Re: virus: Zen

Eric Boyd (
Sat, 01 Jun 1996 23:36:13 -0500

Dave Pape wrote:

> >I think this a charateristic of agruments right to the core. In order
> >to argue, you have to adopt a reasonably, justifiable position and that
> >inevidably means one of the extremes. Is it possibly that this is a
> >product of the duality of /reason/ itself? (ie (A or NOT-A) A
> >propostion is either true or false)
> Yeh, I think so. And... I suspect that it's to do with reasoning being a
> competition between neurally coded ideas. IE, two ideas competing for
> expression, putting each other down. In those conditions, I can imagine
> things developing so that activating one ideaa really leathers expression of
> the other. I've gone on record a few times saying that logic's a bit of a
> heavy-handed system in terms of discussing "real-world" instances of issues,
> and I've always wondered if we have this bipolar logical system because of
> the cognitively competitive way our brains/minds work...?

Holy cow JUMBO question. I nearly blew my brain thinking about that
one. Then I realized that this is really just "Mind or Matter?" in
disguise. And that question is centuries old! For this specific case, I
can actually see a way in which it could be decided... just look at
other cultures. Are their forms of reason (or whatever the equivalent
is) inherently dualistic? If so we have evidence (although not proof)
of "matter", if not then "mind" is definatly it.

> >Now this I can agree with. We must use reason and categorization in
> >order to make /use/ of this world. But it implies an inherent
> >seperation of _subject_ and _object_ (ie this is me; that is the world)
> >It is this duality, more than any other, that Zen attempts to dissolve.
> Okay... I'd start by rephrasing
> >We must use reason and categorization in order to make /use/ of this world.
> To
> We reason and categorisation have evolved as mental strategies because
> they're presumably more useful to organisms than other ways of making
> cognitive world models.

Yes! Mind if I join you?

> Now then... the separation of subject/object... me/world...
> I think that I am a reorganisation of some of the world. I am a patterning
> of part of the universe. That pattern is the result of an evolutionary
> process, which has selected for patterns which preserve themselves, and
> which /appear to/ replicate themselves (it's actually the Whole System being
> autocatalytic, from what I can see).
> I think it's this "selection for self-preservation" thing which may have
> kicked off the illusion in organisms that they are different to, or separate
> from, "the world".

Yes... Like we've said, in order to make /use/ (ie use the world for
"your" ends) this duality must be maintained.

> Erm... shit, this is half-forgotten rehashed Dennett. How does it go again?
> ...the quote (Consciousness Explained, p174 in my edition) goes
> "As soon as something gets into the business of self-preservation,
> boundaries become important, for if you are setting out to preserve
> yourself, you don't want to squander effort trying to preserve the whole
> world: you draw the line."
> He's saying that one piece of granite doesn't give a shit where it ends and
> the next piece of granite begins. But that's important to an organism. In
> that, organisms which operate as though they think they're bounded off from
> the world, and which preserve what's inside the boundary rather than what's
> outside, will have a selective advantage over less discriminating (less
> selfish?) organisms.

Right on the money! Now I want to read that book more than ever.

> I've come to the conclusion that I AM actually just a fleeting pattern in
> some part of the universe, but even while I think that, I act as if I'm
> separate.

Gene's over meme's, eh?

> Right: I don't agree that we MUST use r & c to make use of the world, but
> most of us DO, most of the TIME, because we've evolved to have this illusion
> that we're separate from the rest of the universe.

I would contend that this illusion of seperation is now causing much
more damage than it is confering in advantages. Who would pollute if
they recgonized that the Earth is really a part of them? I sense
something comming together here in my meme sphere again... desire...
another big post comming up!

> Hey: but if I care about the illusion less, won't I suffer a loss of
> selective advantage? Well, maybe, but the reason I spend some of my time
> thinking about the illusory nature of the... illusion... is that I'm trying
> to stop myself panic so much about things like... the inevitability of the
> illusory separation breaking down when I die, and stuff.

good God my head is going to explode! Gotta go write... an answer to
this is there too!

> Make any sense?

lots, yes, thanks