both/and

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the excluded middle way

“we are nothing but a loom of electricity and enzymes”

And yet… from the inside… “we feel like the ghost, not like the machine”.

This is a great summary of the two fundamental perspectives in psychology. Thank you c4chaos for a great spot from the LA Times.

C4CHAOS wrote:

Jonah Lehrer has an insightful article on the LA Times urging neuroscientists to go beyond reductionism. Below is a key quote.

“The mind is like music. While neuroscience accurately describes our brain in terms of its material facts — we are nothing but a loom of electricity and enzymes — this isn’t how we experience the world. Our consciousness, at least when felt from the inside, feels like more than the sum of its cells. The truth of the matter is that we feel like the ghost, not like the machine.

“If neuroscience is going to solve its grandest questions, such as the mystery of consciousness, it needs to adopt new methods that are able to construct complex representations of the mind that aren’t built from the bottom up. Sometimes, the whole is best understood in terms of the whole. William James, as usual, realized this first. The eight chapters that begin his 1890 textbook, “The Principles of Psychology,” describe the mind in the conventional third-person terms of the experimental psychologist. Everything changes, however, with Chapter 9. James starts this section, “The Stream of Thought,” with a warning: “We now begin our study of the mind from within.”
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“With that single sentence, James tried to shift the subject of psychology. He disavowed any scientific method that tried to dissect the mind into a set of elemental units, be it sensations or synapses. Modern science, however, didn’t follow James’ lead. In the years after his textbook was published, a “New Psychology” was born, and this rigorous science had no use for Jamesian vagueness. Measurement was now in vogue. Psychologists were busy trying to calculate all sorts of inane things, such as the time it takes for a single sensation to travel from your finger to your head. By quantifying our consciousness, they hoped to make the mind fit for science. Unfortunately, this meant that the mind was defined in very narrow terms. The study of experience was banished from the laboratory.”


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Filed under: AQAL, both/and, Brain, conceptual mind, gross mind, Integral, Mind, Science, , , , , , , , , ,

The clothes have no emperor

If the emporor remains, you’ve still got a lot of explaining to do


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Filed under: Atheism, Brain, conceptual mind, Dennett, gross mind, Mind, Science, Skepticism, Video

Identifying our own mind

To identify our our mind we must meditate upon its nature, its function and its location:

  1. The nature of the mind is clarity
  2. The mind functions to cognize
  3. The mind is located at the heart, inside the heart channel wheel, within the central channel.

When we can attain a rough generic image of our mind, based upon the above pointing-out instructions, and hold it for 5 mins, we have completed the first stage, Identifying our own mind.

Filed under: conceptual mind, non conceptual mind, subtle mind, Understanding the Mind

The Excluded Middle Way

My good friend and fellow traveller, Joty, has recently started a new blog and his first post – a review of some of the themes in Thich Nhat Hanh’s ‘ Call Me By My True Name‘ – is well worth a read.

“Gentlemen, I am from the Centre!” is a wonderful statement and is exactly what Both/And (the excluded middle way) is all about…

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: both/and, conceptual mind, dharma, emptiness, form, Madhyamaka, Madhyamaka Prāsaṅgika, Middle Way, non conceptual mind, the excluded middle, Thich Nhat Hanh





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