Re: The Simultaneous Arising of the Mind And Firing Neurons
- Dear Stephen and friends,
I wouldn't say that consciousness is a purely spiritual matter. What
you have discussed are interesting, but can you give a description of
consciousness and mind from your point of view? Thanks.
--- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Stephen Hodge wrote:
Anyway, even if there is not yet a standardized scientific theory out
yet, this does not mean that consciousness is not an intractable
problem. Since it is part of the physical universe, it should
eventually be amenable to explanation -- it may be mysterious but not
mystical. Note here that I am not taking a reductionist view with
regards to what I would consider to be purely spiritual matters.
That the mind is dependent upon the brain seems to be corroborated by
the evidence that can be garnered from people with brain disorders,
whether due to accident or congenital. One analogy that seems
fitting is the idea that the brain is like a radio transmitter-
receiver. That is to say, it can generate radio waves and receive
them, but the waves themselves can survive for great lengths of time
outside the equipment although probably degrading into an eventual
state of entropy. Perhaps that is what Nirvana is -- entropy :)
- Stephen Hodge wrote:
> Since it [consciousness] is part of the physical universe,Is it? How do you know this? Could you know it without consciousness?
Consciousness is not part of the physical universe, but part of your
experience of the physical universe, and in particular it is that part
without which the experience of the physical universe would be impossible. It
is a necessary condition for the physical universe to appear. So, what comes
first? If there is no consciousness, where is the physical universe?
'Out there, somewhere,' you might say. Consider again. 'Out there', what does
this mean? Where is it? Have you ever experienced an 'out there' without the
'in here' that knows it? This is exactly how avijja works: it assumes a
lasting essence, where none is experienced. It simply assumes it and accepts
it without question. But the meditative experience is that the assumption is
wrong. If one goes to the place where one can examine consciousness directly,
the confusion about its nature ends.
"The whole universe is constantly falling apart and coming back together. And
that includes the mind and the body which we call 'I.' You may believe it or
not, it makes no difference. In order to know it, you must experience it;
when you experience it, it's perfectly clear. What one experiences is totally
clear. No one can say it is not. They may try, but their objections make no
sense because you have experienced it. It's the same thing as biting into the
mango to know its taste." -- Ayya Khema
"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & odors, tongue &
flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is termed
the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe
another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his
statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to
grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." -- The Buddha, S xxxv.23
- Dear Lothar,
Are we talking in scientific terms or in Buddhist terms or a hybrid of the
Before we proceed any further, let's settle on some definitions. Here's
what I suggest to get the ball rolling -- what are your's ?.
1. Physical: relating to matter & energy + their interaction
2. Universe: the totality of existence, all that is
3. Two common definitions of "consciousness" that I would like to
a) the state of awareness / perception
b) the totality of a person's thoughts, feelings and sensations
Then we should think about any possible correlation, if any, with Buddhist
- Stephen Hodge wrote:
> Dear Lothar,Dear Stephen,
> Are we talking in scientific terms or in Buddhist terms or a hybrid of the
> two ?
I have been talking in terms of experience, which makes all the juggling of
terms unnecessary. I understand the drive for mental proliferation, but it is
not something I see any point in indulging in. There are better ways of
settling these questions.