21 September 2005

Being skeptic on science

"(...) if I am right, what they meant by a science, was the total principal industry of a social group, whose whole lives, or many years of them, are consecrated to inquiries to which they are so devoted as to be drawn to every person who is pursuing similar inquiries, and these inquiries conducted according to the best methods so far found out, to which they were trained and for the prosecution of which every [one] of them possessed special advantages, their different inquiries being so nearly of the same nature that they thoroughly understood one another’s difficulties and merits, and could after a brief preparation have generally each one have taken up and carried on the other’s work, although probably not with quite his success.
It follows that the limits of a science are those of a social group (...)"

- Charles S. Peirce
See more at The Commens Dictionary of Peirce's Terms

20 September 2005

Buddha's Microscope

"Just as Galileo refined and used the telescope to examine celestial phenomena and van Leeuwenhoek refined and used the microscope to examine minute organisms, so did Buddha refine and use focused, balanced attention as the instrument for examining mental phenomena." - Alan Wallace

Galileo and van Leeuwenhoek may were not totally right in all the matters related to investigation of science and truth (if there is such thing). Maybe Buddha wasn't right too. Their hypothesis and assumptions are equally there to be verified, tested and used in its particular ways. But, supposing that they were total or partially mistaken, this fact itself doesn't mean they are meritless or less authentic. Their intentions seems to be actually genuine, and I'm convinced that it would be enough for the turn. As said the Amen: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!*

What do you think? ;)

[*In Revelation 3:14, Jesus calls himself, "the Amen, the faithful and true witness."]

19 September 2005

"...live the details of your life."

"Know eternity. Do whatever it takes. And from this depth of being, live the details of your life."
--From The Way of the Superior Man, a book by David Deida.

08 September 2005

A Tribute to Francisco Varela

It's a fine site with great content: talks on audio and video about autopoiesis, enaction, cognition, neurosciences, neurophenomenology, consciousness, practice, and stuff like that.

See more about Francisco Varela and also about the other conferences in the Complexity Digest Virtual Conference Network.

02 September 2005

Wilber on past lives

Here is an excerpt from DEATH, REBIRTH AND MEDITATION.

"Of course, the fact that many people believe something does not make it true. And it is very difficult to support the idea of reincarnation by appealing to "evidence" in the form of alleged past-life memories, cause in most cases these can be shown to be only a revival of subconscious memory trace from this life.

Yet this problem is not as serious as it might at first appear, because the doctrine of reincarnation, as used by the great mystical traditions, is a very specific notion: It does not mean that the mind travels through successive lives and therefore that under special conditions -- for example, hypnosis -- the mind can recall all of its past lives. On the contrary, it is the soul, not the mind, that transmigrates. Hence, the fact that reincarnation cannot be proven by appeal to memories of past lives is exactly what we should expect: Specific memories, ideas, knowledge, and so on, belong to the mind and do not generally transmigrate. All of that is usually left behind, with the body, at death. (Perhaps a few specific memories can sneak through every now and then, as the cases recorded by Professor Ian Stevenson and others suggest, but these would be the exception rather than the rule.) What transmigrates is the soul, and the soul is not a set of memories or ideas or beliefs.

Rather, according to most branches of the perennial philosophy, the soul has two basic defining characteristics: First, it is the repository of it's "virtue" (or lack thereof) -- that is, of one's karma, both good and bad; second, it is one's "strength" of awareness, or one's capacity to "witness" the phenomenal world without attachment or aversion. This second capacity is also known as "wisdom." The accumulation of these two -- virtue and wisdom -- constitutes the soul, which is the only thing that transmigrates. So, when people claim to be "remembering" a past life -- where they lived, what they did for a living, and so on -- they are probably not, according to any major religion or branch of the perennial philosophy, remembering any actual past lives. Only Buddhas (or tulkus), it is said, can usually remember past lives -- the major exception to the rule. Even the Dalai Lama has said he cannot remember his past lives, which should perhaps serve as a reminder to those who think they can."

WILBER, Ken (1990) "Death, Rebirth and Meditation". In: The Collected Works of Ken Wilber, Vol 4.