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The Dharma Battleground (DhB)

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread

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RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Becky ZZ 5/12/10 7:35 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Bruno Loff 5/17/10 5:03 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Trent . 5/17/10 5:22 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Bruno Loff 5/20/10 6:20 AM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Trent . 5/20/10 2:26 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Bruno Loff 5/25/10 4:37 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Bruno Loff 5/25/10 5:30 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Trent . 5/25/10 5:37 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Trent . 5/25/10 5:33 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Becky ZZ 5/27/10 8:44 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Trent . 6/4/10 8:25 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Bruno Loff 6/7/10 8:08 AM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Trent . 6/7/10 7:52 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Bruno Loff 6/7/10 8:44 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Trent . 6/8/10 4:57 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Bruno Loff 6/8/10 8:53 PM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Yadid dee 6/26/10 1:55 AM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Bruno Loff 6/27/10 7:59 AM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread tarin greco 6/28/10 12:14 AM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread Bruno Loff 6/28/10 11:01 AM
RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread David Nelson 11/3/10 3:26 PM
the prisoner greco:

C C C:

Also, a question for both trent and tarin - what do people feel when they hang around you? Do they get a contact high? Do they become peaceful, angry, irritable...etc? Is there any noticeable effect on others?


off the top of my head, i can recall that various observers have commented on me seeming, inter alia, kinder, more courteous/considerate, more sensitive/receptive/empathic (funny that last one, as i actually experience no feelings), more tidy, more indifferent/more uncaring toward them, vastly more communicative of this particular mode of experience (for which i had previously only been striving rather than continuously living), easier to talk to, sharper, etc.
tarin


I'd like to follow up on this briefly, if I may. In my job, one of my roles is to function as a team lead on projects and mentor certain colleagues. This requires a large amount of interaction, and the perception (by colleagues) that I am empathetic (or at least sympathetic) toward their needs and emotionally literate seems to contribute strongly to the efficacy of our team. Have you worked in a similar role since attaining AF? Do you perceive that it has changed your team dynamics or efficacy relative to their state prior to your attaining AF, and if so, how?

Thanks to everyone for contributing to these discussions. They have been very interesting to read.

B

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
5/17/10 5:03 PM as a reply to Becky ZZ.
Hey Trent, Tarin, I have another question: Can you laugh? Or cry, for that matter? Do you have a sense of humour? Do you laugh at jokes as (I'm assuming) you usually did?

Thanks,
Bruno

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
5/17/10 5:22 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Hi,

Becky: I have not been in a situation like that since becoming AF. So anything I have to say is really just speculation. That said, I have led and co-led dozens of small teams (typically 4-5 people), a couple of large teams (~40, ~100), and rarely teams of other varying sizes (all for long (1-2 years) and short (30minutes to a few months) periods of time) and can speculate that the dynamics would probably be quite a bit different (qualitatively, more so than structurally). For instance, I think that the changes to myself and the approaches I take (as a product of those changes) would promote effectiveness / efficiencies, increase group morale (I cannot be made sad, and an always-happy, "positive," fair leader would likely do wonders for this), and (depending on the context) group cohesion (as a byproduct of success (due to effectiveness/efficiency) / high morale). Furthermore, implicit group norms, explicit formal policies, member compensations / dues, and so on would be fair because I am impervious to corruption. Communication would be wide open which would, I suspect, promote cohesion since there would be much less incentive for cliques / other forms of "rebel" groups-within-the-group, all because I have nothing to hide / no person insecurity. I could continue to rant about this, but I'll leave it at this for now. Do you see and / or agree (or disagree) with how these various attributes would be beneficial (or agree / disagree with my speculative rationale concerning how those attributes would effect a group)?

Bruno: I laugh quite a bit more than before, tell a lot of jokes and so on. I don't cry for emotional reasons, but allergies and contacts make for some occasional tearing.

Best,
Trent

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
5/20/10 6:20 AM as a reply to Trent ..
Ah, that's good to know Trent :-)

More questions: Tarin mentioned that he experienced "no buildup of energy whatsoever."

I'm interested in how concentration works in this condition. For instance:

Can you focus on something to the exclusion of everything else?, e.g., those concentration exercises where one actually stops hearing what's happening around, because one is so highly focused.

Also, regarding the connection to your biological processes. In Yoga, for instance, it is possible to do specific exercises to get in touch with the way one's digestive system works. One then feels food in the guts, and is able to make dietary choices based on the direct knowledge of how pleasant digestion is, and so on. Usually this is done by concentration on the specific part of the organism, until (I guess) the various nervous pathways in that area become established (prana flows through, chi channels open up, or however one says it in that sort of terminology). I'm wonder if you are able to do that? (I'm assuming it would take some practice)

I'm also curious as to what happens if you smoke a joint, or take LSD, or coffee, or alcohol!

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
5/20/10 2:26 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:

Can you focus on something to the exclusion of everything else?, e.g., those concentration exercises where one actually stops hearing what's happening around, because one is so highly focused.


Sort of...I can become so engrossed in one sense that I am partly unaware of the others. But, I don't really have a reason to do so, and it's not the type of exclusion you're alluding to in the question.

Bruno Loff:
Also, regarding the connection to your biological processes. In Yoga, for instance, it is possible to do specific exercises to get in touch with the way one's digestive system works. One then feels food in the guts, and is able to make dietary choices based on the direct knowledge of how pleasant digestion is, and so on. Usually this is done by concentration on the specific part of the organism, until (I guess) the various nervous pathways in that area become established (prana flows through, chi channels open up, or however one says it in that sort of terminology). I'm wonder if you are able to do that? (I'm assuming it would take some practice)


I'm not familiar with that kind of exercise, but I may be able to do it. You see, I find that I have an increased awareness control of certain relevant things; muscle function, breathing, as well as the immediate and few-hours-after effects that indigestibles have on me. I'm not sure what "energy" has to do with any of that...if you could tell me, perhaps I could say more definitively: yes, or no.

Bruno Loff:
I'm also curious as to what happens if you smoke a joint, or take LSD, or coffee, or alcohol!


Regarding-- not specifically, in no certain order-- a few items on the list (and not all): typically pleasurable / interesting, sometimes uncomfortable (I have read Tarin mention the uncomfortable as "dopamine overload.")

Enjoy,
Trent

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
5/25/10 4:37 PM as a reply to Trent ..
With regards to attaining knowledge about the digestive function, see for example

http://www.exoticindiaart.com/book/details/IDF181/

I think this sort of stuff is based on increasing the flow of "energy" through specific parts of the body, until consciousness of the related processes expands. It seems clear to me that whichever condition this AF thing might be, it isn't "very high level of purification," as described in yoga, say. That would come up as specific physiological characteristics (such as different smell in the sweat, awareness during deep sleep, and so on).

Also, you say:

"I don't really have a reason to [focus on something to the exclusion of anything else]"

And it is still a mystery to me how, without affections, you conjure any sort of preference. How you see "advantage" in doing anything (eating an ice cream) over anything else (mutilating a baby). What would prevent you, if there was a particular window of opportunity, such that the crime was utterly impossible to discover, to chop up a little baby to bloody pieces, and then maybe eat them? Because, without affections, you could provide the following "reason": the experience would be intense, anatomically fascinating, unique and unlike anything else you have ever done, and an opportunity was unlikely to repeat itself.

You see where I'm getting at? Or, on the other hand, do you answer "in that situation I might just as well do it"? Or could it be that some affective processes really are working, and generally guiding your actions by something you call "natural preference", but somehow arising in an undifferentiated form (no "feeler" to relate to), thus hard to distinguish? Why the impulse to be friendly with others, as you claim is still present (richard clearly claims this, at least)?

Oh, trent, I have one more question. I remember asking you, about a year ago, if you still missed your friends? At the time you weren't so much into this AF thing, and you answered, let me find the quote, "I missed my family, friends, and still do." (http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/98757) How about now? Are your family ties a liability simply because you no longer "feel" there's any reason for keeping them? Of course, you naturally don't "feel" that there's anything bad about that, etc, etc Or do you have a "natural preference" towards keeping these bonds? Why not dump your girlfriend if a more "objectively interesting opportunity" presents herself? etc etc

Thanks again emoticon I know I'm really making use of that infinite patience you've acquired emoticon

Bruno

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
5/25/10 5:30 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Oh, oh, another thing! (heh emoticon )

How about creativity? This isn't at all clearly explained in the AF site, except that it clearly deems "imagination" to be a "bad thing" (and I can quote to support that statement).

But so, are you creative? Can you "brainstorm," for instance? Can you come up with solutions you aren't sure will work? Can you come up with tentative arguments based on incomplete information? Can you draw creatively? Whistle creatively? etc... In general, how did your recent shifts of consciousness influence creative processes?

Thanks again emoticon
Bruno

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
5/25/10 5:33 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:

And it is still a mystery to me how, without affections, you conjure any sort of preference. How you see "advantage" in doing anything (eating an ice cream) over anything else (mutilating a baby). What would prevent you, if there was a particular window of opportunity, such that the crime was utterly impossible to discover, to chop up a little baby to bloody pieces, and then maybe eat them? Because, without affections, you could provide the following "reason": the experience would be intense, anatomically fascinating, unique and unlike anything else you have ever done, and an opportunity was unlikely to repeat itself.


Man, I had a mouth full of orange juice when I read this and nearly sprayed it on the monitor (the "maybe eat them" part got me). I just don't have any reason to do such a thing, and further don't think it's a very nice thing to cause damage to biological organisms that have nervous systems (I don't want to hurt things unnecessarily). And so because of that, it is not an interesting opportunity to me. Plus, opening up any animal is a pretty messy business (and I like to be tidy / clean), as I can attest to from my years hunting white-tailed deer, which after their death required the gutting, skinning of, and so on. Heck, I like babies, they're silly and make funny faces and don't look at me with the same glazed-over eyes that so many others do!

Bruno Loff:
You see where I'm getting at? Or, on the other hand, do you answer "in that situation I might just as well do it"? Or could it be that some affective processes really are working, and generally guiding your actions by something you call "natural preference", but somehow arising in an undifferentiated form (no "feeler" to relate to), thus hard to distinguish? Why the impulse to be friendly with others, as you claim is still present (richard clearly claims this, at least)?


There is no affective processes at work here, I just think and do as I deem appropriate. I have no impulses at all, I just like to be friendly to others, because...hey, why not? Life is fun, and I have no reason to pretend otherwise.

Bruno Loff:
Oh, trent, I have one more question. I remember asking you, about a year ago, if you still missed your friends? At the time you weren't so much into this AF thing, and you answered, let me find the quote, "I missed my family, friends, and still do." (http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/98757) How about now? Are your family ties a liability simply because you no longer "feel" there's any reason for keeping them? Of course, you naturally don't "feel" that there's anything bad about that, etc, etc Or do you have a "natural preference" towards keeping these bonds? Why not dump your girlfriend if a more "objectively interesting opportunity" presents herself? etc etc


I do not miss them, nor anyone. I still speak to them, however, as they are friends, and as a courtesy to them as well. For instance, I spoke with my progenitor just a few days ago, and he and I joked and laughed about how bad we both have proven to be at gardening thus far. Thus, I do not consider my associations (I have no "bonds") with them (nor my siblings) to be a "liability;" nor would it be even if they were not fun as they are. As for a preference with companions, it is because I have integrity (and no reason not to be monogamous, as is her preference) and have found her to be a joy to be around for various reasons, we already have a well established association, and so on; we are a good match right now, so to speak.

Bruno Loff:
Thanks again emoticon I know I'm really making use of that infinite patience you've acquired emoticon


No problem.

Trent

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
5/25/10 5:37 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
Oh, oh, another thing! (heh emoticon )

How about creativity? This isn't at all clearly explained in the AF site, except that it clearly deems "imagination" to be a "bad thing" (and I can quote to support that statement).

But so, are you creative? Can you "brainstorm," for instance? Can you come up with solutions you aren't sure will work? Can you come up with tentative arguments based on incomplete information? Can you draw creatively? Whistle creatively? etc... In general, how did your recent shifts of consciousness influence creative processes?

Thanks again emoticon
Bruno


Hey again,

Creativity is apparently a function of the intellect and I have found myself to be much more creative post-AF. I can do all of the mentioned "can you's" and many more. From what I've read, and what common sense tells me, the intellect evolved so as to solve problems, and creativity is a fundamental part of problem solving.

Best,
Trent

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
5/27/10 8:44 PM as a reply to Trent ..
Trent H.:
Becky: I have not been in a situation like that since becoming AF. So anything I have to say is really just speculation. That said, I have led and co-led dozens of small teams (typically 4-5 people), a couple of large teams (~40, ~100), and rarely teams of other varying sizes (all for long (1-2 years) and short (30minutes to a few months) periods of time) and can speculate that the dynamics would probably be quite a bit different (qualitatively, more so than structurally). For instance, I think that the changes to myself and the approaches I take (as a product of those changes) would promote effectiveness / efficiencies, increase group morale (I cannot be made sad, and an always-happy, "positive," fair leader would likely do wonders for this), and (depending on the context) group cohesion (as a byproduct of success (due to effectiveness/efficiency) / high morale). Furthermore, implicit group norms, explicit formal policies, member compensations / dues, and so on would be fair because I am impervious to corruption. Communication would be wide open which would, I suspect, promote cohesion since there would be much less incentive for cliques / other forms of "rebel" groups-within-the-group, all because I have nothing to hide / no person insecurity. I could continue to rant about this, but I'll leave it at this for now. Do you see and / or agree (or disagree) with how these various attributes would be beneficial (or agree / disagree with my speculative rationale concerning how those attributes would effect a group)?


Hi Trent,

This is quite interesting to me and I've thought about it a bit in the last few days. Thank you for your thoughts. I think that the attributes that you describe could be beneficial or not, depending on the members of the group that you are interacting with ... or hypothetically, the group that I would be interacting with, since I am mentally projecting the attributes into my imagined dynamics of my workgroup while thinking about this topic. So, I guess that all of my conclusions are necessarily specific to my situation and experiences, and all of what follows is the result of mental fermentations ... oh well. ;-)

My first thought is that when I am in that role as a team lead, I try to be the type that makes sure my people have everything they need to get their job done, and then stay out of the way, apart from providing support when needed. Obviously, being positive, fair, and uncorruptible are almost always desirable characteristics in a leader. I agree with that. But included in "everything they need," in addition to being a positive and motivating leader (I hope I am, anyways) are also items like validation, reassurance, commiserating in frustrations, etc. In my experience, group members have been happier when they can go to a lead to gripe, and receive an empathetic response in addition to moving toward a solution to the issue at hand. Now, this may speak to the individual characteristics of the people involved, but I tend to think that as long as they are looking to others for emotional confirmation, an exclusively positive affect, even if I were still quite effective in problem-solving, would be negatively perceived as being out of touch with their (emotional) reality. And it would be out of touch with their reality ... that's kind of the point, right?

My second thought on this ... at work, and specifically in meetings, I tend to use my emotional state as an additional source of information about others. I guess you could say that it gives me what some call "intuition" in that I subconsciously perceive changes in body language and expression that trigger recognizable subtle changes in my emotional state. I then consciously identify that something needs to be attended to, and try to chase down what it is. Most commonly it is just a process of offering time for a certain person to share more difficult thoughts or questions. I question whether I would be able to identify those opportunities without the arising of emotions, or whether my conscious mind would pick up the pace, so to speak, to compensate.

Again, thanks for your thoughts.
Becky

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
6/4/10 8:25 PM as a reply to Becky ZZ.
Hello,

Becky McNeil:
I think that the attributes that you describe could be beneficial or not, depending on the members of the group that you are interacting with ... or hypothetically, the group that I would be interacting with, since I am mentally projecting the attributes into my imagined dynamics of my workgroup while thinking about this topic.


I agree with you on the "could be beneficial or not;" I have thought about this more and I think it will be highly contextual. I am simply thinking about the work groups 'I' was a part of or lead, thinking through particular scenarios, conflicts and the like, and then evaluating hypothetical outcomes...as such, it is just conjecture and I won't really know the particulars until I am actually in the situation again.

Becky McNeil:
But included in "everything they need," in addition to being a positive and motivating leader (I hope I am, anyways) are also items like validation, reassurance, commiserating in frustrations, etc. In my experience, group members have been happier when they can go to a lead to gripe, and receive an empathetic response in addition to moving toward a solution to the issue at hand. Now, this may speak to the individual characteristics of the people involved, but I tend to think that as long as they are looking to others for emotional confirmation, an exclusively positive affect, even if I were still quite effective in problem-solving, would be negatively perceived as being out of touch with their (emotional) reality. And it would be out of touch with their reality ... that's kind of the point, right?


The experiences you speak of have been similar in my experience as well. The lack of empathy may be apparent to them when they are upset (I know this from being charged with "not caring" when my companion is upset) but otherwise it generally seems to be unnoticed / not a problem. This I think is primarily because I am fully capable of understanding (as much or more as 'I' could before) another person's situation and am able to be considerate and caring regarding their particular circumstances. In the instance of "supporting" another, I suspect I would be able to (for example) notice a lack of confidence in a group member and would therefore be able to encourage them by saying "hey, good job on (whatever)." (If they did, in fact, do a good job or it otherwise seems useful to say so regardless.) As for eliciting feedback, I have found that simply smiling and saying (in a sincere and sensitive tone) "what's up?" allows people to speak their minds to a degree that allows for the resolution of their conflict; I presume this would work similarly in a work group situation.

Again, the major exception to this is if another person disassociates their problems onto me as the perceived cause and, for instance, expects me to change / correct course to fall in line with their selfish demands. In this case, they will find only frustration, as I will not indulge them... and that could lead to some disruptions depending on the individual(s) and the particulars of the situation.

As for being "out of touch with their reality," that is not really the point. The thought that any of us are "in touch with (another persons) reality" is never really accurate in the first place: it's always an intuitive guessing game based on communication, emotional rapport, empathy and so forth. As we (my body and their body) are still in the same world, and as I have knowledge of what it is like to be emotional, I am able to be considerate of their situations (and as I am not projecting all over the place as before, I am probably able to do this better than 'I' could before).

Becky McNeil:
My second thought on this ... at work, and specifically in meetings, I tend to use my emotional state as an additional source of information about others. I guess you could say that it gives me what some call "intuition" in that I subconsciously perceive changes in body language and expression that trigger recognizable subtle changes in my emotional state. I then consciously identify that something needs to be attended to, and try to chase down what it is. Most commonly it is just a process of offering time for a certain person to share more difficult thoughts or questions. I question whether I would be able to identify those opportunities without the arising of emotions, or whether my conscious mind would pick up the pace, so to speak, to compensate.


As the triggers for this type of intuitive reading is "body language and expression," I don't think there would be much of a problem, as long as you are intellectually aware of what body language likely means to the body expressing it. Perhaps it is because 'I' studied body language extensively a few years ago, but I am able to recognize a wide range of emotion in others, such as anxiety, fear, awkwardness, lust, boredom, aggression, and so on and am thus sensitive to the situations as they are. There are some exceptions to this, though...for instance, if someone faked their body language very well, I might not be able to notice, because I cannot pick up on the "vibes" and would thus be unaware that they are acting in a manner that is not congruent with their feelings. In the past, this may have caused me to "dig" ("chase down") at them until they "let it out." But now I simply expect people to be responsible for themselves, and so I do not find an issue with not being aware of this type of subtle detail. This seems to work fine, perhaps because anyone familiar with me knows that they can be completely open with me, and that typically prevents the "clamming up" altogether. It is also worth noting that most people are not very good at altering their body language in any way that would fool me, not even in the slightest...everyone I know wears their "heart on their sleeve" 99.9% of the time though they don't seem to be aware of that (and this was not readily apparent until I was deep down the path toward an AF). It is amazing just how clear the world is when you only see what actually exists.

Again, my comments regarding the particulars of group dynamics in the context of being AF includes a lot of guess work since I have not been in those specific work-group instances since becoming AF. So with that said, I recommend taking my responses on this matter as food for thought only.

Regards,
Trent

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
6/7/10 8:08 AM as a reply to Becky ZZ.
I have more questions! Once again thank you Trent and Tarin for answering these.

The question is: can you engender a trance? For instance, if you where to repeat, 1000 times or so, rhythmically, a mental sound (our tap your finger somewhere 1000 times or so), would it "continue automatically" or at least "be prone to continue automatically"? (This happens during a trance process, it is more or less the essence of trance)

I hope the question is clear :-)

Bruno

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
6/7/10 7:52 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno,

I find no trances here in the way that you're talking about. Though, I sometimes find myself so engrossed in the observation of the senses (or a sense) in a way that might remind one of being in a "trance." Further, being alive like this is so interesting and engaging that it reminds me of being in a perpetual sort of "trance" as compared to prior experiences when I could otherwise "disengage from reality."

This is interesting, I'll have to think about it a bit more-- I had not thought about "trances" and the aspects I described to you until typing out my reply...haha.

Trent

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
6/7/10 8:44 PM as a reply to Trent ..
Really? Let me give you another example: try to engage in a fixed rhythm by tapping your hands on a table, or a drum if you have one. You might remember, if you did this before, that it might take a while to get into the rhythm, but once you do, it becomes easier to maintain. At least this is the experience of most people --- this is because of trance.

Thanks for checking this out, take your time, do some experiments, compare with what others around you report when doing the same experiences. I think the issue of trance might be relevant to a better understanding of the ego process.

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
6/8/10 4:57 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Hi,

Bruno Loff:
Really? Let me give you another example: try to engage in a fixed rhythm by tapping your hands on a table, or a drum if you have one. You might remember, if you did this before, that it might take a while to get into the rhythm, but once you do, it becomes easier to maintain. At least this is the experience of most people --- this is because of trance.


I tapped a few different random rhythms on the desk...took a moment or two to get going, but continued more easily after that. I sure wasn't in a trance, though. The process seems to have more to do with various types of memory (short term muscle memory among others) and intention ("I'm going to tap while trying to do another task so as to gauge my ability"). But hey, I've never been much of a musician (or even a person to tap on his desk out of boredom or whatever), so I'm not a very reliable source on this one.

Bruno Loff:
Thanks for checking this out, take your time, do some experiments, compare with what others around you report when doing the same experiences. I think the issue of trance might be relevant to a better understanding of the ego process.


If I had to take a wild guess, I would guess that trances (or the ability to be in a trance)-- in the simple / automatic / relatively unconscious sense being spoken of-- are a survival instinct mechanism of some sort related to hunting, most specifically animal tracking over long distances / for long durations. (This type of hunting is, by the way, a major piece of human evolutionary heritage; hence why the human animal is structurally shaped for long distance/duration running on two legs [which is more efficient than four legs], among other things). Functionally it seems like a trance would allow the hunter/tracker to shut out the other survival instincts temporarily (simply as a byproduct of focusing on the task)-- such as intense thirst, fear, etc-- to the favor of staying focused on the critical task at hand (securing food for oneself and group). I have actually seen this alluded to in a documentary show. The hunter/tracker was said by his companion hunter/tracker (to the documentary folks) that his companion "is in a trance..." and went on to mention all sorts of things about "becoming the (animal) inside so as to better gauge his movements." So from that hypothesis, it seems as though trances would be a good way to continue hunting a moose (or whatever) instead of getting thirsty as hell and then wandering off mid-hunt to drink (hunts of that sort can take days of tracking, without rest). (Do you notice how, if my guess is correct, this would be a totally redundant / useless "ability" if one had eliminated the instincts altogether?)

This explanation makes a lot of sense to me...how does it sound to you?

Trent

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
6/8/10 8:53 PM as a reply to Trent ..
Well Tarin, what you say isn't completely consistent: both Tarin and Richard mentioned that their "survival instincts" are still in place (they instinctually run from a snake / dodge the incoming vehicle). So that in itself isn't enough reason to say that "trance" is flushed out together with the ego processes (I & me). Other than that, I am sure that trance is an evolutionary inheritance, as much as anything else.

Also, trance is useful in many ways. The basis of trance is repetition: if a mental phenomena repeats a few times, some "energetic optimization" happens, so that the process can be sustained with less energy; besides this, during trance energy is released from other processes and channeled into the trance process. For instance, for most people, the trance engendered by tv inhibits their critical judgement, making them more prone to the effects of advertisement. Or the trance one gets in when following a crowd, one will sometimes find oneself continuing to follow the crowd, even if the crowd is no longer going where one wants to go. Your hunting scenario is another excellent example. Trance is a clever mechanism to save and channel brain-power.

What characterizes trance is a sort of dissociation: one repeats a mental event a number of times, and after a while it begins happening automatically, in a way dissociated from our intention. One repeats "bla" 1000 times in the mind (btw I didn't clearly understand if you retained the ability to do mental chatter at all), and then it becomes autonomous (it dissociates). It continues to happen even when very little energy is devoted to sustaining the process, so that one can do other things at the same time, etc. In some very powerful trances it continues to happen even if one wishes for it to stop.

I believe this happens by positive feedback: a mind event is set up to trigger another mind event, etc, until the last event triggers the first, making a (self-justifying) cycle. I believe the ego processes might work in this way. For instance, an external stimulus causes it's internal "echo" to happen, causing reactions, causing more stimulus, etc. One way for the ego process to unfold is to break this cycle (with "equanimity").

What I am curious to know is if the AF condition (more specifically, any increase in clarity) comes from eliminating the basic mechanism for trance altogether (the positive feedback connection) or if it comes from eliminating certain specific, very powerful trances that are usually running in a normal person, but which one could, in this condition, replace with different trances.

(I'm being inspired by the book "Trance, from magic to technology" by Dennis Wier which one can find on the web somewhere)

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
6/26/10 1:55 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
How you see "advantage" in doing anything (eating an ice cream) over anything else (mutilating a baby). What would prevent you, if there was a particular window of opportunity, such that the crime was utterly impossible to discover, to chop up a little baby to bloody pieces, and then maybe eat them? Because, without affections, you could provide the following "reason": the experience would be intense, anatomically fascinating, unique and unlike anything else you have ever done, and an opportunity was unlikely to repeat itself.


Bruno, I must say you are one funny man. I love this quote! (obviously not the act depicted inside it :-)

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
6/27/10 7:59 AM as a reply to Yadid dee.
Tarin and Trent, sorry again for being such a nuisance.

I would really appreciate it if one of you could find out if the usual mental mechanism of imagination is still in place in an Actual Freedom.

Just like Tarin mentioned recently, that he can "sit down and think about something," so that the thought faculty is still very much there, I wonder if other faculties are still there, such as visual and auditory imagination, or if these intrinsically depend on the sensation of "being," which was eliminated during AF.

Because it seems to me that what might happen is that you simply decide not to engage in these activities, that you see no reason to "imagine things." But I am curious to know if these normal abilities can be actively engaged in (by decision). I believe that your curiosity about the exact details of how the mind works might have diminished, since you're having so much fun with whatever presents itself. But maybe you can find some fun in indulging my questions, which I ask out of my own genuine curiosity emoticon

The question is:
1) can you imagine mental pictures? how about mental sounds?

Also, I was curious about "getting into trance," I see you didn't bother really looking into that. Just in case you forgot, I ask again:
2) does the rhythmical repetition of an automatic thought tend to continue automatically "on its own" (without volition being necessary to maintain it), as in a trance?

And finally, just in case you really want to be bothered emoticon, which of course I understand if you don't:
3) in case you answered affirmatively in 1, can you develop this ability to imagine mental pictures or sounds to the point that you can "visualise" things in your visual field, that would otherwise not be there?

Basically, this amounts to investigating if the feedback connection to your visual cortex is still "there," or, in other words, to which extent does this feedback connection depend on the process that causes the sensation of "being". The question about trance is similar.

I think this is a nice question, if you can be bothered by such things!

Thank you either way,
Bruno

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
6/28/10 12:14 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
Tarin and Trent, sorry again for being such a nuisance.


oh? how are you being a nuisance?

Bruno Loff:

I would really appreciate it if one of you could find out if the usual mental mechanism of imagination is still in place in an Actual Freedom.


while i am sure clear about how able i am able to willfully imagine (to form a mental image), i do experience its non-volitional occurrence from time to time much as always. here are some differences in them worth noting:

1 these images (including dreams) are not accompanied by any affective quality,

2 and so seem much like noise.. not unpleasant, but not meaningful.

3 the frequency of their occurrence has also been gradually (but noticeably) diminishing.. besides remembering to try and lucid dream occasionally, i am not putting any effort in here whatsoever.

Bruno Loff:

Just like Tarin mentioned recently, that he can "sit down and think about something," so that the thought faculty is still very much there, I wonder if other faculties are still there, such as visual and auditory imagination, or if these intrinsically depend on the sensation of "being," which was eliminated during AF.


now that i am actually free, and not just in a pce every so often, i can report that the basic faculty for (the experience of) imagination, both visual and auditory, is not entirely dependent on the feeling of being (and the existence of feelings). however, the infrequency of my experience of imaginative phenomena nowadays suggests that being does, in fact, have something to do with imagination on a very basic level, as its power to distort perfection (which daniel ingram refers to as the attention wave) is essentially an exercise of imagination.

Bruno Loff:

Because it seems to me that what might happen is that you simply decide not to engage in these activities, that you see no reason to "imagine things." But I am curious to know if these normal abilities can be actively engaged in (by decision). I believe that your curiosity about the exact details of how the mind works might have diminished, since you're having so much fun with whatever presents itself.


not at all. it's great fun to have a look at the details of how my mind works.. particularly as i no longer suffer and have, in that sense, no pressing concerns to which to attend.

;)


Bruno Loff:

The question is:
1) can you imagine mental pictures? how about mental sounds?


i am having trouble answering this one. i think no.

Bruno Loff:

Also, I was curious about "getting into trance," I see you didn't bother really looking into that. Just in case you forgot, I ask again:

2) does the rhythmical repetition of an automatic thought tend to continue automatically "on its own" (without volition being necessary to maintain it), as in a trance?


i don't know, as i don't experience thoughts to have a rhythmical repetition anymore (excepting perhaps, across some willing synapse, thoughts that are aligned to rhyme on time).

Bruno Loff:

And finally, just in case you really want to be bothered emoticon, which of course I understand if you don't:
3) in case you answered affirmatively in 1, can you develop this ability to imagine mental pictures or sounds to the point that you can "visualise" things in your visual field, that would otherwise not be there?


no.

relatedly, in case you find this interesting: the only times in my life that i have visualised things in my visual field that would otherwise not be there, i was aware, more or less, that they had this quality to them that was less than clear, similar to noticing the particular ambience of a dream which can trigger lucidity (or end the dream completely).

Bruno Loff:

Basically, this amounts to investigating if the feedback connection to your visual cortex is still "there," or, in other words, to which extent does this feedback connection depend on the process that causes the sensation of "being". The question about trance is similar.


is there any particular reason this matter is of interest to you?

Bruno Loff:

I think this is a nice question, if you can be bothered by such things!

Thank you either way,
Bruno


you're welcome.

and just curious.. why are you predisposed to think that asking me this stuff would bother me in some way?

tarin

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
6/28/10 11:01 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
(Well, it takes some time to investigate the questions, and answer them. I'm sure you value your time, so I ask in a way that seems friendly, that's all. Also, I don't think you would have "bothered" to answer these questions, had I asked them in an unfriendly way, regardless of the fact that you wouldn't "feel" bad. I have observed that you still act "as if" you had emotions in most (electronic message board-) situations. Despite the fact that you act as if you care, and your "speech-tone" is unaffectionate.)

Actually, I don't understand very well how you can not visualise things. Basically, I would think that if the dreaming ability is there, then the visualisation ability should also! Hmm...

The reason I am asking you all this is because I would like to better understand what this "being" process is, what it does and how it works, as well as its interrelation with other processes.

RE: In preparation for the Actual Freedom thread
Answer
11/3/10 3:26 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:

3 the frequency of their occurrence has also been gradually (but noticeably) diminishing.. besides remembering to try and lucid dream occasionally, i am not putting any effort in here whatsoever.
Can you elaborate on what it means to/for you to have lucid dreams? I have dreams that are quite vivid, but never lucid. For example, I often am flying in my dreams (think superman, but with less ability). When it is occurring, I am totally convinced that I can fly, or at least jump extraordinary distances. Or often I am in dangerous situations. Just last night I was shot in the leg twice by an automatic weapon while trying to escape some kind of armed conflict. There was no fear, but certainly the problem-solving part of my mind was active. Like "how do I get out of this one" kind of thinking. Could such dreams be a mechanism to solve problems or challenges in daily life? If so would lucid dreaming enable a more conscious working out of the problems faced? I say problems not in a negative way- think interesting and challenging situations. Is this kind of dreaming possible without an affective component? What do you think? I know Richard says that he has no dreams, and certainly it is true that many non-actually free people also have no dreams.


Personally I could do without dreams of any sort, since when I want to rest I want to rest. However I get into all sorts of situations in dreams that I might never encounter in my daily life and I sometimes wonder if they aren't a training ground of sorts for higher levels of functioning in extraordinary situations to come...