Category: Mind



“Humans are currently the most intelligent beings on the planet – the result of a long history of evolutionary pressure and adaptation. But could we some day design and build machines that surpass the human intellect?

This is the concept of superintelligence, a growing area of research that aims to improve understanding of what such machines might be like, how they might come to exist, and what they would mean for humanity’s future.” [ref]

In terms of The Path of Scientific Enquiry examination of this article will recognise how many fundamental scientific assumptions are being made. In the spirit of Sheldrake’s 10 core assumptions, we can begin to question superintelligence. However what must clearly be understood is that science’s core assumptions suit the interests of power and influence, and remember it was not Oppenheimer who dropped the bomb … but he did enable it.

“There is no physical law precluding particles from being organised in ways that perform even more advanced computations than the arrangements of particles in human brains.” This is taken from here, and was written by a host of scientists including Stephen Hawking (respect).

This quote wraps up a whole load of assumptions, particularly the assumptions of science that I have the greatest difficulty with (concerning mind and brain) that is covered in Sheldrake’s dogmas by #1 and #8:-

Nature is mechanical.
Your mind is inside your head.

Another way of looking at this dogma is to say that mind and consciousness somehow emanate from the brain. Here is a scientist’s view of neuroscience that encapsulates this dogma – she explains it clearly and I presume this is relatively standard. Listen to this bit. Basically she is saying that the brain and nervous system is what makes us think and move – who we are.

Does this need investigating or what?

I don’t particularly want to criticise this lady, she is a scientist who happened to be #1 when I searched “what is neuroscience?”.

I think it reasonable to associate movement with the nervous system – as far as I know, this leaves me with the brain being what makes us think and who we are. This is in line with the Hawking plus quote in which a group of particles forms the brain … and therefore makes us think and who we are.

In other words Hawking plus are searching to convert the fictional “positronic brain” into reality. It appears they think that by a suitable rearrangement of particles there will be a real “positronic brain” that will be superintelligent. They are so convinced of this threat they wrote this article about it.

As Sheldrake (in his book Science Set Free) and others have pointed out, science was once seen as a panacea, that it will answer all. This quote indicates that process “In the history of science we have discovered a sequence of better and better theories or models, from Plato to the classical theory of Newton to modern quantum theories. It is natural to ask: Will this sequence eventually reach an end point, an ultimate theory of the universe, that will include all forces and predict every observation we can make, or will we continue forever finding better theories, but never one that cannot be improved upon? We do not yet have a definitive answer to this question… —Stephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design, p.8” quoted by Sheldrake. Or as Sheldrake says himself in Science Set Free “The biggest scientific delusion of all is that science already knows the answers. The details still need working out but, in principle, the fundamental questions are settled.” [p17 of 770].

Now science has a new panacea AI-solutionism, that AI has all the answers. Here are some reasons why not. But I fear this AI-solutionism in much the same way as I fear those in science who claim it has all the answers.

I don’t fear the superintelligence of robots. I don’t fear that there can be a rearrangement of particles that can create a powerful neo-positronic brain which will annihilate humanity because such a brain would be superior to humans. But I am very frightened of AI. We have already created AI in drones and smart bombs that are used to kill humans, if Asimov’s Robotics laws were in place they would not be doing so.

The problem is not AI going out of control, it is that humanity goes out of control. The NRA slogan is “guns don’t kill humans do”. This can be rephrased as “drones don’t kill humans kill”, “smart bombs don’t kill humans kill”. And the argument against the NRA applies to drones and smart bombs, if we take away the drones and the smart bombs – and the guns – there is no killing. In the US there is a campaign against guns because Americans are being killed, there is minimal resistance to drones and smart bombs because it is not Americans who are dying.

The problem with AI is not “robots-out-of-control” but humans out of control. Humans are continually searching for more powerful weapons to destroy each other primarily for profit. And AI-robots as soldiers are such weapons. Then the NRAI will say “AI-robots don’t kill humans kill”.

Scientists are researching AI as scientists do – in search of learning. That learning as with Oppenheimer is used by the greedy and powerful to further their own ends.

Scientists have to start demanding that protocols (such as the 3 laws) be put in place for their AI development. AI cannot be weaponry, it has to be used for the betterment of humanity. The protocols need to be established now, established for AI, established for drones, established for smart bombs.

Scientists, do not weaponise the 1%.

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Mind and Brain Frustration


I began watching a BBC Horizon programme on Insight, and as usual ended up with the usual frustration about brain science.

The format of the programme was to look at current research on insight, and that research typically examined the location of brain activity when insights were supposed to have happened. Begrudgingly I recognise that the science is showing that certain areas of the brain react when insight occurs.

When considering brain science like this my first question is always concerned with the nature of mind. Insight would tacitly be accepted as coming from the mind, but what is the connection between mind and brain?

In science there is again a tacit assumption that the mind is located in the brain, but if I ask Thai people where the mind is they point to the heart.

In the case of this Horizon investigation I suggest there is a tacit assumption that when the location of insight in the brain has been found then the source of insight has been found. I am certain I am expressing the tacit assumption too strongly, but that assumption is there to some extent. But it is an assumption, and it is an assumption that I can cast some doubt on; I also note that from my personal experience I contend that assumption is not true.

There are corollaries to this brain science. If the location can be found can an insight be stimulated? What else are they going to do with this physical location?

It is not necessarily the fault of the brain scientist that this question of brain and mind has not been resolved, it is a fault of science and academia in general. “What is mind?” is accepted as a philosophical question that science doesn’t have to answer. So these brain scientists can proceed with their tacit assumptions because academia fails to reach an understanding of mind.

There is an empirical understanding of mind which comes from meditation. When people meditate then they become aware of their own minds and gradually learn more of its nature. In terms of this blogpost they learn that mind is not located in the brain. Hence the roots of this assumption of Thai people that the mind is in the heart because this is the populist Buddhist view of mind – not in my view what meditators say mind is. Now when I am considering meditation as an empirical method of understanding mind I am going against academia. And this is a big point. Academics do not know how their own minds function. I do not know how one can understand how the mind functions without meditating but I concede it is possible. But I would argue that in general academics don’t understand their own minds very few going beyond the cognitive or analytical. Here is a meme showing how Buddhadasa viewed the mind:-

If as I contend academics do not understand their own minds and if academia does not understand mind and its relation to brain, how can there be meaningful investigation into insight?

I want to consider the interesting case of Jill Bolte Taylor and how this puts light on the relationship between mind and brain for insight. Here is her TED talk.

I had forgotten what a phenomenal talk this was, and it was very clear that she was speaking from experience. Her talk was discussing the meaning of the left and right brain, what she called the serial and parallel processors. Are there lessons to be learnt concerning the connections between mind and brain? Her talk clearly points to the left and serial thinking, and right and parallel thinking. But does she talk of brain and mind connections?

During her stroke of insight did her mind reside statically in the brain or did her mind swap from left to right. Was she experiencing alternatively left-mind and right-mind, or was the mind hopping from left to right during the experience? I contend the second – without proof and the above meditation justification.

I am looking for a way that will make it obvious that my Buddhist understanding would prevail over the tacit assumption of brain science. I have not succeeded. When I have an insight, usually after meditation, it is because I have cleared my mind, focussed it (sometimes by mentally dropping it away), removed my ego and somehow have gained insight with a connection to sunnata because my mind is well-harmonised, this might show as some form of brain stimulation but for me that is the least of it. Sometimes in meditation I focus my mind in my heart, in other times I will drop it away in an effort to enable sunnata to flow into my body – this is a visualisation. I tend to think of mind as being amorphous, and that it moves around my body causing function sometimes consciously I move it sometimes unconsciously it is moved. As I have been unable to establish this I have just stated it as a contention.

I have not got over my frustration concerning brain science, in fact it is now worse because I was unable to establish my contention. My contentions are true for me, I wouldn’t waste time with sophistry for its own sake, but there is no simple way for me to make it true for you.

My frustration leads to an interesting question. If a certain part of the brain is known to react during insight, can I move my mind to stimulate that area of the brain into an insight? This is a horrible question these brain scientists want. Aaaggh!! Not at all the direction I wanted.

I ain’t doing it though. If I want an insight I am going to meditate.

Frustration!!!

<– Previous Post “path sofar” “Racist AI” Next Post –>

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Even before I had completed the Treatise ideas of writing “The Path of Scientific Enquiry” started raising their disturbances. I began writing it here, but have discovered that far too many of the ideas have not been formulated. I now feel that this path is the purpose of Mandtao so I have called it the Mandtao path. [Aaaaggghhh – it’s probably a book.]

This is also in the way of Honiti, I want to finish that now I have pathtivism ( Ch24).

Now I am just blasted. Scifimuse was telling me to do Honiti, and spirimuse wants me to write a new book. Worn out so daunting – relentless.

This post is a series of notes concerning what I will look into for Mandtao.

Mandtao Empirical Method

What is the Mandtao empirical method?

My view – there are observations/events/experiences that can be repeated. Because they can be repeated then these are events that we can know. In other words these are events that we can give a scientific explanation for because they repeat.

So empirical method is to make observations and then determine a scientific explanation.

This is different than an experiment in a laboratory. Why?

What is lost in a lab? Can a real life be recreated in a lab?

How to recreate meditation?

How to recreate path?

Quantum Theory Enquiry

I have reposted the Zandtao Hagelin blog here in Mandtao. I learned sub-atomic was protons neutrons electrons. Now the smaller we go the more particles we find. Or do we? Do we find particles or do we find properties that we assign to particles? Fritjov Kapra Gary Zukav etc.

Do we find particles because of Newtonian paradigm?

If Bruce Lee was experimenting would we find chi?

If Annie Besant was investigating would we find consciousness?

Measurement

Bacon split reason and revelation. Is science no more than what we can measure and logic? If we cannot measure it doe it not exist? Human capacities beyond reason – intuition, insight, creativity, are they now not science/knowledge because they cannot be measured? Meditation/path?

Mind and Brain

I am just going to post a blog that has lain dormant about mind and brain. In the case of scientific enquiry how important is our considerations of what is mind and brain. When you consider the treatiseplusmeme if there is no vinnana to help transcend then there cannot be a path.

If there is only brain and nothing else, how much is this restricting our knowledge?

Medicine

This is basically the acupuncture discussion only much worse. How much do our medical models restrict our abilities to heal?

the relationship between funding and medicine is back-to-front.

Axioms

The hidden axioms has already picked on some axioms. Monism fundamental unity has not been investigated.

Gaia Assumptions

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Natural sleep


Sleep is natural, it is nature’s way of “recharging the batteries”. This is simplistic and appears to say little, but apply the converse:-

“Not sleeping shows there is something unnatural going on.”

It is this that is worth investigating if we are to understand sleep and why some people cannot sleep. There is something unnatural going on.

For a while I will consider whether we live naturally rather than what affects sleep. That means going back to basics, and for me that means Buddhadasa. To understand what could be unnatural we have in some way to understand nature. Ajaan Buddhadasa has a very interesting stance on this but because it is Buddhadasa the meaning is buried in language – in this case the Pali words he uses. He describes the Buddhist’s God as Idappaccayata, and he further “languagises” the issue by saying this one God is idappaccayatapaticcasamuppado, and he gives details of what is paticcasamuppada – dependent origination [Idappaccayata pdf p1]. God is a bit shorter, I could use the word nature but I prefer Gaia; let me explain why. At one stage I was calling this ONE planet. Buddhism amongst other religions talks of unity – ONE thing. We are not a collection of individuals, a collection of separate species etc., we are just one life that appears as separation yet we should consider as one – ONE. James Lovelock when he talks of gaia describes an ecology that is interweaved, separate life forms that connect. He describes this inter-connectedness as gaia, but as far as I understand it he sees man as separate. This is why I capitalise gaia, Gaia is the ONE life that comprises of all life on this planet. Because of this Unity Gaia is a more apt word than nature, and because of this Unity it is more applicable than a separate omnipotent God.

“The law of ‘conditionality’ is the highest of laws, the law that makes everything work, and this we call idappaccayata. …. Beasts, people, plants, trees, they’re all formed from atoms grouping together, and in every atom will dwell the law of idappaccayatā. …. the law of nature, idappaccayatā, pre-exists all things in the universe and is the reason for the existence of the universe itself” [Idappaccayata p3].

I think this law of nature is observable and I accept it, but if you like it is the only aspect of faith that I believe in. This faith consists of belief in the law of conditionality, that this law is in every atom, and that it pre-exists all things in the universe. I trust in Gaia – nature, but not what man has done to it.

Buddhadasa gave the law of idappaccayata as :-

“when there is this thing, then there is this thing too; because this arises, this can arise also; when this thing isn’t, then this thing isn’t either; when this quenches, then this quenches too. [p3].

Just a brief point on sleep, it follows this law. “when there is this thing, then there is this thing too”. When we are natural, sleep follows. And “when this thing isn’t, then this thing isn’t either”, when we aren’t natural, we don’t sleep.

It is also worth flagging that this law is causal and therefore fundamentally scientific. However science is based on defined axioms – axioms defined by science. Whereas idappaccayata is just based on causality and conditionality, a conditionality which I will look into later, yet a conditionality that is based on empirical observation. One such observation is that sleep is natural, a conditionality that is based on what we observe in a loose sense – everyday “wisdom”. A more contentious empirical observation is that TCM and acupuncture heals. This can be empirically observed by observing treatments and seeing patients recover but is rejected by some scientists who are given respect by some.

The Buddha took refuge in the Dhamma, saw the Dhamma as his God “In the end he made up his mind that he’d revere the Dhamma he’d awakened to: he’d ‘enter into and dwell within it,’ that is, he’d take it as his refuge.” [p1]. For this use of the word Dhamma you could replace Gaia as I have described it above, either way we are trying to understand “natural”. Buddhadasa describes 4 natural laws:-

“Dhamma (here with the meaning of the ultimate truth – the way things really are – hence it’s spelt with a capital ‘D’) has four meanings: nature itself; the law of nature [BZ – Idappaccayata]; the duty to be done according to the law of nature; and the fruit, or result arising from doing or not doing that duty” [p6].

In describing these laws Buddhadasa said “Essentially, it’s the duty of any human being to maintain life correctly. If they don’t then they must – in accordance with the law of idappaccayatā – experience the result, the punishment: suffering, ranging from being unable to sleep, to nervous disease, to deadly pain” [p11]. Subconsciously I might have remembered this but I was surprised at the relevance to sleep when I read this.

Now we come to the other half of the Buddhadasa “languagised” God – idappaccayatapaticcasamuppado. Paticcasamuppada, also known as dependent origination or dependent co-arising, is described by Buddhadasa as what the Buddha struggled with under the Bodhi tree “It was during the night of his awakening that he sought thus: What does suffering come from? Then he realized that it came from jāti, from birth. Jāti, ‘birth,’ what does birth come from? ‘Birth’ comes from bhava, from becoming. Becoming arises from upādāna, from clinging. Clinging comes from taņhā, from craving, from desire. Craving, comes from the vedanā, from feeling. Feeling comes from phassa, from contact. Contact comes from the āyatana, from the senses. The senses come from nāmarūpa, from name and form. Name and form comes from viññāna, from consciousness. Consciousness comes from sankhāra, from the power of concocting. The power of concocting comes from avijjā, from ignorance” [p1]. I have previously discussed this in relation to mindfulness meditation in education. This could be partly summarised as suffering arising from conditions that our desire allows and that we cling to. Through mindfulness at contact we are able to avoid suffering.

I also wish to consider this summary of Buddhadasa’s teaching that I call his meme:-

There are the 5 khandas that make up the body, psyche and consciousness. Under conditionality we attach to these khandas especially when young as we operate through instinct. As we get older we gain the maturity that enables us to be aware of conditionality and if mindful can avoid detachment. With increasing maturity we do not create new attachments and we detach from the selves that we have already made – through instinct. In the end ideally we are not attached to the khandas and have detached from all the selves that previous attachment has created leading to our being free of all conditioning. In this freedom there is just sunnata, unity functioning.

Somewhere within all our conditioning suffering through affected sleep occurs. Meditation can help as it can be used to remove detachments and avoid attachments.

I am not however offering this as an understanding as to how to deal with sleep issues but sleep is natural and the above discussion of nature, its laws and understanding of the development of suffering has some connection. In the next blog I will connect this conditioning to the path.

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Conative?


I have just come across a word I like – conative. Apparently it is not a word that is in use much but it is part of a model of thinking:-

“Psychology has traditionally identified and studied three components of mind: cognition, affect, and conation (Huitt, 1996; Tallon, 1997). Cognition refers to the process of coming to know and understand; the process of encoding, storing, processing, and retrieving information. It is generally associated with the question of “what” (e.g., what happened, what is going on now, what is the meaning of that information.)
Affect refers to the emotional interpretation of perceptions, information, or knowledge. It is generally associated with one’s attachment (positive or negative) to people, objects, ideas, etc. and asks the question “How do I feel about this knowledge or information?”
Conation refers to the connection of knowledge and affect to behavior and is associated with the issue of “why.” It is the personal, intentional, planful, deliberate, goal-oriented, or striving component of motivation, the proactive (as opposed to reactive or habitual) aspect of behavior (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven & Tice, 1998; Emmons, 1986). It is closely associated with the concept of volition, defined as the use of will, or the freedom to make choices about what to do (Kane, 1985; Mischel, 1996). It is absolutely critical if an individual is to successfully engage in self-direction and self-regulation.
Some of the conative issues one faces daily are:
• What is my life’s purpose and are my actions congruent with that purpose?
• What are my aspirations, intentions, and goals?
• On what ideas, objects, events, etc. should I focus my attention?
• What am I going to do, what actions am I going to take, what investments am I going to make?
• How well am I accomplishing what I set out to do?” [Source]

Now conative knowledge is also described as experiential knowledge and it was this that attracted me to the word; I was hoping to contrast cognitive with conative. However the motivational stuff doesn’t sound too experiential to me.

Knowledge is not all “equal”. When you have experienced something that knowledge is unshakeable. When ignorant sceptics want to tell me acupuncture doesn’t work, then I know they are not scientists but promoting an agenda. When science fails to apply itself to consider chi as real, given that so many people accept its existence it is a failure of science. Now that I have found that my plant-based diet has developed increasing yin excess that affected my sleep, metabolism, lungs and heart, I have strong indicators that the existence of yin-yang is real (I accept the possibility that starting to eat meat has done something else to my body other than making my food more yang but I have not learnt of such an interpretation). When meditation as empirical knowledge can be repeated, then it is the failure of science to apply itself to recognising this truth. Experiential knowledge carries a conviction with it that goes beyond misplaced authority.

Science applied through academia is mostly cognitive. Academic justification comes from a reference source, and such sources have “respect” – and therefore weight – that allows cognitive development through analysis to develop new conclusions as knowledge. But what is the axiom that this knowledge has developed from? It has developed from a reference but that reference could be greatly distanced from the initial experiential knowledge that gave it justification. It is worth considering this distance a little more. An original thinker writes a book, and for some reason academia accepts the original thinking that is in the book. That thinking might merit the original thinker being given a professorship – if her/his face fits. Other academic without the experience of that original thinker start to write about what is in the book – NOT about the experience that was the original thinking. If these thoughts become widely accepted more and more people wrote about what is written, often such writings don’t even source the original thinker especially of that thinker is not contemporary. Writing about the writings might give someone a professorship and her/his text might become the substance of a lecture course in which case a student is writing about a book that is about a book that is about a book that might not even reference the original thinking. As such cognitive knowledge does not have the conviction of the experiential because it is so distanced, it was this contrast that I wanted to make between cognitive and conative but am now unsure of the scope of the word “conative”.

Experiential knowledge is not for me based on any volitional or motivational or better “internal” reaction prior to experiencing the knowledge. Experienced knowledge is real, it is open to misinterpretation but it cannot be refuted as a real experience. It is axiomatic, science only interprets. For scientific principle, cognitive “so-called” knowledge, to contradict experiential knowledge is principle misapplied. An experience cannot be contradicted, that knowledge inviolable. When a Christian has a vision – a religious experience, the facts of the description of that vision is real, the interpretation of that vision as coming from God or Jesus is open to doubt and enquiry, the vision itself is not. If a child remembers a past life the description of that memory is real, it has to be proven to be fake or not but the memory cannot be dismissed. For science to dismiss reincarnation and therefore to dismiss the memory is not valid science, because science has failed to accept what is real – the description that the child gave. This example is not given because I believe in reincarnation – I don’t believe in anything, it is given because there is an important difference in types of knowledge. Conative knowledge based on experience cannot be refuted, only the interpretation or cognitive conclusions from it can be.

It is the approach of psychology, this “cognitive-affect-conative” approach that is flawed. It is evaluating knowledge by starting in the mind, to me this is a flaw. What is real is the experience, what is not real is any interpretation of that experience. However well-intentioned that interpretation is limiting. Consider an event such as a road accident. Accounts of that accident vary – whether by intention or not – because the knowledge that is accepted by the mind is not as full as the experience itself, the event, the accident. What is understood – recorded or accepted – in the mind is limited by the processes of mind.

Here is where mindfulness makes a hit. Consider the description of mindfulness as judgement-free awareness. If there is mindfulness then what is understood from the accident would be as close as possible to the actual event because it is simply awareness without any application of mental processes (judgement-free). As far I understand the language mindfulness is not cognitive but conative. Because it is based on the experience mindfulness has greater validity.

This brings me to something that is very important to understand at the moment. The 1% has recognised that the internet can be used to cause confusion, and with the ensuing confusion they are able to exploit the lack of resistance. Climate change was awareness, it was based on experience and backed up by scientific method. The Koch Brothers and their fakery financed climate denial, and because they were able to finance it to such an extent then the quantity of that financed denial impacted on the perceived knowledge. This is the confusion – financed confusion – to benefit the 1% who then continue to exploit the environment. In this case knowledge is being ignored by the 1% in order to create profit, and by promoting cognitive knowledge – in this case the cognitive knowledge is creating confusion – they are able to avoid paying for the consequences of their profit-making; they are able to avoid any concerns for the environment.

Fake News is not based on experience but cognitive approaches. The 1% pay for the repetition, and because of our education we do not discriminate between cognitive knowledge and experiential or conative knowledge. We do not have the convictions of our experience because we are conditioned to accept the cognitive and conative as equivalent. We cannot allow our experience to be undermined because we are not encouraged to accept a convicted approach. Conative knowledge has conviction because the experience is real. Educators need to recognise this especially in a world of fake news.

This brings me to insight, there is no greater conviction than insight. The only thing that should change a genuine insight is a new insight that demotes the older one to being that of clinging (to the old insight). Because many in academia do not experience insights they do not discuss its validity. Instead of insight being evaluated as conative or experiential knowledge it is passed off as simply another thought or idea that can come or go. But insight is not this it comes from the state of mind which enables pure truth to be accepted, this is why insight is so often associated with meditation.

Knowledge itself is not inviolable but the type of knowledge. Knowledge that comes from experience has truth but is open to misinterpretation. Knowledge that comes from insight is inviolable because the process of insight is a process that enables the mind to connect to truth. Insight brings with it a conviction that can thwart all cognitive attacks – necessary in this world where the cognitive approaches of the khandas attempts to undermine the truth which is insight. It might be more appropriate to consider the word conative as that which is beyond the khandas but that might be my simply appropriating definition. Truth is beyond the khandas:-

And the khandas contain the cognitive and affect of the psychological model. Khandas – rupa – body, vedana – feelings, sanna – perceptions, sankhara – mental processes or proliferations, vinnana – consciousness that can attach to the khandas or move beyond and allow sunnata to connect to the mind. I am suggesting that the conative might best be considered as a description of the consciousness that moves beyond giving truth to sunnata.

I like where this has gone, conative as being that which goes beyond the khandas. Not sure how much this is the intention of the word.

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Modular Mind and Natural Conditioning

Do we have a choice about conditioning?

This is an important question that is not asked because our 1%-system benefits from people not being aware that they are conditioned. This system promotes greed, valuing accumulation as prestige or status. Whilst there are some good people who reject this attachment to greed and the damage it causes to the planet and humanity, most just accept the conditioning that greed is acceptable and join in with it.

Once this greed is accepted there is much damage against Natural Law. This acceptance of personal accumulation is leading to economic catastrophe as discussed here. We already have environmental devastation through exploitation by the accumulators, and to top that off the accumulators, Koch Brothers, pay for climate denial to further promote their greed. How senseless is this. Even less sensible is the way this need for accumulation causes global war and suffering, and on a personal level leads to wage-slavery.

Whilst accepting greed is the worst aspect of the conditioning it is not the only aspect of conditioning that is damaging. In this post scepticism leads people like Rupert Sheldrake to question fundamental scientific dogma. When our scientific establishment fails to examine its own conditioning and presents us with limited knowledge of who we are as humans, how we interact together, how we act together as ONE planet then we have to question science and its education – we have to question the basis of education as a whole, but we don’t.

Failure to examine our conditioning is against Natural Law. So it is necessary to understand what conditioning is and how it arises. Above I have described the worst aspects of conditioning, and whilst much of this conditioning benefits the 1% and their political system it is far from being the only conditioning that is happening. Conditioning is happening all the time from the smallest and least important to the drastic acceptance of accumulation and its global impact.

Here is a limited version of the important teaching of paticcasamuppada (law of dependent origination) or as Buddhadasa describes it Idappaccayata-paticcasamuppada in order to stress that it is Natural Law:-

This is discussed in detail by Matriellez in mindfulness meditation and mindfulness generally.

But let us consider it here. We experience something through our sense – this can include a thought or idea. We react emotionally to this thought or idea, we desire or are averse to this experience, we feel strongly about it – one way or the other, and as a result it becomes added to our modular mind. Once added to our modular mind we have been conditioned.

Let us consider this notion of modular mind. Science is not willing to reach agreement as to the nature of mind preferring to accept different views; one such view is that of modular mind. This view says that mind aggregates various “selves” as part of a modular mind, and dependent origination is a description of the way such selves could arise. These aggregated selves are created through sense experiences that are clung to as a self – this is conditioning through sense experience. Personally this is how I understand mind to work but for science/academia I present this in an observational way – a forced “deception”.

This is a natural process of conditioning but because we don’t examine this conditioning process through education it becomes an oppressive process as we have no control of it. Desire as greed is natural but it needs to be curbed. Some religions will tell you greed is bad but mostly as humans we are subject to propaganda that enforces the acceptability of such greed by glamourising the lives of the rich and famous. Because of this repetitive clinging greed becomes more and more entrenched as part of our selves – our modular mind. We accept that we are greedy.

In examining this process of conditioning in which selves are added to the modular mind we can see a way through the problem. There is the experience that becomes part of the modular mind. If we are clinging to the experience that is hard to fight, once the desire arises it is also hard to fight, even just liking or disliking is difficult to work through, so if we want to control our conditioning then we need to intercept any formation of emotion, desire or clinging. Matriellez was discussing this in regards to mindfulness meditation, and suggested using watchfulness in meditation to intercept the forming of selves through emotion, desire and clinging.

There is a conditioning moment – phassa (discussed here) in which we can intercept the self from forming. We can stop the conditioning. Education could choose to stop the conditioning (Matriellez discusses it on this page). Science could choose to be sceptical of its 10 dogmas. Our system could choose to be wary of what are real and imaginary economic transactions and control them. There is a choice, there is a conditioning moment that we can choose to control or not; BUT we don’t.

Once we become aware that we are conditioned then we can begin to intercept the formation of new conditioned selves. But by that time of life the problem is that our minds are conditioned through upbringing and education. So the problem is similar but different, how do we remove the conditioning? The process is similar in the sense that we use meditation to examine the modular mind for selves that have aggregated there, and once we recognise these aggregations we can examine see them for the conditioning they are and remove the clinging, desire and emotion that put them there in the first place.

At this point we have recognised conditioning, we can choose to prevent that conditioning from arising, and also work on the conditioning that has arisen. So that leaves the question, what happens to us if there is no conditioning? Do we stop functioning if all there is is conditioned selves?

Buddhadasa described us as having 4 systems; according to Santikharo, who is generally recognised as Buddhadasa’s conduit to the West, this was what he was working on towards his death. These systems are described as body, psyche, self and emptiness, and I have summarised these 4 systems in this meme:-

Through our conditioning we aggregate selves to the self-system. In a sense this self system blocks access to “emptiness”, I choose the Pali word Sunnata for this emptiness; Buddhadasa described it as Void mind, void of self. So through our deconditioning we remove selves leaving access to sunnata, and this sunnata is what enables us to function.

Well almost completely. If there is only sunnata we are not alive. For the optimum state of life we need human functioning but without conditioning – no selves, so that within that optimum state we are functioning through sunnata. But our humanity is maintained through the 5 khandas, body -rupa, vedana – feeling, sanna – memories and perceptions, sankhara – mental operations and vinnana – consciousness; Buddhadasa divided these as body and psyche. How does this work? These khandas are the basic arena of sense experience (as described in dependent origination). And humans need sense experience. But what happens to that sense experience, is it just left as is? No, we allow it to become selves through the process of emotions, desire and clinging, so that these sense experiences become my sense experience (having accumulated in the modular mind). But if we do not allow these sense experiences to form as selves (attach) in the modular mind, then we can experience life as it is meant to be experienced – through sunnata.

This is the Natural Law. Within this law there is the conditioning of selves as a natural process, there is the point at which we choose whether to allow conditioning, and there are the ways we can remove the conditioning (meditation or otherwise) that allow us to live naturally – through sunnata.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez, Zandtao.

Sheldrake’s 10 Dogmas


Here are Rupert Sheldrake’s 10 dogmas as discussed in this TED talk that has supposedly been banned so the internet says (My Drive or Mega link – Mega link cannot be used in Chrome).

1 Nature is mechanical.
2 Matter is unconscious.
3 Laws of nature are fixed.
4 Total amount of matter and energy doesn’t change.
5 Nature has no purpose, evolution has no purpose.
6 Biological heredity is material, everything is in your genes.
7 Memories are stored inside your brain.
8 Your mind is inside your head.
9 Psychic phenomena are impossible.
10 Mechanistic medicine is the only medicine that works.

There is an arrogance in science that scientific knowledge precedes any social application. This arrogance is in some ways natural in that decisions on action should be based on well understood knowledge but this arrogance is also fostered by an academic system that encourages it amongst those they educate. But it can be argued that this is far from the case. When a justification for action or policy is needed there is always an academic with such a justification, a theory, a model. It is more than likely that there are always academics with diverse opinions and the powers-that-be simply choose the one most suited.

However climate science must show the scientists that science does not direct. Across the board science has warned about human impact on the environment but governments have ignored this impact in certain areas. Back in the 80s when people became more conscious of the environment householders changed their practices, whilst there is still some room for improvement this change has had limited impact on the environment. Yet the environmental impact has worsened because of industrial pollution. Because governments are not in charge and because industry would lose too many profits the Koch brothers amongst others have funded climate denial. This is clear evidence that finance directs scientific study.

So how does this arrogance and financial direction fit in with Sheldrake’s dogmas? To understand that it is necessary to recognise that science is part of the establishment, and if it is part of the establishment then it is part of our conditioning. As such any sensible sceptic has got to be questioning science’s dogmas as Sheldrake is doing. Question conditioning, question science; arrogance certainly fits in with that as the arrogant don’t question themselves. And as the establishment is a 1%-system there will be connections between finance and science.

It is however most important to see the conditioning role of science. There is the science that is not religion based on Bacon’s dichotomy. This can be seen in dogmas 1,2,3,5,6,8,9 which if questioned would start to examine religious beliefs such as Unity, human experiences that are beyond the routine, and far far more as if they were knowledge. Probably based on my own bias I look at this list and see a connection between the dogmas and profits. Specifically 1 and 10 which accept a mechanistic view, and this mechanistic view is easily converted to the established profit-making machine. Dogma 10 is also the lynchpin of sbm which I have discussed here. Within these dogmas I see a mechanistic limitation of the human capacity, we are far more than any mechanistic explanation – reminds me of Fritjof Capra’s “Turning Point”. But if we recognise that we are far more, then we are less likely to accept our roles as wage-slaves.

One way of describing being free from conditioning is pure scepticism, previously I have used pure enquiry – to me there is no difference. However I do not see sceptics such as sbm as pure sceptics. I described them as one-way sceptics, sceptics whose process is to support a version of science that would not question Sheldrake’s 10 dogmas. Emotionally I could describe the sbm as the church of dogma 10.

Once there is an acceptance of conditioning there is not an acceptance of Natural Law (Idappaccayata). Whilst I know Buddhadasa would not accept conditioning as Natural I need to be more informed to better explain why!!!! Sheldrake has dogmas 1,3,5 about Nature effectively bringing in a version of Idappaccayata but how far?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez, Zandtao.

4 Characteristics of mind


Mandtao was in some sense a follow-on from the Treatise of Zandtao but at the time I was not clear why. It was connected to a notion of man but I wasn’t sure how. It was also connected to science as it began with Bruce Lipton’s epigenesis. So in some way it could be man and science.

It began with unity – ONE planet, and as well it began, following Bruce’s examples, with questioning all that the system called knowledge. But it kind of stuck on ONE planet.

Then I clued into Tan Ajaan, and began to look into mind. Understanding mind is the essential to understanding man, and as science hasn’t got to first base on mind it is no wonder that science is such a mess; effectively the search for knowledge has become a tool for the procreation of financial profit. Scientific method has typically disappeared out of the window as BigFood politics has determined that we need not consider the consequences of messing with Nature’s genetics. Why is understanding mind key to this? For me ONE planet is sufficient to say that science needs to be in harmony with Nature. But what about those who consider man above Nature, where can that come from? This is where understanding self comes in. Self is a mental construct. It does not exist so why do we think it exists? Because self seeks survival, promotes itself, and moves beyond its position in Nature. So this mental construct’s raison d’etre is to promote self-importance irrespective of what happens. Greed promotes self, and greed is the dominant human characteristic in the destruction of the planet. Self on a planet-wide scale is a description of our planetary troubles, and anatta, no-self, is the solution – on a personal level.

Previously I would have used greed to describe this situation but self is much more accurate. Attachment to self produces suffering. Whilst the search for increased profit at whatever cost is the most obvious consequence of self (normally seen as greed), self justifies this in terms of family and other such sensible rationales. If others are
doing it to help their families I may as well do the same – self-interest on a small scale. This does not show the destruction self creates. Why? My family is your family is you and me, we are ONE planet – unity; self has created separation, self-interest and then destruction. It is the separation that is the beginning of the suffering and destruction, greed is not the first step.

In the inner journey to world peace recognition of self as not existing is the first step. Yesterday I described the meditation that led me to asking “where is I?” To counter this as a proof that I does not exist it would be easy to say that I asked the question. This is where understanding and some Buddhist theory of mind helps. There was a feeling there was no I. It felt like I was a perception. There is a natural function of mind to question, and I only starts to occur when consciousness attaches to the perception. In Buddhist theory these four recognitions of self can be seen to come from vedana, sanna, sankhara and vinnana – possibly translated as feelings, perception, mental formations and consciousness.

This is not strong in me. Whilst I am not stretching to fit into the theory, I know because of the way it happened in meditation, I could not convince a sceptic – nor could I convince the doubter in me. This anatta awareness is hard, if it was easy we would all have it. And squeezing into theory is not good for proselytising. It is necessary for the theory to be internalised and lead to an external understanding that can clarify it for others, otherwise it is just dogma. Time will tell.

I began asking about mara. Shamefully I don’t now the Buddha’s gospels well, but somewhere it says that he battled with mara under the bodhi tree. Now temptation is a very real problem, look at all the kilesa that arise from self. But how is it real? It comes from self. Self wants to exist, and if we become tempted into an action of
self then that is self-existence. In other words temptation is self tryng to create itself through temptation. It is part of mind that wants to create the separation of self so it creates temptation. Nature does not tempt. There is what Nature has for us to do, and there is what self wants to do to actualise. If there is that recognition then self has a problem to exist. It therefore tries to tempt. I have no idea how this fits in with the Buddha’s battles with mara, but if I can’t sense the devil it does not exist. Apart from quenching suffering this is the only other Buddhist axiom.

So mind is a sense that has four characteristics – vedana, sanna, sankhara and vinnana; these characteristics or aggregates make up the way the sense works. In excess this sense becomes self but if we live according to Nature the way Nature intended there is no self. And world peace.

Blogs:- Zandtao, Mandtao, Matriellez.

Don’t cowtow to science


It is clear that Bruce is extending his arms to understanding but does that mean that science is? Furthermore does it mean that science has left behind its baggage or even that Bruce has left behind his science baggage? At this point I can only ask.

However for understanding to fit into science there is much that has to change with science, and if we limit our understanding by that which science is willing to accept we miss out on much that is genuine. Cowtowing to science is restrictive. In the first part of his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz described how our conditioning changes us and fits us in. We agree to accept the conditioning that parents provide in the home, teachers in school, and the keepers in religious institutions. Significant in this agreement is that we accept science as knowledge, and often measure our intelligence by benchmarks developed from this knowledge. Whilst I believe that the primary purpose of our school system is to prepare the 99% for wage slavery, it is an important secondary purpose to inculcate the 99% into the acceptance of the restricted system of knowledge that we have come to know as science. We agree to both these purposes because we have accepted that society has developed with the interest of all the people at heart. Whilst I have never accepted this I am pleased to hear the progress of the Occupy movement who in general do not agree with either of these purposes.

Rather than cowtowing to science with its dubious masters, what about starting from Nature? Where else better than the sea? How many seas are there? One with many names. It moves in and out, in and out, its motion is fundamental. At any point in the sea that point moves in the direction of the tide, but in addition that point would become part of a wave. The sea is a unity with dual attributes of point and wave.

Now what about light, through light we can see – it has a functionality. How does that light function? Some of physics would describe that light coming from a point source, and yet other physicists describe light as a wave motion. Through calculation we can determine that light has a speed, a speed at which the point emantaing from the source would be travelling.

Suppose we ask what is light? We get no answer, we only get a description of properties. What is electricity? What is sound? Again no answer, simply a description of properties. Can we not describe as fundamental properties of all a point and wave duality? So rather than not having a description which is the scientific position now, we start with an axiom that in all aspects of life there is motion or momentum that is both point and wave. This is not too distinct from established physics where the principle of conservation of momentum applies ie continuous motion.

So if we start from the sea, axiomatically we might start differently but quickly we join with established science through momentum. Point and wave as fundamentals is also accepted as scientific, but in both cases we would not describe them as axiomatic because the scientific framework is different. Science starts by postulating building blocks that it calls atoms. But then through scientific method the nature of those fundamental building blocks has been refuted, and yet science patches over this. It does not say let us re-examine our framework.

And with Bruce we have another fundamental axiom of biology exposed, that of genes controlling life. What do we have instead? The gene as a blueprint. Cells contain genes and protein, and this protein has receptors which receive information as signals through the cell membrane that then cause the genes to actuate. Where do these signals come from? Life in general.

What about man? Compare this with man, s/he has a blueprint. Through perception of what happens around her/him signals actuate the genes, and if there are no signals no actuation. Man, cell. The same process, is this unreasonable? But what if we start with man? Man is conscious of life through mind that perceives. Where does the mind get the perception, through signals that happen as a result of perception and these signals get passed to the brain to the cells. So the question is not where is the brain of man, the brain is a known physical central unit that transmits the signal to the cells in the body. The question is where is the mind of man, and here we have point and wave. The mind centres on a point often seen as resting in the heart, and yet through perception mind spreads out from the point as waves to perceive through the centres including the skin, the cell membrane of man.

There is no inconsistency with this new science and what can be considered from religion, however the framework is different because of the axioms. Yet the axioms of science have been exposed as false. There is no fundamental axiom concerning what is light, sound or electricity. There is an unresolved position concerning the building bliocks as to whether they are masses or energy, and in biology the central dogma is an empty shell. We are expected to cowtow to science not because science is based on axioms that then produce a well-integrated body of knowledge. No the agreement is that we accept science as our knowledge system and not question science’s inconsistencies.

Starting from life as motion which is both point and wave we have an axiom that meets easily with established science and prevailing religious knowledge – back to Bacon.

Brain of a Cell


I have just finished watching the Biology of Perception at the question “what is the brain of a cell?”. This clip explains where that question came from:-

As you have seen Bruce demonstrates that the gene does not function as the command centre quite simply because removal of the gene does not leave the cell inoperative. So Bruce quiote sensibly asks where is the brain of a cell? I was not satisfied with the answer but equally I am not satisfied with the question. The brain sends sigmals to the parts of the body in order for those parts to act, but does the brain make the decision? I would claim not, the mind does. The mind interacts with the brain leading to the signal being sent along the nervous system.

Let’s return to the cell. On a physical level a cell consists of gene and protein. Now the gene is a blueprint which is protected by protein and the gene is activated with an appropriate signal that removes the protein-protection. The source of this signal is not the gene. Now Bruce argues that the signal comes from our beliefs but as he would say there are too many empty black boxes. How is that signal reaching the cell? The nervous system. If it is belief how does that belief create the signal? How does the belief become part of the nervous system?

These are important questions because they are asking about the nature of mind, its relationship with the brain and where does energy fit in with all that? At the moment the answers are not clear to me. But I am beginning to see mind as a sense. Where is the mind? This question is not asked in the West with sufficient vehemence. Mind is accepted as a philosophical hot potato which is hypothesised and dismissed with ease. It is an academic toy that these pretend seekers of truth enjoy grappling with whilst enjoying holding their seats of fame and fortune. But understanding mind is the crux of happiness in life. In the Treatise I investigated how improving the mind leads to happiness, but I never asked what is mind? Now I must ask.

Now we have sense-perceptions that come eyes, ear, nose, throat and our bodies touching, these are known as the 5 perceptions. In some way I want to consider the mind as a sixth.