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effects of no-self on human curiosity

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effects of no-self on human curiosity
Answer
2/28/19 4:26 AM
Hello all,

if I were a physics scientist, or physics/nature geek, how would a direct expereience of no-self possibliy affect 
my scientific drive/curiocity about nature, cosmos, probing of structure of this material world? Would it diminish or reenforce it and to what extent?

I would wish to hear thoughts on this from people who have experienced no-self (I havent) or even made 
it a permanent part of they daily lifes

thank you

RE: effects of no-self on human curiosity
Answer
2/28/19 6:43 AM as a reply to Aleksandras.
I don't want to speak to this so much in relation to no-self specifically (which I don't feel quite qualified to do) but more in regards to insight and the path in general.

For me one of the qualities that indicate progress on the path is letting-go of limiting beliefs, expectations and supposed knowledge. When you are grown up and went through the school system you (me) usally are set in regards to your worldview and self-view. So there is the "material side", i.e. "there was a big bang; there is evolution; the sun will become a red giant; I am a human on planet earth; this is the human history; vaccination is a good idea; etc."

You are rationally probably very aware of the fact that you don't know most things quantitatvely speaking. So you know that even if you studied physics you would still only know a fraction of all the physical knowledge. But even though you know that you know very little, you still are confident in your overall view of world and self. So you think that even if you did know everything that physics, history etc. had to offer it wouldn't really change anything significantly. It wouldn't change your existential view or the meaning of your life or make you more or less curious etc.

And in a way this is probably true. But that is of course were "the path" comes in. Insight works in mysterious ways. And one of the ways it works for me is in letting-go of this sense of certainty and security in my knowledge and beliefs. So while I rationally still believe all of those things (there was a big bang, vaccinations are a good idea, etc.) there is a deep existential "wondering" beneath it all. 

But this "wonder" or "curiosity" mainly is not like a tool or a wheel I can steer. I can't use it to make me interested in studying certain subjects. It's more like a constant "what is all of this, everything is so strange." Having said that, there is also a side-effect of a heightened general interest in people or subjects, because while I still might believe in "rational beliefs" I also am aware that they are (just) beliefs. So I "really know" that I don't know anything for sure. 

RE: effects of no-self on human curiosity
Answer
2/28/19 6:35 AM as a reply to Aleksandras.
Hi Alexandras,
how does Michael's reply (or any other reply you could imagine getting) make you feel about this issue? Relieved? Anxious? Indifferent? Does in motivate or unmotivate you to practise? Are the answers understandable for you? Or so far out there that you cannot really see what is pointed to even though it is written in clear language...?

I might give my answer later (I happen to be a physicist/scientist) but I would rather know a bit about your thoughts on this before proceeding with that! emoticon

RE: effects of no-self on human curiosity
Answer
2/28/19 6:43 AM as a reply to Aleksandras.
if I were a physics scientist, or physics/nature geek, how would a direct expereience of no-self possibliy affect 
my scientific drive/curiocity about nature, cosmos, probing of structure of this material world? Would it diminish or reenforce it and to what extent?

The short answer is it won't affect your intellectual curiosity or your interest in things that are not related to protecting your self from real or imagined harm. It might free you up is you are typically worried about your self as that kind of chronic worry and anxiety can suck the energy out of intellectual pursuits.

That's my experience, anyway.

RE: effects of no-self on human curiosity
Answer
2/28/19 12:26 PM as a reply to Jehanne S Peacock.
thanks guys, appreciate your thoughful responses to a forum noob

Having said that, there is also a side-effect of a heightened general interest in people or subjects

just to clarify: do you mean it is hightened as a result of insights of the path, as in: now you are less sure 
of what you knew therefor you are more open and even more carious?

and anxiety can suck the energy out of intellectual pursuits.

yes, even basic things like frustration of trying to grasp some math behind QM does suck heaps of energy out of me

you still are confident in your overall view of world and self.

i woudnt' say im confident, so far i know enough that even the bleeding-edge physics is still a 
perpetually "moving target" waiting to be refined or even fundamentally rewritten as newer and deeper evidence
becomes available (via CERN, telescopes, experiments, geniuses, etc). To me it's still quite fascinating how much we do 
known and what's been confirmed experimentally so far, even-though our knowlage is still likely just a tiny
fraction of how "the whole damn thing" works/is at the end

Does in motivate or unmotivate you to practise?

well, here's my favorite demotivation: Shinzen Young once said this about his enlightment:

"if i could choose 1 day of being enlightened OR entire lifetime in a normal state. I'd choose
that 1 day in a heartbeat"

to me it's especially worissome knowing that Shinzen does have keen interest in sciences (particularly
in abstract math), yet in this statement he puts such grand weight on his non-egocentric direct experience 
of reality, that it basically trumps any science knowlage he could have gained, contemplated, enjoyed and
may be even advanced forward by possibly making some discoveries if he would have chosen the second option.
Shinzen is still relatively mild, compared to for example Adyashanti, who seams to be ceompletely "out there" 
when it comes placing ultimate weight on experiencing englightenment.

Is it something deep in the psyche that gradually gets fliped in a way that understanding reality 
methematically/scientifically/objectively  becomes so much less important compared to it's direct-experience 
from the "point of view" of no-self?

My own background: i stumbled on Bhante Gunaratana's "Meditation in plain English" on the web and it strongly flared up 
my curiosity about meditation, many years later i found and read Daniel Ingram's "Masterig the core teaching of Buddha" 
and watched some of his interviews on YT, which all pushed me to seriously consider taking on the challnage of the path, 
but as i science nerd, i still weighting pros and cons of the journey

RE: effects of no-self on human curiosity
Answer
2/28/19 6:38 PM as a reply to Aleksandras.
Hey Aleksandras, I'll just pitch in for what it is worth.  

If curiosity and drive are part of your self-defence mechanisms, then yeah I would expect them to reduce with no-self.  After all, what is there to defend? emoticon But if they are just general behaviours that you engage in and enjoy, I would expect a rebalancing rather than a big reduction.  My own experience is that drive was a big part of my self-defence mechanism, but curiosity not so much.  So drive is way down while curiousity is only a little bit weaker.  Productivity is not down though - if anything, it is the opposite.  Everything just seems clearer and requires less effort. 

Imagine you go to the opera. The person behind you shuffles a bit, somebody in the mezzanine coughs, outside you can hear a bit of traffic, and two blocks over an alarm goes off.  The exit light shines too brightly, and your eye is caught by someone you know three rows down. And you crane your head to concentrate and try to appreciate the singers.

Now imagine you go to the opera, and there is none of that. There is just the opera, shining brightly and sounding clearly, with pure tones.

So my opinion is that unless your interests are a deep seated defense mechanism, you will see them more clearly, enjoy them more, and care about them less. 

RE: effects of no-self on human curiosity
Answer
3/1/19 6:49 AM as a reply to Aleksandras.
Maybe just wait and see my friend.

RE: effects of no-self on human curiosity
Answer
3/1/19 9:41 AM as a reply to curious.
If curiosity and drive are part of your self-defence mechanisms

these days i use mindfulness practice as self-defense against misc. annexieties, i dont think it has much to do with my curiocity though. I have a basic type of curioscity as in "yes, mum, but what's beyond those stars? and byound? and then?"

Some realized people report unreality of the preceived world as in: "im nothing and im everything at the same time and there's no paradox". I am actually fine about the whole material world quite possibly being as real/unreal as mare number PI, but it's still exciting to dive in it's methematical underpinings by means of science

So im still pondering if any degree of realization may dissolve that drive to wonder, question and look for answers (those not partaining to own comfort, peace, freedom), as in glimpse to no-self was so compelling and direct, that i'd feel that it now has much more "truth" to it than all the modern science books, labs and telescopes combined?

RE: effects of no-self on human curiosity
Answer
3/1/19 1:02 PM as a reply to Aleksandras.
Aleksandras:

Some realized people report unreality of the preceived world as in: "im nothing and im everything at the same time and there's no paradox". I am actually fine about the whole material world quite possibly being as real/unreal as mare number PI, but it's still exciting to dive in it's methematical underpinings by means of science

So im still pondering if any degree of realization may dissolve that drive to wonder, question and look for answers (those not partaining to own comfort, peace, freedom), as in glimpse to no-self was so compelling and direct, that i'd feel that it now has much more "truth" to it than all the modern science books, labs and telescopes combined?

Alexsandras, on one level your questions suggest an uncertainty and questioning on the path that some kind people are encouraging you to move beyond, or alternatively to investigate as a stimulus to practice.  On another level I appreciate that you have some genuine questions about how changes to perception will affect your science.  And these two perspecctives of course overlap.  The danger is that your science questions divert you away from dharma practice and towards mental proliferation, and this can easily be counterproductive.

So I will try to answer the science question, but as you will see below the true answer will only come through practice. And I encourage you to think about this a bit, then internalise your answer, then drop the questions and get on with the next bit of practice. emoticon

You seem to have some uncertainty about the ontology/phenomenology that you will perceive if you make progress in insight, and yes there are various chages of which your quote above is one.  I wouldn't worry about them - they are all good (except the dark night) and they are ultimately more about phenomenology (the experience of consciousness) than ontology (the nature of 'true' reality). There are a few where you can get stuck for a while and be a spaced out hippy, but I don't think this will be a problem for you.

However, what you will come to realise is that the world (as we perceive it) is just a simulation running on our brain - or as Daniel Ingram more accurately says "on a brain somewhere".  There is no 'real material world' out there, there is just our brain's processing of stimuli.  That is not to say there isn't an external world - there may well be, but we will never directly perceive it and the 'material' component could easily be a property of our processing, rather than a property of the world.  We impute properties to it like 'hardness' but really we have no idea whether this is a true property or just an approximation of something completely different.  This does not mean that nothing exists outside our mind, only that we don't perceive that existence directly.  All this kind of reasoning should be really familliar from quantum physics, right?  It's exacxtly the same kind of unobservable world, that is nonetheless tractable to a bit of inference from observation {edit: observation of our perceptions}

So YES you can continue to operate in the world and treat your perceptions as an approximation of 'reality'.  But with practice you will move to the intellectual understanding that your perceived world is just a simulation running on your brain.  And then with more practice you will move to the direct experience of that being the case.  This should help your physics.  In fact, it is much more consistent with your physics than the weird belief that we directly experience a real material world. The unexamined assumption of materiality that is 'normal' life is completely contradictory to everything we know about matter and energy, or philosophy or psychology or neuroscience for that matter.

So yes, wake up!

RE: effects of no-self on human curiosity
Answer
3/1/19 3:57 PM as a reply to curious.
Thank you! Hopfuly final question if i may:

many spiritual teachers use words truth/love/divine interchangably to refer to seamingly the same thing.
I am particuarly carious in which sense the word "truth" is used by realized ones? They seam to imply that 
realization reveals some kind of final "truth" - by realizing which there are no more questions to be asked,
is it really so?

But then even Daniel used phrase "on a brain somewhere", which implies that he himself yet doesn't know exactly "where" or even "how" it's running. So if there are ontological questions still to be pondered after enlightment (or insights),  then it's all good - the human trait that i personally value the most would be preserved?


The danger is that your science questions divert you away from dharma practice and towards mental proliferation

on a good day, if i dive into some more decent shamadi, in it there's not a sliver of time left for any
sort of coherent thought, let a alone "proliferation" emoticon and that's fine by me, that's how this pratice is - and i relish it, yet can still "do science" in between those non-mind praticse sessions

RE: effects of no-self on human curiosity
Answer
3/1/19 7:13 PM as a reply to Aleksandras.
many spiritual teachers use words truth/love/divine interchangably to refer to seamingly the same thing.
I am particuarly carious in which sense the word "truth" is used by realized ones? They seam to imply that 
realization reveals some kind of final "truth" - by realizing which there are no more questions to be asked,
is it really so?

Nope.

Whoever it was that said awakening reveals some kind of final "truth" that leaves no further questions to ask was probably not awake. 

emoticon