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.”
Title Page

“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.”

Read more.

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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

Blogged with Flock

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

Huang po speaks of BigMind

Huang po:

“Only awake to the One Mind and there is nothing whatever to be attained. This pure Mind, the source of everything, shines forever and on all with the brilliance of its own perfection. But the people of the world do not awake to it, regarding only that which sees, hears, feels and knows as mind…. If they would only eliminate all conceptual thought in a flash, that source-substance would manifest itself like a sun…”


“The Master said to me: All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind, beside which nothing exists. This Mind, which is without beginning, is unborn and indestructible. It is not green nor yellow, and has neither form nor appearance. It does not belong to the categories of things which exist or do not exist, nor can it be thought of in terms of new or old. It is neither long nor short, big nor small, for it transcends all limits, measure, names, traces and comparisons. It is that which you see before you – begin to reason about it and you at once fall into error. It is like the boundless void which cannot be fathomed or measured. The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient things, but that sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood. By their very seeking they lose it, for that is using the Buddha to seek for the Buddha and using mind to grasp Mind. Even though they do their utmost for a full aeon, they will not be able to attain it. They do not know that, if they put a stop to conceptual thought and forget their anxiety, the Buddha will appear before them, for this Mind is the Buddha and the Buddha is all living beings. It is not the less for being manifested in ordinary beings, nor is it greater for being manifest in the Buddhas.”

Filed under: emptiness, form, inspiration, meditation, Mind, non conceptual mind, practice, Understanding the Mind, very subtle mind

“Meditation is an art”

Question: How do we get inspired to practice meditation?

Sogyal Rinpoche:

I have said that meditation is the road to enlightenment and the greatest endeavor of this life. Whenever I talk about meditation to my students, I always stress the necessity to practice it with resolute discipline and one-pointed devotion; at the same time, I always tell them how important it is to do it in as inspired and as richly creative a way as possible. In one sense meditation is an art, and you should bring to it an artist’s delight and fertility of invention.

Tibetan book of living and dying

Taken without 
Sogyal Rinpoche's
Tibetan Book 
of Living and Dying

Filed under: inspiration, Lama, meditation, Mind, practice

Dan Dennett: Can we know our own minds?

"Scientists, using their from-the-outside, 3rd person methods, can tell you things about your own consciousness that you'd ever dream of. And the fact that you are not the authority on your own consciousness that you thought you were.

Filed under: AQAL, Atheism, both/and, Dennett, Integral, Mind, Video

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