Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Rapture and Enlightenment Time

When is the rapture? We could also ask when is enlightenment? Many Christians believe that the rapture will come at some definite point in the future. However, some Christians believe that the rapture is on God's time. God's time is outside of ordinary time and it's eternal so everything has already happened, everything is happening, and nothing has happened yet. Likewise, many Buddhists believe that enlightenment is an event in the future but enlightenment can also be thought of as outside of time. Therefore, with regard to my own enlightenment, I can say - I am enlightened, I am becoming enlightened, I am not enlightened. So it goes

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Humility

"The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small dirty, object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether" - C. S. Lewis

In, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis points out that the centre of Christian morality is humility, but he makes a mistake when he says that this is unique to Christianity. In Buddhism, the concept of no-self is perfect humility. In some Christian texts, perfect humility is compared to complete silence, which in Buddhism would be known as emptiness.

Enlightened

People do not become enlightened
Enlightened becomes people

Friday, October 14, 2016

Noetic warfare strategy

To win in noetic warfare

Your goal cannot be to win, it needs to be to be
You cannot win, your goal must be selflessness
The power to win does not reside in you and cannot be controlled by you

The idea that you have the power in you to win contains three traps

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Buddhism, souls, and Process Philosophy

In Buddhism there is no self and no soul and no permanent objects of any sort. In Christianity there is a soul that goes to heaven. Seems different but of course it is more complex. In Buddhism there is reincarnation so it is fair to ask, what gets reincarnated if there is no soul. To answer this we need to turn to process philosophy, which is an often ignored branch of western philosophy that explains Buddhist ideas on permanence using language more suited to western philosophers. The main difference is that Buddhist explanations are usually made in the pragmatic context of reducing suffering in individuals, whereas western philosophy is more about universal truth and metaphysics. Anyway, process philosophy is very unpopular because it states that nothing exists, there are only cause and effect processes. So a rock is not a rock it is rocking (this is actually how some North American First Nations languages (e.g, Cree) work). Applied to the soul it means there is no soul, there is only souling. So reincarnation occurs because souling continues after death. This can be applied equally to notions of heaven, where souling continues but not in a new body. In fact, with this notion you can have both, where after death souling continues in new bodies and elsewhere. In ancient Chinese religion the soul was believed to go to more than one place. However we have trouble thinking without permanent objects so we need them. We just need to keep in mind that they are not real. In the diamond sutra the Buddha says, there is a mountain (belief in object), there is no mountain (realization that there are no objects), there is a mountain (pragmatic use of the idea of mountain to refer to mountaining). So with the soul. The concept of the soul as an object helps us to make progress under certain conditions. But beyond that it can become poisonous, and cause people to selfishly pursue wealth and immortality in an imagined afterlife with all delusions of this life. A dogmatic adherence to the idea of no self can also be a problem, for different reasons. Tich Nhat Hanh sometimes talks about the existence of the soul and the non existence of the soul as being equal. This is because dogmatic attachment to a belief, even if the belief is of the absence of something, is still a type of permanent object, albeit a more rarified one.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Seriously, the mind is most likely a Hologram


Spaun is the worlds largest functional simulated brain. It is built of realistic virtual neurons and operates by creating holographic or high dimensional vector spaces for doing computation. 

The Universe is a Holographic Gem

Some physicists think the universe is a hologram. Some neuro scientists think the brain operates by generating holograms. This would make the mind a hologram built within a hologram, which is perfectly acceptable from a technical point of view. Holograms seem like complex things but the basic idea is very simple - they are high dimensional spaces that can be used to describe or compute things (this is usually portrayed in movies or on tv by showing 3d visual holographic imagery but holograms can be used for any information). In addition to the possibility that holograms underlie all  physical and mental phenomena, they can also be used as a way of thinking about ones own place in the universe and how suffering works. Think of the universe as a high dimensional gem (or a hypersphere if you like math). You are a vector in that gem, that is you are a straight line from the surface to the centre of the gem. Metaphorically, this could correspond to looking into the gem from a particular point on its surface. Since everyone is a different vector, everyone will see things aligned differently when they peer into the gem because they look from different angles. This image can be used to understand suffering in ourselves and in others. Specifically, a lot of saints and bodhisattvas got a lot of happiness helping the poor (e.g., consider Saint Francis and the Lepers). For them, the suffering of others was an opportunity, a gift from God or a Karmic reward. But when put in this way it sounds like they exploited the suffering of others, or that God or Karma created suffering in one person to benefit another person. However, if we use the gem metaphor then we can see that the same situation will be different for each actor. As actors we can be aware of this and understand that for someone else the situation involves suffering but if we help them it can also be a blessing or merit for ourselves. It’s really a win/win situation. We help another and also benefit from this. This is also a way of seeing how we are all separate and different but all equally important and valid. We are all the gem, just from different angles. Anyway, I hope this gem metaphor works for people who are unfamiliar with the idea of high dimensional spaces. I know the holographic stuff sounds a bit crazy but it's really serious science.