• Janus
    9.7k
    Affectivity isn’t some ineffable quality before or outside of language. It IS language.Joshs

    So, for you, there is no per-linguistic affectivity? If so, this would seem to contradict some of your arguments in your 'Private Language' thread.

    For me there is a fairly clear distinction between explanatory and evocative locutions.
  • Joshs
    911
    So, for you, there is no per-linguistic affectivity? If so, this would seem to contradict some of your arguments in your 'Private Language' thread.Janus

    For me , the irreducible basis or ‘unit’ of all experience is the construct. A construct is a dimensional axis by which we experience an event in terms of a way in which it is similar to and a way in which it differs from a preceding event. Affectivity simply pertains to what one might call the hedonic aspect of the the structure of a construal. Constructs can be verbal or pre-verbal. a pre-verbal construct already contains most of the essential features ( it is a means of pragmatic expression, it is subject to correction, it is not ostentive, it formed in reality to an outside environment) of a verbal construct , except that we aren’t able to put it into words. It is a meaningful sense of a situation, both in affective and intentional terms.
  • Joshs
    911

    Personally, I could use and improve my reading of certain terminology,but for what purpose and benefits? Even in my own academic studies, I was encouraged to go beyond that.
    Jack Cummins

    Did you go beyond that? Do you think you have assimilated the ideas of the American pragmatists, the phenomenologists?

    In the past, many philosophers and other thinkers were accustomed to writing in jargon, in closed circles of their own fields,but I think that the future of philosophy will not be able to go in that direction if it is going to survive as a discipline of creditablility, rather than be thrown into the recycling bin as a lost relic. Of course, the past texts are important but, surely, we need to go beyond them, rather than replicate them, in order to face the perils and the challenges of the Twentieth First century.Jack Cummins

    We can’t go beyond the past texts until we understand them. 120 years ago, Dewey and James pointed to an exciting new way to understand psychological phenomena. They were ignored by mainstream psychology for 80 years, as Freudianiam and behaviorism ruled. Husserl began publishing in 1892. He was ignored by mainstream psychology for the past 100 years, as first behaviorism and then Cartesian approaches in cognitive science dominated. Only since the 1990’s has his work, and the writings of phenomenological writers like Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger, been re-discovers by a small but growing group of researchers in perception (Alva Noe) , theories of schizophrenia, autism , depression, ptsd, empathy, consciousness( Shaun Gallagher, Matthew Ratcliffe, Jan Slaby, Thomas Fuchs, Dan Zahavi).

    Was Husserl ignored because he wrote in ‘jargon’, or because people weren’t ready to absorb the content of his ideas? What the hell does that really mean,anyway’ they were accustomed
    to writing in jargon’? Why do you think that is? Just for
    the hell of it? Because they were being cultish? Because it made them feel special? To annoy you? Perhaps they chose the only kind of language they could come up with to express an entirely original view of the world. You could say that Darwin did the same without the jargon, but he stood on the shoulders of Hegel , who got there before him.

    Did Einstein or Newton write in ‘jargon’, or did they choose a vocabulary precisely suited to express what they were trying to convey? I suggest that jargon is a accusation often thrown around to blame the author’s style for one’s failure to grasp their ideas.
  • Janus
    9.7k
    I don't agree with what you're saying, in particular that you seem to be downplaying the role of the things we experience in constraining our sensory "constructs", and none of what you say there dissolves the distinction between explanatory and evocative language. Explanations are constructed by relating the analyzed elements of experience; so they are truly constructs; things deliberately constructed. I don't think it is helpful to think of the entities of everyday experience as constructs, beyond acknowledging that our particular sensory setups obviously play a role in how things appear to us.
  • Jack Cummins
    917

    I see your point and I would say that the argument both in favour of or against jargon can work depending on your standpoint.

    I admit that I have not read that much phenomenology. That is because it is not the background I come from. I have studied more psychology than philosophy. However, I have done philosophy modules but not in phenomenology. That is not to say that I don't plan to read in that direction ever but at the moment I am reading the books which I have first. Probably, whether I read it will depend on how important it stands out for me because we cannot possibly read all areas of thought. I am particularly interested in the research into schizophrenia and autism, so my reading could go in the direction of phenomenology.

    In favour of the use of jargon I would say that it can enable specialists to use specific language which navigates complex matters. It has reference points and enables a sophisticated discussion in certain areas of ideas.

    On the other hand, it can be used as a form of mystification. I am not suggesting that you are using it in the way that I am about to speak of but I am speaking of a danger. That is when people use jargon to sound really clever and taken to its extreme is when people think that if their writing is so not comprehensible to others it is sign that they are so clever that others cannot understand them. I am not saying that the philosophers you aspire to have done this, but I certainly think that some philosophy has gone in that direction.

    I would say that jargon has its role and certainly specialised topics can benefit from it. There is nothing wrong with being a bit esoteric at times.However, I think jargon is sometimes best used with caution unless if it is about only communicating with an exclusive community. Perhaps I was taught entirely wrongly in my academic studies, but I was encouraged to use some jargon, but sparingly.
  • Joshs
    911
    On the other hand, it can be used as a form of mystification. I am not suggesting that you are using it in the way that I am about to speak of but I am speaking of a danger. That is when people use jargon to sound really clever and taken to its extreme is when people think that if their writing is so not comprehensible to others it is sign that they are so clever that others cannot understand themJack Cummins

    I don’t know if it’s used that way deliberately, but it is a sign of badly thought-out ideas, and there is a lot of that in philosophy. There will always be a few who know how to use language to express important original ideas, and then unfortunately there are the followers of the masters who in some cases try to ape their style in ridiculous fashion.
  • Jack Cummins
    917

    So, we probably agree. I have enough problems in conversations in real life when I use words people haven't heard of, such as the basic ones of philosophy. I end up having to explain the words. When I write I want to be understood because I would not be writing unless I was trying to communicate and explain an idea I have.
  • Joshs
    911
    you seem to be downplaying the role of the things we experience in constraining our sensory "constructs",Janus

    A sensory construct is the way that the things we experience meet with our extant construct system. That meeting is the new construct. There are no ‘things’ outside of that meeting between subjective and objective poles of the construct , and the extant system is itself changed by that meeting, that dimensional axis of similarity and difference. The world always changes our construction system as a whole, but that world is itself
    co-defined by the expectations the system brings to experience.
    Explanations are constructed by relating the analyzed elements of experience; so they are truly constructs; things deliberately constructed.Janus

    A construct is not deliberately constructed, it is as much passive as it is active. Perception is always interpretive, but that doesn’t make it ‘deliberate’. We don’t will ourselves to see a visual shape as that shape, but it is still a construction.
  • Janus
    9.7k
    A sensory construct is the way that the things we experience meet with our extant construct system.Joshs

    Is our "extant construct system" itself not just another construct according to you? To know that all we experience is a construct, you would need to know reality itself and be able to compare it with our constructs to see the difference. By your own argument you cannot do that, which makes your claim seem groundless.

    A construct is not deliberately constructed, it is as much passive as it is active. Perception is always interpretive, but that doesn’t make it ‘deliberate’. We don’t will ourselves to see a visual shape as that shape, but it is still a construction.Joshs

    We have, can have, no direct knowledge of how we come to experience a common world of things and events. The apparent mind-independence of things and events leads me to think the most plausible explanation is that the things and events are real, not merely our "constructions". I just don't find your arguments compelling.

    To get back to the OP, your critique of mindfulness, it seems to me that you simply haven't the experience of altered states of consciousness to qualify you to critique them. So your critique seems to be an empty intellectualization of something you actually don't understand because you lack the practical experience.
  • Joshs
    911
    Is our "extant construct system" itself not just another construct according to you? To know that all we experience is a construct, you would need to know reality itself and be able to compare it with our constructs to see the difference. By your own argument you cannot do that, which makes your claim seem groundless.Janus

    Yes, you’re right , there is no grounding to our construct system other than the system itself. Reality to any experiencer is what is consistent with thechannels of organizing events that their construct system applies. If an event lies partly outside the range of that system, the system will have to be reorganized so as to find a way to make sense of it. If an event lies entirely outside the range of the system, it will not even be seen.

    So the real, and truth, are ideal limits, and we can make progress toward them through successive approximations. But what we are making approximations toward is not an independent reality. our approximations don’t UNCOVER what was presumed to be already there in an independently existing world. Rather, our approximations help to UNFOLD that reality.
    The universe is not a static entity but a development. The asymptotic convergence of ‘outer reality’ and human formulations, then, is not a progressively more exact inner mirroring of an outer causal machine , but our participation in its unfolding. We can make up any old notions we want, but some will work better than others, and the criterion of ‘working’ is a pragmatic goal-oriented criterion, as the pragmatists argue.
    The self-organizing systems and ‘enactivist’ crowd also say this with their notion of structural coupling between organism and environment, where what constitutes environment canopy be understood outside of the aims of the organism that interacts with and helps to create it.

    This would be an example of radical or postmodern constructivism. A less radical version of constructivism can be found in Piaget.

    He writes:

    We now only need to situate reality with respect to these mechanisms-that is, the object as such, existing prior to knowledge, compared with what it becomes once it gets encompassed within the framework of necessities and possibilities constructed by the subject (without being modified, however, in its intrinsic characteristics, which remain independent of the subject). At first glance, reality may appear completely absorbed or "consumed" at its two ends by these constructions of the subject: at the start, it is reduced to nothing more than a particular case among other possible ones, and at the end, it finds itself subordinated to necessary ties. But, in either case, it becomes much richer by being better understood and promoted from the lower rank of an observable to the higher rank of reality interpreted.

    An ambiguity might result from the distinction we make between the object as it is and the object as interpreted by the subject. It would be to equate it with Kant's distinction between the thing in itself (noumenon) and the thing as revealed (phenomenon). But this would be false, since the subject in her cognitive activities comes to know and to reconstruct the object in increasingly adequate ways. However, every progress also opens up new problems so that the object becomes more and more complex and, in this sense, retreats as the subject approaches it.

    This means that the absolute difference between subject and object diminishes as a function of successive approximations. But there always remains a relative distance, with the object staying in a state of "limit," which is quite different from an unknowable and immutable noumenon.”

    So Piaget begins from the idea that something independent of the organism is the starting point for its constructive activity. But the evolution of knowledge is a continual decentering of previously incorporated meanings within ever more differentiated schemes of
    reciprocity. So understanding is not the mirroring of an outer reality so much as it is the contructing of ever more integrated and differentiated schemes
    of relation. The ideal limit of objectivity has to do with the increasing variety of ways that we can interact with the world , not what it supposedly is ‘ in itself’ .

    I should add that Piaget’ s model of affectivity shares
    much in common with mine.

    “In our view, it is dangerous to start off by dissociating behavior into two aspects, affective and cognitive, and then to make one the cause of the other. Understanding is no more the cause of affectivity than affectivity is the cause of understanding.” They are two aspects of the same process.
  • Pop
    487

    I agree with you that Varela and Thompson have misconstrued the implications of the present moment. If there is a feeling present, and there is in their conclusions, then it is phenomenal - similar to ordinary consciousness. But I would not dismiss the present moment and mindfulness on that basis alone.

    A focus on the present moment is a mental exercise to disengage from temporality. The present moment is very deep - the plank length of time is 10^−44 seconds, so it is not something many, if anybody, can reach. But in the attempt to do so one dives into the moment. Initially the depth is quite superficial such that one can reflect upon it, such as Varela and Thompson do, so not so different from ordinary consciousness, but with practice, at greater depths the report is that the situation ( I wont call it an experience ) is ineffable. There are no first person reports back from such depths. Third person reports are of people continuing to meditate long after the class has ended. I have heard a few claims that this can go on for days. I cannot verify such claims, but in my own practice much has been achieved in the present moment. I acknowledge it is a highly subjective first person perspective, but as you state yourself subjectivity is the nature of experienced reality - the third person perspective is invaluable as a conceptual tool, but it is not something anybody can ever experience.

    It seems to me the present moment is a validation of Temporality, in that it is possible to disengage from ordinary consciousness by willfully disengaging from the change experienced over time, so I don't quite understand your tack.

    How would you characterize your basic metaphysical model? Mine would be that cognition is a disruption / disintegration of the state of a system, met in consciousness by an opposing force biased to integrate. These would be the two poles of consciousness - not quite binary or equal or opposite, but two elements causing a circular mechanism. The feelings we feel are an expression of the bias to self organize - they relate to the continuity of self. Cognition is normally of external elements, it is in itself disruptive to the state of a system, but more so are its inferred consequences. These either disrupt or affirm the state of a system, so are unpleasant or pleasant. Self is composed of multifactorial elements, it has its own biological and experientially constructed momentum.

    In Varela and Thompsons case, they focus attention on an internal state which is already integrated and ordered, so an affirmation of self, so pleasant sensations result, from the perspective of my model.
  • Janus
    9.7k
    I agree with you that Varela and Thompson have misconstrued the implications of the present moment. If there is a feeling present, and there is in their conclusions, then it is phenomenal - similar to ordinary consciousness. But I would not dismiss the present moment and mindfulness on that basis alone.Pop

    I dont understand this. If the feeling present in mindfulness is one of all-encompassing interconnectedness then it is not "similar to ordinary consciousness". That doesnt entail that it is not phenomenal though, as far as I can tell.
  • Pop
    487
    If the feeling present in mindfulness is one of all-encompassing interconnectedness then it is not "similar to ordinary consciousness".Janus

    It is similar in that it is phenomenal. If it is phenomenal then the normal mechanism of thought is occurring, so difficult to distinguish from ordinary deeply subjective states.

    I am an advocate of mindfulness. I believe ordinary conscious states are also deeply subjective, and mindfulness is a tool with which one can interact with and alter that subjectivity. I also believe it is a way to disengage with consciousness at the deepest level of practice, and so various levels of depth of mindfulness may be progressively altered states of consciousness.
  • Joshs
    911
    The present moment is very deep - the plank length of time is 10^−44 seconds, so it is not something many, if anybody, can reach. But in the attempt to do so one dives into the moment.Pop

    Phenomenological philosophy after Husserl introduced a notion of time that may appear strange. They begin by pointing out that time measurement involves measuring change of some variable against a background that is constant. Foe instance, measuring the movement tod an object in space. The space-time grid is understood as the fixed background against which we measure the change in some factor that exists within that fixed frame. On that basis , we can measure change in consciousness or awareness if we take these to be some sort of object changing ( or not changing) relative to a background, such as the cognitive system inside of the body inside the physical space-time frame.
    Phenomenology , however, believe that there is no fixed referent for the measuring of time. We have constructed an abstract system of space-time based on a geometric model of objectively as bodies within a spatial frame.
    But our construction , upon which physics is based, is an idealization. There is in fact no fixed referent anywhere.

    The origin or zero point of time is not objective space-time within which a body and mind exist , but the conscious experiencer. It makes no sense from a phenomenological perspective to say that awareness ‘takes time’ like an object changing within a fixed frame.

    This may make it sound like for the phenomenologists there is nothing but chaotic flux, but as you know, they have managed to put forth perspectives that involve intricate ordering to experience. But it is an order based on a notion of irreducible change that cannot be measured against a background reference frame. This idea cannot be assimilated to notions of time
    in relativistic or quantum physics. Physics is still a science based on objective realism, and its relativities only make sense against a space-time reference frame.

    Phenomenology doesn’t believe that one can disengage from consciousness since that which is doing the disengaging pre-supposes consciousness.

    For phenomenology , consciousness IS change, it a mechanism or process sitting IN time that can be unplugged. That’s the objective empiricist view of consciousness.

    Heidegger does a much better job than I do of explaining this view of time as temporality. I highly recommend you read his section on time in Being and Time. You can get the pdf of the entire book online free.
  • baker
    119
    How do such normative affectivities as 'unconditionally intrinsic goodness', 'spontaneous compassion', 'luminosity', 'blissfulness', ' a calm and peaceful life guided by the fundamental value of nonviolence' emerge as ultimate outcomes of a mindfulness philosophy of groundlessness?Joshs
    Out of at least two possible sources: a deeply internalized humanism (the beliefs "people are basically good", "life is worth living", "the universe is a welcoming place for me and everyone else"), or/and a selective internalization of Buddhism.

    Varela and Thompson's claim that Buddhist-originating practices of mindful awareness reorientate experiencing from a phenomenological ‘after the fact' theoretical stance to the immediate here and now centers on its techniques of attentive meditation.

    I’ m arguing that they misunderstand phenomenology.
    Joshs
    And possibly Buddhism, too. At least in some Buddhist circles, "bare attention", "nonjudgmental awareness" and so on are heavily criticized. See, for example, the work of Thanissaro Bhikkhu or N. Nyanamoli Bhikkhu.
    The Satipatthana Sutta has already been linked to earlier. When one meditates, one is supposed to meditate within a frame of reference, and not just navel-gaze. One is supposed to have "appropriate attention" which has a very specific meaning.
    See here, for example: Mindfulness Defined by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

    Varela and Thompson's dissatisfaction with the phenomenologies of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger stems from their belief that phenomenology begins from intentional and reflective acts as derived and secondary constructions built on top of the immediate neutral pre-objectifying awareness performed by the act of mindful attention.
    Buddhist meditation also begins with intentional and reflective acts. There is no such thing as "immediate neutral pre-objectifying awareness" in early Buddhism.

    I’m not trying to discredit mindfulness , only to refute
    Varela and Thompson’ s claim that the mindfulness tradition has the resources to go further
    than phenomenology in accessing the immediacy of the here and now.
    The mindfulness tradition can go further than phenomenology only because it has smuggled along things from Buddhism, without admitting to them.

    My disagreement centers on the assumption that there is such a thing as neutral attention.
    And many Buddhists agree.

    Meditation is not simply a matter of bare attention. It is more a matter of appropriate attention, seeing experience in terms of the four noble truths and responding in line with the tasks appropriate to those truths: stress is to be comprehended, its cause abandoned, its cessation realized, and the path to its cessation developed.
    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/recollections.html
  • Pop
    487
    Heidegger does a much better job than I do of explaining this view of time as temporality. I highly recommend you read his section on time in Being and Time. You can get the pdf of the entire book online free.Joshs

    I've found your explanations extremely helpful, so thanks, but I will check it out. I originally couldn't see how systems would interact with time, but then it dawned on me that nonequilibrium systems must store energy for a future time, so they are engaged with time from the word go. Whilst equilibrium systems are cognizing change, nonequilibrium systems are cognizing change over time.

    There is still a bias amongst all this fundamentally. The universe is biased to self organize. Fundamentally organization occurs because of a biastowards organization, rather then chaos.
    This leads me to think that it is not information that is fundamental, but emotional information - any thoughts?
  • Joshs
    911
    The mindfulness tradition can go further than phenomenology only because it has smuggled along things from Buddhismbaker

    Can it go further than phenomenology? How?
  • Janus
    9.7k
    If it is phenomenal then the normal mechanism of thought is occurring, so difficult to distinguish from ordinary deeply subjective states.Pop

    Why can't experience be phenomenal even if the "normal mechanism of thought" (whatever that is meant to be) is not occurring?
  • baker
    119

    Presumably further in the sense of getting closer to making an end to suffering; or at the minimum, going further in the sense of simply having more things to do, more activities at one's disposal.
  • Pop
    487
    Why can't experience be phenomenal even if the "normal mechanism of thought" (whatever that is meant to be) is not occurring?Janus

    The normal mechanism of thought is occurring. The way I understand the phenomenologists argument is, If the normal mechanism of thought is occurring then the experience of mindfulness can be accounted for in normal ways - as a deeply subjective state.

    I would counter, If the normal mechanism of thought is occurring, and I understand normality to be equally deeply subjective, then mindfulness is a valid experience. I would go further and ask if they are equally valid experiences, then why can not some of that "all-encompassing interconnectedness " willfully spill over into normal experience. I believe mindfulness has the power to enact such possibilities.

    I was agreeing with Joshs in regard to Varela and Thompson's conclusions specifically, not dismissing mindfulness entirely. I regard mindfulness as very valuable tool, and I would encourage everybody t practice it.
  • Janus
    9.7k
    The normal mechanism of thought is occurring. The way I understand the phenomenologists argument is, If the normal mechanism of thought is occurring then the experience of mindfulness can be accounted for in normal ways - as a deeply subjective state.Pop

    I'm still not really clear on what is meant by "normal mechanism of thought". In the altered states of consciousness I have experienced, through music, painting and writing practice, meditation and psychedelics, the everyday ways and tracks of thought (which themselves are obviously not always the same but could be thought to occur within a kind of 'range') are altered in different ways and degrees such that they may no longer seem to be in that 'range'.

    You could say those states or any mental state are "subjective states", but in another sense they are all objective states insofar as they are actual. So I don't much favour the whole subjective/ objective kind of thinking.

    As far as I can tell @Joshs claim is that the feeling of "all-encompassing interconnectedness" ought not to give rise to any particular kinds of affections. So it could produce feelings of love and compassion or equally murderous rage according to that claim; I think this is obviously false. The feelings and ideas of interconnectedness lead to an expansion of the feeling and idea of self, and the affections naturally associated with this expansion are love and compassion.
  • Pop
    487
    I'm still not really clear on what is meant by "normal mechanism of thought". In the altered states of consciousness I have experienced, through music, painting and writing practice, meditation and psychedelics, the everyday ways and tracks of thought (which themselves are obviously not always the same but could be thought to occur within a kind of 'range') are altered in different ways and degrees such that they may no longer seem to be in that 'range'.Janus

    My understanding of the normal mechanism of thought is roughly outlined in the previous post. I would say what you are describing is a making of unexpected connections, but I would assume you are cognizing and integrating them in a similar way to what you normally would - so your normal consciousness is at play, but is being altered in some way. That something can be said about the state suggests normal consciousness was present. It managed to cognize something. But yes you are right it is being pushed and pulled in different ways, however it maintains some integrity and creates some story from the experience.
  • Joshs
    911
    So it could produce feelings of love and compassion or equally murderous rage according to that claim; I think this is obviously false. The feelings and ideas of interconnectedness lead to an expansion of the feeling and idea of self, and the affections naturally associated with this expansion are love and compassion.Janus

    The feelings and ideas of interconnectedness INITIALLY lead to an expansion of the idea of self, because they represent a transition, a contrast to, and departure from what went on before them in one’s consciousness, the experience of everyday normalcy and sameness. They are an expansion beyond that specific prior state.

    In order to continue to feel that sense of expansion and love, one has to up the ante, to go beyond that prior realization. Once the particular ( and it is always particular) concept or feeling of interconnectedness ceases to be the novelty that it initially represented, once it is no long the improvement but instead the new normal, then the mood of achievement shifts, and with it the affects of love and bliss, to the predictability of boredom or restlessness or complacency. After all, there are a lot of ways of experiencing interconnectedness, It isnt an end in itself but merely a beginning.

    You may have noticed that the first experience with a hallucinogen may have been the most profound and intense. One may then spend years trying and failing to recapture the intensity of that initial experience of mind expansion. The problem isn’t with the drug , it’s that once one’s mind has learned from the initial sense of discovery and enlightenment, it will never be as impressed with the same ‘trip’ again. Enlightenment always has to be a NEW enlightenment. It has to build on what came before, not just duplicate it.

    I imagine the first time Varela made the discovery of the groundlessness of the self and the interconnectedness of all reality it was like a first drug trip. Eventually he was forced to ask ‘now what’? Where do I go from
    here? How do I build on this insight? From that point onward , as he lived his life built upon the insight of the interconnectedness of all things , he would have noticed that it is possible to interact with ones world with that implicit insight always in the background of one’s consciousness , and yet still feel all the everyday feelings of tension with respect to that world one is interconnected with. What he apparently didn’t realize from this was that it is not the mere realization of interconnectedness that leads to bliss or love. It is the IMPROVEMENT in one’s experiencing of that interconnectedness.


    That is, those kinds of feelings of pleasure that result from enlightenment take continual effort. Pleasure isn’t passive but instead innovative, which is tough to sustain. Most of the effort, and reward, on the part of the meditator takes place when they initially put themselves in the meditative state. From that point on , they have to continually discover something new in the experience in order to keep it from slipping into meaninglessness.
  • Pop
    487
    What he apparently didn’t realize from this was that it is not the mere realization of interconnectedness that leads to bliss or love. It is the IMPROVEMENT in one’s experiencing of that interconnectedness.Joshs

    :up:

    Pleasure isn’t passive but instead innovative, which is tough to sustain. Most of the effort, and reward, on the part of the meditator takes place when they initially put themselves in the meditative state. From that point on , they have to continually discover something new in the experience in order to keep it from slipping into meaninglessness.Joshs

    This would be the normal western / phenomenological interpretation. In Yogic philosophy, pleasure is not entirely dependent upon externalities but can also be experienced at will. It is not so difficult to do, what is difficult is to allow yourself the mindset that makes it possible. This is where mindfulness comes into its own as a tool to explore such possibilities.
  • baker
    119
    That is, those kinds of feelings of pleasure that result from enlightenment take continual effort.Joshs
    What concept of "enlightenment" are you talking about?

    The actual Buddhist one, nibbana?

    Because by the standards of early Buddhism, what you're describing isn't enlightenment/nibbana, it's something that isn't even the first jhana. It's more like getting to the point of pleasantly zoning out.
  • Joshs
    911
    What concept of "enlightenment" are you talking about?baker

    I was referring strictly to @Janus’ formulation of the feeling expansion of self.
  • synthesis
    71
    How do such normative affectivities as 'unconditionally intrinsic goodness', 'spontaneous compassion', 'luminosity', 'blissfulness', ' a calm and peaceful life guided by the fundamental value of nonviolence' emerge as ultimate outcomes of a mindfulness philosophy of groundlessness?Joshs

    As a very serious Zen student for the past 30+ years, allow me quote the famous Tang dynasty master, Huang Po:

    "Open your mouth and you have already lost it."

    Words are used only to point in the direction where you can obtain direct experience. Once you understand, words lose their meaning.

    When truly with your lover, do you look deeply into their eyes so they can realize the magnitude of your caring or would you present them with a dissertation on the theory of language and meaning as it applies to love?

    Words/ideas are extremely important tools, but they have serious limitations.
  • Joshs
    911
    Words/ideas are extremely important tools, but they have serious limitations.synthesis

    I don’t distinguish between words and experience. Words are not ‘tools’ that represent thought. Language IS thought, and thought IS experiencing. So the ‘serious limitations’ of language are a reflection of the serious limitations of experiencing. Yes, certainly one can make a distinction between verbal and non-verbal language. Not all implicit meanings we experience are clear enough to articulate verbally. But they are still a form of language.

    When truly with your lover, do you look deeply into their eyes so they can realize the magnitude of your caring or would you present them with a dissertation on the theory of language and meaning as it applies to love?synthesis

    I would attempt to ‘communicate’ my feelings through non-verbal and perhaps verbal language. But my non-verbal expressions are not more ‘direct’ or ‘ pure’ or ‘immediate’ than language. This is an old Western philosophical prejudice privileging the ‘immediacy’ of speech over writing , gesture over speech. All communicating is mediate and interpretive. I think assuming that eye contact and expressions of bodily intimacy directly and unambiguously conveys one’s feelings to another is a recipe for disaster.
  • Janus
    9.7k
    In order to continue to feel that sense of expansion and love, one has to up the ante, to go beyond that prior realization. Once the particular ( and it is always particular) concept or feeling of interconnectedness ceases to be the novelty that it initially represented, once it is no long the improvement but instead the new normal, then the mood of achievement shifts, and with it the affects of love and bliss, to the predictability of boredom or restlessness or complacency.Joshs

    You know this from experience? And even if this has been your experience what leads you to conclude that it must be the experience of others?

    You may have noticed that the first experience with a hallucinogen may have been the most profound and intense. One may then spend years trying and failing to recapture the intensity of that initial experience of mind expansion. The problem isn’t with the drug , it’s that once one’s mind has learned from the initial sense of discovery and enlightenment, it will never be as impressed with the same ‘trip’ again. Enlightenment always has to be a NEW enlightenment. It has to build on what came before, not just duplicate it.Joshs

    Actually this hasn't been my experience at all. I've taken psychedelics many times (well over 150) and some of the most "profound and intense" experiences were some of the last. I think you are drawing conclusions based upon unwarranted generalizations. The same goes for meditation. In fact the experiences with meditation, when I was able to 'breakthrough', were also more intense later rather than earlier. My experience is that "enlightenment" (I don't like that term: I prefer "the altered state") is paradoxical; always new and yet always the same; it is not subject to the ordinary logic you seem to be wanting to apply to it.
  • Janus
    9.7k
    My understanding of the normal mechanism of thought is roughly outlined in the previous post. I would say what you are describing is a making of unexpected connections, but I would assume you are cognizing and integrating them in a similar way to what you normally would - so your normal consciousness is at play, but is being altered in some way.Pop

    My experience is that the unexpected connections are precisely not made in the "normal" way, they don't feel 'normal' at all. Having said that I'm not sure what your conception of "being made in the normal way" is. It may be different for each person, so if you say it is like that for you, I can only accept your word on it.

    That something can be said about the state suggests normal consciousness was present.Pop

    I don't see it that way. According to my experience of altered states what can be said is that nothing can really be said. But I may be able to make a painting or write a poem that, for me at least, evokes that ineffable experience. It is ineffable only insofar as nothing propositional or determinate can be said about, or on the basis of, the experience. For me this is what poesis (making) is all about; evoking (showing) what cannot be literally said.

    Actually I think the same can be said about "ordinary everyday" experience; what we can say about it doesn't really capture the lived quality of the experience, but when we are caught up in those propositional attitudes, those banal "normal associations", the feeling tone of the experience is mundane. When we are not caught up in those associations the experience is more or less altered and we, to various degrees, 'wake up'.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.