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The biological self

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  • Herman Hofman
    Hi all, Before ya ll quickly draw your anatta swords from your scabbards, I am talking about the self as identity here, not as agent. Big difference. It would
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 4 9:25 PM
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      Hi all,

      Before ya'll quickly draw your anatta swords from your scabbards, I am
      talking about the self as identity here, not as agent. Big difference.

      It would be interesting to hear the same account in terms of kalapas
      of rupas and the like, but these days it is well understood that each
      healthy human body distinguishes between what is self and what is
      not-self. This is the basis for the auto-immune system, which destroys
      all foreign (not-self) bodies that attempt to enter the body. This way
      disease is prevented. The practice of immunisation, which has saved
      literal millions from death by infectious diseases such as smallpox,
      is also based on this mechanism. But when the auto-immune system isn't
      working properly, in which case there is no clear self / not-self
      distinction, the body attacks itself, and you get diseases like
      rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus, or AIDS.

      Clearly, advanced life forms are not possible without the distinction
      self/not-self. Oh, and justabout wherever you go, and whatever you do,
      you leave behind DNA traces that uniquely identify the self of your
      very specific body. So don't be bad now, you hear, if only because you
      will get caught :-)

      Kind Regards


      Herman
    • connie
      Hey, Herman, I couldn t get the sword past security, but those literal millions of undead from smallpox still die. In spite of what they say, there is no
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 5 10:32 AM
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        Hey, Herman,
        I couldn't get the sword past security, but those literal millions of
        undead from smallpox still die. In spite of what they say, there is no
        preventable death, she just books another flight.
        Smallpox, hepatitus, etc. are indicative of disorders of the elements.
        The body, being composed of rupas, does not know anything. It is thinking
        that says "this is mine" and in sharing the body with these 'invaders',
        there is the opportunity to relect on how it really isn't "mine' at all
        and how out of "my control" things are.
        Mindfulness as to the body, btw, is said not to arise in the Brahma planes.
        peace,
        connie
      • Herman Hofman
        Hi Connie, ... Exactly right. So, is there merit in acting to change the date on the inevitable tombstone to a later one? Obviously, most people think so,
        Message 3 of 7 , Mar 5 2:07 PM
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          Hi Connie,

          On 06/03/07, connie <connieparker@...> wrote:
          > Hey, Herman,
          > I couldn't get the sword past security, but those literal millions of
          > undead from smallpox still die. In spite of what they say, there is no
          > preventable death, she just books another flight.

          Exactly right. So, is there merit in acting to change the date on the
          inevitable tombstone to a later one? Obviously, most people think so,
          because they spend their lives seeking to prolong their lives.


          > Smallpox, hepatitus, etc. are indicative of disorders of the elements.

          The word disorder suggests there is a right way for things to be, and
          wrong ways for things to be. From what POV would that
          rightness/wrongness come?

          > The body, being composed of rupas, does not know anything. It is thinking
          > that says "this is mine" and in sharing the body with these 'invaders',
          > there is the opportunity to relect on how it really isn't "mine' at all
          > and how out of "my control" things are.

          Control doesn't have to be thought or known or conceived of, to be in
          effect. Conditions exert control, whether conscious or not. However,
          some conditions do become the object of consciousness. Such as
          intention. And when that consciousness is mindful consciousness, there
          is nothing determining about intention.

          You don't really think everything is out of your control when you go
          to turn the page in whatever sumptious tome you are devouring with
          your eyes, do you? :-)


          > Mindfulness as to the body, btw, is said not to arise in the Brahma planes.

          Sure. Agreed. And I'm sure there are many times when there is no
          awareness of the body in that Conning tower of yours :-)

          Kind Regards



          Herman
        • rjkjp1
          ... elements. ... thinking ... these invaders , ... all ... Dear Connie Nice post, you really getting to the heart of Dhamma these days IMO. Robert
          Message 4 of 7 , Mar 5 6:15 PM
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            --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, connie <connieparker@...>
            wrote:
            >

            > Smallpox, hepatitus, etc. are indicative of disorders of the
            elements.
            > The body, being composed of rupas, does not know anything. It is
            thinking
            > that says "this is mine" and in sharing the body with
            these 'invaders',
            > there is the opportunity to relect on how it really isn't "mine' at
            all
            > and how out of "my control" things are.
            >
            Dear Connie
            Nice post, you really getting to the heart of Dhamma these days IMO.
            Robert
          • connie
            Hi Herman, H: ...is there merit in acting to change the date on the inevitable tombstone to a later one? Obviously, most people think so, because they spend
            Message 5 of 7 , Mar 5 7:23 PM
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              Hi Herman,

              H: ...is there merit in acting to change the date on the inevitable
              tombstone to a later one? Obviously, most people think so, because they
              spend their lives seeking to prolong their lives.

              C: Not knowing the course of anyone's future, I'd have to say the safe bet
              was to want to prolong their misery, yes, in the hopes that their
              understanding or other merits increased.

              > Smallpox, hepatitus, etc. are indicative of disorders of the elements.

              H: The word disorder suggests there is a right way for things to be, and
              wrong ways for things to be. From what POV would that rightness/wrongness
              come?

              C: Disturbance, then, instead of disorder; a change in the status quo that
              negatively impacts the health to a greater degree than we're used to or
              like. We probably agree the dislike (POV) comes from my wanting things to
              be one way or another and it just not happening. Just like the rest of the
              folks who don't care for dis-ease of one kind or another, I reckon.

              H: Control doesn't have to be thought or known or conceived of, to be in
              effect. Conditions exert control, whether conscious or not. However, some
              conditions do become the object of consciousness. Such as intention. And
              when that consciousness is mindful consciousness, there is nothing
              determining about intention.

              C: Care to elaborate on that last bit? Maybe say what is meant by intent
              or intention? (The rest of this whole conversation isn't all that
              interesting to me.)

              H: You don't really think everything is out of your control when you go to
              turn the page in whatever sumptious tome you are devouring with your eyes,
              do you? :-)

              C: I think I live in the past... the events that took place are already
              gone before the thoughts have had time to put me in the picture. Today's
              lovely one is The Path of Purity.

              H ... I'm sure there are many times when there is no awareness of the body
              in that Conning tower of yours :-)

              C: More often than not, no doubt.
              Echoing your Kind Regards
            • Herman Hofman
              Hi Connie, Thanks for your posts. Please don t feel any obligation to discuss what you don t want to, and please accept that in discussing I am only trying to
              Message 6 of 7 , Mar 6 2:42 PM
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                Hi Connie,

                Thanks for your posts.

                Please don't feel any obligation to discuss what you don't want to,
                and please accept that in discussing I am only trying to draw out the
                implications of what we both are saying :-) .


                On 06/03/07, connie <connieparker@...> wrote:
                > Hi Herman,
                >
                > H: The word disorder suggests there is a right way for things to be, and
                > wrong ways for things to be. From what POV would that rightness/wrongness
                > come?
                >
                > C: Disturbance, then, instead of disorder; a change in the status quo that
                > negatively impacts the health to a greater degree than we're used to or
                > like. We probably agree the dislike (POV) comes from my wanting things to
                > be one way or another and it just not happening. Just like the rest of the
                > folks who don't care for dis-ease of one kind or another, I reckon.

                Yes, and that status quo is based on a sense of myself. Smallpox is
                not myself. We act in the world to prolong myself, and smallpox
                functions to prolong itself. The universe doesn't particularly give a
                hoot whether we kill smallpox, or smallpox kills us. But we care, most
                of the time.

                >
                > H: Control doesn't have to be thought or known or conceived of, to be in
                > effect. Conditions exert control, whether conscious or not. However, some
                > conditions do become the object of consciousness. Such as intention. And
                > when that consciousness is mindful consciousness, there is nothing
                > determining about intention.
                >

                > C: Care to elaborate on that last bit? Maybe say what is meant by intent
                > or intention?

                By intention I mean getting ready to act, to do something.

                Benjamin Libet did some very clever reseach which shows that the
                neural potential for action happens 1/2 second before there is any
                consciousness of the intention to act. A nice, scientific refutation
                that there is an agent that intends to act :-) Intention, for all
                intents and purposes, comes out of the blue, it is not mediated by any
                consciousness. But interestingly enough, he could find no neural
                correlate for an intention being vetoed, ie not proceeding to action.
                It seems that intention is not vetoed by an intention to veto it. But
                intentions can be vetoed, once they enter consciousness. So when I say
                that there is nothing determining about intention, I mean that the
                arising out of the blue of an intention does not necessarily translate
                into action. And that is where mindfulness comes in. In the absence of
                mindfulness, there is no conscious review and veto of whatever is
                intended. Intention always translates into action. Some may consider
                this to be "natural". But in a mindful state, consciousness asks again
                and again "what am I going to do next?" and actively selects from what
                comes out of the blue. A mindful being makes their life, it doesn't
                happen to them.


                Hope this clarifies. If not, you know where to find me :-)


                Kind Regards


                Herman
              • connie
                Hey, Mr Red Car Driver, ... H: By intention I mean getting ready to act, to do something. Benjamin Libet did some very clever reseach which shows that the
                Message 7 of 7 , Mar 6 5:53 PM
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                  Hey, Mr Red Car Driver,

                  > conditions do become the object of consciousness. Such as intention. And
                  > when that consciousness is mindful consciousness, there is nothing
                  > determining about intention.
                  >

                  > C: Care to elaborate on that last bit? Maybe say what is meant by intent
                  > or intention?

                  H: By intention I mean getting ready to act, to do something.

                  Benjamin Libet did some very clever reseach which shows that the
                  neural potential for action happens 1/2 second before there is any
                  consciousness of the intention to act. A nice, scientific refutation
                  that there is an agent that intends to act :-) Intention, for all
                  intents and purposes, comes out of the blue, it is not mediated by any
                  consciousness. But interestingly enough, he could find no neural
                  correlate for an intention being vetoed, ie not proceeding to action.

                  C: Interesting, thanks. Nothing else to add... I just keep wondering
                  (idly) about the relationship between intent and perception... so your
                  "nothing determining about intention" caught my attention.

                  see ya later.
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