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Meditation and Science
Answer
1/1/20 1:29 PM
Hello,

How does meditation affect intelligence? Would scientist become more intelligent and accelerate the advancement of science?

Thank you,
Marino

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/1/20 1:56 PM as a reply to Marino Klisovich.
As far as my current experience goes there seems to be two types of intelligence at play: cognitive intelligence and silent intelligence. Cognitive intelligence seems largely at odds with silent intelligence. Cognitive intelligence is governed by unconscious forces but sometimes it can manifest itself consciously - rarely actually. With continued practice cognitive intelligence is brought into line with silent intelligence. Silent intelligence is far superior to any kind of meagre thought. It grows beautiful flowers and spins swirly galaxies and a bunch of other cool stuff. Aligning ourselves with such an intelligence must indeed be beneficial to our own unconscious intelligence. Practice affects our intelligence by subduing unconscious behaviours so that more conscious behaviours can take form.

Accelerate the advancement of science? Yes, perhaps with far less stupidity. 

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/1/20 3:38 PM as a reply to Marino Klisovich.
How does meditation affect intelligence? Would scientist become more intelligent and accelerate the advancement of science?

This is doubtful. There is likely no direct connection between intelligence and mediation. People typically claim other changes from having a meditation practice but not more smarts.

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RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/2/20 12:00 AM as a reply to Marino Klisovich.
I'm studying it right now, but I don't see IQ being correlated to Mindfulness. It's also debatable which intelligence people are talking about. Most of the studies in The Mindful Brain show that executive functions that control impulses become stronger and thicker. Being able to control impulses is a form of intelligence that is very important, but it won't make you pass a test. It may help your exam results in that you can control emotional dyregulation and do the best you can on an exam. Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow shows that practice and preparation are more important for self-efficacy, because when you habituate knowledge it can be applied more quickly. Nothing replaces consistent study. As long as you have an average IQ, with effort, you can be very intelligent and impactful in your life.

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/2/20 11:02 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
As long as you have an average IQ, with effort, you can be very intelligent and impactful in your life.

Come on now - you don't need to have an average IQ to be intelligent, effective and impactful  emoticon

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/2/20 4:08 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
As long as you have an average IQ, with effort, you can be very intelligent and impactful in your life.

Come on now - you don't need to have an average IQ to be intelligent, effective and impactful  emoticon

This is based on complex jobs. You can have emotional and artistic impacts on people, of course. This is actually another area for me to study, because AI is starting to remove lower IQ jobs which creates permanent unemployment for whole categories of jobs. It's a conundrum.

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/2/20 5:36 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Personally, I find the notion that jobs are classified as "Low IQ" or "High IQ" to be repugnant. It ignores personal preferences and lots of other factors that matter. For example, what if (as is the case) I have a very smart relative who just wants to work with their hands, not have to carry a lot of clerical/white-collar job sh*t around in their head, or who live by choice in an area that doesn't feature lots of what you've termed "High IQ" jobs?

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/2/20 6:01 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Personally, I find the notion that jobs are classified as "Low IQ" or "High IQ" to be repugnant. It ignores personal preferences and lots of other factors that matter. For example, what if (as is the case) I have a very smart relative who just wants to work with their hands, not have to carry a lot of clerical/white-collar job sh*t around in their head, or who live by choice in an area that doesn't feature lots of what you've termed "High IQ" jobs?

I don't disagree with what you are saying, but "repugnant"? Some brains are faster than others. Some brains actually will burn out doing certain jobs. Not everyone will be a doctor. It's true that IQ isn't the only thing. Attitude has a huge effect as Carol Dweck pointed out in Mindset. But I would include myself as not being able to do all jobs. It doesn't offend me. I'm human.

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/3/20 10:37 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Yes, repugnant. Stop digging.

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RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/3/20 11:19 AM as a reply to Marino Klisovich.
Marino Klisovich:
Hello,

How does meditation affect intelligence? Would scientist become more intelligent and accelerate the advancement of science?

Thank you,
Marino

I have noticed that all the people I've ever met personally who were seriously invested in meditation clearly seemed to possess what would normally be considered above average intelligence. No real dummies on retreats, regardless of background. Is it that you need to be pretty smart to begin with in order to "get" meditation? Even vipassana retreats conducted in prison, IIRC, have been voluntary, so they may select for smarter prisoners. As for meditation increasing intelligence, for all it's worth it seems that the longer I daily maditate on the breath, the greater the decrease in my critical thinking, and learning capacity - I become very forgetful and increasingly unable to correlate information and draw conclusions. So I, at least, feel like mindfulness of the breath actually could potentially significantly dampen at least some of the aspects of cognition that make one appear "smart". I do become more open-minded, but it rather seems like an increase in gullibility when I'm not in that state. Like sometimes I'd believe almost anything.

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/3/20 1:05 PM as a reply to Andrey.
I do become more open-minded, but it rather seems like an increase in gullibility when I'm not in that state. Like sometimes I'd believe almost anything.

This kind of thing is common, but it's also short-lived. There were times in my meditation practice that I would have called "dull" and even "sleepy" due to various things going on. But in all cases those effects went away and left my baseline experience in regard to alertness and problem-solving and reasoning capacities unchanged - at least as far as I can tell.

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/3/20 7:51 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Yes, repugnant. Stop digging.

emoticon


emoticon I was waiting for your answer emoticon

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/4/20 4:51 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I do become more open-minded, but it rather seems like an increase in gullibility when I'm not in that state. Like sometimes I'd believe almost anything.

This kind of thing is common, but it's also short-lived. There were times in my meditation practice that I would have called "dull" and even "sleepy" due to various things going on. But in all cases those effects went away and left my baseline experience in regard to alertness and problem-solving and reasoning capacities unchanged - at least as far as I can tell.

I think I sort of blacked out for months and even years, but maybe that has had everything to do with the irresponsible, ignorant way I approached practice. Seems meditation has to be done with humility and caution.

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/5/20 7:09 AM as a reply to Marino Klisovich.
Marino Klisovich:
Hello,

How does meditation affect intelligence? Would scientist become more intelligent and accelerate the advancement of science?

Thank you,
Marino

One area where I know my intelligence was affected was when I first got into equanimity. There were some extra forgetful periods and a foggy brain. It was temporary, but if you're not used to it, it can be a little scary. I remember some other meditators on this site complaining about the same thing, but again it was temporary. I do remember Shinzen Young saying you might gain a couple of IQ points, but that doesn't seem like much emoticon

EDIT:

I found quote here from Shinzen:

https://www.shinzen.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/art_emptying-mind.pdf
Breaking the compulsion to think simply means that the thinking process is no longer scattered by distracting forces. So when you turn your mind to some topic, you can penetrate that topic with great clarity and vigor. To draw a metaphor from the physical world, when thinking is no longer at the mercy of scattering forces, it becomes like a penetrating beam of coherent laser light. I'm quite convinced that this aspect of meditation makes a person a better student and problem solver and may actually raise ones IQ.

Of course this means only reducing distractions from your thinking. I'm sure time pressure and certain situations where people are worried about rejection in jobs or worried about their grades can affect people, even if they have a good meditation practice. School counselors often have to deal with students having suicidal ideation because so much of their future school choices rides on their grades. Another area of concern is using meditation to avoid. When people have habitual stressful thinking, it takes years to reduce stress and meditation helps partially in the practice and partially because you've let go of responsibilities that are burning you out. This may be necessary in the beginning, but one has to face those responsibilities when returning from a retreat. 

It's an important question because many meditators are professionals and they hope to get worldly results from the practice.

Ultimately there will always be a certain about of growth pain. Daniel Kahneman talks about pupil dialation when people are tested with math problems. There's a certain amount of effort with rewiring no matter what. The effort and pain only go down when the problems become known and repetitive. What fires together, wires together, so the brain improves with practice, the same as always. Daniel Ingram found a spiritual example of this:

https://www.integrateddaniel.info/retreats/

Realize that learning and growth always involves suffering.
Just as studying for a final exam involves the pain that comes from stretching ourselves out into realms of knowledge and skill that are beyond where we currently are, just so is the pain of learning to meditate. There is no free lunch. Spiritual practice always pushes the growth envelope, and even the most spectacular plateaus give way to new mountains to be climbed, new hurdles to jump, new parts of our minds to develop, new spiritual muscles to exercise. Just as when we work out there is the inevitable burn as we find the limits of our strength and endurance, so it is with spiritual practice. While it may let up at times, it never stops showing up. That's life.

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/5/20 8:03 AM as a reply to Marino Klisovich.
I did notice this mental block around doing math almost completely disappear after one particular opening early in practice but that seems more of a inhibition being discarded due to insight rather than an increase in intelligence. These inhibitions were reinforced by childhood stories: "I suck at math. I hated my math teachers. I was always better at essays...etc."

I do "feel" more intelligent than before taking on insight work but I'd wager that most of that is just confidence being freed up from the grips of self-conscious mental habits.

I agree with Shinzen in Richard's post. It seems that there's a greater efficiency and confidence to the mind that may make one experience increased mental power.       

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/5/20 8:55 AM as a reply to Marino Klisovich.
Probably the most important thing I can say about meditation and intelligence is that you can go too far on it. As Britton said about side effects, you can decondition important signals (including traffic signals), and that there has to be a balance. Some stress is actually healthy, but we have to pick and choose more carefully. You want to let go of ruminating about things that distract, and cognitive therapy helps to zone in on inflexible thoughts that aren't realistic. That means to relax the body and thoughts and return to your activities. There are a couple of things I learned so far about high performance learning that you need to condition MORE of to develop intelligence:

1. Anders Ericsson pointed out that engaging with a skill really well (even if slow at first) is necessary. After you've staked out what a high quality procedure or skill is, then do enormous practice. This way you are not practicing mediocre skills. There are lots of studies of Deliberate Practice, especially with Spelling Bee's you an look up.

2. In conditioning psychology class there was a practice I learned, that sounds a lot like Thinking Introversion, where you create clear definitions of what you want to learn. One of the ways to do this is to create true and false testing questions. You define a concept you want to learn and use as many examples of the concept and non-examples to test yourself. In the textbook they said that doctors use this. This way you are able to recognize when something is or isn't when you encounter phenomenon. A lot of mistakes in work involve not recognizing what you are seeing, and therefore not being prepared for it. The more thorough your IS's and IS NOT's in your practice, the more thorough you understand a topic. You can use a diamond example. "What I'm seeing is this side of the diamond and it's also not the other side." When you know a subject really well you'll know because whatever is thrown at you, you know what to do, and if you've been practicing #1, then you'll do it really well. emoticon

So #1 involves a lot of effort because of the practice and #2 involves a lot of cognitive processing to understand a subject. All these drain a certain amount of energy, but if you have less worrying thoughts that interrupt it, or low self-esteem issues about what you are capable of, these practices will be engaged with more and you'll learn faster because you're not spending time worrying about psychological baggage. If you have psychological baggage, you can still do the above practices and get good results, like most non-meditators, but it's less efficient.

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/5/20 11:05 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard - how do you define the difference between learning and intelligence

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/5/20 11:57 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Richard - how do you define the difference between learning and intelligence
There's a heritable part of it and the rest is learning/conditioning.

To make it more clear:

- I'm not against people who have low IQs. Everyone deserves love.
- IQ is not the only measure of intelligence, since humans measure things by morals and virtue.
- I totally support methods that close the gap between haves and have nots in the workplace, including efficient high-performance tactics to improve learning.
- People may decide they don't want to do a particular job because the cognitive load is so large that they are studying all the time. Many people may want to do jobs that give more time for hobbies and interests.
- People with high IQs can waste their talent and not develop it.
- People with lower IQs can close the gap and wipe out people in competition because they study efficiently and probably like their jobs. I've talked to doctors who love or hate their jobs.
- People should test these above methods that are in textbooks before they decide what their potential is.
- If Artificial Intelligence wipes out jobs in the future I support a minimum income to help people who are chronically unemployed.

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/5/20 12:42 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
I think you're stuck on our last interaction. We can drop that.

I'm asking a different question: how do you define intelligence versus how you define learning. Are these not two different concepts? There is a heritable part of intelligence, sure, but is there a heritable part of learning?

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/5/20 12:59 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I think you're stuck on our last interaction. We can drop that.

I'm asking a different question: how do you define intelligence versus how you define learning. Are these not two different concepts? There is a heritable part of intelligence, sure, but is there a heritable part of learning?
It's a good question. It's possible. Learning in psychology is the new term for Behaviourism. Why do some people get rewards and punishments and are heedful to it and others don't respond? Certainly Psychopathy is talked about in many books as a condition where punishments don't work and confinement is the only option. J. Reid Meloy called one psychopath in his book a "walking impulse." Yet there are less intense psychopaths that have more control and are shown to be very intelligent because they don't allow their conscience to interfere with their concentration and decision making. Their moral decision-making is very low of course. There are some genetic indicators for Psychopathy, because not all psychopaths have a bad upbringing, and some who have bad upbringings don't turn out to be psychopaths.

You would you have to measure how fast a person learned. How many lessons were needed before it a person improved. Then see if there are any genetic indicators that support the difference.

Certainly IQ's mistakes (people gaming the system with learning IQ style questions to predict and improve their scores) could also be learned from. One of the ways to reduce people gaming a system is to change the questions so they continue testing speed for solving novel problems. 

One of the things that bothers people in the workplace is change management. There's a lot of burnout and turnover when this happens in an organization. If I learn something from practice and my job becomes redundant, how fast can I learn new/novel procedures? 

Just about everything in psychology, like in biology, has elements of nature vs. nurture.

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/5/20 1:07 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
One of the things that bothers people in the workplace is change management. There's a lot of burnout and turnover when this happens in an organization. If I learn something from practice and my job becomes redundant, how fast can I learn new/novel procedures? 

That brings up something else, so let's talk about one personal attribute that has absolutely changed for me due to my practice - the ability to adapt. I no longer tend to pine for good ol' times and the way things used to be or expend any energy on maintaining the status quo. I'm able to very quickly accept and accommodate changes that occur in my life, and with ease. This is not what I observe in co-workers and family, and it is not how I remember myself being before about ten years ago.

Anyone else?

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/5/20 1:53 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
One of the things that bothers people in the workplace is change management. There's a lot of burnout and turnover when this happens in an organization. If I learn something from practice and my job becomes redundant, how fast can I learn new/novel procedures? 

That brings up something else, so let's talk about one personal attribute that has absolutely changed for me due to my practice - the ability to adapt. I no longer tend to pine for good ol' times and the way things used to be or expend any energy on maintaining the status quo. I'm able to very quickly accept and accommodate changes that occur in my life, and with ease. This is not what I observe in co-workers and family, and it is not how I remember myself being before about ten years ago.

Anyone else?
That's a big area of clinging for many people. I did shift careers and embraced new technology with much more ease recently than I would have in the past and I'm eager to take on learning of new programs. I'm sure meditation has helped to reduce clinging, but there's also a fear of falling behind and becoming redundant. I also went through a grieving process with some crying and catharsis after all those years I invested. The heartbeat changes a bit and you can feel a painful letting go in the skull and body. It's often a shock at how much emotional investment there was and until you actually make the move, you often don't notice until the pain hits.

RE: Meditation and Science
Answer
1/5/20 2:40 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
One of the things that bothers people in the workplace is change management. There's a lot of burnout and turnover when this happens in an organization. If I learn something from practice and my job becomes redundant, how fast can I learn new/novel procedures? 

That brings up something else, so let's talk about one personal attribute that has absolutely changed for me due to my practice - the ability to adapt. I no longer tend to pine for good ol' times and the way things used to be or expend any energy on maintaining the status quo. I'm able to very quickly accept and accommodate changes that occur in my life, and with ease. This is not what I observe in co-workers and family, and it is not how I remember myself being before about ten years ago.

Anyone else?

Yep, adaptability.  Also, non-arising of all those useless emotional defence mechanisms.