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  • hardie karges 12:04 pm on October 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bicameralism, , , , , PSYCHOLOGY, ,   

    Buddhism and the Bicameral Mind: License or Liberation? 

    True freedom is not license. True freedom is liberation. And if that at first glance sounds like some little word game that a poor man’s Alan Watts might play, on further notice, in fact it reveals a fundamental difference between ‘mind-sets,’ if not belief systems. For it is more than just the difference in a couple of letters that define the difference between the words ‘from’ and ‘to.’ It is indeed a world of difference, not just the difference between East and West, Buddhism and Christianity, but possibly—and ultimately—the difference between the right and left sides of the brain.

    According to the American Psychological Association: “The terms “left-brained” and “right-brained” have come to refer to personality types in popular culture, with an assumption that people who use the right side of their brains more are more creative, thoughtful and subjective, while those who tap the left side more are more logical, detail-oriented and analytical.”

    And then they go on to pooh-pooh that notion while at the same time admitting that “Language tends to be on the left, attention more on the right.” So how would you know, anyway, whether a person is one or the other? This is the big clue: Right-brained people are left-handed and vice versa. Boom. Hopefully those of us who are ambidextrous, Geminis, or at least switch-hitters can maybe find work as a Jack-of-all-trades, if not a Jill-of-one-special-one.

    But the point is that we’re talking about two different kinds of freedom when we talk about the freedom ‘from’ as opposed to the freedom ‘to’. The one is liberation, while the other is license. One is the traditional goal of all Eastern philosophy, while the other is the traditional goal of all Western philosophy. One allows you to gloriously do nothing, since you are now free of those prior obligations that demanded something of you.

    The other implies that you really should do something, regardless, not just that you have the right to, but in fact almost an obligation to act upon Nature, rather than just passively accept it. One is Buddhist, while the other is Christianity, which thought has largely dominated the modern world of technology and skyscrapers and restless hearts and minds.

    But now we know definitively, by genome analysis, that those early Indian Buddhists and those early Roman Christians were in fact not-so-distant cousins of the same original fathers, if not mothers. And both had their dealings with Greeks, bearing gifts or not. Does that mean that indeed these are possibly the differences of left-brain and right-brain, according to two different given sets of circumstances?

    If so, then we can access our right-brain Buddhist feminine capabilities to undo the damage that our left-brain Christian Capitalist macho tendencies have foisted upon us, understandable given a young world feeling its teenage oats for the first time, my version of racehorse theory. Nirvana is freedom. Freedom has responsibilities. So now we have come full circle…

     
    • TheFlowIntoWords 1:33 pm on October 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting topic! I loved Julian Jaynes book “Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind”.

      From my limited understanding, I see Buddhism as opening our eyes to the freedom we have from the “need” to do anything. This gives us a grasp of free-will. No longer is it I “must”/“need” to do X.

      For me Christianity sort of stepped into that newly opened space. Jesus’s teachings on radical love are beautiful to me. They are helping me see the beauty I “want” to grow and nourish in myself, others, and the world. I no longer feel I need to or should be doing anything in particular. I feel I am finally free to see the deep beauty of everything. And free to follow what the beauty inspires within me because I want to.

      • hardie karges 1:47 pm on October 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I read Jaynes’ book way back when, and liked it, though this scrib is a different take, of course. Life and the world are beautiful, per Jesus, but they are suffering, per the Buddha. Who is right? They both are, I suppose, though we will all die, no eternal life, so I am Buddhist, not Christian. But I like the dialectic between the two, so utilize it often. Christianity was right for its time. Buddhism is right for these times IMHO. Christianity’s capitalist conquest mentality gives us global warming, so that is not sustainable. Eventually I think we will achieve a successful mix of the two, hopefully without another pandemic. Thanks for your comments…

        • TheFlowIntoWords 2:40 pm on October 18, 2020 Permalink

          I also suspect we will achieve a successful mix of the two one day. Both have such deep wisdom to offer.

        • hardie karges 2:41 pm on October 18, 2020 Permalink

          Yes, I agree…

    • Dylan Raines 11:01 pm on October 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful thoughts. I see true freedom as being something which produces the qualities of compassion, generosity, contentment, peace, etc. The freedom simply to do anything without consequence is a freedom that usually has some fear attached with it. I think the more we allow people to be free, letting go of attempting to control others, the more we capable of encouraging one another to move into a place of true freedom.

      • hardie karges 8:38 am on October 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Sounds good to me. Thanks for your comments…

  • hardie karges 12:48 pm on February 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Christian, , , , genomics, , PSYCHOLOGY, ,   

    Buddhism East and West: It’s All in Your Mind (hint hint)… 

    The meeting of east and west occurs in my mind every day, on a good day, and that’s the way it should be, a smorgasbord of delights and selections, delicacies and confections, on display for the life choices that I relish as a symbol of my free will, which is only partial, of course, but still significant, because without it, we are just slaves on the plantation, where all the food goes elsewhere, and the dignity mostly goes lacking. And this is now proven, more or less, that the paradigms of East and West have little to do with East and West, really, which are not so different, after all, in terms of longitude and latitude, landscape or race, but almost total opposites conceptually, amid the hardening of positions and platitudes, and after the passing of time and space, so much so that they could almost seem like each others’ own devil’s advocates, merely taking a position for the sake of argument, as if that might be the only way that thought can progress beyond its proto-consciousness of silent awareness, itself blessed and sublime, but maybe a bit too boring for the troubled teenager with places to go and things to do, and who must be accommodated at least somewhat for the sake of the species and all the future repercussions to be encountered. So we stake out positions for the sake of the view, just to see what happens, in this bold experiment of biological life, in which consciousness becomes a dialogue and dialectic, rather than a far more simple acceptance of things as they merely are. So genetic science now proves it, that not only are the Brahmins of India and the Christians of the West intimately related, but that in fact we are all related as humans, not just by common analogy and metaphor, but literally, by DNA, both maternal and paternal, as the lines get crossed and history moves forward, on knees both bent and bandied, starving for succor and begging for forgiveness. And this is where religion comes in, because this is the challenge of all religion, all philosophy, all psychology, all sustained thought that trickles down to individual human consciousness or bubbles up from the same, which is to sustain us with words both momentous and motivational, both trivial and triumphant, now that language has captured consciousness and no return is possible. Because religions aren’t all about truth, except of the kind that can be agreed to upon faith of conviction and threat of excommunication, so nothing to do with the trials of empiricism and the results of experimentation. Religion is all about feeling good, in this life and this world, even if the means for that is the promise of a better world, or the promise of release. Either choice can bring the desired results, in brief: Don’t be angry at the past. Be hopeful for the future (and don’t forget to find some peace in the present)…

     
  • hardie karges 12:36 am on October 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , control, PSYCHOLOGY, ,   

    Buddhist psychology and the meaning of religion… 

    To control yourself is a Buddhist virtue. To control others is a Communist sin. And this is central to the psychology, if not the precepts, of Buddhism, the act of self-control, much to the horror of many western Buddhists, looking for bliss and passion and a free ticket to Buddha Fest, that this thing that is all the rage, too cool for school, hipper than hip and groovier than most, is really quite the opposite, mostly just sitting and avoiding confrontation, even avoiding the world entirely in the most extreme circumstances, sitting in a cave for twenty years. That’s what rishis do, even to this day. So maybe you’re a good Buddhist and you’ve got your favorite Buddhist monk, either in person or online, reading his every word with admiration and waiting with bated breath to hear just a little more. But did you ever wonder who his culture heroes are? Often it’s these rishis, sitting in caves, such that the snarky phrase ‘contemplating his navel’ takes on new meaning. What’s the point? There is no point, other than liberation, and enlightenment, and freedom from the dictates of drudgery and public opinion. The problem occurs when the virtue of self-control gets twisted into the perverse logic of controlling others, as though this is a logical corollary, when nothing could be further from the truth. So Buddhist countries are some of the least free in the world, presumably because governments know they have a docile populace, and pervert that virtue into a deadly sin. That’s not religion. To see the world as a child is to see it with awe and wonder, open mouth optional, rapture not required. This is religion.

     
  • hardie karges 10:39 pm on June 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , PSYCHOLOGY,   

    Freud and the Buddha, ego and self… 

    Life is too short to waste time in pathetic displays of ego, though many of our so-called leaders offer litle guidance in that regard. And ego is one of the traditional pet peeves of Buddhism, though I doubt that the Buddha or anyone else in his time could really conceive of it the way we do in our post-Freudian world. Even if the discipline of psychology has largely been transformed from the science of the mind to the science of behavior, his tripartite division of ‘the mind’ into the three paradigms of id, ego and superego still linger in the consciousness of those of us who studied him, though such distinctions may now seem quaint, fanciful and downright misleading in our post-rational era of particles, genomes and information bits and bytes. But that classical era of psychology shines a light on the Buddhist role of psychology as analogy and metaphor, with many such ‘mental formations’ as self, soul, permanence and eternity serving as linguistic conveniences where no such observable entities may truly exist. But if it feels good, then we do it, and even the Buddha was sympathetic to such machinations and intellectual short-cuts if the results are beneficial to society and the individual in perpetual limbo and looking for a path forward where such is a trail with few markings. We spend half our lives being born and half our lives dying, gathering moments for memories all along the way, and looking for signposts to mark our progress…

     
  • hardie karges 6:42 am on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , PSYCHOLOGY,   

    Why is Buddhism so pessimistic? Because… 

    IMG_2290I don’t know: so maybe you’ll forego your pride, like a good Christian? I notice that the prouder one is, the more ‘optimistic’ that person also is, most likely assured that whatever good fortune has come to him as a result of superior skill and talent will surely repeat itself infinitely and indefinitely, since the world is a vast abundant field of untold and uncalculated riches, the sky is truly the limit, and YOU are the master of this world, right front and center—uh huh, yeah right…

    Doesn’t that make you feel good? I mean: doesn’t that just make you want to jump out of bed, slam down some breakfast, slide into your suit, cruise downtown, zoom up to the 52nd floor, then order your secretary around, just a little bit, not enough to cause her any lasting damage, much less any drop in office efficiency, just enough to let her know who’s boss, let her know who pays the bills, let her know who wears the pants, or not… (More …)

     
    • The godlike Robert 5:43 pm on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I think Buddhism promotes an alternative understanding of reality. The West sees man as separate and distinct from his environment. In fact the creation story depicts the event occurring instantaneously and conjured by God. And as a spontaneous invention man has no history of relationship to anything outside his skin; not the plants, animals or the earth.
      In this story man is an ego created by a supreme ego and both are aliens to this world. Buddhism demonstrates that the ego is an illusion. What is inside the skin is no different than what’s outside the skin because neither are in your control; do you beat your own heart or can you shine the sun? The conclusion to Buddhism is that the universe is a non linear organic totality and you are only a subset of it, and not even capable any independence from it and more than that you emerged from it and belong in it! There is no other place where you could be…you see?

      • hardie karges 9:35 pm on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I certainly think that Buddhism offers an alternative to the Western paradigm, but that can–and does–go several different directions, operating on a level that can be used as religion, philosophy, psychology or simply technique, depending on the needs of the participant. I think Buddhism is best as an ongoing dialectic, without conclusions, something like a psycho-philosophical method, analogous to scientific method and the dialog between Theravada and Mahayana, hopefully achieving a higher synthesis. The hard part is moving past old narratives that no longer apply. Thanks for your comments!

        • The godlike Robert 12:43 am on September 24, 2018 Permalink

          As science, Taoism and Confuscanism are ongoing dialectics with no conclusions and are not religions!

  • hardie karges 6:50 am on August 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Cretaceous, , , , motivation, Permian, PSYCHOLOGY, Ram Dass, , Tony Robbins   

    Religion, Philosophy, and Motivational Mishmash… 

    IMG_1184

    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    Do you want the truth, or do you want to just feel good? For the most part motivational speakers have largely replaced preachers and rabbis, or priests and mullahs, in advising people on spiritual matters, especially in Western countries. Which is not a bad move, as it gives at least some semblance of metaphysical sustenance to battered souls, or non-souls, if you’re Buddhist…

    …just when they need it most, in times of stress and mayhem, which seems to characterize the modern age, and which gives the lie to lame theories of consumption and consumerism which imply that all we need is—love? No, sex; and alcohol, and cigarettes, the Big Three in any street-corner kiosk in Havana… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:14 am on September 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , PSYCHOLOGY,   

    Buddhism, Existenz, Ego and the Three-Body Problem… 

    IMG_0712The ultimate conundrum of life is that we didn’t ask to be born. The ultimate responsibility is that we not dare to risk death, either. For that we never know the reason why, but simply that it—life—is given, and things given must be accepted in the spirit with which they are given, not without question, but definitely without fail…

    Yet we do risk death, deliberately, repeatedly and with great flair, and often for no good reason. Up until less than a hundred years ago, as hard as it is to believe, people wanted to go to war, to fight, to kill, and this was the high point in many a young man’s life—or death! We look at the past with a mixture of wonder and agony at all the gratuitous violence and senseless destruction without realizing that the key to that phenomenon is right within us—and largely curable… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:35 am on May 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , PSYCHOLOGY   

    Getting Religion, Losing Depression—Motivational Mix and Match… 

    IMG_1660

    Buddhist Temple in Laos

    Depression is very over-rated, in my opinion, which means that I don’t much believe in it, and not for lack of trying—and crying.  It’s too easy.  It’s a cop-out, unless you ARE truly depressed, of course, in some clinically measurable way, i.e. most likely chemical (but that’s never been proven).  Unhappiness, while not simple, is simply not depression, even when one is ‘minor’ and the other ‘major’.  There’s a qualitative difference IMHO.

    ‘Unhappiness’ means you need to make some changes in your life, not in your prescription—motivational therapy optional.  That is not always easy, of course, and may involve some compromises you never imagined making.  Fortunately, in this transient age, impermanence is currency, and you can always go back to from where you came.  Keep that bizniz card in your pocket and an open door to your back.  (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 10:47 am on April 22, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , PSYCHOLOGY   

    BIZNIZ ADDICT 

    Business is like a limb that’s been amputated, but I still feel it there, erect and at attention, counting its money like some junkie who can’t make a move without ensuring that there’s another carrot lined up and waiting to mark the path and give meaning to life. I’ll never be an artist if I can’t get the monkey of business off my back so that I can concentrate on some creative work, get my eyes off the prize and concentrate on the task at hand. The bottom line rules like the line of her bottom used to, the thin red line of fulfillment, an innate idea of something warm associated with form. Business is a reflex action, a nervous tick, a cheap whore luring with vacuous charms.

     
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