My Experience with Buddhism Pt 1 (Agnosticism)

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 18, 2022, 00:07 (585 days ago) @ xeno6696

Matt: I’m not sure what you mean by “authentically”. The conman’s concealment of his authentic self is his means of being his authentic self: i.e. a selfish bastard who couldn’t care less about the feelings of others. (The “Golden Rule”- see below - has no place in his authentic “self”!)


dhw: So barring some sort of severe pathology (psychotics or sociopaths) the great tendency for most human beings is that the act of keeping secrets an/or continuously lying to people exacts cognitive costs that aren't necessarily recognized by the people doing it. There's quite a good book I read last year called "how emotions are made," and while there are debatable aspects of every psychological model, it absolutely makes sense. The primary function of our brain in this model is to conserve energy. To the extent that we engage in actions that cause us to spend energy, it leaves us in a more depleted state. In a less clinical form, someone who is trying to keep a big secret from someone else has to expend more cognitive energy keeping their stories straight, especially if we include the body's stress response which has a feedback effect of sapping more energy. This is why in professional spywork, the basic idea is to keep your lies close to the truth. This is why sociopaths make excellent spies and conmen, actually.

Matt: So to correct a bit what I was referring to, I would walk back the idea that it's the persona that we project: we shouldn't be *projecting* anything. We should just *be.* The people spending all this energy to "project" are in a sense, cons themselves even if their aims and intention are banal or benevolent. A Buddhist comparison I would make is that the monks in my school are required to keep 227 precepts to my 5. However keeping those 227 precepts is actually quite easy if you *always* incline to kindness and peace. (You'll keep the precepts without having to think about them.) >

dhw: The strokes are TOO broad for me. Yes, we should strive for the “golden rule” (do as you would be done by), but that involves contact with other people. Maybe the Buddhist support for monastic life recognizes this, and recommends shutting yourself off from other people so that you have no occasion to think internal thoughts ( “cravings”) which must be suppressed by external actions. If you yourself had lived your life in solitary confinement, I should imagine 99% of the subjects you were angry about would never have had to enter your mind. (The 1% would have been: “Dammit, why am I cooped up in here?”) ... What’s the ideal you’re striving for in trying to match internal thought with external deed? To eliminate such thoughts? Then off you must go to solitary confinement. There are thousands of situations in which we have thoughts which must be rejected if we are to do as we would be done by. For me, the ideal is to implement the rule by making the appropriate choice, not by shutting yourself off from choice.


Matt:So you raise an excellent observation, and you hit the nail on the head with the purpose of the monastic life: By removing yourself from the world you necessarily isolate yourself from contact with things that would otherwise challenge you. If your meals are donated by the public, and you have a tent and robe given to you by the community, you never need to touch money, for example. (Theravadan monks are expressly forbidden to touch money, and this is what caused the initial major split within Buddhism roughly 100yrs after his death.)

I would say that myself I have long recognized that more choice is rarely superior to limited choice. In my music, I rekindled my studio after mothballing it for 17yrs, and I can flat out say that having more choices of synthesizers and effects is vastly harmful to my output. I used to be able to punch out a song, beginning to end, in a day. Now--I've been working on the same song since early October. And the primary culprit is that I have too many damn choices of things to use. Part of me wants to sell everything down to maybe 3 synths tops and then write from there.

Here's an article from your neck of the woods: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/21/choice-stressing-us-out-dating-par...

Choice being negative--this is uncontroversial for me.

I must admit being amazed at the point of the discussion in the article. Don't people have brains to study and make reasonable choices among younger generations? Reasonable analysis and chose. The pension plan discussion fell into part of what I did early on with our clinic.
Great plan developed from good advice, so good I even flew to the pan handle to help a friend with his clinic's plan going with my advisor. Too much choice shows individual weakness in one's boundaries of desire.

Xeno: Just wanted to bring in a quick note, I did indeed promptly go hug my wife, who typically has more in common with the great Saguaro, so it would have been comical for outsiders to see her surprise! =-)

dhw: Delighted to hear it. I had to look up “Saguaro”: a tree-like cactus. Hmmm...not sure she’d like that – and not sure you should hug her after all. Could be painful!


Matt: I married into a Scottish family where those tempers... I thought they were just stories! =-) My wife's nickname within the family growing up was "bear."

At least not porcupine!!


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