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Re: The Simultaneous Arising of the Mind And Firing Neurons

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  • Ong Yong Peng
    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
    Message 1 of 17 , Aug 26, 2004
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      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.

      metta,
      Yong Peng

      --- 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 :)
    • Lothar Schenk
      ... 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
      Message 2 of 17 , Aug 27, 2004
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        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

        Lothar
      • Stephen Hodge
        Dear Lothar, Are we talking in scientific terms or in Buddhist terms or a hybrid of the two ? Before we proceed any further, let s settle on some definitions.
        Message 3 of 17 , Aug 27, 2004
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          Dear Lothar,

          Are we talking in scientific terms or in Buddhist terms or a hybrid of the
          two ?

          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
          consider:
          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
          terminology.

          Best wishes,
          Stephen Hodge
        • Lothar Schenk
          ... Dear Stephen, I have been talking in terms of experience, which makes all the juggling of terms unnecessary. I understand the drive for mental
          Message 4 of 17 , Aug 28, 2004
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            Stephen Hodge wrote:

            > Dear Lothar,
            >
            > Are we talking in scientific terms or in Buddhist terms or a hybrid of the
            > two ?

            Dear Stephen,

            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.

            Lothar
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