use similar language to engage with.
I Googled protophenomenological and found many articles. Have you added anything to David Chalmer’s work? If so write to him and request some feedback.
I meant “protophenomenal” not “protophenomenological”.
I made that clear on February 15, 2015 at 8:18 pm
I apologize for the inconvenience.
The point is materialist, emergentist, panpsychist, etc. views are all equally unfalsifiable, so you will have to rely on metaphysics to argue your point.
Hi SH. OK, I retraced my search and found that I HAD made the search on protophenomenal. I only copied the wrong word into my message to you! Here’s an article that sounds like what you are talking about from 2008:
And I am not looking to argue any of its premises with you. I just wondered who you might discuss your ideas with. It would probably be helpful for you to seek out someone. It seems like you end up having a one-way discussion here with yourself. So find a way to have a real exchange with someone who could talk with you.
“The point is materialist, emergentist, panpsychist, etc. views are all equally unfalsifiable, so you will have to rely on metaphysics to argue your point.”
Yes searching to answer such grand questions begin with assumptions. I would just say that it is important that one takes some valid evidence and builds upon those with assumptions to lead to a hypothesis, and thereafter looks for more evidence to test out its strength of description. Rather than starting with an idea of the conclusion one wants to arrive at with little to no immediate evidence to support it.
“I would just say that it is important that one takes some valid evidence and builds upon those with assumptions to lead to a hypothesis, and thereafter looks for more evidence to test out its strength of description.”
You just agreed the materialist and emergentist framework of mind are equally unfalsifiable, so then there’s no way to do that.
It seems you’re constricting yourself with a logical positivist framework. You can still verify and argue points without the scientific method.
For example, an interdisciplinary approach can point to certain facts inexplicable by empirical research.
SH, I’m seeing that you want to win me over, or solve some problem restricted in the manner of your framing of the discussion, but you did not even understand that my response included ‘evidence’. And I’m not agreeing with your terms of framing the issue in the first place. Research continues to build evidence, so you do not need to over-simplify this effort to understand by concluding that nothing can be found, and then dubiously assume that any old theory is as good as any other. The question has not been solved. Evidence is accumulating. Which conclusion will it lead to? No one knows.
Try testing your ideas out on people who think like you do. We don’t need to continue this.
Reductive forms of physicalism believe you can reduce all subjective experience (mind) down to its material components (e.g., sufficient rhythmic brain activity or whatever). Mind is nothing but brain activity then.
Emergentism believes mind emerges from the complexity of the brain’s processing. That mind is more than the sum of neural activity. That something as immaterial as mind arises from something as unconscious as matter.
Neither of those 2 ideas can be substantiated with empirical evidence. Don’t you understand the function of empirical science is not to show the “nature of reality”, but rather to simply form provisional models for their predictive capacities or so?
Explaining the massive interconnectivity and recursiveness in corticothalamic complex, gamma-range oscillations in the superior colliculus, and widespreading synchronous firing of neuronal ensembles all over the brain DOES NOT TELL US ABOUT HOW MIND RELATES TO IT.
It can still be the case such sufficient neural activity is more about “creating” contact with protophenomenal qualities “out there”. That means there is no inner and outer.
You are basically telling me from the inner the outer is created, hence why I say your view is a form of ADHARMA.
Philosophy is still immensely important. You have a decent background in empirical science, so what’s the deal with your philosophy illiteracy?
It can still be the case that there is a kind of internal mental life of matter, or that it coalesces itself into certain material forms, or any number of other scenarios, because these metaphysical questions are all unfalsifiable and not within the domain of empirical research. Even reductive physicalism and emergentism are unfalsifiable as I pointed out in the post above this one.
You are placing too much “faith” in empirical science. Its function is not to uncover the nature of reality.
Who are you talking to? Affect is affect. Process is process. Did the affect create the process? This seems to be your logic.
It is an assumption to believe the brain’s activity and processes “generate” subjective experience. There is no evidence. Even if I explain all the sufficient neural activity needed for awareness, then there is no evidence that the brain *produces* it. The brain is a lump of matter, supposedly unconscious in and of itself, therefore how does subjective experience *arise* from said matter (i.e., rhythmic activity of neurons). This question is metaphysical and empirical unfalsifiable. There is nothing in Neuroscience that points to the mind being a product of brain activity.
Also there is another problem with emergentism I haven’t mentioned. It has to do with how it presumes representational accounts of consciousness to be given. However, now that researchers are looking more into enactivist accounts of embodied cognition, they are starting to realize how emergentism is even more difficult to argue for.
I think enactivism always leads to having to accept the existence of protophenomenal qualities in both the inner and outer world. Consciousness is then more about the dynamic interaction between an acting organism and its protophenomenal environment, and not about it being *generated* by the brain.
It stands, emergentist and reductive forms of mind contradict Dogen’s philosophy and all of the dharma. It is a form of adharma.
Also, it’s a stupid view that is not necessarily entailed by empirical research, as you’re making it out to be.
Also, it is not fair for you to characterize my view as unscientific.
There is a famous Neuroscientist named Christof Koch who was big friends with Francis Crick. He helped create the Information Integrated Theory of Consciousness with Giulio Tononi.
Christof Koch recently wrote a book “Confessions of a Romantic Reductionst”. He argues even with rich background in Neuroscience, he still sees evidence for the validity of a panpsychist view (i.e., one where there is an internal mental life of matter that evolves into higher complexity).
You should not appeal to science to support your arguments when there isn’t even a consensus among scientists.
Consider this fact: I got my B.S. in Neuroscience with a high gpa. I am neither a reductive physicalist nor an emergentist like Christof Koch. Therefore, wouldn’t make sense to take what I say seriously instead of just casually dismissing it in a half-assed manner.
Also, hasn’t your sensei ever said “cause is an effect and effect is a cause”?
There is a bit of the outer in the inner and a bit of the inner in the outer. There is a Zen koan, I forgot, that said the light is always in the darkness and the darkness is always in the light. It is about the unity of opposites, and Dogen gets into this in the Genjokoan about the unity of illusion and absolute (i.e., conventional realm has non-dual relation to Absolute).
Whatever we are mindful towards is also mindful back towards us, as Shunryu Suzuki and Dogen make clear.
Since a mind-independent reality cannot exist, and a matter-independent reality cannot exist, given their reciprocal dependence upon each other, then it much be concluded that there is an internal mental life of matter: matter-mind.
Matter always has a bit of mind, and mind always has a bit of matter. Neither has primacy, so it is best to view mind as being more continuous with matter…
So I guess this is NOT an advaitan or idealist view. It just rejects how matter has primacy (i.e., mind is reducible to matter or mind is produced by matter).
This is the Soto/Rinzai view, which I agree with.
Emergentism is a form of adharma.
It would help more if you actually had some ideas to share besides your premise.
“Since a mind-independent reality cannot exist, and a matter-independent reality cannot exist, given their reciprocal dependence upon each other, then it much be concluded that there is an internal mental life of matter: matter-mind.”
A very human centered premise. Reality doesn’t need my consciousness to exist.
There is no “my” consciousness. That’s the problem with your view.
There is “no-one” with “my” consciousness.
Wherever there is matter, there is a bit of mind. Wherever there is mind, there is a bit of matter.
The complexity of matter dictates complexity of mind. The complexity of mind dictates the complexity of matter.
Yet there is no-one to own either matter or mind.
Your definition of ‘mind’ is so broad it is useless and ignores its usage. Well, I guess you could just go ask a rock if you are on the right track.
“The Soto Zen master Dogen also argued for the universality of Buddha nature. According to Dogen, “fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles” are also “mind” (å¿ƒ,shin). Dogen also argued that “insentient beings expound the teachings” and that the words of the eternal Buddha “are engraved on trees and on rocks . . . in fields and in villages”. This is the message of his “Mountains and Waters Sutra” (Sansui kyÃ´).”
Hey its been a trip SH.
Read this book for a more scientific perspective on these matters:
Wherever there is matter, there is a bit of mind. Wherever there is mind, there is a bit of matter.
Analyzing complexity of matter interactions and relationships will tell you of level of mind, analyzing complexity of mind will tell you of the complexity of matter interactions and relationships.
I win the debate.
Amitabha, amitabha, amitabha.
I am a defender of the Dharma and emergentism and reductive physicalism are adharma.
“James’ characterization of experience provides the “prototype,” as Stengers says, for Whitehead’s “actual occasions.” These are always “bipolar,” with conjoined “physical” and “mental” poles (PR 108). This means that thought is an immanent attribute – or a power – of being itself, and of each individual entity that exists. Nothing could be further from the post-Kantian (or correlationist) sense of thought as something that would approach being from without, and that would strive (successfully or not) to be adequate to it. For Whitehead, every entity immanently experiences something; or better, every entity is an experience. This does not mean, however, that every entity is conscious. Whitehead insists that “consciousness presupposes experience, and not experience consciousness” (PR 53). Timothy Morton makes a more concrete, but somewhat similar, point when he suggests “that there is something that my mind does that isn’t that different from what a pencil does when it rests on a table… It’s not that pencils have minds, it’s that minds are pencil like.” In this way, thought is common and humble, rather than rare and preeminent.”
“Although Molnar is unwilling to embrace panpsychism, I propose that it gives us a good way to avoid the problematic baggage both of consciousness and of phenomenological intentionality. In this way, panpsychism might be a promise, rather than a “threat.” The non-eliminativist way of escaping the correlationist circle is to recognize the sheer ubiquity of thought in the cosmos. We don’t need a criterion of demarcation, because there is nothing to demarcate or separate. Once we understand “thought” in Whitehead’s deflationary sense, rather than in Kant’s grandiose one, we discover that it is everywhere, rather than nowhere.”
Unless you want a Ray Brassier form of a nihilism, I recommend you read that article carefully, and be careful when you make unevaluated philosophical claims that contradict the entirety of your religion.
“We can take an inverted clue here from Meillassoux. If we reject his thesis of the radical emergence of thought out of nothingness, then we must rather conclude that thought is always there already, in the very place where he claims that “there is nothing living or willing.” This is basically Galen Strawson’s position. Strawson argues that radical emergence is impossible; “experiential phenomena cannot be emergent from wholly non-experiential phenomena.” Strawson regards eliminativism as absurd, “because experience is itself the fundamental given natural fact… there is nothing more certain than the existence of experience.” But since experience cannot float into the world from nowhere, our only alternative is to accept that reality is experiential, all the way down.”
http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=1012 <<< Read it!!
“everything is mindful, or has a mind; but this does not necessarily entail that everything is “given” or “manifested” to a mind.”
“Despite these qualifications, I think that we are left with a clear alternative. If we are to reject correlationism, and undo the Kantian knot of thought and being, no middle way is possible. We must say either (along with Harman and Grant) that all entities are in their own right at least to some degree active, intentional, vital, and possessed of powers; or else (along with Meillassoux and Brassier) that being is radically disjunct from thought, in which case things or objects must be entirely divested of their allegedly anthropomorphic qualities. When we step outside of the correlationist circle, we are faced with a choice between panpsychism on the one hand, or eliminativism on the other.”
“I can neither live nor die, nor am I capable of not wishing to die or live. And all mankind resembles me.” – Antonin Artaud
I was like “558 fucking comments!!…sweeeet” then it’s like “oh, buzz kill ‘Diary of a Mad Man’ “. Doode, seriously…read back the novel you just wrote. If ever there was a case for less talking, more sitting; this is it. don’t get me wrong, very entertaining, but I can feel your suffering. arguing inside the comments section of a blog 500 times is literally arguing with your own mind. Your lashing out at yourself, your pain. I can relate, still…suffering can only end with real, human, secured connections.
I can agree with the Panpsychist conclusions here:
He is suggesting that electrons have a phenomenal character but lack the higher-order thought which would make that phenomenal character conscious. He is arguing the The Hard Problem has to do with phenomenology, not higher-order thought. He is suggesting that the experiential content of matter provides the phenomenology, while the functioning of the brain provides the intentional states to render that phenomenological content conscious.
I think intentional states may be involved in the collapse of the wave function. David Chalmers had a new video on this that resembles pyrefiend’s panprotopsychist views:
Without intentional state or the higher order thought, the electron’s sensory character cannot be rendered conscious. Reality is initially a superposed wave-like reality.
When there is higher order thought on the experiential content that is intrinsic in matter, then it collapses the wave function and renders the phenomenal character conscious. This is the world of definite properties.
It is similar to little kids pointing to clouds saying what they think it looks like (e.g., “that one is like an elephant!”). Check out the film The Cave of the Yellow Dog which is about a happy Mongolain family that has a dreamy surreal quality and seems to point in that direction.
My friend’s artwork seems to point to this: http://michaelellistonart.com/index.php/portfolios/2014
Mahayana ontology is panpyschist:
Here is a reddit comment I made on this.
intentional states are emergent but not sensory/experiential ones”
intentional states just render the sensory/experiential states conscious”
Experience is the Angled
Preferred against the
By – Paradox – the
Mind itself –
Presuming it to lead
Quite Opposite – How
The Discipline of
Compelling Him to
His Preappointed Pain –
– Emily Dickinson
DAVID S, do you know the difference between weak and strong emergence? I don’t believe strong emergence exists, and weak emergence however does! here are the definitions of strong and weak emergence:
strong emergence: “We can say that a high-level phenomenon is strongly emergent with respect to a low-level domain when the high-level phenomenon arises from the low-level domain, but truths concerning that phenomenon are not deducible even in principle from truths in the low-level domain.” – David Chalmers
weak emergence: “We can say that a high-level phenomenon is weakly emergent with respect to a low-level domain when the high-level phenomenon arises from the low-level domain, but truths concerning that phenomenon are unexpected given the principles governing the low-level domain.” – David Chalmers
Weak emergence however leads to an implicit metaphysical claim of panexperientialism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I shall summarize this article:
Strong emergence says, “consciousness is an emergent property that arises when constituent parts — neurons, sense organs and the like — are organized with sufficient complexity”.
Weak emergence however says, “consciousness is an emergent emergent property that is directly traceable to characteristics of the system’s components, the constituent parts.” It is similar to how, “Water molecules do not bind together in a tight lattice but slide past each other; that’s just part of their physical make-up.” ‘
” ‘There must be something about the nature of the weakly emerged-from (and nothing else) in virtue of which the emerger emerges as it does and is what it is. You can get liquidity from non-liquid molecules as easily as you can get a cricket team from eleven things that are not cricket teams.'(7) We can do so because in those cases ‘we move wholly within a completely conceptually homogeneous … set of notions.'(8) But there is nothing about the nature of inert, non-experiential matter that would lead to the emergence of conscious experience. The two notions are not homogenous, but radically different. So consciousness does not emerge from non-conscious matter.”
So at least some fundamental constituents of reality are intrinsically and irreducibly experiential in nature as well as material. For short, we call this idea “micropsychism.” It then weakly emerges. Read the article!!! I am selectively quoting it.
“Although strong emergence is logically possible, it is uncomfortably like magic. How does an irreducible but supervenient downward causal power arise, since by definition it cannot be due to the aggregation of the micro-level potentialities? Such causal powers would be quite unlike anything within our scientific ken. This not only indicates how they will discomfort reasonable forms of materialism. Their mysteriousness will only heighten the traditional worry that emergence entails illegitimately getting something from nothing.”
there is no such thing as strong emergent phenomena. The emergent quality is directly traceable to characteristics of the system’s components, just like the notes of music’s melody or so forth. The notes of the melody permeate and interpenetrate each other, the current ‘note’ being a reflection of previous notes of the series, all forming an organic continuity, which is like a ‘succession without distinction’, a motion which is indivisible. Therefore, I argue for micropsychism where at least some fundamental constituents of reality are intrinsically and irreducibly experiential in nature as well as material. There is indeed an ontological distinction between strong and weak emergence, as I’ve explained.ï»¿
I WIN THE DEBATE!!!! I AM AWESOME! HOLY SHIT!
I AM BUDDHA
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