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Buddhism as a model?
Posted: 01 March 2008 05:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 136 ]  
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burt - 01 March 2008 04:08 AM

You say that you have read about it, so understand it.  Gee, I understand the taste of the cake I saw because I read the recipe.  Get real, all you can do is describe what you’ve read about Buddhism.

OK, then, burt, show us the cake. Or go dry a sheet. Show us something besides this peeve and irritation that somebody has not taken some particular brand of “spirituality” seriously enough to suit you. If this stuff was worth anything, you wouldn’t give a crap that I or Celsus are so little impressed with the dreary architecture of “undivided consciousness™” and other brands of woo-woo™.

The defensiveness in the face of criticism seen from self-appointed “spiritual questers” who post online is something about which I remain quite curious. Perhaps this group is culled from a population that has tried every trick in the book(s) and has (on the face of the evidence, surely) utterly failed to achieve the serenity for which they are so, paradoxically, oxymoronically desperate.

Also, when illustrating the truths of “spirituality”, try to round up sources a little more to the point than the wit and wisdom of Albertus Dumbledore:

burt - 01 March 2008 04:08 AM

your reading has put you off it and that’s fine; but recall the reason that Voldemort was bound to fail: “What Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to understand” (Albertus Dumbledore)

Get a grip, man, and try to have your aphorisms originate in classic literature. If you do, you may be able to choose aphorisms with a little content (because there are some very wise aphorisms spoken by fictional characters, through their authors). The joke here is that Dumbledore’s words constitute a pathetic tautology, largely because the author who created this character was aiming at the largest audience she could find, pre- and circum-adolescents, not deemed likely to be overly concerned by tautologies.

You chose a quote from J. K. Rowling, one of the most successful mass-market authors on the planet! Isn’t there a clue hidden in there that the self-help industry’s limitless generation of wise-sounding, but vacuous, sequences of words is actually aimed at selling books? Given the grand impression you seem to have of your own wit and wisdom, burt, I must observe that the best-seller list is quite quiet when it comes to trumpeting your name.

[ Edited: 01 March 2008 08:45 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 01 March 2008 06:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 137 ]  
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GGD actually gives us something worth pondering:

The moment you stop holding off what you consider to be a ‘negative’ thing, you have automatically released yourself from the anxiety which this thing supposedly represents… Ceasing to resist does not imply being irresponsible or disinterested. Rather, it means that you will always willingly face the dragons as they appear and never allow the ‘labels’ of the ordinary mind to prevent you from experiencing and knowing ... Every moment of your life must become genuine experience. When, without hesitancy or reservation, you become one with the stream of life, you experience each moment as it truly is, no longer vulnerable to the continual suffering and anxieties which can make everyday living fraught with apprehension.

-  Richard Hittleman’s Guide to Yoga Meditation

There’s some value in this kind of thinking, in that it can lead to reduction of self-induced stress and therefore a movement away from depression. In my twenties, I skimmed a couple of books by Alan Watts, and watched a few episodes of the TV show “Kung-fu” with David Carradine as Caine (as long as we are in the market for the wit and wisdom of fictional characters), and pretty much concluded the same things.

Let’s not drink the bathwater after drying off the baby, though. Re-read this excerpt from Hittleman’s guide:

Every moment of your life must become genuine experience. When, without hesitancy or reservation, you become one with the stream of life, you experience each moment as it truly is, no longer vulnerable

My understanding of this kind of thinking is that it should help you accept that your “genuine experience” is inevitably going to leave room for vulnerability as well - room for your failure to “become one with the stream of life” and room for acceptance of such failure as human flesh is heir to.

Here’s where the bullshit comes in. The snake oil is that which induces people to slide right over the cliff into expecting that they can somehow get beyond fleshly failures without also entirely getting beyond life. It’s the same error made by the theistic faith-heads. It’s all the same snake oil:

To experience then, is to become the thing which is to be experienced. There is no ‘self’ who experiences. There is only pure spotless experience… Do not resist any experience. ... When you find yourself in what you have ususally thought of as an ‘unpleasant’ situation, do not resist it. Throw yourself into the center of the situation. Feel it; experience it.

Experience, if you dare, even your own failure. It’s all going to come apart someday. Trust me on the sunscreen.

Comedian Steven Wright jokingly states, “My girlfriend and I had conflicting attitudes. I wasn’t into meditation and she wasn’t into being alive.”

[ Edited: 01 March 2008 06:51 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 01 March 2008 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 138 ]  
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Salt Creek - 01 March 2008 10:55 AM
burt - 01 March 2008 04:08 AM

You say that you have read about it, so understand it.  Gee, I understand the taste of the cake I saw because I read the recipe.  Get real, all you can do is describe what you’ve read about Buddhism.

OK, then, burt, show us the cake. Or go dry a sheet. Show us something besides this peeve and irritation that somebody has not taken some particular brand of “spirituality” seriously enough to suit you. If this stuff was worth anything, you wouldn’t give a crap that I or Celsus are so little impressed with the dreary architecture of “undivided consciousness™” and other brands of woo-woo™.

The defensiveness in the face of criticism seen from self-appointed “spiritual questers” who post online is something about which I remain quite curious. Perhaps this group is culled from a population that has tried every trick in the book(s) and has (on the face of the evidence, surely) utterly failed to achieve the serenity for which they are so, paradoxically, oxymoronically desperate.

Who is peeved or irritated.  Not me, but you and Celsus certainly seem to be.  After all, I did point out that you have every right to think and feel whatever you wish.  I do wonder, though, why you feel it necessary to push your sarcasm and pique into conversations that you could equally well ignore—it exhibits a certain attachment to being peeved and irritated that is unbefitting somebody who claims to value scientific detachment.

Salt Creek - 01 March 2008 10:55 AM

Also, when illustrating the truths of “spirituality”, try to round up sources a little more to the point than the wit and wisdom of Albertus Dumbledore:

burt - 01 March 2008 04:08 AM

your reading has put you off it and that’s fine; but recall the reason that Voldemort was bound to fail: “What Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to understand” (Albertus Dumbledore)

Get a grip, man, and try to have your aphorisms originate in classic literature. If you do, you may be able to choose aphorisms with a little content (because there are some very wise aphorisms spoken by fictional characters, through their authors). The joke here is that Dumbledore’s words constitute a pathetic tautology, largely because the author who created this character was aiming at the largest audience she could find, pre- and circum-adolescents, not deemed likely to be overly concerned by tautologies.

You chose a quote from J. K. Rowling, one of the most successful mass-market authors on the planet! Isn’t there a clue hidden in there that the self-help industry’s limitless generation of wise-sounding, but vacuous, sequences of words is actually aimed at selling books? Given the grand impression you seem to have of your own wit and wisdom, burt, I must observe that the best-seller list is quite quiet when it comes to trumpeting your name.

I chose the quote because it is worth thinking about.  After all, out of the mouths of babes….  You might consider applying it to yourself.  As Celsus might: he has demonstrated that he does not value meditative practices, and that he does not understand them.  That gives him little justification for criticism other than his irritation that other people do seem to find them worthwhile.  What areas of human experience do you fail to benefit from because you do not value them, and as a result make no effort to understand them?  If you make an effort to understand, at least you would be able to communicate with people who do find them of value without simply telling them they are deluded and ignorant.

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Posted: 01 March 2008 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 139 ]  
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burt - 01 March 2008 02:31 PM

  What areas of human experience do you fail to benefit from because you do not value them, and as a result make no effort to understand them?

Well, let’s see.  How about the vast realm of misogyny in the Islamic/African world as illustrated by burka-wearing, honor-killing, not allowing women to drive or associate with males, genital mutilation, etc.

If you make an effort to understand, at least you would be able to communicate with people who do find them of value without simply telling them they are deluded and ignorant.

I think I’ll stick to telling them they are deluded and ignorant, thanks.

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Posted: 01 March 2008 03:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 140 ]  
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burt - 01 March 2008 04:08 AM

recall the reason that Voldemort was bound to fail: “What Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to understand” (Albertus Dumbledore)

I was going to comment on the hilarity of choosing “Albertus Dumbledore” as font of wisdom, but Salt Creek already beat me to it.

One thing we all have to admit, J.K. Rowling knows how to sell.  If that’s your aim, she’s not a bad source to consult.

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Posted: 01 March 2008 03:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 141 ]  
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burt - 01 March 2008 02:31 PM

I do wonder, though, why you feel it necessary to push your sarcasm and pique into conversations that you could equally well ignore—it exhibits a certain attachment to being peeved and irritated that is unbefitting somebody who claims to value scientific detachment.

I forgot to comment on this.  First of all, you illustrate a misunderstanding of “scientific detachment” (which is only a willingness to be wrong) and “attachment” in the emotional, Buddhist sense.

Labs are teeming with peeved and irritated scientists who are full of crusty opinions, fears, addictions, inappropriate desires, and other attachments of the sort we all are born to, and not in the least enlightened as to the suffering they could so easily avoid, if they would only tune in to the woo-woo orchestra.  They can also be painfully attached to their hypothesis of the moment.  (Oh, how well I remember the anguish my post-doc chemisty boyfriend went through, when it looked like the data for his thesis were going wonky.  He ran through about 3 pairs of sneakers trying to cope with the angst.)  They still do fine work because they maintain scientic detachment, which is an entirely different thing.

Personally, I’m mightily attached to being peeved and irritated by this forum on a daily basis—it makes me laugh and feel superior, and gives me a chance to write stuff in return (I believe that’s supposed to ward off Alzheimer’s).  I’m equally attached to “Television Without Pity”, however, so take that for what it’s worth. 

The only thing is, TWop moderators won’t let commenters snark on each other—just on the TV shows.  I need to get my personal snark, with indignant responses, in, so for that I have this forum.  (The comments sections on popular blogs like “Project Rungay” are too long and not set up in a way to draw attention to any given post.  Very disappointing.)

Now, Burt, how many sheets have you dried lately?  Turned down the thermostat?  Skipped a few meals even?

P.S. This sounds pretty peeved: “You say that you have read about it, so understand it.  Gee, I understand the taste of the cake I saw because I read the recipe.  Get real, all you can do is describe what you’ve read about Buddhism.”  Almost Frankish in its incoherence.  And when otherwise fairly decent writers start babbling, the meter registers “Peeved and Irritated” in this house.

[ Edited: 01 March 2008 03:51 PM by M is for Malapert]
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Posted: 01 March 2008 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 142 ]  
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M is for Malapert - 01 March 2008 08:45 PM
burt - 01 March 2008 02:31 PM

I do wonder, though, why you feel it necessary to push your sarcasm and pique into conversations that you could equally well ignore—it exhibits a certain attachment to being peeved and irritated that is unbefitting somebody who claims to value scientific detachment.

I forgot to comment on this.  First of all, you illustrate a misunderstanding of “scientific detachment” (which is only a willingness to be wrong) and “attachment” in the emotional, Buddhist sense.

Labs are teeming with peeved and irritated scientists who are full of crusty opinions, fears, addictions, inappropriate desires, and other attachments of the sort we all are born to, and not in the least enlightened as to the suffering they could so easily avoid, if they would only tune in to the woo-woo orchestra.  They can also be painfully attached to their hypothesis of the moment.  (Oh, how well I remember the anguish my post-doc chemisty boyfriend went through, when it looked like the data for his thesis were going wonky.  He ran through about 3 pairs of sneakers trying to cope with the angst.)  They still do fine work because they maintain scientic detachment, which is an entirely different thing.

Personally, I’m mightily attached to being peeved and irritated by this forum on a daily basis—it makes me laugh and feel superior, and gives me a chance to write stuff in return (I believe that’s supposed to ward off Alzheimer’s).  I’m equally attached to “Television Without Pity”, however, so take that for what it’s worth. 

The only thing is, TWop moderators won’t let commenters snark on each other—just on the TV shows.  I need to get my personal snark, with indignant responses, in, so for that I have this forum.  (The comments sections on popular blogs like “Project Rungay” are too long and not set up in a way to draw attention to any given post.  Very disappointing.)

Now, Burt, how many sheets have you dried lately?  Turned down the thermostat?  Skipped a few meals even?

P.S. This sounds pretty peeved: “You say that you have read about it, so understand it.  Gee, I understand the taste of the cake I saw because I read the recipe.  Get real, all you can do is describe what you’ve read about Buddhism.”  Almost Frankish in its incoherence.  And when otherwise fairly decent writers start babbling, the meter registers “Peeved and Irritated” in this house.

I get it, you like to argue.  Reminds me of myself at age 16, I would always look forward to the weekly arrival of Time Magazine so I could read the letters column and get angry at some of the stupidity of the writers.  But I grew out of that.

By the way, I do understand the difference between scientific detachment and emotional detachment.  Was just pointing out how Salty is showing his attachments to things that really, for him, ought to be matters of indifference.  Except that he likes to get off through cruelty—it is his compensation.

As for the anti-feminine nature of Islamic culture, I think we can both agree it is something that needs to be changed.  And I’m sure that you value the need for this change, so ought to make an effort to understand the historical sources of the attitude—that would give you better methods of trying to encourage change then simply carping from the sideline.  If you don’t understand your enemy, you are in for trouble and just tossing words around won’t help out even if it makes you feel moral and superior.

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Posted: 01 March 2008 05:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 143 ]  
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burt - 01 March 2008 04:08 AM

. . .
Different strokes, but what I wonder is why, seeing nothing of value in Buddhism worth the effort to understand, you jump in to a discussion of the value of Buddhism, other than to vent a bit.

As if you didn’t already know, burt:

When Celsus, Malapert or Salt Creek ridicule or merely correct supersitious nonsense, a lot of people, I suspect, applaud inside. Deep inside. Your take on reality seems to some of us to be as fantasy-driven as that of front-and-center religionists. Many who watch this forum, it seems likely, see you as being far beneath such devout folks as Bruce Burleson. This is not an insult to your abilities or intellectual breadth, burt. Quite the opposite. Few choose to take on your nonsense because they fear you. They might fear Salt Creek, too, but they cheer on his every word.

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Posted: 01 March 2008 05:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 144 ]  
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Salt Creek - 01 March 2008 10:55 AM
burt - 01 March 2008 04:08 AM

You say that you have read about it, so understand it.  Gee, I understand the taste of the cake I saw because I read the recipe.  Get real, all you can do is describe what you’ve read about Buddhism.

OK, then, burt, show us the cake.

No cake unless you eat your veggies first.

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Posted: 01 March 2008 09:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 145 ]  
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Salt Creek - 01 March 2008 11:12 AM

My understanding of this kind of thinking is that it should help you accept that your “genuine experience” is inevitably going to leave room for vulnerability as well - room for your failure to “become one with the stream of life” and room for acceptance of such failure as human flesh is heir to.

Yes.

Here’s where the bullshit comes in. The snake oil is that which induces people to slide right over the cliff into expecting that they can somehow get beyond fleshly failures without also entirely getting beyond life. It’s the same error made by the theistic faith-heads. It’s all the same snake oil:

This is not what it’s saying. It’s about experiencing life as it is.

Experience, if you dare, even your own failure. It’s all going to come apart someday.

Yes, it’s about daring to experience the coming apart.

Comedian Steven Wright jokingly states, “My girlfriend and I had conflicting attitudes. I wasn’t into meditation and she wasn’t into being alive.”

It’s not about giving up anything, it’s about taking more in.

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Posted: 02 March 2008 01:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 146 ]  
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Celsus - 29 February 2008 09:05 PM

Isn’t this just what the Christians, Muslims, and every other religion for that matter says about their faith? If you don’t believe, you can’t understand it.

No.

You’re not required to believe anything,including weather meditation is good or not, it’s available for you to experiment with for yourself so you can reach your own conclusion.Meditation is a practice not a blind acceptance.

I can understand it, I just don’t care for it.

How can you understand something you’ve never tried?

I wasn’t saying that these things had anything to do with “meditation and mindfulness” I was just saying that things like these have created more of a benefit to the world than a bunch of chanting and navel gazing. If you think differently, tough. You have your opinions, I have mine. We don’t necessarily have to agree.

Its our collective arrogance and delusion as westerners that leads us to believe that.

We may have more trinkets than people living in a subsistence economy, but are we happier for it? A quick look at the suicide rate and figures on drug/alcohol dependence/mental health problems and violence and it’s pretty clear we aren’t.

The west may have something over the developed world when it comes to curing physical ailments, but we’re in poverty when it comes to matters of the mind. So far all we’ve come up with is a few rediculous religions, ineffective analysis and a bunch of psychoactive substances.

Anyway, just for your information, I have read about Buddhism, including the Dhammapada, The Lotus of the True Law, and a few others in my youth, and didn’t care for any of them. I saw nothing I cared for. Is this surprising to you? I have noticed than many believers seem shocked that people could read the books of their faith and not find them enlightening. Well, I didn’t.

No it doesn’t surprise me. Reading a bunch of books on Buddhism and admiring/criticising some ideas from a distance is a lot different to living them and practicing them.

This is not a ‘faith’

You seem to be saying that Buddhism may be the cure for depression. Frankly, I would rather see a rational exploration into the reasons for depression

Already been done.

What some call depression, Buddhists call life.

Which is probably why Buddhists ideas, stripped of their references to Buddhism, are flavor of the month amongst psychologists.

and a search for new fact based solutions, rather than a wholesale embracing of, what I feel, is the inherently negative message of Buddhism.

A common misperception.

Negative! Yes! I don’t want to believe that all life is pain, and that I must remove all desire from my life. Desire makes my life worth living. It brings me joy, not pain. And who says pain is a bad thing, anyway? Crybabies, as far as I’m concerned.

If you desire something, including happiness, then how can you be happy right now, in this very moment?

How can someone be satisfied when they want something?

[ Edited: 02 March 2008 01:33 AM by meloncolin]
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Second, it is Violently Opposed…
Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident.”

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Posted: 02 March 2008 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 147 ]  
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To experience then, is to become the thing which is to be experienced. There is no ‘self’ who experiences. There is only pure spotless experience… Do not resist any experience. ... When you find yourself in what you have ususally thought of as an ‘unpleasant’ situation, do not resist it. Throw yourself into the center of the situation. Feel it; experience it.

Experience is not a “thing”. You can’t “become” it. There are receptors in your nose and toes. There is neurological activity taking place in your brain. There are chemicals flowing. Writing about experience is an ultimately ineffective attempt at verbally recursing your experience, and one that places your actual experience at arm’s length (down where the pen is). Even the Dalai Lama looks ridiculous when trying to do this, and may even point this out self-deprecatingly, but as if it were not part of the scam. Hittleman’s words here sound just the way people do when they refer to “becoming one in Christ”.

goodgraydrab - 02 March 2008 02:39 AM

This is not what it’s saying. It’s about experiencing life as it is.

As if you could do it any other way. Your experience of wishing your life were otherwise is your experience.

Once again, you demonstrate how so much of this bullshit is about the deft construction of tautologies.

goodgraydrab - 02 March 2008 02:39 AM

It’s not about giving up anything, it’s about taking more in.

Here you are in direct conflict with your Joseph Campbell bullshit quotation. There isn’t any more to take in. The notion that you can “take it all in” at a “higher level” is a way of talking about your experience so that you can mumble to yourself “this is better than where I come from”. Thing is, if it’s not enough just to say this to yourself, and you find yourself nattering on about it to others, then something is still missing, namely, the “experience” of nattering on and on to others about it. The effort you spend here extolling the virtues of meditation (or whatever) is time taken away from “taking more in”. Not only that, it is blatant proselytizing. Like any other activity based only on one’s own “inner experience” it requires constant maintenance, inevitably involving excessive rote recitation to others of the supposed “benefits”. I credit Christopher Hitchens, of all people, for pointing out to me the severe “maintenance” problems inherent in all scams based on the mystification of “inner experience”.

This reiterates my point about the kind of spiritual questers one finds online (or, for that matter, on street corners with bullhorns). They are the kind who most require the “experience” of nattering on and on about their “inner experience”. In many cases, this is because they never learned to natter on and on (even with a sense of humor sometimes) about ideas that can realistically be shared intersubjectively, such as scientific data and discoveries. Malapert suggests we start discussing E8. Did you know that it is considered relevant by string theorists? Or we could talk about fluxes of radiated body heat (joules per square meter per second) generated per kilogram of (fully cooked) brown rice consumed per meditating monk.

[ Edited: 02 March 2008 06:26 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 02 March 2008 07:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 148 ]  
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Am I to assume that the poo-pooers learned how to meditate, found it didn’t provide them with any of the benefits they heard about and then abandoned said practice?

The last time i checked the scientific method involved performing the experiment before formulating a conclusion, or are we not doing that anymore?

I doubt any meditation fans could care weather anyone believed them or not (ok, maybe a few) when they talk about their experiences, but is it really necessary to keep telling us that you know exactly what playing basketball is like when you’ve only watched from the sideline?

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“All Truth passes through Three Stages: First, it is Ridiculed…
Second, it is Violently Opposed…
Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident.”

- Arthur Schopenhauer

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Posted: 02 March 2008 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 149 ]  
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meloncolin - 02 March 2008 12:13 PM

The last time i checked the scientific method involved performing the experiment before formulating a conclusion, or are we not doing that anymore?

You have no fucking clue what defines a scientific experiment, do you? One thing it is assuredly not is a solely first-person account of one’s “inner experience” while purporting to “meditate”, which is all you can produce from such an “experiment”. Unless, of course, you can heat your home with it. Pathetic, relentless, and ultimately very silly insistence on the validity of “first-person accounts” as “science” is the only real “evidence” brought forth by the woo-woo orchestra.

[ Edited: 02 March 2008 07:29 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 02 March 2008 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 150 ]  
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Salt Creek - 02 March 2008 12:25 PM
meloncolin - 02 March 2008 12:13 PM

The last time i checked the scientific method involved performing the experiment before formulating a conclusion, or are we not doing that anymore?

You have no fucking clue what defines a scientific experiment, do you? One thing it is assuredly not is a solely first-person account of one’s “inner experience” while purporting to “meditate”, which is all you can produce from such an “experiment”. Unless, of course, you can heat your home with it. Pathetic, relentless, and ultimately very silly insistence on the validity of “first-person accounts” as “science” is the only real “evidence” brought forth by the woo-woo orchestra.

Yet you’re quite happy to insist that your first person account of meditation being mumbo-jumbo is somehow more valid than the views of somebody else who has actually heard the hype and put it to the test.


Now who’s full of shit?


Who is asking you to believe these first person accounts? What is relevant is that these experiences can be achieved and a method for achieving them is available. You’re incorrect in claiming there is no evidence other than a personal experience available to show that these practices do have a positive effect.

[ Edited: 03 March 2008 06:30 AM by meloncolin]
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Second, it is Violently Opposed…
Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident.”

- Arthur Schopenhauer

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