RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Being basically the person you describe, I still find that doing this would be helpful, and actually have started a website that, when it gets going, hopefully will do this, unless we want to do it here.

It is http://mindtrainingterms.org.

Here is my rough draft of a blurb on the subject, which perhaps deserves its own post, but since it was raised here:

A few concepts and apparent needs have been converging recently, the short list of which are:

A number of terms have been used by different people in various different ways to describe things about meditation practice, in this case mostly claims to various attainments, and the word they are using to describe how their practice is going and what they have done typically is an indirect proxy term for a group of aspects of their practice that could be described in more nuance and with more precision and clarity if they instead talked more directly about the various attributes of their practice. By way of example, instead of saying, “I am an arahat,” one could describe what phenomena and specific changes in their practice lead them to call themselves that.

A number of researchers have been trying to study meditators using various instruments, questionnaires, fMRIs, EEGs, and the like, and noticing a problem related to point number one, specifically that people might say things like, “I am an arahat,” and numerous different practitioners may actually be describing different things about their practice by using that word, and so unless they really ask what they mean by that in terms of the specifics of what now seems to be different that , they risk possibly misclassifying people and then falsely interpreting how their scan or test or whatever relates to their claimed attainment, thus making for possibly erroneous conclusions.

The combination of people attempting to shoehorn their practice aspects and abilities and the personal mental changes from “normal” (whatever that is) that they are experiencing at that time, which, past a certain point can get quite complex and nuanced, into archaic, dogmatic, drama-producing, narrow, politically complicated, possibly imprecise, disparately-defined terms, such as in this case “arahat”, with the need for researchers to be able to do good research and publish it in a way that describes accurately what people reported and how it correlated or didn’t with whatever test modality they were researching leads me to the following conclusions:

There would likely be significant benefit to be derived all around, both for the practitioners and for the researchers, if a more sophisticated, nuanced, elaborate, comprehensive, and flexible set of terms was used to describe practice, and
It would be even more useful for the scientific description, publication, and the wider dissemination of the useful aspects of practice if that lexicon of terms were at once straightforward enough to be unambiguous whenever possible and also unburdened by the cultural barriers that come with lexicons that derive from religious traditions as well as non-Greco-Latin roots, which are both prevalent biases in the current culture of science here in the West.

The next questions that arise are what would this lexicon and way of describing practice look like, and also who and how would the lexicon be derived, selected, defined, and codified in a way that would make it successful, by which I mean that it would:

Be able to define as clearly as possible the wide range of techniques and effects that mind training can produce, and
actually be utilized by those who are doing that mind training or the research on those same people.

Describing Attainments

A number of the better conversations I have had recently with people about their practice has involved a much greater emphasis on the bare phenomenology of what has been recently happening and what seems at that time to be different rather than on terms such as and including words like “arahat”.

Basically, these conversations have involved a much more broad, complex, and detailed description of the various aspects of practice. They also generally involved standard English words for most of the conversation.

In no particular order, the things we generally discussed were:

The sense of a doer or will: anything different or the same about it, such as but obviously not limited to: more clearly perceived, less clearly perceived, completely gone, even more completely gone, sometimes completely gone, at times has been completely gone, is somewhat attenuated, is occasionally attenuated, is still quite present.

Panoramic Perspective: how well does the concept of panoramic perspectives describe your practice and how has this changed?

Dreams: did you dream before and do you dream now and how are they the same or different? Have you lucid dreamed and how has this changed with practice?

Traveling: have you ever and can you still travel out of body, with what degree of regularity and control, duration, etc? Can you do it from waking or do you have to start in a lucid dream? Can you come back to body being fully awake or do you have to come back to a dream? etc.

Sleep: do you need more, less, or what, if anything, is different?

Ordinary Visualization Ability (meaning the ability to picture something in your mind in a way that has nothing to do with the visualization abilities that are a result of hypnogogic states, concentration practices, visualization meditation practices, etc.) : same, different, there, not there, or what?

Extraordinary Visualization Ability (meaning those related to hypnogogic states, concentration practices, etc.): same, different, enhanced, diminished, gone, or what?

Cycling: do you cycle through the insight stages or something like them, and did you cycle before, and what it is it like now and how has it changed?

Fruitions: have you ever attained them, can you attain them now, did you ever have the notion that they had duration of any kind (either experienced or not experienced), how many could you at your best attain/day and how rapidly from inclination to them happening, can you get multiple back to back, etc.?

Subject/Observer: seems to be localized, seems diffuse, seems gone some of the time, seems to be stronger, seems to pervade everything, seems mostly gone, varies depending on other circumstances, seems utterly and completely gone, or what?

Oneness: any sense of oneness with anything at any time: sometimes? often? never? not applicable? etc.

Feelings: do you still have the internal feeling of feelings, and if so is anything different about the way you experience them?

Feeling Triggers: is there anything different about how stimuli that would have at some point in the past (and perhaps now) have triggered feelings are reacted to and if so, what is different, if anything, and how has this changed?

External Affect: do people still perceive you to have feeling and, if so, how has this changed as a result of practice, if at all?

Formed Concentration Stages (jhanas): did you ever have and do you still have them, and if so, which ones and how developed (stability, duration, rapidity of access, various objects, etc.)? If you had them, are you still able to access them now, and how has this changed?

Formless Realms: did you ever have they and do you still have them, and if so, how developed were/are they (with formed/bodily phenomena somewhat present, very present, subtle or gone or what, stability, access, duration, etc.)?

Diving Abidings (brahma viharas: Loving-kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, Equanimity): have you practiced them, and could you stay with the phrases, feel the actual feelings, take them to their ultimate jhanas (3rd or 4th, depending) and how has this changed with time? If you could access them before, could you still access them?

Powers: did you ever have any, do you still have them or can you access them, and if so how often, how easily, what concentration conditions were/are required, etc.? Did they just arise arise occasionally or did you have stable, reproducible access? How has your interpretation of those experiences varied with time?

Energetics: have you ever perceived energetic phenomena (vibrations, chakras, energy channels, etc.) and could you ever manipulate them, and can you now and what conditions would be required to do that? Could you see them, feel them, or just know them in some other way?

Cessation of Perception and Feeling (Nirodha Samapatti): do you think you have ever attained it, which version did you attain (NS Lite: sense of duration/experience still somehow present, or NS Regular: experience and everything else utterly gone), can you still attain it, do you have any notion of how long the attainment has been able to last (either by external or internal reference) and what conditions would be required for you to do that?

Suffering: what is suffering like for you now on any level and how do you describe it? What causes the mind and/or body or the complex of these to be disturbed, if anything?

Memory: has practice changed your memory of events in any way and if so how, with consideration for both short term and long term memory?

Visual Field: anything different about it, or any other sense door, for that matter?

Relationships with others: has practice changed the way you related to others and if so how, assuming the ability to generalize this very complex topic?

Compassion: do you feel compassion, and, if so, how has practice changed it if at all or your understanding of what compassion is?

Peace: is your mind more or less peaceful or what and how has this changed with time?

Ethics: has your practice changed your concept of morality and ethics, and if so, how and how has this evolved with time?

Task Fatigue: has meditation practice changed your ability to stay on tasks with less fatigue in any way?

Freshness of Experience: how much of your experience would you describe as new or fresh rather than, say, stale, repetitive, or something like that?

Silence: do you perceive your mind as silent and if so when/how often?

Thoughts: how has meditation practice changed what thoughts do, how they relate to you, and how clearly and often you perceive them to occur?

Time: anything interesting about it or different and how has that changed with, uh, time?

Pleasure and Pain: has meditation changed anything about they way they are perceived and/or related to? Specifically, there are reports of things like orgasms suddenly doing nothing whatsoever for people, or pain similarly doing nothing at all to people, etc.

There are probably a bunch more things that could be placed on this grid, but those are some of the more common ones that have been bandied about recently, and these sorts of conversations turn out to be so much more fun than trying to shoehorn people into very narrow concepts such as single path names and the like, as it turns out that there is all sorts of variability in how people respond to those questions even among people who claim the same crudely labeled attainments.

While these could end up looking a bit like a character sheet from D&D (for those old enough to remember what that was), the effect is a much more nuanced and productive discussion of exactly what people are experiencing and it also leads nicely to all sorts of fascinating practice discussions, I have found. Anyone up for filling in that character sheet?

This is actually a setup for a more sophisticated discussion of the goal and promises of practice and what is possible and how developments may occur in a non-parallel fashion sometimes, as well as terms such as "enlightenment", which, given that the level of discussion is now at this much more nuanced level, seem paltry by comparison.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
I like the goal and I like the approach. And I get what you mean by the character sheet reference - I was kind of thinking along those lines before you brought it up (instead of saying '3rd path' or '2nd path', fill in these checkboxes, and we can compare your experiences..). That being said there are a few of your points which I think could be broken down further:

Daniel M. Ingram:
Formed Concentration Stages (jhanas): did you ever have and do you still have them, and if so, which ones and how developed (stability, duration, rapidity of access, various objects, etc.)? If you had them, are you still able to access them now, and how has this changed?

i think using the word 'jhana' is problematic, not only cause of the root (which you already mentioned), but, just like with 'enlightenment', different people can mean different things using the same words. so perhaps break it down into mental states: do you feel like you can jump to different mental states.. does it feel absorbed? not absorbed? is there bodily pleasure? is there mental gladness? is there a sense of effort? is it panoramic? are there several distinct states you can experience? how do they flow into each other? how do you attain them (e.g. i heard one take on it was that you had to develop the intent+concentration outside of any jhana, then you 'ride it through' up to wherever it gets you without any further volition - very different than the more 'dynamic jhana' approach at DhO/KFD)? is there 'attention waviness' about them ('attention wave' to be further clarified eventually but just using it as a placeholder)? etc.

Daniel M. Ingram:
Cessation of Perception and Feeling (Nirodha Samapatti): do you think you have ever attained it, which version did you attain (NS Lite: sense of duration/experience still somehow present, or NS Regular: experience and everything else utterly gone), can you still attain it, do you have any notion of how long the attainment has been able to last (either by external or internal reference) and what conditions would be required for you to do that?

likewise instead of calling it 'NS Lite' and 'NS Regular', perhaps just talking about the entrance + exit + 'during' (if there was experience) phenomenologically, and also dropping the (potentially) dogmatic term Nirodha Samapatti

Daniel M. Ingram:
Compassion: do you feel compassion, and, if so, how has practice changed it if at all or your understanding of what compassion is?

the definition of compassion also might differ among different people (ranging from a felt emotion with no action to strictly action regardless of any felt emotion)

At this point maybe this should just be a new thread.. feel free to split it off if that's the case (leaving a placeholder post here linking to the new thread)
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
It is http://mindtrainingterms.org.

Who's been a busy boy then? emoticon

Quality idea, should be interesting to see how it develops.

And here's a direct link for those too lazy to do some copypasta.
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josh r s, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 337 Join Date: 9/16/11 Recent Posts
Tommy M:
It is http://mindtrainingterms.org.

Who's been a busy boy then? emoticon

Quality idea, should be interesting to see how it develops.

And here's a direct link for those too lazy to do some copypasta.


it's a good thing you posted that direct link hehe, there is 90% greater chance that i will actually go to the site if it is a direct link
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Jeff Grove, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 310 Join Date: 8/24/09 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:

Energetics: have you ever perceived energetic phenomena (vibrations, chakras, energy channels, etc.) and could you ever manipulate them, and can you now and what conditions would be required to do that? Could you see them, feel them, or just know them in some other way?


Energetic Movements
anger/enraged/furious shooting forward
fear/distress/aprehension sinking
sadness/depressed/unhappy contraction
worry/anxious/distress division
excitation/arousal expansion
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Santiago Jimenez, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 75 Join Date: 1/9/12 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
There are probably a bunch more things that could be placed on this grid, but those are some of the more common ones that have been bandied about recently, and these sorts of conversations turn out to be so much more fun than trying to shoehorn people into very narrow concepts such as single path names and the like, as it turns out that there is all sorts of variability in how people respond to those questions even among people who claim the same crudely labeled attainments


Maybe a question related to the need to know can be important

To what degree are you ok with not knowing ?
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Andrew Jones, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
I wonder how we would standardise that which is not really quantifiable. We can hardly have 3 kilograms of compassion, and 2 foot of patience...

emoticon


I remember reading Ingo Swann (remote viewer etc), saying this same basic point; the words we use ( nomenclature) determine more than is commonly realised, and the vocabulary of the larger demographics (e.g. the words used to read the evening news on TV) does not suit the needs of specialist groups especially those involved in 'psychic' research...

Lawrence Leshan also makes excellent points about the mistakes made when trying to make the realm of consciousness fit with the methods and terms of other fields of study. Much like the average person imagining an atom to be a small sphere like object like the ancient greeks did when they invented the term.

His basic point is that we cannot use Newtonian terms to describe Quantum events, or vice versa. The nomenclature is not interchangeable. Likewise we use concepts of volume and distance in respect to consciousness, yet as there is only ever the subjective experience to judge by, we are talking without any precision as the units of volume and distance obviously do not apply to consciousness (I do not have 2 ft of emotional distance, though I may say I feel distant from my friend). My expansive feeling of centrelessness (if only!) may not indeed be quite as expansive as someone else's. By which method could we actually compare them? By what standard measurement, what unit of scale?

One thing I do notice for myself is I respond to new ways of presenting old concepts; AF shook me out of my malaise though it fundamentally is not different from many things I was already doing, or at least thought I was. By reinvention of the nomenclature, the assimilation and equivalancy processes (pattern recognition) are temporarily disrupted and progress is made while we stretch ourselves to grasp yet 'higher' fruit..of the same basic kind.


Someone can be more compassionate, but only in comparison to themselves. So perhaps the basic unit of measure is a ' ME' !!?

I am 1.25 ME compassionate today. I am also about 0.1 ME free at the moment. ha.
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Alan Smithee, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 310 Join Date: 4/2/10 Recent Posts
Andrew Jones:
I wonder how we would standardise that which is not really quantifiable. We can hardly have 3 kilograms of compassion, and 2 foot of patience...

emoticon


I remember reading Ingo Swann (remote viewer etc), saying this same basic point; the words we use ( nomenclature) determine more than is commonly realised, and the vocabulary of the larger demographics (e.g. the words used to read the evening news on TV) does not suit the needs of specialist groups especially those involved in 'psychic' research...

Lawrence Leshan also makes excellent points about the mistakes made when trying to make the realm of consciousness fit with the methods and terms of other fields of study. Much like the average person imagining an atom to be a small sphere like object like the ancient greeks did when they invented the term.

His basic point is that we cannot use Newtonian terms to describe Quantum events, or vice versa. The nomenclature is not interchangeable. Likewise we use concepts of volume and distance in respect to consciousness, yet as there is only ever the subjective experience to judge by, we are talking without any precision as the units of volume and distance obviously do not apply to consciousness (I do not have 2 ft of emotional distance, though I may say I feel distant from my friend). My expansive feeling of centrelessness (if only!) may not indeed be quite as expansive as someone else's. By which method could we actually compare them? By what standard measurement, what unit of scale?

One thing I do notice for myself is I respond to new ways of presenting old concepts; AF shook me out of my malaise though it fundamentally is not different from many things I was already doing, or at least thought I was. By reinvention of the nomenclature, the assimilation and equivalancy processes (pattern recognition) are temporarily disrupted and progress is made while we stretch ourselves to grasp yet 'higher' fruit..of the same basic kind.


Someone can be more compassionate, but only in comparison to themselves. So perhaps the basic unit of measure is a ' ME' !!?

I am 1.25 ME compassionate today. I am also about 0.1 ME free at the moment. ha.


Wow, you gave up before even trying...

EPIC FAIL.
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Andrew Jones, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
Not quite sure what you mean, I started at -5.0 ME on the free scale (religion), so I think it's not too bad by my measure.

1.25 ME, means I'm actually more compassionate than I feel / imagine I am, 0.1 ME free is reflecting I'm only getting on the map of not hanging my freedom on others expectations/evaluations.

So the idea holds basically that the measure is about your own grasp of the process of consciousness in relation to itself, awareness of awareness in other words.

Someone may have glimpses through the interactions with others that they are infact 'more than' there own evaluation of themselves, leading to a score greater than 1, others may be completely unaware that they are even allowed to assess themselves at all, and are completely lost in looking for validation from others, hence scores less than 0. Perhaps they are 5 degrees of separation away from thinking for themselves, (e.g. stuck in 'hand me down' religion)

which I guess ties back to the OP and whether one is able to assess for oneself whether 'consciousness of freedom' is comparable amongst people, or it remains highly individual while having some descriptive similarities that give the illusion of there being a standard unit of AF, while there is perhaps infact not.

I like tarin and what he has to say, so to me it matters very little if the AFT has officially named his freedom as less than their ideal (and he is not qualified to bestow the title of Actually Free), so be it. I never made any secret of my own discomfort using 'propriety terms' such as PCE when it clearly was 'owned' by the AFT.

You may have missed what I was saying Alan, so basically it is that personal assessment remains king in these matters, no matter what the official line is. Finding cool new words is important too...whole worlds can indeed open up with understanding them.

[edits: grammar, clarity]
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Alan Smithee, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 310 Join Date: 4/2/10 Recent Posts
Andrew Jones:
You may have missed what I was saying Alan, so basically it is that personal assessment remains king in these matters, no matter what the official line is. Finding cool new words is important too...whole worlds can indeed open up with understanding them.

[edits: grammar, clarity]


There are plenty of ways to make seemingly private psychological states understandable and diagnosable. The field of psychology has been doing it for years, for instance, psychoanalysis -- whose business is to describe the unconsious, something would would seem particularly undescribable, since even the individual cannot know it directly. The Diagnostical and Statistical Manual is another example of how seemingly personal, inner states and their characteristics -- along with their effects on and interactions with the physiological functions -- have been standardized in a way understandable to just about anyone who reads the manual and the diagnostical checklists. I mean, if schizophrenia can be accurately described and diagnosed despite its incredible varieties and differences -- and the additional problematic that individuals suffering from schizophrenia sometimes completely withdraw from the "outside" world -- then I think that practitioners of mind training can pull it together enough to describe concentration states, etc.

If specific modes of training the mind are unable to create reproducable effects -- which should also be described using as precise a language as possible -- then they aren't really a practice, are they?, since to be a true practice the process and goals need to be clearly defined.

Keep in mind that definitions can be both positive and negative; meaning, states can be described according to what they produce or add, or states can be described according to what they take away or remove.

Also, when you describe, for instance, what you call a measure of "freedom," clearly you'd need to make clear what you mean and how you define freedom. Perhaps in a secularized description of the practice of AF, for instance, such fuzzy terms as "freedom" would be dropped for something more precise and specific. What is freedom (definition)? Freedom from what (negative definition)? Freedom to do what (positive definition)? Etc.
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Alan Smithee, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 310 Join Date: 4/2/10 Recent Posts
In essence, this project could entail creating specific, refined, non-denominational terms which describe a) different states of consciousness, b) the elements which make up those states of consciousness, and c) the practices which produce those states of consciousness. This would require surveying and gathering intelligence for a vast array of pracitioners, then debating and coming to some kind of consensus regarding that which is overwhelmingly recurring commonalities amongst all practioners regarding a), b), and c); that which is rare but valid and legitimate descriptors of a), b), and c); and that which just isn't common or recurring enough to be included as a), b), or c). This should be done as if one is trying to describe a), b), and c) to a highly skeptical individual with absolutely ZERO knowledge, understanding, or sympathy with Buddhist (or AF) philosophy, history, or culture, with the intent of leaving aside all value judgement-y statements regarding the practices (e.g. "I practice such and such to be liberated from impurity," etc), with an emphasis exclusively and as much as possible on precise physical and phenomenological symptomatics of a practice.
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Mr. Jake *, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Alan Smithee:

The Diagnostical and Statistical Manual is another example of how seemingly personal, inner states and their characteristics -- along with their effects on and interactions with the physiological functions -- have been standardized in a way understandable to just about anyone who reads the manual and the diagnostical checklists.


I don't know Alan; most of my instructors (all currently or recently practicing counselors) regard DSM categories almost entirely in terms of billing, insurance etc. There seems to be an incredibly high level of skepticism regarding their diagnostic utility! I'll have to look for the link later and return to the thread to share it, but I was reading recently about an experiment in which people (some psychiatrists, some journalists) went to psychiatric hospitals and presented "symptoms" in order to gauge diagnostic consistency. There was very little consistency as it turned out; the same "symptoms" often resulted in wildly different diagnoses and treatments, and different degrees of basically forced committment. A few participants actually ended up stuck for days or longer against their will; until they "accepted" the diagnoses and "worked with" the psychiatrists enough to regain outside-contact privileges with which to contact the reseaarch team and activate their lawyers! they were regarded as being in denial. Pretty disturbing considering these were healthy people. Luckily they had lawyers and such on hand to intervene if they went "dark" for too long. The basic point: I don't think psychiatric diagnoses is a great model for clear, reliable and consistent diagnoses of subjective states! It seems like at best a proto-science in its infancy, and it may well be regarded as a dead end in many important ways by future human science.

-Jake
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Alan Smithee, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 310 Join Date: 4/2/10 Recent Posts
Mr. Jake *:
Alan Smithee:

The Diagnostical and Statistical Manual is another example of how seemingly personal, inner states and their characteristics -- along with their effects on and interactions with the physiological functions -- have been standardized in a way understandable to just about anyone who reads the manual and the diagnostical checklists.


I don't know Alan; most of my instructors (all currently or recently practicing counselors) regard DSM categories almost entirely in terms of billing, insurance etc. There seems to be an incredibly high level of skepticism regarding their diagnostic utility! I'll have to look for the link later and return to the thread to share it, but I was reading recently about an experiment in which people (some psychiatrists, some journalists) went to psychiatric hospitals and presented "symptoms" in order to gauge diagnostic consistency. There was very little consistency as it turned out; the same "symptoms" often resulted in wildly different diagnoses and treatments, and different degrees of basically forced committment. A few participants actually ended up stuck for days or longer against their will; until they "accepted" the diagnoses and "worked with" the psychiatrists enough to regain outside-contact privileges with which to contact the reseaarch team and activate their lawyers! they were regarded as being in denial. Pretty disturbing considering these were healthy people. Luckily they had lawyers and such on hand to intervene if they went "dark" for too long. The basic point: I don't think psychiatric diagnoses is a great model for clear, reliable and consistent diagnoses of subjective states! It seems like at best a proto-science in its infancy, and it may well be regarded as a dead end in many important ways by future human science.

-Jake


What you are talking about was called the Rosenhan experiment which took place in 1973, in which participants claimed to hear auditory hallucinations like the words "thud" [hence the Terry Pratchet book] or "empty" but no other symptoms. They were kept for a very long time in the hospital, like you said.

In point of fact, it was the Rosenhan experiment which resulted in the epic DMS revisions (1974-1980) which sought to improve the uniformity and validity of psychiatric diagnosis, and to standardize diagnostic practices acroess the US and with other countries. The DMS revisions were also done in the attempt to create a pharmaceutical regulatory process.

What this experiement revealed was that, at the time: 1) there was little to no standardization of diagnostical criteria, 2) there was little to no standardization of treatments, 3) all the power was in the hands of the doctors to subjectively determine a) people's diagnosis, and b) people's treatments, and 4) psychiatric hospitals at the time were unaccountable and unreceptive to patients.

The Rosenhan experiment did not invalidate the DSM, it was the impetus for the creation of the modern DMS with clear diagnostic criteria.

What is nice about the DSM is that any asshole can pick it up and diagnose someone based on the checklists. It is a very democratic book, because the "power" has been taken out of the hands of an elite who -- like Richard and his recent retarded claims about AF diagnosis [or the Catholic church before the reformation] -- claim only THEY can know or diagnose something, no-one else can know, the criteria for knowing something is special knowledge which only select people have, etc.

Now, I am not a whole hearted defended of the field of psychiatry! Not by a long shot. As someone who is extremely interested in psychoanalysis, it should be noted that the 1974-1980 revisions were also a kind of Stalinist purge in which all psychoanalytical material was excised by a cadre of clinicians with a grudge against psychoanalysis. I find this terribly unfortunate, since psychoanlysis has a lot to offer (though it by no means is the be all and end all of therapy, but it should have its vital place). Also, pharmaceutical companies have too much influence in the creation of the manual. New illness catergories are being created basically to sell new drugs -- such as "social anxiety disorder," which is a euphemism for "shyness." All this has been detailed in such books as Christopher Lane's book Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness.

But, what should be kept in mind is that the major problems with the DSM concerns: 1) the sort of political agendas of the folks responsible for revising the manual (anti psychoanlysis), and 2) the montetary influences (pharma) which are distorting the decisions and choices made by those folks responsible for revising the manual.

Regarding our own purposes of creating clear diagnostical language and criteria to explain and diagnose whether certain mental training practices have produced differing states, I think that people should be aware of fact that some individuals are going to have agendas which will inspire them to try and implant language, details, or criteria into the criteria for their own individual purposes (political, religious, whatever), but that would be why those engaged in such a project should 1) be clear about the standards they are using to determine what stays and what goes, 2) be very open about the process, 3) allow many people to participate and contribute, and 4) be very discerning to only use that which is relatively common amongst many different practitioners.

Also, as long as we don't give meditation retreats the power to detain you against your will, we should be okay. "You cannot leave until you reach stream entry! You will be kept here for months until you've reached it!" "But I swear I'm enlightened." "According to the Diagnostical and Statistic Manual of Mental Training Practices you are full of shit..."
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Mr. Jake *, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Alan Smithee:


Also, as long as we don't give meditation retreats the power to detain you against your will, we should be okay. "You cannot leave until you reach stream entry! You will be kept here for months until you've reached it!" "But I swear I'm enlightened." "According to the Diagnostical and Statistic Manual of Mental Training Practices you are full of shit..."


Hahaha ;-) OK, good points and well made. Thanks!
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Santiago Jimenez, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 75 Join Date: 1/9/12 Recent Posts
I remember being in an experience similar to what AF claims (or at least what I understood from an interview of Daniel and Tarin) walking around for almost a year realizing that there was nothing to be afraid of, or irritated for ... ever again ... at all .... (very Eckhart Tolleish as I see it) ... this was after deep realization (Mine is a Zen tradition so I guess in Theravada would be analogous to stream entry, though I'm not really sure)

I was clearly convinced that emotional suffering was done for me, for ever. Like being absolutely free from the human condition.

What came next was like being "pulled back" into the world, or so it felt. All human emotions came back like a volcano and left me almost dysfunctional. An analogy would be like abiding in the womb of emptiness (all peaceful, harmless, secure) and then becoming form again. Being born again into a completely unknown world, confusion and suffering pervading every bit of consciousness for several weeks - maybe months - I remember thinking "this must be just like what a baby feels right after birth". All the personal problems I felt I had transcended came back like a Tsunami. There was a sense of "loosing enlightenment" and feeling just like a regular ordinary human starting back from square one.

Immense compassion for the human condition arose. Since then what usually happens is that some of this emotions, which feel like the most primitive parts of the affective self, arise at some moment during the day - usually without an apparent cause - and I do my best to allow them to dance. Then they dissolve and transform into what I would call a desirable quality (love, clarity, joy). The experience of life in a regular day fluctuates, going from the very personal to the very impersonal, from limited to limitless back and forth.

It is a kind of roller coaster, and as I get more and more acceptant, I also get to be more comfortable with not knowing.

Just in case this little story helps.
End in Sight, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

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Santiago Jimenez:
I remember being in an experience similar to what AF claims (or at least what I understood from an interview of Daniel and Tarin) walking around for almost a year realizing that there was nothing to be afraid of, or irritated for ... ever again ... at all .... (very Eckhart Tolleish as I see it) ... this was after deep realization (Mine is a Zen tradition so I guess in Theravada would be analogous to stream entry, though I'm not really sure


The AF mode of experience (when described) can be tricky to understand...for example, I believe there was once a serious discussion here about whether it describes MCTB 4th path. (It doesn't.)

At times during my practice, when I attained MCTB paths, I often thought "aha! suffering is over with!" simply because I felt so good that I couldn't conceive of the possibility of that changing or the possibility of normal concerns interfering with or intruding on that mode of experience. (Of course, what I was able to conceive of and what was actually possible turned out not to be the same. :grinemoticon But the mode of experience that Tarin describes is different from that.
Vas A, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 24 Join Date: 9/8/10 Recent Posts
End in Sight:
Santiago Jimenez:
I remember being in an experience similar to what AF claims (or at least what I understood from an interview of Daniel and Tarin) walking around for almost a year realizing that there was nothing to be afraid of, or irritated for ... ever again ... at all .... (very Eckhart Tolleish as I see it) ... this was after deep realization (Mine is a Zen tradition so I guess in Theravada would be analogous to stream entry, though I'm not really sure


The AF mode of experience (when described) can be tricky to understand...for example, I believe there was once a serious discussion here about whether it describes MCTB 4th path. (It doesn't.)

At times during my practice, when I attained MCTB paths, I often thought "aha! suffering is over with!" simply because I felt so good that I couldn't conceive of the possibility of that changing or the possibility of normal concerns interfering with or intruding on that mode of experience. (Of course, what I was able to conceive of and what was actually possible turned out not to be the same. :grinemoticon


well put.. in my experience, this is one of the key sources of errors emoticon. if one's conception [of what the possibilities] is more faithful to the reality (i don't want to make a big deal about the real vs actual dichotomy, i use them synonymously), then things are better. and a lot of our wishful thinking/feeling mechanisms (highs and lows) deviate from this. with this wisdom, instead of shunning imagination/projection for the error (and intuition!), working on making them more and more reliable has been rewarding, as these are very useful tools we are born with to help in our living..
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Andrew Jones, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

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Vas A:
if one's conception [of what the possibilities] is more faithful to the reality (i don't want to make a big deal about the real vs actual dichotomy, i use them synonymously), then things are better. and a lot of our wishful thinking/feeling mechanisms (highs and lows) deviate from this. with this wisdom, instead of shunning imagination/projection for the error (and intuition!), working on making them more and more reliable has been rewarding, as these are very useful tools we are born with to help in our living..


What a great piece of wisdom Vas. Shaping the imagination vs. ignoring it. When you say rewarding, how would you describe that further?

cheers
Vas A, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 24 Join Date: 9/8/10 Recent Posts
Andrew Jones:
Vas A:
if one's conception [of what the possibilities] is more faithful to the reality (i don't want to make a big deal about the real vs actual dichotomy, i use them synonymously), then things are better. and a lot of our wishful thinking/feeling mechanisms (highs and lows) deviate from this. with this wisdom, instead of shunning imagination/projection for the error (and intuition!), working on making them more and more reliable has been rewarding, as these are very useful tools we are born with to help in our living..


What a great piece of wisdom Vas. Shaping the imagination vs. ignoring it. When you say rewarding, how would you describe that further?

cheers


thanks... just realizing that i do depend on the imagination/projection consultation before action/decision, and though i am aware of the limitations (which resulted in shunning and trying to complete it or eliminate it), sometimes i am oblivious to the fact that it is not the full picture. and when i changed my approach to welcoming it and hoping for accuracy, it did eliminate some erroneous states that i had been struggling with. it is probably just my impasse, but i thought it might be more common than that...
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Andrew Jones, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: my thoughts on actual freedom and the dho

Posts: 336 Join Date: 5/23/11 Recent Posts
I hadn't thought about it like that, but if I understand you correctly, we are talking about that fleeting moment when we would otherwise consider ourselves to be 'daydreaming', right before we launch into it or avert from it as a mental object. Reminds me of what Dan Ingram said a couple of months ago about lucid dreaming, 'isn't it also being appreceptively processed? So why the 'optimising' for an imageless state?' (paraphrased)

We condition ourselves to stick with the senses, yet the mind sense is in some ways treated as the poor cousin. Optimising instead to also pre-symbolically accept (mindfully allow) mental impression as an equal partner to the whole experience.

Even this morning, some things I imagined happening, are possibly opening up into actually happening, and I can see how the fear based conditioning is reacting to this."'No you are not meant to be an accurate perception of the world, you are meant to just be 'daydreaming'!"

It has been said that our greatest fear is not powerlessness, but the power of our own mind. Did i perceive that or create it?

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