This is an RSA clip on how to live to a 100.
This raises interesting questions that are not necessarily discussed in the RSA talk. I believe there are misconceptions concerning longevity and life expectancy that need to be considered. Compared to 500 years ago our life expectancy has greatly increased, this is undoubtedly true. Here I would accept all of life expectancy, average life expectancy and importantly quality of life having increased during that longer life. Once we decrease that figure of 500 years and consider the trend different questions could get asked, as yet I am not sure what those questions should be. I am searching for those questions.
Let’s consider that search for those questions, and what are those search parameters? They revolve around the third category quality of life although they include longevity issues. The RSA talk graph looked at life expectancy in western countries but what happens if we consider degenerative diseases? I note that this graph considered longest life – a mode, a strange statistical measure to choose when mean or median might be more appropriate. What do the statistics look like if we include cancer, heart disease, diabetes (II), others? What about Alzheimer’s? Statistically those people are living longer but what about the quality of their life?
There is an unwritten assumption in mainstream scientific discussion on longevity that these degenerative diseases are diseases that we have not found the cure for yet. Typical of this is the cancer industry. Huge amounts of money are put into research, much of it wasted in my view, to consider cancer as a disease in which we could find a causative agent (such as virus) and then find a healing solution. But what if we thought of cancer in another way? What if cancer is some measure of quality of lifestyle? What if cancer were some kind of natural response to the quality of our lifestyle, and here I include lack of stress, natural health, lack of chemical intake, quality food etc. Science in curing disease seeks to find chemical methods such as antibiotics to heal disease, and yet there are side effects that have great debilitating effects; typically with antibiotics how does it affect the liver? Particularly when we consider how mainstream science looks at healing cancer – chemotherapy etc., we produce an appalling quality of life, a quality of life that is so bad that cancer sufferers might prefer a shorter life without the mainstream solutions.
Cancer treatments also have indicators that are relevant to this discussion of longevity because there are alternative treatments that examine lifestyle, healthy eating and even cannabis as healing methodologies. Unfortunately statistical evidence in the mainstream as to the effectiveness of these alternative treatments does not abound because, especially in America, the cancer industry prevents research into such. Macrobiotics is sometimes considered a “cure” but macrobiotic eating is not a medicinal approach. You cannot give a person a few sprouts and measure whether they heal. It is a lifestyle approach that almost has an infinite number of factors that compound each other in the healing process. However the medical use of cannabis, and the effects of cannabinoids might well be more easily researched if the funding direction so choose – unfortunately mainstream science does not want cannabis to replace the cost-intensive treatments that are now generally accepted.
I have explained why the science in these areas is not clear but what ought to be clear I feel is that the scientific assumption that longevity will simply increase as scientific method develops has some doubts. When considering longevity at some point lifestyle factors starts to affect the increased longevity that scientific method is producing. I accept the premise that scientific method increases and will continue to increase life expectancy but this scientific method has to exist within a controlled environment. In other words lifestyle considerations are considered beyond the scope of the experimental procedure, and as such the experimental method would attempt to control and factor out the impact of lifestyle. What would be seen as increase in longevity brought about by scientific advance would have to be seen as separate from the downward impacts of lifestyle, personal stress, work-based stress, the poorer quality of our food intake etc.
There is something else that is coming with ageing that has only recently (last 50 years) been considered, and that revolves around the notion of retirement age. Let us consider this as a notion. My first instinct is to launch into a tirade on wage-slavery but let me try to consider this in a mainstream way of accepting work as a choice. In general it is considered that we are physically incapable of working beyond a certain age, that age is nominally in the west taken as 65 – 60 for teachers thankfully. Pensions are now a big problem. I don’t know whether they have miscalculated but the pension burden appears to be damaging to the economy. However personally I do not trust such viewpoints, I very much doubt that money is being lost I just suspect they want more profits from the investment and that they want to increase the amount of time we work.
Here again I cannot avoid the notion of wage-slavery, they now feel we can work longer before putting us out to pasture. But there is a legitimate side to this coin. I took early retirement but do volunteer teaching at 64 – 4 years past the retirement age for teachers. I can do this because I was not burned out between 54 and 60 because of the early retirement. On reflection my health was a serious issue prior to retirement, the only play I had was during the holidays, being at home after work was little more than sleep and tv watching.
The nature of the work is important to consider. As I got older the general strategy of management was to increasingly want more work for their money; there were increasing pressures to do after-school work etc. This was a productivity drive, and getting more productivity without paying any more irrespective of whether the teachers were already working hard. As I got older my work got better, my work management got better, my quality of teaching students improved, and I have no doubts at all my teaching got better. But the physical toll it took on me definitely worsened. I want to look into this improvement more. Compared with when I started – or my first five years, I knew so much more about what I was teaching. My personal professional discipline was so much better, in terms of the classroom I was so much more value for money. But at 50 there were certain lacks, typically I couldn’t play 5-a-side after school on a Friday before I went out on the town.
But there was a “hidden” side that changed. I never bought into the system so even when I started I never accepted the values of system education. That never changed but as I got older it felt like I was more a thorn in the side of the management. When younger that non-acceptance often showed itself as a simplistic confrontation that never worried management. But when I was older my confrontation also included an element of recognition as to their incompetence, my position was closer to them and so I was more of a threat. It became clear to me that young energy, even that energy that rejected, was much less of problem than the knowledge that experience brought especially of that experience had not been bought off.
It seems to me that this discussion about age is being fundamentally driven by a desire to increase retirement age. I think that is misguided and cruel. People nearing retirement age need to retire – they have been used up. But in so doing tremendous experience and the wisdom that comes with it is being lost. This wisdom is an asset that is not used. It is lost because older working people are expected to maintain the same workload as younger people and also use that wisdom as well. That is not practical. Here is a bad example. The generals sat at home use their wisdom and the troops are sent in and killed. In this example the wisdom of the generals is used. But because of tiredness the wisdom of the experienced is not used as much as it could be.
There needs to be an alteration in work-based practices, and that alteration needs to be profession-specific. In terms of teaching there is no doubt in my mind that at 54 I had much to offer and at 64 I still have much to offer but physically at 54 I found the job hard and now would find it almost impossible. I completely understand the actuarial figures for teachers, and have many recollections of hearing of teachers who have died soon after retiring. They were stressed out by the demands of the job and just pegged out. It always seemed to me that these people struggled through the day, and as a younger teacher I had so much more energy. But they had more wisdom. I am suggesting that in some way wisdom needs to be recognised and traded off against energy. How to do this I don’t know but what I do know is that if older teachers were not stressed so much in their job their experience could be used long after 60. So long as their bodies were respected and their job recognised as different. I think this change should happen at 50 – or even earlier, but I have no idea how this would work because of salary, promotion and ambition.
But I don’t suspect this discussion of age is driven by a consideration of wisdom, but simply can we make the work units last longer?
And here is a good point for those who have retired. If this process of recognising experience could be introduced how much better would retirees feel because they would still be contributing and not just being thrown out to pasture. Older people know they have the wisdom without the bodies, they just wish people could use their wisdom.
In the talk she started with an assumption “what happens when everyone lives to be a 100?” As discussed this has so many holes. I found the discussion interesting but frightening. The basis of the discussion was an attempt to examine how to change views of a working life from that of education to work to retirement into a more flexible view. However such discussions are very dangerous. Working people have the right to pensions a significant proportion of which is paid by the employer. These pension rights have been under threat already, and the flexible view that is being presented could well mean that employers do not contribute to pensions. This would be a terrific loss in which working people will be seen as providing all their money once they have stopped work – and that the employer will contribute little. The type of vaguaries being discussed by these two around fulfilment and the like without recognition that there needs to be pension contribution is horrendous and tantamount to opportunist exploitation of needed financial security. Typical – there will always be academics who will sell out workers’ rights for their own careers.
The lack of structure that they describe provides huge loopholes for the employer to escape their contributions. They can discuss all kinds of theory of changing life models and structures but when the employer is looking for an excuse to avoid pension contribution such discussions are carte blanche for exploitation. Frighteningly dangerous – false assumptions about longevity and based on those assumptions alteration of the negotiation model that provided security for ordinary people. Book deals will have royalties, workers don’t.
Archive for the ‘Science’ Category
Brad wrote a blog based on a book by Chuck Klosterman “But what if we were wrong?” The book asks the question from the perspective of future man looking back. I haven’t read the book, doubt if I ever will but very much like the notion of questioning. Questioning is most essential in any learning and any form of spiritual life. I would normally be interested in such a book of questioning but then Brad quoted some questions and I didn’t see deep questioning. The first question that future man would have to ask is “Why did they allow so many wars?”, and if future man is not dominated by corporations “Why did they allow corporations to create these wars for profits?”
I liked this quote about Buddhism when Brad advised against Chuck being a Buddhist “If he ever did get into a form of Buddhism that wasn’t totally corrupted by religiousity or drowning in academic stuffiness, he might find it very appealing. And if he ever started writing about Buddhism his book sales would sink to the level of mine, and he’d have to go back to writing for the Akron Beacon Journal.” The issue of the lack of book sales is not about Buddhism, it is about marketing. If Brad found a mainstream publisher and was willing to be paraded like a stuffed dummy to meet ….. , he might make more sales. If he wrote for profit he might make more money. Tom Clancy, or mainstream galaxy shoot-em-ups with Godzilla. It is the truth that makes Brad’s books unmarketable (or unwilling to be marketed). I do not know why Eckhart Tolle was successful, after Oprah I know why. End rant.
For me what was interesting in this blog was his discussion of intelligence especially his experience at the Tokyo park bench. “I can recall a moment around 15 years ago when I was sitting on a park bench in Tokyo eating my lunch. I was watching some crows strutting around the park looking for food. Suddenly I noticed that the very same intelligence that looked at the world through my eyes also looked at the world through the eyes of those crows.”Immediately after he wrote “It’s very difficult to write a good, watertight, rational kind of explanation for why I knew this to be true. …. It even sounds dopey to me and I know it to be true.” Brad, do you expect there to be a rational explanation? It frustrates me to see this type of quote. The explanation is not rational, it is beyond reason as Dogen says (paraphrase):- reason drops away in zazen. This truth is about Unity, about Intelligence that is Unity, you know it is truth, why be ashamed of that truth – dopey? True thinking is not normal thinking or why would the world be in such a mess? There is a huge question that I wonder whether Chuck Klosterman asks “Why do we assume that we are separate beings simply because our bodies are separate?” There is wisdom and tradition that talks of this Unity yet that wisdom is ignored. Does Chuck ask “Is it wise to ignore traditional wisdom of centuries?”
“This insight seems to be connected to my Zen practice, but it’s difficult to say just how.” For me it is one understanding of Vipassana meditation that the purpose is genuine insight. Since doing Zazen I feel that the purpose of meditation is this genuine insight. Buddhadasa was always keen to stress insight, and I have a feeling he liked Zen because it didn’t bother with the proliferations that abounded in his own Theravada tradition.
“None of my teachers ever told me anything like this. It’s not part of Buddhist doctrine. At least not as such. But if I go back and read some of the older Buddhist writers with that insight in mind, some of the stranger things they said start to make a lot more sense.” This issue of Unity is commonplace but I suspect that perception comes from my background. My first dogma approach to this stuff came from theosophy, and then a fusion of Hindu-Buddhist teachings until eventually I reached Zen.
This is worth considering so we can understand intelligence “Intelligence isn’t a function of the brain. It isn’t contained there. The complexity of a creature’s brain doesn’t determine its intelligence.
“It (BZ The brain) does determine how that creature is able to use its intelligence and what it can focus its intelligence on and to what degree it can maintain that focus. So there are huge differences between creatures (and non-creatures).”
Brad obtusely referred to measuring intelligence for comparison. At present we don’t measure our own intelligence. What we measure is an ability to do IQ tests or their equivalent. These tests are created by academia, and as such would obviously rate academics with high scores. Academia, being the lynchpin of the Church of Reason, is not going to see intelligence as beyond reason. When we examine the intelligence of dogs or other animals we are familiar with, we tend to ascribe human behaviour to the animals, and once ascribed value the animal as intelligent because it mimics human behaviour. The most intelligent lion I ever saw was one who sat on a chair under a tree on the edges of the desert smoking a pipe.
Brad mentioned the book by Zen Master Seung Sahn on “Only Don’t Know”. I have not read this but it seems to me that we have to unlearn our conditioning, and then be in a state of permanent enquiry into what we experience and what we are told.
Built for change – shows brain – described adaptable machine.
Abilities depend on history and therefore education. 1% do not understand Nature and meditation because they can’t experience them. But they can be afraid of them – know thy enemy.
40% Sao Paolo can balance football on head.
Bring people up in factory towns because they will develop skills for that factory. No travel. Brain adapts but in a sense becomes smaller because of lack of diversity. Therefore it has a need to express – meditation. Esp as creativity will not be allowed as creativity opens mind in areas that cannot be measured.
These different abilities come from the plasticity of the brain but where does this plasticity start and end? My world becomes focussed on meditation, writing and Thailand. The Path has given me this path, yet previously it was focussed on teaching. How much has the brain changed? The path has changed the Path hasn’t. Does the mind create the plasticity of the brain? How much plasticity does the brain have? Is it the mind that has plasticity because the mind is not as solid as the brain?
I gave up. He was describing everything coming from the brain, and plasticity followed from that. Mind was not mentioned before I gave up. But if the human model is based on unity with mind/consciousness as a sense that is distinct from the brain and the 5 senses that are based on the brain then plasticity does not enter into it. The functions he describes as plasticity would be expected within a human who is based on unity with a mind as a sense.
Doesn’t Nature better explain that an infant develops into manhood with appropriate cognitive changes that would appear to the limited brain model view as “plasticity”? This talk is just a mish-mash based on an erroneous human model.
This does help Arico because it is this flawed model that is at the basis of the chip as control notion. This plasticity somewhat inadequately describes Unity and mind, and essentially is beyond chip control. Sure the chip can measure the skills of the Sao Paolo footballer, but it cannot measure plasticity – Unity and mind. Why would something technological ever be able to do so? Just a flawed concept from a flawed concept.
I came across her TED talk maybe 6 years ago – it has brought her fame.
Her brother was schizophrenic, basically saying her dreams were in reality and the brother’s were delusional. Examining biological differences in the brain between normal and schuzophrenic. This is so full of science’s confuscated brain and mind assumptions. One such simple assumption to be questioned:-
Schizophrenia is generally assumed to be a mental illness – presumably an illness of the mind so why is she examining physical brain?
A blood vessel in the left half of her brain exploded – infant in a woman’s body. Lost her left brain in the stroke.
Right parallel processor, left – serial processor. Describes both halves as different personalities.
Right – present moment, thinks in pictures, learns kinesthetically through the movement of our bodies.
Left – linear and methodically, past and future, details of present moment. Thinks in language. I am – separate.
Stroke – experienced stepping back. Lost physical boundaries and could just experience energy. Brain chatter silent. Felt a oneness – euphoria. Realised – having a stroke. Could not read numbers, could not speak or understand language. Felt a surrender, an enormous “spirit”. 8 years to recover.
We are life power of universe with manual dexterity with two minds
Right – associate right side with unity
Left – separate, self ego
Wonderful experience for her, so powerful. But the power does not mean conclusions correct. She already saw things in terms of brain not mind, and she applied that framework to her experience. Logic – no left brain so experience happen in right brain, therefore happen in right brain for everyone.
Interesting right-left stuff:-
Right – parallel, thinks in pictures, learns kinesthetically through the movement of our bodies.
Left – serial, linear and methodically, past and future, details of present moment. Thinks in language.
Arico – pictures can be measured, serial processing can be recognised as happening. The thinking process can be measured but not the thought. Beyond this processing cannot. Much of Jill’s experience is beyond measurement. The haemorrhage could be measured, maybe Arico meditation could register as some form of illness. What areas of the brain does meditation register on?
This is the first time I have ever “done research”- does that mean I am a writer? Perhaps it is foolish to say this but I was watching Elysium. I had already started Arico (16,000 words) and it is going to take a rewrite, but there is absolutely no way that these chips will be avoided – whatever the technology. They are patient – look at their approach. We have lost control of our money. I was in the UK earning for a year. There was a bill and I was used to going somewhere with the bill and paying it. This particular utility said I must pay direct debit or I would be charged extra – administrative costs. What costs? Under direct debit they still had to send me a letter telling me how much I had paid – the difference – control – they had it, I didn’t. ID cards are being sold to us as beneficial, containing health data etc., this is their patience. They will wear down the liberals fighting this, some incident will be construed and security says we will have to carry them – 9/11 type incident. Convenience will turn them into chips that people will want. I am not going to have a killswitch, maybe something similar – an illness requiring medical treatment?
I woke up thinking about these things – interesting.
Of course the research is interesting in itself. I have long accepted meditation as Nature’s tool of survival, transposing that survival to include chips is no big stretch.
It just struck me that if I know meditation is survival then they would.
A quote “Functional magnetic resonance imaging scans (fMRI scans) of Tibetan monks and Hindu yogis have shown that during deep meditation the parts of the brain that gives us a sense of location in time and space are less active.”
Zandtao – 3 tenets – mind energy and body are a continuum, look at the chakras and glands so meditation will have some physical resonance. A strand, I am going to use some kind of strand implant, will show some real-time MRI equivalent that can flag meditation as a danger. The question I woke up thinking about is this, if you are consciously meditating then you can create a mindmap for the strand – strictly mindmap is wrong as it is a physical mapping of the brain but science doesn’t know the difference. It will never admit it cannot measure ALL meditation because science is arrogant and science will never change its paradigm to accept meditation as empirical method. If you are not conscious how will meditation occur that cannot be flagged, how do you create a mindscan when you don’t know it needs to be created.
People can measure meditation. Two people in monasteries for a long time, there was a difference in strength straight after, daily life soon took that strength. But I cannot see that strength in meditators – no benchmark
There will be a series of blogs concerning the brain and meditation, I am basically doing this because it is relevant to The Arico Chronicles – see Wai Zandtao scifi below.
As a meditator I look inside and try to understand mind. Usually I follow a Buddhist view of mind, the 5 khandas etc. – see Buddhadasa page, and I get quite irate about science’s failure to draw a distinction between brain and mind. Instead science tries to justify mental activity as stemming from the brain. As a meditator I look at my mind and see it throughout my body depending on how I focus or how much I have lost control of it. I probably go too far the other way in dismissing the brain as having anything other than a cursory involvement in mental activity. Buddhism talks of 6 senses – 5 senses and mind, it does not say 5 senses and brain. I tend to associate the functioning of the 5 senses with the brain, the brain being a “cpu” for sensual activity.
I further note that it is western science that identifies brain and mind. If you ask a Thai where is your mind they point to the heart. I don’t agree with that either but have much more sympathy with it.
I further knock the brain thing because of reason. Western science too much identifies reason and mind, I think mind has little to do with reason. We have western stuff – right side and left side, the crass simplicity of Jill Bolte Taylor etc.
I pre-empt a little for Arico. If a machine can measure in the end it can be miniaturised and implanted. In my view it will happen. At the moment phones are being used to get cash in Japan. Implant bank details, place your hand on a chip reader, and you can get your money. Presently what is recorded on ID cards is going through the human rights ringer, and there appears to be some control of the 1%. Given time when they have the subcutaneous technology to store all data – money, tax, crime, family, etc., it will be done. And there will be a kill switch. If it can be measured it will be measured and NSA ed, and not just metadata.
How can Nature with True people fight it – ask Arico.
I am in the middle of watching Frank Huguenard’s movie “Beyond Reason”. It turns out that the movie is about Vedanta, I have nothing against Vedanta – it is not my tradition – but if I had known I probably wouldn’t have watched it.
Before I go into the movie I must make my usual caveat. Vedanta is a long established tradition, from before the Buddha, so in discussions about Vedanta it is understandable that they don’t talk about the 1%, but in his introduction to the actual Vedanta (32.00 mins) Frank discusses happiness. Basically he says science does not bring happiness, his emphasis being on the development of science and why it hasn’t brought happiness. At this point it could have been appropriate to say that the 1% are the problem, but throughout the movie’s emphasis is on science because they are emphasising that Vedanta is a type of scientific method. But in so doing they ignore the reality of socity as it is, they do not explicitly express the awareness that the primary factor that contemporaneously is preventing spiritual development is the 1%-system.
I was first attracted by the clear exposition of the history and dichotomy of knowledge by the Elder Brothers, they then went on to discuss quantum mechanics which I found interesting, which I suspect is true because of their understanding of science, but which I don’t know for sure. But then began discussion of Vedanta, literally the “culmination of knowledge”. Basically there was an appeal to the rational. There was an attempt to show that Vedanta was a scientific method with its own axioms and methodology – primarily raja yoga. They are the teachers – it is their tradition, but for me this leaves a gaping chasm that can lead to poor practice. The axioms and methodology of Vedanta are concerned with an examination of the mind through raja yoga. It is not about books, Frank’s analogy was that to learn to swim you must go in the water – no amount of reading about swimming can teach you to swim.
But here is the chasm that I am so concerned about. Our education system teaches us that all is rational, and if a system of understanding such as Vedanta places itself on a parallel with that supposed education system of rationality, then western students are instinctively drawn to reason and so will not go “Beyond Reason” – Frank’s title and purpose of the movie. Undoubtedly the movie makes clear that currently science does not seek knowledge (the 1% don’t want us to know they want us to accept their system), what needs to be emphasised is that Vedanta is a genuine search for knowledge as opposed to the rational science and technology that has been hijacked by the 1% for their profit-making. Vedanta is not concerned with profit, it is about understanding, truth and therefore happiness, values completely alien to the science the 1% has diverted.
Here is Frank’s scientific approach:-
This is a compromise game on the part of the teachers and presenters whose rationale goes something like this:- western students accept academic science so to involve them in Vedanta we will use the same terminology that academia uses. The danger is that western students will then use the same distorted minds – distorted by an extreme over-emphasis on the faculty of reason, and approach the learning of Vedanta with the same academic distortion of their upbringing – NEVER going beyond reason.
Now I am certain that Vedanta, as a scientific methodology in its own terms of searching for knowledge, can lead to an understanding of the spiritual Path – even though I don’t practice it, but the scientific methodology that Vedanta must practice has to be greatly different to the scientific methodology practised by academia. I met an academic and we got involved with a long discussion about Insight and reason. He sought the transcendence discussed in the movie. However all that he did was take the discussion of Insight to be an expansion of the academic rationality, so whilst he knew in some sense the importance of transcendence he never transcended because all he saw was rationality. Beyond reason is essential, comparing Vedanta methodology with science creates dangers.
There are a series of movies by Frank Huguenard entitled “Beyond”:-
Anything that is beyond pleases me. However they haven’t gone down too well, Beyond Me sent me to sleep. The creator, Frank Huhuenard, is from a Vedanta tradition. This doesn’t make him right or wrong – it is just not my tradition so I am not knowledgeable about it.
But anyone who is beyond his tradition has got to be listened to so I must persevere. And I did so a little to hear the Elder brothers giving an excellent description of science. There are discussions about science and knowledge in my earlier blogs but for sound-byte culture here is a short clip (15 mins) of the dichotomy of knowledge into science and religion relegating non-measurable knowledge into the realms of superstition.
Because that was so sound I have included this clip on quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is beyond me, not a good beyond – I don’t understand it. Because their discussion on science so resonates with me I have included this clip on quantum mechanics without understanding it. The clip on science exposes science as not being knowledge, quantum mechanics has an image of explaining all; the Elder brothers places parts in the realms of intellect and not knowledge. I don’t know how to go into the intricacies of what they presented but I am happy with what they say.
avijjá: ‘ignorance,’ nescience, unknowing; synonymous with delusion (moha, s. múla), is the primary root of all evil and suffering in the world, veiling man’s mental eyes and preventing him from seeing the true nature of things. It is the delusion tricking beings by making life appear to them as permanent, happy, substantial and beautiful and preventing them from seeing that everything in reality is impermanent, liable to suffering, void of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, and basically impure (s. vipallása). Ignorance is defined as ‘not knowing the four truths, namely, suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the way to its cessation’ (S. XII, 4).
This is a definition for avijja taken from a Buddhist Dictionary. It goes beyond what I wish to discuss here but it is mainly the first sentence I wish to use. The problem with ignorance is that it is susceptible to the claim that it is just your opinion. In the above definition, the second sentence is typical of this. Buddhists, including myself, believe impermanence, liable to suffering and void of I (Pali – anicca, dukkha and anatta), and therefore a Buddhist might say it is ignorant not to believe this.
Now in terms of science this question of belief is taken to extreme. Because belief is subjective then science rejects all beliefs or categorises them as belief and NOT science. This position is absolutely ludicrous as it therefore categorises as “NOT science” most of human experience. Science sets as the benchmark of that which is knowledge as all that can be proved by scientific method. Essentially this scientific method is proof by logical reasoning, but science in general does not examine the axioms upon which this reasoning is based, yet it claims to. There is also much that is dubious about the scientific proofs that come under the heading of qualitative research. I interpret this research as follows:-
Quantitative method is an incontrovertible method of proof (given that it is applied appropriately – and there are many cases in which it isn’t) based on numbers and objective measurement. However academics found this proof limiting when it came to the area that is not known as Science (maths, physics, chemistry etc.). Academics wished to introduce a method that would allow academic respectability for the social sciences, and they called this qualitative research. Such a methodology often based on case studies can often lead to useful conclusions but what it cannot give is incontrovertible proof as with quantitative research. Personally I don’t mind this, qualitative research is a useful indicator but it is not proof.
A friend, self-professed worshipper of reason, uses the word “verifiable”, I like this word as it does open the door to genuine knowledge, but academia does not wish to enter. First up is the need to discuss empirical evidence, and for me acupuncture is an excellent benchmark when it comes to considering whether academia respects empirical evidence. For thousands of years empirical knowledge, thousands of years of case studies, has led to that bank of medical knowledge that is known as acupuncture. Yet science rejects it. There is a simple explanation for this – money. The medical establishment has been subverted by the finances of Rockefeller etc. and allopathic medicine is the only medicine that can be accepted. Therefore acupuncture whether it has a verifiable basis or not will never be recognised by western academia.
Meditative method is the next empirical method that is worth considering. Somewhere His Holiness the Dalai Lama (HHDL) describes the method of meditation as a science. Basically all meditators gravitate to the same point of view. By my recollection he described the method of meditation used in Tibetan Buddhism as always leading to the same understanding, if that is true then there can be no better description of a science – scientific method.
I am not here attempting a proof by quantitative method, and as I assert that this is the only incontrovertible proof accepted by academia what I assert here is not science. However if one accepts that qualitative research through the empirical evidence of case study is actually science then everything I describe has a scientific basis. However I have no wish to contend this because quantitative proof is a misdirection and leads to limited understanding. What is needed is a different epistemology, and that theory for me is based around insight. This epistemology requires an education towards a belief and acceptance of insight, and the use of that skill of insight is the measure of science and the tool that breaks through the veil of ignorance. Of course western academia can never accept this. Whilst they can fool themselves that qualitative research is a substantive proof, they will never accept a subjective methodology such as insight.
But this is typical of the “axioms” of science, they are limited and often erroneous. This blog started with looking at Bruce Lipton’s examination of “genes maketh the man”, this might be true of denim (ha ha) it is certainly not true of people in general. In the last blog I promoted the notion of unity over separation as an axiom for understanding life. This axiom comes from insight, but not mine alone; it is a fundamental axiom of a number of religions and a number of peoples’ insights. At the same time insight brings into question the inadequate model that is separation. Quite obviously separation fits in with quantitative method and observation on an external level. Because of this obvious acceptance such a separation has become an axiom, we are fundamentally separate units as human beings. But the question then is “whilst we can observe bodies of separation, does that mean we as human beings are separate?” Once we start to investigate that question we can see that separation as an axiom is a big assumption. Various words immediately spring to mind to undermine this assumption, gestalt consciousness, collective unconscious, archetypes, etc.
Then we can start to examine Nature. What about ants? Quite clearly they have separate bodies but do they function as separate beings? That is open to question. What about the sea? When you look at the sea you see waves, but can you separate the wave from the sea? That is a ludicrous question. Can you separate individuals from unity for me is an equally ludicrous question? But unfortunately I am in a small minority who think so.
What is preventing science from seeing unity as the axiom? The consequences of the axiom of separation is beneficial to the established order – the 1%, as discussed in the last blog.
Here is an axiom that needs to work hand-in-hand with other axioms – compassion. If your axiom is not beneficial to humanity, and therefore by consequence, ONE planet, then your axiom is flawed. Should compassion be an axiom? Of course it is common sense that any axiom we adhere to has to be of benefit to us all. Measure Insight and Unity by Compassion. When I talk of Insight people argue like “what about Hitler’s insights? Are they insights?” Compassion floors Hitler’s insights.
Look at the consequences of the model of separation. We have competition, we have people “stabbing each other in the back”, and we have the actions of the 1% who think it is acceptable to exploit the 99%. Is this compassionate insight? Have you determined your axioms through insight measured by compassion?
Returning to the theme of ignorance we have some people living in a world where they think they are happy. Their happiness lacks compassion because their happiness is founded on exploitation of others. They lack insight because if they developed insight they could see the way they are. Maybe they look after their families but beyond this they lack humane compassion, and this lack of humanity can exist because they consider that we are all separate and therefore our individual lives matter irrespective of what happens to others. However in unity there has to be compassion, seeing ourselves as one means that compassion is integrated into our being; there is no question because our actions cause ourselves suffering or not. The ignorance of separation means that we cause ourselves suffering, and we delude ourselves that the suffering of others that we cause does not matter. But it is a delusion that it does not matter.
So in the end there is only compassionate insight.
Recently a friend posted on facebook that scientists stated something like animals have the same consciousness as humans. This winds me up a little, but of course it is full of holes. There is a kind of western myth that animals are almost human, especially amongst some who humanise their pets. Dogs and cats are not people, they do not have human characteristics – they are animals and have animal characteristics.
I’ve got a puppy to act as guard in my house. Along my street there are many with guard-dogs, this is the functionality of a dog – it protects. I had a wonderful dog in Botswana. Whilst neighbours’ houses were robbed my own was not, and even a drunk neighbour was saved from robbers by my dog. Cats kill rats. In my neighbourhood there are a few stray cats who are tolerated – I even fed one, and I hear the result of such toleration with the scrambling in or on my roof as the cat(s) clean out the vermine. This is a somewhat natural scene as opposed to pointless money being spent on Fifi’s hairdo. Now my description of animals is intentionally functional to prove a point, and according to Karmic theory pets can take on human characteristics en route to reincarnation as humans; I can never know this – God knows – Karma knows.
So we have an extreme in which humans personify animals and we have an equally absurd position where egotistical science functions as if it does not have to be in harmony with Nature. Many scientists try to control nature through their scientific knowledge leading to all kinds of crassness of which for me Oppenheimer was the worst – although retrospectively he admitted it.
My own position is very clear. The human mind is distinct and superior to all other forms of life on this planet, but, and a significant but, understanding that mind would also mean that the mind must function in harmony with Nature. In truth it is not always science that drives the lack of harmony. There are huge profits to be made if we frack, if we tap water, and if we make unnecessary nuclear weapons or drone technology. This profit directive motivates science into being technologically-oriented because such orientation produces profits. Applying such motivation means that science cannot accept its position of harmony in Nature, even if the scientists so choose. Oppenheimer was directed to create such a destructive weapon by the authority of the Allies, and the Alamo team’s desire for knowledge then took over – working “above” Nature instead of in harmony. Such imbalance in my view would not have happened without the motivation that brought the funding. So when people claim the imbalance of science I don’t see that, I see the imbalance of finance, of the profiteers. Unfortunately both are humans.
With these background thoughts I began watching “Superior Human” – up to here was written before I had finished the download, and now to my reaction to the movie:-
Irritated. The brown bear says my hearing is good, the human says I am intelligent, because these are exclusive then they are equally valid judgements. This fundamentally sums up the position of this academic nonsense. If you went down the pub and the guys talked such rubbish you’d call them drunken fools, academics say it with long words and you get a programme out of it.
I suppose they were trying to say “respect fellow creatures on the planet” but does that mean we are equals? If we are “superior”, can’t we still be respectful? It started with a picture of the mad scientist, surely an academic position is beyond that of the mad scientist. Can’t we be more discerning than to say we are superior and therefore in charge of nature or we are the same as animals?
But then I have to think about GM, and there we have science playing with Nature but in truth that is not science as a whole, it is a few who are bought off by Monsanto – watch Genetic Roulette. In the case of GM there are sufficient scientists who have stood up and lost their jobs, I do not accept criticism of science in general with regards to GM it is the 1% – money and Monsanto.
Why should I be so irritated? Maybe I am just tired – long week. But I am irritated because there was nothing even vaguely resembling ONE planet. When you went to discuss man animals and consciousness wsith supposed leading thinkers on the planet and there is nothing about Unity, respect for Nature, or whatever kind of terminology you want to use. But of course there can’t be because academia can only talk logic, and start from errant axioms. We are not separate people but ONE planet, respect is inherent in that. And then there is no inconsistency when we say humans are “superior”.
I was recently pointed to scientists saying consciousness is the same in man and animals. Is the mind of man and animals the same? This is surely what needs to be considered. But academics can’t consider it because they need an agreed definition of mind and consciousness, and this they can’t get because some name pops up with some sceptical viewpoint destroying common acceptance.
And why can they not reach agreement on this? Because they live in the world of reason do not use insight, do not meditate. HHDL talks about meditation as a science, although science would refute that. Following the methodology of meditation we always come up with the same conclusions about mind and coinsciousness, that is science, knowledge, a process of learning that leads to understanding. As opposed to academia a process of refuting learning by asking destructive questions so that no-one can learn, and the people who ask the questions have no control of their minds, cannot meditate, and become professors with wealth and status.
Irritated, yes. Worth a rant? Equally yes. Any point? Not really. These people have their jobs, follow the Richard Dawkins School of the destruction of all that is insightful, and academia does not move on. Learning does not occur.